Where have I been?

Sorry for the unuusal quietness of this blog, but hey I’m moving to NYC in a week and there’s a lot of things to get done. One thing that I’ve been to meaning to mention is the redesign of All This Chittah Chittah blog by Steve Portigal. Clean and easy to read, there’s something there that that will make you question your daily surroundings.

I’m relocating to NYC!

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I’m relocating to NYC!, originally uploaded by Michael Surtees.

Yes, it’s true – I’m moving to New York to work at Renegade Marketing. More to come as I can collect my thoughts…

More Video Clips

By now you’ve probably read and watched the vido clips from TED. But did you know that GEL (Good Experience Live) has posted clips of a lot of their presenters at http://gelconference.com/whatis.php. If you don’t have the DVD, this is a good substitute to check out before signing up for the conference next year. Some of my fav. clips are from Theo Jansen, Laurie Rosenwald, Ross Kauffman and Charlie Todd. I was also introduced to the book The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto through this conference – really good book. If you’re interested in the history of NYC, this is a must.

Audio blog aggregator

There are two or maybe three really good radio stations out there that people consistently site as great resources for new and quality music. They’re KEXP, the Current and KCRW. But even those stations fall into predictable patterns of tunes, and eventually get a little old. If you’re fall into that eclectic category looking for more, check out the Hype Machine. At first glance it’s a little confusion, but once you’ve pressed a couple ”listen” buttons, it becomes very easy to understand. It’s essentially a site that grabs mp3 files that people have blogged about and allows you to listen to the music. They also link to the original blog post, so it theory you could save the mp3 file to your desktop from the blog site you’re reading from. After doing some searching I was pretty happy with the depth of music.

But what about the stuff I don’t know about yet, but still is great? The home page is updated on a pretty regular basis, come back in a hour and a lot will have changed. Start listen to the first tune you see and their player pops up. Don’t like the first song, press a button and a new selection pops up. Eventually you’ll hear something that you didn’t know existed.

Thanks for the fyi Christian

NYC Groove

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IMGP1315.JPG, originally uploaded by Michael Surtees.

After a long needed break I went back to NYC. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be talking about some of the discussions I had, some of the things I saw, and ultimately what inspired me as a designer.

But for now as I catch my breath, I need to thank a lot of people for their kindness and help. So Eric, Caren, Piers, Noah, Mark, Roger, Marion and lots of other people out there – thanks for making NYC just a little bit smaller and showing me what you luv about your city. It won’t be forgotten.

A question of innovation

It’s cool that the new apple store on 5th Ave is open 24/7 365. Wow, just like Walmart. Let’s say that the newest apple thing that I want isn’t available to buy in my own city, but I could catch a flight and pick it up near central park in NYC. That is genius. But let’s take it a step further. Anyone that has bought the latest and greatest video iPod will swear about the battery life. It doesn’t last nearly long enough as it should. I like the apple brand, though I question the quality outside of the industrial design. Some of the nav. is questionable with it’s products, but hey it’s apple so I’ll let it slide.

Now I fly into NYC and figure out that it might be easier to buy a laptop then to find an internet cafe to do a bit of research. If I’m a designer my options are a bit limited. Try to find a pc or go to the Mac store and drop a bit of cash on a laptop and head to a fourbucks for some java. But let’s just pretend that there’s another option. Let’s say I bought a cheap Nintendo DS and downloaded a browser. If that were true I could serf the internet and blog for less than the cost of an iPod. No need for any laptop.

Apperntly the Nintendo DS will be able to browse the internet w/ Opera in the not so distant future. More links about it at: http://www.4colorrebellion.com/archives/2006/03/29/opera-due-in-december/ and http://wiinintendo.net/?p=110 and http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6593678297367636416

Common issues with a new site, Marktd reviews one week of action

If you’re familiar with http://digg.com then a site like Marktd would be a welcome addition to your morning routine. However it’s not perfect as commented on by it’s initiator with his review at Marktd – Week 1 Review My biggest issue would be the lack of people marking. 3 or 4 marks for any story is not enough to make a huge differentiate on stories like digg. I’m looking to see what’s catching people’s attention just like I used to do when visiting the NYT and checking out the most popular stories. If the site catches on with a lot of people getting active with the stories, it should be of benefit. You can check Marktd at www.marktd.com

Asclepius and Caduceus Explained

Randy over at his Spin Technologies blog has broken down the difference between the two commonly used medical symbols Asclepius and Caduceus. In his post Asclepius vs Caduceus we find out that the more appropriate symbol is Asclepius. “According to greek mythology, Asclepius was the demigod of medicine and healing. Caduceus is considered the symbol of commerce.”

What is garbage?


This was a response to a post from a couple days ago. J’s response deserves as much space as the original. Thanks J.

