September 28, 2003

The Smart Furniture Manifesto

Manifestos are a dangerous thing for the author. On the one hand, you risk saying the obvious in a militant way that shows your naivety. On the other, you risk an incomprehensibility that shows how out of touch you are. In either case, you risk your credibility as someone who can be reasoned with about a topic.

That said, here's my

Smart Furniture Manifesto, version 1

  1. Furniture will be smart
  2. Smart furniture is better than dumb furniture
  3. Furniture must become smarter NOW
  4. People prefer smart furniture to dumb furniture
  5. Desks, chairs and partitions will soon become as quaint as vanities and Murphy beds
  6. Office and kitchen furniture will become smarter first, followed by the bed
  7. Cars are furniture. The smartest piece of furniture today is the car
  8. Smart furniture replaces springs and levers with electronics and motors
  9. The Aeron is an abomination of 19th century industrial thinking, even if it's comfortable
  10. Smart furniture must embrace information like dumb furniture embraced manufacturing
  11. YOU, furniture designer, stop bending metal and start soldering!

I genuinely believe that these statements are true and I will be acting accordingly.

Posted by mikek at 06:55 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack


The blog has been dark for a couple of weeks, and for that I have blog guilt. Not too much guilt, however, since 1) it's my damn blog and 2) I've been genuinely busy.

One of the things that took up a bunch of my time recently has been the move to a new machine. After the recent traumatic downtime experience, several 3AM power outages and a mysterious network outage that had my ISP and the DSL provider first pointing fingers at each other and then at my router (which was conveniently out of warranty), I decided it was time to move. It's a little sad, since this may be the first time in a decade that there won't be some kind of email/web hosting happening out of this house (thanks to many years of Cyborganic servers here), but it was time. Among other things, the economics no longer make sense: I had a business class SDSL line that gave me about 1/3 of the bandwidth for 3 times the price of a consumer ADSL connection, which is silly even there is some kind of vague guarantee of bandwidth availability and a couple extra static IP addresses. I'm willing to live with the tradeoff, so it was time to move.

I was fortunate to have found a bandwidth cooperative with a data center rack and even more fortunate when one of its members expressed interest in selling a machine that was already in the rack. So I bought Brian Ng's box "as is, where is" and enlisted my old friend David Fred to help me with the move. Used to be, you enlisted your strong neighborhood friends to help you carry stuff into your new apartment in exchange for pizza and beer. David, who is a titan of the network world (just look at his resume!) helped me with the heavy intellectual lifting move from across the country in exchange for disk space and bandwidth. Even so, I think it took about three times as long as I would have predicted (with the move of this blog taking up a surprisingly long time—I'm, frankly, amazed that the Movable Type blog moving process is so involved and, considering how well-designed the rest of the application is, so—uh—manual).

Anyway, the new machine is up and running, honored to be sharing rack space with a number of famous domains.

Posted by mikek at 05:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 15, 2003

Turkle on computer socialization

I bought Beyond Calculation for the (prescient) Mark Weiser and John Seely Brown essay on the effects of ubiquitous computing, but now I'm finding it an interesting document. It was published in 1997 to coincide with ACM's 50th birthday (and, roughly, the birth of the computer) and it has speculative essays from a bunch of the stars of computer science--at the time of its writing, anyway. What's interesting is that by asking people to speculate on the next 50 years--the ostensible topic of the book--it reveals a lot about their understanding of today, without the fog of having them try to explain their current position. So, in other words, it's readable and captures the essence of what all of these people are thinking without getting bogged down in details. It's also interesting to see how quickly some ideas are outdated (Vint Cerf appears to assume that the Internet is still going to be running over wires in 2047--really fast wires), while others (such as Weiser and Seely Brown's) are dead-on and, in fact, still ahead of the curve.

But I digress. I really want to talk about Sherry Turkle's essay on how children's understanding of the technology of their lives changed as the technology changed. Here are some quotes: human beings become increasingly intertwined with the technology and each other via the technology,old distinctions between what is specifically human and specifically technological become more complex.

She discusses how understanding the working of everyday technology has become a set of metaphors projected onto black boxes, rather than an actual direct understanding of the functionality.

