Photo Challenge: Daytripping at Bryce Canyon, UT #mbaug

Photo Challenge Day 6: Bisect. Specifically, the bisection line between the 44th note and the 45th note on our 88-key piano. (Anyone know what the precise middle pitch is?) #mbaug

5 Levels of Conversational AI by Alan Nichol is fantastic. As a conversational / VUI designer, it’s comforting to hear someone else say, “We don’t really know how to do this yet,” and he talks about moving beyond intents and how that can be done. Great read.

Currently reading: Understanding Comics by Scott Mccloud 📚

Photo Challenge Day 5: Flow (water, light, people, air) #mbaug

My wife is listening to the Harry Potter books for the first time, and it makes me SO happy. Listening to the Weasley Twins prank Dudley is cracking me up. I love these books.

“thinking globally but acting locally is the little bit that we can personally do” –Dan Cohen, Back to the Blog

The Ambient Humanity of Twitter and Facebook

Dan Cohen’s “Back to the Blog” makes a really interesting point: centralized services like Twitter and Facebook have a strong sense of ambient humanity, “the feeling that ‘others are here’–that is often missing when one writes on one’s own site.” This explains why I’m drawn, so often, to return to social media–and depart from projects like this, where the “ambient humanity” is less. I have to remind myself: scale is the enemy of community and fellowship. And that’s why I’m really here.

Thinking Curiously in Public (notes from Tom Critchlow)

Tom Critchlow’s visual essay about “Thinking in Public” is fascinating. The actual material is in a Figma file which allows his thinking to be linear and sprawling.

I’ve occasionally been asked to contribute thought leadership, and it’s always been hard. Sitting down to do “thought leadership” has always caused a roadblock. But Tom reframes this. It’s not about “thought leadership.” It’s about being curious, in public. Asking questions. Sharing these questions and curiosities with a small network of trusted people. “Showing the sawdust,” the side-effects of your learning and work. Developing a distinctiveness. Referencing your own previous writing and work, creating networks of thoughts–digital. Rework, release.

It was stimulating for me to read, and has helped clarify for myself why I’m blogging–and microblogging–in the first place. I’m thinking, curiously, in public.

To function effectively in an environment that precludes everything vital and human is the key to modern life.

–David Foster Wallace Photo Challenge, Day 4: Peace #mbaug

My company, RAIN, now has audio branding and a “sonic logo” courtesy of Audio UX in New York City. It’s a pretty neat case study.

By pure chance, tonight I went to the Butterfly Biome at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah. Caught some of these excellent bug photos for Day 3! (And couldn’t pick just one, alas.) #mbaug

Floating (fun with bubbles) #mbaug

A snap of the moon Up in Utah’s sky tonight #mbaug

On the purpose of e-bikes

This Gizmodo article on e-bikes really changed my perspective. For a while I’ve thought of them as “easy bikes.” What’s the point of riding a bike if not for the exercise?

But the article points out that for some, it’s a way to replace the commuter car: capable of carrying everything you need, without having to change when you get to work. Plus, it keeps you grounded in the world and it’s better for the environment. Pretty cool!

It’s Harry Potter’s 40th birthday! Time to celebrate with some Butterbeer.

The Long Web

Really enjoyed this article on the Long Web. Favorite parts:

  1. Reframing the web: It’s useful now. But will we be able to get our stuff in 100 years? Longevity, portability, accessibility–these are the main criteria for how we should be storing things for “the Long Web.”

  2. Reference to Benedictine Monks. A callout to the early Christian monks who preserved classical works after the Roman Empire fell. I had never compared their experience with our own in this way. I also loved the quote from an anonymous monk from the margins of a parchment:

My hand is weary with writing, my sharp quill is not steady, my slender, beaked pen juts forth a black draught of shining, dark blue!

I wrote two things in the past two days. This is an improvement of 200% over the past two months. #goals

Some reflections on Melvin Kranzberg’s “six laws” of technology…

A Muscular Empathy

This basic extension of empathy is one of the great barriers in understanding race in this country. I do not mean a soft, flattering, hand-holding empathy. I mean a muscular empathy rooted in curiosity. If you really want to understand slaves, slave masters, poor black kids, poor white kids, rich people of colors, whoever, it is essential that you first come to grips with the disturbing facts of your own mediocrity. The first rule is this—You are not extraordinary. It’s all fine and good to declare that you would have freed your slaves. But it’s much more interesting to assume that you wouldn’t have and then ask, “Why?”

This is not an impossible task. But often we find that we have something invested in not asking “Why?” The fact that we—and I mean all of us, black and white—are, in our bones, no better than slave masters is chilling. The upshot of all my black nationalist study was terrifying—give us the guns and boats and we would do the same thing. There is nothing particularly noble about black skin. And to our present business it is equally chilling to understand that the obstacles facing poor black kids can’t be surmounted by an advice column.

–Ta-Nehisi Coates, quoted here

#empathy #UXdesign

Digging this definition of design from Caden Damiano:

“Design is just the skillset(s) of taking an idea to a detailed spec. It is the decision making between those two points …The quality of those decisions depends on your proficiency in the skillsets. Ideas are not enough to deliver massive value, proficiency in design skillsets lead to better decision making and outcomes.”