Entries for June 1999 (July 1999 »    August 1999 »    September 1999 »    Archives)

 

Kodak Advantix commercial musicJUN 29

Have you seen that Kodak Advantix commercial on the TV? I can't remember what the commercial is all about (lots of yellow?), but the music is quite - as the kids would say - bumpin'. Does anyone know the techno tune playing in that ad? Mail me: jason@kottke.org.

Opening new windows?JUN 28

New poll: Links to sites outside of kottke.org open in a new window. What are your thoughts on this? (view the results)

I like it...it allows me to keep the original document open whilst looking at others.
I dislike it. I like to browse in the same window and use the back button to navigate previously visited pages.
I'm indifferent. I open a new window on every link I visit anyway.
My browser does not support opening pages in new windows.
I don't understand the question.

Boy, are those poll results ugly. I'm glad that ArsDigita finally let their results table expand and collapse with the width of the user's template, but the huge fonts are ridiculous. This could be done without tables and be a lot clearer, more readable, and make more efficient use of screen real estate. Shame, shame.

Logo makeoversJUN 25

Logo makeovers. In each case, except for the Grape Nuts example, the new logo was of poorer quality than the original. Especially laughable is the first example where the logo of a frame shop is butchered by adding a gradient, a 3D look, and a drop shadow. Unless it's huge (which defeats the purpose), that logo is going to look like shit on a business card. The McDonald's example is not much better. Yuck.

Straight DopeJUN 25

Had lunch with Ariana today. She pointed me to the excellent Straight Dope, a site for people who want to find out stuff like how they get Teflon to stick to the pan. It's also the origin of this great bit:

"In some ways we know more about what happened in the universe's first tenth of a second than we do about what goes on in the interval between 'Your place or mine?' and deciding who sleeps on the wet spot."

SkatingJUN 24

I went skating today for the first time in a year. Fun. Fun.

WebOSJUN 24

WebOS simulates a windowed desktop environment (very much like the MacOS) entirely in the browser. IE 4+ only, but very cool.

Dumb poll takersJUN 24

The results of my latest poll are a little puzzling. 28% of the respondants think that the human population living on Earth will never dip below 50% of the projected estimate. I'm pretty sure that when the Sun explodes a few billion years from now, they will be proved incorrect.

Palm V hereJUN 24

My new Palm V came yesterday. I'm pleased as punch.

Woz on Pirates of Silicon ValleyJUN 24

Steve Wozniak has some interesting comments about the recent Pirates of Silicon Valley movie.

The design of playing cardsJUN 23

Looking at a deck of cards got me thinking about the design of playing cards and how it evolved. That led me to some excellent pages on the English Playing Card Society Web site, specifically the history and design pages. Evidently, cards used to be square-cornered, had plain backs, didn't have numbers in the corners, and were "single-ended" (meaning that there was a right side up to each card). Over time, the design of playing cards was tweaked to give the cards round corners (it happened anyway), patterned backs (to prevent card sharks from easily marking cards), numbers in the corners (to more easily and quickly identify and sort the cards in your hand), and two ends (better than the less convenient "right side up" cards). A good study in functional design.

Bad egghead?JUN 23

Has anyone else had any bad experiences with egghead.com? I ordered a Palm Pilot from them about two and a half months ago and they just shipped it today. Granted, the Palm V was back ordered for a while, but then when I called their support center, it took them two days (!!) to track down my order status. They couldn't even tell me if they had any Palm Vs in stock. And it turned out that they had somehow lost my order and had to reinstate it. WTF? I would have cancelled the damn thing long ago if it hadn't been such a good deal. Let's just hope it shows up in one piece.

And when I do get my Palm, I expect I will be looking around the Web for neat little gadgets and apps to put on the damn thing. The bad news is that I shall be forced to tell you good folks all about it. So, do you know of any gotta-have-it apps that you want to share with this Palm newbie?

