Britons, food and attractiveness

Your average breakfast

“NO WAY you would get a steak with rice in this pub!”. Everybody in the pub turned their heads to see what had caused the angriness of the bartender.

He continued: “If you want to eat your steak with rice then you’d have to order ANOTHER dish with rice and then eat the rice from that plate”.

Well, I was not going to order two dishes for lunch so there it was – another round of chips for me. Chips – for those never been in Britain – are actually french fries. My bet is that britons were not willing to admit that their favourite food was invented by their neighbours, that’s why they call it “chips” instead. In my first month in the UK Continue reading

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Where’s the ball? – The scam called shell-game on the streets of London

I encountered the shell-game first time in 2005 when I was in Copenhagen to run a half-marathon. The main idea of the game is simple. There are three empty match boxes turned upside down and a small ball, about the size of a pea. The game begins when the “dealer” puts a ball underneath one of the boxes and then start shuffling the boxes, in the meantime frantically speaking: “Where’s the ball? Where’s the ball?”. Once done shuffling, the operator takes bets from his audience on the location of the ball. The audience is told that if a player bets and guesses correctly, the player will win back double his bet (that is, he will double his money); otherwise he loses his money. 

A day after the half marathon I went to walk around the city when I suddenly saw a bunch of people standing in a circle, argumenting loudly and pointing to a guy sitting in front of them, shuffling small boxes. I went closer and I saw the game going on. When the shuffling stopped, I was sure the ball was under the middle box. One of the spectators gave the facilitator the money and showed the rightmost box. The  facilitator opened it and the ball was not there. The guy lost the money and facilitator lifted the middle box to show that the ball was there. “Easy money!” I thought. The dealer started shuffling again and when he finished, I knew the ball was in the leftmost box. I handed him the money and showed him the box. He opened it. It was empty. Continue reading

Keep it simple, stupid!

This week we lost a guy who knew how to make things usable. Rest in peace, Steve! A day before, on Tuesday, we had Jerome Turner from Birmingham State University’s User Design Lab talking to us how to make things usable and how to perform usability testing. That talk was very interesting and insightful, so no wonder that the Q&A lasted for an hour.

Which one would you rather use? (photo from http://uxblogging.posterous.com/)

The main idea behind usability design is to make your service easy to understand, intuitive to use and make sure that all functionality is where the user needs them. There is a reason why in 90% of households the garbage can is just under the sink – this is the place where you need it most often. It is different here in Birmingham Science Park Aston, where the garbage can is some three meters from the sink. At the end of each day, the kitchen floor between the sink and the garbage can looks like Hansel and Gretel had walked a marathon there.. Continue reading

London Minibar

Startups are not only innovative with their daily business, but also pretty much everything else they do: in the way they network, present themselves and even how they feel inclined to give back to the community. This Friday I participated in my first real startup-networking event in England: London Minibar. MiniBar is meetup for internet professionals .The morning started with a founder story by James Leavesley from CrowdControlHQ (which was very interesting btw) and after the lunch we – maybe half of the Oxygen teams – started heading towards London. Continue reading