I quickly assembled an Internationalization Gallery to see how folks are designing access to country and language sites.
I first heard about Blades – a chassis with ‘plug-in’ servers-on-a-card – a few years ago, and IBM is now at the point of heavily marketing them. I haven’t been a sys admin in several years, but these things still make me swoon.
The program for the IA Summit is rolling out.
The book TellMeWhy tells the story of the first 24 months of design firm karlssonwilker. Hjalti and Jan come from Iceland and Germany, respectively, borrow some money, rent an office in New York, and wait for clients to show up. The book also shows all their work, good and bad. It’s real and sobering and funny and fascinating and I stayed up til the wee hours to finish it in one day. So refreshing for a design book to tell a real story, not take itself too seriously, and still be beautiful.
So I bought an iPod used from a friend. Never has a device been so fulfilling and so annoying at the same time. I love the integration with the $.99-a-tune music store, but: the front panel is too sensitive, there’s no on/off switch, there’s no volume control (without attaching the additional wired remote do-dad), the wired remote do-dad doesn’t have any tactile feedback and doesn’t behave predictably – forcing one to refer back to the display, and so on.
I’m trying to love it, or at least make peace with it. Apple clearly produced an innovative product, and yet had to break several mental models to do so (one must hold the ‘play’ button to turn it off? Reminds me of my old Samsung mobile which one turns on by holding the ‘end’ key). I suppose designers must reach a point where it becomes difficult to do something better without doing it in a significantly different way (“Think…” (sorry)). Perhaps most people don’t notice, already being inundated with so much learning curve with every new device, but I’m a designer and I normally love Apple’s products so these quirks drive me insane.
The image displayed across the top of the site…is a 1600 pixel wide panoramic view from the top of my house, in Dorset. The scene was originally captured as a series of photographs, before being traced…to produce the cartoony version you see here… Thanks to an XML feed from weather.com, and some PHP jiggery pokery, the end result is a fairly accurate representation of what I currently see when I look out of my upstairs windows.
The Manhattan Skyline is one of the more beautiful drawings of Manhattan architecture I’ve seen. Produced on a Macintosh after photos taken from a ship circling the city, they’re a steal at $30.
Bill reports that the New York New Media Association has shut down. I’m not terribly suprised, as no one I know who has anything to do with new media was involved there. They seemed to want to create a new fashion industry, laying a superficial business+social scene over what actually succeeded here, which was people making good stuff. RIP.
Alex Wright’s article on Paul Otlet is a great read. The video excerpt from the documentary film is a must see.
Metropolis Magazine has a new website design, thankfully, as their old site was a prime example of great content suffering a lackluster design. It wasn’t that this architecture and design magazine ignored design, it was just quirky, in a bad way. Whereas a site like eBay is quirky in a novice designer kind of way. But this general idea of good content with sub-par design could be called the eBay effect. In eBay’s case, the experience can be downright frustrating, and with a site like New York Metro it’s merely annoying, but people keep returning for the abundance of great content.
Oh Great LazyWeb Hear My Prayer: An RSS aggregator that converts text to speech and saves the resulting audio in an MP3 file. The result: listen to your favorite blogs’ new postings on your MP3 player away from the computer.
Update! James points out this could be done with NetNewsWire and a little AppleScript, and Greg Hanek sends along a link to Read It To Me , a perfectly named piece of donationware that also works with NetNewsWire. For us Apple users this is quite a nice little solution.
Audblog is an audio blogging service, allowing you to record an audio post from any phone which gets converted to an audio file on your server. I had the reverse idea a while ago, an RSS aggregator that would convert your favorite feeds into an MP3 file for listening away from the computer (oh LazyWeb…). Also, Audblog’s Audblog-to-email would be interesting to use with email enabled phones too, basically giving you inbox-style voice mail without all that crazy complicated VoiP software in between. Right now AT&T sends me an email when I get a voicemail message at home, but what I really want is the damn message!
Bill hates audio for thinking, which I agree with. But Bill and I are here in New York, car free. Much of the developed world spends an hour or more in a car or on public transportation each day listening to something, why not their favorite authors’ daily writing?
I enjoyed the new Lord of the Rings movie, Return of the King, but it was simply too long. I think the first two did a great job of not trying to convey everything in the books and simply be great movies. The last one is as well, until the ending, or endings I should say, as there are several of them, each longer than the last. And it was here that the movie tried to provide a grand ending to the entire trilogy instead of just providing closure to the story. And it was here that I could no longer concentrate, the urine backing up into my brain – despite my awesomely timed-trip to the restroom during the very last preview – where my last thoughts were, ‘How long can one bladder hold out? Is there a statistical average? If so, has this been pointed out to Hollywood film editors?‘