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Not Entirely Whole Sep 13, 2011

I wrote this in an email today, explaining why I edited another designer’s sentence “Hide entire words” to “Hide whole words”:

The words “entire” and “whole” are almost entirely/wholly interchangeable, but I understand “entire” to mean “complete, with no parts left out,” and “whole” to mean “all of something.” I ate a whole pie, and an entire bag of cookies. (Burp!) I’d use “whole” here since what is emphasized is not the completion of a collection of parts, but the completeness of a single thing-in-itself. That’s why I say “Entire Library” (a collection of parts) not “Whole Library” and “whole word” (a fully integrated holistic entity) not “entire word”. I may be the only person in the whole/entire world who observes this distinction. :D

Read more ... random, linguistics

I thoroughly enjoyed “Temple Grandin”, which I Netflixed this weekend. Wikipedia says it’s about “a woman with autism who revolutionized practices for the humane handling of livestock on cattle ranches and slaughterhouses.” Yes: It’s a strange concept for a movie, but it works. It isn’t about animal husbandry or even autism so much as it is a character study of a profoundly different woman adapting to a sometimes hostile and always confusing world with courage, perseverance, and uncompromising her-ness. Temple Grandin isn’t like other people, and that’s a very good thing.

Read more ... movies, design

  • “a user-centered approach to development in which users and their goals are the driving force behind a project’s design.” — Bruce Tognazzini
  • “the art of effectively creating interesting and compelling experiences for others.” — Nathan Shedroff

Read more ... design

I’ve heard that it’s good for company managers and employees to “think entrepreneurially”. I’ve also heard that entrepreneurs think differently.

This video is one of the better summaries of “entrepreneurial thinking” I’ve seen. (Not that I’ve seen that many.)

Read more ... science, culture, philosophy

This is an old joke, so bear with me:

A conservative, a liberal, and a libertarian come across two people having sex on the steps of a public library. The conservative is shocked, shocked! at the carnal display, but admits that it would be cricket so long as the couple were married — and hetero! — but for goodness sakes at home, in the bedroom, with the shades drawn and the lights off!

Read more ... books, culture, politics

... so take your vitamins.

As I was walking into the office this cold, gray morning, a coworker and I were discussing how sleepy the Pacific Northwest winter has been making us — and how our caffeine intake has increased in response. Not that either of us has Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but the dim, drizzly days do start to get to you after a while. It’s beautiful here in north-of-Seattle-land, but from October to April it can be a very dark and gloomy place.

Read more ... random, science

Content Libre! Nov 17, 2010

Rachel Lovinger of Razorfish reports:

Content isn’t free. Not in the gratis (i.e., ‘free beer!’) sense. And it never will be free, because it still costs money to create it....

Read more ... books, design, culture

Pandora and Netflix plan to take over the world:

An informal survey of my home’s device inventory reveals that Pandora is omnipresent. The music service is accessible through my various computers, an iPad, two iPods, an Android phone, and a Blu-ray player.

Read more ... design, technology, web

Toy Story was fun. Toy Story 2 was poignant. Toy Story 3 is a subtle and beautiful existentialist masterpiece wrapped in brightly colored molded plastic. It doesn’t compute: The geniuses at Pixar are somehow able to wring more genuine human emotion from CGI renderings of rubber squeak toys than many studios can do with actual humans. Worth it for the incinerator scene alone: Simultaneously breathtaking and heartbreaking. You’ll know what I mean after you watch it, which you should do at your earliest convenience.

Read more ... movies, art

My favorite blog on interaction design is Lukas Mathis’ ”Ignore the Code“. Interesting, thorough, probative, relevant, and [thesaurus sounds] fun.

Recently, he interviewed designer Jon Bell.

Read more ... design, blogroll

IE Jumps the Shark Apr 30, 2010

... repeatedly.

I recently bought a new computer from Dell. This is how Internet Explorer looked, out of the box:

Read more ... nuts, design, web

A Four-way Dialogue Apr 30, 2010

This got me ruminating:

Typography and typeface design are essentially founded on a four-way dialogue between the desire for identity and originality within each brief (“I want mine to be different, better, more beautiful”), the constraints of the type-making and type-setting technology, the characteristics of the rendering process (printing or illuminating), and the responses to similar conditions given by countless designers already, from centuries ago to this day.

