A Long, Long Time Ago, I was having a conversation with a supergeek that took a wild tangential swing into the subjects of mathematics, music and the Golden Ratio.
Apparently, the relationship between a standard ‘break’ and rebuild, in tracks that are considered hits, is phi. This correlates strongly with something known as the ‘Amen Break’. Immerse yourself in a delightfully geeky and slightly subversive journey through teh interwebs, starting here.
Posted in thinking aloud.
– October 26, 2011
BBC News Magazine. Alain De Botton on why more information might mean we know less: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12191104
Posted in quicklinks.
– January 16, 2011
I heard an interesting article on the radio today about readability, and recall:
Neuroscience blogger Jonah Lehrer discusses his own gut feeling that we remember ugly fonts much more easily.
Which got me thinking about where ‘depth of processing’ as an effort/recall phenomenon ran into ‘extraneous cognitive load’, as you do.
In summary: Jonah was thinking aloud about how information presented with a serif typeface is easier to recall than information in sans-serif; as our mind has to ‘work harder’ to process the information – and that ‘work’ may imprint the information deeper. There was a fun, unscientific test with the interviewer which supported Jonah’s feelings.
Thinking aloud – there must be a sliding scale where cognitive load moves from lowest/shallow processing, to highest/cognitive overload – with an optimum/learnable sweet spot inbetween:
It also made me ponder whether the ‘kindle effect’ as Jonah describes may also have something to do with our learned screen-reading behaviour – which is primarily to hunt, to scan. We’re learning to skip across large amounts of data to find relevant points – and it’s only natural to assume the brain becomes accustomed to dumping most of what we skim – or we would be overloaded.
How much of what you read on paper persists longer than info on-screen, I wonder?
Posted in thinking aloud.
– January 13, 2011
My recent holiday had one pitfall. That is, when I packed my bags I had grand plans for sketching some beautiful scenery on a Greek island, and I packed a ‘kit’ that had every type of pen and pencil I could possibly need, and a pad.
That kit was retrieved from the luggage halfway through the holiday, and used twice. This was a cause for immense frustration and embarrassment.
Why? I’m so rusty, so out of practice, that my sketches seemed naive and clumsy, full of errors. Like the kind of thing that wouldn’t even pass GCSE art. A sketch of the boat I hired the previous day was attempted twice. The first was scratchy and over-corrected. The second (in ink) bled into the paper and was uncontrolled.
Another – of a rocky coastline – was so half-hearted I didn’t even finish.
It’s terrible when you try and get back into this. So much over the last 5 years has been directly into software using a tablet, that I’ve slacked off from the traditional. This needs to change.
I just read an article by Jason Robb on UXBooth. This led me to buy Bill Buxton’s book ‘Sketching User Experiences’, but this paragraph by Jason struck home:
If you’re avoiding sketching because your sketches aren’t pretty, rest assured you’re not alone. I recommend breaking the habit by making 1 sketch, every day. Pick an object in your environment and draw it. Don’t erase and don’t be too critical. Do that for a month, and I guarantee you’ll be a better sketcher in 30 days.
I’m seriously considering accepting this challenge.
Posted in art.
– October 7, 2009
Brilliant. Out in the middle of absolutely nowhere. On a small Ionian island with 500 inhabitants and 4 million olive trees. An ex-Venetian fishing village.
And we have wireless broadband that puts Virgin Media’s poxy 50mbps to shame. In every small village. Free of charge.
Should that be encouraging, or sad? I’m forcing myself not to update my facebook status every day, and my wife has asked me to stop uploading gloat photos of white beaches and fishing boats.
Ah well. Back on Tuesday. At least the Blackberry doesn’t work out here.
Posted in relaxation.
– October 2, 2009
In a ‘speakaloud’ approach to blog creation, I just wangled my way through a potentially confusing aspect to setting up a blog.
If you want decent stats (my hosting provider’s dashboard is overkill) and choose to use the wordpress stats plugin – or if you want to use the Akismet spam plugin – you need an API key.
So where do you get that from? Is it in the wordpress welcome email (like it should be)? No. Is it hiding somewhere in your settings, or on the dashboard? No.
You have to create a wordpress.com account, and it’s given to you. That’s right – a separate account on the wordpress-hosted domain you avoided by self-hosting in the first place. This is only a mini-rant, I’m sure there are good reasons why this is the case, but if you want to understand the whole picture, save yourself a Google and read all about getting an API key here (Thanks Jeff).
Posted in setup.
– September 7, 2009