Garden State
March 15, 2005

It's pretty sad when I can't remember the last movie I watched. I think it may have been "Eternal Sunshine on a Spotless Mind", but I can't be sure. With the Oscar Awards just gone by, there was a bunch of movies I wanted to see, but who has the time to sit down for 2 hours these days? (Unless it's Piglet's Big Movie with my 3-year-old for the 50th time).


Bye-bye 35mm film
July 15, 2004

So I finally did it. I sold my SLR. I had a nice Contax RX that I had been using since 1994. It has been gathering a lot of dust lately. It took me a whole month to get enough courage to put it on eBay. Now it's gone.

I had been using a Canon G1, but got sick of how slow it starts us, and the dinky 30sec movie capture rate.

So I swapped one Carl Zeiss lens for another: Sony DSC-W1.

First response: "Wow, that's a huge LCD" - it comes with a 2.5" screen. Second response: "Wow, that's a fast startup!". No little melody or animation to keep you distracted while the lens sluggishly winds out. This Carl Zeiss jumps out at you.

Had concerns about battery life, but I got myself some PowerEx AA's and a charger and it's been working incredibly well. Spend a weekend in Shenandoah without running out (given I only took 80 or so shots).

The image quality is outstanding. 5MP makes a world of a difference from my 3.2MP days.

A photo of my Powerbook keyboard:

Now let's get closer:

The manual controls are a little lacking, since it only has 2 apeture stops. Couldn't get the water to blur as much as I want with this shot:

Not having regrets yet, but I can see myself going to a full digital SLR at some point :-)

RSS re-addiction
July 14, 2004

My initial fascination with RSS feeds died with I realized that I can never keep up with all the information being stuffed down my throat. In retrospect, I think I O.D'ed through over subscription. I was subscribed to news, mac, IA, CSS and a bunch of other things I was interested in. Over-stimulation just killed all interest in RSS and I just went back to manually checking website when I wanted to. It was ironic that all that control over information lead to a sense that I was losing control.

So it was with some caution that I reapproached RSS through a wonderfully lite and free aggregator. This time I am only subscribed to a small select list of feeds:
A List Apart

I learned that you can now view Flickr by tags. What's this got to do with RSS? Well you can subscribe to the tag as a feed. Sweet. I just subscribed to the Cameraphone tag. There's something perversely voyeuristically-CNN'ish about all this.

Interesting web redesign fee structure
May 25, 2004

The web is full of serendipitous connections.

One example: today, I was reading the article in the Washington Post about the how the US-led authority in Baghdad's website's design lifted directly from the Brooking Institution's newly designed site.

The artlcle goes on to say that Brookings had paid a lot for the design by Roger Black. As I was browsing through Mr. Black's site, I came across the firm's web redesign methodology. The last slide talks about how much the whole procedure costs:

Unlike traditional redesign, Black Line fees scale to the size of the site. Like software, we charge by the "seat", by the number of people on your team that will be handling the pages. The price per seat is $5000; the general range of a Black Line redesign is $15-50,000. Multiple Web sites my receive discounts.

Now how exactly does this work? Is that web masters or stakeholders? I can imagine a situation where this pricing may work well to mitigate the risk that comes with having a large group of stakeholders involved in the process.

Boost your wi-fi signal
April 15, 2004

I've been suffering from dropped wi-fi signal on my Powerbook even in my humble 1000 sq. ft. apartment. Even with 802.11g. Might consider getting a Cantenna.

Bubble 2.0
November 17, 2003

Been really swamped with work lately. Been juggling 4-6 projects almost every week for the last couple of weeks. One thing that has allowed me to stay sane and awake is leaving work at a reasonable time. It makes complete sense that this is one of the core practices of Extreme Programming.

It's not just me. A friend in NY is experiencing the same thing. Could this be the return of the "bubble"? The parallels are there. Certainly not bubble with a capital "B" though. Even Napster is also back, but it just ain't the same.

The Happy/Sad George Trick
August 14, 2003

I was rolling around in tears after seeing the quicktime movie of The Spoon Trick on Simple Bits.

Another good trick is the "Happy/Sad George" [my title].


Taking notes on my Palm
May 23, 2003

I finally dumped my pitiful Palm V (with it's teeny 2MB memory) and brought a Palm Zire 71 and a 256MB SD card. This thing is amazing. In many ways.


Syndicating Content thru RSS
May 16, 2003

I'm back after quite an absence. No excuses - I going to try to be more disciplined about posting. Along with going to the gym and cutting down on caffine intake :-)

A co-worker, Jason gave a great brownbag presentation on RSS (or how to syndicate your site) yesterday that prompted me to:

1. Finally overcome my laziness and add an icon to the default Movable Type RSS feed on this site. (See XML image at bottom of right column. Orange kinda goes well with the green don't you think?)

2. Look into the matter a little further.


New York City & Usability
June 21, 2002

Until 10 months ago I used to live in and work in New York. A lot has changed since then: I moved to suburban Northern Virginia, bought a car and been blessed with a beautiful daughter.

Last weekend, I finally found time to take the whole family to visit New York for the first time since I left. It turned out to be a pretty miserable experience.


Elegant Hack mention
May 28, 2002

Since it was Memorial Day weekend and I had a little more time, I went through the server logs for the first time in a couple of months. To my surprise (and horror) I see a referrer from "". I don't recall telling anyone about this blog, which I kept more as a reminder to myself à la Memento than anything else.

But glad you found it. Thanks to Christina for mentioning the Using Wireframes post on Elegant Hack (5/27/2002).

I've been meaning to follow up the original article with one on actual examples, and another on tips on using wireframes as a common (sometimes flawed) language to interface with designers and developers (drawing from experience on a recent project). Now I have more of an impetus to do so.

Printable format | Email article
May 14, 2002

Finally. I've added "Format for Printing" and "Email this article" features to the full article pages.


Links section
May 07, 2002

Added links section. Accesssible through top nav bar. Enjoy.

Please email me with any recommendations.

AIM Bots
April 11, 2002

Came across something interesting: An AIM-based (AOL Instant Messenger) interactive agent called SmarterChild. It's just like any other buddy, but a) it's not human and b) you can ask it short questions to get info on things like weather, movies, news, stock quote, games and so on. You can even ask it for translations (though it's not great), in the form of "translate I love you from english to french".

I haven't had this much fun with text based interaction with a machine since the early days of text base adventure games.


April 04, 2002

Eaves-dropping in on some of the threads on SIGIA-L list, I came across a very interesting term that Jared Spool brought up while discussing zoom-in zoom-out behavior:



Five Minute Madness
March 30, 2002

Caught in the act :-)


Shopping Carts for Content II
March 30, 2002

After posting "Shopping Carts for Content" on a IA discussion board, I received a lot of responses that were interesting. The following is a digest of what people (mostly IA's) had to say.


Shopping Carts for Content
March 28, 2002

Looking for Using Wireframes?. It is here.


The "shopping cart" is a ubiquitous metaphor on the web. Everyone understands it (as Jakob will tell you). You browse product pages and when they find something you want to buy, you hit the button that adds the item to their shopping cart. Later when you are done shopping around, you proceed to "Check out" your shopping cart.

Other established tools are "Printer-friendly version of this page" and "Email this page". I get really annoyed at sites that have text content as their bread-and-butter who do not offer these two simple services.

So why hasn't anyone put the two together?