Monday, October 30, 2006

Ok, slightly different topic...

The universe is a big place. Impossibly large in fact. This video does an interesting job of putting into perspective the size of the universe:

But. Something occured to me watching it. Something I once saw as a child. The words of a song...

"So remember when you’re feeling very small and insecure
How amazing and unlikely is your birth
And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere out in space
‘Cause there’s bugger all down here on earth."

Ok, actually it's the first two lines there. The most impressive thing about the video is not the awesome reaches of space, but the kid singing with complete abandon into his web cam! A life being lived. Pretty cool!


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What have you done to make it better?

"When you hear that a Japanese library is about to start using palm-vein technology to recognise the borrowers taking out its books, what is your instinctive reaction? Do you think, how marvellous - I've spent years worrying that someone might nick my identity and start taking out Anita Desai and Agatha Christie under my name? Or do you think, hang on a minute - that plastic library card has really been no hassle, and I really don't want to find myself living in the tracking and surveillance world of Minority Report?"

This, for me, highlights one of those critical elements in information technology. We get caught up in the wonderfully fantastic things we can do. Look at the cool technology we can bring to bear on this. How amazing!

 But whats the point? How often do we stop and ask where the benefit is? We can design many many cool pieces but if it doesn't solve a real problem for users then who's time are we wasting? Theirs or ours?

Or to put it another way; If it's not broken, don't fix it!

[Ref:,,1923240,00.html Jenni Russell]