timandkathy.co.uk

Do motor industry executives dream of electric cars?

Apparently, yes: they do.stm: the relentless obsession with Carbon emissions (while important) has led us into a blind alley of thinking that electric vehicles are somehow “green”. A clue: they’re not, unless the energy used to propel them comes from a renewable resource. Otherwise, all you’re doing is swapping local pollution and emissions for those far away; you know what they say about “out of sight…”. Carbon emissions are only one of the car’s many downsides. Read more...

My comment to Radio 2 on cycle helmets

As widely reported elsewhere, a judge has ruled that cyclists may be partly at fault if they are knocked off their bikes while not wearing a helmet.html. The issue was discussed on BBC Radio 2 by Matthew Bannister, standing in for Jeremy “Daily Mail FM” Vine. Just after the intro to the piece, there was an advert for the BBC’s coverage of Formula 1 car racing (something that encourages some drivers to drive like idiots), an unfortunate juxtaposition but typical for the MSM, where “dog bites man” or “car driver kills people” isn’t news. Read more...

But I've got my hazard lights on!

There are some great blogsĀ out there documenting the worst excesses of a car-supremacist culture (in which we in the UK live): both the behaviour of drivers and the panderings of local authorities to them, despite claims by certain extremist groups that drivers are persecuted by councils. Bristol gets a lot of attention as the UK’s first cycling city, and it undoubtedly has too many cars in certain parts of the city. Read more...

Improving Freecycle

I’ve been a member of our local Freecycle mailing list for a few years, successfully using it to offload and acquire various items, from a double futon bed to an mp3 player. In 2006, Giles Turnbull blogged about Freecycle’s shortcomings, from a usability and webapp point of view. It boils down to “Freecycle is a great idea unsuited to living inside a mailing list once the size of the list is >100 people”. Read more...

A shepherd

(I found this in my inbox during a clearout…) A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him. The driver, a young man in a Prada suit, Gucci shoes, Dior sunglasses and D+G tie, leans out the window and asks the shepherd, “If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one? Read more...

Horizons

It feels quite weird to be writing this, but I’m leaving IOP Publishing after nearly eight years: my longest-running job by a country mile. I’m going to Digerati Studio, a Web agency in Bath; no more train-induced commuter stress for me. I’m leaving just as the first project I worked on at IOPP – the Magazines Online Subscriptions system – is being retired, which I feel is poetic: a complete project lifecycle. Read more...

September 19th

Off the train; voices in a garden. I look and see barbeque smoke. Up the hill, more smells of outdoor cookery; further on, it blends with the aroma of the chip shop. A beautiful reminder of the summer we never had.

dConstruct 2008: part five

(This is turning into a marathon: parts one, two, three and four precede this one. I can’t guarantee your sanity should you choose to read that lot.) h3. Joshua Porter: Leveraging Cognitive Bias in Social Design bq. “Rationality be damned…” We (humans) work on limited information to make a decision - the Bandwagon Effect. h4. Heuristics Heuristics are a shortcut to making a decision. They’re useful (else we would likely never make a decision, make a decision very, very slowly and/or go insane in the process) but they are subject to cognitive bias_Bias. Read more...

dConstruct 2008: part four

(Parts one, two and three precede this…) After the workshop ended, a few of us decamped to Komedia Bar for an ale; at 7pm it was time for the emerging tradition that is the Pre-Pre-Party Burgers, next door at Gourmet Burger Kitchen. GBK had reserved half the restaurant for dConstruct attendees, so it wasn’t too difficult to get a seat. I stuck my coat on an empty chair on a table otherwise occupied by Ross, Mark and Adnan, all of whom were fine burger-eating company, despite having never met me before in their lives ;) Read more...

dConstruct 2008: part three

(See part one for some fascinating travel and eating anecdotes, and part two for the first half of Joshua Porter’s workshop) h3. Designing for sign-up Contrary to what I (and presumably others) thought, this isn’t about the sign-up form! It’s more to do with the need to articulate the core value of what’s being offered to the user. In pseudo-physics terms, it’s about converting potential energy into kinetic energy. Read more...
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