BitTorrent looks like a good

BitTorrent looks like a good solution for making large files available (it makes each downloader a P2P server for others to download the file), but here’s my question: it doesn’t seem to solve the problem of, say, 1 download an hour of 50 Meg. That download will come from your server, and you’ll still build up quite a large bandwith bill over time. It only works when more people download stuff concurrently, because the bitTorrent client will be open on their computer and P2P will start working. Is this interpretation correct?

Dan Saffer is persuing a

Dan Saffer is persuing a Master’s degree in Interaction Design at Carnegie Mellon University and will be keeping a blog about the experience. Should be good for the ones amongst us who would like to go back to school but can’t gather the courage to make the move.

The IWIPS conference (2003, 17-19

The IWIPS conference (2003, 17-19 of July in Berlin) this year looks not so interesting: the same talks that have been given there (Dray Associates, Aaron Marcus) for years – the same preoccupation with Hofstede. But this one may be worth the trip: “Guidelines have become an established aid to the development of usable user interfaces. In this paper we examine the validity of guidelines across cultures, suggesting that they are specific to the culture in which they were developed. We go on to suggest that the ability of Design Patterns to encapsulate context, and give examples of solutions that have proven to be successful in that context, may be a more effective aid to the design of culturally localised software.”

I visited Belgium last week

I visited Belgium last week and gave a talk (that’s me and Peter Bogaards in them pictures) about Information Architecture at the Belgium chapter of the Society For Technical Communication.

I found out that IA in Belgium (and most of Europe) stands nowhere. The UK is ok. Holland seems to have a bit of IA going on – they have an information design tradition to build on. But Belgium has nothing – this was the first event discussing IA in Belgium I was told. (!) It may be because design is taught and perceived as an art in Belgium, in art academies. There seems to be little understanding of design as having anything to do with research, or as an analytical activity.

That’s too bad. Belgium hosts much of Europe’s institutions, and they sure could use some IA. At the talk, there was lots of interest from decision makers – managers from various levels obviously struggle with IA problems, and seem to have a feeling that this “IA” thing might have some answers.

There is also almost no user centered design in Belgium. I spoke with Vero Vanden Abeele who turns out to be the only person teaching user centered design in Belgium. I hope we catch up. I did get some business cards from a few consultants who seem to be doing some IA-like stuff, but I have to look into that a bit more. On the pro side of it all: if I ever (not for a while!) decided to go work in Belgium, the place seems ripe for some good IA’s and UCD people.