I got a really great comment on my "Understanding the User" post from Mike McGraw.
"Charlie, your SitePal is not what I expected (a gimmick), but rather very cool ... a nice touch of personalization. I'm a regular reader (subscribed) and although many of your posts are irrelevant to my interests (I'm not from Brooklyn, I don't love the Mets, and I've never been in a kayak (yet)) ... the few that are relevant are like jewels. Thought it was about time I sent you a comment/prop.
We are now in the middle of our wireframing / experience design efforts for a very cool rich media aggregation/discovery service ... we are breaking from many conventions and are targeting the youth demographic with a Flex deployed RIA, so your observation about trying to understand the user really hits home. I have a suggestion for anyone who is deploying a consumer facing service and understands as little as we think we do: find and appoint a sharp/ savvy consumer to your advisory board who has the necessary influence and reach within your targeted demographic ... and listen to what they have to say...On that note, I can't wait to send her your way and see what she thinks about your SitePal and your post! Thanks Charlie ..."