New: Book Report: Ambient Findability

This was not the right book for me. Rather, I was not the right person to read this book. Ambient Findability is a high-level overview, a survey of the surge of information that's coming at us, and the methods we use to navigate it. It talks a little about many things. Geographical data, RFID, SEO, taxonomies, ... It doesn't go into depth on any topic in particular. If you keep up with slashdot, or if you think about how to help people to find things, then you've probably already run into this book's material. I'm guessing that this book is snippets of talks that Peter Morville, the author, gives to people who don't read slashdot and who don't think about how people find their stuff. He's a consultant, he probably has to explain this crap to customers all the time.

I mean, you ask people, uhm, say you're talking with a kitchen appliance manufacturer, and you ask "The people who should find your website, what do they think they're looking for?" And the answer comes back "Oh, they're looking for a variable-speed food processor." And this hypothetical manufacturer wants you to organize everything based on "variable-speed food processor". And when you say "Are you sure that they don't think that they're looking for... like, wouldn't they call it a 'blender'?" And then this hypothetical kitchen appliance manufacturer looks at you sharply and barks something about "precision of language" and wonders why no-one can find his variable-speed food processors. What do you do? You could punch the manufacturer bozo, but that would land you in jail. Or you could give him a copy of this book. I can't tell whether or not the book would help him figure this stuff out, but it might keep you out of jail and that's worth something.

I haven't been posting much recently. I've been on jury duty. Or rather, I've been living in the shadow of threatened jury duty, and have thus been working extra hours at my job to get stuff done in case I end up on the trial and most of my time disappears for the next month. So remember kids: give books instead of punches. It keeps you--and perhaps me--out of the courtroom.

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Posted 2008-08-25