Fifty years ago, a child's world was full of things that could be understood in simple, mechanical ways. A bicycle could be understood in terms of its pedals and gears and a wind-up car in terms of its clockwork springs. Elecronic devices such as simple radios could, with some difficulty, be brought into the old system. Since the end of the 1970s, the introduction of "intelligent" electronic toys and games has changed this understanding dramatically. When they were first introduced, some children insisted on trying to understand these intelligent toys in the same ways that they had understood mechanical systems. Some children tried to take off the back cover of an electronic toy or game to see what went on inside. But when they did so, all they could find was a chip or two, some batteries and some wire. These new objects presented a scintillating surface and exciting, complex behavior. However, they offered no window onto their internal structure as did things with gears, pulleys, levers, or even radio tubes.


There was nowhere children could go with it, nothing more they could say about it. [...] So the children turned to a way of understanding where they did have more to say: They turned to a psychological way of understanding.

[...]from the children's earliest encounters with computational toys and games, it was clear that whether or not they thought these objects were alive, children were absolutely sure that how the toys moved could not help them anwer the question. Children discussed the computer's life in terms of the computer's apparent psychology.

This psychologizing, this anthropomorphizing, jibes very closely to my animism hypothesis.
Those of us who grew up in an era where you could still take the phone apart, puncture Stretch Armstrong, and take apart Rockem Sockem Robots have a set of expectations about the world. We expect to be able to understand/unpack/deconstruct the world that, when seen in its components somehow "makes sense." For the generation born after, say, 1985--the ones who are the leading edge consumers of today's most advanced personal technologies--this is no longer the case.

If you take Lakoff and Johnson's perspective (I'm reading their Philosophy in the Flesh right now, it's very interesting though I wish there was a "for Dummies" version that skipped all the philosophical pedantry) that our perception of the world, the patterns with which we interpret what's going on, are formed from our earliest physical experiences with the world, we're looking at a major shift here. Lakoff and Johnson talk about metaphors of minds as machines--we often use machine analogies to understand how minds work--what happens when understandable machines become as rare in childrens' experiences as farm animals are today?

I posit that what happens is just as Turkle described, they (we!) start projecting sentience onto the objects in our world, but because it's so socially unacceptable (being that the previous generation, the ones who set the rules for what is acceptable to believe, still believe in machines as boxes with gears and motors), it becomes internalized, superstitious. So does this mean that the society run by today's 20 year-olds is heading toward a global cargo cult, with exorcists replacing repairmen and Fry's stores turning into actual cathedrals? I bet not--people are smarter than that--but I also bet that there's going to be more superstition, maybe presented as "high design product differentiators," than ever before, eventually leading to something that is much more like animism than its believers will admit.

Designing for that world--the world of, say, 2007--will be a trip.

Posted by mikek at 11:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 14, 2003

Friendster and Bloogle, build me this!

I'd like Friendster and Google/Blogger to create a couple of features that I think will make my intellectual social life more interesting:

  • The Friendster Instant Party/Conference. I want to be able to tell Friendster to send out an Evite-like invitation to everyone in a given "friend radius" (say, two degrees of separation) and invite them to come to a party, or to have a conference. I figure that friends of friends are probably going to be pretty good party guests or conference participants (especially if I can specify criteria like location for parties or intellectual interests for conferences). One of the things I like most about highly social conferences like TED or O'Reilly's Emerging Technology conference is meeting people who have shared interests and who are friends of friends of mine, but whom I don't know or know only by reputation. Sending out individual invitations to everyone like that is a big pain in the butt, but if the social network has already been built, it should be a cinch.
  • The Google/Blogger Interest Cluster. A huge potential, and desire, for social software is to make it easier to find people who are like you. I believe that this is one of the three primary drivers of what made the internet so popular (the other two being the ease with which information could be searched and located, and shopping). Blogs are a great way to know what people are interested in, but short of manually discovering other blogs (and therefore people), I haven't found a good way to find others who share the same interests as me. Sure there are the blogrolling lists, Google, links, word-of-mouth and Metafilter/Memepool, but they're all still kind of manual. I want a system that uses a combination of Google link/reputation relevance with something like Latent Semantic Indexing (more explanation) of blog content to tell me when/who is talking about topics similar to mine. I suspect that Google had some intentions like this for Blogger when they bought them, but--dammit--I want it now. [Actually, now that I've written this, maybe Affinity Cluster is a better name, since some people may not care about interests, but may want to find people who are "more like me."] [OK, so half an hour after I wrote this, I found Waypath, which seems like an attempt to do exactly what I described. In 5 minutes of playing with it I'm not sure if the search metaphor is appropriate for this technology--I think I'd rather have it work more passively and look through my blog entries and recommend blogs, rather than just individual posts--but it's definitely a step in the direction I'm thinking of.]

