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petermeme Archives

June 01 - June 09, 2001
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February 01 - February 28, 2001
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December 01 - December 31, 2000
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April 1 - April 30, 2000
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December 1 - December 31, 1999
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October 16 - October 31, 1999
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July 11 - July 16, 1999
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June 09 - June 30 1999
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May 1999

April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
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  past petermemes

February 29, 2000
This man is a fucking genius.
And he has too much time on his hands.

Keep your hands off me,
you damn dirty ape!

Clickerrific! From Stink comes this multimedia eyecandy delight. [All kinds of plug-ins needed.]

Memories, of the way we were.
The original Mosaic Communications (which became Netscape) site.

Oh, he does! Word is Andy Edmonds has a blog. Doesn't seem to have the time for regular updates, not that I know anything about that.

Do I really sound like that? Reading an interview of which you were the subject is like listening to your voice on a tape player.

February 28, 2000
You can read any MIT Press book on cognitive science online once you sign up with Cognet. This is a frickin' treasure trove of tasty information. I'm stunned they're offering it up.

February 27, 2000
What was that again?
Andy Edmonds (who clearly ought to have his own blog) turned up this meaty paper on a revisiting of the short term memory study mentioned Feb 23. Poking around the site, I also found this chapter on categorical perception, which resonates with my past musings about categories and taxonomies, but which I simply don't have the time to read right now. In fact, all of these papers appear worth perusing.

So, a friend told me of the final posting of World New York (a site I had never before visited), which in turn pointed me to Ironminds (a site I ought to visit more) wherein I devour all of Michael J. Nelson's humor columns, and, because Nelson worked on MST3K, it made me wonder what's happening at Gizmonics, the site of MST3K creator Joel Hodgson, and I see that they've redesigned, and utilize an interesting and clever interface scheme--Joel and his brother Jim are the interface. And, as an obsessive formalist, I've got to give full props for fiddling with the creation of television. One hopes it doesn't remain confined to the lab.

February 23, 2000
From my coworker, Stink, comes a coupla tidbits.
Funny reviews of bad candy.
The classic, and oft mis-used, study on short term memory introducing "7 +- 2."

February 21, 2000
Talking heads.
Frontwheeldrive is an e-zine of interviews with leading practitioners of new science and newmedia. petermeme readers will likely be interested in what Richard Saul Wurman has to say on coining "information architecture," and how Edward Tufte is "completely wrong."

February 20, 2000
I've chimed in.
So, I've submitted my answer to Derek's question, "What the hell is a weblog?"

February 18, 2000
Will Wright cites Scott McCloud as an inspiration source for his new game, The Sims


February 15, 2000
Oh, really.
So, Lindsay, just how did commercializing the Internet make it irrelevant? I thought that taking it out of the ivory towers of academia and research laboratories and making it easily available to all boosted the Internet's relevance. Which wouldn't have happened without commercialization.

February 14, 2000
Well, it's like the NBC peacock, but, it's, uh, a butterfly.

Branching out. Looks like Wal-mart is entering some new markets. [NOTE: This no longer works. As you can't point people to specific pages within Walmart. Because it runs on Broadvision. Which sucks, by the way.]

Happy freakin' Valentine's Day.

Get on the same page. View the exploits of "Action Item, Professional Superhero."

Deny this. Douglas Rushkoff's smart op-ed piece on last week's denial-of-service attacks (and how they reflect the shaky foundation of The New Economy) is hampered only by some pining for the halcyon days of internet yore, you know, before commercialism mucked up everything (and, incidentally, made it all relevant.)

February 13, 2000
Wear and tear. Martin points us to "History-Enriched Digital Objects," an essay on recording interaction history on digital objects, such that a system can learn more about them by the way their used. Implications for email abound. If you repeatedly return to an email, it's likely more important. Emails replied to have different weight than those that just sit there. An email that warranted a lengthy reply is likely more important than one that was given a one sentence reply.

February 12, 2000
More on email.
A search in the HCI Bibliography pointed me to "Email Overload: Exploring Personal Information Management in Email," a thorough study of how email applications are failing in providing ways for users to manage their correspondence in relevant ways. It also features the only expletive I've ever seen in a CHI proceedings paper:

"[email] is the best that's ever happened for covering your ass ... because while the guy's on the phone, he says, well, I sent that to you a week and a half ago, and you think, shit, I never saw that. But you say, 'really? Yeah, oh yeah, I remember reading that', as you're reading it."