Who Toy?JUN 21

Having trouble picking that new domain name? Glassdog's new Who Toy? can help you. Pick a catagory (GeekFest, MyURL, PornDog, or Randomizer) and then let Who Toy? do the work for you. Better hurry, kids...I've got my eye on zooknob.com.

A nice companion toy to the Who Toy? might be the What Toy?, a little mission statement generator for that sparkling new domain name. Throw words like "collaborative", "portal", "weblog", "personal", "culture", "links", and "rant" into a randomized pulldown thingie and there you have it. The beauty part is that if you've got zooknob.com all ready to go, but the What Toy? tells you that it's going to be "a collaborative vertical portal for the Linux community", you can always throw that one back and spin it again...until you have something more to your liking, such as "a webzine focused on pop culture, featuring links, rants, and a weblog." Now there's a mission statement that puts the "you" in "unique".

My boating armJUN 21

I went boating today. Is canoeing considered boating?

Off to see Fatboy SlimJUN 19

Fatboy Slim is spinning at the Quest in Mpls. on July 20. I've got tickets, and I'm going to praise him like I should. Whee!

The Great Mother's Day Car-Be-Que of 1999JUN 19

Finally, a new episode of 0sil8: The Great Mother's Day Car-Be-Que of 1999. The splash screen took forever for me to design...I didn't like any of the others I came up with and this one is just OK. Take some time to click through the pictures though...it's a neat little story.

Out of stockJUN 18

Rats. Amazon is out of this book on using Fontographer to make typefaces. Apparently, it's the only book out there on the subject. Frustrating!

On the em dashJUN 18

Do you know why an em dash (—) is so named? The "em" is a unit of length...in typographic lingo, an em is the width of a capital M in a typeface.

Me So Horny, Full Metal JacketJUN 17

The samples "me so horny" and "me love you long time" in 2 Live Crew's "Me So Horny" song are from a scene in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. It's odd running across well-known song samples in movies....they're so ingrained into my head in the context of the song that they seem strangely out of place in their original context.

Dan KottkeJUN 17

Life is strange. I got an email from Daniel Kottke, the first employee of Apple, earlier this week...simply because his last name is the same as mine. And being such a big fan of that early history of PCs, that's pretty neat for me.

Web Design Purity TestJUN 16

Take the Web Design Purity Test. Purity tests are odd...they gauge your interest or involvment level in exactly the opposite of what they are testing. I am 12.2% Web designing pure, meaning that I'm in it up to my eyebrows, which isn't surprising considering it's what I do for a living.

Flash 4 shipsJUN 15

Flash 4 is shipping.

Jar Jar strikes backJUN 15

I just finished watching the Star Wars special effects program on Fox. Right at the end, Lucas said that Jar Jar would return in Episode II. Crappy crap.

I want my MTVJUN 15

Just for fun, I told a bunch of search engines that I wanted my MTV.

Google, Yahoo, and Excite fared the best...the first search result was to the front page on MTV's Web site. Altavista returns a link to MTV's front page as well, but it's via the RealNames service. Cheaters.

Both InfoSeek and Lycos return a page on the MTV Web site in the first 10 search results, but not the front page. Interestingly, Lycos also returns a link that states "Click to buy mtv". My initial thought was, "now that's a search engine!" However, the link just goes to CDNow. :(

Bringing up the rear is HotBot. I wanted my MTV, but all it brought me was garbage.

Violent nudityJUN 14

The Fray has a new story up called exposed. It's about nudity. Hardcore nudity! (Is there any other kind?) Anyway, I haven't posted my comments yet and I don't know if I'm going to. Do people really want to know where and when I've flashed my naughty bits and do I really want to tell them (considering I'm a big wuss)?

Although, Violently Happy by Bjork, to which I am now listening, is the kind of song that might make one dance unfettered about the room...if one were so inclined.

If you're in Minneapolis, Beat Radio is hosting Beatopia at First Ave this Wednesday. Dance, dance, dance, dance...

