For Those with a Discretionary $100M or So

787vipinterior2.gifI sub­scribed to Boeing’s PR ser­vice a few months back as they have some won­der­ful video imagery avail­able to the press. Sub­sequently I am on their PR list which is kind of cool. They send out three or four a day some of which are actu­ally rather interesting…at least to me. Today I received one tout­ing the VIP cus­tom­iz­a­tion pos­sib­il­it­ies for the soon-to-be released 787 Dream­liner. Its a cool jet and one of Boeing’s responses to the rap­idly becom­ing less prom­ising A380. Con­tinue read­ing

A Good Life Metaphor

topo.jpgJohan HolmbergThe Prob­ab­il­ist has a very inter­est­ing way of look­ing at one’s life­path. He describes a way in which we can <a href=“http://www.theprobabilist.com/topography-of-self-growth/ target=“_blank”>envision our self-improvement as a topo­graphic map, or as he pos­its a topo­graphy of exist­ence. His blog “links prob­ab­il­ity cal­cu­lus with per­sonal devel­op­ment,” and seems to do much more at times. The concept of see­ing one’s life­path from topo­graphic per­spect­ive imme­di­ately sug­gests that if you can adopt this per­spect­ive, you can be in a pos­i­tion to appre­ci­ate numer­ous pos­sible paths and tra­ject­or­ies rather than remain­ing focused and pos­sibly trapped on a single lin­ear route-based one. His example of envi­sion­ing one­self on a hill or plat­eau defined by cur­rent diet­ary or income-generating assump­tions, but able to scan adja­cent or even dis­tant hills with dif­fer­ing defin­i­tions is quite apt. I now have a cer­tain men­tal pic­ture of myself on this vast schem­atic terrain…I won­der how you see your world after read­ing his thought-provoking article.

Random Links Added to del.icio.us on 30 January 2007

A Real Apple Museum

classic barThis guy’s place puts me to shame. Even in my pre-move glory days, my col­lec­tion was nowhere in the vicin­ity of this one. For those of you that don’t know I reduced my space when I made the move to Hamilton and at least half my col­lec­tion of hard­ware went to the dump along with all the old issues of Macworld/MacUser/Publish! etc. as well as all the soft­ware boxes. I recall the first cull that I did of soft­ware that had col­lec­ted in my base­ment. I had filled the base­ment entirely, with just a walk­way down the middle and the boxes ten­ded to col­lapse everynow and then. So one day, with my neigh­bours assist­ance I moved most of it out. We filled the gar­age to a depth of six feet or so and then star­ted col­lapsing boxes and filling big­ger boxes. Back in those days, garbage col­lec­tion was also not lim­ited to fixed amount and they thank­fully took it all let­ting me use my drive­way again…but I digress.
Con­tinue read­ing

Speaking of Visualisation…

As Google offi­cially released new ver­sions of SketchUp! and SketchUP! Pro, bring­ing them to a 6.0 release, it reminds me to recom­mend these to those intrigued by spa­tial visu­al­isa­tion. I have been using SketchUp for the last few years and when Google acquired <a href=“http://web.archive.org/web/20060429100556/http://www.atlastsoftware.com/” target=_blank”>@Last Software, there was the usual con­cern over how the product would develop. Pre­sum­ably Google needed use­ful 3D mass mod­el­ing soft­ware for the work they were doing with another acquis­i­tion, Key­Hole, that they were using for their new Map ini­ti­at­iveand even­tu­ally as the re badged GoogleEarth.

Since that point we have seen the won­der­ful integ­ra­tion of user con­trib­uted mod­els to the Google Earth com­munity and the pos­sib­il­it­ies of won­der­ful ‘minds forever voy­aging’ in won­der­ful vir­tual 3D. The model ware­houses imple­men­ted were quite cool and have prospered in the last year. With the 6.0 release there are a vari­ety of use­ful steps for­ward, most primar­ily con­cerned with closer integ­ra­tion between products and the abil­ity to cre­ate some use­ful off­line print-based present­a­tion mater­i­als as well.

campus.png***Spe­cial Note: With this release, Google has sponsored an education-focused con­test Build Your Cam­pus in 3D! Prize is an all expense trip to the Googleplex and les­sons from the SketchUp! masters.***

The entry level product with most of the func­tion­al­ity is abso­lutely free and is pos­sibly one of the most amaz­ingly simple pieces of soft­ware to use. You can actu­ally work in three dimen­sions in an incred­ibly free­hand way. One of the most amaz­ing things about the product (of a huge num­ber) is the inclu­sion of jit­ter to the draw­ing tools. Instead of hav­ing lines end at per­fect squares, and thus look machine rendered, lines appear free­hand drawn, with user-defined amounts of jit­ter in the lines them­selves. The effect must be seen to be appre­ci­ated. I found an imme­di­ate use for this cap­ab­il­ity is draw­ing charts for present­a­tion, and using this free­hand fea­ture. What I believe these charts gain is a cer­tain sense of familiarity/informality that is com­bined with a still per­ceived sense of pre­ci­sion. I would posit that this actu­ally lends addi­tional cred­ib­il­ity to the present­a­tion of data.

In con­clu­sion I also wanted to men­tion that the user tutori­als avail­able at SketchUP! are some of the finest I know and they can have you up and cre­at­ing amaz­ing three dimen­sional build­ings and other objects right away.

Random Links Added to del.icio.us on 27 January 2007

WordPressing

alexking.gifI took the plunge on my research blog and upgraded it from 2.05 –> 2.1 today. So far so good. The other blog is quite a bit sim­pler and uses far fewer plug-ins, of which I remain trep­id­a­tious, but we shall see how it goes.

On the path of search­ing out any hurdles that oth­ers had run into, I came across a series of blog entries by <a href=“http://alexking.org/” target=_blank”>Alex King when he re-invented his main blog last year. These posts are a won­der­ful case study of his sys­tem­atic approach to usab­il­ity and user exper­i­ence with his own blog. he is well known in the blog­ging com­munity for his theme con­test and his web­site which relies on Word­Press for its cms is impress­ively exten­ded through a few other pieces such as his forum man­age­ment, but all nicely integ­rated together. I point out this post as a great resource for word­press­ers or word­press­ers to be that may like to be reminded of those usab­il­ity things to remain aware of.