Fear Invisible Princess Alice!

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This is a really interesting study which probably explains the psychology behind religion.

Scientists from the University of Kent split students into groups, and make them perform a task that was so difficult the only way they could complete it was to cheat.

One of the groups was told that there was an invisible princess called Alice watching them play the game. The children were asked if they believed in Alice and of the 11 who did only 1 cheated. Interestingly enough of the 7 who didn’t believe 5 cheated but only after they’d physically checked that there was no Alice by waving their hands through the air where she was.

It would have been interesting to see whether they would have cheated if they could not verify the existence of Alice, say because she was behind a glass wall.

This reminds me of another study I once read about in which people were more likely to act honestly if they were exposed to pictures of eyes.

Via New Scientist.

QR Codes Keep them Simple!

Following on from my last blog post, if you are going to use QR codes you should make them as simple as possible, for example if I wanted to generate a QR code for this blog post I would get the following.

Put this through a URL shortening service like is.gd and you get the following:

It’s a lot smaller and much less complicated isn’t it?

Is This a Good CV? I’m not so sure…

A friend on Twitter posted a link to the above CV with the quote “This is an awesome CV” and to look at it from a distance sure it looks really swish. From a design standpoint it is really cool, It’s beautifully put together  and looks like on the surface this guy is awesome. But looking deeper there is very little in the way of content on the CV sure it shows that he has a sense of humor, but to be honest it looks like it’s mostly hot air.

I’ve got no knowledge of the industry that Hagan Blount is in, and I’ve got nothing against him, but this CV seems to be all form and no function.

Dissecting the CV:

The map looks cool and makes it look like he’s well traveled (At least in the US) but most of the steps in there are stuff that went wrong not reasons I’d hire him.

I like the fake post-it note at the top of the page, I’m not sure anyone would bother using it though.

The Career section looks good, I like the logos, I like the design, but the content seems to be a string of digs at the industries he was in or reasons he left/failed, dates would have been nice though

The education bit tells you all you need to know, again I like the logo being there, if I were recruiting him I’d like to know how long he studied there for and maybe what his degree was about.

I like the use of QR codes, kinda… He’s making the recruiter do more work though, not making their lives easier, the QR codes both scan but I’d have used a URL shortening service for the second one as it’s got a lot of dots. I appreciate the market he’s going for and that this makes him very “new media” (I assume QR codes are new media, they were invented in 1994 but are only just starting to see widespread use outside of Japan, although a friend noticed a job advert recent that called email new media…).

He does make the assumption that the person recruiting him knows what a QR code is though, there is no explanation for these boxes of seemingly random noise on his CV.

I’d have skipped the praise bit, and if I hadn’t I’d have made it smaller, the praise is full of platitudes and hot air, this would drive me away as it looks made up.

The sidebar with the statistics seems a little odd, he only wrote 60,000 words in 2010? I wrote 30k+ in November last year and that was for one project I did in my spare time. Also I’m not a creative. I’m not going to go into his blog posts and what not as I’m not sure a recruiter cares about this. This section goes down hill and wastes space.

In summation there are a lot of good ideas here design wise but it kinda falls apart on content. I think the design of the CV possibly makes me expect better content though, he sets the bar too high for himself. If I was a recruiter my first reaction would be to go wow this looks really cool, then having read it I think my reaction might be oh… Meh…

Does he shoot himself in the foot with this, I don’t think so, I don’t even work in the same industry as him so what do I know, I guess the point of a CV is to get yourself noticed, and this CV certainly does that.

Via Hagan Blount

Get Over It… Apple Doesn’t have a Patent on Shiny.

A friend posted a link to a rather trollish “article” about how the Android UI is a copy of the iPhone UI, this is probably sparked by the recent Apple lawsuit against Samsung, I’ll agree that Samsung’s custom UI is similar to Apple’s but to be honest there is only so much you can do with a mobile interface. Here is the image that forms the main content of the article:

They both have a grid layout, that seems to be the main similarity in the UI, I’m not sure what the issue is here… A grid UI is a fairly common layout for icons in both mobile and desktop operating systems.

