There are, roughly, four kinds of illness in kids: Category 1 is the kind of serious, life-threatening illness no one wants to think about. Category 2 is an intense illness, one where the parent is probably too busy mopping up puke to complain overmuch. Category 3 is, “well, you definitely can’t go to school like that.” Category 4 includes phrases like, “I tucked some kleenex into your backpack.”
Category 3 is deceptive: You think, “ah, well–the kid just needs some rest. I can stay home and do e-mail or prep for class.” And then, after four hours of fetching stuff for someone who is, after all, too lethargic to move, you start to recognize the hubris in that plan.
All of which is just to say that I hope, for the sake of my inbox, that the fact that I’m now getting requests from the 8yo via iMessage means that he’s taken a turn for the better.
On to this week’s links!
- Gina Trapani explains why “Good Tools Have Verb-Based Interfaces”, and shows how she organizes her iOS apps: These tiny touchscreen mobile computers we carry around in our pockets are the ultimate multi-tool. I use my phone to read, shop, watch, listen, cook, play, navigate, share, jot, photograph, and chat, so I organized my apps just like that. The guiding question for where each app went was What do I DO with it?
- Robert Lee Brewer uses Twitter for “unintentional writing prompts”: Twitter is a good tool for collecting as well as distributing information. . . . Twitter is also great for having chats and reading funny one-liners. However, I’ve only recently–and I’m probably slow to the game in this respect–started realizing that it’s a gold mine of writing prompts.
- Those e-mailed announcements with all the information in an attachment aren’t just annoying–they might not be accessible. PF Anderson shows how to use the pretty poster *and* be mindful of everyone in your audience: I am encouraging people to consider a best practice for communications (kind of an email web accessibility approach) of including the relevant text for attached images.
- Ben Schmidt explains why the humanities (esp. history) job market is like the old Soviet bread lines: The textbook economic solution to the oversupply of Ph.D.s would be to let the benefits associated with a tenured job (pay, security, workload, respect) plunge until finally everyone just gave up. To its credit historians have not let this happen; but the continuing attack on all of those perks from administrators, politicians, etc., is a direct result of those market forces pushing on the profession. Rationing by queue isn’t working at stopping market forces, and in the meantime we’re rewarding waiting too strongly.
- Johan Jessen and Anker Helms Jørgensen coin the phrase aggregated trustworthiness to explain how people evaluate information online: The social element attached to information is thus key when users evaluate its credibility. Enabling vote–like behavior such as comments, “Likes”, ratings, and even links simply provide a much broader spectrum of validation than possible in any off–line setting. Collecting multiple streams of trustworthiness cues to form an aggregate of credibility is at the root of this dynamic.
Have a great weekend! Go Patriots!