Time Wasting 101

40 questions

1. Where do you hang your towel to dry after showering?
on a hook behind the bedroom door

2. What kind of mouse pad do you have?
black leatherette covered mousepad courtesy of Enderlin school.

3. Do you brush your hair with a comb or a brush?
Comb

4. In your opinion, who do you think is the hottest celebrity?
It’s a toss between Orlando Bloom and Ewan McGregor

5. You got a project due tomorrow, do you use tape or glue?
Huh? What for???

6. Chicken or pork adobo?
Neither

7. By the time you get to school, is the sky still dark?
I don’t go to school anymore, but by the time I get to work, the sun’s already up in the 10.30 AM sky

8. If you had a choice to see a unicorn or mermaid which would it be?
Unicorn. Pero puwede bang si Orlando Bloom na lang?

9. What color is your underwear?
White

10. What time does the sun usually set?
Between 5.30 and 6.00 pm

11. What do you think of last before you go to sleep?
Bakit gising pa ako? (Why am I still awake?)

12. AC or fan?
Fan

13. Do you wear braces?
I used to

14. Can you hand stand?
No. Can you?

15. If you were the opposite sex, how would you style your hair?
In anything that looks good on me.

16. What level of math are you in?
Will high school math do? I like algebra.

17. Jessica Simpson or Alba?
None

18. Which subject is worse, English or Math?
What do you mean worse? I like them both, though I do better in English that Math.

19. What’s one thing you really want to do this very moment?
Sleep

20. After buying something, do you automatically throw your receipts away?
No

21. CD player or iPOD?
iPOD. Though what I have is a Samsung mp3 player.

22. Would you rather spin upside down going 30 mph or drop 400 ft. into water?
Neither

23. Whats your favorite shape?
None

24. What do you have planned for the weekend.?
Play badminton in Intramuros if there’s a schedule. Go out with Rome if he isn’t busy. Watch a movie, get drunk, see friends, update my blog, clean the apartment, blog, relax, read a book.

25. Have you ever gone ice skating?
No

26. If you were put in a room with nothing except for a pencil and a paper, what would you do?
Write a short story.

27. Is it always easy finding your remote everytime you want to watch TV?
Yeah. It’s either in the kitchen or buried under the pillows.

28. How was your day?
OK-OK

29. Do you grow your nails, bite or trim them?
I trim my nails. I hate long fingernails.

30. Describe your handwriting
Unreadable, Illegible and other such similar adjectives.

31. Do you consider yourself a stalker?
Uhhh…I googled someone before meeting him for the first time just to check if the guy I was going to have coffee with wasn’t a serial murderer. Hehe… Nah, stalking is a waste of time.

32. Do you bruise easily?
Yes, depending on which racquet I’m using when I accidentally hit myself.

33. There’s nothing on TV except Barney and Japanese news what do you do?
Either watch DVD or read a book or a magazine.

34. Do you know more than 3 myspace codes?
I’ve got the Nooz’d widget, plus MySpace video of Josh Groban and Michael Buble performing together, which doesn’t work. I like my profile’s layout to be as clean as possible. The blog looks insane, though, so I’ve got to work on it.

35. You got an essay due, you either can type or write in pen, which will it be?
Type. Preferably in a computer.

36. Do you wear jeans to relax at home?
No.

37. Describe yourself using one word:
sleepy

38. Do you use deodorant?
But of course!

39. Do you like ice in your drink?
Yes, except when it’s hot coffee or tea that I’m drinking

40. Do you have abs?
Flabs, more like.

How to Engage the End-User

We keep wondering why users won’t RTFM, but just look at our FMs! Nice brochures are printed on that coated silky paper that begs to be touched, while the manual is printed on scratchy office-grade paper. Even just that one change–making the user manual as touchable as the marketing material would be a good start.

Why marketing should make the user manuals!

I remember the time that I first attempted to use someone’s ‘s bioni-age souped-up digital SLR, which, to my chagrin, no matter how much I tinkered with it, stayed on the “P” mode.

I don’t usually go about RTFM when the product or service is easy to use in the first place. What really ticks me off is a terribly developed product or service accompanied by a terribly designed FM. Just because something is complicated does not mean it’s smart. It’s just complicated.

Kathy Siera‘s post about focusing too much on the tool rather than the user (or the use of the tool) makes a lot of sense. A few key ideas:

  1. Are we focusing too much on the tool (e.g. camera) rather than the thing our users are trying to do with the tool (e.g. photography)? And by “focusing”, I mean that your documentation, support, training, marketing, and possibly product design are all about the tool rather than whatever the tool enables.
  2. Is the product just too damn hard to use even if a user does know what they want to do with it?
  3. Do we encourage/support a user community that emphasizes mastery of the thing the tool is for?
  4. Do we train our users to become better at the thing they use the tool for, in a way that helps make the need for all those other features seem obvious?

Guimaras Oil Spill in NASA Photos

NASA guimaras spill

By August 29, the government of the Philippines reported that the oil covered 245 kilometers of coastline; 16 square kilometers of coral reef area; 1,128 hectares of mangrove area; and 1,143 hectares of a marine reserve. At least 17,435 people had been affected by the spill, and many coastal residents were evacuated because of toxic substances on the shore.

–NASA Observatory.

guimaras oil spill map

This Radar satellite image map shows the extent of oil spill in Guimaras island following the sinking of Solar I tanker. The oil spill (yellow) covers an estimated area of 66 square kilometers.

Visit Sludge for more udpates about the Guimaras Oil Spill.

Visit UNOSat for more images.

The Tipping Point

Malcolm Gladwell‘s phenomenal book, The Tipping Point. Having encountered the phrase “tipping point” in many magazine, news and blog articles as it had become a by-word among writers, economists and analysts, I thought I’d better buy the book to better understand the subject. I made the right decision. I have finally found time to make a short review of

Gladwell’s work is a gem. It explains how trends and phenomena happen, the processes and people involved, and how small changes can influence large sections of societies. It reaffirms the idea that humans are profoundly social animals that affect, and are affected by, their immediate environments.

Tipping Point is when “an idea, trend or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire” among societies. A social phenomenon has three dimensions, namely, people, stickiness and context.

There are three kinds of people that start off trends: (1) connectors whose vast expanse of personal connections cover an assortment of social, professional and cultural groups, embodying the adage, “It’s not what you know but who you know”; (2) mavens are basically your know-it-alls who collect knowledge and information about products, services and whatever strikes their fancy; (3) salesmen are those who are gifted with the power of persuasion. All these three have the ability to “click” with nearly anyone who happens by their orbits.

Stickiness, the second dimension, refers to the power of a message to remain with an intended receiver. It not only catches one’s attention, it stays in the mind of the message’s recipient. Stickiness is that little detail that sets the difference between a message’s acceptability and its tendency to be disregarded.

Context is an important factor in tipping point, in that people’s actions and decisions do not happen in a vacuum. Environment not only refers to the physical surroundings but also the actions of others. Epidemics are built upon recurring social issues in the times and places in which such happen. And while there are those who trailblaze, much of humanity still find comfort in acquiescence. Moreover, people’s decisions are often affected by the quality and quantity of the groups to which they belong. The rule of 150 suggests that groups under the size of 150 persons are more effective; beyond 150, personal bonds and lines of communication among members start to deteriorate.

In the end, the tipping point is about that slight change, the small detail, that sets an idea, behavior or product towards wider social acceptance. And the trick lies in finding it.