Adventures In Vintage Mac

For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on transferring papers I wrote in college 15+ years ago from my collection of Mac-format backup disks to a modern format that I can use to transmit electronically to apply for graduate school.

The adventure began with a visit to my parents’ basement to rescue my first Mac from a non-life of quiet, damp darkness and being used as a litter box for mice. After some mild cussing and digging through a box of parts, I left my parents’ place armed with the LCII, the monitor that went with it, a chunky 1990s Apple keyboard, two mice (the electronic kind, not the fuzzies that so kindly left their excrement behind) and a Color StyleWriter 4100 with a power brick.

Usability: Google+ Interface

Whether you think Google can topple Facebook or not, one thing is undeniable about the field test of Google’s new social networking platform, Google +: the interface is clean, simple and straightforward. It’s a relief for anyone who is sick and tired of Facebook’s overly cluttered interface and less-than-intuitive menus for handling privacy.

Technology: The iPad Buzz, Usability and the Health Care Industry

Yesterday, Apple unveiled the iPad to the world in San Francisco and the online ‘verse promptly went nuts with the blogging, tweeting etc. about the device and whether or not it was as cool as everyone expected or if it fell short. One of the most common things I’ve heard people saying over and over again, in many cases in a highly disparaging tone is: “Oh it’s just a big iTouch. Why would you want to use something of that size when you can just stick your iPhone or similar device in your pocket?”

I have an answer for that: many pocket devices are too small to actually provide many users with a comfortable user experience for consuming the type of media that we want to be able to consume.

Usability: Computer Systems Can Save Hospitals Money If Done Right

An article on SlashDot today references a study at Harvard that claims that electronic systems in hospitals are not in fact, saving them any money. The post on SlashDot is short and doesn’t really delve into the issues. The actual article that reviews the study in ComputerWorld does however hit the real problem right on the nose: most systems are not designed with health care practitioners in mind.