The Anoto Pen

Finally, a technology I can really get behind: The Anoto Pen

This fabulous little gizmo records everything you write, while you write it! No more lugging your laptop over to the conference room, or to that cubicle on the other side of campus, to capture notes during your contextual inquiry.

…just write them with this pen (on the special paper) and beam it to your computer when you get back. Wonderful!

Not convinced yet? They’ve even got user scenarios on their web site!


I’m getting ready to start building my computer this weekend.

For the most part, I’ve already decided what I want, but I’m going to wander around Fry’s today anyway. I guess I just need to flaunt the geek in me.

Why would I want to build a computer anyway? Remember what I said about the geek in me? Besides, it’s just so much cheaper to build my own machine and put Linux on it. No sense in spending money on Microsoft Windows and Office if I’m not going to use them anyway.

So your next question is probably: Why Linux? Well, besides the fact that I can get it for free, there’s also my deep seated disgust with Microsoft’s business practices and buggy products. In the area of my own interests though, the Linux community is really starting to do some cool interface work. Eazel’s project, Nautilus, is one of the most interesting.

Back to building a computer…

Here are the current planned base components:
The Case – I’m a sucker for that translucent plastic crap
The Motherboard – by Intel, of course
The Processor – 933 MHz, perhaps?
The Hard Drive – 20 Gig. seems like a good place to start.

I should also mention that I still want a Mac. More specifically, I REALLY want to play around with Mac OS X. Fact is, I can start playing around with Linux for a lot less $$, than I can Mac OS X. I’m also still holding out for OS X on Intel architecture. You’ve signed the OS X on Intel petition, right?


I went to the SFSU Bookstore this evening. They have Mac’s on display. I am now quite sure that I want one of these, with one of these.

…and to think, I work for Intel. I suppose I ought to be ashamed of myself, right? Not likely!

Although my wanting a Mac can’t be blamed solely on Intel, it can in part. Don’t believe me? Consider this:

Intel has long worked to perpetuate the idea that a PC is just a box of parts. Only recently (after the iMac turned out to be an enormous success) did Intel take steps to change this perception (see Intel’s Easy of Use concept PC’s).

The campaign bombed though. Only a few PC makers had the balls to release a “stylish” computer (Dell’s WebPC, for example) and they all failed. They weren’t successful because PC makers have engrained the idea that a PC is just a box of parts, so deep into the psyche of their customers that even they were unable to convince them otherwise.

Apple, on the other hand, seems to have always focused on -or at least, marketed- the idea that their products are things of value.

This all brings up an interesting point: don’t underestimate the power of your brand. This was essentially the idea behind the Crave conference, which incidentally, I missed.

Did anyone attend? Tell me about it!

Your next OS interface…

I’ve been dreaming a lot about the future of the operating system interface lately, for a number of reasons.

The first is Amiga’s recent release of an SDK for their “next generation” system. A good place to get an introduction to Amiga’s vision is in Issue 1 of Amiga World.

The second reason is the discussions I’ve been involved in over at …trying to get programmers to think about computer interfaces in terms other than “desktops” and “windows” is TOUGH!

The third is the work that Eazel is doing on their Nautilus project. Check out these screen shots. From what I can tell, it’s a zoomable interface for Linux.

The last is Mike Pell’s, StraightFace column. Required reading alert! Mike thinks his first column, “The Desktop is Dead. Deal with it…” is required reading for us designers. I tend to agree.

Addendum: 08/25/2000 12:00:00 PM
I just read this again, and realized that I completely forgot to mention all the great work that Apple is doing on Mac OS X.