And a succinct quote from Vint Cerf, in his essay in Beyond Calculation:

"One of the more difficult challenges in trying to predict the future of technology is to distinguish between what will be commonplace from what may be merely feasible."

I think this is at the core of a lot of the problems with failed products and predictions. It may be obvious, but technology has to serve people's needs (which change and shift with time, location and demographics), not exist in a vacuum. What makes something commonplace (i.e. popular) is how well it does that--which may have nothing to do with technological innovation, at all.

Posted by mikek at 12:48 PM | Comments (1)

September 10, 2003

A book review

Ian Alexander reviews my book and I like his review (and not just because it's positive ;-). He's completely accurate in describing my intentions with the book:

[...] most if not all the techniques he describes apply as much or more to systems of all kinds. Indeed the father of industrial design, Henry Dreyfuss (he of the standard bell telephone and the Hoover vacuum cleaner) applied the same principles in his pioneering work.

I chose to limit my subject matter to that which I had the most examples from (which is what I had the most experience with), but I'm a firm believer in the universality of user research as relevant to all design, not just software or the Web.

Thanks Ian!

[9/11/03: Ian is the co-author of Writing Better Requirements, which looks to be a very useful addition to that (regrettably) often quite necessary practice.]

Posted by mikek at 04:56 PM | Comments (2)

Property Disposition

I was visiting Ann Arbor over the last couple of days. My parents live there and I went to school there. It's a cute little town if it wasn't so small and so cold. It also houses of my shrines, one of the most important and resonant places for me, the University of Michigan's Property Disposition. Property Disposition is a strange kind of university organization. They get rid of stuff that the U no longer wants, but which still is perceived as maybe having some value. All stuff counts, whether it's a shelving unit or an electron microscope or a dishwasher. Many large organizations solve this problem with big auctions in which whole pallets of semi-random stuff are sold to local junk dealers and to reps from other large organizations. A pallet with a desirable camera lens may also have a baby incubator and a box of cleanroom booties along with it. Property Disposition is different: it's open to the public and stuff is individually priced and parted out. This makes it one of the best garage sales in the universe, and an ongoing one at that.

To me, it's also a museum and an amusement park, a puzzle and a game. For 15 years I've been going there whenever I can (which nowadays means once or twice a year, but it used to be once or twice a month) and looking through the stuff that's in the warehouse. The stuff constantly changes since Property Disposition's job is largely to empty the warehouse as quickly as possible, so there's always something new. What's there are the products of the material culture of science and medicine: microscopes, meters, centrifuges, specimen cabinets, strange boxes, examination tables, grey Steelcase desks and lots and lots of computers. Much like Ebay is, to me, the most important repository of material culture information about America, Property Disposition is—taken through time—the ongoing documentation of the history of American science in the later 20th century.

It's also science artifact purgatory. It's the last place that much of this stuff is still in its original condition as an instrument. Sometimes the stuff gets a second life in some other university role (U departments get first crack at it), but more often than not when it leaves, it leaves to either be remade in some industrial capacity, as a personal object, or, as is often the case, as junk. Behind Property Disposition are two big dumpsters: one has things that have metal in them, this goes to a metal recycler; the other, things that don't have metal, this goes to the dump. I used to dumpster-dive the recycling container nearly every week, pulling interesting-looking technology from it. For a while, I had a Saturday decompression ritual: I would go to Property Disposition, pull out some interesting-looking piece of technology from the dumpster, and then spend the afternoon disassembling it while listening to the Down Home Show. It was a meditation on the objects. I learned a lot about how things are made and, most importantly, it was a way to honor the objects and all the hard work they embodied, to rescue from them one final bit of knowledge before I took the disassembled pieces back and tossed them back in the dumpster. The products of technology are so emphemeral, despite the fact that they're made out of rock, metal, glass and plastic, that something in me felt they needed one final send-off.

Sadly, the quality of the objects has changed as science has changed. The full-on Frankenstein Esthetic faded in the early 90s as handmade custom designed machines (often in wooden crates with brass hinges, unlabeled dials and hand-soldered hardware) gave way to general-purpose computers, but you can still find pieces that echo the jerry-rigged, messy way that science was conducted, before all of that became hidden in lines of code and databases, and I still get a rush from it, from trying to figure out what did what and how it all fit together.