Projecting the Earth's populationJUN 12

Sometime later this year, the Earth's human population will exceed 6 billion. Current projections estimate that it will increase to almost 10 billion in the next 50 years. When do you think, if ever, we will see a 50% decrease in the Earth's human population relative to current projections (for example: 5 billion actual inhabitants in 2050 vs. 10 billion projected)? Vote below or view the results:

in 10 years
in 50 years
in 100 years
in 500 years
in 1000 years
in 5000 years
in 10000+ years
never
 

Kids playing chessJUN 12

I'm a little concerned about kids playing chess. I'm afraid that they will pick up on the imperialistic themes of the game and start deposing monarchs. England and Jordan, you'd better watch out...banning chess from schools might be a good idea. Act now before it's too late!

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged MeJUN 12

I laughed at Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Some of the jokes didn't work, but on the whole, it was entertaining. This is probably one of those movies that, if this sort of thing is your bag, will be better the second, third, and twelfth time around.

Books and music are dangerousJUN 11

Bookstores and record shops are dangerous, dangerous places for impressionable youths like myself. I almost walked out of the mall with all sorts of new books and CDs. But then, being the conservative shopper I am, I remembered that I really don't have the funds to spend on such items and walked out with nothing.

At some point though, I'm going to have to get some new books and music. I haven't heard any good music or read any good new books in ages...which is bad bad. New books make the ideas flow nicely out of my brain while new music makes designing less tedious.

My music shopping list for the future: the Orb "Best of" CD, the new Paul Oakenfold, DJ Micro, Unkle, Pi Soundtrack, and so much more. For books: the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (a nice 4-piece hardcover edition including The Hobbit), Hannibal (the sequel to Silence of the Lambs), and the ever so many physics books that I just haven't had the time to read.

Ricky MartinJUN 11

Ricky Martin. I don't get it.

Time travel is winningJUN 11

With over 100 votes logged in my poll, time travel is winning (as expected) with 50% of the vote. Invisibility is second at 36% with flying bring up the rear at 14%. Full results.

I think I'll do another poll soon.

InsaneJUN 10

I am 45% insane. I think anything right around 50% is pretty healthy. How insane are you?

Stupid severe weather warningsJUN 10

James Lileks over at the Star Tribune writes about those annoying severe weather warnings during tv shows. I couldn't agree more. Some of the persistant warning garbage they put up on the screen is akin to having your microwave continue to beep loudly even after you've removed the food from it. A small scrolling bit of text (and no sound!) at the bottom of the screen every once in a while is sufficient. Anything more ruins the viewing experience.

Swearing in the Linux kernelJUN 10

Evidently, there's some swearing in the Linux kernel. And I thought that Linus quit Transmeta to go work elsewhere. Anyone?

Nichol's birthdayJUN 09

It's Nichol's birthday today! I know most of you don't know who she is (she's my best girl), but if you could take 3 minutes out of your busy schedule to send her a birthday greeting, that would be great.

OK. Like an idiot, I forgot to include Nichol's email address...you can't very well send her a card if you don't know her email address. Here it is: nmcgrane@yahooSPAM.com (take out the "SPAM" part of it for best use). Thanks to Haidi for catching my mistake.

Fast, Cheap, and Out of ControlJUN 09

Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control is a great movie. I'm really not going to say anymore than that because others have said it better elsewhere. I'd like to watch it about 3 or 4 more times to get the full impact of it. The music was great too...and there's a soundtrack!

New design at GlassdogJUN 08

Glassdog has a new design, complete with DHTML sliding sidebar navigation. So much for my plans for a similar scheme on kottke.org...everyone will just think I'm copying Lance. <sigh>

Animated GIFsJUN 07

In a slight stumble down memory lane, I'm remembering when animated gifs became such a big deal. The first one I saw was on Suck...long, long ago when they still had the server pushed animated logo. I think my exact reaction when viewing the source was: "What the $%&#@?!!?!" Now, it's hard to believe there was a time when motion on the Web was strange and magical. For that matter, it's hard to believe there was a time when Suck was strange and magical as well.

