Where did the power icon come from, anyhow? The jury is still out on that question, but the "stop" icon is explained here. The history of design is fantastic; it's almost like tracing back a pictorial linguistic thread.

In other news, OLPC Austria had a Sewing Jam. The fuzzy laptop carriers "warm the cockles of my heart," as my high-school physics teacher Laura Nickerson would say.

We spent most of tonight working on content for the upcoming release. Or I should say we spent a long time trying to figure out the organization scheme of different hierarchies and how much curation work they'd need to become useful (the answer, more often than not, was "a lot"). Among other things, we found lessons on how to maintain a chainsaw. Especially in a way that's approved by New Zealand.

Organizing information is hard. How do you push around raw thoughtstuff? It's easier when you verbalize or symbolize and then draw/write them, easier to manipulate and sort things with some element of physicality. But information? I don't even know where to start sometimes.

When I don't know what to do, I either freeze, ask for help, or (with increasing frequency now) just try making something. It's the ask-forgiveness-not-permission philosophy; I bank on the tendency of those older and wiser than me to lunge forward and catch me before I injure anything and show me a Better Way to do things. Last night, after witnessing my flat-footed mangling of the OLPC wiki, SJ gave me a mini-lecture on how to create pages with information organized in an elegant fashion, writing the style guide as he went. (And after going back and renaming and relinking all the Jam pages, I will never forget that lesson.)

Working on "fuzzy" things, working with people, coordinating folks you may have never met in person, jumping into something while only hearing snippets of a conversation that has been going on without you for weeks if not years... it's tough. No taking a project into the back room and hacking. No being a Plant. In fact, Cliff (from Apache) said today that even with technical things, independent code modules, they'd run into problems there when someone just went off and Made Something without trying to get to know the way the community worked first.

If I ever had any doubts as to whether non-technical work was "just as hard" as technical work, they have all been erased now (in fact, at least four or five times a day, I find myself thinking that it would be so much easier to be a coder or an engineer.) But hard is good. It means you're learning.