I was reading this articleBuckle Up: Apple’s Next 3 Years Will Be Insane by Mike Elgan 2:49 pm PDT, Nov 9th 2013, On Cultofmac.com about Apple's business practices.
It reminds me, that regardless of which business we are in, we need to understand the problem space in which we are trying to make a difference. We could think about interactions through the eyes of web design and ask questions like, where are people having difficulties or where are they having less than satisfying experiences? We can ask these sorts of questions in a variety of business endeavors/markets on levels like scripture engagement and our experiences surrounding scripture engagement. We could ask the same type of question about academic and language-based materials. At all levels of inquiry and service delivery, an organization with strategic goals still needs to know: what the market is, and what the market member's pain points are. Additionally an organization needs to have the freedom creatively alleviate those pain points. Just because we can do something doesn't mean it's the right time to do something. Knowing when and how is still very important. By thinking strategically, one can make sure that the tools are in place to respond at the next opportunity. Acting strategically is carrying through with what was planned when the opportunity comes.
So I have two computers I work with regularly to accomplish certain tasks. The organization I work with/for recently decided to go with google services. including Google Drive. I had been previously using DropBox and thought that because we were making a corporate switch that it would be good form to move work related materials from the DropBox account to the office Google Drive account - leaving me more space for my personal content in the DropBox account.
Currently I can not get my computers to sync. This is a problem. I quit the client and restarted it and the documents synced.
One other annoying feature is the advertisements. If there is one thing that Google does do is advertise. I have downloaded and registered two computers with my Google Drive account, so one would think that Google and all their information sharing capacity built into their terms of service would already know that I know about the local client for Mac but evidently not.
This week I had the challenge of extracting a years worth of history for a few URLs in a rather large website. We have been running Google Analytics a for the past year, so we should have the data. The question is how to get it. Continue reading →
Two times since the launch of the new SIL.org website colleagues of mine have contacted me about the new requirement on SIL.org to log-in before downloading content from the SIL Language and Culture Archive. Both know that I relate to the website implementation team. I feel as if they expect me to be able to speak into this situation (as if I even have this sort of power) - I only work with the team in a loose affiliation (from a different sub-group within SIL), I don't make design decisions, social impact decisions, or negotiate the politics of content distribution.
However, I think there are some real concerns by web-users users about being required to log-in prior to downloading, and some real considerations which are not being realized by web-users.
In this post I take a look at some of the software needs of a language documentation team. One of my ongoing concerns of linguistic software development teams (like SIL International's Palaso or LSDev, or MPI's archive software group, or a host of other niche software products adapted from main stream open-source projects) is the approach they take in communicating how to use the various elements of their software together to create useful workflows for linguists participating in field research on minority languages. Many of these software development teams do not take the approach that potential software users coming to their website want to be oriented to how these software solutions work together to solve specific problems in the language documentation problem space. Now, it is true that every language documentation program is different and will have different goals and outputs, but many of these goals are the same across projects. New users to software want to know top level organizational assumptions made by software developers. That is, they want to evaluate how software will work in a given scenario (problem space) and to understand and make informed decisions based on the eco-system that the software will lead them into. This is not too unlike users asking which is better Android or iPhone, and then deciding what works not just with a given device but where they will buy their music, their digital books, and how they will get those digital assets to a new device, when the phone they are about to buy no-longer serves them. These digital consequences are not in the mind of every consumer... but they are nonetheless real consequences. Continue reading →
In the U.S. we have a long tradition of citizenry, police, and military. For many years the citizenry has had distinct semantic categories for these social functions. However, I think there is evidence that at some levels these distinctions are merging. While not all citizens agree that the merger is useful, it is nevertheless happening at a political and managerial level. Terms like Law Enforcement extend beyond the traditional roles of police and bring the police into a larger strategically orchestrated social movement. In addition to this some of the traditional imagery surrounding police has changed. While it does raise many questions about the order and structure of society in the U.S. one question which seems pertinent to ask is: Who is protected and Who is served?
More Traditional Police imagery.
More modern police imagery.
More modern police imagery.
Imagery is only one way to assess the conflation of semantic concepts. Another way to look at it would be to consider concepts and terminology of detainees and prisoners as those concepts are practiced by Law Enforcement operators. A look at the U.S. Army's Internment and Resettlement manual's terminology found in FM 3-39.40 available at http://armypubs.army.mil/doctrine/19_Series_Collection_1.html or locally [PDF]
As linguistics and language documentation interface with digital humanities there has been a lot of effort to time-align texts and audio/video materials. At one level this is rather trivial to do and has the backing of comercial media processes like subtitles in movies. However, at another level this task is often done in XML for every project (digital corpus curation) slightly differently. At the macro-scale the argument is that if the annotation of the audio is in XML and someone wants to do something else with it, then they can just convert the XML to whatever schema they desire. This is true.
However, one antidotal point that I have not heard in discussion of time aligned texts is specifications for Audio Dominant Text vs. Text Dominant Audio. This may not initially seem very important, so let me explain what I mean. Continue reading →
In my work with redesigning a NGO’s website, I have been recommending that the organization adopt and implement an engagement strategy. There are several challenges to this.
There is the question: What is an engagement strategy which we are not doing now? Basically, what is the difference between engagement strategy and operations. – and certainly these are areas of organizations which need to have some symbiotic relationship.
Another question has been: Why do we need an engagement strategy with our new website? – The new website is centrally managed, whereas operations are generally regionally managed.
So, the over simplistic answer is that if what a corporation presents themself as on their website is something which they are operationally not, then that presents certain discontinuities for persons viewing their operations and also viewing their website. This becomes evermore important as many potential clients for organizations first interact with that organization via the web. I first started blogging about engagement with regards to Language Development activities in a post titled: The Look of Language Development Websites.
However, engagement strategy goes beyond just presenting continuity. It gets into connecting potential clients with services offered or knowledge held by that organization. An engagement strategy for an NGO with a cause also speaks to how that NGO is going to target persons who are not aware of their cause and introduce them to the cause and provide options for those newly introduced persons to become part of a great solution for the problem just presented. This level of engagement is different than Public Relations, or brochure development (though both of these can be part of an engagement strategy). Continue reading →