On Noticing

I’ve been working – or at the very least, sitting at various desks, typing – for about 18 years. Before I had a career, I thought what I would do was write literature, or at the very least, serviceable novels. Then I spent a few years as a technology journalist, and another few as anContinue reading “On Noticing”

On Stone Circles and Building Things

1. Itis fairly common in England to see small plaques set into the front of older houses with chiselled numbers saying when they were built. 1906, 1871, 1832. In Cartmel, a little village at the southern tip of the Lake District, home of a couple of very good restaurants, there’s a little whitewashed stone cottage,Continue reading “On Stone Circles and Building Things”

On Snowfallen, and pollen for readers

Bobbie Johnson wrote a good critique of Snowfall, and I wrote a riposte on the work blog: “Johnson assumes there’s one type of reader, the dedicated long-hauler who will diligently read 8,000 words about your topic. There are indeed some of these people. But there are many other types of readers, many skimmers, who will likely notContinue reading “On Snowfallen, and pollen for readers”

Search is a local maximum

The local maximum is one of the most interesting and frightening[1] ideas in UX and product management: “The local maximum is a point in which you’ve hit the limit of the current design… Even if you make 100 tweaks you can only get so much improvement; [the design] is as effective as it’s ever goingContinue reading “Search is a local maximum”

Print is dying, but it’s not black and white

Tomorrow, the ABC figures for UK magazines will be released, and for many titles, these will show big drops in circulation. You’ll see a lot of tweets, posts and commentary about how the dead tree media is dying, and how traditional publishers are failing to deal with the hand digital is dealing them. There isContinue reading “Print is dying, but it’s not black and white”

On Quora, empathy and editorial value

One of the things I wanted to do more of this year was write about digital products. I’m going to start with Quora, because it’s a site I keep coming back to you, and yet I don’t think they know what they’re doing. Their announcement of a blogging platform this week is a good illustration of howContinue reading “On Quora, empathy and editorial value”

Where you come from, where you go

I went to New York last week, mostly for work, but I had two free days at the end to explore the city. I took, as always, a Lonely Planet guidebook, but most of the time I built a list of places to go from going online. It strikes me now how easy the world has become,Continue reading “Where you come from, where you go”

Grmmr advice from Twitter

You might not think Twitter is a great place to go for grammar advice, given that every message has a maximum character count of 140, but you say that before laying eyes on FakeAPStylebook: “Always capitalize ‘Bible.’ You don’t want to get letters from those people.” “‘Arglebargle’ should only be used in the non-hyphenated form.Continue reading “Grmmr advice from Twitter”

Stop Safari always opening new tabs

I’ve moved away from using FireFox as my browser – it’s too slow to start, too fond of updating – and now have Google Chrome on my PCs. It’s not properly available for the Mac yet, so I’ve switched to Safari, which is reasonably quick to start, and gives you more of the web toContinue reading “Stop Safari always opening new tabs”

Year of the Ox’s most popular internet slang

FAIL is over – especially if you’re in China. Apparently, these are the Year of the Ox’s most popular linguistic terms on the internet (although we’re only halfway through the year). Wonder how long it will take for ‘yùzháizú’ – the Chinese word for otaku – to appear in Wired or the new William GibsonContinue reading “Year of the Ox’s most popular internet slang”