A computer can never be accountable

An old IBM slide:

A computer shouldn’t make a management decision

December 18, 2022

Cost of development

On the excellent Oddly Influenced podcast, Brian Marick was talking to Glenn Vanderburg about engineering.

My big take-away was engineers build models to simulate real materials or situations because it’s cheaper and less risky than building the real thing at 1:1 scale and getting it wrong.

In software (UX) we create and test prototypes because it’s cheaper than getting real people to use the real thing and finding out it’s wrong.

December 18, 2022

Audi played with an AI to make new wheel designs. Steve DaSilva at Jalopnik is not impressed.

it seems Audi has developed a high-tech system that takes existing wheels and fucks em up a little, then sends them off to actual car designers to fix.

December 17, 2022

Michael Hobbes, on the bird site:

I think we’ll look back on the last decade as a time when social media gave previously marginalized groups the ability to speak directly to elites and, as a result, elites lost their minds.

December 17, 2022

5 steps to making better cities just getting better

Brent Toderian at FastCo:

Every city in the world is going through a learning curve, working hard to improve, albeit from very different starting points. It’s true that better” is open to opinion and debate (including answering the really important question, better for whom?”), and even when the difference between better and worse is well proven, some cities sadly are still doubling down on the wrong path (more freeways, anyone?).

The actual list of five things

  1. Doing the wrong things
  2. Doing the wrong things better”
  3. Trying to have your cake and eat it, too
  4. Doing the right things badly
  5. Doing the right things well

December 16, 2022


Nils Gilman

An effective interdisciplinary team doesn’t come into being simply by putting the best biologist, the best engineer, and the best painter (say) into a room together, and expecting that they will magically find a way to work with one another. Rather, one needs to find excellent people in each of these disciplines who also have an inclination to and knowledge of how collaborate with experts from disciplines other than their own.

October 28, 2022

Opinions and Arguing

Patrick Stokes, lecturer in philosophy at Deakin Uni:

You are not entitled to your opinion. You are only entitled to what you can argue for.

Stokes also notes that there’s a difference between losing an argument and losing the right to argue.

Something to consider in client critiques, I think.

October 26, 2022

It’s not how good the experiment is, it’s how good you are at experimenting

— John Cutler

October 23, 2022

The ISO on Usability

ISO 9241-210:

  • The design is based upon an explicit understanding of users, tasks and environments.
  • Users are involved throughout design and development.
  • The design is driven and refined by user-centred evaluation.
  • The process is iterative.
  • The design addresses the whole user experience.
  • The design team includes multidisciplinary skills and perspectives.

Huh. Good for talking with clients.

October 23, 2022

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