We have a garden in Columbus, Ohio now!

courtyard garden from the West, before and after
courtyard garden from the East, before and after
back garden from the South, before and after
back garden from the North, before and after
courtyard patio and screened porch
water feature by Walt Rickli (2007)

Design and construction by Seely’s Landscape Nursery. Jered Seely was wonderful to work with and they have an amazing variety of plant material and some beautiful large specimens.

Virginia Burt, Walt Rickli, and Davee Gunn, thank you for teaching us what a garden can be. We never would have attempted this without your friendship, inspiration, hard work, and patience with us both in Cleveland and Baltimore.

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Same ol’, same ol’

So the midterms didn’t turn out to be as horrible as I had feared. I guess it’s US politics as usual. Make no mistake, politics as usual here is not healthy. Not for individuals, communities, our nation, nor democracy itself. We will continue to struggle to fight off white supremacy and all the power-hungry, charismatic assholes that are structurally enabled by our history and current environment. Climate change will get worse, wealth gaps will widen, superpowers will continue to agitate, pandemics will recur, and each money-controlled election cycle will be scary. Nothing in our current state is helping. We’re barely hanging on.

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WTF Ohio!?!?!

J.D. Vance is the next Republican candidate for Senator from Ohio.
The same day, a SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was leaked.
It’s been more than a year since the insurrection at the Capitol.
It’s been 5 1/2 years since we elected Trump.
42 years since we elected Reagan.
50 years since we elected Nixon.

The GOP is a corrupt organization with people like Vance that don’t believe anything they say. Today’s Republican party, which has been building to this point for over 50 years, only cares about three things:


The visible individuals who lead and control the party use doublespeak, lies, and and prevarication to promote…

White supremacy.
Extractive hyper-capitalism.
Toxic masculinity.
Anti-christian Christianity.

They continue to build on decades of amplification and acceleration of…

Concentration of wealth in a few and the extraction of wealth from, especially, the most vulnerable.
Promotion of violence, locally through guns and militaristic agencies and globally through defense spending and war.
Disenfranchisement, oppression, exploitation, and elimination of Black people, as well as indigenous and other people of color.
Harassment and assault on women and LGBTQI+ people, their bodies, their voices, and their agency.
Erosion, devaluation, and loss of trust in democratic institutions, values, rights, and freedoms.
Deconstruction of regulation and safety nets.
Coopting and subjugation of the media.
Destruction of the environment, ecosystems, and species.

Many of us push back against this. The Republicans pushing this agenda are a minority of the US population. They do not represent the will and desires of us. We need to do more.

Wake up.
Think globally, act locally.
Protest and activate.
Nurture and protect the vulnerable.
Tax the rich.
Prosecute the corrupt.
Get out the vote.
Throw the bums out.
Get elected to local and state offices.
Change legislative and bureaucratic processes.
Pass meaningful legislation.

Metaphorically, we have mutated into a virulent strain of infection in the world. We need powerful antibiotics and more robust immune systems. If we don’t slow and reverse this progression, we’ve nowhere else to go. The host, our Earth, our species and many others, will die out. I don’t want to witness and experience this in my lifetime. Or my children’s or grandchildren’s.

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Goodbye, Dad. We love you.

My father, Robert “Bob” Jarrett, died yesterday after complications from his terminal prostate cancer. We were able to spend the last week with him while he was having intense oxygen therapy at Buffalo General’s medical ICU. For much of the time, he was awake, alert, and lucid. We all got a chance to talk to him, together and one-on-one. We miss him dearly.

His is his obituary.

Dad and Mom at Wegman’s in Erie after a recent cancer treatment.
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Unfortunately, I told you so.

With a violent coup attempt going on right now in our Capitol (uncoordinated, stupid, and useless, but still a violent coup), I still don’t understand how almost 75 million citizens could vote for this gangster… for a second time. Even I didn’t imagine it would get to this level of plunder, criminality, and outrageousness.

Arrest and prosecute anyone involved in this insurrection or this will be a precedent for all future elections. WTF, America?

