Open Science * Dark Data

November 19, 2007

Reading on the bus…a fascinating article by Thomas Goetz in the latest Wired on Dark data.

So what happens to all the research that doesn’t yield a dramatic outcome — or, worse, the opposite of what researchers had hoped? It ends up stuffed in some lab drawer. The result is a vast body of squandered knowledge that represents a waste of resources and a drag on scientific progress. This information — call it dark data — must be set free.

The article sites the Public Library of Science and their mission of “making the world’s scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource”, which totally exemplifies the concept of the New Alexandrians. Who knows what unasked and unanswered problems this new type of collaborative innovation will shed light on.

Random idea for how to use this concept in business…Hey Warner Brothers and Dreamworks, I have a tip for you…think about (web) distribution of your Dark Dailies (i.e. the unused footage that stay on the editing floor). Think about it…all the FREE viral marketing, as well as relationship building with prosumers and potential new fans. Seriously, you have been offering “alternate endings” and unused footage on DVDs for years. Put this stuff in public hands…who knows what could happen?

Usability Day 2007 * Healthcare

November 8, 2007

Heading over to Microsoft’s Usability Day event Best Practices for “People Ready” Solutions. I am stoked to check out what Andrew Kirby (Director, National Health Service Common UI Project, UK) and Mike Gordon (Program Manager, Health Solutions Group), have to say about Learnings from the Healthcare Industry, as well as Dennis Wixon, Research Manager of MS Games, has on his mind in the way of UX design.

Having been in the world of clinical information systems training, it is exciting to see this topic get the attention it deserves. It was cool watching Dr. Christopher Longhurst’s Podtech interview and his thoughts on incorporating the visual and statistical design of Edward Tufte in healthcare systems.

My two cents…healthcare system usability…as we all know training cannot fix a broken system or bad design. A majority of healthcare information systems I have interfaced with are not extremely user friendly and/or intuitive to use. It is a real problem when a doctor or nurse has an easier experience checking their gmail account or listening to their iPod, than they do entering critical patient data. To make matters worse some systems don’t interface well with others, some information is digital and some information is still on paper.

How did this happen? To paraphrase Wikinomics, it seems that many of these closed/proprietary health information systems by nature cannot compete with the innovation of agile and/or open source projects. The software takes too long to design, build, test (if there is time) train and implement. By the time it is deployed and fixed and fixed and fixed, it seems relatively out of date experience. Because of closed competition, there is no single robust platform to build truly innovative systems.

What can we do? This is something training cannot fix nor should fix. In my opinion, health information systems need to open up and work toward a common platform to build on. This would free them to reach new speeds and levels of innovation and consistently optimize the user experience because in the end that is their purpose. Why is web 2.0, eLearning 2.0 and all other 2.0’s popular? Because the experience feels good, which motivates and engages the user. The learning experience and the daily use are the of the same. Why get trained on new features, when the features are so easy to use. Good design is good design. That is the confidence we should empower our care providers. Make order entry as easy as creating a music playlist. Is that too much to ask?

Thanks * 911 Media Arts Center

November 5, 2007

I want to give a shout out to Seattle’s excellent 911 Media Arts Center, “a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting independent digital media artists in the creation and exhibition of their work.” As part of their mission, they provide “education, training and the dissemination of knowledge” through classes, workshops and web resources. Plus as an extra bonus, they are smack dab in the middle of the Seattle’s up and coming South Lake Union, which makes for a beautiful walk if you work downtown.

I am preparing for a business video shoot in Portland tomorrow, and they are hooking me up with extra audio goodies (mics, mixer). Special thanks to Jon Schwartz and Steve Vroom for their help. If you are like me and video is continually becoming a popular element in your training or other needs, resources like 911 Media are great places for knowledge transfer, as well as affordable, quality equipment to rent, which can be too expensive to buy.

Who Needs a Record Label…Trent Reznor & Saul Williams

November 2, 2007

This is very cool to see. Radiohead throws in an experimental DRM and record label free delivery and artists like Trent Reznor & Saul Williams are building on this game changing concept, which will ripple and eventually cause waves in the music industry. How / will record labels become SMART and adapt their business paradigm? This applies to all industries, OPEN up or CLOSE down.

The time has come! Pre-order emails for Saul Williams’ THE INEVITABLE RISE AND LIBERATION OF NIGGYTARDUST, produced by Trent Reznor, have been distributed. The album is available for free at 192kbps bitrate or 320kps/lossless if you put forward some cash. Please support this artist and label/DRM-free distribution!

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