Archive for February, 2008

The User Illusion

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

User Illusion

Back in grad school, my Physical Computing professor Dan O’Sullivan recommended we read the book The User Illusion: Cutting Consciousness Down to Size by Tor Norretranders. That was in the spring of 2001. I finished the book yesterday. In general, I’m much timelier completing my assignments, but I didn’t really understand at the time why we were assigned a book on consciousness in a class that dealt with breadboards and Basic stamps. I was more interested in figuring out how to ground my board than read some guy’s thesis on the state of our minds. I found the book recently in an attempt to clean out my bookcase, and decided to give it a go.

Discussing everything from Gödel to the moral models of Judaism and Christianity to fractals, Norretranders presents the idea that consciousness is a manufactured state of being. It was part of our evolution as humans, but we’ve come to rely on it far too much. Consciousness is just a map of our world, when really, we should be discovering the actual world itself.

And now I understand why it was assigned. Consciousness is only a minuscule fraction of the information we are ingesting every day. As designers of new media, we should think about how we can design experiences that can touch all parts of the human brain. And as humans, we should try to get in touch with those other parts. Consciousness is seriously overrated.

Interaction Design: What’s it All About?

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008


David Malouf has written a nice article on the state of Interaction Design for Core 77, and includes some handy resources. In it, he lists my alma mater, ITP, as one of three programs to study IxD. More specifically, he lists Carnegie Mellon’s program and University of Kansas’s just-launched program as “True” programs, with ITP as a “Possible Substitute” (quoth another alum: “So we’re the margarine of Interaction Design?”).

Rethinking, Renewing, Reshaping, Renewing

Monday, February 11th, 2008


Last Thursday, I presented iVOTE! at the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Annual Statewide Conference in Chicago, titled “Rethinking, Renewing, Reshaping, Renewing.” Aside from a very entertaining lunchtime presenter, Angela Andrews, I also learned quite a bit from the session on the Future of NCLB presented by Melina Wright of the Illinois State Board of Education. Considering what the Clinton camp is saying about NCLB, it will be interesting to see how the law will play into the campaigning and what will happen after we get a new president. There seems to be a whole lot of “rethinking” going on.

iVOTE! ‘08 Primary Election

Monday, February 4th, 2008
The iVOTE! ‘08 Primary Election is in full swing!  Students in grades K through 20 are invited to vote for the Presidential candidate they feel best addresses their concerns.  C’mon and VOTE!