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VOTE, for the love of life, the universe, and everything!

When I reacted to the 2016 election, I feared for the worst. Even I underestimated the horror of this administration and the damage it could do to our country, our democratic values, and the world.

Our only chance is to get that bastard out of office. Please vote and vote early!

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Happy 50th Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

My parents, Marie and Robert Jarrett, truly happily married for 50 years today. We love you!

Marie and Robert Jarrett, married 50 yearsphoto from May 2017 courtesy of Sarah Jarrett, my sister-in-law

A couple photos from their wedding day 50 years ago.

Wedding Day, 23 September 1967 robertandmariejarrett_23sep1967_1

And from when each was a teenager, Dad in Pennsylvania and Mom in France after WWII.

robertjarrett_teen marieseitz_teen

Here’s the notice in their local newspaper:

Robert Jarrett and Marie Seitz Jarrett of Bradford are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary today. They were married on Sept. 23, 1967. The former Marie Seitz is a retired homemaker, and Robert Jarrett is a retired engineer, the former owner of Jarrett Machine Co. The couple has three children, Jim Jarrett (Teresa McCoy) of Baltimore, Md.; Chuck (Sarah) Jarrett of Lynchburg, Va., and Rich (Cathy) Jarrett of Syracuse, N.Y.; as well as six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Bradford Era clipping

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“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

J. Robert Oppenheimer, quoting the Bhagavad Gita, in an interview describing his thoughts at the Trinity nuclear test.

As I watched the election results coming in last night, a feeling of existential dread began surfacing, and this story of Oppenheimer at Trinity came to me. I rarely discuss my political beliefs openly here, but I have to write something.

We have just elected, at best, a narcissistic sociopath that acts as a mouthpiece for white supremacy, nationalism, racism, anti-semitism, xenophobia, misogyny, fraud, falsehood, ignorance, and a litany of other horrific beliefs and behaviors. At worst, we may have just acknowledged that the United States will follow other formerly-great civilizations into oblivion, Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burns. Not since we invaded Iraq and our son Stephen went to fight there have I felt so anxious about the state of the world. And this choice we have made will have deeper and longer lasting effects than even that endless war.

I don’t worry that the most apocalyptic fears will be realized. Deep and fundamental change takes longer than four years. But I do worry that we have crippled our progress in human and civil rights, science, ethics, compassion, peace, and all aspects of our better natures. I have to hope that our President Elect is ineffective at delivering on his promises and policies, and that Congress will continue its obstructionist ways and prevent further damage. It sickens me that this is the best I can hope for.

What have we done?

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UX Advantage 2015: Keynote – Beyond the UX Tipping Point: Infusing Design Into Our Organizations

