Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mapping help

My mother called from her cousin's home in Bethesda, MD. They want to drive from Jean's home to the Bethesda Station and want good directions. Mom called me and asked for help finding a map online. I described the procedure but it includes several steps. I used Google Maps to find the address and captured the link and created an email message to send the link. But it turns out that the link is so long, that the email program breaks it into at least 3 lines. Since it requires that they reassemble the link (fraught with challenges), I simplified it by creating a simple link here: directions to Bethesda Station.

Her browser did not render the link so she could not see the map (old browser or javascript not enabled?). I ended up cutting the directions from the map page and pasting them into an email message and sending it to Jean's address. They won't have the visual but the text will be accurate. The concept appeals but useability still lags. I forget too easily how much tacit understanding we bring to the interface.

Cradle to cradle learning

Sally Loughlin and I have traded recommendations for professional development reading for several months. Most recently she suggested one outside of our normal boxes: Cradle to Cradle by McDonough and Braungart. They offer an appealing new approach to design of a wide range of artifacts from buildings to communities and books to cars. The TED Conference invited McDonough to present to their meeting and recently published the 20-minute video of his presentation:

The video complements the text-based presentation of the book well so I wanted Sally to know about the video introduction. I could have sent the link to her but chose this post as a better alternative. It is part of my efforts to move from channels to platforms for collaboration.
McDonough presented a user produced video clip of an earlier dialog. He honors the remix culture. How do these principles apply to our work? We already aspire to life-long learning but find difficulty in doing it because of competition for our time and attention. What can we stop doing to make time for this important work?

Note: RSS readers and Google Readers send this post as an email message do not render the embedded video. Since the link is buried in the embedded text, readers need to "View the original" to find the video or link.

Friday, June 8, 2007

More incentive for dissemination of feeds and reading

In a recent post, Viral dissemination of feeds and reading, I described how Google Reader can help with dissemination of better communication and collaboration practices.
"This 'Email an item from Google Reader' tool seems like it can help encourage use of feeds and readers."

They provided another incentive recently by adding the ability to take your reading off-line. With the click of a button in reader, your browser downloads enough blog posts to a local database to keep you busy for hours catching up on reading that you could not get to in the office.

The way they have implemented reading off-line is even more interesting because it sets up the infrastructure necessary to use a wide range of web apps off-line. The project is currently in beta but it is open-source so I expect that it will develop quickly as external developers provide feedback and new ideas.