there are 10 posts from July 2008

July 31, 2008

deliciously new

Congrats to the delicious team on the launch of the new As an active user, I’ve been looking forward to the refresh for a little while now, and I’m happy to have it live! Here are a few of the things I like…

  • Date grouping! It’s a simple thing, but it really makes it visually clear how much linking activity I’ve been doing lately.

  • Top ten tags! I’m pretty sure I could have done that before with the controls that were there, but the new look of that right-hand module is clean, simple and straightforward.

  • Tag intersection UI! While the visual look implies more of a category > subcategory model instead of a pure tag intersection model, the way they’ve implemented it will make me much more likely to go to my archives to find things like “small+software.”

  • Long notes! Yeah, I like them too.

  • The launch video! Definitely worth watching, especially if you’re one of those people (like me) who likes words moving around on a screen.

And since it wouldn’t be fair and balanced without one thing I’m not a fan of, I’ll share this:

  • I’m not a fan of the new little “person” that’s there. I’ve always loved the simple delicious identity of the blue, black and white favicon; I’m not sure that the bookmark needed to be anthropomorphized.

To date I’ve shared 1,254 bookmarks on delicious. Here’s to the next 1,254!

July 23, 2008

our new capitol

I’m just getting around to looking through the photos from Bryan Boyer’s masters thesis project for his degree in architecture, collected in the Flickr photo set Our New Capitol. The level of detail and thought into the entire design system that he’s created is just astounding. Highly recommended.

July 22, 2008

casual carpool, serendipity and radovan karadzic

Casual carpool” is one of those (sub)urban fabric things that makes life in the Bay Area go ‘round…and occasionally makes it just a bit more interesting. Every morning commuters gather at one of a couple dozen sites in the East Bay, matching up drivers with passengers to make the trip across the Bay Bridge. Passengers get a free ride into the city, and drivers get passage into the H.O.V. lane, and a free ride through the toll plaza. I’ve been doing casual carpool (as a passenger and a driver) on and off for about the past 10 years, and every once in a while something extraordinary happens.

This morning on my way in I picked up two passengers, and with the radio tuned to our local NPR affiliate (I’m fairly certain that there’s a law on the books in Berkeley that states that casual carpool vehicles must have their radios tuned to NPR), we made our way to the bridge.

The lead story in the 8:00 hour was, of course, the arrest of Radovan Karadzic, the man behind the three-year siege of Sarajevo and the massacre at Srebrenica. As the story began, a gasp came from woman in the back seat of the car, and while the story played on she interjected with the occasional sotto voce “Oh my God” and “Finally.”

When the story ended, she offered up an explanation. “I worked for the United Nations for two years collecting evidence for the case against against Karadzic,” she said. “I’ve waited a long time for this.”

Every once in a while casual carpool produces nice little moments of serendipity…and I’m sure the occasional missed connection. This morning took the cake for me: this stranger had devoted two years of her life to the case, and I got to witness her hearing the news of his arrest for the first time. As the kids would say, [this is good].

As she got out of the car at 2nd and Howard, I offered my usual “Have a great day.”

“I already am,” she replied.

July 15, 2008

lacayo on rothko and the water lilies

Via Modern Art Notes, Time’s Richard Lacayo on the connection between Monet’s Water Lilies and Mark Rothko made real at Tate Modern.

Going back and forth between the two canvases, you could understand in an almost physical way how Rothko’s picture operates, how its vertical orientation and near human-scale dimensions, its direct address to your eye, brain and body, condenses the visual field of Monet’s horizontal image and untethers it from its last connections to the visible world.

Yeah, art speak. I know. But if you’re at all a Rothko fan, you’ll get it. (Lacayo’s piece has the images to prove his point, so, y’know, click through.)

July 14, 2008

soylent green was made of people, too

Call me a humanist luddite and beat me over the head with my liberal arts degree, but I rather enjoyed Will Davies’ rebuttal Chris Anderson’s The End of Theory, titled why Google can’t replace theory. A lengthy snippet:

I would suggest that Anderson is extending the Chicago School project of selectively dismantling the bases for authoritative knowledge claims. Chicago economics renders social knowledge so fragile and polluted with self-interest, that it becomes impossible to produce a better model for society than that of the unimpeded market. Again, there is a sleight of hand at work here - man’s epistemological condition leads not just contingently but logically to the technological solution of the market.


