This is a blog about various design and technology subjects.


Recently, I had the distinct opportunity of working with the Sudbury Valley School once again, this time on their new book A Place to Grow, a collection of essays and observations by Daniel Greenberg, co-founder of the school and major proponent of the Sudbury Model of education. I’m especially intrigued by the double meaning of the title as a PLACE to grow (physically, as a school building) and a place to GROW (individually, as a person) because both of these modes of growth are required to establish and maintain a Sudbury School.

Pressing Buttons

The Amazon Dash, a consumer goods ordering service, was introduced on March 31, 2015. It is a small electronic device designed to make ordering products easier and faster. Each device contains an embedded button and is emblazoned with the name of an often ordered product. Users can configure each button to order a specific product and quantity, via the user’s account, and mount the buttons, using adhesive tape or a plastic clip, to locations where they use the products. Pressing the button will send a Wi-Fi signal to automatically order new stock of whatever product the button is configured to order.


Last July, I was informed by Comcast that it was increasing the speed of the popular Blast! tier by almost 50 percent to 100 Mbps, (formerly 75 Mbps) which sounded incredible to me. After all, I’m one of those people who connected to the internet 20 years ago at 56 kilobits per second, using an analog telephone line and Hayes Smartmodem. Just to put that into perspective, 56 Kbps is the same thing as .056 Mbps, so a 100 Mbps connection is an astonishing 1,785% increase in connectivity speed.


Enough of the techno babble, it’s time for some inspiration! In a style he called minimal realism, Charley Harper captured the essence of his subjects with the fewest possible visual elements. His drawings were influenced by Cubism, Minimalism, physics and countless other developments in art and science. His organization of forms fit together like a circuit board or jigsaw puzzle. The whimsical arrangements emulate a balanced relationship as it can appear in the simplicity of nature.


Recently, Matt Griffin wrote a brilliant article at A List Apart about the eternal disparity facing designers, specifically the difference between using the traditional boring time-tested solution to a problem, or going outside the box to create something a bit more exciting that may not communicate as well. Matt described it as “the mismatch between impulses (bring order!) and outcomes (show us surprises!).”


Having spent a considerable segment of my career convincing people to buy things they don’t necessarily need, I hesitate to recommend or endorse products unless they are obviously outstanding and able to provide a better quality of life. Today I need to promote a service that can help people in all walks of life to live more effectively and with considerable improvement to their safety, education and appreciation of all things.