LAST CHANCE: Help Me Get To #SXSW, Please!

SXSW or Bust!
SXSW or Bust!

Every year for the last few decades, creatives of all stripes congregate in Austin, TX around mid-march to share ideas, network, and maybe go the the occasional party. I’ve been a presenter at SXSW a few times, but only when I felt I had something vital to say. Last year, it was about the coming importance of prototyping for User Experience designers, an idea I seem to have been right about.

This year, I have a bunch of ideas, some I might present by my lonesome, some that I’ll require a little assistance front the GeekDads. But I won’t get anywhere without your help.

I know, I know, it sounds smarmy, but a big part of the selection process is showing there are people out there who want to hear what I have to say, and this year I’ve decided to talk about some ideas beyond my norm. I’ve been studying the affect of electronic media on society for decades, and think It’s time to speak out on some important topics, including education, culture, and trust.

Please take just a few minutes, register with SXSW (it’s relatively painless) and then click on the thumbs up for each of my topics (links below).

If you are feeling really generous, share the link on Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn—all of the links to do that are on the left side of the page. Oh, and share this article wherever possible as well.

And if you want to be my BFF, add a comment at the bottom of the page. Those REALLY help.

Voting ends this Friday, so DO NOT DELAY and please SPREAD THE WORD!


SXSWinteractive: The Trusted Filter: Confidence in an Online World

SXSWinteractive: STEM, GEMS, & STEAM: Raising Kids in Art & Tech

SXSWfilm: Reboots & Retcons: A GeekFamily Guide to Film

SXSWedu: Design 101 for Educators: 5 Simple Typography Tips

P.S. If you want to be in the BFF hall-of-fame, my daughter Jocelyn is also trying to talk about and present an incredible musical she created using the open source music of Jonathan Coulton.


SXSWmusic: How JoCo Saved Me From Writer’s Block

Meet Doctor Who at (Re)Generation Who | GeekDad

Late next march in the Land of Mary, time travelers from the four corners of the vortex will congregate to celebrate their favorite Gallifreyan! That’s right: the East Cost of the USofA is getting it’s own Doctor Who Convention! According to (RE)Generation founder and organizer Oni Hartstein:

There wasn’t any place for us and our friends to go for just Doctor Who in the Mid-Atlantic area. It seemed like a huge void where a con was needed.

They’ve already announced that the 6th (Colin Baker) and 7th (Sylvester McCoy) incarnations of the whimsical Time Lord will be in attendance, with more guests on the horizon! (RE)Generation Who is coming to Cockeysville, Maryland (a few miles North of Baltimore), March 27–29, 2015. The GeekDads will be there.

Read the rest» Meet Doctor Who at (Re)Generation Who | GeekDad.

Register for (Re)Generation Who »

Wonder Woman is the Feminist Icon, and no one can take that away.

No Matter What Anyone Says, Wonder Woman Will Always Be a Feminist | GeekDad

Wonder Woman is a feminist. She is a feminist (or at least a fictional character who is a feminist), not because she self identifies with that label, but because that it is how she acts and how she thinks. Unfortunately, David, like so many others, is afraid to apply the supposed stigma of feminism, out of, I assume, a fear that he will scare off readers who think they are “not feminists.”

Read more

QuickPanel: Dyslexia from UX Magazine

Fonts like Dyslexie and OpenDeyslexic claim to have been designed with dyslexics in mind, mostly by weighting the bottom of glyphs heavier than the top. It’s thought that by constantly drawing the eye toward the baseline, dyslexic readers won’t wander or get distracted.

However, there is no evidence that these fonts improve readability for dyslexics. In fact, one study conducted by researchers at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra showed no improvement in readability at all for dyslexics using these fonts. Instead sans-serif fonts like Arial, Courier, Verdana, and Helvetica were most effective, although there is some question as to whether this was just due to familiarity.

There is more to typography than fonts, though. My suspicion is that better typography for dyslexia is also better typography for everybody. We see a general trend in web typography toward designs that focus the reader’s attention on the text. Consider sites such as Medium, which remove visual noise (sidebars, navigation) and use larger type sizes, contrasting type styles, and more white space—especially line height—all of which help dyslexics and the general reading population alike.