The original Apple Newton used one:

Comparison between Newton OS UI and iOS UI

The Palm Pilot used one:

There is a reason for this, people have fingers and a natural method of arranging things that people are going to interact with with those fingers is a grid, even pre-PDA we were using grid layouts for things that people had to touch:

So yeah, grid layouts, they are fairly old, get over it. The mobile UI design industry is also very incestuous, for example Palm has poached designers from Apple who have subsequently been re-poached back to Apple, Google have also poached Palm employees and I’m sure more of that happens all the time.

As for the Spring board at the bottom, that’s a Samsung thing not an Android feature, it’s not in stock Android though it does feature in a few of the custom skins available for Android, but to be honest it’s not dissimilar from any other shortcut bar/menu out there, it’s hardly innovative. In fact it’s very similar to a task bar with shortcut icons in it which apparently dates back to Arthur on the Acorn released in 1989.

The Springboard is just a shiner version of the the shortcut bar at the bottom of that page, so unless apple has a patent on making things shiny, I’m not entirely sure where they are going with this…

As an addendum here is an article which compares the Symbian UI to a whole bunch of other UI’s all of which use a grid layout…

The Sanctity of Paper

It’s weird I quite often carry around a note book but I don’t like to write in it. There is something sacred about an empty notebook, those first few pen strokes in a new notebook break a seal, but to me there is a certain amount of inertia to breaking that seal, I don’t know why, but it’s difficult. Once I’ve written something in a notebook it’s fine, but those first few words are difficult.

It’s like you have to write something that is worthy of the notebook to christen it or to steal it’s virginity. Why is it that a wad of paper holds so much power over me? I often come up with idea’s that I’d like to note down but I don’t because I don’t think that they are worthy of putting in a notebook. I don’t feel there is any issue like this with putting something down in digital form. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I’ll write any old crap here, I also note stuff down on my phone all time, but putting down the thoughts in a notebook just isn’t easy.

Why is this? Does anyone else experience this?

Portable SNES This I Need!


Hyperkin a company that specializes in making accessories for current and retro consoles are going to be releasing a portable SNES this summer, it’s US only as far as I can tell but I assume someone will import it to the UK or at least I hope so. Not only does it allow you to play games on the 3.5″ LCD screen but you can also connect it to a TV and plug in two controllers! Double awesome! I knew I kept all my old SNES games for a reason.

On another note Hyperkin actually make quite a few nifty devices including consoles that have slots for NES, SNES and Genesis (Megadrive) games. I wonder if they are region locked and only play US games of if they will allow you to play UK/Japanese games too?

They currently do a portable Genesis and NES though the cartridge for the portable NES is actually bigger than the console. It does come with a light gun though, for all the good that will do on a modern TV…

Sadly all their products are only available to resellers…

via Edge

Dream Journal: Gender Reversal

This is a dream I had a week or so ago that I’ve not had a chance to write up because I’ve been too busy. I dremt that around the world every single person woke up as a member of the opposite sex.

It was really weird, I seem to remember there being huge ramifications in the dream: Political upheaval, civil war, among other things. I can’t however remember any of the details.

So in essence this is just a stub for dream journal… I did wake up and think this would be an awesome setting for a science fiction story but to be honest I can’t remember any of it at all…

I’ve ditched Foursquare

Let it never be said that I’m not Fickle… My last post was singing the praises of location based social network Foursquare, but I’ve now gone and un-installed it. Why? For a number of reasons:

1. It was killing the battery on my phone.

Partially because I was using it to check in all over the place, but also I think the Android Foursquare client may have been a bit of a battery hog, there is no mechanism to tell is how often to check for people near you so I assume it does it fairly frequently. I’ve not got firm numbers for how much battery power it was using but before I installed Foursquare my battery was lasting till 10 or 11 PM at least, with Foursquare installed my battery sometimes died around 4PM. It might be pure coincidence, and it might just be because I was using the phone more to check into Foursquare, but I need my phone to actually keep in touch with people and having a dead battery has a tenancy to get in the way of that.

