Carpool Conversations Vol. 2

In the second installment of Carpool Conversations, we talked about the dynamics of communication and collaboration. This image is a visualization of our thoughts.

Thinking collaboratively speeds the development of an idea. Talking about a problem helps us understand the problem. Conversation and collaboration are important to the process.

Another thought we had, that's not represented in the chart, is that "silence is a powerful tool". It seems that speaking less sometimes gets better results, and that moments of silence are important. For one, it's important to listen and it's important to think, both of which are markedly more difficult to do while you're talking. Secondly, repeating a point has the generally-unintended consequence of reducing the potency of the idea. If you keep talking after you've made your point, you have a tendency to stray from the initial message, thereby watering it down. At the same time, your listener doesn't have a chance to absorb the idea. Know your message, deliver it as clearly, accurately and succinctly as possible, then allow it to stand on it's own and flourish.

We didn't get to talk too much today (no pun intended), because for some reason the traffic was sparse and we make good time north.

Stay tuned for Carpool Conversations Vol. 3.

Posted by Nate Koechley on March 28, 2005 at 09:09 PM in Design, Idea, Information Architecture, Interaction Design, Location: San Francisco, My life..., Social Networking and Community | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Carpool Conversations - Trip #1

Background Information

This is the first dispatch from Carpool Conversations. I live in San Francisco, but work in Sunnyvale about 43 miles south, in the heart of Silicon Valley. The long drive sucks, but the great thing about it is that it's an protected time to think, to reflect, to brainstorm, and to explore. There are no distractions in the car; no Internet connection and nobody popping into my cube.

I often carpool with my friend Jon Koshi, and we have great conversations about the web, design, interface, the future, and the present. We both tend to bring complimentary sides of the same topics to the conversation. We both like to think big, and, if I do say so myself, we're more aware than average of current events, practices, trends, and developments. Jon is a visual designer by practice and I'm a technologist by practice, so we've got both sides covered in that regard too. (We talk politics and currents and news and life too, but this series will largely focus on technology and human beings.)

Koshi and I both believe in words and word smithing. We believe that examining and designing frameworks for ideas to operate within creates stronger ideas while helping to vet the root concepts. We like to discuss nuance and subtle distinctions, and in the process gain a deeper understanding.

I'm writing this from the road right now. I'd like to resist editing too much, and instead share the thoughts as they appear in the carpool. Hopefully this will be on interest to some of my good readers.

And with that, I can't resist saying, "start your engines!".

Posted by Nate Koechley on March 17, 2005 at 07:52 PM in Idea, Location: San Francisco, My life..., Visual Design, Web Development, Yahoo! | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack


Casual Gaming

At last week's Mobile Monday, which I attended, Anita Wilhelm (aka MobileGirl) presented a mobile-based game her startup is working on:

Caterpillar Mobile's current product is a cameraphone game called Zooke. Zooke allows its members to create challenges for all members or only members of an immediate social circle. You might be on a mission to find the best George Bush bumper sticker in Berkeley and have other game players rate your findings. It is a community-driven reality play experience that makes everyone's day a little more exciting with minimal effort.

I liked the idea of casual gaming, the idea that you can have an experience in short segments while you're going about your normal routine. I'm also interested that this represents a shift from highly time-intensive games. Well, she follows up that with a new post last week discussing Casual Gaming and thinking about an article of the same title by Tom Hume.

He captures the essence of an important shift from hard core gaming experiences to engaging play experiences perfectly! Allowing players to engage lightly in the experience throughout their daily lives is essential to creating something compelling and addictive to be used on a mobile device. Allowing players light weight games or frameworks that they can think about while on the move, but not have to interact with continually in the virtual world is essential. Giving them tools which allow them to explore and play at their will fits the affordances of the mobile device.

I remember the days of having hours and hours to play video games, but to be honest, it's a pretty distant memory. It's cool to see people working to bring games and playing back into the lives of otherwise distracted and busy peeps like me. It's also fun to watch a new medium like Mobile develop.

Posted by Nate Koechley on February 17, 2005 at 03:53 AM in Gadgets, Idea, Location: San Francisco, My life..., Photos, Social Networking and Community, Software and Tools | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Cooking Thai

Originally uploaded by natekoechley.
On Thursday night, Aimee invited a bunch of her friends over for dinner. The dinner was multi-purpose: celebrating her that-day completion of the last application to grad school; a housewarming party for her friends who hadn't seen our home; and a going away party, as she's leaving Monday night for about a month in South East Asia.

13 photos in Flickr set

Posted by Nate Koechley on February 12, 2005 at 01:06 PM in Events, Food, Location: San Francisco, My life..., Travel [1] | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


SF Sketchfest

The Onion's coming to San Francisco

My brother is coming to town next week from Brooklyn. He's a writer for The Onion. He's on a panel as part of SF Sketchfest, a sketch comedy festival.

He's joined on the panel by two other Onion writers (of six total) and the editor, as well as Dave Eggers. They go 8pm, Monday January 24th, at Cobb's Comedy Club in SF.

