Entries for January 2003 (February 2003 »    March 2003 »    April 2003 »    Archives)

 

Online copy of first English dictionaryJAN 31

Online copy of first English dictionary. most definitely in the public domain

Can you not see that your uncleJAN 31

Can you not see that your uncle is varied by your mall content.

Fantastic NYC mob history resources @ GangRuleJAN 31

Fantastic NYC mob history resources @ GangRule.

Apple releases new version of iPhotoJAN 31

Apple releases new version of iPhoto.

WriteTheWeb rides againJAN 31

WriteTheWeb rides again.

Bart Simpson is a ScientologistJAN 31

Bart Simpson is a Scientologist.

Take that, you crazy vegans!JAN 31

Take that, you crazy vegans!.

Da Vinci collection of drawings at the MetJAN 31

Da Vinci collection of drawings at the Met.

[insert Adaptation pun here]JAN 31

The pace of news has slowed over the past month or so, but I'm still posting away on the Adaptation weblog on Susan Orlean's site and will continue to do so until after the Oscars. If you've seen the movie, you might want to check out the site for background about how it all came about.

Particular posts I would recommend are:

Susan says Adapation is "amazing"
Deleted scenes
Behind the scenes pictures
Artist renderings
The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and how it relates to reporting
Adding to the pile
Spoof?
New Yorker review

And of course, there's the book on which the movie was based: The Orchid Thief.

We don't really have blogJAN 31

We don't really have blog.

Like bloggers link like bloggersJAN 31

Like bloggers link like bloggers. weblogs and the growth of a scale-free network

RSS readers misusing the referer field?JAN 30

Since I began publishing RSS feeds for this site, my server logs are full of referers from various RSS readers. Six of my top ten referers are from RSS readers like NetNewsWire and the brand new Syndirella.

Very few of these are true referers. No one clicked on a link on the NewsGator page to get to my site, yet I have almost 2000 referers from that page in my logs for this month. Checking my logs more closely, it appears that each time an RSS file from my site is loaded by one of these applications, a referer is deposited in the log file. Each time I load a page in Internet Explorer, I don't leave a referer for www.microsoft.com/ie in the log files of the site whose page I loaded, so why should any of the RSS readers be different?

The definition of referer from RFC 2616 on HTTP 1.1 seems relevant to the question. It states that "The Referer[sic] request-header field allows the client to specify, for the server's benefit, the address (URI) of the resource from which the Request-URI was obtained" and that "the Referer field MUST NOT be sent if the Request-URI was obtained from a source that does not have its own URI".

Genetic analysis of "Lorem ipsum"JAN 30

Genetic analysis of "Lorem ipsum".

Picture after picture of airline foodJAN 30

Picture after picture of airline food.

If you need to get inebriated to "JAN 30

If you need to get inebriated to "bond" you've got a psychological problem. love that quote

Noodles and Co. is my favorite chain restaurantJAN 29

Noodles and Co. is my favorite chain restaurant.

The cone of shame might be justJAN 29

The cone of shame might be just the thing for habitual cell phone users.

I honestly love this little tempest in a teapotJAN 29

I honestly love this little tempest in a teapot. $10 says this is all being taped for a Fox reality show

Software protection and piracyJAN 29

Software protection and piracy.

The New York I love to hateJAN 28

The New York I love to hate. and I don't really love to hate it that much

Can you list every single game you've ever played?JAN 28

Can you list every single game you've ever played?.

Top 10 most dangerous intersections in the USJAN 28

Top 10 most dangerous intersections in the US.

I need a do overJAN 28

Update: I updated the stereo photography post yet again (you can't write a weblog without embracing writing as an iterative process). Taking a closer look at how I screwed up the placement of the images for viewing, I found the photo taken from the left-most vantage point needs to go on the right side and vice versa. That way, when you cross your eyes, the left eye sees the photo taken from the left and the right eye sees the photo taken from the right.

Earlier post: This is embarrassing. After advising all of you to "keep track of which is the left most photo and right most photo" in my post about stereoscopic photography, I completely ignored that with my examples. Except for the Lisa/Wiggum pair, each of the examples had the left and right images transposed. This means that unless you were standing on your head, you either couldn't see the effect or saw it in a kind of reverse 3-D with the far objects near and the near objects far.

Anyway, you should take another look if you failed to see the effect before...they are all much better now. Thanks to David for catching this.

Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected AgeJAN 28

Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age. by Duncan J. Watts

Encyclopedia of the Marvelous, the Monstrous, and the GrotesqueJAN 28

Encyclopedia of the Marvelous, the Monstrous, and the Grotesque.

