Monday, April 25, 2005

Bill Moggridge lecture at Carnegie Mellon University

I only started about 20 minutes in, but here are my lecture notes from the IDEO lecture at CMU school of design.

The thrust of the lecture was to get people to sign up for jobs at IDEO. An interesting lecture, but not really all that great, I guess not that surprising considering that it is a giant company.

the one thing that I really wanted to know was if their designers came up with product sectors outside of the Zero-20 group (the toy designers). I feel like that would be a nice place for me to work, that is creating sweet ass product concepts for companies that don't even have an idea, just piles of money and engineers in the hallways and conference rooms.

Also, I just stabbed live-blogging in the face. It is totally dead.


second section: prototyping...

the have prototyping labs where you send your cad/cam models(traditional)
Experience Prototyping
we need a new way of creating things when we work with people, not just create things for them

how to prototype an underwater camera
spyfish (H2I)
interaction design problem (HUD)
Started as a game, control a person in a conference room holding a video camera, has a monitor outside to transfer the instructions in.
team of 6 people to understand the problem (with out actually creating anything.

how to prototype a digital camera interface
kodak built an experience prototype (big clunky, big display, large buttons, clearly a prototype)
included all of their interface concepts.
following this, IDEO made system concepts.

most difficult prototype...
for a museum piece dealing with how peoples workspaces look.
created a personal sky cubicle, sit in a chair, pick up the phone and choose the sky that you wanted over your head.
the chair would store an image of the back of your shirt and display it on the chair.

make your product video like the product is actually being sold, except remember that you can make it as long as you want.

also, sometimes don't do that, when the idea is "pie in the sky"

also, prototypes can be crappy (like made out of trash), just as long as you have the potential users sitting around with you.

experience prototype for a company without even a product.

use existing products, and heavily show what the users will actually be doing.
(no voiceover)
show an entire story (resolve?) serveral uses of the service, even if identical different connotations

WHORE! (it was just CBS was being really nice to them)

KINda creepy video about hiring process, where each canidate is in a seperate room, and they are on CC video, one of the canidates decides to drink coke, and is forcibly ejected from the building.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

winning the google game

I am number 36...

my eventual goal is to beat Joseph Brodsky, and I figure that I can do it considering I use the internet quite a bit more than he does.

I think that the first step is for someone to write an article about me for wikipedia.

come on you aspiring biographers, I know you are out there!!!


Actually, wait a second. Don't do that. Apparently wikipedia frowns upon people being promoted by using their system. I think that raising a google ranking is probably a pretty good example of promotion.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

RE: alarm clock.

my dad sent me this response to my alarm clock idea... I think that it is a good one.

Actually the solution to the alarm clock problem is to have it shut off only by a key that is in the class room where the first class to be attended is. The Alarm Clock should be attached to the student permanently (Handcuffs or the equivalent). That will insure that the student gets to class on time. Alarm ringing all the way to class. Well Actually chaining the shut off key outside the dormitory door or somewhere down the street may be equally as effective. But I can imagine that some students might show up at class in pajamas, turn off the alarm clock,and then return home to sleep.


originally uploaded by jonbro.
a picture of the difficult clock for those that need a visual help.

click on the image for a larger version

Difficult Alarm Clock

So, here is my next idea.

I have been talking this one over with my roommate Billy b for a few weeks now, and I think that I am starting to approach something that may be a 1) feasible 2) useful and 3) pleasing product.

basically the problem that Billy (and I, and I am sure many college students have), is that we are programmed to shut off the alarm clock and go back to sleep. Many days I have woke up and noticed that my class started 2 hours ago, and although I remember setting my alarm to wake up for it, I have no memory of turning it off.

so there are several solutions to this problem both on the market and in the conceptual phase. The first one is an actual product called the sleeptracker waits for a light rem cycle to wake you. This is a supremely awesome product that takes into account the human body but I believe that it has two failings for the college market. 1) it costs too much and 2) I have a sneaking suspicion that its "off" button is just as easy to operate as the standard alarm clock. I think that we need a more brute force method of getting up, something that really forces our focus.

So what I propose is an alarm clock that is exceedingly difficult to operate. There are a few student projects (read: vaporware) that take this route.

Sfera moves away from you as you tap it to gain more sleep time. It seems that the way to turn it off is just to pull it back down to the bed. I think that this would be just a little too easy for someone as sleep deprived as our target user.

