We’re Not in the Business of Understanding our User

A few years ago I wrote about sometimes your product is useful to people in ways you didn’t know—and that you’d be smart to recognise that and capitalize on itn (What Your Product Does You Might Not Know About, 2007). One of the examples I cited was ZoneAlarm, a very popular firewall that was bought …

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Directory of Distraction-free Writing Tools

(2009 June: added two no delete editors) Editors A working list of tools to reduce writers’ distraction. I’ve been using some of them for a while; I was inspired by Cory Doctorow’s latest post on the matter to collect what I could together. All are free unless otherwise stated.  No backspace/delete editors Typewriter “All you …

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Puppy Love, Army Trojans and Perfecting the Phone Call

I make an appearance on the excellent Breakfast Club show on Radio Australia each Friday at about 01:15 GMT and some listeners have asked me post links to the stuff I talk about, so here they are. Love on the net Teenage social networking isn’t so bad, according to the MacArthur Foundation. According to the …

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Fail, Seinfeld and Tina Fey: A Zeitgeist

I use Google Insights quite a bit—I find it a very useful way to measure interest in topics. Here’s one I keyed in just for the hell of it. Red is the word success and blue is the word fail. The chart covers from 2004 to today: What seems to have happened is a surge …

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XP and the User’s Loss of Nerve

Poor old Microsoft. They’ve had to extend the life of XP by offering it as an option to customers buying new hardware for another six months at least. They realise that people aren’t going to buy a Vista machine unless XP—what’s wonderfully called “downgrade media”–comes with it: “As more customers make the move to Windows …

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links for 2008-09-24

Technology Review on the downside of Remote Technology But STG also encountered the dark side of that mechanical facility after deploying a hot-water system in a small village in Lesotho. Four to five months after they left, Mueller says, the system broke down after people scavenged it for parts. (tags: devtech failure developingworld appropriatetechnology) How …

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Babylon? Oh So 1999

I used to think that small programs that sat in your computer’s memory and could be accessed quickly by a keystroke were the future, but nowadays I’m not sure that’s true. At least, they’ve got to be real careful. If they’re not, they end up looking and behaving dangerously like adware. An example that steers …

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ten mov.es

The Loose Wire empire groweth, with the soft launch this week of another blog, a sister site to tenminut.es called ten mov.es. The idea behind it is simple: how to do stuff in ten moves or less. The idea behind it grew from frustration that I couldn’t easily find instructions about how to do things, …

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Heathrow’s Old Windows

Snapped this on my way to Gate 1 at Heathrow’s Terminal 3. I know the London hub has its problems, but I didn’t realise one of them was that its passenger information system — or at least part of it — was running on Windows 95, a 12-year old operating system that has not been …

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Vista – Upgrading Without Dignity

  Calvin & Hobbes, © Universal Press Syndicate. Original work by Bill Watterson. Found via Transmogrifier.org I’ve often wondered about Windows Vista, and I’m still wondering. Admittedly, I was slow to adopt Windows 3.0, 95, 98 and XP — I think I’ve had too many wasted days upgrading, and am deeply skeptical of the whole …

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