Design

A Switch in Time

Daylight Saving Time (DST) officially ends tomorrow and everyone in my little corner of the world will set their clocks back and get a well-deserved extra hour of sleep. We all know that this odd modern ritual is suppose to save energy (or candle wax or some such thing) but just how does …

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Your Opinions are Useless

Almost every time I read a particularly interesting article or blog post, I get sucked into the accompanying comments section hoping to find a stimulating conversation on the topic at hand. Almost every time I am disappointed. Does anybody ever find these threads useful? I know it’s silly to expect …

Design

Signs of Sanity

I dragged my family to the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in Washington, D.C. yesterday and we saw a lot of great signs. Some of my favorites also managed to bring in some chart humor: The Huffington Post appears to have the best — or at least the biggest …

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They’re Coming for Your Data

Data privacy breaches seem to be the issue de jour for the tech sector. On October 18, 2010, it was revealed that several of the most popular Facebook applications had transmitted the personal information of tens of millions of users — including ID numbers, demographic data and names of friends — to …

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The Etiquette of File Naming

My company has a public network that is open to all employees and is used to store shared information. The number of folders is quite large and — in an effort to make the search for a particular folder easier — a few people have started adding exclamation points to the front …

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Relearning an Old Lesson

Anyone who’s ever used a computer has — at some point — lost a carefully-crafted sequence of ones and zeros to the unforgiving gods of the digital realm. Every time it happens, you mourn, you rage against the sky, you re-write and you move on. Each time, you add another …

Design
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Nudge, Nudge

A recent Wired article discussed the dangers of trying to influence users through nudging — the practice of structuring a person’s choices in such a way as to get a desired result. It highlighted one of the key dynamics facing today’s high-tech companies as they shift from relatively independent creators of “whiz-bang” …