March 31, 1999
Poking around on the Web for information on conceptual models, I found MetaSelf, a site that discusses how humans use
metaphor to understand things. It's a pretty good explication of the ideas from Metaphors We Live By. In particular I like
his drawings, which made me think that a "Cartoon Guide To Metaphors We Live By" would make an interesting
More metaphor browsing has turned up a number of cool resources. There's Feelings Stuck In A GUI Web, about the
inconsistency of desktop metaphors, the list of links available at The Center for the Cognitive Science of Metaphor Online,
and the Conceptual Metaphor Home Page, the canonical list of metaphors we live by. Enjoy!
Bombs falling. Read Vladislava Gordic's diary for a first-hand account
of what it's like in the former Yugoslavia right now.
I'm finding the nettime-l
mailing list to be an amazing source of information and commentary about
the Kosovo situation.
March 30, 1999
One of the highlights of my visit to Amsterdam five years ago was visiting the Van Gogh Museum, and purchasing a print of this
work, from his little-known "Japanese period." The site features
a wealth of information and a clean visual design, though I found traversing the site frequently awkward.
Often, design firm portfolios try too hard to be cool, and force every pixel to bend to their wills. I dig this one
because the concept is great, and I love how an interface device they have no visual control over, the pull-down
menu, is the core of their interaction. Art in the machine! Oh, and it's funny, too.
March 29, 1999
Amazing Live Sea Monkeys and more can be yours!
Lloyd Wood is one to watch. An Angry Young White Man with a sharp writing style, I've recently been
exposed to his work. He's writing an irregular column called Jaundiced Eye, the first issues featuring thoughts
on Don Norman and Eric Raymond. (Not to be confused with Steve Champeon's "A Jaundiced Eye.") He also just wrote a long screed
about Jon Katz on the nettime mailing list, spurred by the latest Obvious.
Speaking of Stating the Obvious, have you joined miscellany yet?
March 27, 1999
IBM's Ease of Use site contains oodles of good information. The Design area is resource-rich, including a section
devoted to Web
Hey kids! Have the coolest Web site on your block! My former
employer is selling its current Web site, lock, stock, and barrel, on
Ebay. Comes with complicated HTML, design-y graphics, and Perl scripts and Java applets that
actually do things! Why be original when you can be cool?
I saw this clock
at the Exploratorium's gift store. I want it. But I don't $150 want it.
I've recently moved, and am gonna have to do some room painting. Happily, this "2torial" covers all the basics. (Except which
colors to pick! Color choices. Oy.)
March 26, 1999
I had a dream last night in which I was wearing your 76 hat. Well, maybe
it wasn't your hat... it could have been an identical one. I think it was yours though.
jjg has recently done some serious information architecture for his company. Coincidence?
I think not!
Yummy art stuff.
Requires a bells-and-whistle compliant browser.
Homeroad is a resource for truck drivers and their families. Another example of the Web's power--not
only does it afford the creation of a supportive community, it allows people like me to get a glimpse of others'
lives and concerns.
I'd forgotten about this essay until the subject of self-promotion came up in a conversation I had in Austin. It's
G. Beato's classic David
Siegel's Complete Guide To Auto-Mythology.
The J. Crow catalog for
Goths. Has Goth "broke" yet? I guess not until it's on the
cover of Time.
Another sighting of me in
the 76 cap. I've got rhythm...
March 25, 1999
Gawd I hope these
folks are right.
I would normally ignore a product with a Web
site like this. However, Stagecast is founded by some leading lights from
Apple's Advanced Technology Group, and so is definitely worth a look.
Interaction Laboratory's 16th Annual Symposium and Open House looks
to be a great conference experience. I wanna go. Zoomable User Interfaces! Information Visualization! Usability
of Community Design!
March 24, 1999
Hey, kids! Want to be an information architect? All you need is a Unocal 76 cap like the one I wear! Here I am modeling the cap at Burning Man (I bought it for the event); in a tussle at South by Southwest; and walking the streets of Austin.
with Dave Eggers, the editor and publisher of McSweeney's.
The fallacy of market testing becomes blatantly obvious when looking at the artwork of Komar and Melamid. The discordant amalgams
of imagery (i.e., George Washington looking kind of out of place in a pastoral landscape) speak to all manner of
designs-by-committee, where everyone needs to leave a thumbprint on the final product, creating an awkwardly stitched-together
A little like most Web design, eh?
March 23, 1999
I love the animation here, but I object to the notion of relating the typing monkey with evolutionary development.
If the analogy were proper, there would be an agent that would shape the typing when a string of letters makes
sense, and this knowledge would feed back into the system, encouraging the monkey to type sensibly. Evolution doesn't
happen in a vacuum. It's shaped by environmental forces.
March 22, 1999
I'm home. I'm tired. I miss Austin.
Astute peterme.com regular
Eric Wagoner pointed me to James Gleick's
content-heavy Web presence. Great for folks like me who don't subscribe
to the NY Times, and thus don't read his pieces in the magazine.
Courtney Pulitzer demonstrates remarkable perceptiveness in assessing me as "witty and well spoken." (Scroll down
a tad. Click on the Social Architecture link to read a good overview of what was discussed on our panel.)
This one's been getting some play on the weblogs, but it's worth repeating here--Edward Tufte's Recommended Reading List.
and pretty fun!
Poke around the FBI's Freedom
of Information Act Reading Room to read de-classified reports on a number
of topics and celebrities.
