Interactive musings from a creative technophile

Archive for the 'Design' Category

Maybe I’m missing something here, but this made me laugh.

Looking for a pay-as-you-go talk plan for when I’ll be in Europe next month. Caught this gem. Not sure how one can go over “unlimited” but Tesco is ready to charge me handsomely if I do.

Guess I’ll have to budget and stay just under “unlimited” while I’m there, otherwise those additional minutes are pretty dear.


Yeah, it's for real...

Now you know what to get that someone in your life who has absolutely everything… everything BUT a super-sharp pencil. (pencil not included)

Just moved ISPs and was expecting a HUGE hassle getting my blog back up and running.
Amazingly, once I uploaded my database and edited the new configuration files to match slight changes in DB names and passwords, everything just worked(!)

Well, truth be told, not *everything* worked right away. I did have problems accessing the administration screens. However, once I re-uploaded 3.0 manually, all that was needed was to fire up the upgrade.php script and accept the prompt to update the database, everything worked almost like magic!

When I’m asked to show an example of opensource delivering truly wonderful UX, I don’t hesitate to answer, “WordPress”. I’ve said it before, but this thing just rocks. Well done, team!!


In an interesting talk, designer Stefan Sagmeister shared a list he keeps of things he has learned in his life.

I certainly agree with most of the things that made his list, but it strikes me that we only keep lists of things we’re still trying to learn- those we already know, it is not necessary to write down… unless we’re trying to teach someone else.

Here’s his list, though- I think it is good to make such lists of the things we haven’t yet fully grokked.

  • Complaining is silly. Either act or forget.
  • Thinking life will be better in the future is stupid. I have to live now.
  • Being untruthful works against me.
  • Helping other people helps me.
  • Organizing a charity group is surprisingly easy.
  • Everything I do always comes back to me.
  • Drugs feel great in the beginning and become a drag later on.
  • Over time I get used to everything and start taking it for granted.
  • Money does not make me happy.
  • Travelling alone is helpful for a new perspective on life.
  • Assuming is stifling.
  • Keeping a diary supports my personal development.
  • Trying to look good limits my life.
  • Worrying solves nothing.
  • Material luxuries are best enjoyed in small doses.
  • Having guts always works out for me.

I’m still working on my own list.

Apple tablet

Author: Drew

Yeah, the least well-kept secret in the computing industry, the Apple tablet is coming soon.

Apple's poorly kept secret tablet

Apple Tablet aka the Jesus Tablet

Rumors of a $700 price-point may put this thing in a weird category too high above the netbook and oh so close to a more powerful laptop.

But of course, Apple has long been able to woo consumers with a sexy design that outstrips its utility. The good news for ‘the rest of us’ is that hipsters and techno-exhibitionists will fund the price drop until/ if smallish touchscreen computers replace the laptop.

This is going to be a fun ride!

Always up for creative ways to render information.
I think we need a new phrase that reminds us, not only is a picture worth a thousand words, but some pictures can extend understanding and even stimulate new creative insights.

This article expands on it, but the graph could just about speak for itself… and let you take it from here…

Bonus: I posted this to ease my nerves as I watch a very close & exciting hockey game- and my team scores to go ahead in the 3rd: sweet! Go RedWings!

This is the full movie (about an hour long), feel free to use the full-screen control to view.

Much of this is old hat to those of us who already grok collaborative systems, but exciting to see so many real-world examples and most exciting of all- that some day soon we (the people) may truly, not just figuratively or by proxy, rule ourselves. Government, corporations, services.

This film does a great job of driving some of these concepts home. Share!

Us Now from Banyak Films on Vimeo.

Small coincidence for me: during the community football management story, they reference Wrexham where I used to live.


I love this thing- not because I think it’s a beautiful ship (though I believe it’s interesting) but because it challenges the notion of what is “ship-shape”.

It’s called the Maharaja (“great king” in English) by an out-of-the-lines craftsman named Ashish Gupta in Mumbai.
This innovative design is an attempt to create a seaworthy craft that acknowledges the reality of all boaters- namely; you spend most of your time hanging out on decks, not plying high seas. Therefore, not only does this mega-yacht deliver (in this case, literally) acres of deckspace- the whole piece is a way to serve up horizontal space to the users.

The trend for even the smaller (but still outrageously expensive) pleasure craft is to have a slide-out deck that looks like a porch or low balcony over the water.


watercoolerI’ve been saying this for a long time (and have had a small role to play in getting this word out there) that large businesses need to embrace Web 2.0 good-ness even for their internal tools.

This means better interfaces and leveraging the power of their own internal communities- which are not insignificant in many cases.

It’s a small but significant indicator- barometer, if you will- of how a company feels about its employees whether it chooses to spend some time (and splash out some cash) and provide effective, and yes, even beautiful tools to work with.

Among these tools are the intranet necessities, doling out HR information, keeping up with adminutia and getting word from the leadership team on everything from strategy to tactical recommendations for getting stuff done in the workplace.

So why do these tools usually suck so bad? Because they’ve historically been seen as a necessary evil. Not critical to employees’ core job function (unless they happen to be in HR or maybe accounting). Truth is, not only should these tools be awesome there’s little reason for them not to be.

It’s not just a morale thing (though morale improves when folks have decent tools and are well informed of the company’s policies and direction… duh) it’s also an efficiency thing. When the tools are good, people will use them. Force them to use crappy tools and not everyone will know about the latest procedure change to the expense submission process… or that there’s a new cover for the TPS report.

Now, enter the social aspect of being connected to your co-workers. Large enterprises are a microcosm of the larger web. Let’s move on from the top-down Web 1.0 approach where information travels in one direction only. Employees have things to say, both up the chain and to their peers. Things that need a forum for discussion even if they’re not in the same building or working at the same time.

Social networks can work to fill the void of the old water-cooler, as described in this eWeek article. This is coming- and the slower organizations that need it most will likely get there last, but better late than never.

Loving WordPress

Author: Drew

wordpress-logo-stacked-bgOkay, there are some products that just rock. WordPress is one of them.

I am continually impressed with the improvements over the past (how many?) half-dozen years since I started working with it.

Just did an upgrade that in any other system would be painful to the point of drawing blood… yet everything went so smoothly I was convinced nothing happened.

Nothing, other than even more improvements to the UI (easily the biggest weak point of all other opensource projects) and a noticeable improvement in performance.

In this crazy, fucked-up world it’s so refreshing to have something work for a change. Thank you WordPress team!





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