Archive | November 2010

Fred Brooks : How to Design Anything in Wired Interview

Photo: Master Planner: Fred Brooks Shows How to Design Anything

Its reference time again, Kelly Brooks, who’ve made the most insightful and useful and often ignored advice for anybody who’ve struggled with design and process. Great to hear about his new book, The Design of Design, and this wired magazine interview.


The most important single decision I ever made was to change the IBM 360 series from a 6-bit byte to an 8-bit byte, thereby enabling the use of lowercase letters. That change propagated everywhere.


Great design does not come from great processes; it comes from great designers


Start with a vision rather than a set of features.


You can learn more from failure than success. In failure you’re forced to find out what part did not work. But in success you can believe everything you did was great, when in fact some parts may not have worked at all. Failure forces you to face reality

and the most famous: 

You can’t accelerate a nine-month pregnancy by hiring nine pregnant women for a month. Likewise, you can’t always speed up an overdue software project by adding more programmers; beyond a certain point, doing so increases delays.

Brooks codified that precept 35 years ago in a small technical book, The Mythical Man-Month, which he named after the flawed assumption that more manpower meant predictably faster progress. Today, his insight is known as Brooks’ law. The book still sells 10,000 copies a year, and Brooks—who oversaw the creation of IBM’s System/360, the company’s most successful mainframe—is hailed as a legend. Wired’s founding executive editor, Kevin Kelly, spoke with Brooks to discuss the upside of failure, lowercase letters, and what we can learn from Apple.

Excerpts Follow: 

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Design and Food

IKEA’s take on a baking recepie book. Done as part of branding, or rather as a natural connect to the kitchen appliances supplied by IKEA.
Beautiful looking pics despite not knowing the names of most of them, had a very satiating experience….I’m hopeful that our own Samosa, Jalebi, Appam and punugulualso receive this love and attention.

Yes, Design does make a difference, and it could be edible!


We let ourselves be inspired by high fashion and Japanese minimalism. The idea of the book became to tone down the actual cake and put the ingredients in focus. The recipes are presented as graphic still-life portraits on a warm and colorful stage. And when you turn the page you see the fantastic result


Weekly Notes and links

Weekly Notes and links Collectibles from the week that was

A Quote
From a slide deck by founder of Fusion Charts – Pallav Nadhani – and good to have it as a reference [look up slide 33 of the presentation]

Geek Talk

Indian News Sites (ToI and Rediff)

  • As if the famous online manifestation of the Indian National Mood — ‘The Rediff comments’ were not enough; As if the fully Indianised and masala version of youtube, gmail, and all assorted online services was not ehough (not that the services are not remarkable in their own right, That job Rediff has done well)
    Recently they’ve started a feature where you are asked to follow a event or a story in the collaborative way! Only downside is the ads and teasers that appear on the home and the main pages. They acquire altogether different meaning in some cases – sample this

    Am sure nobody in right mind will follow the story as highlighted for their merit- sleaze and curio value may be a reason to click for some.
    If this is what comes across from one of the premier and dynamic portal like Rediff, ahem! sorry no more MyPages.


  • Then, the TOI got its long overdue image overhaul to be more like contemporary websites, Nice(er).
    And an additional web edition called Times Crest, this required Facebook signup- Are the days of premium news in India nearby?

The days!

  • Nov 11 –  World Usability Day. Multiple locations in India.
    Launch of Texavi; Rave Technology Event at Mumbai
    UXFundamentals- the first edition of conference and seminar at Chennai.
    Arrk Solutions event at Mumbai
    iNautix Technologies event at Chennai
    Bangalore and Hyderabad are missing in action from the map. (though there is a McFee event listed at Bangalore, it does not figure in the ‘Events by Country’ list at the World Usability Day site)
    And no Google doodles for the World Usability Day.
  • Nov 13 – Birth anniversary of writer Robert Louis Stevenson. And a nice Google Doodle for the same
  • Nov 14 – Children’s Day in India, as this is the birth anniversary of the first prime minister on India Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru (the global Children’s Day happens to be on Nov 20, the date on which UN general assembly adopted the Declaration of the rights of Child).
    This day’s Google Doodle is by Akshay Raj of Mangalore
    On second thoughts, probably this is only event where India is proactively ahead by 6 days compared to rest of the world, and since about 60 years. Its an achievement in itself if you’d come to think of it.

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UX Stories from around the World

Idyllic browsing on the World Usability Day threw up an unexpected gem.

There is a free eBook made available by UXStoryTellers- Connecting the Dots. There are 42 UX professionals who’ve shared their stories — personal, anecdotal and indeed helpful professionally, or just as a reference if you’re connected to the UX profession in any way.

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