Saturday, November 6, 2010

Technique is what you fall back on...

 Excellent video.  You must watch The Kandinsky Effect.  That's why I put it first.

More stuff about PTC's launch of Creo.
  • When PTC's Heppelman says "You're coming with us on this incredible journey.  We're leaving no one behind." Dezignstuff asks "Is that an invitation or a forced march?"
  • Desktop Engineering posted photos from the Creo launch to their Facebook page and more photos on their DE Exchange site.
  • CAD Insider weighs in with this: "Not in my wildest dreams would I have thought PTC would scuttle their product line as they have done."
  • The Beyond PLM blog questions "It will be interesting to see how to sell this strategy [applications and app stores] to engineering software folks." 
  • The CADCAM blog provides a simple overview of the announcement, including background on the product name.   Creo is the Latin root of the word create.
  • upFront.eZine gives a more detailed overview. (I have a hard time imagining a worse name for a publication.)
  • And WorldCAD Access has their say.
OnStartups offers 11 harsh realities of being an entrepreneur.   (#3 You will make less than normal wages for a while.)   The one I find most interesting is "#7 Customers will frustrate you."  Years ago we purchased a bunch of demotivational signs from Dallas-based Despair, Inc.  One of them was titled "Customer Service" and the caption read something like "This job would be great if it weren't for all the customers."  Like all good humor, there's a kernel of truth here.  But often the reason why customers are frustrated is poor communication on your part.  You try and try and try but often you're just not properly setting everyone's expectations.  On the other hand, there are customers who are jerks.  But keep in mind that jerkiness is a relative, not an absolute, quality.  They appear like jerks to you but may be great people in the eyes of others.  That works for you (and me) too.  (OK, there are people who are absolute jerks.)

So, how do you measure customer happiness?  One way is to invest in the customer experience, rather than narrowly focusing on the product and think critically about every interaction they have with your company and optimize that for what the customer is trying to accomplish.  Remember that bit I wrote above about expectations?  Know what your customers are expecting and do your best to match that.

China has a lot of the world's minerals, including 91% of the antimony.
Which country has the world's most valuable materials?  (85% of the world's beryllium comes from the U.S.)  While the large graphic in the magazine was better, this article on Fast Company's web site does a fair job of illustrating who has what.

Here's an interesting idea for a new employee's first day at work - don't show them where the bathrooms are until they check in some code.  Now THAT's motivation.  The color of your toilet is a clue to your home's history.  (Avocado = 1970s)

Those wacky people at Jones Soda have done it now: Bacon Soda.

Winsor McCay, the animator credited with producing the first animated film in 1914 with Gertie the Dinosaur, was also a political cartoonist.  Here's the web site of Fleischer Studios and their animated creations including Betty Boop.

Your web site, Powerpoint, and other graphic design will probably improve if you read these 10 lessons for better coloring from a cartoonist. (I found the lesson on color theory most interesting.)

Alexei Kapterev offers tips on how to avoid Death by PowerPoint.  You should present to "make meaning" which you can only do with passion.   Significance creates passion, passion attracts attention, attention leads to action.

Terrible Choices is a bizarre web site that presents you with two activities, each of which is pretty bad, and asks "which one would you choose?"  (Example: Give a public speech in front of 500,000 people versus A mean 15 year old bully kicks you in the shin for 30 minutes.)

Be sure to watch the video of Boeing's Heliplane.

A chapter closes in the aerospace world: Burt Rutan is retiring.  Just flip the Fly switch and off you go in this version of the flying car.  (Caveat: it's a paramotor, a powered paraglider.)  Even cooler is Boeing's retractable-blade Heliplane.

I'm afraid I'm conditioning you to avoid bulleted lists.
 I've never seen the movie, but now I can make the Inception sound.

This brief slideshow documents how to avoid Google's mistakes when it comes to managing engineers.  (#1 Managers/Team Leaders needed to recognize that they were now in service of their team, not individual contributors.)  What really got my attention was a quote, apparently from an unhappy Google engineer, about incentives: "I got $100 for doing this huge thing.  I can poop $100." I'll let you Google for Joel Spolky's blog post about "incentive pay considered harmful."

So much to read, so little time in which to read it.  I've only read 5 of the 28 resources on 52 Weeks of UX's essential UX reading list.  (Two of my 5 are Edward Tufte's great books.)

"A poet named Shi lived in a stone house..."   And so begins a Chinese story in which every syllable is pronounced "shi".  I verified this with a real live Chinese person who said the story is difficult to recite even for a native speaker.  It must be their version of a very long tongue twister.

 The 2011 Typographic Wall Calendar is a project to make a calendar for the year 2011 out of keyboard keys.

What's in your browser?  Capital One apparently doesn't like Firefox users.  Here's a report that they offer different interest rates depending on which browser you use.  (Firefox 3.5%, Opera 3.1%, Safari 2.7%, Chrome 2.3%)  Internet Explorer has apparently stolen quite a few hours from people's lives.  Over 9,000 years to be more accurate.

The Oatmeal cartoons "the crap we put up with getting on and off an airplane."  (Annoying: removing your shoes, coat, and laptop and putting them into little bins.  More Annoying: The feeling that you have to do this at a thousand miles and hour because of the people behind you.)

 The United States of Movies with each state represented by a film.  Texas is "No Country for Old Men."

Still use #2 pencils?  Have spare cash?  Then try Artisanal Pencil Sharpening.  MLB offers these GigaPan photos of the crowd at each World Series game.  If you attended, find and tag yourself.

Because the subconscious mind is energized when it jumps to the beginning of a new line of text, the optimal line length for your website or blog is 60 characters, or at least within a 50-75 character range.  For web design, this leads to the inevitable conclusion that you should use a fixed rather than liquid layout.  Here are 30 CSS selectors you must memorize.

This is sazipfy: a random word generator.  From Chucky to Clover, evil comes in all sizes. Ever wonder how many kegs of beer equal one human stomach?  Then the Weird Converter is for you.  The museum of burnt food.   Seems my Roomba has a little competition: the Neato XV-11.

The cousin tree helps you keep track of your family relations.

Do you know Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov and how he probably prevented a thermonuclear war?  During the Cuban Missile Crisis he alone among the top ranking officers on a Soviet submarine voted "no" to launching a nuclear torpedo at a U.S. Navy warship.  Another guy who did a good thing via restraint is former Secret Service agent Gerald Blaine who almost shot LBJ within hours of the JFK assassination.  This is why I like the alternate history fiction genre - imagine the potential outcomes.

You either get this joke or you don't.  Aziz Light.  (It literally made me LOL.)

...when you run out of inspiration.  ~Rudolf Nureyev

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