This last trip there were three things of note:

  • Two Ardent Titan computers. Graphics supercomputers from the early 90s. Probably $200K apeice when bought (and a bargain at that). The company was never very big and merged with Stellar (to form Stardent), which also closed down quickly, so these may be 20% (or 50%) of the ones that still exist. These seemed to be complete, with monitors, keyboards and hard disks. Ironically, it's the mundane stuff that's sometimes the biggest problem with rescuing old machines: a mundane-looking cable can be so proprietary that it'll cost as much as the rest of the hardware to get one. I almost bought the one they had about a year ago that was missing the monitor and disk for $150, but then I realized I'd just have to put it in my parents shed, and there's a PDP-4 there already that they're none too happy about. $250 apiece.
  • Two TRW view cameras of some sort. Looked to be from the 70s. Big things that looked like video cameras, but had view camera lenses and shutters and Polaroid backs. Triggered electrically. One had "NUCLEAR" written in fading marker on the side. I can only imagine what these took pictures of (particle traces?). $100 apiece (probably worth five times that just for the fast lenses and shutters).
  • A bunch of Cabletron MMAC cabinets. These were rackmounted Ethernet and fiber switches from the early 90s. I remember when the university was buying 'em for lots of money. They presaged the whole Net boom, the crazy consolidation in the industry (I think Cabletron got bought by 3COM) and the collapse. When they were bought, it was because the U realized that bandwidth needs were growing and it needed to keep up (well, OK, maybe there was more of a plan), not because devices like these were to become the foundation of a massive cultural shift 5 years later. I think they were $15 apiece.

I rarely buy anything there, though, since I have too much stuff already, but I'm already looking forward to the next trip.

Posted by mikek at 02:49 PM | Comments (1)

September 09, 2003

Ricoh's new GPS camera

I've been waiting for consumer-grade easy-to-use GPS-enabled digital cameras to come out since handheld GPS units and digital cameras came out. It seemed like a natural match for documentation purposes, especially if there was a standard for tagging the data. Ricoh came out with the RDC-1700G, an expensive Japanese-only GPS camera last year, but now they've released the Caplio Pro G3, a much cheaper consumer model. It's still only for the Japanese market, but the fact that they made it based on a consumer platform is a good sign that it may be available elsewhere soon. I think that this will be a huge boon to the visual blogging world. I can see services that bring together photoblogging and Indy Junior to make something like GeoSnapper much more acessible. I'm looking foreward to using one, but I can also see the downside: it won't take long for someone to forget to remove the GPS metadata from some picture that really shouldn't have it and then get into trouble.

The next question: when is the GPS-camera-phone going to come out? It only makes sense (as it has for, gee, 5 years?) for these three handheld, plastic, personal information tools to be coupled. Merge the Caplio with the Danger Hiptop with some backend photo management software and you have a pretty serious tool for documenting the world in real time.

Posted by mikek at 02:02 AM | Comments (3)

September 05, 2003

Burning Man 2003 Art Review

A couple of days ago I came back from camping at Burning Man for the n-th time with a group of the usual extended Friendsters. It was a lot of fun, but not as artistically original as previous years. Partly I think that this year's theme—a vague nod to all-inclusive spirituality—was too difficult for people to wrap their heads around. "The Floating World," last year's theme was easier for people to visualize: it was either about Japan (the literal desert-as-ocean theme was pretty easy to grasp, and the Ukiyo-e interpretation even got some play). "Beyond Belief," although an amusing pun was hard to latch onto and too self-referential: on the one hand explicit "God stuff" is a bit icky even for the spiritually-enlightened post-hippies in the audience, on the other hand the point of the event is to make things that are beyond belief, but if the expectation is set that things are supposed to be that way, it's a lot less fun to actually make them.

Hindsight is 20/20 of course, and I'm glad they're trying different things every year (though it's amusing to see people do what they were going to do regardless of theme and then just name it so that it fits—but I guess that's true of any art show). I'm used to being completely floored by half a dozen or so pieces, but this time there were only a couple, which is still pretty damn good.

