The Rise of "Synthespians"

“Mr. Serkis is the human actor behind the computer-generated (CG) character Gollum, a wizened Hobbit who’s part manlike, part evil beast. More than just giving voice to the character, Serkis provided all its movements and facial expressions, which were later ‘painted over’ by animators.” Gregory M. Lamb –The Rise of “Synthespians”CS Monitor) Gollum is a Hobbit? Tolkien hints at the possibility, but in the book it remains only a hint.…

Usability Testing: Quick Tips for Designing Tests

I’ve worked hard on this document; can you help me meet my deadline? Please tell me what you like about it — I’ll feel so affirmed and flattered. If you get stuck, or hesitate, I will tell you what to do, so we can get through this testing faster. If you start making any serious suggestions, my face will cloud over with a look of pain, since I don’t want…

How important is the look 'n' feel of your website?

“The look ‘n’ feel of your website is important. However, it is less important than your text-based content. In most commercial websites, the role of the traditional graphic designer is relatively minor. The role of the information architect is central. The role of the editor and author is critical.” Gerry McGovern –How important is the look ‘n’ feel of your website?GerryMcGovern.com) Note that McGovern is not claiming that design is…

The Virtual Skinner Box

“EverQuest has a decidedly constructive and cooperative tone to it. There is no blood in the game. No disemboweled intestines splatter on your screen. Instead, players often find themselves chatting while waiting for a mob to spawn. The ranger may be fletching as he recounts a particularly close battle. The warrior chugs some Dwarven Ale. There may be some emotes with playful, sexual overtones. In contrast with Quake or Diablo,…

No pilgrims, just fury and frustration in the deserted town of Bethlehem

“There were no pilgrims this chill, rainy Christmas in the little West Bank town where Jesus Christ was born, no decorated tree, no foreign choirs carolling in Manger Square.” Eric Silver –No pilgrims, just fury and frustration in the deserted town of BethlehemIndependent) An extremely sad quote from a Bethlehem merchant: “The only people we make a living from these days are the journalists.”

Battle of the Bones

Anthropologists have long looted the gravesites of native peoples in the name of science — and profit. But the recent trend to return those remains for reburial is not always welcomed by the cultures involved. “Far from being led by Native communities, the trend towards repatriation is driven by intellectuals on the cultural left, and endorsed by the key cultural and political institutions in mainstream Western society. It is a…

The Official Rock, Paper, Scissors Strategy Guide

From the FAQ page: “7. Does Rock crush Scissors or is Scissors dulled by Rock?There is no clear answer to that question. Younger and aggressive (or American) players tend to favour the Rock crushing Scissors view. More liberal-minded players take the view that scissors are dulled by the Rock. The World RPS Society created a task force in 1987 with a hope of eventually resolving the issue but it has…

Blogs Make the News

“In May, when pro-Palestinian activists attacked a group of Hillel students at San Francisco State University, the national press took no notice; there was a small mention in the May 12 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle, nothing more. But bloggers — led by Richmond, Virginia, freelance writer Meryl Yourish — piled on the story…. On May 14, blogger James Lileks mentioned it in a nationally syndicated newspaper column for…

Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 2002

“As the Web grows, websites continue to come up with ways to annoy users. Following are ten design mistakes that were particularly good at punishing users and costing site owners business in 2002.” Jakob Nielsen –Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 2002UseIT) Quibble: Stating that “websites continue to come up with ways to annoy users” is misleading, since none of the “mistakes” is really new. Still, I did particularly like…