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Keep ‘Em Playing

There are only three reasons to use words in a user interface: to keep them playing, ease the way, and establish brand. Slides available online, too. Presented May 19, 2015 at Write the Docs North America 2015 in Portland, Oregon.

Creepy vs. Cool: Content Crash Course

Whether data use is creepy or cool often comes down to the language we use. We should use the right language at the right time. Presented May 8, 2015 at the Privacy by Design visioning activity, workshop 2, by the Consumer Computing Consortium of the Computer Research Association.

Gathering Grace

An aging superheroine and her super-nemesis face new challenges with the granddaughter they have in common, in this all-ages novel. Excerpt: Chapter 17: Repercussions Back in the penthouse, Elizabeth turned to her security guard. “Mr. Cornobble, nobody is to enter the building who does not work here. People are to be encouraged to leave, if they haven’t done so already. Tell them it’s about routine alarm testing and maintenance, if they want a reason, and to bring up their concern with their immediate supervisor if that doesn’t work.” “Yes, Ma’am.”… Read more Gathering Grace

How Frank Delano Changed The World But Not As Much As He Hoped

The post-apocalypse is going to be OK, as long as there’s a few men left like Frank. Excerpt: “The question is, what kind of adults do we want them to be?” Frank stared at the smoke wisping up from the firepit. “We can have kids – well, you kids can. You will. Heck – it’s pretty clear that you are.” Frank glanced at Elle, who blushed and held Malik’s hand tighter. She had just started to show – but Frank was sure of the others were in the same condition.… Read more How Frank Delano Changed The World But Not As Much As He Hoped

Advice by Dr. Synthia

Dr. Synthia answers questions from Mad Scientists in her twice-yearly advice column. Excerpt from Autumn 2012: Dear Dr. Synthia, I am desperate for advice. After my last nemesis “disappeared” “in an avalanche” “of penguins,” I am having a devil of a time securing a replacement. Without a true antagonist I fear I have lost my edge. Last week, for example, I had the perfect opportunity to release my polar bear/hovercraft hybrid into the wild and I couldn’t be bothered. It’s still just sitting in the basement lab gathering dust. Without… Read more Advice by Dr. Synthia

Automatic Selection

In a world of connected devices, some viruses are more dangerous than others. Excerpt: Clay felt his blissful night sputter and die in the morning reality of public transportation. “No, really–I don’t take the bus.” Her jaw dropped open–but she kept the morning-after smile fastened to her face. “I thought you were joking. How else are we going to get there?” Unsmiling, Clay looked into the open door of the bus. The mannequin driver turned toward the door, his plastic smile lighting up with the syllables: “Welcome to City AutoBus,… Read more Automatic Selection