An analysis of menu structures and their usefulness in Cellular Handset Interfaces (pdf) [via nooface]. Suggests ways of improving the interface for novice and expert users, from three angles: the user has to be aware of their position on the interface map and how they move in it (more options visible; animation feedback); options have to be categorised correctly (a ringtones menu, or a settings menu?); novice users have to feel comfortable exploring the map without fear of accidental changes. Also, is this the correct form of UI? How about using WML (the markup language behind WAP) to allow editable, non-hierarchic interfaces? This is where I feel the paper falls down -- it's the query vs hierarchy (or association vs location) problem. Just because hierarchy doesn't work brilliantly doesn't mean it should be thrown away completely. The problem with building association into the phone is that it replaces a human process (the brain is good at association) with an automatic one, which is bound to fail. But I'm getting off the point: A couple of days ago I saw a phone with the colour screen. And a swimming fish screensaver. O! The onward march of progress!
Korbo, Lorbo, Jeetbo.
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English words are connected by three degrees of separation, following links in a thesaurus [via pop-up toaster]. The original paper has more to say: "We study this issue quantitatively, by mapping out the conceptual network of the English language, with the connections being defined by the entries in a Thesaurus dictionary" (Topology of the conceptual network of language). It's a small world!
God damn Riothero is being updated again. This man is funny. Read about the Canada geese, about half way down.
"Still, if life gives you 48DD melons, make 48DD melonade". Dan's latest Upsideclown is bloody brilliant. Read Skin Mag.
Shazam is mighty impressive. I've been playing with it recently, and it's true: in a louded, crowded pub I can hold my phone on my hand for twenty seconds and I'm sms'd with the name and artist of the music, and the album it's from. What's more, it's consistently fast enough to be a part of a conversation, not just a thing on it's own. And for only 50p. So. I'm impressed with the audio-processing technology. But this is only the start, right?
And an always-on phone could operate as a permanent lie detector, giving a discrete buzz when the conversation dropped below a certain truth threshold. Now that would change the world. Especially if it was accompanied by a little Jimmy Nail avatar saying "she's lyin'" every time.
Linguistics is a whole lot broader than I realised. In the Conventionalist view of knowledge, there's a gulf between the objective universe (a deep structure we can never know) and subjective truth. This pulls together science, the nature of reality and how we know things. And given this has to live in Popper's World Three, cultural knowledge, this construct needs to be communicated: linguistics. Our reality and how we talk about it are actually closer than our reality and objective reality. It all seems so now, so absolute fucking whitecap of the now-wave. It's important! This is how I consider the universe! This is how I've grown up! It's poetry, that this all touches me so deeply.
And so maybe as well as a metaphor coherence within language, maybe there's a kind of meta-coherence between knowledge, reality, linguistics. All these parallels: maps and territories [thanks jo], words and the is-ness, Worlds One and Three. So, once upon a time, when the prevailing theory of knowledge was Justificationist and our experiences were one-and-the-same-as objective truth, this would have ramifications across reality itself. No wonder they all believed in god so completely. A mental experience is the same as truth.
There's more! Maybe before people only did experience a small part of reality. We were powerless against nature. But how our experiences do indeed feed back on reality. It's obvious our conceptions aren't the same as truth, or as each other's. We overlap, we interfere more. We live epic, massive lives. Telluric forces. Our interaction with Earth is of relativistic proportions where we can no longer be Newtonian Justificationists, our contribution to reality is such that by observing we change. The noösphere is thickening.
Beautiful solar flare [BBC News] yesterday. The SOHO Project (that's the NASA 'site), as well as having a realtime measure of the solar wind on their front page (8.05 p/cm^3 at 395 km/s right now), have an impressive gallery of sun images. The current pick of the week is the same sun image as shown on the BBC article, with a high-resolution version also available (I'm guessing the page might be archive here, eventually).
The validity about the dynamist/stasist paradigm as a world-view is currently being debated. Nick Sweeney takes the opposing view and points me at One Market Under God which shows how the original conception of the paradigm was biased in the first place.
George Perec's world's longest palindrome [via Dorian, in email]. What would be a good name for a Perec Transformer? (And clarifying there, that's "Transformer" as in the robot cartoon thing. Nothing too difficult today.)
E-Prime excites Jamie Maltby a little too much [in email]: "and so close to the transformers links on your site. imagine optimus e-prime, a transforming truck who never used the verb 'to be'". Well, quite.
(A little more on a theory of knowledge.) Some basic ideas of General Semantics are the map not being the territory, words being abstractions, and a dynamism when regarding truths (something called time-binding that humans are able to do, understand that we fit into a progression, "We can see our own organizations, our society as a whole, as in a stage of development"). Some more definitions of General Semantics reveals it to be a neo logical positivism -- and in terms of the theory of knowledge, it fits well with Popper.
As if to close more loops the Non-allness property of words in this theory means my comments about E-Prime driving closer to the is-ness seem pretty spot on. And Clay Shirky's pointer towards the world being divided between dynamists and statists is deeper than I first though: dynamists accept our ability to time-bind and, delving into Popper again, live with a time-evolving cultural knowledge. Statists don't. Fascinating.
Now I know (is that knowledge in World Two? Or Three?) that if you read my posts at the end of today, Monday, it'll look like I've been exploring just the one topic. But actually E-Prime and Popper, oh and the Long Now, all started independently, to be brought together just now. Synchronicitously.
Decision making for the commons, a scalable method of voting to prohibit parties, lobbying, and to encourage inclusiveness: Liquid Democracy [thanks Ed M]. It'd be interesting to see this in action on a community 'site, somewhere with limited resources.
"What if the word 'is' didn't exist?" Try E-Prime: English without the verb "to be". See also Working with E-Prime, including Why. Interesting. A way of forcing you away from words that already describe what you're talking about and towards a suite of words that describe aspects, a net of pointers, each one cutting to the heart of the haecceity [thanks Jo Walsh, tangentially].
More about the Long Now: Layers of Time [via blackbeltjones, in conversation]. A bit of context helps: that diagram is a current-day thinking of progress illustration (some interesting projects and frameworks on that Long Now page, by the way). Is time World One? Or World Three?
Karl Popper's Approach to Knowledge places Popper in the field of beliefs (a Revolutionary Conventionalist, apparently) and outlines his classification of knowledge into three worlds: One is of objective truth; Two is of subjective understanding; World Three emerges out of the two before and is the cultural truth, accepted knowledge, myth I guess. Okay, so I'd like to explore World Three a little more. Any resources, thoughts, let me know.
More on that taxonomy of metatheories of knowledge (that's a better link): It looks like Conventionalists don't believe that observations are necessarily equivalent to objective truth. The Revolutionary Conventionalists put a feedback loop in here -- our basic assumptions affect our experiences; it's our experiences that we use to build our assumptions (I think I've got this right, and: I can go with that).
Merge this with cultural truths and World Three and I guess you have a time-evolving reality. At which point I have to collapse back, having over-reached, and say: what kind of truth/reality do we mean here? Does my cultural knowledge really affect the existence of stars in the night sky? How much?
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How any of the Big 3 could own connected products, Pricing hardware and changing business models, Orbits and hardware, BERG Cloud press, Testing, Facebook should make a camera, Instagram for webpages, and Ze Frank on ugly.
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