To boldly write

· Social Design, User Experience

I first met Jurgen Fauth in on Usenet and found in him a fellow literary adventurer, who eventually contributed to Enterzone, and with whom I’ve kept in touch over the years. We may even have attended a Phish concert together at some point.

More recently, Jurgen has been building an amazing story sharing site called Fictionaut. To me, Fictionaut represents what Enterzone sort of dreamed of being: a community-driven rethinking of literary and creative publishing. (We also delved into interactive and programmatic art and other things too, but at least on the fiction tip, this is exactly what we were hoping would come about some day). So, I was greatly flattered and honored when Jurgen asked me to join the board of advisors for Fictionaut. We’ve had some good conversations about the social aspects of the site and how to evolve the interface and the experience to take the whole thing to the next level.

Along the way, I kept meaning to post a story to Fictionaut, if only to play with the UI and give Jurgen better feedback, but also of course to participate in the community and even tentatively begin re-exploring my quasi-dormant fiction-writer persona. I haven’t been cranking out a lot of stories lately. I blame work! but I did extract an excerpt from a semi-finished memoir a couple of years back to read at Wilmot’s in Alameda and I felt that people enjoyed the story, so today I finally got around to posting the story, and I’ll include a link to it in the following post on this blog.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in reading or writing short stories (and poems and other literary forms), you really should check out Fictionaut.

Lisbon, here we come!

· Design, Events, Patterns, Social Design, User Experience

The organizers of User Experience Lisbon have kindly invited me to come to Portugal next May (11-13), to teach a Designing Social Interfaces workshop.

It looks like I’ll be in good company (this are just the folks they’ve announced so far):

My shattering mophie case

· Design, long story short

UPDATE: Bless Mophie’s hearts – they say this post and sent me two replacement caps. Thanks, Mophie!

my broken Mophie caseWhen my friend Bill De Rouchey showed me the external battery he was using with his iPhone at Web Visions a few months ago in Portland I got excited. Whenever I’m out all day at a conference or other intensive event I tend to use up the battery on my phone. When on the road this leads to a frustrating inability to phone home in time for timezone-shifted goodnights.

As soon as I got home I marched down to the Apple store in fake Bay Street in Emeryville and bought an nice black Mophie case for myself. I also noticed that the “I’m the decider” t-shirt I picked up at the first iPhoneDevCamp was from Mophie as well. Small world!

Better still, the Mophie case really did the trick. It’s not as grippy and protective as ruggedized Speck case, but it solves a real paint point for me.

There’s just one problem, and it has more to do with industrial design than anything else. I was having to switch from case to case a lot, and the top part of the Mophie has a very thin plastic strip where it surrounds the volume buttons on the side of the iPhone.

Very quickly this area snapped, and then a large piece broke off (see the photo above), and ultimately more of it is chipping away still. At this point the aesthetic value of the case is nil although the functionality is still nearly as good as when I first got it.

I’d like to get a replacement. I’d like the Apple store or Mophie to give me a replacement, but I’d really like to hear that this design flaw has been fixed and that my replacement doesn’t have it.

A complaint posted on twitter fell on deaf ears so this is the old-fashioned blog product customer rant. Let’s see if it helps.

Summit interview with Kent State’s Tom Froehlich

· Design, Information Architecture, Patterns, Social Design, User Experience

When I was in Phoenix for the IA Summit this year, I had the privilege of sitting down with Tom Froehlich of Kent State University’s information department (with Valerie Kelly behind the camera) for a chat about IA, design patterns, social design, and more:

They also spoke with Donna Spencer, Andrea Resmini, Andrew Hinton, Luke Wroblewski, Kevin Cheng, and Eric Reiss, and I look forward to watching their videos too.