Backpack PLUS Will Empower Community Health Workers

Backpack PLUS Will Empower Community Health Workers

A comprehensive toolkit to empower and activate Community Health Workers.

The Third Wave of Computing
Corpus Callosum

The Third Wave of Computing

Hear more from Theo Forbath at MobileCon 2013.

As Myanmar Opens Up, Will Mobile Money Emerge?
frogs on the road

As Myanmar Opens Up, Will Mobile Money Emerge?

Myanmar is easing sanctions and its economy is opening up.

What You Will Find On a Design Researcher's Bookshelf

What You Will Find On a Design Researcher's Bookshelf

Your guide to design research education.

“I’ve got a feeling 21, is gonna be a good year”

The new Optomap Retinal Exam from Optos has improved the User Experience of eye exams. I've worn glasses forever and every year I get an eye exam. In the past, eye exams consisted of a series of tests, one of which was pupil dilation in order to better examine the internal surface of the eye. This dilation has always been difficult because it lasts for several hours and makes the eyes quite sensitive to light. The Panoramic200 Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope (this company's product) takes a digital image of the eye which apparently provides enough information to the Opthamologist so that they don't require pupil dilation. Additionally, the images are very cool. This isn't my eye but you wouldn't know the difference.

Science and engineering just took another step towards a better future. Now we just need to pick up the pace a little.

Open Source Altruism

One of the most inspiring organizations I can think of, Architecture for Humanity, has recently launched the Open Architecture Network, an online platform for architects to collaborate on housing design solutions for developing nations. The site's FAQ outlines their mission:

"One billion people live in abject poverty. Four billion live in fragile but growing economies. One in seven people live in slum settlements. By 2020 it will be one in three. We don't need to choose between architecture or revolution. What we need is an architectural revolution."

The site contains tools, specs, and other documentation that allows architects from around the world to collaborate on open source solutions to designing housing and other structures for the developing world. Their work is quite often amazing - taking simple, local materials and building homes and clinics substantially more livable and beautiful than my New York studio.

As I understand it, the OAN represents a kind of return to the roots of Architecture for Humanity, which I once heard its founder Cameron Sinclair describe as the result of simply going out to the web and asking people to help solve the kinds of housing problems that traditional architecture had been unable to deal with.

There does seem to be a small but encouraging trend of open source ideas jumping from the digital to the physical world. One of the most promising that I've heard of recently is the Institute for OneWorld Health - to my knowledge the world's first nonprofit pharmaceutical company (about time). There is of course a difference between open source and simply nonprofit - as OneWorld Health's original drug product came from scouring databases of drugs whose patents had expired it does, in a sense, encompass both.

What gives me the most hope about these initiatives is only partially their direct benefit in terms of products. I am more excited by the fact that one of open source's main side-effects is education. If you need proof, how many of you learned HTML from hitting the 'view source' button? I don't think anyone can predict what kinds of revolutionary innovation will occur when millions of people in emerging economies are able to hit 'view source' on the institutions that hamper development.

Only in San Francisco

Spotted at the corner of 3rd and Brannan.


A Chink in Apple’s Armor?

When Apple first added the airport express to its line of products, they seamlessly integrated the experience of connecting remotely to your stereo. As an unabashed admirer of their products, I picked one up fairly early on and was quite pleased with it. At the time I had only one device but did hear some rumblings about multiple adapters and Apple's inability to play through multiple sources at once. The grumbling quickly faded to the background and I forgot about it.

fragile: handle with care

As promised, here is the update on Carla Diana's "fragile: handle with care" installation project in france.

She has also been working on a workshop with local kids in Savana at the city art museum. She described the photo below as a "radioactive pizza". Check it out. Nice stuff.

Helvetica - The Movie

SXSW A few days into South By Southwest (SXSW), SXSW Film will world-premiere Gary Hustwit's documentary "Helvetica," starring Erik Spiekerman, Neville Brody, and many others, celebrating the famous typeface that was initially conceived as the incarnation of Swiss neutrality (some graphic designers say that if diplomacy were a font, it would look like Helvetica).

