Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Is this what self sustaining means

Kiko one of the Web2.0 calendar start ups called it quits recently. Interestingly, they liquidated their assests on eBay; in essence they sold the company on eBay. I guess you could call it staying true to their zeitgeist. They still made real american money on eBay so I assume it all connects with the real world somewhere eventually.

Meet my friend the interaction designer

This is kind of like interlacing your fingers and stretching your hands palm facing outwards so that your fingers do the popping thing.

I just returned from my honeymoon this past weekend (thank you, the wedding was beautiful indeed). Aspen is gorgeous in the summer! I thoroughly enjoyed not having a laptop, having my phone turned off for most of the week and getting my daily news fix courtesy USA Today and the WSJ. It was fantastic! But that was then and this is now. I really don't feel like I have much worth blogging about but I do want to start posting again just to get back in the habit I guess.

So I give you Kevin Cheng. Kevin and I worked together for a few years at Trilogy. I lost contact with him when he moved to UK to pursue a graduate degree in Usability and IxD (apparently that is how you say Interaction Design). I have not done a good job of keeping up with him at least not to the extent I would like to.
I have been following his life from afar and have learnt a lot about interaction design from his blogs and such. It is actually a really fun and curious area of research and impact each of us directly. Have you wondered why Yahoo maps looks the way it does or why the dashboard in your car has the cup holder in that particular spot. It is not random (or it shouldn't be), there are people like Kevin who spend time and energy solving these questions :-). So get to know Kevin,

Kevin's blog
Kevin and Tom's web comic.
Interview with Kevin that gives a little introduction to usability

Monday, August 07, 2006

Ouch! This has to hurt us

I am Indian and like most Indians who live in the US, I have been following the sea change in Indian attitudes, culture, education and life styles avidly although from afar. The past decade has created deep generational chasms that continue to grow wider and the country is trying to come to grips with meritocracy, entrepreneurship, "the world is flat", international visibility, growth, etc. India is currently on the fore front of countries straddling the new economy while trying to preserve cultural heritage and traditional way of living.

The main reason for the paragraph above was to give a context (extremely vague and unspecific as it may be) to the link below.

India was recently ranked 6th in a poll result published by Reuters. The listing is of the most dangerous countries in the world for children. The countries that share this prestigious top 10 list along with us are Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Myanmar, Sudan, Congo, Uganda and Somalia.

So, what can I do to help us get out of this list. I want to help......

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

My mind is like UDP

As I was stepping out for lunch from my office, I ran into a lady in the hallway. I say "how are you doing" because I am a pleasant kind of guy and was in an agreeable mood. She was happy with my civility and replied "Great, how are you?".

My response was "Thank you. (uncomfortable long pause) I am good".

Now it is a little deal but I was bemused by my utterances. I clearly said the right stuff but the order was some how reversed when I spoke them and I was not sure why. I am not good at letting things go unresolved in my head. This does not mean that I can explain all events around me, it just means that I have to fool myself into thinking I have a good enough explanation.

So I ended with UDP. UDP stands for User Datagram Protocol. It is a fancy sounding way of describing a low level plumbing on the internet that is used to move your files across computers, etc.

Think of it this way. Assume your text (email, pictures, blog entry, what not) are passengers in this train (UDP).

This train moves all of its passengers from one station to another. Say from your computer to your friend's.

You would think this would be straightforward. Leave station A and pull into station B. Turns out that it is a little more complicated. For efficiency, the instant the passengers are fully loaded. The train is locked and all the carriages are disconnected and hooked to whatever train will take them to station B sooner*. But to retain the illusion, the carriages are all reconnected to resemble the train just before it reaches station B and the passenger disembark. You see where I am going with this....

Anyways, UDP unfortunately does not ensure that the carriages are all reconnected in initial order before the passengers disembark. This leads to some awkward situations such as Don who is ever punctual and was aboard the train 30 mins. before Liz ends up arriving after Liz much to his chagrin.
This is why emails you send to your boss show up out of order and get you fired because he received your expense report before your explanation for why that trip to Vegas was good for the company. And yes, there is a better behaved brother to UDP called TCP who ensures the ordering (this is why web pages load in order**). But that is a discussion for another day.

All I wanted to say is that I think my brain is a slave to efficiency like UDP and so once the actual phrases were figured out, namely "I am good" and "Thank you". They ended up spoken out of order for sake of efficiency. So don't feel sorry for me.

* if no other train leaves sooner then this train leaves with its carriages and carriages from other trains. Yeah this analogy stops working at some point because, well.... it really is more complicated than trains isn't it?

** yes sometimes images load before the text or vice-versa. Well that is because it really is more complicated than toy trains.