Posts tagged “rules”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from Dan_Soltzberg] Design by Use and object repurposing [Pasta&Vinegar] – [Nicolas Nova's written a nicely condensed post on Uta Brandes, Sonja Stich and Miriam Wender's book Design by Use: The Everyday Metamorphosis of Things. (Object re-use and re-purposing is a subject dear to our own hearts – see http://www.portigal.com/blog/new-uses-for-old-tools/ and http://www.portigal.com/blog/from-pain-points-to-opportunity-areas/ ) ] Among other sources, Nova quotes Metropolis: "The British sculptor Richard Wentworth once said, I find cigarette packets folded up under table legs more monumental than a Henry Moore. Five reasons. Firstly, the scale. Secondly, the fingertip manipulation. Thirdly, modesty of both gesture and material. Fourth, its absurdity and fifth, the fact that it works.”
  • [from steve_portigal] Shoppers on a ‘Diet’ Tame the Urge to Buy [NYTimes.com] – [Thanks to @gretared] This self-imposed exercise in frugality was prompted by a Web challenge called Six Items or Less (sixitemsorless.com). The premise was to go an entire month wearing only six items already found in your closet (not counting shoes, underwear or accessories). Nearly 100 people around the country, and in faraway places like Dubai and Bangalore were also taking part in the regimen, with motives including a way to trim back on spending, an outright rejection of fashion, and a concern that the mass production and global transportation of increasingly cheap clothing was damaging the environment. An even stricter program, the Great American Apparel Diet, has attracted pledges by more than 150 women and two men to abstain from buying for an entire year. (Again, undies don’t count.) Though their numbers may be small, and their diets extreme, these self-deniers of fashion are representative, in perhaps a notable way, of a broader reckoning of consumers’ spending habits.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Consumed – Faux-Authentic Uniforms [NYTimes.com] – The authenticity question is a particularly interesting one to parse. A pair of worn, faded jeans does reflect a history shared by object and owner. For many years now, manufacturers have sold a shortcut to that idea by wearing out and fading jeans before they hit the shelves, by way of a variety of industrial processes (often charging a hefty premium for this outsourcing of the item’s physical past). These Burton pants embrace the worn-denim trope but take it a step further. They’re actually made of a waterproof Gore-Tex fabric and made to look like jeans through “photo sublimation,” according to USA Today: “a photo was taken of a pair of tattered jeans then printed onto the garments via a technical heat process.” So what we have here is a representation of a simulacrum of tattered, faded, authentic pants-with-a-history.
  • Why You Shouldn’t Believe A Company’s Word Lore [NYTimes.com] – By promoting the “sound of the machine” origin for the once-generic kisses, Hershey is engaging in what Kawash calls “strategic corporate forgetting”: “they invent an original story for marketing purposes to make it seem unique to their candy.” Notably, Hershey’s historical whitewash took shape in the late ’90s, just about when the company’s lawyers were beginning an ultimately successful battle to trademark kisses. They didn’t use the story in their legal arguments, but it played right into their efforts to associate kisses uniquely with the Hershey brand. When a company is trying to make its product iconic in the minds of consumers, it doesn’t hurt to inject a pleasant etymological tidbit, no matter how easy it is to disprove.
  • Making Sense of Complexity [NYTimes.com] – Unless the subject is TV remote controls, Americans have a fondness for complexity, for ideas and objects that are hard to understand.We assume complicated products come from sharp, impressive minds, and we understand that complexity is a fancy word for progress….What we need, suggests professor Brenda Zimmerman, is a distinction between the complicated and the complex…Performing hip replacement surgery is complicated. It takes well-trained personnel, precision and carefully calibrated equipment. Running a health care system is complex. It’s filled with thousands of parts and players, all of whom must act within a fluid, unpredictable environment. To run a system that is complex it takes a set of simple principles that guide and shape the system.“We get seduced by the complicated in Western society,” Ms. Zimmerman says. “We’re in awe of it and we pull away from the duty to ask simple questions, which we do whenever we deal with matters that are complex.”

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Storylistening for consumer insight – There are many ways of collecting stories but here are three that may be new to you:
    * Anecdote circles
    * Naive interviewers
    * Mass narrative capture
    Collecting stories is not about finding the one perfect story that describes a brand or a consumer experience. Rather it is about gathering a broad spread of qualitative data. Individually a story may be seen to be banal but their power lies in the cumulative effect of many stories.

    Interpreting stories
    * Experts
    * Machines
    * Participants

    Story interpretation is best done by a range of groups (e.g. consumers themselves, a marketing department) that may have differing perspectives on the same situation. The most appropriate techniques often avoid direct analysis initially and allow different groups to immerse themselves in the stories to produce nuanced interpretations of the consumers' world.
    (via DinaMehta.com)

  • Sony, B&N promise to rekindle rights for book owners – Boing Boing recently talked to Sony's Steve Haber, President of Digital Reading, about its flagship ebook reader, named the "Daily Edition." "Our commitment is that you bought it, you own it," Haber said. "Our hope is to see this as ubiquitous. Buy on any device, read on any device. … We're obligated to have DRM but we don't pull content back."
  • OnFiction is a magazine with the aim of developing the psychology of fiction. – Using theoretical and empirical perspectives, we endeavour to understand how fiction is created, and how readers and audience members engage in it.
  • What design researchers can learn from hostage negotiators – Interesting to look at various collaboration and communication scenarios and unpack what's going on to define some principles that can be reused. Not sure how much new about design research is brought to light here, but the framing may make it more memorable or understandable. Always glad to see the emphasis on rapport, but I don't agree with their hostage-rapport approach as a one-size-fits-all method for design research rapport building. I also think they underplay the emotional levels that good design research can uncover. Beyond frustration with products, we hear stories about cancer, divorce, infertility, hopes, dreams, and beyond. All very charged stuff.
  • If you outlaw meep, only outlaws will say meep – Tthe nonsense word started with the 1980s Muppet character Beaker. Bob Thompson, a pop culture professor at Syracuse University, said he first heard students meep about a year ago during a class screening of a television show.
    "Something happened and one of them said 'Meep,'" he said. "And then they all started doing it."

    The meeps, he said, came from all of the students in the class in rapid-fire succession. When he asked them what that meant, they said it didn't really mean anything.

    But meeping doesn't seem to be funny to Danvers High School Principal Thomas Murray, who threatened to suspend students caught meeping in school.

    In an interview with the Salem News, Murray said automated calls were made to parents, warning them of the possible punishment after administrators learned that students were conspiring online to mass-meep in one part of the school building.

    (via MeFi)

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • Target jumps into book price war started by Wal-Mart, Amazon – What started as a book price skirmish between Wal-Mart and Amazon.com is showing signs of becoming a much broader holiday battle. Today retail giant Target announced it is matching Wal-Mart's online price of $8.99 for top selling, soon-to-be-released titles, including "Under the Dome" by Stephen King and "Breathless" by Dean Koontz.
  • Health Concerns Drive New Rituals (or attempts to create new rituals, top-down) – The handshake, with its potential to transfer the flu virus, should be replaced with the safer — and more contemporary — pound [aka fist bump] says the dean of medicine at the University of Calgary.

    "It's a nice replacement of the handshake because you can't just refuse to shake someone's hand. It's rude and seems almost un-Canadian," he said. "This is a nice, intimate gesture: a gentle bump of the fist that replaces the handshake if you get used it."

    The pound, or fist bump, is a greeting that originated with American black youth in the 1960s and is commonly used among sports teams.

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