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The Human Factor:
Kim Vicente is probably the only person who can make the connection between a perpetually blinking VCR clock and the nearly 100,000 preventable deaths per year in the U.S. due to medical error. But he does it convincingly and entertainingly in The Human Factor by outlining the many ways technology is failing us, and then providing a framework to fix the problem. From early airplane cockpit designs that caused unnecessary pilot error and even deaths to a BMW dashboard system that was supposed to simplify driving by offering seven or eight hundred features, Vicente makes a strong case for a new approach to creating high and low-tech devices. "Our traditional ways of thinking have ignored--and virtually made invisible--the relationship between people and technology," he writes. "But until a new and better way of thinking crystallizes and takes hold, we'll keep on resorting to familiar but outdated ideas because they used to work and they're all we have in our conceptual tool box." Vicente offers his "Human-tech Revolution" manifesto as our new toolbox--a framework for developing technologies that work for people, not just engineers. It's an approach that takes into account our social, economic, and political realities and could possibly even ensure your VCR clock will never blink again. An educational and accessible read for high and low-tech enthusiasts. --Craig Silverman [via]