After many years of blogging, and consistent with my desire to move toward retirement, we have ended the Insights blog. Thanks to Doug Bedell for his years of blog support.

Students Made a Lubbock Report More Readable

Posted on March 27, 2012
Filed Under Communication, Government, Technology | Leave a Comment

You’ve got to applaud the  graduate students at Texas Tech University who redesigned the City of Lubbock’s annual water report and made it more attractively readable. And you’ve got to wonder why more governmental agencies don’t turn to their local colleges and universities for help on the editorial front.

There are all those students, primed with the latest typographical techniques and many/some of them able to write decent prose. What a help they could be to the busy bureaucrats who may be turning out look-alike redos of last year’s more casually produced reports.

Harrison Ownbey, one of the Texas Tech grad students who helped out in Lubbock, said their biggest concern was that the water report be not only readable, but in compliance with federal and state guidelines. What did the city’s residents want most to know about its water? That it was safe to drink. So the “kids” in the technical writing program spread that right across the top of the front page: “Summary – all contaminants measured within this report were compliant with EPA guidelines.”
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Video Games as Art, Sometimes Anyway

Posted on March 20, 2012
Filed Under Business, Technology | Leave a Comment

So now for the question of the moment: Can video games be considered art?  You think not? Well then, you’re crossing (laser) swords with Kellee Santiago, cofounder and president of Thatgamecompany in Santa Monica, CA. They’ve just issued a new PlayStation game, Journey, that’s been three years in the making and strikes us as having aspects of art. It’s beautiful and apparently soothing, wherever the journey is headed. (Actually, VentureBeat/Gamesbeat notes that Kellee’s company is noted for avoiding violence in its games.)

Kellee feels strongly about the aspirational aspects of game playing. In 2009, she told a Ted x audience that electronic games “will become more powerful in the 21st century than radio, film and TV combined over the course of the 20th.” Wow! There certainly have been failed, truly dispiriting aspects of TV and radio, but movies seem to be holding their own, as creative and beautiful, occasionally, as  Kellee’s ideal games. In the context of sand, Journey’s apparent setting, remember  Lawrence of Arabia?
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