I name my external drives, thumb drives and the like after evil antagonist computers form science fiction. A kind of warning form the future. Actually, it works better as a mnemonic for where things go than naming drives stuff like WD Ext 3TB. There are lots of lists available, but I’m putting my favorites here incase I have remote need to quickly name a drive.
Note: I’m stripping off any numerics from the names, e.g, HAL 9000 becomes just HAL. And any punctuation. Any worthy choices that where just alpha-numeric contrivances don’t make it at all: Alpha 60 from the film Alphaville is pretty good stuff for the day, but its a boring computer name.
The last two aren’t evil, but cool nonetheless.
Wacom is releasing a new gizmo called the Inkling that may make the process of moving from sketching to digital much smoother. As shown in this video, the system has a pressure sensitive ink pen and a receiver that keeps track of the pen’s precise movements, which are captured and can then be downloaded to your computer in bitmap or vector format.
This has some pretty intriguing potentials for UX work:
- Sketches can be done on any paper or pad, and still be digitally captured.
- No need for a scanner, and the time taken to do the scanning is eliminated.
- Better quality than digital camera captures, and again, not time need to do the capture.
- Layers can be added by pressing the button the the receiver, which can include options for states, contextual information, whatever.
Of course, the idea that I can open and edit my sketches as vector art almost without delay has me thinking about how this will improve how I work.
Also interesting, the comments on the Wacom page have a good bit of discussion about what kind of ink pen inserts will be compatible with the Inkling, including whether mechanical pencil inserts will work. I suspect this device will be modded and hacked very quickly. I look forward to trying this think out.
Many of the comments and insights in the film are just as valid for software interfaces. The desktop metaphor still has some life in it.
I just received a box of Sharpie Liquid Pencils from the States. Several UX people at Lab49 in New York and London now have one to try out, and I’m looking forward to their thoughts on this pen/pencil innovation.
First Sharpie Liquid Pencil in the UK. UK penny shown for scale.
Sharpie Liquid Pencil disassembled.
Although I have just started using it, I do have some immediate observations. First, if you use it at too much of an angle to your surface, gunk collects on the point. It doesn’t do this when the pen is held near vertical, so I suppose the part of the point that holds the roller ball is scraping away paper fibres. Also, when disassembled, you can easily replace the pen cartridge itself. However, even if replacement cartridges are/become available, the pen body feels so cheap and insubstantial, I doubt anyone would bother. Could the cartridge fit in another, better pen body?
Members of Lab49 staff attended the Queen’s Birthday Gun Salute at the Tower of London. Two UXAs stood on the VIP line.