Building Markets

Just revised and resubmitted a paper I wrote on Eclipse Aviation. Looks like one of their bigger customers, DayJet, has been profiled by the AP and picked up by the major news outlets.

It will be interesting to see how Eclipse Aviation's ethos appeals change as their industry matures. Eclipse started with the "closed world" Cold War appeals Paul Edwards outlines in The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America. They depicted Eclipse Aviation's engine as a type of magic icon that would save the company. When that failed, they switched their marketing ethos strategy to a more transparent "convergence of innovation" model, similar to what Carolyn Miller describes as a "Ciceronian ethos of sympathy" in her article“Expertise and Agency: Transformations of Ethos in Human-Computer Interaction.” Now that they have received certification, Eclipse Aviation has started to scale back the transparency and prepare for a more mature proprietary market to emerge.


Back in Fargo

A few of you are wondering if Sport and I are back in Fargo.

Indeed we are, and today we decided to get into our summer ritual.

We started with a five-mile run (unfortunately the Red River is still flooding, so we ran to and around NDSU).

After a quick shower, we were off to Nichole's for some breakfast:

In case you are wondering what you are looking at, those are two coffee beverages the color of Capucin monks' robes, an almond croissant right out of the oven, and an apricot cherry scone.

Next, we stopped by the first farmer's market of the season:

Unfortunately, there were only root vegetables available, so we got some spring onions to take to our colleagues' farewell party.

Finally, we stopped by Zandbroz and Funky Junque to look for a couple of "thank you" gifts before we walked back home.

It's good to be home in Fargo.


ListServs Aren't ALWAYS Terrible

Recently, the attw listserv has been having several good discussions on usability class materials and culture of technology class materials. One of the most fascinating things about this listserv is the heterogeneity of technical writing. We have our classical rhetoric wonks, our technogeeks, pedagogy experts, newbies, composition junkies, and assorted other groups. One nugget I expecially appreciated was someone pointing me to a nice WIRED story on the development of the iPod. As a technical writing teacher, I try to get my writing students to appreciate the effectiveness of prototypes, especially in engineering cultures. This single picture of the iPod prototype will hopefully convince a few of my students to go along with the process, rather than prejudging the effectiveness of a process before they try it in a work enviroment.


Thanks Jarin!

Our surf instructor.

His rig.

Surf Camp, Day Four

The waves were about as big as ever. Unfortunately, I was too pooped to both catch the waves AND pop up on my board. Sport was able to battle into the surf with quite a bit of invective. It was a worthwhile week that left me with a few nuggets:

  • Surfing, like just about anything else, is very incremental.
  • Despite this inchworm nature, there are a few moments where you feel the rush of progress (when you catch a wave; when you hold your balance; when you have a long ride).
  • Surfing seems to be a practice that is handed down orally and visually. Literate practices seem pretty inconsequential to most of surfing (probably a big reason that neo-tribal references abound in surf culture).
  • It is much more brutal than skiing. Sport and I are still finding mysterious bruises in places we didn't think were possible to bruise.