It does, you know. You just have to get it hot enough.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Some Words About Restaurants and Design

Normally I don’t cross-link between my design and fun blogs, but I wrote a review of a local restaurant and their design process.

posted by jet at 20:46  

Thursday, August 19, 2010

“design meets disability”, a pre-review review

I’ve got a backlog of stuff to write about, including this really great book by Graham Pullin, “design meets disability”. Things have been hectic at The Job That Does Not Pay Me To Blog so it’s been hard finding the mental energy to be smart about non-work stuff.

Until yesterday, that is, when my partner tripped and broke several foot bones that are needed for things like walking and driving and the like. So not only are crutches involved, but we live in a two-story house with the bath upstairs, kitchen on the first floor, and laundry and storage in the basement.

We knew our 1950s house was nowhere close to ADA when we bought it, and we often joke about how ADA-hostile Pittsburgh is in general.

I guess now we’ll get some first-hand experience as to just how bad it is and what we — as designers — can do to help fix things.

posted by jet at 20:51  

Monday, May 10, 2010

radio silence redux

There’s a reason I haven’t been updating this journal and it’s not because I got sucked into twitter/facebook. There’s just not been much to say about what I’m doing right now — it’s either portfolio work in progress or stuff I can’t talk about due to NDA.

Adding to the workload is the fact that I’m a homeowner in the northeast which means I have to cram most of my home improvement work into a few summer months. In ~6 weeks, the house will be sporting an environmentally friendly rear deck and stairs made of locally sourced black locust. I want to avoid synthetic/composite decks, sealing a cedar deck every 2-3 years is a pain, and there’s no redwood to be had this far east. I was whining about all this when a friend of mine from Pittsburgh suggested black locust. It’s a regional hardwood that has evolved to deal with the local climate had has an outdoor rating of 75+ years without being painted or sealed. It isn’t as cheap as pine and cedar, but the thought of having a deck that will easily last 50+ years with no maintenance makes me quite happy.

posted by jet at 20:42  

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

fear of sentient robots

[something short that I’d like to turn into something much longer, given the time to do some research. –jet]

In the past few weeks there have been a number of news articles and at least four kerjillion blog posts regarding robots and the future of humanity. Robots that power themselves with organic matter, robots that can run like an animal, and snake robots that can hump human legs are all pretty cool, but there’s also a related narrative that we, as humans, don’t know how to deal with sentient robots.

The thing is, we’ve had unstoppable, zombie-like, intelligent actors capable of taking out a single human for at least a century. They have legal status, can own property, can file lawsuits, own weapons, have security forces, and they self-replicate based on available resources.

They’re called “corporations”.

A corporation has almost all the rights of an individual human, save for voting. But in most other ways, they’re better than any single human. They can store and process data in vast quantities and faster than a single human. They can make intelligent decisions about how they interact with you based on your purchasing history, your medical history, your entertainment preferences, and your social networking activities. A corporation can not only repair itself, it can survive financial death via various forms of bankruptcy and self-replication. If a corporation gets too big, it can split into a group of more efficiently sized corporations that can coordinate efforts with one another.

I’m not worried about a future where sentient robot dogs that feed on the dead stalk the streets at night.

I’m worried about a now where corporations trick humans into paying as much for a liter of bottled tap water as they do for a liter of milk.

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posted by jet at 19:11  

Monday, May 25, 2009



~4 years after deciding to go back to school and study design, I find myself in possession of a rather fancy diploma from Carnegie Mellon for the study of Master of Science in Tangible Interaction Design.   

Right now, I couldn’t tell you what that actually means. I need to wander off and do some “reflection on doing”, as the Eindhoven gang says. I’ll be wandering to Tokyo first, then back to the bay area to put in time for my employer that gave me an unpaid leave to get my degree, then, actually, I’m not sure what I’ll be doing.

If my employer and I can agree on something I can do for them using my newly-learned skills, then great. I’ve been there ~8 years and have a lot of wonderful relationships and memories that I’d hate to walk away from. On the other hand, maybe what I want to do isn’t something I can do for someone else, or isn’t something I can easily do at a public company smaller than Nokia or Microsoft or Apple.

Thus the “reflection on doing”. I just did ~4 years of design learning, and I need to think about what it means and where I want to go.

However, I’ve decided one thing already: I’m not a “foo designer”. I’m a “designer”. I’m not an “interaction designer” or an “user experience designer” or an “industrial designer” or a “whatever designer”. One of the most important things I learned in these recent years is that it’s all design. Architecture is design, industrial design is design, graphic design is design, typography is design, service design is design, etc.

Over the rest of my career I’ll design (and probably prototype) small, medium, and large things that I hope will make people’s lives better, even if it simply entertains them or amuses them. The last thing I want to do is silo myself and reduce the opportunities offered to me by defining myself in some narrow fashion.

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posted by jet at 22:10  
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