A weblog by Will Fitzgerald

Monthly Archives: September 2005

Human-centered design considered harmful

I’m not sure this is available to the general public, but Don Norman has an intriguing article Human-centered design considered harmful.

Human-centered design has become such a dominant theme in design that it is now accepted by interface and application designers automatically, without thought, let alone criticism. That’s a dangerous state—when things are treated as accepted wisdom. The purpose of this essay is to provoke thought, discussion, and reconsideration of some of the fundamental principles of human-centered design. These principles, I suggest, can be helpful, misleading, or wrong. At times, they might even be harmful. Activity-centered design might be superior.

Google And NASA To Collaborate On Technology

Slashdot | Google And NASA [Ames] To Collaborate On Technology Hmm. Up to a million square feet of Google R&D space at Moffett Field. Could be interesting. Probably related to the recent layoffs.

Useful list of search company acquisitions

Ultimate Roshambo

Robot discovers buried treasure

600 barrels of loot found on Crusoe island

This most recent announcement, however, deserves greater credence because of the equipment used by the treasure hunters: a mini robot that can scan 50 metres deep into the earth. The robot, dubbed “Arturito”, was invented by Chileans and over the past year has grabbed headlines by breaking some of the country’s biggest criminal mysteries.

Language Log: Tingo and other lingo

A caveat about books that discuss words in other languages without straight equivalents in English: Tingo and other lingo. Still, Rheingold’s They Have a Word for It” (which is, after all, called a ‘lighthearted lexicon’ in its subtitle) is a favorite of mine.

We both have got a body in a bath

Etext of Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers.

We both have got a body in a bath,
We both have got a body in a bath—
    For in spite of all temptations
    To go in for cheap sensations
We insist upon a body in a bath—

Sayers was a major source of rampant anglophilia back in my undergraduate days. I still read these novels over and over. (via robotwisdom).

Great Menno Fun

yellow quilt

We had great fun at the Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale; Bess even bought two baby quilts at auction. I like the Necker Cubist quality of this one she bought.

I especially enjoyed hearing and singing “Dedication Anthem,” by Lowell Mason, often called “606” by Mennonites because that was the page number in the (1969) Mennonite Hymnal.


Great picture of John Wiseman aka lemondor by Adam Rifkin (shown me by Joyce).

Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale

We’re heading down for the 2005 Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale tomorrow (and maybe tonight). This Quicktime video does a pretty good job at capturing what one usually sees. Bess loves the quilt auction; up until this year, I’ve usually ridden round and round with one or both kids on the horse-drawn wagon, but the kids are not so little any more…