Alan Kay: The PC Must Be Revamped—Now

-- from CIO Insight --

Alan Kay is not a fan of the personal computer, though he did as much as anyone to create it. A winner of the Turing Prize, computer scientist Kay was the leader of the group that invented object-oriented programming, the graphical user interface, 3D computer graphics, and ARPANET, the predecessor of the Internet. After helping to create the Alto, the Xerox PARC PC prototype that inspired the Apple Macintosh, he took on the role of chief scientist at Atari Corp. and became a fellow at Apple Computer, Walt Disney Co. and Hewlett-Packard Co.

While most people regard the personal computer as a modern miracle, Kay sees the PC as a chronic underachiever. To him it's an invention that, like television, has fallen far short of the potential foreseen by its early proponents.

I don't think you could find a physicist who has not gone back and tried to find out what Newton actually did. It's unimaginable. Yet the computing profession acts as if there isn't anything to learn from the past.  The things that are wrong with the Web today are due to this lack of curiosity in the computing profession. And it's very characteristic of a pop culture.

> the whole story... 

February 14, 2007

The Business of Color

As we heard from the Color Association, this year’s color is green. This is further demonstrated by clothing companies coming out with a shade of kelly green, as can be demonstrated by design sponge.But here comes Pantone (via Herman Miller) saying the color of the year is: Chili Pepper, "a deep, spicy red."

"In a time when personality is reflected in everything from a cell phone to a Web page on a social networking site, Chili Pepper connotes an outgoing, confident, design-savvy attitude," Pantone says.The prestigious, thousand member Color Marketing Group (CMG) generally concurs. The organization predicts that "deep, rich ethnic reds and warm, glowy oranges" will be the "punch" colors for 2007. CMG is also big on nature. Look for "sky blue." "Earthy browns" (think rocks, stone, and soil) should be hits as well.

Also from Herman Miller - Interestingly, the recently released DuPont Automotive’s 2006 Color Popularity Report found that "for the seventh consecutive year, silver has held its lead as the predominant color choice for vehicles globally." Silver is preferred by 20 to 25 percent of auto buyers. The color has had the longest run in the 53 years DuPont has been compiling data.Personally, I think if chili pepper red is the color of the year, then, ergo, the color combination of the year is red and green. Is this not obvious? They are complementary colors after all. Throw in some silver and you make everybody happy.And if you’ve been watching Top Design, you’ll know that Carisa has been taken over by the specter of red and green. Even she wonders what is up as all three of her designs of the show, so far, have been that color combination.

I have been taken with the red and green color combination ever since an episode of Top Chef when the table was dressed with lovely dark red flowers and bright green stems.

We think we have free will over choices, especially those as simple as color, but maybe it’s just the collective unconscious at work?

Get the frogblog Vista Sidebar Gadget!

We have been doing quite a bit of gadget work lately here at frog. As an experiment, myself and Senior Visual Designer Tim Wong decided to create a frogblog RSS reader gadget. Since gadgets are essentially just HTML and JavaScript there is no reason that you can't include other browser technologies such as Flash and Flex. In this gadget the Flash piece is handling all of the XML parsing and the actual list of news items. Since it is running locally there are no sandbox restrictions for reading in external XML which is nice. The arrows allow you smoothly scroll up and down through the items.

There is one strange bug when you first click on an item in the Flash movie as it doesn't open up the browser. But after that first click items opens the browser to view the news items as expected. We are looking into this bug but we think it has to do with the IE 7 instance which displays the gadgets.

Having Flash in the sidebar opens up a TON of possibilities for cool gadgets like MP3 players and system monitors. Stay tuned for more!

If you are running Vista you can download the gadget here. Just save the ZIP file to your hard drive, rename it so that it has .gadget as the file extension and double-click to install.


Managing Schizophrenic Projects: A Summary

A couple of weeks ago I spoke at the MX Conference (Managing Experience) put on by the nice folks at Adaptive Path. My topic was "Managing Schizophrenic Projects".