Zeno's Paradox
While critical thinking may not make up for a lack of knowledge, it is essential for gaining knowledge.
Friday, October 04, 2002:  

And Now for Something Completely Different:

2002 IgĀ® Nobel Prizes Awarded! - (The Annals of Improbable Research)
Amorous ostriches scoop Ig Nobel prize - (Summary via New Scientist)
An investigation into why amorous UK ostriches were failing to breed is just one of the winners of the 2002 Ig Nobel Prizes. The annual awards for achievements that "cannot or should not be reproduced" were presented at Harvard University on 3 October.

Work on scrotal asymmetry in men and sculpture, the surface area of Indian elephants and a Japanese dog bark translator were among the other recipients of Ig Nobels, awarded annually by the humour magazine, the Annals of Improbable Research.

    -  Ron  6:42 AM

Thursday, October 03, 2002:  

Human Factors:

Designed for life - (New Scientist interview of Don Norman)
Hands up if you still have trouble opening the door to your office first time, figuring out the dashboard controls of your car or navigating your computer. Sadly, that'll be most of us, says Donald Norman.
A combination of his regular discussions on "why so many things are so unusable" and "building emotions into systems".
Are you disappointed that there has been such slow progress in making computers and gadgets usable?

I've been worried about this for some time now. Why do we have so many unusable things when we know how to make them usable? I think it has to do with the fact that the usability advocates don't understand business.
Interesting assertions and great propaganda. What evidence exists that "we know how to make them usable"? How will understanding business help? How important is it for "usability advocates" to understand business?
I've been trying to understand why usability people are left out of the game, and I think it's because they appear to have nothing to contribute.
(Of course, the operative word is "appear".) If people cannot make a visible and valuable contribution, then they should be left out. But what about when their contribution, as individuals or more importantly as a group, is not properly recognized? How should "usability people" work to make a more visible or valued contribution? How much effort should they make just ensuring that their contributions are being recognized? In the process, how can they be sure to not overstate what they've done and can do?

    Information quality:   High - Mostly opinions, however.
    Propaganda quality:  High
    Propaganda level:     Low.

    -  Ron  7:31 AM

Tuesday, October 01, 2002:  

Human Factors:

Email Newsletters Pick Up Where Websites Leave Off (Jakob Nielsen)
Nielsen in a Nutshell: Email newsletters tend to have fairly good usability, even though email platforms are very diverse. Nielsen looks at the usability of email newsletters, a simple topic that he addresses well in his column.

It doesn't get much simpler than evaluating the usability of email newsletters. The hardest part is evaluating the content of the newsletters, which Nielsen glosses over. What's left is a fairly simple article summarizing a $195 report.

    Information quality:   High - Some good information, targeted at novices.
    Propaganda quality:  Medium - Better than his usual self-promotion
    Propaganda level:     Low - Slightly less than usual.

    -  Ron  11:38 AM

Copyright © 2002-2005 Ron Zeno      This page is powered by Blogger.
Musings not completely unrelated to human factors, management, critical thinking, medicine, software engineering, science, or the like.
Zeno's Paradox Main
Comments? Email me!
My other site
Reader Favorites:
Miller's 7+-2 Doesn't Apply
Analysis of a Dilbert Comic
Reliable & Valid Usability?
Designing for Seniors

Weekly Archives
Looking for Ancient Greek Philosophy or Mathematics?
Zeno's Paradox
Zeno and the Paradox of Motion

(Current color scheme is from Aguilar's "Equilibrium".)