Read more ... type, design, code

Dear Editor,

I see that you changed “[this] may help you to see where each evangelist is coming from” to “[this] may help you to perceive where each writer is coming from”. The change from “evangelist” to “writer” makes good sense, but the change from “see” to “perceive” frightens and annoys me. “I see where you’re coming from” is a common English idiom, but if someone says, “I perceive where you’re coming from,” you should be instantly suspicious of what they’re up to. That’s just the sort of thing people say to distract from the fact that they don’t know what they’re talking about. Worse, “perceive” is a word that is weighed down by its (over)use in postmodern flimflam, mystic hipsterism and, let’s face it, sixties drug culture. In that sense it’s not a word I use, except pejoratively.

Read more ... random, writing, nuts

... or at the very least, annoying.

“It has become increasingly difficult to avoid choices in our daily lives, to an extent which many of us find intrusive and counterproductive.” — Software developer Matt Legend Gemmel on “Engineer Thinking

Read more ... design, code, web

For the last three years or so, I’ve been working on my employer’s flagship product, Logos Bible Software. It’s the 4.0 release of a mature product with a large, established customer base. The 3.0 version of the product has been out there for several years, and it works just fine, but it was built on an underlying technology1 that was better suited to 1999 than 2009. It’s starting to show its age.

(For those of you who don’t know, Logos Bible Software is a desktop application for reading, searching, annotating, analyzing, and generally playing around with Bibles and biblical reference works — dictionaries, lexicons, commentaries, maps, and so on. Think of it as Photoshop for pastors and seminarians: Required equipment for professionals, but very nice to have if you’re a hobbyist.)

Read more ... design, code, linguistics, iphone

Julie and Julia Nov 4, 2009

I don’t have much to say about this little trifle except: Watch it. It’s a little late to catch it in the theater, I understand, but if you see it come to your local discount theater or drive-in, or video store, go for it. It’s charming, lovely, surprising, warm, cheerful, witty, and endearing. In a word, winsome — as I suspect Julia Child was in real life. At least, this movie made me suspect so. That, and Meryl Streep simply inhabits the role of Julia Child.

Amy Whatsername was pretty good, too.

Read more ... movies

No, this isn’t one of those apologies for not blogging more frequently. I never promised you people anything. However, I have been working on a couple of long term projects that have just come to fruition: One personal, one professional. I suppose I could write about those now that they aren’t top secret any more ...

Read more ... notes

I watched District 9 Thursday night, and I’m still not sure what to think. Graphically violent and laced with profanity, it’s not alien invasion movie so much as a monster horror flick. By the time the film gets going, it’s just one shocking scene after another.

It seems to ask the question: What makes a person hideous? Or if you like, Who are the real monsters here?

Read more ... movies

Beautiful Smoke Aug 23, 2009

This is one of the more lovely things I’ve seen (or heard) in a while. It’s like a living painting. The artist, Esteban Diácono, has created plenty of other beautiful dancing abstract things.

Read more ... art, design, technology

I’m sorry, but this is just cool:

Read more ... iphone, art, technology

“Entridge”?! Aug 15, 2009

My dad can’t spell for beans, but we love him anyway. Sometimes he chats me up for help. They’re like random little word puzzles that pop up from time to time.

This one stumped me for a minute:

Read more ... random, design, code

... may God have mercy on my soul.

Read more ... notes

Health Care Aug 10, 2009

... is not a right, to be upheld by the state.

... is not a privilege, to be withheld by the state.

Read more ... culture, politics

I ? software Aug 10, 2009

Jeff Atwood writes at Coding Horror: Nobody Hates Software More Than Software Developers. Key grafs:

One of the (many) unfortunate side effects of choosing a career in software development is that, over time, you learn to hate software. I mean really hate it. With a passion. Take the angriest user you’ve ever met, multiply that by a thousand, and you still haven’t come close to how we programmers feel about software. Nobody hates software more than software developers. Even now, writing about the stuff is making me physically angry.

Read more ... code, design

Khoi Vinh of writes about “last gasps for a dying medium” — large, paid funny pages.

