Information

Is Lying to the Public OK?

In a recent post, Lane Wallace discusses the pros and cons of a proposed amendment to Canada’s Broadcasting Act of 1986 which would allow broadcasters more leeway to broadcast false or misleading news. As you might imagine, that has generated some controversy, with free speech advocates saying the current law is too …

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Notes from the Margin: The Tipping Point

I finally had a chance to read Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point the other day and I thought I’d pull together a few quick comments. Things that caught my fancy: Social epidemics – On his website, Gladwell defines a meme as an infectious idea that spreads through a population like …

Design
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Fighting Insidious Business Jargon with Design

One of the biggest barriers to introducing new concepts to people is that they often have old, preconceived notions about those concepts that are just close enough to the truth to cause confusion. For example, my company recently started a sales program that establishes performance incentives by “vertical” — one of those vague business …

Information

Rise of the (Old) Machines

With the recent shutdown of Egypt’s internet and cell phone service, people have started to break out some older technology to keep the flow of information going. Fax machines, dial-up modems and ham radios are all back in vogue now that the communications blackade is up and running. (It kind …

Information

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised … But It Will Be Tweeted

The chart below illustrates the Egyptian government’s most recent attempt to stem the rising tide of civilian protests. Apparently recognizing the threat that social networking sites posed, the Egyptians finally pulled the plug on the entire Internet on Thursday: “[I]n an action unprecedented in Internet history, the Egyptian government appears to …

Design
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Great TV Remote Mods

Electronics manufacturers still don’t seem understand how to design easy-to-use controls for their devices. This is particularly true for the thousands of TV/cable box combinations that exist in our homes. While we wait patiently for some specialty company to meet this need, check out this arts-and-crafts modification I found online: What …

Information

Propaganda vs. Disinformation vs. News

In his book Warriors of Disinformation, Alvin Snyder notes that, back in the 1980s, new developments in broadcast technology were making it difficult for Soviet and Warsaw Pact authorities to control the flow of information into their respective countries: “The increasing accessibility of images, ideas, and information, facilitated by the rapid …