- [from steve_portigal] ALT/1977: WE ARE NOT TIME TRAVELERS [Behance] – [Alex Varanese's thought-provoking concepts go beyond blogosphere-hipster-silliness to really provoke reflection on design and functionality often taken for granted] What would you do if you could travel back in time? Here's what I'd do after that: grab all the modern technology I could find, take it to the late 70's, superficially redesign it all to blend in, start a consumer electronics company to unleash it upon the world, then sit back as I rake in billions, trillions, or even millions of dollars. I've explored that idea in this series by re-imagining four common products from 2010 as if they were designed in 1977: an mp3 player, a laptop, a mobile phone and a handheld video game system. I then created a series of fictitious but stylistically accurate print ads. I've learned that there is no greater design element than the anachronism. I've learned that the strongest contrast isn't spatial or tonal but historical. I've learned that there's retro, and then there's time travel.
- [from julienorvaisas] 10:10 Tags Symbolize Committment to Climate Change [10:10global.org/uk] – [The fact that this tag is tangible but also symbolic rather than overt, and versatile enough to be carried on the body as a daily reminder of a commitment to the cause of climate change can help change behavior and improve compliance, as well as subtly telegraph solidarity.] The 10:10 Tag is made from a recycled jumbo jet, and can be worn on the neck, wrist, lapel or leotard to symbolise your 10:10 commitment. Whether you pin it to the lapel of your business suit or thread it through the laces of your skateboard trainers, your 10:10 Tag shows others that not only do you know how to accessorise; you’re also part of the solution to climate change.
- [from Dan_Soltzberg] Grateful Dead scholar in heaven at UC Santa Cruz [SFGate] – [More big things happening at my Alma Mater] The ultimate job in Dead-dom is in Room 1370 at McHenry Library at UC Santa Cruz. The door is marked by the steal-your-face logo, and superimposed over it reads the name Nicholas G. Meriwether, Grateful Dead Archivist.
- [from julienorvaisas] Ariely’s Upside of Irrationality: using irrational cognitive blindspots to your advantage [Boing Boing] – [We've seen the principles of behavioral economics applied to help us understand and explain consumers irrational choices in a business context, now here's a self-help book helping us apply them to our own everyday lives.] Upside of Irrationality is a mostly successful attempt to transform the scientific critique of the 'rational consumer' principal into practical advice for living a better life. 'Mostly successful' only because some of our habitual irrationality is fundamentally insurmountable — there's almost nothing we can do to mitigate it.
- [from steve_portigal] Text 2.0 – What if your book really knew where you are gazing at? – [This is essentially one of the concepts we proposed from our Reading Ahead research - where an eyetracker in a digital book manipulates the text dynamically based on your gaze. In our use case, we addressed the interrupt-driven commute reading revealed by our research. If the book saw you looking away, it could mark your spot to enable more efficient resuming]
- [from steve_portigal] Twitter a hit in Japan as millions ‘mumble’ online [Yahoo! News] – Japanese-language Twitter taps into a greater sense of individuality in Japan, especially among younger people less accepting of the Japanese understatement and conformity. 16.3% of Japanese Internet tweet 16.3% (vs. 9.8% in US). "Japan is enjoying the richest and most varied form of Twitter usage as a communication tool…It's playing out as a rediscovery of the Internet.” It's possible to say so much more in Japanese within Twitter's 140 letters. "Information" requires just 2 letters in Japanese. Another is that people own up to their identities on Twitter. One well-known case is a woman who posted the photo of a park her father sent in e-mail before he died. Twitter was immediately abuzz with people comparing parks…"It's telling that Twitter was translated as 'mumbling' in Japanese," he said. "They love the idea of talking to themselves," he said…"In finding fulfillment in expressing what's on your mind for the moment, Twitter is like haiku," he said. "It is so Japanese."
- Japanese cultural norms – asking about weight – Insightful little culture-clash story; an American working in Japan isn't sure how to deal with blunt (especially from the Japanese!) questions about his increasing weight
- Clive Thomson on Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, renowned for his use of mathematical game theory models for prediction – Those who have watched Bueno de Mesquita in action call him an extremely astute observer of people. He needs to be: when conducting his fact-gathering interviews, he must detect when the experts know what they’re talking about and when they don’t. “His ability to pick up on body language, to pick up on vocal intonation, to remember what people said and challenge them in nonthreatening ways — he’s a master at it,” says Rose McDermott, a political-science professor at Brown who has watched Bueno de Mesquita conduct interviews. She says she thinks his emotional intelligence, along with his ability to listen, is his true gift, not his mathematical smarts. “The thing is, he doesn’t think that’s his gift,” McDermott says. “He thinks it’s the model. I think the model is, I’m sure, brilliant. But lots of other people are good at math. His gift is in interviewing. I’ve said that flat out to him, and he’s said, ‘Well, anyone can do interviews.’ But they can’t.”
- New York Times Magazine on the Beatles’ Rock Band videogame – This is a fantastic article that spans many big issues: gaming, music, performance, art, history, culture, product development, authenticity, creativity, entertainment, technology. It's a must-read.
- Brian Dettmer turns books into sculptural pieces – Contemporary visual artists see opportunity in what many bemoan as the twilight of the age of the book. John Latham (1921-2006), Hubertus Gojowczyk, Doug Beube and others have treated books as sculptural stuff. But no one whose work I have seen tops that of Atlanta artist Brian Dettmer at Toomey Tourell.
Portigal Consulting is covered in a recent cover article (Design an “Experience” for Users) in NIKKEI ELECTRONICS, January 28, 2008 vol. 970.
A large number of companies are seeking detailed information from end users that will hold clues for products offering a brand new experience. But for an idea to become reality, companies will have to discard any basic assumptions they already hold.
The magazine is print-only, and is in Japanese (link above is only to the article summary).
If you’ve got a copy of the article and want to share, please let me know. We’d love to see the piece and someday even find a translation.
scans are posted here. Thanks, David!
Theresa, my wife, just bought us both these wonderful lunch carriers made by the Japanese company Zojirushi. Besides being a simple, functional, aesthetically pleasing and complete solution to the problem of moving food around, my new lunch carrier gave me a cool cross-cultural experience today as I opened it up for lunch at work for the first time.
Last night, Theresa packed us both food for today. As I pulled the three separate, sealed containers out of the metal tube they sit in, wondering what would be in each one, I felt a deep sense of the shared enterprise that is my home life, and the caring that my containers filled with homemade food represented.
Reflecting back on the time I spent living in Japan, I thought about how this unpacking of a homemade lunch is an experience that many Japanese men (gender roles being what they are in Japan) have every day.
For the first time, I really felt how much that ritual—preparing, packing, unpacking, eating lunch—can express the emotional facet of shared lives.
Itedakimasu: I will receive.
Great multicultural example; only in Canada would you see an Asian guy playing bagpipes in front of a Japanese-themed (i.e., Pocky) store.
The colloquial definition is absolutely Not Safe For Work (NSFW), but “Indeed, bukkake is more commonly used in Japan to describe a type of dish where the toppings are poured on top of noodles, as in bukkake-udon and bukkake-soba.”
I certainly was surprised to go to a noodle house in Mountain View recently (on Castro St. – some relatively new place) and see that on the menu, having only heard the term used in the pr0n sense. Imagine trying to explain your reaction to a dining companion who wasn’t familiar with the term!