Posts from January 2003

Ghost on the subway

It’s a rare occurrence to see two human faces superimposed on top of each other in the real world, at least outside of Photoshopped manipulations and Conan O’Brien’s “If They Mated“. But just such a thing can happen when you’re sitting on a subway car in just the right spot and the overhead fluorescent lighting glows at just the right intensity so that you’re able to see through the glass windows into the next adjoined subway car where one of it’s grumpy urbanites (exhibit A) sitting in reverse facing your car is glaring back at you like no force to be reckoned with and the windows are tinted and so spotlessly clean that the reflected image of another silently sulking commuter (exhibit B) sitting forward-facing in your own subway car appears in the identical spot from which grumpy urbanite (exhibit A) is already glaring and the precise position of two other individuals in three-dimensional space relative to your own is bound together for a timeless moment forming a quite horrid composite image of grumpy urbanite (exhibit A) placed perfectly inline with sulking commuter (exhibit B) and as you rhythmically bounce along the tracks beneath Market Street together you gaze in wonder for a full 45 seconds at this bizarre spectre (exhibit C) quite unlike any hallucination you’ve ever experienced.

Opera 7 release

My hat’s off to the Opera team for pushing out what looks to be a fine browser in the final release of version 7. So far, only the Windows version of Opera 7 is available. As always, it’s lightweight, it installed quickly (sans-Java), and starts up lightning-fast as well (without using the “Quick Launch” cheat.) continued

Weblogs.com list

Dave Winer asks:

A question for CSS design gurus. What’s the best you can do with a table that has three columns like the one on Weblogs.Com. Let’s see an example. I’d like the page to look good and load fast. Postscript: No one seems to understand — I want to do weblogs.com without a table. Column 1 is the number, column 2 is the name of the weblog. Column 3 is the time it last updated. Look at the page.

Hmmm. CSS design gurus. More lists. Ok, should be easy. (So I thought.) I haven’t contributed to any “markovers” yet, and this one seems like a simple enough challenge. There’s gotta be a way to do this one. Let’s take it on. continued

Overused lists?

Ordered and unordered lists have been popping up more often within the blogosphere lately. Through the use of style sheets, we can now tame our lists, rendering them in ways that traverse well beyond the traditional bulleted form so overused by PowerPoint addicts. I’ve been debating with myself whether this is a good or bad thing. continued

Pause, shuffle, new disc

How quickly an intended 2 or 3-day break from writing entries can turn into a 2-week hiatus. Viewing my entries by day displays a monthly calendar I implemented over the holidays. It sadly reveals a very sparse January so far. I’ve been railed by friends and family for not keeping up with the writing. Seems these words supplant the traditional phone calls and emails for keeping tabs on what I’m up to. continued

Safari

At last, we may finally have a competitive browser market for the Mac. Apple enters the picture with Safari (v 1.0 Beta), self-dubbed the turbo browser for the Mac. As Jobs likes to do, Safari is compared side by side along with other browsers for speed tests in HTML rendering, JavaScript, and application launch time. A few quick test drives around the neighborhood proves this to be quite true. It certainly seems to be wicked fast at page rendering. Nice Snapback feature, and convenient method to organize lots of bookmarks. Preferences seem rather sparse for the moment, but we’re only at beta stage so far. continued

Catch Me credit

A little more on the flamboyant title sequence I mentioned over Christmas from the movie, Catch Me If You Can. The opening title sequence was assembled by Nexus Productions out of London, who in turn, contracted a well-known pair of French animators and conceptual artists, Olivier Kuntzel and Florence Deygas. Kuntzel + Deygas are the creators behind the odd orange cow, Winney. Their work is also seen in several videos from the off-kilter pop sounds of Sparks. continued

Go Dutch

I’ve always loved the pure design and typography from the Netherlands. Filled with a balance of beautiful form and practical function, and wonderfully obvious information hierarchy, Dutch design always evokes an emotional reaction within me. Granted, my personality slants heavily toward organization, logic, and simplicity. But I’m so often amazed at how the Dutch can seamlessly combine order of information with an individual expression unique to every design and designer. Much of my influence comes directly from Dutch design. continued

Golden State quarter design

When the competition to design California’s version of a commemorative U.S. quarter was announced last fall, I debated whether to enter something. Any attempt to represent something meaningful in a space the size of a coin or a 32-by-32-pixel icon requires a certain skill and discipline that not every designer possesses, or cares to hone. My time ran out, and nothing was entered.

The appointed quarter committee recently selected 20 designs as finalists. Governor Davis will narrow the selection down to 5, rank each of them by preference, then pass them on to the U.S. Mint and other government organizations for review.

I share Tantek’s sentiment, and hope we avoid any Hollywood or filmstrip-based designs. However, while I think the Golden Gate Bridge is a highly recognized symbol of the Bay Area and the West Coast in general, I wonder if it’s the best icon for the state? California is highly diverse, especially considering its geographic spread from north to south, and the various climates, cultures, and styles it contains. This will be a difficult state to pin down in one representational design.

If I had to choose the bridge, more tweaking to coin #4 or coin #20 would allow them to become likely candidates. Personally, I’d prefer one of the nature-based designs to those that highlight anything man-made. I’m drawn toward #17. Not just because it was designed by a good friend, former design director, and manager of mine at Wired. More because it’s simple, clean, iconic, and unique to California. I love the subtle tree rings in the background — but use of the Latin species name for Giant Sequoia is overkill.

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