Posted by Nate Koechley on January 20, 2005 at 01:26 PM in Events, Humor, Location: San Francisco, My life... | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


The Hitherto Impossible in Photography is Our Specialty

Here is an amazing page of photos taken from a kite-mounted camera in post-earthquake 1906 San Francisco. As you can see in this photo, the city has been literally leveled by the quake and fire.

This novel aerial perspective drew world attention. Flown two thousand feet above the bay, the lens scanned the waterfront.

The photos were taked by George R. Lawrence at least three weeks after three days of fires -- caused by the earthquake -- left at least the two hundred thousand homeless.

Posted by Nate Koechley on December 14, 2004 at 12:27 AM in Gadgets, Location: San Francisco, Other, Photos | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Event - Film Screening: See The Elephant!

SEE THE ELEPHANT! - A Political Video Installation about the 2004 Republican National Convention
Created by Ryan Junell - Music by Lesser

About the movie:

"See the Elephant!" is an immerse four-screen video installation with surround sound audio that features convergent viewpoints during the 2004 Republican National Convention. The four video trajectories take place inside the RNC, outside the venue with the authorities, in the streets with the demonstrators, and at arms-length with mass media. Content for the projected piece includes natural sound, impromptu interviews, and overlapping content.

After touring with the video through the swing states in the weeks before the recent election, creator Ryan Junell brings this hour long political experience to his homebase of San Francisco. Proceeds from the screenings go directly to the creation of the interactive dvd of the installation. "See the Elephant!" dvds will be available for pre-order. See http://www.seetheelephant.org for more details about the installation.


Friday, November 26th
Saturday, November 27th

Seatings at 8pm and 9:30pm
$5 or $10 w/drink or $20 w/dvd
(tho the broke are warmly welcomed)

Studio 1-2-3
401 Alabama Street (@ 17th)
San Francisco


If you'd like to attend any of these showings, please RSVP in the comments sections below.

In ryan's email to me, he included the following quote

I know revisiting political stuff right now is kinda sensitive... but f%#k it. We witnessed so much crazy stuff that the mass media just didn't want to describe. Half a million people showed up in the streets of NYC to protest the policies of the president and his administration. The Republican machine used their power of authority to suppress political dissent by arresting thousands of demonstrators. Meanwhile, oil men, fundamentalists, and actors took the stage inside Madison Square Garden to rally the conservative base on a platform of fear and war. This event is worth remembering.
ryan junell

Posted by Nate Koechley on November 16, 2004 at 10:33 AM in Events, Location: San Francisco, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Poo Sticks


San Francisco is a city of neighborhoods. The Haight, The Mission, North Beach, Bernal Heights, SoMa (South of Market).

SoMa's great, I lived and worked there for the first couple San Francisco years. It's where all the internet companies are (were?), a landscape of warehouses and lofts, machine shops and furniture stores, artist studios and galleries, and diverse overall.

But a thing about SoMa is that there's an amazing amount of feces laying around. While some people may think that any amount amazing -- and I'd be one of these people -- there really is a substantial quantity laying around.

Human feces mostly, but that presence seems to encourage dog owners to be slightly more lackadaisical with their collection duties.

I'm not exactly sure why that is. There are lots of homeless people in SoMa, so that obviously contributes. (It's a flat neighborhood, and probably gets more sun - less fog - than any other area of The City.). In addition to the homeless population, there's also a lot of drug users and druggie services like rehab clinics and probation offices. I'm not sure if folks that do hard drugs at the end of back alleys also like to shit on the sidewalk, but I wouldn't put it past 'em.

Well, at least it's being put to good use now: madeyouthink.org

My friend Brian from 1000 Journals sent me this link. Thanks Brian!

Posted by Nate Koechley on November 5, 2004 at 11:50 AM in Humor, Location: San Francisco, Politics | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Earthquakes and Volcanoes

Last time we felt a small earthquake at work I dug up some resources. Well, we felt another one this morning:

In the last 24 28 minutes, there have been at least 21 29 earthquakes on the San Andreas fault about 135 miles south-east of where I work. The strongest had a magnitude of 5.9. Another was 5.0, with the remainder between 1.9 and 4.7... They're all within a few miles of Parkfield California.

It's interesting to note that there has been up to One or Two Quakes a Minute in Washington where Rumbling at Mount St. Helens Triggers Alert:

Seismic activity at Mount St. Helens has changed significantly during the past 24 hours and the changes make us believe that there is an increased likelihood of a hazardous event

Meanwhile, about 150km north-west of Tokyo, Mt Asama erupted again on Thurdsay after burst back into life earlier this month in its biggest eruption in 21 years.

Check out the global seismic monitor to remember that disasters aren't always man made.

Posted by Nate Koechley on September 28, 2004 at 11:00 AM in Location: San Francisco, My life..., News, Other, Pop Culture | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack


U.S. Geological Survey, Earthquake Info

Quake: Latest Quake Info U.S. Geological Survey, Earthquake Hazards Program - maps, news, updates

Posted by Nate Koechley on December 22, 2003 at 11:44 AM in Location: San Francisco | Permalink | Comments (0)