Recently in Pictures Category

Here's another early Samsung phone, like the C100, that's less important for what it is than what it represents. Form-factor-wise, it's a generic clamshell. At the time, there were a zillion of these and they were all the same. Samsung's S100 is the same silver with a d-pad that all the other generic clamshell phones of the time were. It's even hard to know if it IS an S100. I found a bunch of phones from the era that all look the same and may have the same numerical designation, but with small changes. Samsung was clearly not as brand or industrial design focused as they became later. The most interesting thing to note is that this is probably the last appearance of external antennas on phones. As I understand it, by this point they were no longer technologically necessary, but they were still put on because of the psychological value of having something that represented radio communication. This is akin to that stage in TV design before they achieved distinct social visibility and needed to be disguised like wooden sideboards.


Background on the A Phone a Day project.

In preparation for my upcoming Dorkbot talk, I put together this chart of CPU speeds from 1980 until today:

This chart demonstrates that we hit the era of what I'm calling Peak MHz in about 2004. That's the point when processor speed effectively peaked as chip manufacturers began competing along other dimensions. Those other dimensions--energy efficiency, size and cost--are driving ubiquitous computing, as their chips become more efficient, smaller and cheaper, thus making them increasingly easier to include into everyday objects.
For those who grew up during the 1990-2004 era, this can be quite confusing, since CPU speed was how the value of computing devices was commonly measured. Now that is shifting to how that power is applied. In other words, it's gone from being a discussion of raw power, to how that power is applied (for a similar phenomenon, see the superbike top speed competition among motorcycle manufacturers, which ended with the 2000 Suzuki Hayabusa agreement).

A couple of months after Liz and I arrived in Portland in January of 2005, I did a photo series of NW Portland apartment building names. It was a way to say hello to the place, a byproduct of our apartment search, a study of typography, and an exercise in answering "how many different ways can you do the same thing?"

In about a month, Liz and I will move back to the Bay Area, so I did another small photo essay (inspired by the work of Bernd and Hilla Becher). This one is on the surprising variety of fire hydrants in NW Portland, something I've noticed in walking around the neighborhood in the last year and a half.


(the whole set is on Flickr)

Although we haven't left yet, I guess this is my goodbye letter to Portland. I've enjoyed my time here, and I've made great new friends and deepened some old ones. Thank you, PDX, and although I'm not yet gone, I certainly hope that when I am, it's not forever.

[Addendum: The Internet being what it is, here's an exhaustive history of Portland fire hydrants, including an explanation of the color scheme Portland uses to mark hydrant functionality.]

My neighborhood in Portland has a number of early 20th century apartment buildings in it. I decided to document some of their nameplates.

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Just got to a Net connection after a week at the Milan Furniture Fair (thanks, Ruth and Erez!). Here are the pictures, unorganized, unedited and barely tagged, on Flickr.




A device studio that lives at the intersections of ubiquitous computing, ambient intelligence, industrial design and materials science.

The Smart Furniture Manifesto

Giant poster, suitable for framing! (300K PDF)
Full text and explanation

Recent Photos (from Flickr)

Smart Things: Ubiquitous Computing User Experience Design

By me!
ISBN: 0123748992
Published in September 2010
Available from Amazon

Observing the User Experience: a practitioner's guide to user research

By me!
ISBN: 1558609237
Published April 2003
Available from Amazon

Recent Comments

  • Katherina: Information not just material. In our days it is a read more
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  • George: You might want to change "Size" to "form" for terminal. read more
  • Mike: Thanks for the reminder, Robin. I'm aware of that article, read more
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