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“Ease of use and simplicity for the user” February 15, 2007

Posted by mark in : Design, Telecoms, VoIP, Wireless , add a comment

(Alcatel-Lucent CEO) Pat Russo’s recent interview with the FT struck a chord :

What would you most love to see?

I’d love to see the communications industry tackle ease of use and simplicity for the user. Phones are actually getting more complex.

It’s been said many times before, and reminded me of a quote on Dave Farber’s IP list :

I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone — Bjarne Stronstrup (originator of C++ programming language)

Phone thoughts January 9, 2007

Posted by mark in : Design, Device, Personal, Wireless , 2comments

Desirable features for my next mobile handset (without wanting it to $satisfy all). Currently use a Palm Treo 650 (which doesn’t have 3G/ wifi/ gps/ multitasking OS), and not a landline. Grouped, but no particular order :

Things that I don’t really care about :

Strange Maps November 7, 2006

Posted by mark in : Design, General, Geo , add a comment

The Strange Maps blog [via Platial] has a whole load of unusual and interesting maps, often with an historical element.

eg. The Manhattan Neighbourhoods map and general feel of the site made me think of Maira Kalman’s “New Yorkistancover, (which I was pointed at recently, but can’t remember by who).

The Information Factories (Cloudware) November 6, 2006

Posted by mark in : Design, General, Networks , add a comment

George Gilder’s article in Wired magazine describes how the cloud computing model (ie. servers ’somewhere on the Internet’) moves processing away from the desktop to massive server farms (Google, etc). It mentions historic quotes “The network is the computer” (Sun) and “global computing market of five mainframes” (IBM) and some interesting numbers.

In every era, the winning companies are those that waste what is abundant – as signalled by precipitously declining prices – in order to save what is scarce. Google has been profligate with the surfeits of data storage and backbone bandwidth. Conversely, it has been parsimonious with that most precious of resources, users’ patience.

Unfortunately that strategy means massive energy cost/waste (cooling, replication), and few locations will be able to provide enough (cheap) electricity as the need scales up. Fortunately “semiconductor and optical technologies are on the verge of a new leap forward” and the current economic advantages of a ‘centralised’ solution will decrease.

Design is how it works November 3, 2006

Posted by mark in : Design, Music , add a comment

SoundJam; Jeff Robbin; Jon Rubinstein; Tony Fadell; PortalPlayer; Jonathan Ive; Phil Schiller; Tim Wasko; Vinnie Cieco …and Steve Jobs :

Wired.com tells about ‘other’ people behind the birth of the iPod, and the design considerations.

“Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like,” Jobs told the Times. “That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

Dieter Rams : Ten principles of “good design” September 21, 2006

Posted by mark in : Design, General , add a comment

Good design is innovative.
Good design makes a product useful.
Good design is aesthetic.
Good design helps us to understand a product.
Good design is unobtrusive.
Good design is honest.
Good design is durable.
Good design is consequent to the last detail.
Good design is concerned with the environment.
Good design is as little design as possible.
Back to purity, back to simplicity.

Dieter Rams remains an enduring inspiration for younger designers, notably Jonathan Ive and Jasper Morrison, who have acknowledged his influence in their work at Apple and Rowenta respectively.

…from Rams’ Design Museum profile [via Signal vs. Noise]

Jonathan Ive September 19, 2006

Posted by mark in : Design, General , add a comment

Business Week has an article about Jonathan Ive, head of the design team behind the Apple iMac and iPod …[via Signal vs. Noise]

He talked about focusing on only what is important and limiting the number of projects. He spoke about having a deep understanding of how a product is made: its materials, its tooling, its purpose. Mostly, he focused on the need to care deeply about the work….

“One of the hallmarks of the team I think is this sense of looking to be wrong,” said Ive at Radical Craft. “It’s the inquisitiveness, the sense of exploration. It’s about being excited to be wrong because then you’ve discovered something new.”….

Thinking about “design” as simply style or fashion misses the point….What really sets Apple’s products apart is the “fit and finish,” the ultimate impression that results from thousands of tiny decisions that go into a product’s development.