Cooper: Well-designed products

by Dave Cronin

A common affliction plaguing many of us interaction designers is the propensity to complain and kvetch about every piece of software on our computers, cell-phones and cars. And it’s true -there is a lot of bad software out there.

To offset this sometimes irritating tendency to critique and redesign everything we see, I’d like to offer a selection of software that I consider to be truly well-designed. To avoid creating a list that is simply an expression of my personal taste (which of course it is, to some extent), I devised some criteria as necessary aspects of a well-designed software product.

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(I found two bits of software on this page that I’d never heard of… both of which I may actually have a use for… let me know if you find something you like.)

Orlando Bloom is the new young James Bond! – The Times of India

Orlando Bloom is the new young James Bond! – The Times of India:

LONDON: British actor Orlando Bloom actor has been signed by Miramax to play young James Bond in his new movie which is based on the college days of this widely popular secret agent.

There were rumours floating that Bloom is taking over the role of James Bond from Pierce Brosnan in the next film due out next November.

According to Ananova, Bond producers were looking for a new leading man and Bloom was the lucky guy who got the role.

(does anyone else think this is strange?)

The Project Apollo Archive

The Project Apollo Archive serves as an online reference source and repository of digital images pertaining to the historic manned lunar landing program. The Archive was created by Kipp Teague in February 1999 as a companion web site to his “Contact Light” personal retrospective on Project Apollo. The Archive is also companion to Eric Jones’ comprehensive

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Need to vent? Really want to yell at SOMEone, ANYone?

For all of you who occasionally have a really bad day, and you just
need to take it out on someone, don’t take it out on someone you know,
take it out on someone you don’t know. I was sitting at my desk when I
remembered a phone call I had forgotten to make. I found the number,
and dialed it.

A man answered saying, “Hello?” I politely said, “This is Patrick
Hanifin, could I please speak with Robin Carter?” Suddenly, the phone
was slammed down on me. I couldn’t believe that anyone could be so

I tracked down Robin’s correct number and called her. (I had
transposed the last two digits of her phone number). After hanging up
with her I decided to call the ‘wrong’ number again. When the same guy
answered the phone, I yelled, “You’re a jerk!” and hung up. I wrote
his number down with the word ‘jerk’ next to it and put it in my desk
drawer. Every couple of weeks, when I was paying bills or had a really
bad day, I’d call him. He’d answer and I’d yell, “You’re a jerk!” It
always cheered me up.

When Caller ID came to our area I thought my therapeutic ‘jerk’
calling would have to stop. So, I called his number and said, “Hi,
this is John Smith from the Telephone Company. I’m just calling to see
if you’re familiar with the caller ID program?” he yelled, “no!” and
slammed the phone down. I quickly called him back and said, “That’s
because you’re a jerk!”

One day I was at the store, getting ready to pull into a parking spot.
Some guy in a black BMW cut me off and pulled into the spot I had
patiently waited for. I hit the horn and yelled that I had been
waiting for the spot. The idiot ignored me. I noticed a “For Sale”
sign in his car window, so I wrote down his number.

A couple of days later, right after calling the first jerk (I had his
number on speed dial), I thought I had better call the BMW jerk, too.
I dialed and someone said, “Hello?” I said, “Is this the man with the
black BMW for sale?” “Yes it is.” “Can you tell me where I can see
it?” “Yes, I live at 1802 West 34th Street. It’s a yellow house and
the car’s parked right out front.” “What’s your name?” I asked. “My
name is Don Hansen,” he said. “When’s a good time to catch you, Don?”
“I’m home every evening after five.” “Listen, Don, can I tell you
something?” “Yes?” “Don, you’re a jerk!” Then I hung up, and added his
number to my speed dial, too.

Now, when I had a problem, I had two jerks to call. But after several
months of calling them, it wasn’t as enjoyable as it used to be. So, I
came up with an idea: I called jerk #1. “Hello” “You’re a jerk!” I
shouted, but I didn’t hang up. “Are you still there?” he asked.
“Yeah,” I said. “Stop calling me!” he screamed. “Make me,” I said.
“Who are you?” he asked.

“My name is Don Hansen.” “Yeah? Where do you live?” “Jerk, I live at
1802 West 34th Street, a yellow house with my black Beemer out front.”

He said, “I’m coming over right now, Don. And you had better start
saying your prayers.” I said, “Yeah, like I’m really scared, jerk.”
Then I called jerk #2: “Hello?” he said. “Hello jerk,” I said. He
yelled, “If I ever find out who you are…”

“You’ll what?” I said.

“I’ll kick your ass,” he exclaimed.

I answered, “Well, jerk, here’s your chance. I’m coming over right now.”

Then, I hung up, and immediately called the police saying that I lived
at 1802 West 34th Street, and I was on my way over there to kill my
gay lover. Then, I called Channel 13 news about the gang war going
down on West 34th Street.

I quickly got into my car and headed over to 34th St. There, I saw two
jerks beating the crap out of each other in front of 6 squad cars, a
police helicopter, and a news crew.

Now I feel better.

Yahoo! News – New Software Puts Space on Your Desktop

By Tariq Malik

Astronomers working with the Hubble Space Telescope (news – web sites) often build spectacular space images based on the raw data taken by the orbital instrument. But new thanks to some new software that power can sit in the hands of anyone, not just scientists, equipped with a computer and a digital imaging program.

The software, called FITS Liberator, is actually a plugin application for the imaging software Adobe Photoshop and is now available free at the Hubble’s European website. The plugin allows space image enthusiasts to piece together in Photoshop the same raw data that were once reserved for astronomers with highly specialized imaging tools could touch.

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