Thursday, February 23, 2006

When (future) teachers cheat

It's not at all unusual anymore to see advertisements for companies who will write your English 101 paper for you for a fee. But I was surprised to come across a website today for a company that will actually write your dissertation for you. And for only $10 a page!

I had several thoughts about this:

• Thought 1: Can this really be possible? Do they collect the data themselves? Do the analysis? Or just the writing? I can't see them being able to write a credible dissertation without having collected the data and analyzed it themselves, but who knows?

• Thought 2: $10/page is just not enough! Who would slave away at writing an entire dissertation for what would probably be $2,000 max?

• Thought 3: If someone does think $10/page is a fair price for a dissertation, than what are all the ABDs belly-aching about? It can't be that tough, if you can charge someone else that little to do it, right?

• Thought 4: The fact that this service even exists is soooooo wrong! Their clientele would be doc students, future phDs! Future faculty! Guardians of the research in their field of study! Worse still, future teachers of future students! What will they say when their own students turn in papers bought online? Will they fail them for plagiarism? Or congratulate them on finding a good price?

Things like this really make me wonder if the Apocalypse is upon us! :-)

Computer affordances

I filed this Fox Trot comic away under "affordances of a design". It gave me a good chuckle. It reminded me of a story I heard of someone thinking the CD-drive loader was a coffee cup holder! It just goes to remind us as designers that if your design affords a certain action, you can bet somebody will use it for that action!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

What would save me time

I just thought of a little design adjustment that could really save me time every day. I use Gmail, and I love how you can view the first few words of your email without having to click on the email. So if my friend answers my email with a "OK." or a "Got it, thanks," then I don't have to open the email because I'll be able to read the message in the standard inbox view in Gmail.

What would be cool is if Google could take that one step further and would let you hover your mouse over an email message and in a popup, read the first paragraph of the email (longer than that would be unwieldy, I know). I could probably read most of my email that way by simply hovering over each message ... without actually having to open them up. That would be schweeeet!

At least I think so. Anybody else?