March 20, 1999
I have more from SXSW to report on, but I wanted to relay this. The CHI-Web mailing list is having a fascinating
discussion on the nature and purpose of trademarks and servicemarks, in
"User Experience Audit" mark. [because it's spread over a few threads, I'm linking to the topic
list. You can find the items from there.] Heavy hitters weighing in include Don Norman, Jakob Nielsen, Nathan
Shedroff, Jared Spool, and TS herself, Terry Swack.
March 15, 1999
Attended a panel on Design Techniques this morning and a lot of URLs were batted around. A few of the best
i33 Communications was applauded for working with a simple central concept
that infused the entire site--breakfast.
Dreamworks Records was admired for a smart experiential use of Flash.
There was also a Flash site called Woodcutter, which was demonstrated as an engaging user-hostile interface. But
I don't know the URL.
March 13, 1999
Expect intermittent, at best, updates through March 22nd. I do hope to provide some of the SXSW flava to you
righteous folks while I'm there.
March 12, 1999
Peter Morville's "Information,
Architecture, and Usability" article is making the rounds of the
Web UI community. My 2 cents are posted in this discussion on CHI-Web.
Ahh, yes. Some good ol' content alleviating my ennui. FEED features an interview with cognitive linguist George Lakoff,
co-author of the seminal Metaphors
We Live By and Women, Fire and Dangerous Things. As a
reductionist, I'm particularly fond of this statement,
"We are neural beings. Our brains take their input from the rest
of out bodies. What our bodies are like and how they function in the world thus structures the very concepts we
can use to think. We cannot think just anything -- only what our embodied brains permit."
If this stuff gets you hot, you might be interested in the essay Metaphors We Compute By, a specific application
of Lakoff's ideas.
With the Lakoff interview and an earlier interview
with Steven Pinker, FEED is developing into your one-stop-shop for cognitive
March 11, 1999
Aha. Finally found *something*. Reading +he
Finger pointed me to the Modern Library's readers forum, where there's a rather high-minded,
if silly, discussion on, well, all kinds of things pertaining to books.
Is there something interesting out there? I'm not finding anything good. If you got a lead, email me.
March 10, 1999
Sigh. From Camworld, I got this link to UI
Design. There's good information there. But. I mean, I know that what
you're looking at right now isn't a work of art, but why do interface design sites often look so bad?
Another regionalism, kinda. I just found out today that East Coasters aren't familiar with Pee-Chee folders.
Tired of getting pointers to the Hamster Dance? Perhaps this
movie will cheer you. (1MB
And, in a hamster-like tone, the Scary
Multiplying Bunny Page.
Amazon's lack of humor is annoying. The reviews of Daddy's Cap is on Backwards have been removed...
But the page also says that the book is no longer available. Has the spoofing led to increased sales?
March 9, 1999
In preparation for my panel discussion, I have been reading around on the interaction between interface design
and society. The latest Rewired has a good thought piece (part 1, part 2) on Engelbart's Unfinished Revolution,
paper from '95 discusses computer augmentation of real-world environments.
I find both interesting in that they discuss important ideas, but both fail to understand people. Engelbart, for
all his genius, seems to think (or at least used to think) that people want nothing other than to augment their
intellect. Searchterms.com shows that "sex" is what people seek. The authors of the '95 paper are
smoking crack if they believe people will wander around wearing goofy cybergoggles. (Though I suppose if you have,
say, Vuarnet design around this tech, you might be on to something.)
March 8, 1999
Does the cellular phone market confuse you as much as it does me? Check out Wireless Dimension, a comprehensive mobile phone
resource. Slick useful interface makes it easy to find out what works for you.
March 7, 1999
Is Amazon.Com's reader reviews section the new public square? It has definitely become the focus of much discussion
in the past couple weeks.
The brilliant exegesis of Daddy's Cap Is On Backwards has been making
the email rounds. There was an amusing (to geeks) review of The Story About Ping that Amazon took down, but
it can be read here.
Objectivists and anti-Objectivists clash on The Fountainhead, the reviews of which I was prompted
to read due to this
piece in McSweeney's.
Fred Moody describes reading the heated "reviews" of his book
Visionary Position by the people he wrote about.
In Salon, one-time novelist Lev Grossman depicts how he falsified "customer comments"
after his book got trashed by others. (And the article has
lead to further obviously not-for-real reviews.)
Some further poking around shows heated discussions of "scientific creationism", communism, and the merits of The Bridges of Madison County (topics ranging
from writing quality to photography to feminism.)
I think it's fascinating that Amazon's reader reviews have become the leading forum for discussion on the Web.
March 6, 1999
Finally, a cause I can get behind: do away with cold Guinness.
March 4, 1999
Hmmm. I suppose it's a good thing I left.
March 3, 1999
Continuing what is likely their best feature, the Shuttlecocks offer up Are You There God? It's More Breakfast Cereals!
Leslie Harpold's thoughtful
piece on a kind of information-based "keeping up with the Jones'"
indirectly speaks to the mentality of Weblogs, mine included.
March 2, 1999
A warning, perhaps, to all those seeking housing in San Francisco. It's actually quite sad.
March 1, 1999
Don't forget to pay rent!
Interesting. Erasmatazz is an "interactive storytelling tool for writers," and claims to be the only
one of it's kind.
Erasmatazz' founder, Chris Crawford, is well-known in the gaming world as one of the few able to truly articulate
good game design. Check out his
Though heavily Mac-biased, this look at user
interfaces is still useful. I particularly enjoyed the notes detailing
the history of Mac's UI, and how
much was actually borrowed from Xerox PARC's Alto.
The nominees for South by Southwest's Website competition are delightfully refreshing in how non-typical