2001 Year in Review

Wow! 2001 was an exceptional year:

George W. Bush became president in a truly disgusting display of disregard for the idea of “one man, one vote.” My sister came to visit. I attended Intel’s Human Centered Product Innovation 2 Conference. Apple released Mac OS X. Intel paid me to quit my job. I turned 26 years old. I started work as an Interaction Designer at Stanford University. I went home to New York and surprised everyone at our family reunion. The World Trade Towers were destroyed by terrorists. The United States went to war. Chad, Christina, Elan and I did usability testing on Movable Type. I released version 3 of bradlauster.com. I took “The History and Philosophy of Design” at Stanford and interviewed Bill Verplank, Bill Moggridge, Gitta Salomon, Janice Fraser, Robert Reimann, Alan Cooper, Aaron Marcus and Hugh Dubberly for a paper I’m (still) working on.

For another take on the year, check out Google’s Zeitgeist 2001.

My Phd Thesis?

I woke from a freaky recurring dream at 6:15 this morning. It was this dream I have where I go into a little store – it feels like it’s in San Francisco. It’s full of things that interest me – digital gadgets, books on design and the like. I distinctly recall seeing a book written by Rebecca Blood.

Tonight the shop keep actually spoke to me (he looked a bit like Jeff Veen, you know – with the goatee – which is weird because I’ve never met Jeff Veen). Anyway, he said, “Oh, Brad, I’m really interested in your Phd thesis about how capturing moments digitally is useless because people don’t recall experiences in the ways we think they do.”

The even freakier thing is that I had a response (though I can’t remember what I said…damn!). It’s very rare that I hear people talking in my dreams. It’s even more rare that I respond. By the way, I know what the shop keep said about my Phd thesis doesn’t really make any sense – it’s a dream…let it slide.

Ok, I HAVE to know…what do you think this means?

Continue reading “My Phd Thesis?”

Business Week Best Products of 2001

Some of the products in Business Week’s Best Products of 2001 are wonderful new looks at existing products (Bounty-in-a-box, Equator’s Round Refrigerator), some are really lame (there’s nothing exciting or innovative about the new TrailBlazer) and still others prove once-and-for-all that Business Week truly is Microsoft’s little bitch (Pocket PC 2002, Windows XP and the Xbox).

I think I disagree, rather than agree, with a majority of their choices – and the interface to cycle through the pages is terrible (tiny little text links) – but I figured I’d post it anyway, since it was listed as being on page 116 of the issue Selena got the in the mail today, but pages 115 through 126 were curiously missing.

Ethnography: a new form of research?

Thomas Vanderwal pointed me to, “Bus ride to the future“, a BBC article about some research Intel is doing in London.

The funny thing to me was this line: “Ms Bell is part of a group of psychologists, anthropologists and social scientists working for Intel on a new form of industry research called ethnography.”

Obviously, there’s nothing new about ethnography, though the idea of Intel doing ethnographic research may be.

I’m posting this as a reminder that we still have a long way to go before the idea of research for design becomes common knowledge.

Selecting napkins

For the first time in a very very very long time, the amount of napkins I pulled from the dispenser (before I ate my burrito) was the same as the number of napkins I actually used – four.

How big do you think the wordwide market is for a napkin dispenser that makes it easy to grab four napkins at once? One million units? One billion?

I think I’ve got a winning idea here!