Archive for August, 2010

No Need for Speed: 20’s Plenty for Us

Earlier this month, the New York City Department of Transportation announced plans to experiment with 20 mph zones — replacing the city’s default 30 mph speed limit in one pilot neighborhood. Whoever gets the first 20 mph treatment will see benefits that residents of British cities and towns have become increasingly familiar with in recent years.

In the UK, some 3 million people live in areas with 20 mph speed limits. The experience there shows that not only do slower speeds save lives, but lowering the limit to 20 mph improves the way local streets function in more ways than one. According to the 20’s Plenty for Us campaign, the change has produced wide-ranging benefits, including less traffic, increased walking and biking, greater independence for children, the elderly and infirm, better health, and calmer driving conditions for motorists.

via Streetfilms | No Need for Speed: 20’s Plenty for Us.

Running on Empty « ross:ching

A few months ago, I discovered Matt Logue’s Empty LA photographs. I didn’t think much about it at the time, but every time I was stuck in rush hour all-hour traffic, I found myself thinking, “What if tomorrow everyone’s car disappeared?”What would that scene look like? How would people react? How quickly would the atmosphere rebound from centuries of fossil fuel emissions?So I took Matt Logue’s still photography concept and applied it to something that I do best — time lapse. I built a story around the idea of us being shackled to this ball and chain; this love-hate relationship with whom we spend so much time with here in LA.

Inspired by Matt Logue’s Empty LA.

Read more about this video at http://rossching.com/running-on-empty

via Running on Empty « ross:ching.

Rescuing Nokia? A former exec has a radical plan [printer-friendly]

Another feature of the modern Nokia bureaucracy, that wasn’t present 15 years ago, is the obsession with data gathering. I remarked that no other company spends us much on ethnography or focus groups, or market segmentation strategies. Turn to almost any page on the website, and you’re invited to fill in an questionnaire.

“Yes, that’s it – and Apple doesn’t do this,” Risku agrees. He highlights one in particular as an example.

“When you have a branded product, the marketing is merely information”

“There is a philosophy called Contextual Design, every designer at Nokia has been trained in it by the guru Karen Holtzblatt [2]. Everybody has attended her courses and got her very expensive book signed. The idea is that you ask the users what they are doing, then design something. If you think about Apple, they don’t ask anybody. The idea of users as designers is a catastrophe!

“It’s only relevant to evolutionary products, it’s not relevant to blue-sky products.When you have a blue-sky product, there are no users, and so there are no users' opinions. We have to rely on what the desires of users are and trust the designers.”

Because the market decides what’s a hit and a flop?

“Yes.”

via Rescuing Nokia? A former exec has a radical plan [printer-friendly] • The Register.

Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS)

Amazon RDS automatically patches the database software and backs up your database, storing the backups for a user-defined retention period. You benefit from the flexibility of being able to scale the compute resources or storage capacity associated with your relational database instance via a single API call. In addition, Amazon RDS allows you to easily deploy your database instance across multiple Availability Zones to achieve enhanced availability and reliability for critical production deployments. As with all Amazon Web Services, there are no up-front investments required, and you pay only for the resources you use.

via Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS).

Git for the lazy – Spheriki

Git is a distributed version control system. No, you dont need to know what that means to use this guide. Think of it as a time machine: Subversion or CVS without the cruft.If you make a lot of changes, but decided you made a mistake, this will save your butt.This guide is for people who want to jump to any point in time with their project/game/whatever, and want something to use for themselves.

via Git for the lazy – Spheriki.