Designing Tech at 90

At 90, Barbara Beskind, after a career in the military and years of design work from toys to inflatable devices that help children with balance issues, is still going strong – and designing away. Ms. Beskind is currently working on solutions that improve the quality of life for older adults.

Barbara Beskind. Photo: Nicolas Zurcher, courtesy of IDEO; found via NPR.

Photo: Nicolas Zurcher, courtesy of IDEO; found via NPR.

For Ms. Beskind, being a designer is a boon because “[i]t makes aging more tolerable, more enjoyable… I enjoy the age I’m in. I think it’s one of the best chapters of my life,” says she in an NPR interview by Laura Sydell.




Autism and Photography

To document the often bizarre and incomprehensible world of his son, photographer Timothy Archibald has been photographing his autistic son Elijah from age 5. It started with taking photos of the repetitive behaviors or rituals that Elijah exhibited. Then it turned into something more:

“When Archibald showed him a photo of one of his behaviors, Elijah suggested doing it in another way or another place. Both father and son were very interested in the process through which they could get a good photo. ‘We had this mutual sense of discovery,’ Archibald says.”

Elijah has in time become a more active participant, helping to brainstorm and set up the photoshoots. Mr. Archibald named the project Echolilia. These photograph sessions sound transformative for them, because through them

“…father and son create their own visual language, thanks to which they can communicate with each other even when there are no words they both can understand. In fact, Elijah receives positive attention for his rituals, can share something with his dad, and has even started to take his own photos.”

Autism Photos Timothy Archibald

Timothy Archibald.

Autism Photo2 Timothy Archibald

Timothy Archibald.

More Echolilia photos on Mr. Archibald’s website. Reporting via SNAP and Lomography.

Because communication matters. Because making a connection with other people matters.

Latinas Are Finding Their Way into Software Dev

The website Nearshore Americas presents three profiles of women who work in software design and computer engineering in Latin America.

Teresa Muñoz set out to enter video game design despite no previous experience. Her persistence paid off: she worked her way up to her current position as Q/A Lead and Associate Producer for a video game design firm in Bogota, Columbia. She advises prospective female video game designers thus:

“You have to know the basics of programming, but don’t have to be an expert. At college they don’t teach you how to program video games, they just teach you how to code. You don’t have to be a great programmer to get in – don’t let that stop you. You just have to have the skills to become great.”

Haymara Palma, who currently works as a lead programmer and specialist with Flash and Unity 3D technology, says this:

“It’s true that the majority of this field is handled by men, but in the last few years, women are getting stronger every day. It’s a very interesting and fun field. Once in, you will never want to get out.”

Because your strengths are what matters.

NYPL Special Needs Library Program

Diane Campione at the New York Public Library (NYPL) system launched a special needs library program. In this video, Ms. Campione explains her idea:

Ms. Campione says, among other things,

“…it’s very important to encompass all of their needs in one: technology, socialization, communication, literacy and education. So in one simple visit, we’re able to cover all of those areas. […] It gives so much to the children, it gives so much to you yourself. It’s very rewarding.”

Excellent job creating more opportunities to access information (ALA: Advocacy: Access).