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Entries tagged with "geek"

Reading my book this morning, I came across a paragraph, written by David Jury, that stuck with me.

Challenging the status quo is, undoubtedly, part of the service provided by graphic design. But here, we need to distinguish between creativity and originality. It is possible for originality to be no more than the rearrangement or a recombination of existing elements into a different pattern. Originality alone is vacuous, since a "solution" need only be unconventional or different to be original. A creative solution will have varying degrees of originality, but it will always have purpose and be useful. With creativity, I see no reason to differentiate between fine art and applied art. In fine art, just as in typography, surely, originality alone is banal, no more than novelty. To be creative, originality must serve an intellectual and/or practical purpose

I read it twice more, then sat and thought about it. That last sentence pretty much sums up my attitude toward design.

To be creative, originality must serve an intellectual and/or practical purpose.

Most designers who work today strive to make "pretty" websites, thinking they are creating the high design that clients hired them for. I hate to say this but I'm going to anyways. Most of these "pretty" sites are Flash-oriented ones. There. I said it. Flash is an amazing technology that, when used properly, is groundbreaking. But more and more I'm seeing sites that just don't understand how their visitors will interact them. I've found myself on these sites having no idea where to click, what is supposed to happen, sometimes not even knowing what I'm looking at!

Roger Johansson posted a rant the other day on his site along similar lines.

This excuse is normally used by visually oriented Flash designers or ad agency art directors that create design profiles which simply do not work on the Web. Instead of adjusting their design when they are made aware of the problems, they stubbornly push ahead and make users think and work harder than they should have to in order to use the site. If your design - or you as a designer - cannot handle the fact that the Web is the Web, please do everybody a favour and stick to the safety of your printed brochures.

At this stage of the internet, user patterns have been well-defined. Being creative within those patterns is what makes good design great. There is a certain amount of "creative throttling" that we, as designers, need to understand and use.

A few days ago I joined the W3C HTML Working Group. After reading the press release and charter, I decided this was something I needed to be a part of for a few reasons:

  1. It will be a good way to start shaping my own path in the web community.
  2. It will be a good way to keep on top of the industry. Not only will I know what is happening with HTML 5, I will actually know the language and it's proper usage.
  3. Lastly, and most importantly, it will give me a voice within our community. If I'm not a part of where the we are going, I can't complain about the state of the community when we get there.

I encourage everyone that cares about where the internet is headed to join. It's quite simple and Ian Hickson has posted instructions on how to become an "invited expert." Also, while you at, I would suggest joining the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group mailing list. The WHATWG has been championing HTML for the past couple years so some great ideas are coming out of there as well.

A couple warnings here before you join. Be prepared to be inundated by email. I've received over 150 messages in the past couple days alone. The group is very active - that's the good thing - but it will fill up your inbox - that's the bad thing - and take your time reading the ideas being purposed. Also be aware that Chris Wilson was formally announced as the working group's chairperson today. Up until now, from what I hear, there's just been arguing about smaller issues and various elements or tasks. I think Chris' oversight will bring significant change in the way we communicate in the future.

But, for now, I'll sit back, get the lay of the land and then take a more active role when things start to sort themselves out and progress is starting to be made.

MIT Media Lab recently announced plans to create $100 laptop to be distrubited to school children in developing nations. The idea is quite revolutionary.

The proposed $100 machine will be a Linux-based, full-color, full-screen laptop that will use innovative power (including wind-up) and will be able to do most everything except store huge amounts of data. These rugged laptops will be WiFi- and cell phone-enabled, and have USB ports galore. Its current specifications are: 500MHz, 1GB, 1 Megapixel.

What I find most intersting is the "...will be able to do most everything except store huge amounts of data" statement. 5 years ago, would anyone want a computer that doesn't store huge amounts of data? No. But with the advent of - buzzword! - Web 2.0 a statement like that does scare me at all. In fact, I find it to be quite... almost... well... liberating. Web applications are the wave of the future in my opinion. Being able to access any program over the internet without the need to install a program is the way the internet moving. With BaseCamp, Flickr and even GMail, web applications have become all the rage. The future will be in the user's ablity to connect to their personal infromation from any computer, anytime and anywhere.

These new computers have a chance for work in that same fashion. Why would school children need 20gb of hard disk space if they could write, edit, research and hand in their assignments by GMail? Disk space isn't what it used to be. The children don't need to fire up Word anymore to write the paper... they don't even need it installed on their system!

The main reason these computers can be made so cheaply now is their lack of necessary disk space. It's quite an amazing idea and I'm very excited to see what the developers can come up with. So far, it looks very promising!

Last night, I was going though my Bloglines, when Search Engine Watch alerted me to Yahoo's new My Web 2.0. Intrigued, I clicked and whoa... the wonders that awaited me.

To my knowledge, this is the first community based web search, a social search engine, and it's pretty damn cool. It lets you tag and share your searches. It also encourages you invite and introduce friends. The more you invite, the better your search results.

By automatically setting my degrees of seperation at two, Yahoo has basically given me a broad enough range of interests (from my contacts) to find useful information while still filtering out all the spam and junk that usual personal searches yield.

It's fairly similar to in it's bookmarking and tagging, although I believe there one major difference of note. My Web seems to be more about catagorizing and saving searches. delicious seems to be very transient, as links move in and out, being forgotten easily. My Web seems to file searches away in storage. It creates a stockpile of saved pages from my community. It's more permanent this way, as when I search, my communities saved pages show first.

It's here. Ever since watching Steve Jobs annouce this at WWDC, I've been patiently waiting the... ohhh, two weeks or so until I could get podcasts! In iTunes!

So let's see, thus far I have 11 subscriptions set up... or 5.5 hours of podcasting to catch up on. My favorite, Acts of Volition. It's not a new podcast but it is wonderful. I highly suggest it. Steven Garrity does it right!

Bloggers everywhere are chiming in on this Apple switching to Intel chips thing. So why don't I pile on and join the fun?

Personally, it doesn't affect me. As long as my PowerBook runs at current Apple standards, I'm perfectly ok with it. Maybe it may even bring prices down some, which would be thrilling, seeing as Apple will now be running similar chips to PCs. If that happens, maybe Apple's market share will grow.

Todd Dominey writes is more elegantly than I so I'd say check out his review.

Today, I start a new epoch of my life (and yes, I did wrech my neck some jumping on the bandwagon but, luckily, I've arrived unscaved. Thanks for asking.) Why am I doing this? I forget things... a lot. Ask my mom, she'll tell you. I need a space to write these down. Why not just use Post-Its™ like I have in the past? I also lose Post-Its™ about as much as I forget. I need a space to write down thoughts, work through ideas and just basically annoy others with my ramblings. Plus, I'm fairly new to this web technology game. It may be fun to watch my progression over the years... considering I last that long. But this isn't going to be just all business, hopefully. You know what? Let's just both buckle our seat belts, grab a helmet if you need to, and let's see where this takes us. Deal?


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