Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Snowflakes as you’ve never seen them before

December 11, 2008

The piece in the New Scientist is not really about the Snowflake Effect, but the pictures of the snowflakes are too nice not to mention them here…


Snowflaked Jeans

December 7, 2008

The name couldn’t be clearer:

Get custom made, pre-washed Jeans made exclusively for you and delivered to your door-step!
We make them to fit your needs, your measurements, your special requirements.

Maybe I should order one with a snowflake logo on the pockets…

Ideo to go

December 6, 2008

Ideo to goThe folks at Ideo have a nice Snowflake feature on their side: they call it Ideo to go. You tell them a few things about yourself and they generate a document snowflaked for you.

Me? I am:

  • a jack-of-all-trades
  • based in Europe
  • interested in education.

In my case, the result was a bit less convincing: I am not sure how the case study on the bank of America relates to me specifically.

However, I think the idea is one we could all run with: what would you need to know about your reader/student/client/customer/<insert whatever applies> to snowflake her experience and how would you go about doing that?

Food for thought…

Good reads!

December 1, 2008

From Goodreads:

Have you ever wanted a better way to:

  • See what your friends are reading.
  • Keep track of what you’ve read and what you’d like to read.
  • Get great book recommendations from people you know.
  • Answer book trivia and collect your favorite quotes.
Seems like this is quite an active site. There should be more obvious ways to get the books you read into the system though. How about scanning the bar code, like Librarything does (I think)? Or how about a way to feed photos of your library and have it OCR/do-whatever-number-of-smart-tricks-is-required to recognize the book you own? Or integration in social sites like iRead?
For me, amazon still works best, because there is no overhead in keeping it up-to-date about what I have bought. One of the reasons that I know it works for me is that it often suggest books to me that I have bought through other means. And yes, amazon has a nice ‘i own it’ button to let it know about that…
In any case, snowflaked reading recommendations are always welcome! Maybe you’d like to add some of yours?

For your eyes only

November 29, 2008

Another twitter find: a short article about how custom interfaces make computer clicking faster, easier. The introduction is very snowflake-oriented:

Insert your key in the ignition of a luxury car and the seat and steering wheel will automatically adjust to preprogrammed body proportions. Stroll through the rooms of Bill Gates’ mansion and each room will adjust its lighting, temperature and music to accommodate your personal preference. But open any computer program and you’re largely subject to a design team’s ideas about button sizes, fonts and layouts.

The whole issue of accessibility is of course rich with snowflake effect aspects. I am not sure that I am completely convinced by an approach like that of Supple that tests people for 20 to 90 minutes in order to adapt the user interface. But the general idea is absolutely the right one:

We argue that interfaces should be personalized to better suit the contexts of individual users. Many personalized interfaces are needed because of the myriad of distinct individuals, each with his or her own abilities, preferences, devices and needs. Therefore, traditional manual interface design and engineering will not scale to such a broad range of potential contexts and people. 

If you have additional examples of how and why user interfaces can be snowflaked, then we’d love to hear from you!

No more…

November 27, 2008

From Seth Godin’s Tribes (not really my cup of tea, but a decent audible “read”…)”

No more average products for average people

Seems like the essence of the Snowflake Effect to me…

The Snowflaking of Teaching

November 26, 2008

I’ve been pondering this for a long time and would like to finally take it more public to generate more discussion and change.  Hence I’d like to have more of you pondering the Snowflake Effect on teaching and see what we can come up with collectively.  Think about it this way perhaps:

Where will we find enough teachers when we need more teachers than there are learners & every living person is more than one learner?

Some of my thinking and reasoning (boldly assuming I’m capable of either) includes the following:

  • The Snowflaking of learning is about envisioning a time when every person on the planet has multiple “just right” learning experiences every day and more likely every hour.
  • Every living person, and perhaps more than that depending on your beliefs, is a learner.  So we start with all 6.6 billion of us on the planet, and growing exponentially, at least till 2050 or so but more on that later.
  • We have seen the inversion of the teacher:student ratio where we used to assume that every teacher would be surrounded by multiple students and now we understand that in fact every learner is surrounded by multiple teachers.
  • As the supply of things to learn about grows exponentially with new inventions, discoveries, content and people, the demand for learning is growing exponentially as the growth of grows as well.
  • If the vast majority of our learning is informal (typical estimates are about 90%), does the ratio of informal teaching need to match?
  • My use of the word “teacher” in this context is very broad and along the lines of anyone who assists someone else in learning something, gaining a new skill, acquiring new abilities, etc.
  • Teaching in this context does not need to be either in person, nor live and synchronous.  Though it would include these scenarios so too would any captured versions such as writings, audio, video, diagrams, sketches, and any other ways one person helps another to learn, understand, see, do, act.
  • If you “do the math” on this you start with 6.6 Billion and multiply this by these different factors, multiple times.  By whatever calculations I think we end up with a REALLY big number of how many “teachers” we need.  A number even larger than those being thrown around in all the discussion about the current economy where a trillion seems to be the new “one” as it is the starting point or base number we start with.

Well you get the idea and I hope this helps cause some spontaneous cognitive combustion as your great mind ponders these questions.  What are your thoughts on this and where do you see us finding enough teachers to match the demand and need for learning?

I’ll be sharing more of what I’ve come up with in all my pondering and wandering on this topic, can’t way to hear more of yours.

Google Snowflaked

November 21, 2008

Google has personalized snowflaked search results for quite a while. Since yesterday, they also allow you to more be immediately involved in this activity: SearchWiki allows you to ‘make search your own’:

a way for you to customize search by re-ranking, deleting, adding, and commenting on search results

This blog as the number 1 search result for 'snowflake'

This blog as the number 1 search result for

As you can see in the screendump, this blog is now the number 1 result when I search for ‘snowflake’ on google 🙂 That would not be appropriate for everybody, but it works for me… Exactly what snowflaking is all about!

Snowflake Flip

November 21, 2008


Snowflaking the Flip camera

Snowflaking the Flip camera

A nice example of snowflaking a physical object: the Flip camera can be personalized – as the web site says: ‘the options are endless’…

(BTW, If you don’t know what present to give me: I wouldn’t mind getting one of these. You can personalize it for me 😉 Just kidding. I think…)


November 17, 2008

As announced on the TWIST site:

With excuses for the delay in posting this: TWIST session number 3, in which Wayne and I discuss All Things Snowflake.