Donald Norman gets it wrong

Donald Norman is an expert in human computer interaction, user interface design, cybernetics—call it what you will. His book The Design of Everyday Things is a classic, and taught me how to shop for a refrigerator. (Seriously.) However, his recent rant about Google is just plain wrong. His basic point—that it’s easy to make a simple interface to a system that only does one thing—seems sensible enough. But is it true?

The spam problem part 3: Objections to attention bonds

In part 1, I enumerated the approaches to spam eradication I was aware of, and explained my conclusion that the only approach which will work is an economic approach. In part 2 I discussed various options for tackling spam economically, ending with the one I think would actually be acceptable and useful: attention bonds.

Now I’ll run through (and shoot down) a few of the objections commonly brought up when the possibility of involving actual cash in e-mail sending is raised.

Divine weather

It is a painfully wonderful day outside. I’d say about 25 degrees, with a brisk warm breeze. I’m very tempted to unplug the ThinkPad and go work in the park. It’s almost sinful to be inside. Plus my eyes are dry and tired. Every time I post via the web interface, the “local time” seems to be +/- a different number of hours. Yesterday it was off by an hour, today three.