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Month: March 2010

Homenaje de los 101km de Ronda.

Each year in March, “La Sufrida” organize an event in Ronda, Spain, in homage to their annual “101km of Ronda” race (which takes place in May). The March “Homenaje,” just like its big brother in May, offers three modes of participation — a 69 km mountain bike ride, a 44 km run or a 70 km duathlon (run and bike). Last weekend, Pino and I participated in the event — her doing the run (crazy, I know), and me doing the mountain bike ride.

User interface review of the new and improved Securitas Alarm.

A few weeks ago, a Securitas salesman popped into the office, offering deep discounts should we be interested in upgrading our three-year-old alarm system. Given three years of technological advances, my expectations were high, and Securitas certainly delivered. In addition to the old features, we’ve now got magnets on the entrances, and their latest, easy-to-use alarm panel — which you’ll have to see to believe.

Launch of JaviCarretero.com

Javier Diaz Carretero, of Andalucia, is one of Spain’s top marathon, half-marathon and cross-country runners. He’s also role model for those willing to take risks in order to follow their passion. Makalu decided to become the exclusive sponsor of Javier in his 2010 season, during which he’ll attempt to become the Spanish national champion, for the second time, in the marathon event. As part of that sponsorship package, we recently designed and launched his personal website.

Easier tweet authoring with LaunchBar.

Communicating well in 140 characters is one of the newer dimensions of “communication design,” and its importance was discussed at length some time ago by Rands in, “The Art of the Tweet.” Just like blog articles, I often draft tweets outside of my Twitter client, in a dedicated writing application. Since I sometimes have URLs, references and other text sitting alongside the drafted tweets, I really needed a quick and efficient way to count the characters of the tweets themselves.

The benefits of constraints (or, how we finally built our new site)

On February 17, Jason Fried wrote an article announcing 37signals’s intention to hire an outside firm to redesign their blog, Signals vs. Noise. Companies wishing to be considered for the project would be required to have a Pro listing on Sortfolio.com — 37signals’s yellow-pages service for finding web design companies. March 8th was the date earmarked for choosing the winning firm.

User Experience & Software Engineering

I remember, as if it were yesterday.

I was sitting in the ground station laboratory at the European Space Agency, needing to setup a test configuration using the “Monitoring & Control Module,” and staring at a grey screen full of mis-aligned, inconsistently-sized tabs on top of three-dimensional squares, on top of more squares on top of more tabs. The feeling was one of hopelessness and nausea. Who designed this thing? What were they thinking? Was the UI simply given to the most available “resource,” or perhaps the summer intern?

It was at that moment that I decided to start a company—MakaluMedia—in which “user experience” would drive everything we do.