On Thursday, May 2, I’ll be speaking at Rutgers University Camden as part of Finding Your Voice, a series of talks about keeping a sense of purpose, creativity and integrity in today’s professional environment. (more…)
Like many boys, when I was about ten years old, baseball was the most important thing in my life. I could name every professional who played that year, collected cards with whatever money I earned, and played for both my elementary school and the local little league. Despite hours spent drilling each night and putting in more work than almost any of my peers, I was average at best.
The league all-star was Denny Walls. I remember him well. I tried to look him up recently, to no avail. Though he was only a kid, he looked like a grown man—at least in my memory. He could hit home runs, was an all-star pitcher, and could outrun anyone else in the league. I remember thinking about him once when I was back in my yard after a game, throwing a ball against the pitch-back net my mom bought me. I wondered what I was doing wrong that he was doing right. (more…)
I am not a scientist, but as I understand it, science works like this: you first come up with a theory, and then set out to test it (as objectively as possible, of course).
That said, I propose a theory: The Jeopardy contestant who writes their name the largest is disproportionately likely to win the game.
I started to notice this a few years ago, but kept it to myself. After all, I’m not a regular watcher of the show, or any game show for that matter. Eventually, I began boldly predicting the winners before games started, and was enjoying an unusual amount of success in doing so.
After catching the show quite a few more times over the years, I can say that while it’s certainly not a sure thing, I’m willing to bet that the largest-name player wins measurably more often than the one-third of the time that randomness would suggest. (more…)
The epicenter of a national emergency seems an appropriate place from which to write a blog post on preparedness. I am currently burrowed in my home during one of the largest storms ever recorded. The sky is black, my sump pump is working overtime, and the wind sounds like a chorus of ghosts clamoring to enter my back door. Power is intermittent, and we are occasionally plunged into darkness and analog silence punctuated only by the nature’s rage. It looks apocalyptic, and so, let’s discuss the apocalypse. (more…)
Some of my favorite days are those surreal, twenty-two-plus-waking-hour anomalies that occur when you’ve traveled by air and arrive at your destination in the early morning (destination time).
For example, imagine that you wake at 7AM, go through a normal day, fly out at 7PM (heading west), and arrive at your destination at 7AM. There you meet with friends, family, professional contacts or the like, and continue on without sleeping. You find a second wind. A third. A fourth. (more…)
Over the course of my professional life, I’ve been asked quite a few times to explain the idea/importance of User Experience (UX) Design to a person with no prior experience in the matter. Based on my professional background, this was usually in reference to web application development, but the core idea behind UX both originated from and continues to branch well beyond digital media. As anyone in the field would surely argue, it’s a many-faceted discipline that involves the marriage of both traditionally “left-brained” (problem solving) and “right brained” skills, as well as the ability to empathize with the challenges faced by a theoretical end user. I’ve found that it’s often difficult to convey the nature or importance of the discipline, as many of the most successful interfaces the average person comes across are — due to their very intuitive nature — some of the the least noticed. As Donald Norman, author of The Design of Everyday Things and Living With Complexity might argue, sometimes a User Interface is only noticeable when it fails to be intuitive. (more…)
I had a conversation recently that caused me to think back to an incident that occurred in my life quite a while ago. If you’re feeling particularly Scooby-Doo- or Hardy Boys-ish, this blog post may also be referred to as “Matthew Canning and the Case of the Disappearing Cavities.”
A few years ago, I moved into an area outside Philadelphia, and, after a few months, decided it was time to visit a dentist. I wanted to find someone local, as my previous dentist was now about forty-five minutes away. I searched online, and arbitrarily chose a practice that was both close to my home and received good reviews. (more…)
A recent installment of Randall Munroe’s massively popular webcomic, XKCD, featured the following joke:
More interesting than the comic, however, was the text that displayed when hovering over the comic: “Wikipedia trivia: if you take any article, click on the first link in the article text not in parentheses or italics, and then repeat, you will eventually end up at ‘Philosophy’.” (more…)
The time of the traditional blog, as we know it, has essentially come and gone.
For centuries, authorship was reserved for those who in some way proved that their work was worthy of the costly and resource-intensive publication and distribution processes. The traditional blog was ushered out when — realizing that there was no way to stop every idiot from publishing his or her every thought on the web — the collective informally decided to stop paying attention after 140 characters. In the short interim, the blog flourished. (more…)