March 2003

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Lean years.

I want to say more about Stewart Brand’s keynote at the IA Summit in Portland, but for now here’s a bit of his wisdom, a 2-minute talk he gave on the Lean Years, at the 2002 Webby Awards. For those of you who don’t have 2 minutes, here’s the last bit: “Lean years are not just punctuation between periods of fat years. They are the discipline years when civilization consolidates its gains and invents its way out of trouble. In the long now, THESE are the good years. Don’t waste them.”

Color me facile.

It’s always fun to think of slippery words like facilitator and think about how they’re put together… like, “facile” isn’t really the most positive word I can think of, but it’s about ease, which isn’t necessarily negative, and if you’re a facilitator, it sounds like you’re doing something very nice, modestly enabling. Anyway, here I am in cloudy Portland, Oregon, tucked into my hotel room (a “facility”) and listening to the news on CNN as I type, where the term “facile” actually applies nicely: there’s a certain blissful ease with which the news is being reported about the war. One anchor actually referred to the conflict as “The Big Dance.” If that isn’t the nastiest sort of unearned ease of affect, I don’t know what is.
But, hey, enough about that. Why am I here? Well, I’m here for the AIFIA | Information Architecture Leadership Seminar of course! Where I am a “facilitator” — which is like being a “dictator,” but more about making things easier on others (“facili…”), and less about being a … well, you know.

Never been to Portland before. There have been protestors arrested, squatting in the streets here. But it’s pretty… reminds me of Louisville, if Louisville had a rocky range of home-spotted hills surrounding the river. It’s actually like Louisville, KY and Asheville, NC squished into one. Though I probably would think differently if I were here in, say, January.

How a meme travels through the blogosphere… that’s the subject of this interesting bit from Joi Ito at Joi Ito’s Web: Ivan’s adventures in weblog space.

For some reason ‘love your hearth’ seemed a very Christopher Alexander-ish thing to say in the title. Though I’m still a neophyte when it comes to his writings… I’ve read only small chunks of his gorgeous A Timeless Way of Building and other amazing books. I’m thinking about delving in again now that I’ve run across this excellent synopsis of his work.

I’ve been so blogless lately. Pitiful. Was a time when I’d pop every little thing up, and now it just doesn’t occur to me as often. But it isn’t that I haven’t been running across fab stuff to pass along, or that I haven’t been thinking incredibly profound thoughts (ok, that’s a stretch), it just slipped out of my routine somehow. But I’m gonna redouble my efforts.
For example, here are a couple of things that Wurman and Tufte would be proud of: information design at its best.
1. Sexual Fetish Entity Diagram showing all the major fetishes and their relationships,
2. The Buffy Sex Chart, making visually clear who has done the nasty with whom on Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I assume it doesn’t include sucking just blood…).
Now, what somebody should do is a diagram showing the relationships between these two … that would be worth printing out.