essay

Designing for Longevity vs. Continuous Consumption

a happenstance case study and tangent

A recent encounter with a discarded stove allowed me to think about what could’ve been or perhaps could be in a more sustainable future – if we could build consumer goods to last, end discontinuation, or use more standardized interchangeable parts.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a “before” picture of what my stove looked like a couple months ago, but here’s an oblique one from a few years ago.
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UX Ethics. Yeah, Yeah — so how do we get there?

Ethics has emerged as a common discussion topic and concern for user experience practitioners. It makes sense. As technology has gotten more advanced over the past decade with massive platform infrastructures in place and growing implementations of AI/ML, technologies have grown very powerful. The pressure to grow profits is relentless. Competition between products is fierce. And client partners who want to use these technologies have more money and power with motives to increase both. You know those movies where the protagonist is a quirky genius inventor and the bad guy is an evil CEO or military general ready to exploit their findings once they see it work? Here we are.

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Watching Eraserhead Twice

If anything is a big influence on me, it’s David Lynch. He’s really into presenting something but not explaining it. It’s just ‘This is an image, this is an idea, isn’t it cool?’ — Black Francis

Art is a strange place for a teen, which is often the point. There is the budding inclination to look for *something else*. You can get stuck in the infinite searching trap, looking for what’s next or what’s weird, and gradually congeal into the much-maligned hipster. Or you can follow the promise of art and find something that speaks to you – or shows you something you need to see.

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Political Theater

Stephen Colbert expanded the constraints of reality with the following testimony in a house committee on immigration.

https://www.c-span.org/video/standalone/?295639-1/immigrant-farm-workers

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Sustainable Interaction Design

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
– Einstein

I’ve spent the past few weeks collecting thoughts on the Valerie Casey keynote at SXSW, but it got too complicated. So instead, here’s a bunch of stuff I found insightful or inspiring in the process (followed by some thoughts on how to move forward)…

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Norman Rockwell Reconsidered

Triple Self-Portrait by Norman Rockwell, 1959

A recent Vanity fair article on Norman Rockwell suggests he might come to new relevance given our current economic and cultural hangover. Like many artists, he sought to materialize an idealized vision that didn’t quite exist. A recent book (Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera, by Ron Schick) shows his photographic studies compared to his finished works to shed some light on what exactly he was adding. The fact that it’s optimistic and mundane seems to have put it at odds with our ‘traditional’ understanding of art and artists for the past 150 years, usually more driven towards the extreme, difficult, painful, stylized, elite, dramatic, and fantastical (or preferably all of the above).

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