My favorites:

  • Zach Coffin's Temple of Gravity was hands down one of the most impressive things on the play, ever. The sheer magnitude was stunning and had a Jim Mason-like lunacy that was as much about the absurdity of getting something so permanent across the country to the playa for a week as it was about the beauty of the project itself. As Dan said, it's the real deal, up there with Richard Serra, Mark di Suvero and Andy Goldsworthy for monumental explorations of elements and with the 70s earth artists for the performance aspects (not to mention the business model). [9/9/03: full disclosure: a couple of days after I wrote this, I contacted Zach and I'm going to be an investor in this piece, participating in his original funding strategy for it. When I was writing this, however, I had no such plans.]
  • Frostbyte's giant version of his Shadow Engine LED wall. More than just a big display wall, its pure visual intensity was hard to beat. (though I think the algorithms generating the patterns could be a bit more subtle: when I was there everything looked like variants on the old Mac Flowfazer screen saver). [9/9/03 Kevin "Frostbyte" McCormick points me to his BM03 picture page with a bunch of pictures of Tensor the LED wall I'm referring to. He's also going to have a page that describes the Tensor piece, but it's not up yet.]
  • The Flaming Lotus Girls' Hand of God was a very nice reinterpretation of ICP technology as an actual sculpture, rather than a bunch of plumbing and a big fire (not that there's anything wrong with staying true to your medium ;-).
  • The giant U-shaped carnival ride that was a like a crazy carny's version of a home-built roller coaster. Nearly everyone who saw it in action said something along the lines of "that's fucked up", a sure sign of artistic success.

I also liked

  • Michael Christian's curvy, jungle gym/dna strand deal.
  • David Best's Temple of Honor, the latest in his series of huge, burnable temples (and, I suspect, part of the inspiration for this year's theme, since they were so successful in creating a genuine meaningful spiritual experience in previous years). I think it's great that he tried a different material and wholly different approach, but the intricacy of the previous temples was really instrumental in their effectiveness as, whereas this one—maybe because the intricacy was created by print on paper, rather than wood filigree—seemed too, uh, simple.
  • The big chandelier. On the one hand, it was clearly Claes Oldenberg inspired because it was a giant common thing that told a story (Courtney pointed out that it wasn't merely a giant chandelier, it was a giant chandelier that had fallen out of the sky as if the sky was a tenement ceiling we were mice). But it was a good story and it was very well executed, so it was nice to see.
  • Scott Kildall's Pyrocycles, which were cute and, from a distance, excellently mysterious. Molly and I saw them and it took me a good half-mile bike ride to figure out what they were, other than just moving, swerving fire plumes.

(fyi, since I don't know the names of all the artists and the works, feel free to comment with the names, or drop me a note, and I'll update this page appropriately—I mean no disrespect by not naming people or their work)

In the end, I'm as always glad I went and I feel like a scrooge for saying bad things about the event, but I do feel like the event—for whatever reason—did not attract as much great art as it has in the past. This is especially sad because it was treated as a goofball hippie event by the art establishment when it was actually quite serious; now that it's getting respectability, it's loosing the edge and quality it had and risks becoming a goofball hippie event. I hope they figure out how to avoid that. (on that note, there's a hilarious Craig's List post by a disillusioned idealist, which makes several good points).

Posted by mikek at 06:12 PM | Comments (3)

September 04, 2003

Making Things

I've seen a number of these toolkits (from Lego Mindstorms onward), which promise simple modules that artists (i.e. non-electrical engineers) can use to create real-world electronic projects. I'm surprised that this particular wheel gets reinvented, but it just shows that no really good system exists yet. That said, Making Things looks pretty good and got a good review from Sasha on the puppets list. It also connects with Max/MSP, which I consider one of the most deceptively powerful programming systems around (deceptive because visual programming is only easier than regular programming for very small things--it becomes serious spaghetti quickly; powerful because it looks like more of a toy than it is).


Posted by mikek at 09:59 PM | Comments (0)

Economics (?!?) of McBandwidth

I spend a lot of my time writing in cafes. I prefer it because it gets me away from all of the distractions of working at home or office without the isolation of working someplace completely still, such as the library or the park. It's the classic "third space" that provides for a level of a social environment without the commitment of familiarity. For me, it has also provided another benefit: no Internet. I'm easily distractable and procrastination-prone (call it "adult ADD" or "a lack of disciple" or "the modern condition." Whatever. It's the same thing that nearly everyone I know suffers from, or believe they suffer from), so having the Net around is a perfect way to kill lots of potentially productive time while learning all kinds of fabulous trivia.