“You know, Karim Rashid is a total wanker. The words are his but the idea isn’t and I wonder if he really actually Gets It.

The Garbo trash can Rashid designed in 1995 was his first big contribution to making our lives better. If Rashid were a rock star, the Garbo would have gone platinum. Rashid says somewhere between four and six million trash cans were sold.

It boils my blood when someone like Rashid makes these grand sweeping statements (vaguely implying a sense of ethics or morality) about the industry they contribute to when they have such a wasteful claim to fame. And for a writer to say that the Garbo trash can is a contribution to “making our lives better” is a total farce.

Imagine shaping human behaviour so that rather than buying between four and six million trash cans, essentially for the purpose of filling with garbage, we were inspired to recycle four to six million garbo trash cans worth of plastic instead.”

Web Eyetracking

Ever wonder what the hot spots on a web page are? According to Web Marketing Today, big block images should be avoided for nav. purposes while small images of people tend to work for page anchors. The above image illustrates the typical eye search of a web browser. Eyetracking and Images of People can be read at www.wilsonweb.com/art/ecomm/eyetracking-people.htm

via Uniquely the epitome

The battle of the blogging platforms


Here’s an interesting comparison with wordpress and blogger. I dropped my design*notes url into the website as graphs website at www.aharef.info/static/htmlgraph This is what the colour coding means:

blue: for links (the A tag)
red: for tables (TABLE, TR and TD tags)
green: for the DIV tag
violet: for images (the IMG tag)
yellow: for forms (FORM, INPUT, TEXTAREA, SELECT and OPTION tags)
orange: for linebreaks and blockquotes (BR, P, and BLOCKQUOTE tags)
black: the HTML tag, the root node
gray: all other tags

I’ve found wordpress to be a lot easier to use and navigate, and the diagrams represent that.

Stock Photography Cliches

We’ve all seen the brutal stock images that come up time and time again when searching for that perfect image. Forty Media has taken it one step further and created their own Top Ten Stock Photography Cliches. While the handshake of synergy photo makes a strong showing, there’s gems like the above image that comes in at #4: 4. The Romantic Glow of the Laptop: You’ve stayed up late working on those TPS reports, and there’s just something magical about that LCD glow…

Recognizing a pattern

There’s a couple things that I’ll try to tie into this post. The first is the video you should watch above, the second is this small crit on ad blogs from if, and the third is the pattern blogs I keep linking from.

I first caught the video above at Russell Davies blog a month or two ago. He had a couple different formats available, I could watch it on my browser or download it to my iPod. Now I can pass the video live from my blog. Ironically or not, blogs are being scrutinized the way magazines talked about blogs a short time ago. if suggests “There is little in between. Ad-blogs have the same problem as the ad press – they see the game as advertising and they’ll tend to highlight the newsworthy and miss the strategically sound.” Yes the same could be mentioned of design blogs, maybe I’m guilty too, maybe not. Third point, what does the group of bloggers I continually link from tell me of my interests, and how and will that help me figure out my future career intentions?

Blog reDesign

Every once in awhile I flirt with the idea of redesigning this blog. Though ironically in the first year I did update it three times. I even changed the name. Originally design*notes was known as d*notes. But I decided to change it after swissmiss kept calling my blog “design*notes“. She’s pretty smart so I followed suit.

Generally the need for a redesign of anything follows one of three reasons: a. a merger or acquisition, b. change in leadership or, c. a new direction or philosophy. While thinking I wanted a redesign, the blog never really fell into any of those categories. Today this blog still doesn’t fall into those categories, but a blog mentioned on Coudal today has really inspired me to get a hell of a lot better with the design of design*notes. It’s www.subtraction.com by Khoi Vinh. I’ve sort of liked the understated design factor of design*notes. I felt a good blog didn’t need to look designed, or have that web 2.0 look – the content should be first and foremost.

I still believe that today, but www.subtraction.com has set the bar pretty high for being able read the content in such a great way that you can’t stop. That is what I want design*notes version four to be. Stay tuned and thanks for the ongoing support.

Affirmation sticker and smart blog

Affirmation sticker
Originally uploaded by saralynncantor.

http://curiousshopper.blogspot.com/ just came on my radar tonight. It’s a nicely written blog by a retail planner, though I’m not entirely sure what a planner does…

The affirmation sticker post HERE is a good example of what you’re going to get with Sarah Cantor’s posts. I also like the word “Another.” It’s kinda like those ads – “Secret #24: Sometimes I fake an accent at parties” – you feel like there are at least 23 other Secrets. Here, the word “Another” makes you feel like you aren’t alone – there are tons of organized customers, and you are yet another of the already-overflowing pool of organized people in your town.

3 for Three

Ever wonder who shot that Sony image from a couple years back?
David Robin

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