The idea of web browser as something more is catching onJAN 28

Dave Hyatt, member of the Safari team at Apple and former contributer to Chimera, posted a bit on his weblog yesterday about integrating RSS reading into the web browser:

I've heard a lot of people state that RSS and news aggregators are for 'geeks' and 'blogging enthusiasts,' but I simply don't believe that to be true. It should be possible to make an application for managing a large amount of information flow that is accessible to mainstream users. Browsers are trying to make information easier to manage with smarter bookmarking systems and page management capabilities (tabs), and news readers are emerging that (in effect) push new information to you in as it's posted and allow you to switch rapidly between different information sets as well.

His comments and the ensuing thread mirror much of the discussion around the Sherfari idea (follow-up). I envy Dave...I think this would be a really fun project to work on for Apple.

Update: yet another post/thread on Dave's weblog re: Browser++. The ensuing thread is useful only if you like reading about what technically-inclined power users (about 0.0002% of the population) want out of a web browser. User-centered whuzzah?

Who wants to open a casino?JAN 27

Who wants to open a casino?.

And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlordsJAN 27

And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.

The Elements of User ExperienceJAN 27

The Elements of User Experience.

Fun with stereographic photographyJAN 27

Stereographic photography (or stereo photography for short) involves taking two slightly different pictures of the same scene so that viewing them in a certain way produces a 3-dimensional image. Having seen some examples of stereo photos recently, I decided to do some research and experiment by making some of my own.

my stereo photos

To view the images in 3-D, cross your eyes until a composite image forms in the middle (it even works with the thumbnail above). From what I've read, a small percentage of you (5-10%) won't be able to see the effect, so if you can't get it to work, that might be why.

Stereo photography turns out to be fairly easy to do if you're not concerned with exact results, even if you only have one camera. Choose an appropriate scene and photograph it from two different positions a small distance apart, making sure to keep the camera as horizontal as possible. That distance depends on distance between the camera and the scene, but for most pictures, an inch or two of separation between camera positions is sufficient. For the Lisa Simpson image, the figurines were about two feet away and I moved the camera only about an inch between shots. Make sure you keep track of which photo you took from the left side and which you took from the right. That'll be important when preparing the images for viewing.

Download the photos to your computer and adjust the images in Photoshop (or a similar program) to compensate for any camera unsteadiness. They need to be horizontally & vertically aligned, color corrected, and cropped so that the two photos look as much alike as possible. The easiest way to do this in Photoshop is to paste one image on top of the other in its own layer. Decrease the opacity in the top layer to 50% and adjust to your heart's content.

When preparing the images for viewing, tall images seem to work better than wide images in getting the proper 3-D effect. Keep image sizes small; if the images get too wide, you won't be able to cross your eyes enough to see the effect. To view the images, place them side-by-side on the screen or print them out, placing the photo you took from the right side on the left and the photo you took from the left side on the right (if you don't switch the photos, you'll get a strange inverse 3-D effect). Then cross your eyes until a composite image appears in the middle.

If you're interested in trying stereo photography, here are some links to help get you started:

A Crash Course in Stereo Photography
An Introduction to 3-D (Stereoscopic) Photography
How To Take Stereoscopic Photography
A History of Stereoscopic Photography
A Guide for New Stereo Photographers
The Simple Making of Stereoscopic Photography

Better examples of stereo photography than mine:

Stereoscopic Photography of Flowers in Japan
High Quality Stereopictures
Okuyuki's 3D Photo Gallery
Early 19th Century Stereographs
Stereoviews by Dan Shelley
David's Stereoscopic Photo Gallery
Stereo Photography of Fluorescent Minerals
Celebrity Stereo Photography

The world's first crossword puzzleJAN 26

The world's first crossword puzzle.

Development timeline for Museum Island in BerlinJAN 26

Development timeline for Museum Island in Berlin.

Celebrities are your friendsJAN 26

Celebrities are your friends.

Radiers win 30-27 in GameCube preview of Super BowlJAN 26

Radiers win 30-27 in GameCube preview of Super Bowl.

SAT question of the dayJAN 26

SAT question of the day.

UndesignJAN 26

Liz Bailey recently wrote an article called Lo-Fi Allstars (PDF) for Graphics International on the trend toward simpler, more usable web design. The article includes a few quotes from me about weblog design. Here's part of a rambling email interview I did for the article:

Weblogs have definitely affected the look and feel of the overall Web. With weblogs, the design doesn't matter so much. It's not even really design, not to the people who just want to get a blog online so they can get their voice out there quick. All they want is something reasonably readable and distinct (and even the distinct part is optional...there are loads of BlogSpot sites that look exactly the same).

