We’ll just delete you.

This blog is for an old course.

I’m undertaking a few electronics projects this week.  One is replacing my laptop hard drive with one of a larger capacity and the other is building a theremin kit for a friend.  I’m using how-to instructions for both projects and have found the hard drive instructions to be extremely useful and encouraging and the theremin instructions to be rather daunting.  I thought I’d note some of the differences here.  File under best/worst practices.

The hard drive instructions, I found online at http://www.macinstruct.com/node/130 after searching for “replace macbook hard drive.”  The instructions are written in a way that sets the user at ease.  The language is casual and ecouraging.
Example.Casual: “This can also help alleviate slow-downs, errors and other weirdness that can occur when your hard drive starts to get full.”

Example.Encouraging: “We know this tutorial is a little long, but don’t worry – we’ve divided it into three easy sections.”


This tutorial includes screenshots as well as photos that illustrate how to create backups and which parts to move around when replacing the laptop drive.  I had approached the project with some trepidation, but was pleased to find that, with the aid of the instructions, this was a very simple process.

The theremin is a kit that I’m assembling from a set of instructions that came with the kit.  These instructions include a few images — photographs of the parts that were included in the kit — and 15 pages of text that detail exactly where and what I should attach/solder.  It’s neither encouraging nor particularly easy to decipher.  I’ve been highlighting the paper version I have.  I am intending to create an instructable with annotated photographs so other future theremin-assemblers will have visual aids.  I’ll update this post with a link when I publish it.


We examine the effects of new technologies for digital photography on people’s longer term storage and access to collections of personal photos. We report an empirical study of parents’ ability to retrieve photos related to salient family events from more than a year ago. Performance was relatively poor with people failing to find almost 40% of pictures. We analyze participants’ organizational and access strategies to identify reasons for this poor performance. Possible reasons for retrieval failure include: storing too many pictures, rudimentary organization, use of multiple storage systems, failure to maintain collections and participants’ false beliefs about their ability to access photos. We conclude by exploring the technical and theoretical implications of these findings.

Re the LC Flickr’d Lincoln portrait linked from a Delicious post — shows the reasons I’m skeptical of crowdsourcing.  Lots of pointless comments.  We don’t care what random Flickr users think of Lincoln, his politics, his looks.  LC is posting images hoping to get useful info, but they’ll have to sort out what’s useful (if anything) from the blather.  The idea is to save LC the labor of tagging those images — but they trade that for the labor of sorting through the crap.

Powerful video of still images, text, and music from photographer James Natchwey.

Debates in the notes and the comments!