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Colin Johnson’s blog


Archive for January, 2012

Joke (4)

Monday, January 30th, 2012

“Having seen what his friends are like, I’m not too sure that I’d want to meet the fisherman.”

Joke (3)

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Heard a dolphin being interviewed on the radio the other day. It said that the thing that it most wants to do before it dies is swim with terminally-ill humans.

Gestures in Face-to-Face Meetings

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

In large discussions, there seem to be two main ways in which people want to make contributions. The first of these is to introduce a new line of discussion on the current topic; the second is to respond to a recent comment by another speaker. These are both indicated by the same gesture: putting up your hand to get the attention of the facilitator of the meeting.

Most facilitators deal with this in a first-come-first-served fashion: this seems the fairest way of doing it. But, the lack of disambiguation between the two kinds of contributions leads to a seasick-inducing sway between different topics, as people several comments down the line begin their comment with “I’d like to return to what Jessica was saying a few minutes ago” or whatever. Sometimes people attempt to improvise a gesture/expression to convey that they want to speak next, usually in the form of a hand bobbing up and down and a desperate-for-a-piss expression on their face.

We need a more rational system for this. I propose (1) if you want to follow up the previous speaker immediately, then you put your hand up with a single finger extended; (2) if you have a general point, then you put your hand up with all fingers extended. Simples.

Grabbing Attention

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

This advertising image is very clever; making use of a very specific visual image (the “number of new emails” graphic from iOS) as a way of drawing the eye to a specific part of the screen.

ad with iOS new mails graphic

There is clearly a balance here. The image is unremarkable as such, but to people who use iOS devices the attentional grab of the image is large, much more so than a generic “look here!” sort of splash. The other side of the balance is that people unfamiliar with those devices will not get any of the advantage. Presumably a really finessed version of this would deliver a personalised version of the image depending on the device being used.

Things that Seem Perfectly Reasonable to me but which Sound Very OCD when I Actually Write it out (1)

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Looking at a plate with several half-slices of toast and ranking them in order of tastiness so that I can work from the least tasty to the most so that the best one is saved for last.