Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hiding Complexity

A cornerstone of sustainability is the idea that “less is more.” The idea of austerity has not necessarily been embraced by the engineering community or in our technology. Additional features are seen as necessary advances during periods of intense price competition. These features are viewed as differentiators - - whether consumers understand or actually utilized the additional features.

What about a new era of minimalism, techno-austerity, and frugality - - where reducing complexity, distraction, and frugal innovation comes front and center? Things like the Flip video camera and iPod are seen and respected for their simple, elegant, and functional designs.

Minimalism is especially needed in software. Take the case of a program called Freedom. Freedom was developed by a graduate student in information science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Fred Stutzman. The purpose of Freedom is to ward off distraction - - the idea is to reduce continuous partial attention, or the sense that at any point in time you can jump to something else. Launch the $10 program and it asks you how long you would like to disable Internet access for - - you can specify from one minute to eight hours. A second screen asks if you would like local network access to printers and other computers, or none at all. The program requires that you enter your system password, and then neatly severs your information feed.

Freedom hopefully is a crutch - - it is the first step in a behavioral swift. People should rely on their feelings, rather than technology, to dictate what they cannot do. Many will not see the philosophical niceties - - it is all about increased production to them. They want the freedom to engage in uninterrupted and reflective activities - - a world of thoughtful simplicity attempting to keep distractions at bay.

Read more at - -

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.