The explosion of zero-budget amateur publishing (nearly impossible before the Web) we've seen with weblogs, has resulted in a parallel development of zero-cost amateur Web/graphic design. Everyone is a writer. Everyone is a designer. As opposed to the design of personal home pages in the mid 90s where people were designing pages that expressed their individuality and personality, weblog design is much more functional in nature. There's so much content flowing through the site that the design is almost a non-factor. If people can read the posts and if the design isn't getting in the way too much, then it's done 95% of its job.

Weblogs very much embrace the idea that the Web is ever in flux. In the late 90s, many Web design firms developed a 'prototype, test, reiterate' approach to information architecture and Web design, with various degrees of success. Webloggers seem to have developed a similar system on their own. The content they post is so fleeting that the weblog is always a work in progress. The writing is never done so why would the design ever be done either? Everything is malleable. Get a bad design up...if it works, tweak it using the feedback from your audience, and if not, throw it away and start over. But quickly, there's writing to do.

Best practices are huge. If someone else is doing something that works, why change it? If you load up 10 weblogs at random and squint your eyes at the screen, they all look about the same.

Dave Barry has a weblogJAN 26

Dave Barry has a weblog.

RIAA help wanted ad for Hilary Rosen's jobJAN 25

RIAA help wanted ad for Hilary Rosen's job.

National Geographic swimsuit issue?JAN 25

National Geographic swimsuit issue?.

Where are they now: Q*BertJAN 25

Where are they now: Q*Bert.

The Wilhelm screamJAN 24

The Wilhelm scream.

Vegetable stock recipeJAN 24

Vegetable stock recipe.

Quicktime VR of the dearly departed Icon Garden @ AppleJAN 24

Quicktime VR of the dearly departed Icon Garden @ Apple.

Mac OS X Unix tutorialJAN 23

Mac OS X Unix tutorial.

If the average person can eat oneJAN 23

If the average person can eat one pork pot sticker in 30 seconds, and the waitress brings a platter of 12 pot stickers, how long will it take five vegans to not eat them?. San Francisco Bay Area Math Test

Converting site to CSS "as satisfying asJAN 23

Converting site to CSS "as satisfying as buttering individual waffle squares". amen, brother

I still can't believe this actually happenedJAN 23

I still can't believe this actually happened.

Which of these terms do you preferJAN 23

Which of these terms do you prefer for a sale of unwanted items on your porch, in your yard, etc.?. excellent survey of U.S. dialects

Organize and browse PowerPoint slides with Slide EngineJAN 23

Organize and browse PowerPoint slides with Slide Engine.

The J. Crew school of color namingJAN 23

I spent a good part of the day today looking for a full-time job (my design portfolio and resume, in case you missed the graphic over on the right there). One posting I ran across had this unusual requirement:

"Enjoy working with warm, gentle, sensuous colors, especially seafoam green"

I don't know what "seafoam green" is, but I'm pretty sure the garish green-yellow color at the top of this page ain't it.

Haute Couture roundupJAN 23

Haute Couture roundup.

If wanderlust had been given its own UPCJAN 23

If wanderlust had been given its own UPC.

UPS truck vs. race carJAN 23

UPS truck vs. race car.

Moving targetJAN 23

I just saw a UPS truck with a letter slot on the side of it. Turning a fleet of trucks into thousands of mobile drop-off spots, that's pretty smart. In theory. In reality, I wonder how many people ever use them, considering no one knows where the truck is going to be and when.

Nothing new here, so why is everyone linking to this?JAN 23

Nothing new here, so why is everyone linking to this?. is it because the pen has a shadow?

Junk food diet brings scurvy to modern dayJAN 23

Junk food diet brings scurvy to modern day.

When tipping with CC, round tip not totalJAN 23

When tipping with CC, round tip not total.

Table of the world's major religionsJAN 23

Table of the world's major religions.

OS X version of Phoenix browserJAN 23

OS X version of Phoenix browser.

Maps in Illustrator and Photoshop formatsJAN 22

Maps in Illustrator and Photoshop formats.

"blog" places third in American Dialect Society's 2002JAN 22

"blog" places third in American Dialect Society's 2002 Words of the Year.

A sullen, angry, or indignant humorJAN 22

A sullen, angry, or indignant humor.

