Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

Sunday, 21 march 2010 | The Seattle Times

English

MIX10: The hit list of metaphors from Microsoft Researcher Bill Buxton

"MIX10: The hit list of metaphors from Microsoft Researcher Bill Buxton", The Seattle Times, Sharon Chan, March 17, 2010.

Bill Buxton is the Doc Brown of Microsoft - a mane of white hair, high energy on stage, a mind that flutters like butterfly from topic to topic that somehow ends up landing back on his message, which is about designing technology for humans. He spoke to Web designers and developers at MIX on Tuesday, and sat down Monday for an interview.

"My job is to say, 'How do you avoid the tail of technology wagging the head of the human?' " Buxton said in an interview.

Buxton, a principal researcher for Microsoft Research based in Toronto, Canada, spends 25 percent of his time working with product teams across the whole company. At the more theoretical level, he discusses technology as a human prosthesis, but he favors metaphors that are as far away from technology as possible.

Here are some of Buxton's more memorable metaphors from his MIX keynote, workshop and interview:

The violin bow and the mouse (...)

The Catalan flag and multitouch. Multitouch is the touch-screen technology that allows you to put two fingers on an iPhone and pinch or pull to zoom in and out. During his Tuesday keynote, Buxton credits it to the Count of Barcelona Wilfred the Hairy in 897. During a battle, King Charles the Bald dipped his fingers into Wilfred's war wounds and dragged his fingers down a golden shield, leaving blood streaks on the shield. Red bars across a yellow background became the flag of Catalan, which is now part of Spain. Buxton called it the first case of multitouch.

The Seattle Public Library and software building (...).

Incidentally, my dad did the high jump in high school in Hong Kong before Fosbury changed the sport. Later, when he moved to New York and I was still in diapers, he decided he wanted to high jump a tennis court net with the old scissors jump technique. Surprisingly, obviously a bad idea. He tripped and broke his leg.


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Col·lectiu Emma - Explaining Catalonia

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