The newly redesigned Domus (free registration required) web site has reviewed Contropiede by Peter Eisenman. Not knowing anything about Peter Eisenman, but interested in anything related to diagrams, the review brings some fascinating concepts about diagrams to light. I’ve always thought of diagrams as turning data into information, but they can also be seen more strategically. Hence the following quote: “The concept of defensive play is one of the main features of Italian football, writes Peter Eisenman… when the players form a spider’s web and wait for an errant player or a loose ball and then pounce to execute a speedy counterattack, like the mongoose with the cobra. I have always been struck by this idea of counter attack (or contropiede), particularly so since I started thinking that football and architecture are both diagrammatic fields. I don’t trigger circumstances, I react to them.”

Wi-Fi Umbrella

The handle changes color based on weather forcast the umbrella receives through a Wi-Fi network. MIT Advertising Lab makes the suggestion that this same technology could be used for billboards. It’s a good idea, but I think it’s already here. There’s tons of large scale tv’s (think Times Square) acting as billboards. They could easily be set up to change content at the switch of a button. The bigger issue is having someone understand what button should be pushed and when.

For those proportion people out there

Phiculator is one of those tools that will make things golden for people that are trying to maintain some kind of order or proportion with numbers. Phiculator (pronounced “fye·cu·la·tor”) is a simple tool which, given any number, will calculate the corresponding number according to the golden ratio. Useful to anyone wishing to create anything with divine proportions!

There’s a windows and mac download available at

via swissmiss


Hey look, iCab is a new browser for mac. One of the more interesting reasons you might want to use it is for Kiosk mode: While in Kiosk mode, iCab will cover the whole screen and all other applications are blocked. The Kiosk mode is the ideal environment when the computer is accessing a public place (like fairs, exhibitions, hotels etc.) where users should be able to obtain information, yet prevent any external access to your system. Additionally, the access can be restricted to certain pages (even refusing referrals, if you choose).

Identity 2.0

Your identity vs their identity, using your identity to move from one site to the next is a challenge that is starting to creep into the lives of people that are using the services that are web 2.0. There’s a 15 minute vid that talks about some of the issues that ultimately lead to the pitch for skip. I’m not so sure that it’s the killer format, but the issues that Dick Hardt talks about should on people’s radar.

High dynamic range

Old Man Willow
Originally uploaded by Bhalash.

I’ve never heard of the term High dynamic range (HDR) before. The wiki def. s a set of techniques that allow a far greater dynamic range of exposures than normal digital imaging techniques. The intention is to accurately represent the wide range of intensity levels found in real scenes, ranging from direct sunlight to the deepest shadows.

And if that didn’t make a lot of sense there’s a fyi HERE and a group pool HERE

3rd life

While I try to stay far away as possible from video games, I’m intrigued by the idea of Second Life. PSFK has an interview with one of the creators of SL. Here’s a context question to give you an idea about what it’s about. Can you give a quick overview about how long SL has been running, what was your original plan for SL? Second Life launched commercially in June of 2003. I wanted to create a digital online world where the environment would constantly evolve, driven by what people make and do. The goal was build a platform where anyone could build their “second life,” aside from whomever they really are in the “real world.”

The idea of emulating real world items in Second Life, like shoes from nike etc. are notable, though I’m curious to see what comes from Second Life into 3rd life – the real world after second life. Those items developed in a virtual world that become tangible items that people living and breathing can use. If you’re a second life expert, maybe you could share any examples out there that I’m not aware of. You can email me at michael [at]

So little time, the joys of a spec forum

Kevin Guenther has found the spec site of all spec sites and shared it with the GDC Listserv. Over at Threads in Forum: Contests Empowering Web Developers Since 1997. Take a look, it’s really unbelievable. What it does show us is though is how the crit plays out online. Kevin has taken the time to post a comment that talks about why this whole forum is insane at

AIGA Conference Timeline Site

Checking out, I came across a clear and to the point site for the AIGA. It chronicles the past AIGA National conferences. Each year has some audio files from a couple design luminaries talking about their memories of the particular conference. If I could have a couple wishes granted, it would be to have longer audio clips, and more people reflecting. On the second point, you do get the idea who is heavily involved in participating which perhaps reflects on the number of stories they have. You can visit the site at Oh, one more point; I couldn’t actually find the site on the AIGA website – that seems strange to me.

Just a thought

A smarter man than I suggested that the actual will always trump the potential though if I take that to it’s logical conclusion, I wonder how dull the world would be. So I offer this quote from Albert Einstein; “Imagination is more important than knowledge”.

So let’s keep driving with our eyes closed and see where we go….

Liquid Cinema

I luv translation sites. For instances how would I have been able to read about the above liquid cinema in german? In english we can find out all about how programmed water droplets have the ability to create an image.

I found this new display via BLDGBLOG which has a much better write up than me that places the display in context within the landscape at Liquid films and water-signs: landscape in an age of information design.

Identity: Best of the Best 2006?

DesignMaven has passed me on an impressive sample list of design winners for Identity: Best of the Best 2006. As he mentions there are no Canadian winners. I think there’s one of three reasons for this: 1. no one in Canada knew about it, 2. perhaps it reflects the lack of new companies needing identities in Canada, or 3. they just weren’t good enough to win. Take a look at the winners HERE.

Visual Linking

I thought the image above was an interesting way to display particular links that Vasta checks daily. Compare that with his links. Image vs. text, which one is better? The tendency would be to say the text, but I’m not so sure. Some of those images in tiny squares convey a lot of info. Text says a lot (obviously), but if you skim and don’t take the time to read the link info, how does that become better than a small image? There’s a lot more to explore, but by comparing those two ways to find links I’m not so sure text is the only way to go.

Radical Wegman

Since bringing Maddie home in January, the world of Tamara’s and mine has not been the same. Having a weim has been a wonderful experience. But like anything it’s been a lot of work too. So you’re probably wondering why I’m talking about my dog on a design site? I thought it would be a nice intro for New York magazine’s article Puppy Love. It’s all about William Wegman, “oh, that dog guy”. Is he radical, read the article and decide. And if you happen to be in NYC, you can see William Wegman: Funney/Strange at the Brooklyn Museum through May 28.

For secondary entertainment, there’s Dean Allen’s weims and there’s always good times at Maddie’s World.

Design Writing

We’ve all heard about how important a concept is when designing, “practice safe design, use a concept“. But how do you express that concept? Do you drop something on the boardroom table and say here, what do you think! Or do you take the time to explain the issues involved and how it was solved by your solution? ideasonline talks about how important it is for designers to write. Every day we communicate through email, create briefs and have conversations. If you haven’t read a full online article lately about design, this might be one worth taking five minutes for at Designers must write.

Creativity: five steps?

Over on the GDC Listserv, there’s been a lot of discussion lately about people’s thoughts on creativity. In Jamie Lees-D’Angelo post, she explains it like this; “The 5 steps of creativity that every human being goes through no matter whether they are designing a logo, or giving a dinner party are: 1. Preparation, 2. Frustration, 3. Incubation, 4. Illumination and 5. Evaluation. You will find these listed in any good book about creative process.”

As for what tips I have on creativity, I would recommend checking out oblique strategies and if you’re on a PC, go HERE.

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