New kottke.org featureJAN 22

A few weeks ago, I started recording some of the links I visited on a daily basis to a separate weblog, real quick-like. Didn't know if I was going to like it or keep it up, so I just included that weblog at the top of the page every few days.

Well, I've kept it up and I like doing it, so the links weblog found a permanent home in the right sidebar of the front page under the heading of "remaindered links". If you wish to view the links all by themselves, here's the main links page and an RSS feed for reading in your favorite RSS reader. Enjoy.

Today's NewsJAN 22

Today's News.

In the forgive and forget media-oriented societyJAN 22

In the forgive and forget media-oriented society we live in, this will be the cover art of R. Kelly's 2005 album.

Growth of a nationJAN 22

Growth of a nation.

Recipe for making lembasJAN 22

Recipe for making lembas.

Klingon computer programming languageJAN 22

Var'aq is a programming language for those that speak Klingon. Here's "Hello world" in var'aq:

~ nuqneH { ~ 'u' ~ nuqneH disp disp } name
nuqneH

Roughly translated, it means "What do you want, universe?"

Better books than movies for kids probably a good thingJAN 22

Some talented authors have been turning their attention lately to writing books for the younger set. Michael Chabon, recent Pulitzer recipient for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, penned Summerland, Neil Gaiman (American Gods) wrote Coraline, and Dave Eggers helped compile The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2002, a book aimed at the high school & college aged. Add the Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket books to the mix, and there's a lot of good reading out there for young folks.

Contrast that with movies. Movies for kids are about one thing: marketing. Disney and Nickelodeon movies are vehicles for CD, DVD, toy, and clothing sales. Independent films are little help; most of them are aimed toward adults. I'd love to see some talented directors like P.T. Anderson, Steven Soderbergh, or Spike Jonze do some high-calibre films for young people. Unfortunately, anyone who tried would face problems finding distribution and studio support (Brad Bird's Iron Giant had some difficulty with that).

Saw some Mecca-Cola while I was in Paris in NovJAN 21

Saw some Mecca-Cola while I was in Paris in Nov.

$1000 for the best 10 second digital filmJAN 21

$1000 for the best 10 second digital film.

All about aspect ratiosJAN 21

All about aspect ratios.

I have worn approximately 7600 pairs of socks in my lifeJAN 21

I have worn approximately 7600 pairs of socks in my life.

DeadJournalJAN 21

DeadJournal. LiveJournal's evil twin

Love that title...double entendre anyone?JAN 21

Love that title...double entendre anyone?.

Orgasmic calculatorJAN 21

Orgasmic calculator.

Microsoft economicsJAN 21

Microsoft economics. Office costs $407, but you can get Office + *a whole computer* for just $577

Character in PlayboyTV program keeping a weblogJAN 21

Character in PlayboyTV program keeping a weblog. warning, adult content

NYTimes columnist Paul Krugman answers $100 Google Answers question about himselfJAN 21

NYTimes columnist Paul Krugman answers $100 Google Answers question about himself.

Poetry in motionJAN 21

Poetry in motion.

Sherfari revisitedJAN 20

In response to my post on building a better browser, several people argued for the Unix approach to software design: build apps that do one thing well.

Q: What is this one thing that a web browser should do well?

A not-so-good answer: Judging from the comments about my post, most experienced browser users & software developers would probably say that a web browser should download and display HTML documents quickly and accurately. In the same way that cameras are designed to transfer real-life scenes to film, that is technically correct and helpful to remember when it comes to implementation.

A better answer: Let's apply the Unix approach so that it makes sense from a user-centered design standpoint rather than at the application level**. Web browsers help people find and share information on the web. Sherfari was an attempt at envisioning a browser that does this better than the current crop of browsers by adding the capability to do a few things that people commonly use the web for. Some cried "bloat", but as long as application features and capabilities are useful and appropriate to an application's function (the "one thing"), there's no bloat.

The web offers so much information and so many opportunities that there is much room for the addition of features to improve the browsing experience without creating a bloated application. With their iLife apps, Apple has demonstrated the restraint and ingenuity necessary to build balanced applications that are powerful without being overwhelming. Let's see them apply that to their web browser.

** Here's what I mean by that. If you were building tools to help people to send and receive email, ham handedly applying the Unix approach solely from an application point of view might result in one app to receive mail (or perhaps two separate apps: one to get IMAP mail and one to POP it), another app to write mail, and yet another to send it. But from a user-centered perspective, one application to do all those things (and more) makes more sense.

Mitnick to use Internet for first time in 8 yearsJAN 20

Mitnick to use Internet for first time in 8 years. yeah, right. first time in 8 years...

