Airlines Ban Macgyver Items

If you’re in the midst of booking a flight, you’ll have to double check the items you’re packing, because if you have skills like Macgyver, you probably won’t be allowed to fly as airlines are upping security measures in react to the recent terror plot that was foiled.

First aviation security officials required tickets and identification to get to the airline gates. Then passengers had to turn on their laptops and take off their shoes. On Wednesday, anything liquid — from eyedrops to Red Bull to lip glos — became verboten.
Some countries have gone further and on Thursday banned iPods, cell phones, computers and even battery-powered watches — anything that could produce a spark and detonate a bomb aboard a plane.

I’m taking this a step further because I’m serious about freedom, I’m serious about stopping terrorism and I want to protect others from myself and that is why I’m removing my brain before I board planes.
Why am I removing my brain? Well ya see, my brain is full of FLUIDS and along with fluids, my brain has millions of neurons that carry ELECTRICITY. See, if the FLUIDS and ELECTRICITY inside my brain get on a plane, it could spell trouble for everyone on board. I could detonate a bomb with the eletricity in my head. First I would suck out the water in my brain and run that electric current through it to separate it into hydrogen and oxygen.
I don’t need to show you where this is heading.
Stay vigilant my keen readers. Stay vigilant.

Partying Like It Was 1999 Again?

Just when it seems like browsers are getting better at respecting standards I have to go and read articles about Internet Explorer 7 ignoring CSS standards. Obiously it’s good that Mozilla Firefox is still gaining ground on IE but c’mon kids.
Browsers not respecting web standards, venture capital flowin’ like wine to ‘Web 2.0’ start-ups. This all feels very familiar to me. Aren’t we learning from our mistakes or are we ignorantly partying like it was 1999 again?
I still love being an interactive designer but it all feels like a sick dream (with the occasional highlight) …

I had this dream the other night that they had come out with IE 7, but it wasn’t really IE 7 because it had tabbed browsing like Firefox, but it was even worse at being standards-compliant. And then Adobe had bought Macromedia and now they were just Adobe and Apple Computer had moved their machines over to Intel architecture and were phasing out their Power Mac line. Oh yeah, and you could run Windows on the new Macs. Then Google came out with a Map program that was rendering MapQuest obsolete… and their stock price was over $300

Yes this is a very strange dream indeed.

Dead Space

I’m not a Microsoft basher by nature, they’ve just been setting themselves up to get slammed for their antics lately. When I got to work today, our CEO sent out a link on our email listserve – Windows Live Spaces Goes after MySpace. I trembled in anticipation of the revolutionary product imitation that Microsoft was launching now (As if tremebling in anticipation of Zune wasn’t enough excitement for me).
From the VOX article:

Hotmail users, for example, can share their address book (Live Contacts) among their IM service (Live Messenger), web mail (Live Mail), and blog (Live Spaces) That integration facilitates security, with Live Spaces allowing users to specify who can contact them, see their profile, and access their blog. Live Spaces users can also select “gadgets” to personalize their pages – ad a news ticker, quote of the day or weather forecast, for example.

And here is a tasty screenshot of the product:
Friggin amazing Microsoft. You’ve done it again with another bland imitation of a successful original. Let’s run through the list of ‘features’.
Live Spaces integrates with these MS products:

  • Live Mail (Hotmail) – I don’t use my Hotmail account anymore
  • Live Messenger – I use AOL Instant Messenger

Now when MySpace came out, people felt the need to switch from Frienster because it did things its competitor didn’t. You could up media files (video, audio, flash) and you could ‘hack’ your profile page through Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) adjustments.
Now Microsoft is doing what it has done in the past and to only copy something on the surface. There’s no underlying concept or vision for the future with their new product, other than, We are 800 pound gorilla, We need control this market, we get angry if can’t win, grunt, grunt.
Now there are 2 train tracks with wrecks waiting to happen. First Zune, now Live Spaces. Hey Microsoft, how about making it a trifecta?
Take a look at Live Spaces.

Function Follows Microsoft who Follows Form, er Something

I’m always amused by the attempts every year to ‘dethrone’ the iPod. Actually I’m amused at anyone who talks a big game and then doesn’t deliver. It’s not that I don’t think it’s possible to beat the iPod, it’s the fact that these companies and CEO’s talk all this smack, and copy Apple – but only on the surface.
Just because you approximate the layout of the iPod (vertical orientation, screen on top, pseudo-click wheel area below) has nothing to do with that player being a success. In fact, I would say that companies might have better luck with a completely different mp3 player design. Apple invented the ‘wheel’ (no pun intended) in the mp3 player world, don’t reinvent it.
If that wasn’t enough amusement, then I read that Microsoft is trying to push some design methodology on PC makers to compliment their perpetually delayed Vista operating system.
From BusinessWeek Online (Found via MacNN):

A How-To kit for the ideal PC has been making the rounds of leading design shops. It calls for “accelerated curves” and “purposeful contrast.” The preferred colors include a shade of black called Obsidian and a translucent white dubbed Ice. “We want people to fall in love with their PCs, not to simply use them to be productive and successful,” reads the enclosed booklet. “We want PCs to be objects of pure desire.”

On one hand I somewhat appreciate Microsoft’s attempt to emphasize the importance of good design, but it just smells so fake for me. Apple’s philosophy on design and function is engrained into the daily operations of its company and it applies to everything from iPods to their operating system to packaging to writing to store architecture…. I could go on, but you get the point. Microsoft is just telling all PC makers to use this pallet of colors.
That’s brilliant – have all the PC makers look alike. So smart. That will be great for competition and it’ll distinguish them all from each other. Again Microsoft, it works for Apple because Apple is a brand.
I’m going to stop trying to understand what they’re trying to do. I’d rather just watch the train wreck happen.
*fun reading on Microsoft’s Zune can be found at Daring Fireball

Good Plugins for Movable Type

I’ve only been blogging for about a month now, and I’m trying to make a concerted effort to do at least an entry a day. Why? I feel like so much of my time is spent reading and interacting with other sites – I need to start moving the information in the other direction.
I’m on the computer a lot as an interactive art director and like all jobs, the key to successful work is efficiency and they key to efficiency is having the right tools. So far, here are a few tools that make blogging easier for me:

  • EnhancedEntryEditing – this is a WYSIWYG editor letting you add formatting (bold, italic etc.) and URL’s to blog entries. I don’t understand why this functionality isn’t built into MT
  • Sidebar Manager – a drag-n-drop interface that lets you switch up the order of sections in your sidebar
  • FormatList – select the text you want to make into a list – boom! done. (like this list)
  • BigPAPI – not really a utility, but it needs to be installed for Sidebar Manager and EnhancedEntryEditing to work on your server
  • Adding Flickr photos to your Blog – let’s you, and anyone else you want, add a blog entry with a photo right from flickr. I love the integration available on the web these days. Hotness.

I know there’s many more plugins out there and I’ll be adding to this list in the coming months. If you have any recommended plugins not on this list, let me know or post a comment below.