Read more: QuickPanel: Dyslexia | UX Magazine.


I’m Back! (Did I miss anything?)

Hello, I’m back online after a month of (almost) silence.

My operation had a few hiccups and one curveball for the surgeons, but I’ve come through the gauntlet intact. I’ve been recovering gradually over the last month — regaining my balance, healing the large scar on the back of my neck, regaining my strength — and I’m ready to start the process of getting back into the swing of things.

A lot has happened in the last month as I recuperated.

As I write this, I’m watching the WWDC keynote, and excited by what I’m seeing. It looks like Apple has finally done what they’ve needed to do for a while for Mac OS X and iOS:  think about the basic features and make them useful again (more on that later).

Did I miss anything else in the last 30 days?


Hello, I Must Be Going — Why I’ll be Offline in May

I’m online.

A lot.

But for the month of May, I’m having to step back from the Internet and take care of a personal health matter. Without getting into a lot of messy details, I have an acoustic neuroma (A benign tumor), and it has to come out. Specifically, it will come out next Tuesday (29 April).

This will prevent me from writing, teaching, engaging with social media, and responding to emails or other messages. I’m in contact with a lot of people, and get a lot of emails from clients, students, and readers with questions, comments and requests, so I didn’t want to just disappear.

If all goes well — ever the optimist, me— I should be back in action by early to mid-June. If you haven’t heard back from me by then, feel free to ping me again.

Six weeks is a long time on the Internet, and I’m looking forward to waking up like Rip Van Winkle to the new wonders.

Is a new iOS Watch too much to expect?

He put his passwords online, and he doesn’t care

This is an incredible interview with my new hero, Y. Woodman Brown, the “idiot” who posted his passwords as a comment on the Washington Post. Predictably he got hacked, but not the way you might think.

He’s interviewed on the podcast TLDR, and explains why he did it, and I have to admire him for what he has to say.

I feel similarly, but have to admit that I’m not ready to follow in his foot steps.

UX For Good

You Can Help Do Some UX for Good

Originally posted in GeekDad »

UX for Good is an organization that brings user experience skills to bear on some of the most difficult social issues we face. For this year’s annual challenge, UX For Good be working with Aegis Trust, which established the Kigali Genocide Memorial on behalf of the Rwandan people in 2004. More than a museum or shrine, the memorial serves as the final resting place for 250,000 victims of the 1994 genocide.

You don’t have to be a social worker, diplomat, philanthropist, or other do-gooder to do good. The best way to affect change in the world is to apply your own skills to fixing the big gnarly problems the world faces. For user experience (UX for short) professionals, like myself, this means bring our skills at creating the best user interfaces to bear. But we are always strongest when we work as a group.

Since 2011, UX for Good has worked to empower designers to solve problems to make the world a better place. UX For Good has tackled some difficult problems over the years, such a raising awareness.

Previously, the challenge was to improve the income of working musicians in New Orleans Street Musicians increase their income. The designers’ answer was “Tip the Band,” a collection of tactics and tools to encourage and enable visitors to support musicians.

The problem this year is the biggest yet: Can we harness feelings to end geonocide? Like genocide memorials around the world, the Kigali Genocide Memorial site produces powerful feelings in all who visit it. UX designers have a unique capacity to understand the steps that take place between emotion and action. In Kigali, we’ll ask them to apply that skill set on behalf of all humankind.

As part of the Annual Challenge, UX designers from across the globe will visit Kigali for several days of exploration, research and debate. Then the team will reconvene in London, where they’ll design an original way to translate the feelings evoked by genocide memorials into sustainable action. Finally, they’ll share their findings to leaders from Aegis and other advocates for human dignity.

UX for Good has started the Kickstarter project: Harnessing Feelings to Prevent Genocide to share what we discover with the world. To generate as much impact as possible, they need your involvement, your support, and your commitment.

Contribute anything from $10 to $10000 dollars to help the team help the the Kigali Genocide Memorial raise awareness, and you can benefit, not only as a human being but as a UX professional as well. Sponsors will receive, virtual seminars, original posters, A full-color, hardcover book detailing the ideas that come out of the challenge, up to a day long workshop with UX For good professionals.