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June 07 2013

What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains

“I really believe that if you look at the great monuments of culture, they come from people who are able to pay attention, who control their mind. That’s what allows us to think in the highest terms and think conceptually, think critically, uh, think in some very creative ways. And it’s this kind of thinking that’s at risk: being eroded one cute cat video at a time.”

I certainly feel that my capacity for concentration isn’t what it used to be. What do you think? What are you doing for disconnecting?

March 02 2012

February 19 2012

29 WAYS TO STAY CREATIVE

It’s not a closed list I guess, but I love this video and it’s style… plus the content is really true.

February 12 2012

A happy little secret

I normally tend to be far more optimistic than negative! Sometimes a bit too much as some keep reminding me! ;)

Well it’s not by chance or a personality disorder, it’s just something I’ve learned along (the hard) way a couple of years back as I went through a complicated and very disruptive health experience, that nearly killed me twice. One of those moments that people very often state that can change your life. I can attest, it’s true.

when confronted with our harsh reality, our fragile existence, all the bad things around us, than we start looking at our surroundings in a different way. Things that used to push me down, suddenly and once seen through the right lenses, they simply become… well… not so important or incredibly non-sense or they become the source of the strength that you need to overcome those same less good moments.

I keep complaining about it, but every time I have to listen to the television/radio news these days, it’s all about shit that can only puts me/us down!! So why do we eat it?

Yesterday as I was tread-milling myself in the gym I picked up this TED talk by Shawn Achor:

As he rambles about the importance of being positive, he also warns us about the dangers of good media and bad media consumption:

Change the lenses through which you see the world and you’ll discover a brand new world!

So maybe we need to change how we spend our time and what we read and listen too as it seems they have a real impact in the way we see the world around us.

So by now, you’re probably wondering who are this nuts, right? Well, if that’s the case then you’re clearly lagging behind!
Attitude is important, and being positive is just the spice to get you to the next level.

As a starting point I’d recommend heavily to follow the work of Alexander Kjerulf aka The Chief Happiness Officer (fellow Rebooter) who happens to be one of the world’s leading experts on happiness at work and the best-selling author of 3 books including Happy Hour is 9 to 5 (which you can read for free online).

So I tease all of you who read this, please give it a try!
Be more positive tomorrow, and after tomorrow and the day after tomorrow and so on!
Try it ;)

November 10 2011

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. By Steve Jobs

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down — that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960′s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

July 05 2011

wi-GO

wi-GO is a project aimed to building a barrier-free society, it’s a robot system based on Microsoft sensor technology Kinect, enabling anyone (from disabled person, to elderly and pregnant women) to carry objects without difficulty, comfortably and safely. The automatic cart follows it’s owner, promoting mobility and reducing these personal temporary or permanent inabilities.

via wi-GO Project on Vimeo.

November 21 2010

Remember

Estrada Viva – http://estradaviva.org/
Fédération Européenne des Victimes de la Route – European Federation of Road Traffic Victims – http://fevr.org
World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims – http://wdor.org

Music by Idiot Johnson
Illustration and Video by Lucy Pepper

November 19 2010

20 Things I Learned about Browsers and the Web

For all the stuff you’ve always wandered about the web but were just afraid to ask, just click the image to enjoy the remarkably nicely illustrated book by Google Chrome Team with illustrations from Christopth Niemann:

November 11 2010

World Usability Day 2010

The day is almost over but I’ve hardly close to finish my post about this year’s topic – Communication, so instead I’d like to just share a very simple video introducing HCI to those who might not be so familiar with:

Why buttons go bad

If this got you curious and you still haven’t clicked away, follow along with to Dave Kelley on a tour on how much is actually in stake about human computer or human centered design:

November 10 2010

Blood In the Mobile

Because not everything about technology is good…

know more on http://bloodinthemobile.org and facebook.

November 08 2010

November 12 2009

World Usability Day Charter

Today it’s the World Usability Day, this year’s theme is ‘Designing for a Sustainable World’, a theme that’s particular personal to me, not only refering to the usability factor, but also to this year’s topic! As founder of SHiFT – Social and Human Ideas for Tecnology, I personally recommend that all that agree with me that a lot need to be done to improve the way we experience and design technology to please read and sign the World Usability Day Charter:

Human error is a misnomer. Technology today is too hard to use. A cell phone should be as easy-to-use as a doorknob. In order to humanize a world that uses technology as an infrastructure for education, healthcare, government, communication, entertainment, work, and other areas, we must agree to develop technologies in a way that serves people first.

