Tuesday, November 13, 2012

iPad experience revives market for real books!

Will my subject tagline, "iPad experience revives market for real books!" appear in a newspaper article in the next few years?

my experience is any judge, there is at least a chance.  I've noticed
that when using my iPad if I come across a boring part of a novel or a
tech book, rather than plowing through it, I often revert to web browing
or playing a game.  The result is I read less.  I ma now combating this
by using ereaders and dare I say, real books!

Am I just an anachronism or does anyone else share my experience?



ps- also posted in my google group, software experience

Sunday, April 15, 2012

UK advice on User Centered Design

One of my students,  Michael Carrano, suggested a great article by UK Government User Centered Design experts on Design Principles.  I especially liked the Need-O-Tron  for needs management, available at github. Their ten principles are augmented by examples and, of course, Principle 3, Design with data and h Principle 6, build for inclusion, "accessible design is good design," are my favorites.

I will follow the evolution of their principles and report back when warranted.  They are currently at the alpha version and it is an impressive start.

The last few weeks of the year signal the deluge of log books and I hopefully will have other chestnuts to share from my students, along with a few of my own.  Later!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spacey Ergonomics

I usually devote a few slides to ergonomics, discussing human reach and comfort.  Today I ran across a real application for the Dragon capsule of SPACEX.  Note that they spent a day examining the human factors and ergonomics of their Dragon spacecraft design meant to accommodate up to seven astronauts. 

I have been a fan of spaceflight since the 1960's following the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs.  I  am a fan of robotic spaceflight too.  The space fellowship is a great site to follow advances in studying the universe.

Update on my fignition post.  I ordered and received the fignition kit and am following their blog.  Now all I need is time to solder and test the board to get my forth computer running!  I will keep you posted on progress.  Later!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Early in December I tweeted on a great little board that ran the FORTH language called FIGnition.  It entranced me for two reasons, first it reminded me how much I missed the computer language, FORTH and second it reminded me of the days of building your own machine to experiment with softwaare (and hardware concepts).

FORTH is a great language, having both high level and low level aspects, it still is used in some boot loaders.  One of its unique aspects was that it used RPN, Reverse Polish Notation - think old school HP calculators.  RPN is postfix, to add two numbers one would enter " 3 <enter> 4 +", the <enter> was a real key that would push the first number on the stack.  This inspired a popular (for geeks at least) bumper sticker of the era, "FORTH love if honk then" that you can still purchase here.  It was low level in that it defined an entire very simple OS with primitive file management that made it very popular with microcomputer hobbyists. 

My recommendation for the best page to begin discovering FORTH is the homepage of a defunct organization, the FORTH INTEREST GROUP, aka FIG.  I was once a member of FIG and still miss FORTH, that is why I will probably reacquaint myself with it by building a single board computer that runs it, the FIGNITION.   It is under $35 dollars when delivered form the UK.  Note it is a kit and you should have the hang of soldering, but at the end you can claim you built your own computer with far fewer connections than my original ALTAIR.  I will keep you posted on my progress on my twitter account, SWUniverse.

Hopefully I am back in the blogging swing of things.  Have a bunch of great blogs from my students that I would like to post.  Happy 2012!  Later!