I am phooning hereJAN 20

I am phooning here.

Moment of awarenessJAN 20

Moment of awareness.

Google tourJAN 20

Google tour.

Rediscovering New York's Five Points neighborhoodJAN 20

Rediscovering New York's Five Points neighborhood.

Links for your browsing pleasureJAN 20

Twenty links, updated often:


link archive | xml

Digital Rights Management Conference @ BerkeleyJAN 20

Digital Rights Management Conference @ Berkeley.

Excellent toilet UIJAN 19

Excellent toilet UI.

Policital reading habitsJAN 19

Policital reading habits. preaching to the choir?

Baring witness against warJAN 18

Baring witness against war.

You always knew this was commonJAN 18

Prompted by an email from Ian urging me to update my copyright notice, I finally headed over to Creative Commons to choose the proper license for this site. I ended up going with Attribution-ShareAlike license which allows people (that's you!) to do anything you want with the content on this site as long as you provide proper attribution (Attribution) and release derivative works under an identical license (ShareAlike).

I'm doing this not because people are clamoring to use my content, but because I want to live in a society that has a large pool of material from which writers, artists, filmmakers, designers, and musicians can freely draw from to create their own work. This is my small contribution to that pool. If you'd like to contribute as well, choose the appropriate license at the Creative Commons site.

Interview with Cory on Creative CommonsJAN 18

Interview with Cory on Creative Commons.

Lessig's editorial in the NY TimesJAN 18

Lessig's editorial in the NY Times.

Eat More WordsJAN 17

Eat More Words. benefits include online OED access for $10/yr

RecursiveJAN 17

Recursive.

A user's guide to snowJAN 17

A user's guide to snow.

Mailing list for MT plug-in developersJAN 17

Mailing list for MT plug-in developers.

This book, stolenJAN 17

This book, stolen.

Vote for the new 7 wonders of the worldJAN 17

Vote for the new 7 wonders of the world.

RIAA On Supreme Court's Decision In CopyrightJAN 17

RIAA On Supreme Court's Decision In Copyright Term Extension Act Case.

Third place, woo!JAN 17

Third place, woo!. the 2nd place entry is my favorite

Trackback in motionJAN 17

Trackback in motion. TB looks to be heading toward a critical mass of experimentation

Rocky road skin creamJAN 17

In order to counteract the masculinity of growing a beard a few weeks ago (don't ask), I tried some of my girlfriend's liquid face scrub in the shower. Holy liquid sandpaper, Batman! It turns out that face scrub is just goo with rocks in it, much like what you get when sand accidentally gets in your sunscreen at the beach. Expecting a less abrasive material like toothpaste or even Comet, I fear I rubbed too hard to begin with...I ended up a lot redder in spots than when I began. Still and all, my face has never been so smooth.

Julia Stiles and Kirsten Dunst on locationJAN 15

Julia Stiles and Kirsten Dunst on location for Mona Lisa Smile.

I would henceforth like to be referredJAN 15

I would henceforth like to be referred to as "Jason from the block".

Majority opinion on EldredJAN 15

Majority opinion on Eldred.

Lessig lost Eldred. Crap.JAN 15

Lessig lost Eldred. Crap..

Cab culture creating race of big-brained supermen!JAN 14

Cab culture creating race of big-brained supermen!.

What happens when Kevin Bacon joins Friendster?JAN 14

What happens when Kevin Bacon joins Friendster?. A: The universe explodes.

Turbo Tax CD plays hardcore rap musicJAN 13

Turbo Tax CD plays hardcore rap music.

Russian Ark was filmed in one 90 minute takeJAN 13

Russian Ark was filmed in one 90 minute take.

Worst MP3 library everJAN 13

Worst MP3 library ever.

What would Jesus drive?JAN 13

What would Jesus drive?.

The way of SnoodJAN 13

Snood is one of those little Tetris-like games that eat up hours of my time when I succumb to my nastiest addiction. The high I get off of such games weakens each time, but I still fell pretty hard for Snood. Greg Costikyan explains why Snood and its ilk get no respect:

It is far harder to design a good simple game than a good complicated one. It's very hard to make a tightly-constrained game interesting; if I can layer a variety of systems, I can produce a widely variant gamespace, and interesting emergent behaviors almost spontaneously arise. Getting something really compelling out of something as simple as Snood is hard.

Dooce ex machinaJAN 13

Dooce ex machina.

20 most effective TV ads of 2002JAN 13

20 most effective TV ads of 2002.

