November 2010 Archives

November 18, 2010

Confessions of the UX ex

Listen up kiddies; here’s where I step off the user experience (UX) bandwagon.

Continue reading Confessions of the UX ex.

November 12, 2010

Back at Zero

Today I am broke. Very broke. It is a very temporary broke, and it is due to a reliance upon others to accomplish duties—and that is all that I will say about that. I am personally back on the task and shall remain on the task until a more suitable solution is found.

What frustrates me so intensely about being broke is how it feels: so foreign yet so familiar. I grew up poor and I remember not having money as being the norm. I didn’t have an allowance; we did occasionally not pay one bill in order to pay another. It wasn’t until being on my own for a couple years that I came to experience a life where life itself was not dictated by what I owed. I was not rich, but I was not under.

I cherished that feeling. I promised myself that my goal would be to feel this way forever. I didn’t need wealth; I just needed to not think about money. What started as a simple solution (getting paid $1000/mo; using $1500-limit card to pay all $800 of monthly expenses; paying off card in full each month) grew to literally create a padding around me, shielding me from that past reality of have-nots.

That seems like ages ago. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to not know which card to use, to wonder if the ATM will give you cash. It burns to feel myself in the red, no longer fireproof. It infuriates me; turns me from the calm philosophical idealist I’m known for into the analytical taskmaster asshole that I am intrinsically. Not only am I broke; I’m miserable.

Regarding the silver lining, I am reminded that there are no perpetual machines. Craftsmanship extends beyond release date and into the extended warranty. I am given a chance to improve the original system—as well as a motivation to apply myself passionately. The holidays may be dimmer than usual, but the new year holds promise of a phoenix-like rebirth of honesty, craftsmanship, and good intent.

November 11, 2010

Honesty Returns

A lot of interesting things have happened in the last few months, particularly since the trip to England, yet I’ve written little about them. For many things, it seemed inappropriate to divulge; perhaps it was the timing, or the potential for change, or the sensitive nature of the topic. I just felt it better if I wrote about these things later, if at all.

It has happened with my tweeting as well. I started slowing down, then I realized I was close to my 10,000th tweet and suddenly screeched to a halt, trying to find something novel to do with that milestone. But even after I finally passed that record number, I found myself reticent to share my thoughts as readily. Part of it was that I was in a particular sour mood, part of it was related to confidentiality and industry secret (ha!), while part of it was just finding the best things to say rather than anything.

It dawned on me that I was caught in self-repression. I was holding my tongue in fear of something—but what was it? Unsurprisingly, it largely was fear of offending my employer—which says two things: I don’t think my employer values when I have differing ideas and that I am reliant upon my employer for my well-being.

This is a recipe for unhappiness. While it may not be instantaneous, I’m committing to a return to honesty, transparency; freedom to speak and to disagree. I’ll also be working to provide a way that I can continue to live and act honestly no matter the cost. It might sound like I’m saying I’m saving up in case I get fired, but really I’m saying I’m preparing for what’s possible; the sky is the limit and the worst thing that could happen to me right now is that I deny an opportunity for fear of being heard.

November 6, 2010

Counterpoint

I think of counterpoint nearly every time I find myself unintentionally groovin’ to Justin Timberlake’s “Rock Your Body” at some gas station or shopping mall or wherever they play music like that. It was a popular song when it released, but no one ever noted the wonderful (and quite rare for our time) polyphony found in its bridge. I’m not even sure if the girl who sang the other half) is still singing, let alone better off due to the song’s fame.

But I digress; we’re talking about counterpoint—where two (or more) distinct melodies operate simultaneously, relying on each other’s presence to bring harmonic effect. Wikipedia considers Bach to be the greatest practitioner, and it seems that it becomes more rare in music as you move forward in history.

I think counterpoint is evidenced in other aspects of life, and can even be considered an ideal outcome for many of our societal problems. What would happen if two opposing points of view positioned themselves to balance the other rather than to assault or defend? What if tools like consideration and empathy were strategically implemented instead of victory and profit? Perhaps even these more aggressive tactics could be paired with more compassionate perspectives to create a third layer—and a clear objective presentation for those looking on.

Counterpoint represents harmony without dependence, collaboration without compulsion; the sum of a positive and negative being greater than its individual parts. is this something we could find useful in our human development?