Unforunately, the paper seems to have been truncated when it was uploaded, but there's tons of good stuff there.

There's much more to say about email, as its utility has evolved since this paper was written a few years ago. I'm overwhelmed by automated alerts, announcements, and spam--and I'd hazard to guess you are, too.

Cute. Played with Google's Valentine's Day applet yet? Interesting how they're providing a popular forum for net.art... Is this a sign of things to come? Particularly in that goofy animations seem to have nothing to do with the Google "brand." The applet's creator, Ken Perlin, is something of a computer graphics legend, with a homepage featuring tons of demos, including Java-enabled zooming user interfaces (based on Pad++). Oh, looky! Pad++ is dead, but it's spirit lives on in Jazz, a Java-based ZUI system. Progress!

Cartographerrific! Peter van Dijck wrote me with an interesting development pertaining to how folks navigate a site he's designed:

I wanted to share some usability testing I've been doing. After trying out several navigation methods, and testing different sitemaps with users, I decided to put a sitemap on every page. This is for a small content site (about 50 or so pages). The surprise was that the live statistics show that the sitemap, even though it is at the bottom of the page, is used for over 60% of all navigation on the site (except of course for the back button, which I can't log automatically.)

So people really, really like it. I had expected it to be used for 10 to 25% of the navigation.

That's what I wanted to share with you. Do you have any ideas about this? Does this surprise you, or not really? Do you think this kind of automated usability testing (clicks on the navigation get logged) is useful? (the live statistics are here, and the website is here)

While I was surprised offhand, upon clicking through the site, it actually seems quite natural. First, as the sitemap is at the bottom, it's the natural next step after someone has read through the page. Also, the sitemap is extremely detailed--one click gets me to exactly where I want. The alternative, to click to the top of a section and then dig in, is cumbersome. Additionally, the sitemap is conveniently out of the way--the user can attend to the task at hand, and then, when finished, knows to go to that place down there to move on to the next thing... I think this is why the sitemap works better than the embedded links--embedded links potentially derail trains of thought.

Make sure to read Peter's bang-up post to Evolt.org on mapping the user's experience, wherein he utilizes that delightfully hoary analog--the book!

February 11, 2000
(yes... I know... i've got some petermemes brewing... particularly one about email applications and how they SUCK and don't serve the needs of contemporary email usage. if you have interesting thoughts on email app interfaces, email me.)

Bay Area Spankers Alert!
From an email from the Asylum Street Spankers:

Hey guys, Believe it or not we are struggling to hold on to our Bottom of the Hill show on April 2. The manager of the club seems a little nervous, so I need help.

If everyone of you in the bay area would e-mail Anthony Bonet at antbooking@earthlink.net and let him know how desperate you are to see the Spankers, how no earthquake, overpriced cover or difficult parking could keep you away, then maybe we'll see you guys.

Also, pass the word. We really need to inundate this guy with e-mail or it may be another year before we see our bay area friends.

Thanks, John, the evil manager

February 8, 2000
Judge not, lest ye be judged.
Never having been much for that aphorism, I've accepted a role to review the entrants of the 5k, a wee competition for best Web design limited to 5 kilobytes.

What I Learned at Dave Eggers' reading.
That my home needs a smoke detector. (Maybe two!)
That 15 Crescent City residents died in a tsunami caused by the 1964 Alaska earthquake.
Who Lucy Thomas really is.
That Dave Eggers is a *big* hit with cute San Fran smarty-pants hipster girls.

Tangled Web. A nifty Java applet visualizes the sundry connections between the leading players in the internet industry. Click and drag!

February 7, 2000
The McSweeney's Representative is in town! Any other SF'ers heading tomorrow to A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books to see Dave Eggers read?

February 6, 2000
I'm very happy to be home.

A dictionary for pronounciation.
The word "evil" ought to be pronounced as if being uttered by a mad elderly woman rocking in a chair on the porch of a dilapidated house in a post-apocalyptic rural town. "Eeee-villl. EEEE-vill!!!" Wild cackling is appropriate.

February 4, 2000
Coupla talks. So, I've spoken on User-Centered Design and Search Design here at WebNYC. Many thanks to those who pointed me to interesting search interfaces!