home ....interface design .... web development .... movie reviews .... travel .... about peterme
petermeme Archives

June 01 - June 09, 2001
May 01 - May 31, 2001
April 01 - April 30, 2001
March 01 - March 31, 2001
February 01 - February 28, 2001
January 01 - January 31, 2001
December 01 - December 31, 2000
November 01 - November 30, 2000
October 01 - October 31, 2000
September 01 - September 30, 2000
August 01 - August 30, 2000
July 01 - July 27, 2000
June 01 - June 30, 2000
May 24 - May 31, 2000
May 1 - May 23, 2000
April 1 - April 30, 2000
March 1 - March 31, 2000
February 1 - February 29, 2000
January 1 - January 31, 2000
December 1 - December 31, 1999
November 1 - November 30, 1999
October 16 - October 31, 1999
October 1 - October 15, 1999
September 8 - September 30, 1999
August 29 - September 7, 1999
August 13 - August 27, 1999
August 6 - August 12, 1999
July 25 - August 5, 1999
July 17 - July 24, 1999

July 11 - July 16, 1999
July 01 - July 10 1999
June 09 - June 30 1999
June 01 - June 08 1999

May 1999

April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
All of 1998

  past petermemes  

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 book.
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 design.

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
jjg wrote me,

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.

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.

Human-Computer 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.

interview 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 experience.

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.

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.

Cutesy-wutesy 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 particular TSDesign's "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 are:

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 science thought.

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 AVI).

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, and this 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.

Author Fred Moody describes reading the heated "reviews" of his book The Visionary Position by the people he wrote about.

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

warning, perhaps, to all those seeking housing in San Francisco. It's actually quite sad.

March 1, 1999
Don't forget to pay rent!
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 thoughts.

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.


nominees for South by Southwest's Website competition are delightfully refreshing in how non-typical they are.