Long Time, No See?

I admit it, I’ve neglected this blog. I could provide the usual excuses, but I think I’ll spare you, dear reader (if you’re still out there somewhere), the explanations.

I’ve been a little better about my personal blog, Loud Murmurs, but now that my contract at IBM is over, I have a little spare time. That means not only redesigning this web site (yes, look for exciting new changes in the coming days and weeks) but also starting to write in this blog once again. I will make another effort at getting my presentation of roughly a year ago up online (and fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, it’s still just as valid today as it was then).

What you can’t see is that I have a new admin interface which I really, really like. It’s the Fluency Admin by Dean J, Robinson.Tell you what, I’ll put in a screenshot of the screen I’m writing this on:Fluent Admin looks cool, doesn't it?

What’s Taking so Long?

I learned the rather inconvenient truth about exporting slides for the web, including the most typical formats (export to one big QuickTime movie, export to PDF, export to Flash, export to a series of linked images): None of these handle presentations with embedded movies (they typically show up as still images, if anything at all), and my presentation was about 75% embedded Quicktime movies. Ouch. What’s more, some of these movies are either very large for the Web, or require some codecs that I had a hard time getting to work consistently on two different Macs, much less every Mac and Windows machine playing them via the Internet.

So, I find myself in the unfortunate situation of essentially having to recreate the slides from scratch in Dreamweaver, and re-compress all of the movies (along with trying to figure out how to do so without them becoming unreadable thanks to multiple transformations from one codec to another). All of this is not a problem if one has the time. So, I’m going to give it a couple of more hours today and hopefully will get closer to a solution that I can post here. In the meantime, sorry for the delay.

Design Gems from Moscow (with love?)

Through the usual way that one stumbles upon something on the Internet (by…stumbling upon it), I found the web site of the Art Lebedev studio, who have become known because of a breakthrough keyboard that has been talked about (and wished for) for quite some time. The keyboard has struck a chord (pun intended) with a lot of geeks, because it’s one of those ‘I wish I’d thought of that’ kind of products. Each key is an LCD, and can be programmed to both display a different character and type that character (or perform that function) when pressed. Here’s what that could mean:

Set for English: (lower case)

Optimus Keyboard set for English

Those same keys set for Photoshop:

Set for Photoshop

Wait, what it if was set for the game Quake?

Set for Quake

On top of this extraordinary keyboard, there is also a brilliant, if less ergonomically spot-on mouse:

The Mus 2 Mouse from Lebedev Studios

In addition to these bits of Industrial design (and geek fancy-tickling), Mr. Lebedev, who along with his studio, is in Moscow, also writes a sort of blog, although it is not an RSS feed (but I wish he would make it so) called Mandership. According to Mr. Lebedev, it’s been a project since 1997 (which would account for it’s pre-RSS structure). I also notice that the most recent entry is in 2006. I hope he does another few this year. Nearly all of the posts I read were gems of clear thinking about design, the way the world works, and the way people think. No wonder he and his compatriots at his studio keep coming up with such brilliant products, even if some of them are harder to bring out of the concept stage.

Startup

Since this is the very first post in my very own blog in my very own domain, I feel some pressure to begin with something weighty. Something profound.

That’s one small step for a blog…

The quality of the User Experience is never strained…

Aqua is to Aero as Pee Wee’s Playhouse is to…

On second thought, rather than do that, here are a few words of explanation of what to expect in these pages. I consider drucker.ca to be my ‘professional blog’. It is to serve as my voice in the User Experience community. I also have a personal blog, called Loud Murmurs, which is where my daily life, the journey my wife and I have made, the observations and stories I wish to tell all go. If you’re curious about me as a human being, by all means, check it out.

Still here? Well then, you’ll (eventually) also find my resumé, a portfolio of some of my work and my ongoing thoughts and observations as they pertain to User Interfaces, Usability, Information Architecture and all of those related topics that often fall under the overall subject ‘User Experience’. This does not mean I’ll cease to be a human being. There will be funny bits, angry rants, and probably everything in between. I don’t think I could write a dry, academic blog. Well, maybe I could, but I wouldn’t like it, and neither would you.

So, in short, my effort to separate my personal and professional lives has ended up producing 2 blogs, on 2 different URLs.

And with that, I offer a test of the Audio player plugin:

Audio MP3

There, now that sounded good to me. How about you?