Blinktank (previously known as Newsreel)
am a software design pathologist, examining software for the
values and beliefs suggested to users they impart, and unfair
outcomes. These values and beliefs are referred to as the voice
of the authors of the software: designers and developers.
Software pathology is the examination of software
program content, interfaces, and logic for their affect on the
users. The primary concern is for the people who use the software.
The greater part of our research involves software design that
results in unfair outcomes for its users. We customarily examine
software programs in the design phrase so that its developers
can avoid or overcome such outcomes before the software is given
to the public. Often we are asked to examine software after
its implementation - after problems are discovered.
The lion's share of our work involves researching
on the use of educational software in K-12 classrooms. We have
learned that children absorb the values through the interfaces
and logic "voice" of the software designers and developers,
as well as the content, which affects their learning - with
both positive and negative results. These effects are found
when software is used by adults as well.
For a guide to researchers and publications
on these topics, e-mail your request to our client research
About Matthis Brothers - I cut my entrepreneurial
teeth working for my father at Matthis Brothers, in Milwaukee,
Wisconsin. In honor of him, and what he has taught me, my firm
assumed the name of his.
What I have learned from my experience as
a software designer/developer and researcher is that all media
criticisms are patently applicable to digital media. Protests
to the suggestion of authorial voices in software and web sites,
for the idea that software authors are not different from any
other media authors, and that these authors/designers/developers
are accountable for the effects of their values on people, were
so vigorous that I was compelled to look deeper. This led to
my doctoral research,
my work as a software design pathologist, my activism regarding
software voice, and my renewed passion for media literacy. There
are only a handful of researchers in the world looking at design
values and outcomes - we are the icebreaker ships in this work.
my path to software design pathology is the result of my passion
in filmmaking, editing, and film literacy, and 20 years in software
design and development. My passion for film has taken me to
Pan-African Film Festivals
in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and around the world; founding
the BenArena Film Society; providing editing, camera work, and
production support for many kinds of film and video projects;
attending La Biennale di Venenzia: "Les Aesthetics, More
Ethics;" and presenting the "How to Watch Film and
Television For Your Own Protection™" literacy workshop
to children and teenagers. The movie theater, anywhere, remains
my favorite place in the world. As a software specialist, I've
done almost everything except engineering and hardware design.
is an embrace between Matthis Brothers and Newsreel (now Blinktank),
as we exchange media literacy information and ideas, and present
tools for the world to understand the technology that envelops
us. We encourage you to join us in our latest venture: a Video
Games Workshop for Teachers and Parents.