Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
July 4, 2002

Stumbleupon Half the net is inaccessible today and there is a large thunderstorm bearing down. So today's OLDaily is a bit light...

It will almost certainly be classed as spyware, but depending on their business ethics, the creators of Stumbleupon might have a good thing going. The idea is that you enter your interests and preferences and the Stmbleupon toolbar sends you to a random (but related) site. You then rate the site, allowing the toolbar to modify its preferences through experiences. This page gives you a link to download the application (click on the toolbar image), so if you're not comfortable with that, you may want to give this one a pass. By Unknown, December 31, 200-31 8:33 p.m. [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A Wireless End Run Around ISPs Could teaching be a crime? In the old Afghanistan, you say, but not here. Think again. This story describes the origin of 'warchalk' - cryptic symbols chalked in neighbourhoods advising them how to access network area wireless networks. In response, Time Warner Cable sent out some "cease and desist" letters to customers it says were publicly instructing others about how to share broadband connections. I don't think this is something the cable companies can control. Once the signal is in your house, you can do what you want with it, including relaying it through any of dozens of cheap wireless hubs. What is Time Warner going to do, send the police door to door scanning for illegal bandwidth? By Jane Black, Business Week, July 3, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Treating Viewers as Criminals Commentary on the ongoing debates concerning fair use. A couple of good quotes: "Name-calling is the last resort of once powerful institutions that are finding themselves losing control in the face of rapid media change," and " the networks do not and never have had contracts with consumers, compensating us for the labor we perform in watching commercials." By Henry Jenkins, Technology Review, July 3, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Interaction Design Patterns If nothing else, this page will give designers a common taxonomy for the discussion of interaction design. That said, this survey of a couple of dozen common patterns may stretch your conception of interaction design. This is a good list: the terminology is drawn from actual designers' terminology, and the descriptions are short, clear and supported with examples. By Welie.Com, Martijn van Welie, December 31, 200-31 8:33 p.m. [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Everything I Need to Know About Usability, I Learned at the Arcade I don't want to admit to how many days I spent playing video games in the arcade. Suffice to say it got so that I could play Gauntlet indefinitely. Anyhow, this article draws some useful lessons about usability from the video game industry. Remember, people need to deposit their quarters and start playing without reading a manual or attending an orientation session. By Peter Seebach, IBM Developer Works, June, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2002 Stephen Downes