However, this disconnected bliss is changing as WiFi appears in my preferred cafes and my job is becoming more dependent on being actually connected. So I'm trying to adapt my life to use them. The Coffee Beanery (what a terrible name, btw, it sounds like something between a disease and an insult) on the corner of South University and East University in Ann Arbor had free WiFi when I was here six months ago, but today although it has a functioning access point, it doesn't seem to be routing to the Net at large. I wondered why they may have chosen to cut off Net access (if not just negligence or a loose cable or something), so I started thinking about the economics of WiFi in cafes, and specifically whether McDonald's ideas is good or not.

On first blush, the McDonald's idea seemed really bad: the point of fast food is to be fast, but the point of WiFi is to get people to settle down for extended periods. It seems backward to try to piggyback an idea that extends people's stay on a business model that depends on high turnover. But McDonald's isn't dumb, so I decided to think about what this means, and also what it means for smaller places (like Maxfield's Cafe and Samovar, my preferred free-wireless cafes in San Francisco). These locations are a new kind of ISP, one that's much more dependent on its users' specific behaviors than previous ISPs, which could think in more traditional service/commodity ways.

Short of reading The Economist every week for years—I have no economics training, so I'm sure I'm making lots of freshman mistakes here, but I decided to take a cut at thinking about it.

First, I wanted to think about how to value a single sit-down seat in a cafe. I'm explicitly not looking at the counter side of the coffee/burger business, since that seems like a different product line—the people who walk in, get a thing and run out have a different agenda than the people who come to the cafe and sit down. Presumably, this later group is the one that McDonald's is hoping to build, to be more like Maxfield's or Samovar, where all the seats are full pretty much all day (I'm imagining that some VP said "hey, we have all of these great plastic booths that only get used during the lunch rush—why don't we install WiFi so that they get used ALL the time!" as justification to get the WiFi scheme funded). I'm also not thinking of the problem of pricing the connection. That's way beyond my capabilities and I'm more interested in the general outline of problem, mostly for my own understanding (for pricing info see this discussion). I'm pretty much assuming that the connection is free and the value that it provides the cafe is in greater consumption of the cafe's products as people spend more time in the cafe and return more often. This is behavior I've actually seen in mysell. Molly and I go to Maxfield's all the time and we probably spend $12 between the two of us twice a week, as opposed to the $4 we would spend—at best—if we only visited there when we wanted a drink. McDonald's is actually charging for their connectivity (and the, confusingly, different rates in each of their test markets—which is either a bake-off between the various providers participating or an attempt to react to regions differences).

I came up with this formula to model the value of the filled seats in a cafe at a given time:

value of a filled seat = dollar value of purchase/time seat is occupied – per seat overhead

This includes the assumption that a person's value to the business is not just in their single purchase, but in their presence in the cafe, as either advertisement for the cafe OR in terms of future purchases. After they buy their cup of coffee, their value does not drop to zero, but depreciates over time. However, the longer they hang out, the less it's worth.

Second, there's an additional long-term consideration which is much like that claimed by many web sites: repeat usage increases the overall value while adding little overhead. In terms of a formula, this looks like:

long term value = value of a filled seat * (# visits per person * likelihood of return visit) * # of people

Assuming that "likelihood of return visit" is proportional to "time seat is occupied" this implies that long term value is dependent on how "time seat is occupied" affects "likelihood of return visit" versus "value of a filled seat" (since it increases one while decreasing the other). But I don't think it just cancels out, as my simplistic math implies.

OK, so what does this mean? This is getting pretty muddled (but, dammit, this is my blog and it's OK to be in over my head ;-). What's supposed to happens is that WiFi use increases "# of visits per person" and "# of people". What undeniably DOES happen is that it increases "time seat is occupied" and "per seat overhead" regardless of whether the other things go up. So there are two questions that I can't answer:

  • at which point does the system pass the point where the increased value of long-term
    usage overcomes the cumulative depreciation of all the time people sitting?
  • how does this compare to the situation where sitting time isn't counted at all?

And one final question: regardless of all of these calculations, if McDonald's is expecting long-term usage of their facilities, if they don't invest in more comfortable furniture at the same time as adding WiFi will they still fail as people discover that no matter how the McBandwidth, the McChairs are still made of hard McPlastic?

Posted by mikek at 09:42 PM | Comments (4)