Jared Spool, UIE

– Disney magic band: most important UX event in 2014; completely changes your park experience; pre-choose preferences and stuff before you go, including kid’s favorite characters, birthdays, etc; $1billion investment
– Disney used to have a horrible web site; UIE always used Disney site as a case study for its training over the years; at one point, people would scroll the page to get an animated gif off the page “animated things piss people off”; watched hundreds of people do the same task, find the cheapest hotel on the monorail; 1 in 5 people would accidentally go to DisneyLand instead of DisneyWorld; analytics never showed the problem; Disney confirmed that people come to DisneyWorld with DisneyLand reservations and they hold rooms just for that case; web site folks and guest services never talked; problem lasted almost a decade (1997-2007); to get to the band, huge amont of growth
– phases of UX awakening: Dark Ages (not thinking at all about UX), Spot UX Projects (a few recognize that maybe something could be better), UX Effort (people talk about it and have at least one UX person, larger projects, centralized group), Embedded Team (dissemitate designers out into the teams, but individuals feel isolated), Design-Infused Culture (not the designers are talking about and doing design and UX)
– UX teams shoud be at the place in the org where decisions are made
– Design-Infused Culture: UX tipping point; prior to it, design plays a secondary role, something you do in addition to what you’ve always done; after, design drives the strategy, products, and delivery; tipping point is on the horizon where you see a shipment delayed because the design isn’t right; tipping point is reached when more than half of the products don’t ship until the design is ready; only a handful of companies are at this point today
– all Apple marketing images’ clocks are 9:41am; original iPod announcement happened at that time in the keynote; before the keynote, they take their web site down; while it’s down, the site is completely relaunched; it comes back online at 9:41 pacific with the new products; web team doesn’t know anything more about what new products are going to be there until the keynote; make the final changes right at that ‘flip-the-switch’ moment; site content may be be ready for a product but they decide not to ship because it isn’t designe right and it does not go on the site; have from 10pm Monday to 9am Tuesday to remove all traces of any pulled product and retest
– product evolution stages: base transformational technology -> competition on features -> compete on experience; when those transitions happen, the top dog in a particular stage lose out to new leaders in the next stage; a fourth stage is when it becomes a commodity and the experience is about the bigger picture of use
– to not ship until the design is right, you have to define what “right” means, and align everyone in the chain on what that means; shared understanding of the goal is key to it
– need a common definition of “experience is good enough”; it’s tricky because everyone thinks they are a designer, everyone has design opinions
– in truth, everyone *is* a designer; everyone is solving design problems all day long; recognizing that is the basis of ‘design thinking’; we have to help the people we work with bring out their “inner designer”
– a big fault in our school system is not teaching everyone the basics of design early enough
– compared great design companies to not great design companies, e.g. Apple vs Dell and Microsoft, Cirque de Soliel vs Ringling Bros
– 3 things shared in successful companies were rare in the others…
– #1 constant exposure to users; 2 hours every six weeks by each person who has influence over the products; frequent repeated exposure
– UK digital service made it a policy that every person in the org has to spend 2 hours every six weeks watching users; instead of “I think…” the conversation moved to “I saw…”; hard to get execs to do it at first, but it feeds itself and becomes each
– #2 shared vision of the experience; every member of the team shares an understanding what the experience will be like 5 years from now
– Disney created a foam core and artwork mockup on a studio lot where they could simulate the experience and quickly iterate it
– #3 culture of continual learning; reflective, what did I learn that I didn’t know before; happens in many many small pieces over time, not big leaps
– CenterCentre uses daily standups; standard 4 questions (did do, will do, blocks, risks/unknowns); question 5 – what did you learn and what will you do differently
– UX designers need to be the MCs of this massive storytelling effort to drive all of these; tell the story of current experience; tell the story of what it could become; tell the story of what we are learning
– we need to focus on themes over features; the best designers don’t fall in love with their solutions but their problems; don’t list the features you will ship but the problems you will solve
– great design is rarely noticed, it’s invisible; like when the temperature in the room is just fine, you don’t notice; at Disney you never notice all the sensors and radios that are tracking you; when you get home, you even get a gallery of pictures taken of you all over the parks; “It’s really awesome (and a little creepy)”
– empathy: hear it constantly over the last few years, “need to teach empathy”; “everybody has empathy… okay sociopaths not so much”; problem is not the lack of empathy, but the organizational structure prevents the empathy to happen; no exposure to users; no ability to iterate to improve; taught to be objective and distant from everything that will make great design
– alignment is not just getting everyone to agree; it’s building the substructure so everyone can achieve that a-ha! moment; make sure the tools we all have are actually being used to create this alignment, to get exposure to users, shared vision, and continual learning; we have to tell the stories
– we need to design how we make UX a competitive advantage

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UX Advantage 2015: Building a Design Culture within IBM