Technology should enhance our lives, not add to our stress or cause danger through poor design or poor quality. It is our duty to ensure that this technology is effective, efficient, satisfying and reliable, and that it is usable by all people. This is particularly important for people with disabilities, because technology can enhance their lives, letting them fully participate in work, social and civic experiences. Human error is a misnomer. Technology should be developed knowing that human beings have certain limitations. Human error will occur if technology is not both easy-to-use and easy-to-understand. We need to reduce human error that results from bad design. We believe a united, coordinated effort is needed to develop reliable, easy-to- use technology to serve people in all aspects of their lives, including education, health, government, privacy, communications, work and entertainment. We must put people at the center of design, beginning with their needs and wants, and resulting in technology that benefits all of us. Therefore, we, the undersigned, agree to work together to design technology that helps human beings truly realize their potential, so that we can create a better world for ourselves and future generations.

We agree to observe World Usability Day each year, to provide a single worldwide day of events around the world that brings together communities of professional, industrial, educational, citizen and governmental groups for our common objective: to ensure that technology helps people live to their full potential and helps create a better world for all citizens everywhere.

Article 1: Education

Wired and wireless schools are appearing everywhere. Students around the world benefit from low-cost, easy-to-use, reliable computing, Internet access, and telecommunication. Educational technology must be not only affordable and available, but must be usable by teachers, students and parents.

Article 2: Health

Healthcare must be available to everyone around the world. Medical technology can improve health, but it must be easy-to-use: error in this arena is costly. Because we are what we eat, we need healthier food supplies that will improve the well being of people everywhere. Technology that produces better food for all must be built on research that keeps the whole person in mind.

Article 3: Government

Governments around the globe seek to use new technology to better serve their citizens and increase participation in the civic experience. Citizens can pay taxes and take care of business online in many countries in the world; this same capability should be available to all, eliminating the digital divide that separates rich from poor or isolates social groups. Voting systems must ensure trust and confidence in elections. Technology that supports civic engagement must give all citizens equal access and opportunity, and must be easy to use and easy to understand by all citizens, including those with disabilities of any kind.

Article 4: Communication
People need to connect with each other. We have more means than ever to communicate: phones, Internet, messaging and the printed medium. Technology that facilitates communication between people must be intuitive to use. It should have instructions that are easy to understand, and knobs, dials and buttons that do not require constant tuning.

Article 5: Privacy and Security
As the use of technology grows, so do concerns about new forms of e-commerce, e-government and e-communication. We must build in appropriate safeguards to ensure that our interaction is secure, that children and others are protected, and that our systems are trustworthy.

Article 6: Entertainment

Entertainment is not just for our spare time. People use entertainment for many reasons throughout their daily lives. The world of entertainment has embraced technology to give us photos, movies, music and games in new ways and on new devices. But, even amusement benefits from usability! Incomprehensible remote controls, confusing instructions and blinking VCR clocks speak to the need for improvement in our media. Usable entertainment systems will make the experience less tiring and frustrating.

Sign the Charter

November 04 2009

Open Declaration on European Public Services

Open Declaration on European Public Services

Endorse the Open Declaration!

Let’s improve European public services together.

On November 19th, the EU governments will meet in Malmo to sign a Ministerial Declaration that will define the key priorities for e-government strategy in Europe for the next years.

A group of Web 2.0 enthusiasts launched an open collaborative effort to build an Open Declaration on European Public Services, which calls on European governments to embrace the values of transparency, participation and empowerment and so improve public services. The European Commission and the Swedish Presidency of the EU have accepted that we present the declaration in the official program of the Ministerial Conference.

We now need to collect thousands of endorsements in order to convince governments to fully embrace these values.

If you share the values of the Open Declaration, please add your name in this form. Together we can make a difference!

If you agree, you may sign it and then join the Facebook Group to start spreading the word.

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