:Archive Of July 2004:

Wednesday, July 28, 2004 - 8:53 PM -

"The sad part is that this case has been made repeatedly over the years, and will undoubtedly have to be made again and again before the simple message sinks in.

"What makes it sadder still is that talented people who might otherwise have much to tell us about user-focused design and branding are denied the opportunity to write about these more interesting topics, because they are too busy rolling the semantic rock up the endless hill of clueless dweebfoofery."

Whistles, cheers, and shouts from this corner. No kidding. Jeffrey Zeldman introduces Douglas Bowman's tidy little article, Throwing Tables Out the Window.

And... I just added "dweebfoofery" to my spellcheck's dictionary. I see future use for that one.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 5:06 PM -

"This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright # 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don't give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that's all we wanted to do." Woody Guthrie.

I'm just saying. Reference to this suit about this satire.

Saturday, July 24, 2004 - 6:56 PM -

Oh my. pPod, an iPod guide to clean loos in London. ... I'll never be able to look at the smooth white design of the little player quite the same again.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 6:11 PM -

Update: Dan Vine's iCapture and ieCapture will return. Or are returning. Or have already returned by the time you read this. Welcome back, Dan.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 1:42 AM -

You do check Clayton Bailey's studio cam daily don't you?

Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 4:30 PM -

Little update: lixlpixel's G5 screenshots is running on his desktop, not a 24/7 server, so it only works when he does. Keep that in mind, and remember to be gentle with his bandwidth too.

Monday, July 19, 2004 - 10:21 PM -

Content that's better wider: timelines.

I'm actually looking at A Timeline of Timelines, by Sasha Archibald & Daniel Rosenberg, right now. Issue 13 of Cabinet magazine, which is quite full of offline goodness.

Timelines don't work up and down, and I'm not sure why. I don't know if it's simply that I'm too used to convention. Like there's no way I can train myself to read Japanese comics. As soon as I'm into the story, I'm back to reading right-to-left again.

Also 'better wider', is lixlpixel's magic mac G5 screenshot service. See Safari and IE as the luxurious see them. (Dan Vine's iCapture and ieCapture seem to have vanished from the web.)

Friday, July 16, 2004 - 3:57 AM -

Is wider better?

Um... Newspapers. I find I'm thinking of newspapers. Of full-size unfold-once-and-then-spread newspapers. Then refold so you can read the damn thing. Lovely if you've got the space to relax and put your feet up, but a pain in the ass in every other.

I'm remembering the Toronto Sun arriving as a fresh face against two well-established competitors. (Three? Was the Telegram still around?). A good half of why they succeeded is they led with the simpler, smaller 'tabloid' form that made it the first local paper that was easy to read on the train, on a bench, in a cafeteria, and at your overflowing desk. (The other half of their success was a clean young layout, a swap of journalism for contentious columnists, a daily picture of a girl with big tits in a small swimsuit, and better comics.) The Sun quickly became the number one newspaper you saw read, and littered, everywhere.

So yeah, I'm squirming a little at the mention of wide sites. It's so often unnecessary. It's so often a bad idea. I'll be surfing and hit a site where I've got to grab a scrollbar instead of use the convenient mousewheel or spacebar, and for what? It's almost always for the inferior offspring of a print designer who couldn't learn the web.

But Victor is no such fool. He's looking at how to do it right. He understands that content informs design. He's thinking about when getting wide is better.

He's led with two strong innovators, and he wants more. Make his day: send him a link to the best you've every seen. Screw novelty because that advantage withers the moment it emerges. Find the sites that sidescroll because it's just the best way to put the least between the content and the reader.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004 - 11:52 PM -

"You can read a document in Microsoft Word, and write a document in Microsoft Word. But the people who did web browsers I think were too lazy to do the authoring part." Alan Kay at Fortune. I wish they'd printed the full interview.

The fireside tale as I recall it, is this: Your browser was meant to be your editor. Monkey see and monkey do. The web was supposed to be a Monkey Memex Love-in.

Our Web Instigators simply did not foresee that media companies would fund complex readers and give them away. Reader development and availability has galloped away from editor development and availability, instead of the two lurching forward in reasonable parity.

You're supposed to be able to do what you see, with roughly the same learning curve. We are nowhere near that. What we've got instead is pricey editors like Dreamweaver, some dedicated enthusiasts who remind me of both radio hams and hotrodders, and the sad, sad thing that is Mozilla's litter-runt-left-to-die, Composer.

The cloud's silver lining has been very interesting web publishing tools like Blogger and Textism's Textile.

If you wanted to take the many-to-many web and stick it back inside the commercial broadcast bottle, then releasing free, complex browsers is a very good way to do it.

...sitting sideways and staring past my coffee, you know what would be interesting? Take a slice of a cultural budget (like here in Canada, where we're trying to get healthy interlinked websites for all our museums of all sizes) and pay the wages of a few core developers on a serious open source editor. I'd vote for that. I'd vote for that over a considerable number of the cultural projects that we back federally and provincially. I think everyone being able to publish is a hell of a cultural statement and addresses every single mandate our current projects have. And very likely with better bang for the buck.

Maybe that's a way to do it.

Saturday, July 3, 2004 - 2:44 AM -

User Design... I used to do a 45 min 6-lane highway commute. It was dense but within parameters and moved along fine except for one section that always bogged to 45 or 30 mph. What happened there is you changed from fairly flat and straight to a long sweeping curve where everyone could suddenly see the miles of traffic ahead, and they slowed. How do you fix that sort of problem after you discover it?

You don't just add signs. In another section a north-south highway crossed the east-west and there wasn't enough room for a high speed transfer lane. At some point someone decided the regular 40 mph signs weren't good enough for the sharp curve, and installed a radar sign that would flash "TOO FAST" at any vehicle doing over 45. So bored drivers (each and every one of us doing our daily commute) now barreled into the corner to trigger the sign and then slowed. Mild amusement until the night the sign didn't work.


Spiral Jetty, by Robert Smithson.


Schwing washer-dryer set at the Classic Automatic Appliance Museum & Library. Oh no, I'm not kidding. You can't make this stuff up.

Thursday, July 1, 2004 - 6:56 PM -

If you're going to do user interface, you have to understand fetish. Rollei does.

-Update 9:15pm-

Huh. Okay, Minox came out with a micro retro digital two years ago with the 'Digital Classic Camera Leica M3'. How many of these things are there now? I know Epson has done nice digital rangefinder.

Not sure I like the Minox. Doesn't look too hand-friendly. They'd have done better to revisit their subminiature III. It was a delight to use. One of the best designs ever.

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