What the hell happened? ThisJUN 07

What the hell happened? This site has cancer in a big, bad way. CSotD people: if any of you follow your referrer logs here, you guys should be ashamed of yourselves...your cash spent to site quality ratio is rapidly approaching infinity.

The ImpostersJUN 07

The Imposters was pretty much a stage play adapted to film...and it worked. Featuring a large guy named Ollie and a thin guy named Stan (not who you think), The Imposters made me laugh out loud several times. I got a little distracted with various interruptions near the end of the movie, but still enjoyed it. I wouldn't mind viewing it again to get the whole thing in one shot.

Love, l'oeuf, and tennisJUN 06

While watching the men's final at the French Open today, I noticed that the French scorekeeper used "zero" in place of "love" when announcing the score. This is interesting because "love" was originally derived from the French "l'oeuf" which means "egg", a reference to the egg-shaped numeral zero. The British then bastardized "l'oeuf" into "love". Apparently, the French no longer use "l'oeuf" or even "amour", the French translation of "love", but just plain old "zero".

I've also discovered the meaning of life.

Very, Very Bad ThingsJUN 05

About 10 minutes into Very Bad Things, I realized the title was referring to the plot, acting, and the dialogue. Touted as a black comedy, I think it missed its mark with me...I didn't laugh once during the whole movie. For those that know me well, let's put it this way: I'd rather watch Independence Day again than VBT. Bad bad.

Retiring sports heroesJUN 05

All my sports heroes* are retiring. Steffi Graf, one of my all-time favorite tennis players, won the French Open today and said she was never coming back. She's 30 yo this year and might not be playing in too many more tournaments. Michael Jordan is gone. Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon, and even Scottie Pippen aren't far behind him. Wayne Gretsky is gone. The distressing thing is that there doesn't seem to be anyone coming up to take their places.

Or maybe it's just me looking at my childhood slowly slipping away and realizing I can never have it back the way it was.

* My definition of a hero is someone who is so good at something that it inspires me to be that good at something in my life.

SuperpowersJUN 03

In an effort to get a good seat on the bandwagon before it gets too crowded, I'm presenting one of those nifty Vox Populi polls from ArsDigita on my site. You make take the poll below or view the current results.

Which would you rather have the power to do?
 
Fly like Superman
Travel through time
Make yourself invisible
 

IQ testJUN 02

I took this IQ test and scored quite high. 155 as a matter of fact...which, according to the chart on their site, puts me at some sort of uber-genius level, even if it was just a quick test (your reported IQ is + or - 5 points away from your actual IQ).

I don't buy it. I know I'm not an idiot, but 155 seems a little high. I think I'm just good at taking tests...and this test wasn't particularly clever. The ACT, SAT and GRE tests were much more challenging. I realize IQ tests and standardized tests measure different things, but I find it easier to believe I'm in the top 5% of the test takers rather than in the top 0.5%...that's a whole magnitude of order difference.

Kottke.org re.orgJUN 01

As you may have noticed, I've reorganized kottke.org a little. I combined the "notes", "media", and "new" sections all into one big thing under the "notes" header. I noticed that I was doing the same thing in all three sections so I consolidated. The content will remain the same...there will still be "notes" entries, entries about the media (books, movies, Web sites, etc.) I consume, and also stuff about things I write and produce for this site, 0sil8, and for other sites.

I guess this means kottke.org is finally a weblog. Others have been calling it that for a while, but I never really did. I'm still not sure if it is, and I'm not really sure that it matters what I or others want to call it. It is what it is.

There are also some loose ends to tie up. From April, a short interview of me over at Two Critics.

I also submitted a picture to Airtoons. I love this site.

And finally, there's a Flash piece I did for this month's issue of Suffocate. I'd been wanting to do something for them for a while now...I'm glad I finally found the time. Hopefully I can find the time to continue contributing.

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