For Anderson it is not the market that comes to our rescue, but the world wide web. What the market can do for material resources, the web can do for knowledge. In each case, we are relieved of the political and theoretical burden of trying to produce a good, coherent model for society, and put ourselves in the hands of an ignorant, amoral mechanism - price in the case of material resources, algorithm in the case of immaterial ones.

Davies may be overreacting…but when Anderson writes argues that “science can advance even without coherent models, unified theories, or really any mechanistic explanation at all,” the logical retort is Sure, science may advance that way…but can society?

July 11, 2008

the line at b-n-l is huge

As seen in The New York Times, Mike’s photo of folks in line for their new iPhones. I had no idea that Buy n Large sold iPhones! Very cool.

July 11, 2008

make a beat, eat the beat

How great would it be to play with the Skittle-based beat sequencer with the kids? How better to teach them about the near infinite glories of what you can do with sixteenth notes and 4/4 time than with a bunch of colorful candies. Make a beat, eat the beat. Yum. (Via Waxy, of course.)

(But you know, come to think of it, a simple sequencer like this would be a great iPhone app, even if you can’t eat the Skittles after making your beat. Instead, you could share them online. iPhone as drum machine. See, I knew I had to have an iPhone 2.0 reference today somewhere…)

July 10, 2008

copy as interface

July 09, 2008

is he underestimating?

Chronicle / SFGate TV critic Tim Goodman on the impact of Mad Men’s $25 million advertising campaign in advance of Season 2:

Now, to the worry and the inherent challenge of growing the audience: If all the advertising pays off and new fans flock to Season 2 of “Mad Men,” what are they going to think when they find a very intelligent, somewhat slow moving, exceptionally shaded character study? In other words, this isn’t “The Sopranos.” The brilliance of “Mad Men” is that the drama is mostly in the words. Actions are subtle. Many times the interior dialog of a character like Don Draper isn’t explained.

Goodman’s characterization of the show is right on (see the last bit in my last post), esp. if newcomers don’t initially understand the backstory of Draper. (After all, it took most of the first season to explain it.) But is Goodman underestimating the intelligence of the viewing public?

(Or should we be more worried that AMC’s spending the $25mm because they’ve dulled the sharp edges and know season two can attract – and retain – a mass audience? And since when does Goodman use The Sopranos as a comparison like that? He’s already deserted Tony and the guy’s not even in the ground a year?)

July 07, 2008

recently starred

The moral equivalent of clearing the browser tabs, here are some recently starred items. (And yes, I realize that along the way I could have Shift-S shared these items with you, since most of you are reading this in Reader, or FriendFeed, or some other type of super fabulous lifestreaming and attention parsing aggregator that reduces the elapsed time from content consumption to content production to mere milliseconds, but I digress.)

Protocol Buffers, or “a flexible, efficient, automated mechanism for serializing structured data – think XML, but smaller, faster, and simpler.” Even if you never use Protocol Buffers (the product marketer in me winces at the name) the overview is worth reading, if only for the speed difference v. parsing XML (that’s measured in nanoseconds, mind you).

Also from Google’s earth (we just live in it) comes Joe Greggorio’s draft spec (tracked at the IETF) for adding multipart support to AtomPub. “The primary objective of multipart/related POSTs is to reduce round-trips for creating Media Resources.” Who wouldn’t like reducing round trips?

Wil Shipley’s post on fixing The Greatest Bug of All is worth the entire read. Don’t get discouraged when two-thirds of the way through he starts wandering off through the land of file system memory mapping and the ins and outs of NSData; push on through and stay for the payoff.

Software is written by humans. Humans get tired. Humans become discouraged. They aren’t perfect beings. As developers, we want to pretend this isn’t so, that our software springs from our head whole and immaculate like the goddess Athena. Customers don’t want to hear us admit that we fail.

Via Kottke, Michael Beirut’s appreciation of Mad Men. I feel for Jason, who hasn’t even seen the show, since when he read through Beirut’s wholesale quotation of scenes he didn’t have the memory of watching Jonathan Hamm deliver these lines…

This device isn’t a spaceship. It’s a time machine. It goes backwards. Forwards. It takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It’s not called The Wheel. It’s called The Carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels, around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know we are loved.

OK, that’s enough for a Monday. The elapsed time between star and share has already grown too long, and I fear this post may already be fish wrap.