Note to those who feel the needJAN 13

Note to those who feel the need to crow about coining new "blog" words: SHUT THE FUCK UP ALREADY!!!!.

Oh yeah, well this movie is beingJAN 13

Oh yeah, well this movie is being filmed just down the block.

Catch Me If You CanJAN 13

The best thing about Catch Me If You Can (aside from the nifty retro opening title sequence) is that you can't tell that Steven Spielberg directed it or that Tom Hanks & Leonardo DiCaprio are acting in it. No heavy-handed Spielberg Tom Hanks vehicle Leo heart throb crap. Just a fun movie.

ps. DiCaprio plays Frank Abagnale in the movie. Abagnale now runs a security documents consultancy. This is what he had to say about the movie:

"I have been married for over 25 years and I am the proud father of 3 sons. When I was 28 years old, I thought it would be great to have a movie about my life, but when I was 28, like when I was 16, I was egotistical and self-centered. We all grow up. Hopefully we get wiser. Age brings wisdom and fatherhood changes one's life completely. I consider my past immoral, unethical and illegal. It is something I am not proud of. I am proud that I have been able to turn my life around and in the past 25 years, helped my government, my clients, thousands of corporations and consumers deal with the problems of white collar crime and fraud."

Table for oneJAN 13

healthy choice solosLast week at the supermarket, I saw a Healthy Choice "Solos" macaroni and cheese dinner in the freezer aisle. Even with today's take-away culture, the correlation of TV dinners with pathetic loneliness is so strong that I'm surprised Healthy Choice went there like that. The "Solos" label must be the company's positive alternative to "People who eat this meal will die alone, lives unfulfilled". Or maybe the latter just wouldn't fit on the label.

What do Aqua, Carbon, and Cocoa mean?JAN 13

What do Aqua, Carbon, and Cocoa mean?.

China blocks all blogspot sitesJAN 12

China blocks all blogspot sites. note to the Chinese: we can't usually get to any of the blogspot sites here in America either

Matt Groening's PortlandJAN 12

Matt Groening's Portland.

Leet entry @ WikipediaJAN 12

Leet entry @ Wikipedia.

What the heck is "leetspeek"?JAN 12

What the heck is "leetspeek"?. r3@d 7h15, d00dz!

Why are Kottke and Megnut two different weblogs?JAN 12

Why are Kottke and Megnut two different weblogs?.

iTrip FM transmitter for the iPodJAN 12

iTrip FM transmitter for the iPod.

A fan weblog for Game NeverendingJAN 12

A fan weblog for Game Neverending.

Homeland Arithmetic reorganizationJAN 10

Homeland Arithmetic reorganization.

PhyllotaxisJAN 10

Phyllotaxis.

Media abortionJAN 10

Media abortion.

Senor Google no es machoJAN 10

A company named SearchKing is suing Google. Oddly, this reminds me of that Simpsons episode where Barney becomes The Plow King and starts taking Homer's plow business away from him.

A general introduction to non periodic tilingJAN 10

A general introduction to non periodic tiling.

Nice design review of SafariJAN 10

nice design review of Safari. "[Apple produced] a browser which abandons both Mozilla's craptacular user interface and its overblown rendering engine."

The advertising artwork of Dr. SeussJAN 09

The advertising artwork of Dr. Seuss.

The Great Segway Customer HuntJAN 09

The Great Segway Customer Hunt. anyone out there own one of these things?

Shop with SherlockJAN 09

Shop with Sherlock.

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom is outJAN 09

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom is out. buy it in stores or d/l for free online

Metallifizer - adds/removes brushed metal fromJAN 09

Metallifizer - adds/removes brushed metal from Cocoa OS X apps.

Why are Safari and Sherlock two different applications?JAN 08

After playing around with Apple's new Safari web browser for a bit, I am underwhelmed. To the many observations that others have made already (Mark Pilgrim, Matt Haughey, Ben & Mena Trott, Todd Dominey), I will add that the browsers I've seen in the past couple years have added little bits and pieces of useful innovation here and there (Mozilla's tabs, for instance), but none have the complete package of useful features, adherence to HTML & CSS standards, interface niceties, customizability, stability, and speed. Nice as proofs of concept, but none as complete as Netscape 1.1 was in its time.

Safari is still in beta so it might be unfair to criticize too much, but Apple missed an opportunity to innovate the browser in a truly useful way. A web browser is a tool for people to get information from the web. Much recent effort has gone into developing other interfaces through which to do just that. With Watson, Sherlock, and NetNewsWire, you "browse" the web for specific kinds of information with interfaces custom built for each task.