Clocky is an alarm clock that runs away from you after you hit the snooze button. I think that the challenges of building an AI system that could navigate the clothing filled wasteland that is the average college students bedroom take this one out of the running pretty quick.

This one is getting there... and it is in production too.
the KuKu Clock is an alarm that has a payload of 5 eggs that it releases upon alarm activation. To turn the alarm off, the user must replace the eggs. The only failings that I see with this design are losing all of the eggs (and not being able to turn it off) and the build quality making it extremely easy to smash (and turn off permanently).

So my solution?

Make an alarm clock that displays a randomly chosen integer and force you to type it back in. The cool part would be if the keypad changed its layout after every button press. Have the display for the time and initial number string be cheap seven segment displays, and the entry key pad be seven segment displays with buttons underneath them.

Wrap the whole thing in glavanized steel, and have it run off of a lantern battery that was held in with plate that was screwed in at 4 points. Even better a solenoid that ran off a separate supply that required a code to release the battery plate.

I think that the logic for such a system would be pretty easy to produce on a 10 dollar basic stamp, and the rest of the components (at least for a prototype module) would run in the 70 dollar range.

Other Links about alarm clocks
building a better alarm clock seems to think that alarms are good enough, but there is not enough home system integration, and also, it doesn't read your rss feeds to you.

another non-production model that simply requires a squeeze of a teddy bear to snooze. These people have clearly not been pulling enough all nighters.

This is a collection of clever alarm clocks including a few that I have linked to, and some that I have not. Included for the sake of total completeness of this post.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Surveillance kites

Me and Eli have been talking recently about a project that is quite interesting to me, mounting a wireless surveillance camera on a kite and having it publish a live arial feed to a website (presumably, to offer arial surviellance to groups that could not afford it prior). So the main issue that we are dealing with now is the need for a low cost source of web cameras, with embedded webservers and 802.11x (or other alternatives). I was initially not sold on the plan of using a kite, because a balloon would offer a much more stable platform for the camera, but I am starting to realize that the cost of a weather ballon would be far to high, and the reasons for having a kite are stronger than just aesthetic, although aesthetic reasons are quite high.

anyways, here are some links of related projects, interesting technology and so on... tag

feel free to contribute.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Strange internet happenings

tonight I just discovered a phantom post. I assume that my readers already know about (but in case you don't, it is a nice method of increasing your short term memory, or maybe not; read on faithful reader) but anyways, I went to my list tonight and discovered something that I have no memory of linking to. I would like to think that it was some voodoo demons that got inside my compy while my internet access was spotty earlier tonight, but I know that gibsonesque fatasies like that are probably a little far fetched.

even better would be some epic 2014 type stuff (you know, link, custom tailored news to the point where the recipient is so happy about the content that they no longer care about the source.)

the most likely scenario is that I just linked it myself and forgot about it. Maybe this is some type of critical mass (I have been trying to reach it recently by posting every little thing that I find even remotely interesting). The contents of the post are this link... and the word AWESOME!!!

and that it is. a really cool project that I think I would care about if I were to read the site, but I guess because I have it linked I will just do that later.


UPDATE: Apparently I was logged into a school computer and eli clicked the "post to delicious" link on it, and it happend to be something that I was interested in. No grand conspiracy. maybe next time.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

an email to my dad

I wrote this email to my dad yesterday.

you may be interested in it...

Remember how we were looking at those head mountable displays for
virtual reality a few years ago? I seem to recall that they were a
little too expensive for a weekend project, but I ran across something
a few days ago, and realized that it may be applicable...


the project that she is using it for is not really the same at all,
but if you check out the ebay search for the screen that she
reccomends, it is only 17 dollars!!! (10 dollars less than the price
she quotes on her page)...


I think that it takes a standard composite video input as well.

even if you were not going to build a wearable computer, or a head
mounted display, that is unbelivably cheap for a backlit lcd screen.

maybe nice for a little cpu monitor / email alert / secondary monitor
for your desktop?

(although, that virtual reality stuff is still super cool, and I think
it is getting daily closer to being way affordable)

I think that the optics and the enclosure are still probably huge
hidden costs. I know that accelerometers are really cheap now.
link , need two placed at
right angles for 3 axis tracking, plus it is good enough for autopilot
for helicopters (model ones at least)

this is what reminded me.