patterns posts

Portigal Consulting year in review, 2011 December 12th, 2011

Another year is speeding towards its conclusion and we wanted to share our highlights for 2011.

Really nostalgic? Check out summaries from 2010, 2009 and 2008.

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Out and About: Julie in New York July 11th, 2011

My aimless wanderings between meetings and meals in Manhattan last week led to observing these collisions of order and chaos.

Cupcakes at Dean and Deluca (Greenwich Village) bear a resemblance to the tiered visuals and colors of the crowd (Times Square).

Impact emerges from the pattern of repetitive elements in street/sidewalk art (SoHo) and tagged signage (Chinatown).

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ChittahChattah Quickies March 5th, 2011
  • [from steve_portigal] Armies of Expensive Lawyers, Replaced by Cheaper Software [HeraldTribune.com] – [Spin in this article is that using computers to manage super-human levels of complex data will have employment consequences.] When five television studios became entangled in a Justice Department antitrust lawsuit against CBS, the cost was immense. As part of the obscure task of “discovery” ­ providing documents relevant to a lawsuit ­ the studios examined six million documents at a cost of more than $2.2 million, much of it to pay for lawyers and paralegals who worked for months. But that was in 1978. Now, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, “e-discovery” software can analyze documents in a fraction of the time and cost. In January, Blackstone Discovery of Palo Alto, CA., helped analyze 1.5 million documents for less than $100,000. Some programs can extract relevant concepts ­ like documents relevant to social protest in the Middle East ­ even in the absence of specific terms, and deduce patterns of behavior that would have eluded lawyers examining millions of documents.
  • [from steve_portigal] PG&E launches huge paper chase for pipeline data [SF Chronicle] – [You think you have a lot of data to process? Obviously their record-keeping incompetence is just now being surfaced and they have taken on a data task that is beyond human scale. We can create systems that we can't manage!] For the past couple of days, forklifts have been carting pallets loaded with 30 boxes each into 3 warehouses outside the 70-year-old Cow Palace arena in Daly City. Friday afternoon, there were still more than 100 pallets stacked outside the warehouses waiting to go in. "There are 100,000 boxes in there, and you can't believe the papers spread everywhere," one PG&E employee said …"There are records in there going back to the 1920s. "We're looking at all kinds of parameters, and our data validation efforts are going on throughout the service area,…We're doing a 24-7 records search involving at least 300 employees and contractors, and we're working to confirm the quality of our data through collecting and validating our gas transmission pipeline records."
  • [from steve_portigal] Hong Kong, 2011 [Flickr] – [My pictures from our recent trip to Hong Kong for the UXHK Conference]
  • [from steve_portigal] Understanding Culture, User Research and Design with Steve Portigal – [Reserve your tickets now for either Toronto event: a lecture on March 8 and a workshop on March 9. The lecture will focus on culture, insights, and design while the workshop will be a hands-on opportunity to practice synthesizing user research data into opportunities and concepts. Hope to see you there!]
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Portigal Consulting year in review, 2010 December 20th, 2010

2010 has been an amazing year for us. While we can’t talk about many of the incredible experiences we had doing fieldwork and working with clients, below are some of the highlights that we can share:

You can also see previous summaries from 2009 and 2008.

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Patterns July 26th, 2010

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Land of the Lost July 23rd, 2010


Lost Turtle, El Granada, CA


Beanie Baby Puppy, Santa Cruz, CA

Sometimes, even things that move very slowly – or not at all – can get away from us…

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Portigal Consulting year in review, 2009 December 22nd, 2009

It’s been a busy year and as we head into the home stretch, looking forward to 2010 (supposedly the year we make contact), we wanted to take a look back at the past 12 months and call out some of the highlights.

Previously: Our 2008 review

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All This ChittahChattah 2008, a look back December 23rd, 2008

In 2008 All This ChittahChattah hit our seventh anniversary. Here are some highlights from the past year.

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London Bananas August 29th, 2008

In our recent AIGA Gain article about noticing, we relate how the process of noticing once and then noticing again is a way to find patterns and uncover themes.

During my recent trip to the UK, I took this picture of a discarded banana peel.
banana-in-london.jpg

I didn’t notice other bananas, but someone else did and they’ve started the London Bananas Project, a fantastic archive of banana peels in the London public space.

When I arrived I noticed something straight away: there’s a lot of banana skins around.

I see them everywhere. They’re languishing on doorsteps, hanging out in the middle of the road, dangling off street signs, peeking out of piles of garbage, reclining in the middle of the sidewalk, riding the bus for free. A great number of them are bright yellow as if they’re fresh and have just been dropped, although they appear in all states of decay. I don’t know how or why they caught my attention, but within a week of being in London I couldn’t get my mind off these banana skins. Where were they coming from? Who was eating all these bananas and leaving the skins around? Why was it always bananas I was seeing, and not, say, oranges? Was it a sign? Was there something sinister going on? Apparently these little hazards were a covert operation going completely unnoticed; everyone I asked about it said that they had never noticed anything of the sort and looked at me as if I was nuts.

That’s a great description of the power of noticing (even if it doesn’t go anywhere, it’s still a great set of muscles to keep flexing).

Here’s bananas in Bangalore:
bangalore-bananas.jpg

See also: Street Mattress

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