Why the distinction between regular web browsing and web browsing using specialized interfaces for structured data? Using Watson to find movie times is great, but it means having a separate application running...and for ticket purchases, it dumps me back into a web browser anyway. Apple's Sherlock app offers functionality similar to Watson. Why not merge Sherlock and Safari into one application? Whither Sherfari?

I've whipped up a few rough mockups to demonstrate how this would work.

Safari with Apps menu added

Figure 1 (bigger) shows the current interface for Safari with the addition of an "Apps" button. Ideally this would be a permanent graphical button like the bookmarks button. The apps menu would contain a list of Sherfari applications like Flights, Stocks, Movies, etc.

Safari with Stocks application loaded into the browser window

Figure 2 (bigger) shows the Stocks application loaded into the browser window after being selected from the Apps menu. It works just like it would within Sherlock with a fast, customized interface for looking up stock quotes, viewing charts, and reading related headlines.

NetNewsWire in Safari, using tabbed browsing for the links

Figure 3 (bigger) shows NetNewsWire loaded into the browser window after being selected from the apps menu. Clicking on links in the NetNewsWire app would open those pages in new tabs in the browser. It would be worth the effort for Apple to allow developers to write their own Sherfari apps for tasks that use structured web data. NetNewsWire is an obvious candidate. Ben and Mena could write a app to allow people to post to & manage their Movable Type weblogs. Yahoo! could provide a maps app. How about an app from Amazon for browsing their store? (Watson has something like this.)

Extending Safari's Google search box

Figure 4 (bigger) shows how Safari's Google search box could be extended (a la Andre Torrez's Nutshell). The default search would be Google, but you could select other searches as well, either web searches or searches using the Sherfari apps. Selecting "Google News" and then doing a search would load the results page from Google News into the browser window. Selecting "Movies" would load the Movies app into the window with that movie selected.

This keeps all the activity commonly referred to as "web browsing" in one place. Assuming Apple would also add the capability for tabbed browsing, the Safari/Sherlock combo would be a powerful one. The generic web browser part would allow people to load up any old web page while the applications would allow them to quickly take care of frequent tasks through custom interfaces without the need to load potentially heavy or hard-to-use web pages.

Come on Apple, don't just give us another browser. Give us something that's so damn useful that we'll wonder how we ever did without it.

netmood: rate web sites, realtime results in stock ticker formatJAN 08

netmood: rate web sites, realtime results in stock ticker format.

Photos of gas station in Kerouac's On the RoadJAN 08

Photos of gas station in Kerouac's On the Road.

Safari AppleScriptsJAN 08

Safari AppleScripts.

LOTR: The Two Towers, differences between theJAN 08

LOTR: The Two Towers, differences between the movie and the book.

The pronounciation of TufteJAN 08

The pronounciation of Tufte. it's "tuff-tee"

Google SmackdownJAN 07

Google Smackdown. I'm tired of seeing that stupid GoogleFight site featured in articles all the time...Paul was first with Google Smackdown.

E-Commerce Search ReportJAN 07

E-Commerce Search Report. 37signals strikes again

New Mac stuffJAN 07

I'm not at MacWorld right now, but through the power of the web, email, and IM, I can tell you what's on the horizon for Apple:

- Safari, a new web browser for OS X. Beta available today from Apple.com.

- A PowerPoint-like app for OS X. (Keynote)

- iDVD is $50 (includes other 3 iApps). iPhoto, iTunes, and iMovie still available for free download.

- TiBook with 17" monitor. 17"?? Wow.

The ethics of linkageJAN 07

The ethics of linkage. or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Slashdot Effect

Edward Tufte's thoughts on OS XJAN 07

Information design hero Edward Tufte has some thoughts on Mac OS X:

The OS X interface design is distracting and self-conscious, with a marketing slickness rather the straight-forward transparent charming style of the past. It is out of tune with the superb industrial design of Apple hardware. Mac users will probably get used to it.

For my own current work (Photoshop, Illustrator, Quark with large files on large monitors), I see no particular reason to prefer the new design to 9.04. Indeed I regard 9.04 as nearly ideal (large flat-screen monitors are key; the Apple Cinema monitor is an enormous advance in design and as a working tool). Maybe when we do digital video that will make a difference in favor of OS X.

Download Grand Theft Auto 2 on demandJAN 07

Download Grand Theft Auto 2 on demand.

