Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Catching up

Midtown Manhattan was hot, dirty, and crowded on Friday morning. Seeing so many seriously-armed military guys around the trains and subways was a bit weird, but we did find refuge in a fascinating shop that sold thousands of different kinds of buttons. (It reminded me of a cabinet of curiosities, lovingly arranged from ceiling to floor.) We also strolled through Bryant Park where, of a hundred or so people present, I counted 14 using the free wi-fi. Other than that, we were in meetings all day, and then we came home. Quite honestly, the highlight was re-reading some old Love & Rockets comics and finally getting to read the last issue of La Perdida.

This morning I read Peter and Andrew's comments on Don Norman's recent article on human-centered design and activity theory. Peter says he's surprised I haven't anything to say, to which I can only respond "But I do! I just haven't had any time recently." So as soon as I get a chance, I'll post some thoughts on what it means when HCI almost exclusively continues to define humans/users according to psychology (i.e. mental function), on how the early Russian activity theorists differ from contemporary researchers like Engeström and Nardi, and on how activity theory differs from, say, social and cultural practice theories and the object-oriented sociality that Jyri has mentioned.

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