Sunday, November 27, 2005
Hurricane Names, Restaurant Critics, and more...
Time is short this week, so here's a few links:
Sunday, November 20, 2005
As I've hinted at in recent entries, I've been delving a bit into podcasts. For the uninitiated, a "podcast" is just a fancy word for pre-recorded radio shows that you can subsribe to on the internet (people often download podcasts to listen to on their iPod, hence the name - though the term really is a misnomer, as you don't need an iPod to listen to a podcast, and it's not broadcast either).
In any case, my short commute actually doesn't lend itself to listening, so I haven't listened to that many podcasts and all of the ones I've listened to are at least tangentially movie-related. So here are a few short reviews of podcasts that I've listened to (again, mostly movie related):
Sunday, November 13, 2005
After several weeks of using my new iPod (yes, I'm going to continue rubbing it in for those who don't have one), I've come to realize that there are a few things that are *gasp* not perfect about the iPod. A common theme on this blog has always been the tradeoffs inherent in technological advance: we don't so much solve problems as we trade one set of disadvantages for another, in the hopes that the new set is more favorable than the old.
Don't get me wrong, I love the iPod. It represents a gigantic step forward in my portable media capability, but it's not perfect. It seems that some of the iPod's greatest strengths are also it's greatest weaknesses. Let's look at some considerations:
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Elevators & Usability
David Foster recently wrote a post about a new elevator system:
One might assume that elevator technology is fairly static, but then one would be wrong. The New York Times (11/2) has an article about significant improvements in elevator control systems. The idea is that you select your floor before you get on the elevator, rather than after, thereby allowing the system to dispatch elevators more intelligently--a 30% reduction in average trip time is claimed. ... All good stuff; shorter waiting times and presumably lower energy consumption as well.(NYT article is here) Foster has some interesting comments on the management types who want to use this system to avoid being in an elevator with the normal folks, but the story caught my attention from a different angle.
I recently attended the World Usability Day event in Philadelphia, and the keynote speaker (Tom Tullis, of Fidelity Investments) started his presentation with a long anecdote concerning this new elevator technology. It seems that while this technology may have good intentions, it's execution could use a little work.
Perhaps it was just the particular implementation at the building he went to, but the system installed there was extremely difficult to use for a first time user. First, the new system wasn't called out very much, so Tullis had actually gotten into one of the elevators and was flummoxed at the lack of buttons inside. Eventually, after riding the elevator up and then back down to the lobby, he noticed a keypad next to the elevator he had gotten into. So he understandably assumed that he should simply enter the desired floor there, figuring that the elevator would then open and take him to that floor. He typed in his destination floor, and was greeted with a scren that had a large "E" on it (there's an image of this on the right, but the presentation has lots of images and more information on the evolution of the Elevator). Obviously an error, right? Well, no. Tullis eventually found a little sign in the lobby that had a 6 page (!) manual explaining how the elevators work, and it turns out that each elevator cab has a letter assigned to it, and when you enter your floor, it assigns you to one of the elevators. So "E" was referring to the "E" cab, not an error. Now armed with the knowledge of how the system works, Tullis was able to make it to his meeting (10 minutes late).
Naturally, I think this is a bit of an extreme case (though there were a few other bad things about his experience that I didn't even mention). The system was brand new and the building hadn't yet converted all of their elevators to the new system, so it seems obvious that the system usability would improve over time. There are several things that could make that experience easier:
Last Friday's Bleat featured James Lileks' first (that I know of) podcast. Since I've now got an iPod, I figured I might as well download it and see what all the fuss is about. It's strange to hear the voice of someone you've previously only read. In this case, Lileks' voice is much deeper than the voice I have in my head when I read his stuff.
It's a short podcast, but the main topic is "a demonstration of the thesis that every era gets the Batman music it deserves." Pretty good, and it's about what you'd expect from Lileks. I only have one minor quibble - how can you talk about Batman music matching the time period and not actually go into detail on Prince's horrific (yet appropriate for the 80s) Batdance? (Prince's role in the 1989 soundtrack is mentioned, but no clips are played.) Oh, and 1 other minor complaint is that the podcast isn't listed in iTunes, so I can't set it to automatically update. Get with the program James! Anyway, this weeks was quite good, and I look forward to future installments...
Speaking of podcasts, does anyone have any recommendations? The only other podcast that I've gotten into is the CHUD Show (which is interesting, but probably only to movie nerds who can appreciate really bad jokes like myself).
Where am I?
This page contains entries posted to the Kaedrin Weblog in November 2005.
Kaedrin Beer Blog
12 Days of Christmas
2006 Movie Awards
2007 Movie Awards
2008 Movie Awards
2009 Movie Awards
2010 Movie Awards
2011 Fantastic Fest
2011 Movie Awards
2012 Movie Awards
2013 Movie Awards
2014 Movie Awards
2015 Movie Awards
6 Weeks of Halloween
Arts & Letters
Computers & Internet
Disgruntled, Freakish Reflections
Philadelphia Film Festival 2006
Philadelphia Film Festival 2008
Philadelphia Film Festival 2009
Philadelphia Film Festival 2010
Science & Technology
Security & Intelligence
The Dark Tower
Weird Book of the Week
Weird Movie of the Week
Copyright © 1999 - 2012 by Mark Ciocco.