William Gibson has a weblogJAN 07

Sci-fi writer William Gibson (Neuromancer) has started a weblog. Long regarded as a Luddite when it comes to writing, Gibson says that's just not true:

"Google me and you can learn that I do it all on a manual typewriter, something that hasn't been true since 1985, but which makes such an easy hook for a lazy journalist that I expect to be reading it for the rest of my life. I only used a typewriter because that was what everyone used in 1977, and it was manual because that was what I happened to have been able to get, for free."

His weblog is powered by Blogger, which, I suppose, is the 2003 version of the manual typewriter: not state-of-the-art, but free. (via bb)

The best New Year's resolution I've heard:JAN 06

The best New Year's resolution I've heard: keep trying, failure be damned..

Upsidedown world mapsJAN 06

Upsidedown world maps.

Family Guy on DVDJAN 06

Family Guy on DVD.

New Dealership web siteJAN 06

New Dealership web site.

Name analysis for "Jason"JAN 06

Name analysis for "Jason". "your speech can become very critical and sarcastic when you are frustrated or crossed"

H Ch'i M LJAN 06

Feng Shui for web designers lays down some rules and offers up some suggestions about building harmonious web sites:

- "The messy dithering of colours that occurs with JPEG compression is bad feng shui."

- "Pages [that] have flowers growing on them [add] a comforting reflection of the natural world."

- "Load up your website with lots of multimedia gimmicks and you'll have a ch'i tornado, which is no good at all."

- "The vector-based design platform of Macromedia Flash encourages curvy images and is therefore blessed with positive ch'i."

- "Only have a smallish number of carefully-selected links. Long lists of links are stagnant in appearance, and the ch'i rapidly escapes through them."

VW Beetle commercial shot in Cole Valley, SFJAN 06

VW Beetle commercial shot in Cole Valley, SF.

Ingenious origami pinhole camerasJAN 05

Ingenious origami pinhole cameras. camera is made out of photo paper which is then developed

New Quentin Tarantino: Kill BillJAN 05

New Quentin Tarantino: Kill Bill. this one's a kung-fu movie

Sort your Amazon wish list by theJAN 05

Sort your Amazon wish list by the items you most want.

Take a one-minute vacationJAN 05

Take a one-minute vacation.

Autobiography of John Nash, Nobel LaureateJAN 05

Autobiography of John Nash, Nobel Laureate. and a beautiful mind

Object-oriented components for Flash 5JAN 05

Object-oriented components for Flash 5.

Girls who smoke, fuckJAN 04

Girls who smoke, fuck.

Freeman Dyson and Justin Hall on the futureJAN 04

Freeman Dyson and Justin Hall on the future.

Do corporations obey Issac Asimov's 3 laws of robotics?JAN 04

Do corporations obey Issac Asimov's 3 laws of robotics?.

We're winningJAN 04

We're winning. But pundrity is a dying idea like middle management is a dying idea.

User Not FoundJAN 03

User Not Found.

xreferplus digital reference libraryJAN 03

xreferplus digital reference library.

Dictionary.com PremiumJAN 03

Dictionary.com Premium.

Deadline for 2003 Webbys is 01/24JAN 03

Deadline for 2003 Webbys is 01/24. note to Webbys' organizers: for lots of free publicity and traffic, create a "weblog" category and make it $25 to enter, not $95.

UI analysis of MetroCard vending machinesJAN 03

UI analysis of MetroCard vending machines.

O'Reilly's 25th anniversaryJAN 03

O'Reilly's 25th anniversary.

Capturing crossfadesJAN 03

Capturing crossfades.

Yao Ming topping Shaq in All-Star votingJAN 02

Yao Ming topping Shaq in All-Star voting.

Sundance Online Film FestivalJAN 02

Sundance Online Film Festival.

Geographically accurate Tube mapJAN 02

geographically accurate tube mapPrompted by a discussion about maps of the London Underground I had with a friend, I spent a few minutes searching for a geographically accurate Tube map that I remembered running across a couple of years ago. I'm putting it here so I don't lose it again. The type is a little small so you might have to squint to read it (sorry, couldn't find a bigger version).

Compare with the usual schematic version.

How to Eat Muffins: Heuristic ConsiderationsJAN 02

How to Eat Muffins: Heuristic Considerations.

Amazing panorama of Times Square New Year's Eve 2003JAN 01

Amazing panorama of Times Square New Year's Eve 2003.

Stories about ticketstubsJAN 01

Stories about ticketstubs. an M. Ha. joint

2003 List of Banished WordsJAN 01

2003 List of Banished Words.

What exactly is fire?JAN 01

What exactly is fire?.

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