Thursday, January 31, 2008

Welcome to the computer crashers club

Good to hear from you and welcome to the club. Which club? The I-Crashed-My-Computer- Needed-Drivesavers- and-Now-I-Know-Better -Club; it is not a club of I-gotta-clue- from-hearing-about-it, it's more of the membership of I-needed -the-experience -myself. I am a member in the latter catagory.

This is when you need the men in the little white body suits - I use drive savers in such cases:

1. They are #1 in the business.
2. It is all they do.
3. They are successful at retrieving all the files possible.
4. I had a good experience with them.
5. They are not BestBuy.

1. They are not cheap - they require "clean rooms" so they pass those costs onto customers. (Yippee, hun?!)

See the cool demo at:

Nothing of the original programs is useful - get all your application files from the original disks and reinstall.

Filing systems, while a pain, are absolutely essential in this business, just like backups. It is what sets professionals apart from amateurs.

Linda Lane's recommendation?

1. Call DriveSavers (cost compare with another data retrieval firm) and find out what it will cost for data recovery. Make your decision.

2. Retrieve your box from BestBuy (their goal is to get your money by selling you something).

3. Send your box to DriveSavers for data recovery (if you really need/want the stuff off that computer)

4. Define what solutions you need and follow up on them rigorously (or religiously). See 5 & 6.

5. Think about your backup system -
a. Did your backup system serve you well?
b. What could you have done differently or better to preserve your data?
z.Did you have a complete disk image of your entire system when it failed, for example?

6. Investigate great file management systems, and purchase one for tracking and versioning videos and images.

7. Do some in-depth research for your next box and order it directly from the manufacturer. (no gateways or off brands, Alienware is cool but do you need cool or a workhorse, or a cool workhorse? etc )

This all provides you with the opportunity to start fresh, get your network speed issues sorted out, and begin best practices for:
1. Regular disk backup

2. Use of a file system to manage your contents for easy access, naming conventions etc.

3. Fear of costs over dead systems will light a fire to keep you purchasing and moving to new machines from time to time to stay ahead of the diskcrashing bogeyman.

Now you know why I have four computers, and three backup drives, two external DVD writers, and two Webhosts for my sites, and memberships in various computer information organizations and subscribe to email listserves on graphics topics.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Lessig's Four Modalities on Free Speech

Lessig's four modalities 1st ammendment analysis free speech and the Web
Law Norms Market Architecture

"Modalities of constraint (power) function as a sword against the object regulated;
modalities of protection (rights) function as a shield for the regulated against constraint."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Skying Artwork in a National Museum, Salvador Dali

Interesting that searching I am unable to find anything on the Web about 'skying artwork'. What is "to sky artwork"? It is the practice, infringing on moral copyright, of hanging or displaying artwork in such a way that it can not be easily seen.

For example, when I was at a National Museum in Washington D.C. to attend Carter's presidential inauguration in 1976, I walked into a room, and for some reason I stayed in the room roaming around for a while - there was a large triangular shaped display counter with someone working there. Chatting up the man, I walked to the far end of the counter. Imagine my surprise when I looked up to see a huge Salvador Dali painting of Christ during the last supper with a symbolic image of God (or Christ risen) transparent above the last supper scene.The person working there explained to me that the museum's director did not like Dali, so he had skyed Dali's expensive, fabulous and famous work so that no one would see it hanging above the display counter, high on the wall, on back end of an otherwise dead end hallway.

In the United States the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 may cover some of the central issues of moral copyrights that would not justify the museum director's actions - certainly Dali did not paint this work to cleverly *not* be displayed. But in Europe there may be more broad repercussions and remedies to a public funded entity such as a museum purposely hiding artworks which the museum director only personally finds distasteful or that he or she does not enjoy.

ps If Dali did in fact paint paintings so hideous that hiding them could be considered justifable, and such was his intention, how would we ever know?.

Poem Over GNU License

Fooling around on the grass, Brighton Pavillion, England, UK
Gnu three; glasses, furry beard, pink sweater
how far out are we?
long black hair of licenses
open source hearts
put it on my works
take me and modify me
building block, take, use, whatever you want
if you can make money it is all yours
buy me dinner maybe

remixed information overload
Intellectual property is bunk
set me free and you will be
copyleft the copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets

Oh song of public domain
intellectual free speech
hardy ethical respect for respect

right is right, left? O

copyleft GNU GPL license 2008
modified by Mario, 2008-01-26
modified by Linda, 2008-02-27
photo by Julie Hamilton 2007, Brighton, England

Monday, January 21, 2008

Saying thank you, and that is all ...

Some people live user centered interface design and welcome feedback from users, but so far I have found most people form strong opinions, say they want open feedback from users and then explain to the user why they are wrong or show other methods to refute the end user's input, if they ever even ask in the first place. There is never anything wrong with just saying "thank you" to an end user - to never turn down that opportunity is a goal of mine, served with a fresh cup of "shut up".

One personal exception to this tendency to show who is right or wrong, which still drives me to think it is possible to be open minded and really driven to build great things for people by listening to what they say, is the founder and principal of BlinkIA here in downtown Seattle, Kelly Franznick -- .

My goal as a design engineer is to live up to Kelly's demonstrated ability for open listening without forming strong opinions, while communicating in a straightforward business manner - this he does about conclusions he reaches on UI / UX test results, all with a sense of humor. It's not all about rules either.

For one thing it is difficult to be successful in this or any field if you don't have a contract or money coming in the door. One's user (stakeholder always sounds like a vampire slayer to me, ha!) can also be construed to be whoever pays you, in addition to all the other users/stakeholders.

When you can successfully state a point of view based on watching and listening to user feedback coupled with business needs, all without scaring off the person holding the capital, then that is success, even if they don't agree with implementing a recommended design change. They too may have their reasons, not the rarest being a lack of comprehension (not enough experience to understand) or a lack of a shared language to communicate with.

If one's conclusions are correct, for example as I believe I may have been about Google's ecommerce application, (part of which is now called "Google Checkout", which I believe eventually will be integrated as a silent backend through their API), the businesspersons who one did not convince the first time through will be more likely to listen the second or third time.

One can only hope this is so, for the benefit of saving many end users time and frustration so they may take the happy train of sunshine and continue pursuing good things for themselves and others, and surf away from their experience with your information application as happy campers.