Research project

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Ever since I first worked with Digital Eskimo (while I was working on the Future is man made site re-launch for WWF) I’ve really admired their approach to using qualitative research methods to underpin their work.

The research we did for the FiMM site was really valuable and useful – giving us a much clearer picture of where sustainability fits in people’s lives and what sort of site/support people would find most benefit in.

So, in starting down the path of launching a new business, I felt strongly about embarking on a research project to underpin the brand and product development.

Keep reading over the jump for more information about the research process.

Update: I was remiss in not mentioning that I was first introduced to the idea of ethnographic style research for business and the web by Stephen Cox, who is now doing great work at News Limited.

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Live IAC driver issues

This is just a little techy post for folks that use Ableton Live on an Intel Mac under Leopard (10.5). Just passing it on for the Google-bots – hopefully it’ll save someone a bit of grief…

I started getting major audio glitches the other night (not the good kind), and I couldn’t quite work out why.

I tracked down the problem to Apple’s IAC midi driver. I use the driver (which you can enable under Applications > Utilities > Audio & Midi Setup) to send midi notes from a track within Live to trigger a scene change.

When I enabled it on my MacBook I started getting major audio glitches in Live (6.0.10). After a bit of troubleshooting I worked out a configuration change in Live that (seems to have) resolved the conflict. A screenshot:

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The Affair

I was chatting to a friend of mine a little while back about my plans to start a label, and they mentioned that a friend of theirs was putting together a tshirt label with some cool designs.

I’ve also been wanting to find some more obscure tshirt labels since Threadless tees are seemingly popping up everywhere nowadays. Plus I wanted a bit of a change, given most of my tees are Threadless already.

In watching my Facebook news feed I saw they’d become a fan of the-affair, figuring that was the label they were talking about, and sure enough it was them.

I checked out the website and subscribed to the blog. I dig the tees and the branding, and the other week took the plunge and purchased two tees.

More about my impressions of the tees and American Apparel over the jump…

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Expression = prison

Amnesty International: Expression = prison: Hu Jia.

Tibet has (rightly) been in the spotlight of late, but this is a timeline reminder that these human rights abuses continue to occur throughout the country. I dearly hope that the spotlight remains firmly on these abuses in the leadup to the Olympics.

It is these kind of sentences that create the culture of self-censorship within the Chinese community.

Rebecca McKinnon suggests that we can’t expect too much to change – I hope that at least the embarrassments and increased pressure do at least help move things for the better, at least in some way.

Geo-sequestration mis-reporting

Environmental Leader highlights a Reuters report on the new geo-sequestration plant opening in Victoria.

The basic principle of the “plant” is to pump 100,000 tonnes of CO2 into the ground (and, I suggest, hope that this won’t cause unforseen and/or longer-term issues). I’m dubious about geo-sequestration generally, but that’s not my real gripe with this report. This is the lead:

A geo-sequestration plant, capable of capturing and compressing 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide which is stored two kilometers underground, has opened in Victoria, Australia. Researchers hope the project will help to significantly reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.

(Emphasis mine.) Whilst, technically, it could be argued that sequestration reduces the emission of greenhouse gases – because it’s funneling the emitted CO2 into the ground – it’s not actually reducing the emissions. Just storing them somewhere else for an indefinite period.

But the corker is when the voiceover of the report says:

… it uses experimental low-emission technology that has the potential to reduce the burning of fossil fuels.

This is patently untrue. In fact, a successful trial is likely to lead to a continuation, or even increase, in the burning of fossil fuels, as it delays the need for investment in truly renewable energy and allows the continuation of use of coal fired power stations and the like.

I’m astounded that an agency like Reuters would get this so wrong in their report…

del.icio.us bookmarks (17-Mar-2008 through 03-Apr-2008)

These links are automatically posted from my del.icio.us feed.

Uncensor China

This is a cross-post from the Zumio blog.

Just a quick note to mention that yesterday, Amnesty International Australia’s Uncensor site was launched. This is the project I’ve been involved in, though the work I’m doing isn’t on the site yet.

The site is part of Amnesty’s campaign in the lead up to the Olympics being held in August in China, focusing on internet censorship and repression. I’ve been following the blog for a couple of days now and the writing there is excellent – really informative.

The “Search for Freedom” function (in the right sidebar) shows first hand China’s censorship regime at work, and clearly highlights how Google is participating in the “Golden Shield” system.

You may have heard about the Fuwa, the Chinese Olympics mascot. Well it seems that they left someone out – meet Nu Wa the Uncensor mascot. Nu Wa (who’s name means “outraged, angry young boy”, wants to set the record straight by speaking about the human rights abuses suffered by people in China.

I really dig the site, as does Priscilla. Well worth checking out…