electronics posts

ChittahChattah Quickies May 12th, 2011
  • [from steve_portigal] Blu Develops a Social Networking Device for Smokers [NYTimes.com] – [While it's a bit of a weird idea, it seems to fit with the already weird e-cigarette better than the very old-school tobacco experience] The new “smart packs" ($80 for 5 e-cigarettes) emit and search for the radio signals of other packs. When they get within 50 feet, the packs vibrate and flash a blue light. Packs can be set to exchange information about their owners, like contact information on social networking sites, that can be downloaded to computers. The packs also conveniently vibrate when a smoker nears a retail outlet that sells Blu cigarettes. Later versions will be tethered to a smartphone through an app. Adam Alfandary, 24 was skeptical. He said that the social aspects of smoking were a part of the reason he continued to light up, but he scoffed at the idea of a cigarette that would do the social part for him. “I think that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. And I’m saying that in full acknowledgment that smoking is one of the dumbest things I can do.”
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ChittahChattah Quickies September 11th, 2009
  • Slot Music – it’s more than just a new format – Here's SanDisk's ecosystem approach (for digital music, not digital books, but still, it's illustrative). Leveraging their technology, they've begun putting digital music on solid state media (i.e., SD cards and what-have-you) that will go into multiple devices. They are piggybacking on the ecosystem of slots that already exists. I think it fully matures as an ecosystem when other other plays start making products, services, and accessories to support this standard.
  • New Yorker cartoon – “This one, when you open it, smells like the Times.” – Cartoon by Leo Cullum showing a sensory-enriched Kindle. Thanks to Tom Williams for the pointer!
  • Book Display Norms – Jan Chipchase – To what extent does the form, peruseability of books facilitate the behaviours around where they are sold?
  • San Franciscan Reads Finnegan’s Wake Aloud, In Public – In the aftermath of the Finnegan's Wake Book Club dissolution.
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ChittahChattah Quickies August 3rd, 2009
  • A thoughtful consideration (that could have so easily gone curmudgeonly) on the changes in how (and how much) we consume art – Cameras replaced sketching by the last century; convenience trumped engagement, the viewfinder afforded emotional distance and many people no longer felt the same urgency to look. It became possible to imagine that because a reproduction of an image was safely squirreled away in a camera or cell phone, or because it was eternally available on the Web, dawdling before an original was a waste of time, especially with so much ground to cover.
  • Michael Pollan on the cultural shifts revealed by themes in food-related TV entertainment – The historical drift of cooking programs — from a genuine interest in producing food yourself to the spectacle of merely consuming it — surely owes a lot to the decline of cooking in our culture, but it also has something to do with the gravitational field that eventually overtakes anything in television’s orbit…Buying, not making, is what cooking shows are mostly now about — that and, increasingly, cooking shows themselves: the whole self-perpetuating spectacle of competition, success and celebrity that, with “The Next Food Network Star,” appears to have entered its baroque phase. The Food Network has figured out that we care much less about what’s cooking than who’s cooking.
  • Nine Reasons RadioShack Shouldn’t Change Its Name – Best one is " RadioShack has problems beyond any issues with its name." Also they did already change name from Radio Shack to RadioShack.
  • Radio Shack: Our friends call us The Shack – Do they really now? More proof that you can't simply declare yourself cool. Promo or overall rebranding, it reeks of inauthenticity.
  • Understand My Needs – a multicultural perspective – A Japanese usability professional compares the norms of service that retailers provide in Japan with those elsewhere (say, his experience living in Canada), and then contrasts that to the common usability problems found in Japanese websites. Culture is a powerful lens to see what causes these differences, and how usability people can help improve the experience.
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ChittahChattah Quickies February 21st, 2009
  • Report: Real-world police forensics don't resemble 'CSI' – Even before the popularity of shows like CSI, there was presumably a cultural belief in the "science" behind these techniques. But the report finds that:
    – Fingerprint science "does not guarantee that two analysts following it will obtain the same results."
    – Shoeprint and tire-print matching methods lack statistical backing, making it "impossible to assess."
    – Hair analyses show "no scientific support for the use of hair comparisons for individualization in the absence of (DNA)."
    – Bullet match reviews show "scientific knowledge base for tool mark and firearms analysis is fairly limited."
    – Bite-mark matches display "no scientific studies to support (their) assessment, and no large population studies have been conducted."
  • NJOY electronic cigarette – Looks like a real cigarette, complete with glowing tip on inhale, and exhaled vapor that resembles smoke. Gives an inhaled nicotine experience, while messaging to the rest of the world that you are really smoking a real lit cigarette. Paging Erving Goffman?

    Someone was using one a party last week; someone else got out their simulated Zippo lighter (an iPhone app) and lit it for them.

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ChittahChattah Quickies February 11th, 2009
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ChittahChattah Quickies January 8th, 2009
  • Ziba's Sohrab Vossoughi on the multitude of sins the consumer electronics companies are guilty of – "Consumer electronics companies need to clearly communicate what their products are about and who they are for." I agree with Sohrab; we find ourselves recommending this very strongly to almost all of our clients. But why are people still writing about this after more than 10 years of usability in the mainstream? I mean this isn't news, except for the fact that it still is true.
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