2. It was becoming a bit of a pointless obsession.

I may not have OCD but Foursquare was making act like I did, I had to check in everywhere, I would frantically hunt for the correct location entry for wherever I was, the need to check in became over whelming. I’d get annoyed with myself for forgetting to check into places after I’d left them. All this for what, to maintain a list of places I’d been, for no one to read? To get a bunch of points and badges with no real world value? To be the virtual mayor of some random place? it’s a bit pointless really, I was gaining no real world benefit from my check ins aside from having met up with one friend, who I could have just as easily have texted and asked if they wanted to meet up.

3. I don’t know enough people on Foursquare.

I think I know 4 or 5 people who live in Glasgow and use Foursquare, the rest of the people I know are scattered all over the world. I will not likely be in a position where knowing their exact location is useful to me, unless I  am actually visiting them, in which case I should know where they are.

4. It only works if people actually use it.

Foursquare only works if people actually check in everywhere they go, looking at my contact list it looks like most of my contacts joined the service checked in once and then forgot about it. I suspect that many many people have done that, I’m joining their ranks.

5. It’s a Hefty invasion of privacy.

As I said in order for Foursquare to work you have to check in everywhere you go, I don’t want people to know my every movement though, in fact I’d rather that people didn’t know any of my movements. So there is a conflict between wanting to use the service properly and the service it’s self being at odds with my privacy. Given the choice of using a pointless social network and having my privacy I choose my privacy.

Anyway thats me checking out of Foursquare hopefully indefinitely…

I Actually Used Social Networking to Network in Real Life!

Yesterday I was in London for work and was going to be spending the night twiddling my thumbs in my hotel room so I sent out a message on Twitter to that effect and asked if anyone wanted to meet up for a pint, I got a direct message from a friend whom I see once in a blue moon saying he had to be somewhere later but he was free till 6:30, I agreed and we met up, and had a pretty good if brief catch up.

I then decided to go for a wonder, I’ve been messing around with Foursquare recently trying to establish a rhyme or reason behind it, so far it’s just been a mechanism for accruing imaginary digital badges as I don’t know enough people on Foursquare for it to be useful, in fact I was fooled by foursquare when I reached Glasgow airport into thinking a friend was at the airport only to discover that he had been there a day earlier.

Anyway… I was randomly wondering about London, a city which I don’t know very well, I checked in in a few places and noticed a notification that a friend was nearby so I sent them a text asking if they wanted to meet up and they said yes so we did.

To cut a long/boring story short I managed to meet people in real life because of two different social networks, sure I’ve used Facebook and Twitter to arrange meeting up with people or events, but it’s very rare that I’ve actually used it for such impromptu meetings especially in a city where I don’t know quite so many people.

I’m more surprised at having used Foursquare for this than I am Twitter, I think the issue with 4SQ is that it requires an awful lot more effort, you have to actually check in at each venue, and you have to have a wide enough social circle who use it. This is probably symptomatic of the fact that I only have 18 friends on 4SQ most of them aren’t active and those who are aren’t even in the same country as me let alone the same city. There is also the awkwardness of 4SQ, letting people know exactly where you are leads to them asking if you want to meet up, while I appreciate this is the point of it, it’s also the case that I don’t want everyone I know knowing exactly where I am all the time. Social networking is one of those things you have to balance who you count as a friend and who is merely an acquaintance, there are lots of people I’m friends with on Facebook that  I’ve not seen in years and with good reason, it’s not that I dislike them or don’t count them as friends it’s just that I don’t necessarily want them to be able to track my every movement and meet up with me at the drop of a hat.

I’d also worry that people would just swing by to wherever I was trying to have a quiet drink or coffee, and disrupt my I don’t know…

I’m not a private person, but I don’t like the idea of people knowing my every move, and yet I obsessive compulsively check into 4SQ wherever I am. Part of me thinks it’s pathetic, I’m chasing some artificial game to get the highest points and the most fake badges, and I’m not sure why I’m doing it…