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Entries in reading (1)


Reading later - solved!

My latest system of getting things read is working quite well. I now catch up on twitter in the morning, sending any interesting-looking articles to instapaper. Equally though, any long blog posts in my RSS feed also get sent to instapaper. There are two reasons for that: 

  1. I find reading long posts needs a different mindset somehow to catching up on my RSS feeds.
  2. I often read them in stages, not all at once. I prefer only my unopened blog posts to show in my RSS feed, so this 'loses' these long posts after the first time I open them.

Instapaper allows me to keep track of the long posts, and it also lets me keep my place in the article when I have to put it down. Perfect!

One of the blogs I follow but used to end up not reading as much as I'd like is City of Sound. Long blog posts with really interesting critiques of either a specific location, or descriptions of their design process, or events, are their stock-in-trade, and before I used to have to wait until I had a sufficient space to read and digest. Mostly that meant they hung around unread until I felt guilty and would mark them as read just to clear them. Now I can send them to Instapaper, and I'm actually getting them read. 

The most recent one they posted was a really interesting report on their visit to Aalto University's Nanotalo ( a lab specialising in nano technology). The problems of a lab having all this fabulous stuff asking a designer "What do you need?", while the designer's still digesting "What can you do?" really resonated with me. I think there is quite a disconnect between a lot of the research being done in universities and the professions that would use that knowledge. I'm not sure (for example) how the HCI research done in labs filters through to HCI professionals, who are busy doing their own kind of on-the-ground research. Or (closer to my heart) if I discover that it is possible to alter the strength of the teams in a game by tweaking the rules, how will game designers hear about that to use it? It's a knotty sort of problem.

In some ways, the two worlds of practitioner and researcher seem so far apart. They have different conferences, different languages, different needs. They attract quite different people. Yet somehow we really need to bridge this gap.

Something else occurred to me at the end of that article too. He was talking about being able to just email blueprints of objects and have them created at source from locally-grown repurposed cellulose (from trees), talking about the change in infrastructure, the reduction in shipping etc, focussing on reduced energy and other good things. My thought was what about all the people who are employed to do that? What happens to them? Where are the new jobs for them going to come from? That is a problem that also needs to be solved for this to work (jumping through the scientific problems that are I suspect somehow more likely to be solved first).

This sort of thing is why I was trying to fix my reading issues. I like having these kind of things cross my attention, because even though at first the topic seems so far from my interests it sparks new thoughts. Definitely worth the effort of sorting out my tools!