:Archive Of December 2000:

Sunday, December 31, 2000

- 4:44 PM

I'd been getting optimistic that 41,000 net workers being laid off might mean a lurch forward. Once you weed out the deadheads and the clerical staff that's still a lot of talent sitting at home being reflective about the future, and since they'd all have boxes hitched to the net I think it's reasonable to look for some innovative new websites. Really new. Not just the thicker/shinier we've been getting for the last year.

Not more "web design" but work on designing the web. The net right now is not the net we need in five years. I like it a lot but it's just a slick version of 1995.

Then I bumped into figures for unfilled IT jobs in the States. 400,000 to 800,000. Aw poop.

- 3:32 AM

And if like me you can't sleep, you might test the depths of the the net by searching Google for, oh, how about the old stereo receiver holding up my monitor. Bing: a very nice site on 70's Technics gear. I love the net.

Saturday, December 30, 2000

- 2:05 AM

I've been reading about a 1983 interview with Arthur C. Clarke. He was asked to describe what offices will look like in 2001. He declined to answer, since he'd been working at home for decades. "My 'office', if you can call it that -- it looks like a snake-pit with all the cables on the floor -- is just ten feet from my bedroom. I can appreciate your questions are very important, but they're outside my frame of reference." Uh-huh. Sounds exactly right to me.

Friday, December 29, 2000

- 7:08 PM

Dear god no. Stewart points to this game. My guess is that with the dotcrash he felt the need to free up his employment possibilities by hooking everyone else to this time sucking addiction that successfully combines tetris and solitaire. Oh the humanity.

- 12:33 AM

So... what's the idea of flavored coffee anyway? Especially at Christmas and involving me. Was there a dialog along the lines of "Owen likes coffee so let's get him flavored coffee!" I realize it's the thought that counts but that's the kind of thinking that makes me believe the devil was behind it.

There's this plant, see, it has these berries and if you pick them at the right time, roast them, then grind them to a silky powder and pour just enough very hot water through that to make an opaque liquid, you get an elixir so wonderful that religious leaders banned it. Great stuff. So some people decide to muddy this Eden and make "flavored coffee"? Please. That's like spraying cologne on a rose.

Thursday, December 28, 2000

- 11:53 PM

Miniature World

"Brews 10-12 Cups of Delicious Coffee" said the gold foil packet of Christmas blessing. Apparently it was another intrusion of the Invisible Parallel World of Smaller People. Other items are train seats with headrests that catch me in the shoulder blades, and bathroom mirrors that I have to stoop to use. The last are everywhere. Or maybe I don't get it and bathroom mirrors are just meant to show you you're zipped and tucked. I'm not a big guy, and I don't use those office sized gotta-last-me-to-the-next-break coffee mugs. I'm a very basic 6' and my coffee cups are the simple white ones most diners use. The four cup mark on the Braun fills four white cups. That's the kind of stability I need to face the day. But this foil pack of fancy stuff seems to have used ten-dash-twelve to mean 5 in a way my limited mathematical education missed. Sometimes I feel Christopher Robin has gone off to school and left me on the hill to reach a hundred by myself, a fluff-brained old bear unable to even brew a stiff cup of jo. Weird. Maybe I was supposed to pour the whole contents into an office mug for the second half of the morning or something. I just don't get it.

Think I have too much time on my hands? Then go read Neale. And thank your lord I don't post pictures of my butt. (It's there, just scroll down a bit. I can't link to it because that serious IT professional's anchors don't work.)

- 11:41 AM

Here we go.... There's a couple of newsitems this morning about an authors guild going after Amazon for selling used books. Well, since as a society we failed to reign in corporate greed around Napster, why not? Public libraries will be burned next. "I've got mine, Jack" rules.

Meanwhile here's a good used book source on the net, abebooks. And unlike Amazon, their setup helps independent shops. Check it out. Go look for that hard-to-find book you've been looking for.

Wednesday, December 27, 2000

- 3:57 PM

Learning from a Master.

I've just read Jeffrey's no more awards page. Which, as always, is bang on the money. What got me most though was scrolling to the end. If you read with one thumb on the space bar, at the end of a page you will hit bottom quite suddenly and have to look about a bit to pick up where you were reading. Several people have suggested that browsers could be written to accommodate this, as many text editors already do. Jeffrey went ahead and simply added blank space to get the effect right now. Damn but that man knows how to dance.

- 3:31 PM

boing boing points to this interview with Bruce Sterling. One line that caught my eye was "My ideal Internet 25 years from now is one where some godforsaken little kid in Left Elbow, Kurdistan, can get a full-scale summa cum laude-style college education just by pointing and clicking on stuff that he's interested in." Mayhaps it's time to write an updated version of Kipling's Kim.

Saturday, December 23, 2000

- 11:11 PM

Chicken Little.

There's been a lot of wild talk spurred by the meltdown of dotcoms and layoffs at design firms. I really don't think the sky is falling. I think that's just reality catching up with sloppy business decisions. I'll worry about the internet when people stop subscribing to ISPs. That's the figure to watch. The eyeballs are still there.

Even a real goldrush requires sweat, perseverance, and judgement to get to the ore.

- 1:53 PM

Cars only an iMac could love.

Thursday, December 21, 2000

- 6:07 PM

This is funny enough, but the sixth news headline down on the right made me spill my coffee. Good one, Cam.

- 11:02 AM

More Bruce Mau. Stating The Obvious points to this interview at ONE, a print/pixel zine I had not heard of, and that lays out a nice page.

