stop crying about it and let it go

As someone who graduated from a very tough design program, Jack Moffett’s advice on disowning design rings true:

It can be devastating to have a project that you spent a lot of time on and thought was decent be ripped to shreds by your professor and peers. It is, however, a necessary experience. One must not only learn to accept it, but embrace it—welcome it, knowing that it will make the end result better. To do this, you have to disown the work, and see it as something other than yours.

On a slightly exaggerated level it calls to mind Alec Baldwin’s epic scene in Glengarry Glen Ross:

You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? You can’t take this — how can you take the abuse you get on a sit?! You don’t like it — leave.

getting a bigger house

Cameron Moll contemplates, Is it time to move beyond 960?

So what’s the ideal width? I’m not sure yet. Let’s figure it out together. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
• 1020 is divisible by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15 but not 8 and 16. It’s not much wider than 960.
• 1040 is divisible by 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 16 but not 3, 12, or 15. Yet it has a reasonable width that sits somewhere between the lower end of 960 and higher end of users browsing full screen (many don’t, of course).
• 1080, which is what I’m taking for a spin with a site right now, is divisible 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15 but not 16. It pushes the upper end of the width spectrum, and measure (line length) could become an issue if not dealt with appropriately.

I’ve actually used the 960 CSS framework he speaks of on my last two projects at Roundarch.
I remember the day my friend Jory IM’d me when Apple launched their new 984 pixel-wide website a few years ago. It was a sign, at least for us, that we could officially, safely, move beyond 800×600.
Laugh if you want, but 184 pixels is a big deal when your life revolves around those tiny, square sons-of-bitches.
Now CNN, NYTimes, BBC and Amazon all are optimized for at least 980 (Amazon is an elastic layout, but locks to around 980 on resize).

The Grind

Boy, I’ve gotta get some sleep. I’m dying.
You don’t look good.
I don’t?
You’ve looked better. You didn’t used to look like this.

passive learning

When ideas do happen, it is not by accident. What separates creative people who make their ideas happen from the constant dreamers? Perhaps we all have an obligation to show our ideas some respect. Behance is partnering with Cool Hunting to host “99%”: a conference that focuses less on inspiration, and more on how idea generation and organization come together to make ideas happen.

– from the 99% Conference

As much as I think some conferences are important to go to, I can’t go to them all.
I learned about the 99% Conference only a few days ago. It looked interesting – although I wasn’t down for $490 per ticket (whether or not my company was paying).
The good news is we have people like Tina Roth Eisenberg always online and in attendance at these events. Now I can grab some of the nuggets of knowledge she mined and posted:
99% | Cheryl Dorsey
99% | Ji Lee
99% | Seth Godin

iPhone wallpapers are everywhere

Looking at photographs and illustrations on the iPhone is a great experience. It helps if the artwork is great, of course. It’s such a rich, bright screen that images almost feel like little flat jewels in your hand as you flick through them.
I’ve banked a considerable collection of images that I’ve dragged and dropped from ffffound and other places to a folder on my desktop. Some of these find there way onto my phone as wallpaper.
This week I struck a little pocket of gold when my friend Promila posted a link to the work of Shinichi Maruyama. I went ahead and screengrabbed all his work, set up a 480 x 360 pixel Photoshop file and proceed to crop the photos to my liking.
Next step was to save out all the images as PNGs and drop them into a new collection in iPhoto.
The final step was changing the Sync settings in iTunes to include this iPhoto collection on my iPhone.

do it all

People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware.

Alan Kay
Alan was right.
This quote came to mind recently on I project I’m doing the visual design for, but my company is not building. The development of the project is being done by another vendor.
I don’t think splitting the design and development between 2 companies is a guaranteed recipe for failure, but it doesn’t make me feel warm and fuzzy either.
Whenever possible, always execute the design AND develop of projects you’re working on. Handling it all under one roof gives you no excuse for projects turning out wrong.

BumpTop – I’m still not convinced

I ran across a post on Engadget this morning, Bumptop gives Windows 7 touchscreen PCs purpose.
I wrote about BumpTop 2 years ago. I wasn’t convinced back then on the utility of it.
I’m still not.
My thoughts remain the same – BumpTop it going too much in the direction of a literal desktop with their interface, and losing any benefits that come with a more abstracted desktop metaphor.
It’s likely that BumpTop will find a niche industry for their product that lends itself to such an interface, such as kiosks & Microsoft Surface apps in museums, science centers and other such public locations.
My problems with BumpTop echo sentiments my friend Bryan has told me when we were discussing the evolution of video games. We were talking about one of my old favorites in particular – Grand Theft Auto. According to Bryan, Grand Theft Auto 4 for the Playstation 3 is amazing. Amazing story, amazing graphics, amazing sounds, amazing effects. The problem is – it’s too much of a simulation and it begins to approach real-time and real-detail. It’s enough that I have a wife and a job and a computer and a dog in my own life, but now my video game is demanding an almost equal level of attention.
Applications don’t have to imitate every aspect of nature to feel natural and enjoyable.
Be selective in the features you choose to crank up the fidelity on when creating engaging products in experiences – that’s where the true art lies.

interacting with the webcam

OK – there’s no other way to say it – THIS IS RAD.
Assissin’s Creed 2 has launched a teaser site. After a beautiful video intro, featuring some bits of Da Vinci’s sketchbooks, you arrive at screen with a symbol in the center.
When you click on the symbol, it downloads a PDF.
The PDF features the same symbol from the website, with instructions in the bottom left:
After I begin the steps, this happens:
It might be hard to tell, but in the last 2 photos, the virtual hand is actually mapping in 3-D space as if it was attached to my piece of paper.
Much like the world of multi-touch computing, this is just the beginning of virtual interactions and camera manipulation we’ll be seeing on the web.
*On a related note, check out the sites Pioneers and Publicis & Hal Riney, which also explore alternative navigation techniques with webcams.