Zeno's Paradox
While critical thinking may not make up for a lack of knowledge, it is essential for gaining knowledge.
Saturday, August 31, 2002:  

Critical Thinking

A few notes on the rating scale I often use:
    Information quality: Indicates the accuracy of the information content of the article and how well it is supported.

    Propaganda quality: Indicates the persuasiveness of the article and how well the author understands the intended audience.

    Propaganda level: Indicates how much of the information in the article that is aimed at persuading the reader rather than informing.

References on Propaganda:

    -  Ron  8:45 AM

Friday, August 30, 2002:  

Human Factors:

The Cranky User: Macro viruses by Peter Seebach
Usability and security, it is often said, have an inverse relationship. Developers must consider the trade-offs between usability and security when designing or developing a new system. In this article, I argue that macro viruses show how important it is to consider both sides of this trade-off, and also that, in some cases, security is usability...

...In practice, most users never intentionally use any kind of editor macro and never miss such a feature. Furthermore, if the default settings did not allow the execution of macro viruses, users might have never heard of them.
Another great article from Peter Seebach's column, "The Cranky User".

    Information quality:   Very High
    Propaganda quality:  High
    Propaganda level:     Very Low

    -  Ron  2:06 PM

Monday, August 26, 2002:  

Marketing, Human Factors:

Wake Up! Energizing Your Tired Customers
Your customers know all your tricks. They are sick and tired of irrelevant products, unending marketing messages, and a growing string of broken promises. How can you get through to them again? Treat them as customers, not as consumers.
Note that while all the solutions discussed require a better understanding of customers, there is little consensus on how to use that understanding. Some to create value, others to influence, most a combination favoring influence. It is easier to influence than to create value.

    Information quality:   High
    Propaganda quality:  Very High
    Propaganda level:     Low

    -  Ron  12:14 PM


Usability Testing, Human Factors:

Recording Screen Activity During Usability Testing
A visual record of these mouse movements, keystrokes, and other activities is most useful for usability testing. While there is no substitute for good observational skills, it can be difficult to remember everything that happened during the test. Having a visual record not only reminds you of what happened, it allows for more detailed analysis after the test and comparisons between individuals.
Screen-recording software is becoming a very valuable tool for usability testing, especially for more detailed or formal testing. The author has done a commendable job of answering questions in the online discussion.

    -  Ron  7:21 AM

Sunday, August 25, 2002:  

Medicine, Critical Thinking:

Mixed Medical Messages: How Much Sun Is Too Much?
this month, several scientists trotted out a theory that people who don't get enough sunlight and have diets low in vitamin D may be at higher risk of developing colon, prostate, rectal, ovarian and breast cancer
Most epidemiological surveys, including the vitamin D study, begin with a hypothesis. Researchers then gather loads of patient data and plug them into a computer in search of statistically significant associations between specific groups of people in the study and the incidence of a particular disease. But a critical point that is often drowned out by the doctors eager to see their studies published and the ensuing media hoopla is that mathematical correlations do not necessarily imply a cause-and-effect relationship.
This is one of the rare articles that actually attempts to make sense of the seemingly contradictory medical findings that cause people so much confusion and frustration.

    -  Ron  10:23 AM

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