Our Digital Lifecycle

Posted 01/24/2014 By fernando

So after a while of not posting I am back… The topic I will first tackle… my digital life. Basically, what this title means to say is that as we use technology we become even more reliant on it. But the more we use it, the less reliable it turns out that it is.

I have been thinking about the term “they don’t make them like they used to” lately. Household appliances, cars, shoes… it seems to be that this statement is correct and we do tend to throw things away only to replace them with the same models. Does this phrase apply to technology and the digital domain? Hardware as well as software. Is technology less reliable or basically not made to last. The answer you might say is sure. I buy a phone, use it for a year or two, it breaks and I replace it with a newer model.  Sure, that seems fine. But what about if you don’t want to replace it with another model yet? What if it breaks after 6 months? What about software? Is it designed to last or does it become obsolete and ‘break’ due to incompatibility?

I hope to describe the reliability of everyday life taking myself as a case study. I will try to post some of them in this post in oder to then think about it, and analyse why things are not made to last.

I hope for your comments and experiences also.



Computer at work doesn’t connect to printer. Read instructions again to try and re-install the driver from the network. try to connect to IP given to me. Pops up with username and password request. Details are correct. Waiting… and access denied. Weird, I did this a couple of weeks ago and it worked. Let me try a few different options and connect with another computer. Nope, same problem. Let’s ask someone who joined work 2 days ago. Hm, IP she is given is completely different to mine. OK done… why wasn’t I informed that this was changed? Did my printer – computer connection last? Nope. New one created. Time spent on this problem – 20 mins.


Gchat not sending my messages “[Contact has not received your chat]”. But it was working 10 minutes ago. It’s the same conversation in the same window that I never closed. It’s sending email fine and all the other things on the page are working.  Let’s try other contacts.. same thing… Great, lets Google this problem. Tonnes of information. Some having similar but not the same problems. I found a few that have the same problem. Some solved it… but there are 10 different solutions. Should I really try all of them one by one? Let’s just refresh the page. OK… works. Time spent on this problem – 5 mins.


So Gmail is giving a temporary unavailable error. Please try again in a few minutes. OK 5 minutes later it works. Now it stopped again.. Can’t send my e-mails. Have to keep trying. Moving on to something else till it sorts itself out. Hopefully by tomorrow morning. Goodnight World…


There are three printers at work. One has just been replaced. I can’t connect to the new one. Fair enough. Now I can’t connect to any of the others. One of them has no driver for 64 bit on the network. The other one says server unavailable (Just for me – I feel so special). The third one brings no error, but also no results.

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Its suggestions are just a little bit… off.

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Posted 02/17/2012 By fernando

Have decided to bite the bullet and get married to my sweetheart. :-)

The closed wedding, is planned for the 15th of June.

Invites are on the way! Please confirm if you will be attending since there will be a limited seating arrangement. The complete schedule will be posted on-line as soon as the invites have been distributed.

For our guests flying from abroad, we will also be arranging two complimentary special tours in Cyprus and a traditional meal for them (so please remember to indicate whether you would like to attend these also).

More information to be given shortly, watch this space!

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3D Scanning

Posted 10/12/2011 By fernando


Our new 3D scanner in action. More to come…

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Filter Coffee Experiments

Posted 03/31/2011 By fernando

Having an inquisitive mind, experimental knowledge and a caffeine addiction can result in a rather interesting methodological approach to creating  a filtering system. Since our filter machine died, and the instant coffee had depleted, we needed to create a bespoke machine to create our beloved cup of java (coffee). And in case you are ever stranded without a filter machine yourself, here are the instructions on how to produce it yourself (Please keep in mind that Jacques Chueke – my partner in crime – and I have filed for a patent in 30 different countries):

1) Pierce a hole through a paper, heat resistant, cup.

2) Insert 2combined filters  (filled with grounded coffee) in the cup, letting the filter rest at the bottom of the cup to avoid tearing from the weight of the water.

3) Place the cup with inset filter into the opening of a (newly opened) toilet role. This will allow the coffee to drip from a height rather than completely be soaked in the cup. It will also allow you to use a cup with a wider mouth.

4) Balance the above concoction on top your cup, making sure that the hole on the paper cup is centred on yours .

5) Poor your boiling water (slowly) into the filter, allowing for it to filter. DO NOT OVERFILL THE FILTER. WAIT UNTIL THE WATER IS DEPLETED BEFORE ADDING MORE.

6) Enjoy your coffee…

Custom made filter machine.

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Bad design: closely placed objects 2

Posted 01/19/2011 By fernando


I had, in a previous post, reported on the bad use of closely placed objects (See bad designs: closely placed objects). I was surprised to walk into another department and see how people had tried to remedy the same problem. Take a look:

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Consistency in Affordances (HCI)

Posted 01/13/2011 By fernando

When you are brainwashed into learning the behaviour of how an item works, you expect that the people brain washing you will at least be consistent with their own methods… The video here however, shows how easy it is for human computer interaction to fail, when there is no consistency between actions. The affordances (see the book “The Design of Everyday Things” by Don Norman) of the the chart title, is not evident to the user (AKA the frustrated me).

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Our New Electric Drum Set

Posted 10/24/2010 By fernando


My new housemate giving them a beating.

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The Old Yet Contemporary Keyboard…

Posted 10/20/2010 By fernando

The Keyboard… This interaction device has been the main way to communicate with the computer for decades. How efficient is it? Is it the best that we can come up with? Is it time for a change? Should there be a change? These are some questions I asked myself after a friend of mine posted an e-mail to about 15,000 people and instead of typing “Dear colleagues,” wrote this:

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Pie Chart

Posted 10/12/2010 By fernando


Pie charts showing the popularity of each.

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