You snooze, you lose

January 14, 2008 | Permalink | 3 Comments

There’s a new brilliant yet deliciously evil button in town.

Do you like to sleep in? Slap the snooze button a few times? Is it worth ten dollars for each lazy slap of the snooze button?


The SnuzNLuz gets your butt out of bed with the simple tradeoff of sleep for hatred. With every push of the snooze button, the SnuzNLuz will deduct ten dollars (or more) from your bank account and donate to an organization that you detest. That could be the Republican Party, PETA, ACLU, NRA, anything opposite to your politics.

That will wake you right up.

You can find it at Think Geek.

Sigh… This was an April’s Fool Joke, and I’ve been had. This clock doesn’t exist. Don’t worry, you won’t be donated to your favorite hated charity by snoozing.


Top 10 Off switches

November 12, 2007 | Permalink | Comment?

CNET UK has published their list of the Top 10 Off Switches. Rocker switches, kill switches, unpushable buttons galore. (Thanks to Jon for sending this in.)



Slides from Ignite Portland

October 27, 2007 | Permalink | 6 Comments

Ignite Portland was one heck of an event. All the speakers were great and the organizers made a smooth event. Congrats!

I never really appreciated the five minute presentation until that night. Everybody has a story. Everybody has something they love. And everybody can talk for five minutes about it. If you get the chance, do it! I had a lot of fun.

Here are my slides from Ignite Portland. This was more challenging than I thought. I have plenty of material, which is exactly the problem. Getting it down to exactly 20 slides was a crunch. So much to leave out… but in the end is the true core of how I’m looking at the history of the button.

There’s no audio here, but they will be posting videos from the event in about two weeks.

Let me know what you think!


Kids learn to Pause

October 25, 2007 | Permalink | Comment?

Here’s a great story about kids learning to use technology.

On the Adaptive Path page for my UX Week talk, Patricia Garcia commented with the following story…

You use the TIVO remote control as an example to analyze and point out how the PAUSE is the center, easily accessible.

Whenever I am watching TV and my 3-yr old son asks for something, if not urgent, I ask him to wait for commercial. He has learned that if you press that center yellow button, the TV stops, press it again, it goes again.

He doesn’t get any other button, but that one he knows, so when I ask him to wait, he presses the PAUSE and tells me I can go now.

Thanks Patricia.


Mr. Rogers Learns about Donkey Kong

October 24, 2007 | Permalink | 1 Comment

This video is beautiful. Mr. Rogers learns how to play Donkey Kong from a little kid. It gets even better when the vending machine guy comes to collect all the coins. He even opens up the machine to show how the buttons work. First aired in 1983.

The golden quotes:

Coin collector: I’m gonna collect all the money you put in.

Kid: Down’s not really used in this game.


Speaking at Ignite Portland…

October 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comment?

Ignite PortlandHey, if you’re in Portland, I’ll be presenting the rapid-fire five-minute version of the history of the button at Ignite Portland this Thursday (Oct 25).

Ignite Portland is a Pecha Kucha-like event where the entire night is a series of presentations, all five minutes long. At Ignite, there will be 18 presentations with a wild range of topics including raising chickens, living Japanese in Portland, emergence in business, unicycles, and my bit on the history of the button.

But if you’re going to go, get there early. They received way more RSVPs than they expected, so now it’s first come, first serve. Doors open at 5:30 at Wieden+Kennedy.

Putting together this presentation has been a great experience for me. As you can tell, it’s been a little slow around here lately. The usual excuses apply (work is busy, life is busy), but in reality, my interests were drifting a bit. But the simple exercise of trying to pare down my original inspiration into a five minute talk that has exactly 20 slides forced me to look at it fresh and remind myself why I found it fascinating in the first place. Fun!


Pause button in the shower

September 18, 2007 | Permalink | Comment?

Continuing the theme of the Pause button moving beyond media players such as this LG washing machine, here is a Pause button in the shower.

Pause button in the shower

Notice how Pause is paired with Power instead of Play.

Via Gizmodo.


History of ABXY

September 13, 2007 | Permalink | Comment?

Following up from my post on the LodgeNet game controller with the bizarro ABXY labeling, here is a history of the ABXY controller layout, from ABXY.org.

From the article:

For the origins of the ABXY button scheme we must look back to the very beginning of additional buttons. When the Famicom (known as the Nintendo Entertainment System outside Japan) launched, it featured two primary buttons. While other companies labelled their (usually two) buttons with numbering such as 1 and 2 or I and II, Nintendo had instead used A and B. When the SNES was released in Japan in 1990 they added X and Y to the mix, and rotated it slightly. The format was now a diamond, with X, A, B, and Y all around, clockwise. This format became known as ABXY because of the obvious alphabetical order.

But why X and Y? Why not C and D, the next most logical letters? The likely reason for this is future-proofing. Adding C and Z to the right of ABXY would not change the way games designed only for ABXY controlled, whereas if the controller had ABCD adding E and F and moving C up beside B would affect previous games, and having the buttons in ABECDF order would not make sense.

When Sony launched their now-standalone PlayStation in 1995 for US$299, it had its own take on the diamond: instead of letters it had symbols–a Circle, Cross, Square, and Triangle, respectively. They also added two additional triggers, introducing the typical ten-button scheme of many controllers.


Save Key coinbank

September 12, 2007 | Permalink | Comment?

Can a button help save you money? Of course.

Just ten bucks at Uncommon Goods.

Save Bank

Another fun example of keyboard keys jumping the shark.

(Via Gretchen via PopGagdet.)


Washington Mutual ATM: don’t be my friend

September 11, 2007 | Permalink | Comment?

ATMs are handy, magic slot machines where you are always a winner. Push the buttons and the wall gives you money. Even so, they do not need to be your friend. The biggest culprit is WaMu. Can somebody please tell Washington Mutual to tone it back a bit and de-friendly their ATMs?

One of the basic tenets in interaction design is clear communication. Products should use wording that doesn’t make us stop to ask, what? And that means adopting a tone appropriate to the interaction.

For the last ten years or so, I’ve been complaining about Washington Mutual’s ATMs. They adopt a tone that’s overly friendly, so friendly that it complicates the relatively simple interaction of getting cash from the wall.


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