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Harmonica, LLC

Harmonica, LLC, based in Brooklyn, NY, uses decades of experience in technology, journalism and product development to help organizations manage content and create compelling products from it. Harmonica's philosophy is that of its namesake instrument: simplicity, portability and flexibility.

You can read more about our services, or contact Harmonica for more information.

Windows: Still Pathetic

I’ve been mocking Windows since I first saw it in the early 1990s. Watching Microsoft attempt to imitate Apple’s elegant GUI was endlessly amusing. When they finally got things like overlapping windows and drag-and-drop working (in version 3.1), the PC world celebrated and the rest of us convulsed with laughter.

"When the world itself helps tell you what to do"

How often have you laughed at at somebody pulling on a door with a big sign saying "PUSH"? Or done so yourself? But it isn't always your fault. Sometimes it's the door's fault. For very basic anatomical reasons, a horizontal bar on a door says "push" to us, while a vertical bar says "pull." If you put a vertical handle on the right side of a door, and label it "push," most people will pull it. That's because the handle spoke to us directly, and we did not bother to read the label.

This is a failure in what interaction designers call "affordance."

Text is Never ÅPlainÅ (Practice Safe Text, Part I)

I started a version of this post about a year and a half ago, when users of a CMS tool I'd written noticed strange characters in their documents. Quotation marks were showing up as foreign letters. The legal section symbol (§) was showing up as the degree sign (°).

You've probably seen this problem yourself in email or when copying and pasting web content. The text looked fine to the person who gave it to you, but to you, it looks like garbage. Why? As one of the clients using my application asked, "It's just plain text! What's the problem?"

Attention Harmonica Players!

Yes, this is a content-management consulting web site, not a site for harmonica players. Sorry about that. But, you can have your own email address, for free. That's right. Just drop us a line and we can set up an address that will forward to your own email address. It's the ultimate free-reed vanity plate so get yours now.

We also offer mailboxes and web page hosting at reasonable rates. Contact us for details.