there are 10 posts from June 2006

June 30, 2006

i love america, part 785

This is the first Bush story this year that’s made me smile:  The Times recaps the his visit to Graceland with Koizumi:

When Lisa Marie Presley showed the prime minister her father’s trademark sunglasses, he promptly donned them and thrust his hips and arms forward, an earnest imitation of a classic Elvis stage move.

And this gem:

One part of the house that they were not to visit is the upstairs, Elvis’s living quarters, which the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll insisted remain private.  “Nobody goes upstairs,” Mr. Beckwith said.

I can just imagine the two of them peering up the stairs to the second floor, craning their necks to see if they can get a view of the bathroom where Elivs died…  Poetic, almost.

June 26, 2006


The Times has a great story about Kevin Smith and the upcoming Clerks II, including this little tidbit about what he’s doing with director commentary…

In an ingenious new ploy, he has recorded a commentary for “Clerks II” that will be available for free download on iTunes, encouraging viewers to take their iPods to the theater for a second viewing.

Brilliant.  Multiple viewings, reward your best fans, etc., etc.  Why hasn’t this been done before?

June 21, 2006


I’m not sure if I’d actually want to use something like this, but the BumpTop “expressive 3D desktop” makes for a good YouTube video.  I’m sure somone wants to manipulate and throw around piles of documents on their virtual desktop, but not me.  But hey – in the meantime the physics of the demo look nice and the rendering’s sure pretty…

June 20, 2006

stack overflow


I hate rules like these.

June 20, 2006

shilling the best

We’ve got a lot of great things coming out of Six Apart lately, but one that’s gone unheralded is Harold Check’s daily masterpiece, Featured TypePad Blogs.  It’s the simple formula that made his Media Nugget one of my favorite pre-Web 2.0 properties:  100 words, a screenshot and a link.  People keep asking us “what are some great blogs I should be reading,” and now we have answers.  An ongoing stream of answers in fact.

(Today’s featured blog:  Alex Ross’ The Rest is Noise.)

June 12, 2006

product placement in books

It was only a matter of time: Product Placement Deals Make Leap From Film to Books, reports the Times.

Cover Girl, which is owned by the consumer products giant Procter & Gamble, has neither paid the publisher nor the book’s authors, Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman, for the privilege of having their makeup showcased in the novel (titled “Cathy’s Book: If Found Call (650) 266-8233”). But Procter will promote the book on, a Web site directed at adolescent girls that has games, advice on handling puberty and, yes, makeup tips.

This particular execution sounds fairly straightforward; I’d love to see someone like William Gibson or Doug Coupland take product placement straight on and work it into a novel… Imagine Microserfs or Pattern Recognition where you had to work to figure out which brand placements were bought and which weren’t…

June 09, 2006

one laptop per child

Ethan Zuckerman has a great overview of the progress the “One Laptop per Child” project is making on designing an inexpensive laptop that’s perfect for kids.

Most of the people who write me are interested in owning a laptop they can afford. And that, it turns out, is not the goal of the One Laptop Per Child project. Their goal is to produce a laptop designed for use by children - students in grades K-12. And that requires radically different design decisions than what one would make in simply creating a low-cost laptop.

Worth reading, especially for the description of the challenges of adding a crank for human-generated power, and how they’re thinking of integrating Logowiki on to the device… (Logo == fun! I always think of Processing as logo for grownups.)

June 08, 2006

chocolate / peanut butter

Can’t tell you how excited I am about the FeedBurner / TypePad integration we rolled yesterday afternoon.  Like Shobe’s post hints, it’s like chocolate and peanut butter.

June 01, 2006

gourmet ghetto has a great short (3:47) video on the Gourmet Ghetto in Berkeley; the eight square blocks of foodie heaven just up the street from where we live.  (The guy in the beret is a fixture outside the original Peet’s; he’s about as Berkeley as you can get.) 

See also, in case you haven’t read it already, Michael Chabon’s fantastic essay The Mysteries of Berkeley.

June 01, 2006

chrome isn’t hell.

I take it back – hell isn’t chrome, and chrome isn’t hell.  And while it’s not quite heaven, over the few days that I’ve been running Beta 2 of Office 2007, I’ve grown more and more impressed with what they’ve done with the UI.

  • Even though it takes up an awful lot of real estate, the ribbon works.  I’ve been undoing years of Office muscle memory, and have been enjoying the relearning process along the way.

  • The task grouping works, and the information hierarchy of default tasks = big buttons also works.

  • The todo bar is fantastic – my inbox, my next appointment and my task list all in one view.  It doesn’t take much to make me happy, and this makes me happy.

  • Word has some particularly nice touches, including a constantly updating word count in the status bar.  And while you can pry my beloved TypePad from my cold dead hands, I’m actually composing this from Word’s built-in blogging client.   

There are a few things that I wish it had…

  • Outlook items (messages, contacts, appointments) get the ribbon, but not the main app.  I’m hoping they address this before release, but I have a feeling that we won’t be seeing major updates to that part of the UI before RTM.

  • The ribbon has great defaults, but I miss having some customization options.  Like making one of the actions in a group the default, in order to make its target icon that much bigger.  I love the big delete button on messages, but would also love a big “move to folder” button.  I recognize you can’t please everyone.

  • The blue theme is too blue, and the black theme is too black.  And is Vista really all that black?

And here are some things to look out for…

  • I’m running a late model ThinkPad with a 1GB of RAM, and the apps can get a bit pokey.   So installer beware.

  • For whatever reason, searchindexer.exe is a memory hog.  It installs a Control Panel item to configure it; I toned it down to only index my email, and that’s helped a ton. 

  • Make sure you’re paying attention to file formats when you’re saving your docs, otherwise your colleagues will be out luck trying to open your .docx, .pptx or .xlsx files.   You can set your preference to save in the older file format, but that’s not set by default.

You can get the beta for yourself here.