Adam Culter, Design Team Program Director, IBM

– 15 years at IBM, first 12 years did consulting as a designer
– long design legacy; original intent to humanize technology; in the 80s and 90s, IBM lost its way with focus on finance; 2 1/2 years now refocusing on design
– new design studio in Austin; “Empathy not Ego”; move company to put primary focus on the user instead of the buyer (not to forget the buyer of course); can our systems make part of your day better, can’t control everything the users interact with (https://www.ibm.com/design/studio.shtml)
– goal: 1200 designs by end of 2016; almost there now; design studios around the world; reached out to everyone in the company who called themselves designer and evaluate if they are
– hiring process at that scale: in 2 weeks, have 75 designers starting on the same day; just completing onboarding of 68 designers; 10,000 applications in pipeline, 7,000 portfolio reviews, 5,000 phone screens, 750 fly downs with collaborate work exercises, 450 hires; robust talent and recruiting department; 2/3 of hires are right out of school; send them back to their schools to do recruiting
– how to integrate to product teams: design boot camp program – 3 month cohort in Austin; work with one another in their own space; 6 weeks of company basics, principles of inclusive design (accessibility, front end dev, microprojects); next 6 weeks are real projects from the business units that they’ll be working in – lots of domain knowledge delivered; professional hires have 3 day design camp and then placed on team; work with receiving team to continue onboarding about specific product domains
– his team is 15-20 people responsible for public face of IBM design; everyone else is in the business units; provide support to design executives who manage design leads
– design camp: Bluemix came out of a camp; instead of monolithic system, pick and choose off the shelf components and link them (https://console.ng.bluemix.net)
– 50,000 sq ft on 2 floors; 300+ designers located there; all furniture on wheels or easily moved by small people; totally reconfigurable; hanging whiteboard idea from Stanford Design school; entire 7th floor based on custom designed Steelcase components; non-precious space; it’s about people doing work and getting hands dirty; personal whiteboards that can be put on hooks in a hanging wall; hand carts full of them, take back to your workspace; people work differently when standing up and working next to each other; can take them down, stack them, label them; quick tear down and re-set up; “collective brainpower being spewed out onto the walls”, spacial memory
– structure, position levels, career paths: personal business commitments (PBCs) to IBM; IBM Design sets those PBCs for all designers in the company; HR system has official job titles at all levels and career paths, all the way to IBM Design Fellow; designer job codes and pay equity across functions like engineering; Adam’s title originally had “IT Specialist” job title, took 10 years to even change it to “consultant”
– executive buy in for this: Adam’s boss GM of Design (Phil Gilbert) was chatting with his manager, and joked that he would” redesign every last piece of software IBM makes”; executive commitment and support to doing this
– how are the distributed designers supported by central design team and a community of other designers; most of the designers are physically placed in design studios, regardless of which business they work with; some engineers weren’t sure what to do with these designers; the teams they work with are all over the world; 388,000 IBM employees in 171 countries; cloud-based sticky note tool (https://mural.ly) and slack; one team put an iPad on a pole running facetime all the time when a designer moved away so she could virtually sit with them; other teams have adopted; iPads get dressed up and you can recognize them individually; designers get to visit other studios at times
– measuring design contribution in performance evaluation: need to let go of ownership of design; code is just as important; can’t split apart designers work in one media with a developers work in code; can’t say what part of success was contributed by design; more about did they work well together as a team
– how has new design initiative affected IBM’s long-term, strong culture: train new designers how to behave as a good team member, how to communicate, integrate, and gel; get the efforts aligned across functional roles; “designers are the worst at using our own tools for our own work”, eg empath for engineers; early on, very high touch from central design team; now have to do it at scale and propagating those abilities and principles to all the designers
– influence direction of the company: developed IBM design thinking; design thinking founders “we blew it when we called it design thinking”; added 3 governing concepts on top of the standard design thinking; 1) customer sponsor, 2) playback (frequent, 10 minute, high frame rate, communication of recent design work) everyone invited and execs often attend, 3) “hills” – (commander’s intent, take the hill) 3 and only 3 articulations of what’s going to be delivered in a release, always user focused
– public version of IBM’s version of design thinking will be available soon
– takeaways: the space that you sit in is what you make it (provide what they need to feel that they have what they need); let go of design ownership and share it with everyone, artifacts and tools are not sacred – no holy wars – plan for the outcomes; when you come up with something that advances the state of design share it freely

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