Will these sorts of ploys work to save the newspaper? Probably not. My prediction: The newspaper is dead and will not be revived until electronic paper arrives in full force, which will be at least a decade yet, due to the usual supply-chain friction.

Read more ... press, culture, web

Sauce. In a large pot, combine 1 pound dried blueberries, 1 pound fresh blueberries, 1 bottle of tawny port, 1/2 bottle cream sherry, 1/2 cup honey, 4 ounces of black currant jelly, 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses, 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses, 1/4 cup rose water, 10 threads saffron, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, a few drops of food-grade lemon essence oil, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low. Simmer for 1-2 hours, or until reduced in half. Remove from heat, strain through a wire mesh strainer, and chill.

Cream. In a large mixing bowl, wisk together 16 ounces honey-flavored Greek yoghurt, 3 8-ounce bars of Neufchâtel cheese, 4 ounces (a small jar) lemon curd, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth. Chill.

Read more ... food

Because I Can Jul 14, 2009

So I finally joined the legions of Apple fanboys (and girls) and bought an iPhone. And just to prove that I can, I’m writing this post on it. I wouldn’t want to write a novel this way, but I’m finding it amazingly easy to do. I imagine my one-finger typing speed is around 25 WPM or so. (I wonder if “there’s an app for that”?) The first night I had it, I spent several hours using Beejive, an IM client for the iPhone, again, just to see if I could. It worked beautifully, and my usual 80+ WPM was ramped down enough that I didn’t dominate the conversation the way I can sometimes do.

Update: There is an app for that. Several, in fact. I scored 20 WPM exactly.

Read more ... iphone, design, technology

Wolfram, Schmolfram Jul 11, 2009

Mencius Moldbug (either that’s a pseudonym or that dude has some seriously cruel parents) doesn’t like the natural language query part of Wolfram Alpha. Go watch the fireworks, it’s fun!

Key grafs:

Read more ... design, code, linguistics, web, science

Sample page from Why Daddy is a Democrat from Little Democrats. Now, I figure that in a free society parents should be allowed indoctrinate their children with whatever ideology they please, so long as it’s not actively destructive to others.

Read more ... books, culture, environment, politics

Following up on my last post.

Yes, introverts like to just get away from the crowd, the hustle and the bustle, the rat race. The noise! That’s always been true; as I’m fond of saying: Human nature has no history. People are people, no matter where or when you go.

Read more ... random, culture, web

My friend Jacob alerted me to an article by Jonathan Rauch in The Atlantic, “Caring for Your Introvert.” A key graph:

Extroverts are energized by people, and wilt or fade when alone. They often seem bored by themselves, in both senses of the expression. Leave an extrovert alone for two minutes and he will reach for his cell phone. In contrast, after an hour or two of being socially “on,” we introverts need to turn off and recharge. My own formula is roughly two hours alone for every hour of socializing. This isn’t antisocial. It isn’t a sign of depression. It does not call for medication. For introverts, to be alone with our thoughts is as restorative as sleeping, as nourishing as eating. Our motto: “I’m okay, you’re okay—in small doses.”

Read more ... random, culture

New Trek May 14, 2009

Here’s the review of Star Trek I just posted to

Incredible! Cast: Pitch-perfect. Pacing: Never drags, too swift in spots. Effects: Plot-driven, stunning. Plot: Holey, but forgivable. Design: Simultaneously like everything that came before and unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Faithfulness: Yes, but. It all seems REAL in an un-Trek way. I mean: Since TNG, Trek has been so sterile. Homogenized, both in design and outlook. Technology. Social structures. Ethos. Pathos. It’s always there. What’s been missing is humanity — ironic since “what it means to be human” is a perennial theme. Until now, Trek has been telling us “what it means to be human — in theory.” So! Didactic! New Trek is the polar opposite, recapturing the verve and (yes) raw humanity of the 60’s TV show. This franchise gets just what it needed: an IV full of New Blood. Here’s a vision of a future I can suspend disbelief in, peopled by complex characters I would love to meet. REAL (ish) people who RELISH their work. And why not? They have the best job in the galaxy.

Read more ... movies


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