Life of Amy

CogSci, Knitting, and Other Shenanigans

Conceptualizing July 9, 2008

Filed under: design,life,rant — Amy @ 2:49 am
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I am panicking about my future. This isn’t the first instance, nor, I’m certain, will it be the last. However, this was the first time I think I had a truly good idea of what I want eventually. I want to be an interaction designer. There. I’ve said it. I can’t take it back.

The biggest problem for me at the moment is deciding between graduate school and an entry-level job/internship. I actually rather love to work, but I’m concerned that I’m not ready for the work force. Perhaps I’m second-guessing myself, but I’m also worried that I won’t want to go back to school after working. Simultaneously, I’m worried about entry level jobs. I can’t find any that I want. I guess beggars can’t be choosers. But I don’t want to live in Middle-of-Nowhere, USA.

However, if there’s a bright spot to all this, I found a neat little quote that sums up how I want to be/what I want to possess:

The precision of an artist and the passion of a scientist.

How’s that for a thought?

 

Firefox Extensions July 5, 2008

Filed under: college,life,love,random,recommendations — Amy @ 1:06 am
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I’ve been playing around with the new Firefox 3.0 since its release date, and I have to say I’m pretty impressed. The configuration is pretty easy to tweak, although I don’t normally do much to it. Perhaps moreso, I’m impressed with the extensions I’ve picked out this time. They just seem more useful. That said, I thought I’d share them. Extensions are, after all, the ultimate way to customize your browsing experience. The PCs at the lab just feel a little naked without …

  • All-in-One Sidebar: Oh my, why did I not discover this add-on until FF3?! This is the most amazing thing ever. It makes the sidebar an integral part of the browsing experience. It has bookmarks, downloads, add-ons, source, and whatever else you may choose to load in the sidebar. My only wish is that I could drag more shortcuts into the sidebar menu of buttons.
  • FoxyTunes: An absolutely essential tool if you listen to music while browsing. Unless you’re the kind of person who needs to see their entire library at once. But really, I think that’s just silly. All you really need to know is what song you’re listening to right now. It’s expandable if necessary, but otherwise, you can just stick to your main functions. I’ve had this extension for a while now, and I can’t live without it.
  • Sage-Too: I used an old incarnation of this RSS reader once upon a time. Then, when I updated to FF3, I found this one, and I have to say I love it. The best thing about it is that it displays all the entries on a single, generated page, allowing the reader to browse through all of the recent entries.
  • ScribeFire Blog Editor: This is what I’m using right now. It’s got compatibility with multiple blogging platforms, and the options are impressive. Additionally, it pops up in the bottom of the browser window, so you can still browse/see URLs, and even though it’s kinda tiny, it’s still there. Pretty sweet so far …
  • Shareaholic: An amazing extension … makes Digg-ing and adding to my del.icio.us bookmarks easy and painless. Can also be expanded to more networking sites than I know what to do with. My favorite part is that it tells you how many times an item has been dugg or how many other del.icio.us bookmarks have been made. It’s another great way to integrate many things that would otherwise be separate.

There you have it. I know that may not have been the most coherent review, but in my experience, these have been the most exceptional add-ons. Other notable mentions include: Adblock Plus, Download Statusbar, DownThemAll!, and PDF Download.

Oh … and a friend got engaged tonight! Hurrah! But seriously … another one?! More on this later, I suppose. Well, the general theme, anyway. Love in a time of graduation …

 

Shampoo & Conditioner July 1, 2008

Filed under: art,cognitive science,design,life,photos,Uncategorized — Amy @ 5:14 pm
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Shampoo and conditioner, originally uploaded by Clean Wal-Mart.

Despite the photo, no, this will not be a post about having too many options. I’ll save that for Barry Schwartz (“On the Paradox of Choice”).

Instead, what I’d like to talk about is the design of shampoo and conditioner bottles. Standing in the shower today, I reached for the shampoo first, and I checked the bottle to make sure it was indeed shampoo. The time before, in the shower, I had picked up a bottle, opened it and squeezed it out, only to reveal that the contents were conditioner. My mistake.

But how could I even make such an error? After all, aren’t bottles color coded? Isn’t the shampoo bottle supposed to be transparent while the conditioner is opaque? What about the idea that the shampoo stands with its cap in the air while the conditioner sits cap-down? Haven’t they been meticulously designed already? I won’t even go into the fact that we have this implicit knowledge. But we do. We all know how to tell shampoo and conditioner apart, aside from reading the bottles.

Back on topic, yes, I agree that the benefits of the bottles are products of design. However, all this designing cannot account for all of the possibilities.

The first problem with my set of hair products is that both bottles are opaque. The shampoo is clear, and the conditioner is white, but in the bottle, you can’t really tell the difference. This problem was inherent in the design. Perhaps it could have been countered with the transparent/opaque solution, but that doesn’t account for the second problem.

The second problem is user-related. A few months back, we had a sewage back-up in our apartment complex. This meant that we had raw sewage coming back up into the shower and bathtub. Needless to say, it was nasty, and the lesson learned there was that if there was a cap-down bottle, it was done for. I turned my new bottles cap-up. So, now, the only way my bottles can be told apart is by their labels and the directionality of those labels. Subtle, really.

The question then becomes: how can we further design shampoo and conditioner bottles so that they can be unmistakably told apart? Or is that really a question we need to be asking, after all?

 

Viva Espana! June 30, 2008

Filed under: entertainment,life,love,random,videos — Amy @ 5:27 am
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Okay, here’s the thing. I had originally wanted the Germans to take the Euro Cup. I will not lie. They had played with such heart, such tenacity. And then, at the end of the semi-final match, I realized that they had muscled their way through that one, and as much as they rocked it, they barely made it. Turkey had much more heart, and Germany suddenly felt to me like a bunch of sore winners.

After that, I watched the Spain/Italy semi … and wow. Both teams played with heart, but Spain deserved that win. When they celebrated, it came from the heart, not from any kind of seeming expectation. Their victory seemed genuine. I had no choice but to love them.

Thus, in the final, I ended up rooting for Spain. Sure, you can call me a bandwagoner, but I fell in love with the fire of this Spanish team. They played hard, they beat the Germans on every count, and they entirely deserved to win. Perhaps this is why the following video clip makes me giggle like a schoolgirl.

Thanks to Kickette … my newest guilty pleasure. It keeps me sane while I peruse the grad school scene.

 

Coolness June 24, 2008

Filed under: art,crafty,humor,life,music,random — Amy @ 11:43 pm
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The Lord’s Prayer is a classic …

but everyone needs some Dylan in their life.

Oh wow. You have to check out Wordle. I think I’m going to go turn more quotes into word cloud art now. I should probably post something interesting soon … but I’m still twittering away. Oh, and Euro Cup … Euro Cup owns my life right now.

 

Goals May 26, 2008

Filed under: life — Amy @ 9:28 am
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I’m so fickle about my blogging. I’m always thinking there’s a better site, or a better way — a better anything. However, I’ve come to separating my life into parts, and that’s been bothering me a bit. My guess is that this blog will attempt to be more professional, but I make no guarantees. Perhaps it will end up that I consolidate my life here. Wouldn’t that be fitting.

 

Archives: What Is Up? I Am! (09/29/2006)

Filed under: college,humor,life,random — Amy @ 6:13 am
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Holy cow. I am turning into a morning person. I have had to leave the house by around 8 AM for the past four days, and today, after my silly phone alarm rang twice, I climbed down the ladder, turned it off, and stayed down. I suppose I am just a creature of habit, and as such, have gotten into the groove. I am excited by this prospect. Maybe I will lead a normal adult life after all!