Wednesday, December 20, 2000

- 10:42 AM

The sidewalks are filled with people. It's the normal late-rushhour early-evening traffic mix. People leaving work, going home, going out on the town. A density of bodies and fashion and bags briefcases satchels purses backpacks. Few people speak. They are mostly individuals travelling between one group of friends and the next. All have closed faces, minds turned to thoughts, eyes outwards only to see where to step next, to catch the traffic signal, to avoid the cars. The sound is almost solely traffic. Just the tires and engines of the equally filled streets, interrupted here and then by the click-snap-click of the electric trolley buses with their overhead cables, moving like large red fish through schools of small bland ones.

Inside the stores the same twilight between day and night is happening. Drug stores are filled with long lines of people getting some last item needed before home or night out. The girl behind the counter no longer tries to pay attention to the people, she is just trying to process the items set in front of her as fast as she can. She lets the security guard and the cam and the automatic doors do their jobs, she has hers, and it's not to say hello or give directions right now. In small restaurants with large front windows regulars start to appear in the seats. Little cafes get their odd collection of clients beginning perhaps three at a time. In one is an enormous fat man of middle age wearing only a tshirt despite the december chill, and his two companions keep on their coats and scarfs, only hats taken off so far, waiting for the coffee and conversation to warm them.

Everywhere everyone seems interesting tonight. All have a story and I want to talk to them, hear the mix of madness and wisdom that is their fit in this big city, especially right now when all the occupants seem to play a kind of musical chairs, everyone moving to their next position on the Board.

And I wake. It's one of those repeating dreams I can't quite shake, like the ones of school that haunt you till you're thirty. I miss a city I've never really been to. Waking I call it Toronto, though that's not Toronto, and I never want to be in Toronto again. But in the half-world of waking I wanted to go back so badly. Needed to. There were dreams to finish there.

Monday, December 18, 2000

- 12:13 PM

Time for a vacation: Back when I built furniture I'd scan the Ikea catalog to figure out how they built things. Now I find I'm looking at the pictures trying to decide what's real and what's photoshop.

Friday, December 15, 2000

- 7:18 PM

The watched pot that never boils: It's almost 2001. Hang flying cars -- why the zark am I still using a mouse and a monitor?

Wednesday, December 13, 2000

- 3:06 PM

Everyone at some time has probably installed a free font from a net depository and later discovered it had been separated from its txt file. Wasn't meant to be free at all. (Actually I just did exactly this for one of my old favorites. Yikes. Sorry, guys....)

Fonts are wonderful. Good fonts are bloody hard to do, and the designer's wishes should be respected to the letter. And often they're almost free anyway. I especially like Ray Larabie's contract, which includes "If you have some CD's you're not listening to anymore, send 'em along!"

Equally wonderful is when an outfit plops down a page of completely free fonts. UddiUddi.com - Yawn Free Fonts. Woohoo! Free candy! Some folks make every day Halloween.

- 10:05 AM

Oh good. Slashdot points to this chat with Jaron Lanier.

Tuesday, December 12, 2000

- 1:12 PM

Sometimes when I hear a story I see a movie. I can't help it. It's not that I just get a nice visual representation, it's that my mind begins laying it out for shooting. Scripting begins, characters are sketched, back stories written, costumes chosen. Locations are scouted. Logistics of funding, legal rights, production, distribution are wrestled flat. Storyboards are created and compared and discussed and rejected. Through every single step the perceived soundtrack music pounds, sometimes the songs layered in a contrapuntal fugue. Hundreds and hundreds of metres of footage are shot. Discussions arguments camaraderie manipulations are had with developers cast crew. Everything that goes into the 25 minute to 2 hour colour envelope of sound that becomes the Film.

This is one of those stories. It starts half way down. Do a Ctrl-F for "Jake Macdonald".

Sunday, December 10, 2000

- 2:34 PM

"Leaving America is like losing twenty pounds and finding a new girlfriend."

- 12:49 PM

There should be a fansite about Bruce Mau's work. In lieu of that, here are some links.

the studio

article on Bruce Mau Design

excerpts from Life Style

transcript of a live discussion with Bruce Mau

the Bruce Mau Quiz

comment on Zone Books

summary of S,M,L,XL

Saturday, December 09, 2000

- 1:02 PM


@home is being hacked this morning. Most noticeable is that a request for my main page will get you that page, or just part of it, or Home's not in service page, or a random assortment or porn and hate sites. Earlier this morning you were redirected to those pages. Now they just appear but with my URL in the browser address window. View Source gets you the code for the porn/hate site, but when I check by FTP I find my pages are unaltered. Wonder how they're pulling the last trick.

Thursday, December 07, 2000

- 4:19 PM

Quest for the ultimate keyboard:

I use a MS Natural right now. It's pretty good, but the width does make the mouse a bit of a reach. I've seen ergonomic keyboards with trackpads built in, but they're always on the right under the arrow keys. Why not put it central in the obvious big empty area under the spacebar? Or even better: put a trackball there like Apple laptops used to have. Then you wouldn't have to move your forearms at all, and you could use either hand. ...That would be great, actually. Split the big space bar in two so you can move the ball forward a bit and you'd have about the ultimate combination.

Does this exist?

Tuesday, December 05, 2000

- 1:08 AM

This. This is the sort of thing. This is communication. This is beautiful. To talk of flash as good or bad is simply below the point. [credit to Nick]

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