Posts tagged “line”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Chinese Comedian Gets Laughs in U.S., But Puzzles People in China [] – Chinese-American comedian Joe Wong draws from his experiences as an immigrant to get the crowds laughing. China Central Television, the biggest TV network in the country, deemed his success in the U.S. curious enough that it dedicated a special program to him in December. The peg: He's the Chinese scientist who makes Americans laugh. While CCTV declared that Mr. Wong's success proves "humor has no boundaries," it concluded the program without showing any of his jokes. Mr. Wong's first live gig in Beijing, in late 2008, was "not successful," he says. In America, he says, it's funny to poke fun at yourself. But in China, there's no humor in misfortune. Back home, Mr. Wong's dad is among those puzzled by his success. Huang Longji, who lives in an industrial city near China's border with North Korea, says he is proud of his son, but a career in comedy isn't what the retired engineer expected for his son. "It's just like a black hen lays a white egg," he said.
  • Atlanta transit system MARTA changes “yellow” line to “gold” [Gold Dome Live] – Moving to tamp a controversy that has reached the national news, MARTA CEO said in February that the transit agency would change the name of its “yellow” train line, which goes to Doraville, home to a large Asian-American community. She said MARTA had never intended to offend anyone with the re-naming, which went into effect Oct. 1, along with other color names for the rest of the system, and that it was making the change out of “an abundance of caring for this community.” A MARTA employee who dealt with diversity issues warned the agency a month before the change that it could offend some in the Asian-American community.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Stereotyping people by favorite authors – In our Reading Ahead research, we heard about how people were both exploring and communicating identity through their choices of reading material. Identity is a complex internal and external mechanism, where we (explicitly or implicitly) project outwards to imagine how we might appear to others…an internal act that feels or draws from the external. So the existence of lists like this, while tongue-in-cheek, validate that this process is real.
    (via @kottke)
  • Scott Baldwin on the fine art of listening – Try changing how you listen. Try to capture the message (listen with your ears, mind, eyes and heart). Make eye contact, use an open posture and be attentive to body language, volume, tone and pace. Look deeper than just the meaning of the words and try to understand the reason, feelings or intent beyond the words. Be empathetic, objective and analytical.
  • An iPhone app for ethnography – Really? I haven't tried it but I am not encouraged by the description. What we're looking for doesn't always fit into predetermined categories (indeed, how are you to be innovative if the type of data you are gathering is already classifiable?) and there's a danger in conflating data with insights (or as the blogger here writes "outcomes"). Raw data is overwhelming and takes time and skill to process, if you want to find out anything new. Now, we spend a lot of our time just wrangling (copying, renaming, organizing, sharing, etc.) all sorts of data, so I'm up for tools that can help with that; but I think it's easy to go overboard and create tools for uninteresting – or unreliable – research results
  • Lisa Loeb Eyewear Collection – Not an SNL parody ad from 1997, it's a real product line for 2010 (via @CarlAlviani)

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • The Ephemera Society is a non-profit body concerned with the collection, preservation, study and educational uses of hand-written and printed ephemera. – The term ‘ephemera’ covers a wide range of documents including leaflets, handbills, tickets, trade cards, programmes and playbills, printed tins and packaging, advertising inserts, posters, newspapers and much more. In the words of the society’s founder, Maurice Rickards, “the minor transient documents of everyday life”.

    Essentially produced to meet the needs of the day, such items reflect the moods and mores of past times in a way that more formal records cannot. Collectors of printed ephemera vary in their approach. Some focus on the ephemera of a particular trade or profession, others are interested in its social or graphic history. Other ephemerists collect documents simply as evocative reminders of the past.

  • What does it mean when getting access to medical care looks like getting tickets for a popular concert? – Ottawa's chief medical officer of health announced Thursday that the city will start issuing single-use, non-transferable wristbands in place of tickets to indicate each person's place in the queue. He expects that to make things fairer than the ticket system for others in line. "People are picking up tickets and then disappearing, picking up more than one ticket, just generally misusing and gaming the system," Levy said.

    Until now, some healthy people have been picking up tickets ahead of time so their children or other vulnerable relatives won't have to spend hours waiting in crowds at the clinics, where they could be exposed them to diseases such as swine flu. The new system could prevent them from taking such measures.

The casual expert

The NYT has a story about self-selecting airport security lines.

…a black diamond line for expert travelers, defined as those who fly more than twice a month and are skilled at security procedures, always ready with items removed; a blue square for casual travelers, who are familiar with the screening process; and a green circle for families and those needing assistance or more time.

I think this is an exciting idea, although it doesn’t appear to be working perfectly. It seems that people are overestimating their own expert-ness (or perhaps fudging their self-analysis in favor of a perceived “express line”) although families feel relief from the pressure of other travelers.

This seems like a classic web design problem, with different types of users (who have very different abilities, needs, and expectations) coming in the same front door. And when there’s a choice, people will obviously act in their own perceived self-interest.

I think separating “normal” from “expert” is going to be a tough thing to figure out in any situation; unless “expert” carries with it an intimidation factor, I suspect most people will escalate their capability. Otherwise “normal” starts shifting to “stupid.”

Again, an interesting approach to a problem, and as with most prototyping efforts, lots of learning about how the proposed solution is and isn’t working, yet.


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