Archive of January 2009

Mr. Tweet

Billed as “Your Personal Networking Assistant for Twitter!” Looks interesting, I’m currently giving it a try.

Andy Baio is impressed.

Back Issues

Jill Lepore for The New Yorker:

The newspaper is dead. You can read all about it online, blog by blog, where the digital gloom over the death of an industry often veils, if thinly, a pallid glee. The Newspaper Death Watch, a Web site, even has a column titled “R.I.P.” Or, hold on, maybe the newspaper isn’t quite dead yet. At its funeral, wild-eyed mourners spy signs of life. The newspaper stirs!

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Errol Morris:

During the last week of the Bush administration, I asked the head photo editors of these news services — Vincent Amalvy (AFP), Santiago Lyon (AP) and Jim Bourg (Reuters) — to pick the photographs of the president that they believe captured the character of the man and of his administration.

(via Gruber)

Textpattern CMS 4.0.8 released

Not as big a release as 4.0.7, but it can’t hurt to stay up-to-date.

I’ve said it before, Textpattern is a great piece of software. If you’re planning a content-heavy site, it should be one of your top contenders for CMS choice.

Greatness

Nicholas Lemann on what it takes to make a great presidency:

If you’re running the American government, change based on governance and politics matters a whole lot more than change based on intelligence and charisma.

Government communications should be helpful and clear

Khoi Vinh:

A submission from AIGA’s design and public policy group to the Change.gov Citizen’s Briefing Book, the goal of which is to compile the most popular idea submissions for the new administration. “Government must invest in quality graphic design and clear language for all its public communications. We need simple forms, easy-to-use Web sites, quality telephone support, and good signs and communications at public buildings.” It’s also worth browsing through the briefing book’s list of most popular ideas.

My favorite bit from the submission:

America has an extraordinary pool of design talent that is respected worldwide. For the benefit of citizens, to support American jobs, and to invest in the information infrastructure that will improve productivity over time, government should be committed to improving the way it communicates.

This is a great idea and a good cause in general. I’d love to see more action being taken like this on behalf of clear and effective communication.

Oblivious, Eh?

Gruber responds to Brian X. Chen’s Wired piece regarding Apple’s quarterly conference call titled “Apple Still Oblivious to Netbook Opportunity”:

Sounds to me like Apple’s about as oblivious to the netbook opportunity as they were to the smartphone opportunity around, say, 2006.

I, for one, hope (nay, suspect) Gruber’s right on this one.

McCain: Obama’s newest advisor?

I agree with Jason Kottke on this. The fact that Obama is maintaining open lines of communication with McCain is great news.

McCain, though it was his own fault (or that of his handlers), didn’t represent himself well during the presidential campaign and it’s nice to see that the very able Senator isn’t being sidelined because of it. Also, it’s quite savvy of Obama to seek out his support. He’s essentially buying McCain stock at a low point and will presumably leverage that purchase when that stock inevitably rises.

If you haven’t already, now might be a good time to go read David Foster Wallace’s 2000 essay on McCain.

Meetings Are a Matter of Precious Time

Professor of Behavioral Science Reid Hastie:

Part of the problem at such meetings is that the leader has not set clear objectives or an agenda, and didn’t assign pre-meeting preparation tasks. Instead, the leader seems to hope that magic will occur, producing a serendipitous solution to some of the problems addressed. Of course, that doesn’t happen. As a general rule, meetings make individuals perform below their capacity and skill levels.

I agree with this to some extent, but would warn not to take Hastie’s advice to the extreme. There is such a thing as too much organization, just as there is such a thing as not enough. The trick is to find the right balance between the two so that creative sparks can fly but no one feels like they’re simply wasting their time.

(via Kottke)

On Day One, Obama Sets a New Tone

Off to a great start:

President Obama moved swiftly on Wednesday to impose new rules on government transparency and ethics, using his first full day in office to freeze the salaries of his senior aides, mandate new limits on lobbyists and demand that the government disclose more information.

I intend to watch this presidency very closely.

A Good Start

From the new White House Blog:

Just like your new government, WhiteHouse.gov and the rest of the Administration’s online programs will put citizens first.

The New Gothams

H&FJ have released 46 new styles of their popular Gotham font. For those not following, Gotham was the typeface used by the Obama campaign.

Gridr Buildrrr

I find myself using this more and more. Funny name. Useful site. Definitely worth a link.

A List Apart on Writing

Pretty much the best writing on writing on the web on the web. Er, the best writing on the web about writing on the web. Oh, you know what I mean.

The Impossible Project

From the homepage:

We aim to re-start production of analog INTEGRAL FILM for vintage Polaroid cameras in 2010. We have acquired Polaroid’s old equipment, factory and seek your support.

Godspeed.

(via Gruber)

What’s That Song in “Wall-e”?

“Put on Your Sunday Clothes” by Michael Crawford. I still don’t know what I think of the movie as a whole, but I love the music and the animation.

Le Mépris

I love these:

Overall, what you hear not only fits (lightly) the classical genre, it can be described more accurately by the terms experimentalism and minimalism. Le Mépris comes from a Jean Luc Godard film.

We Should Have Paid More Attention

Andrew Sullivan:

Eight years ago, Will Ferrell performed Bush’s future first State Of The Union. It could stand for his farewell address as well.

Jizz In My Pants

Uh… Thanks, Cat.

UPDATE: This is brilliant. I can’t stop watching.

1.62

Yet another new favorite music blog. I also love the design of this one.

Famous Last Nerds

Absolutely brilliant rap comedies. Don’t miss “Wassup Holmes” or “Hamlet in a Minute.” (Thanks, Cat.)

HearYa

Another new favorite music blog.

“The Noises Rest”

Inspiring video sketch from the makers of You Look Nice Today. This, paired with a recent re-viewing of Ratatouille. Take it away, Ego:

In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto, “Anyone can cook”. But I realize – only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.

Typecasting

Khoi Vinh on I Love Typography’s favorite typefaces of 2008:

Newzald looks like Matrix, FF Utility looks like Klavika, Soho looks like Apex Serif, etc.

Granted, I’m just being a jerk here.

He does, however, recommend MEgalopolis Extra, an interesting font with some great alternates. And free!

Earth, observed

The Big Picture has some of the most gorgeous NASA photos of the Earth.

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