Monday, August 31, 2009

Ikea—Maybe it's time to rethink Verdana

In design communities everywhere, Ikea’s decision to adopt a new typeface is big news. Really big news. And to beg the question that everyone seems to ask when the topic of typography comes up: Why should I care? No, this isn’t a global issue. The survival of humanity does not hinge upon the decisions of a Swedish furniture brand. But it’s exactly the kind of news story that has great relevance in certain areas of work, but maybe just not yours. Knowing about this kind of thing gives you a glimpse into the world of graphic design, where things you never thought about can matter a lot.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

How to get found by the Sartorialist

Via Flowing Data


I found a CD on the sidewalk last week:

I spent time Googling lyrics for the tracks I wasn't sure of names for and came up with the following playlist

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I guess it's Microsoft's fault for "inventing" Verdana

But seriously, you don't "invent" typefaces. And it was done my Matthew Carter. Here's a great article on Ikea's recent switch from its custom version of Futura, which definitely felt right for them:,8599,1919127,00.html

(Thanks to Cameron for the link.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Another MagCloud zine: Passing Through Penn Station

I completed and have made my next MagCloud zine, entitled Passing Through Penn Station, available online.

It's a brief look at what happens in Penn Station when you're traveling on NJTransit, especially when there a TON of people trying to get somewhere different.

Check it out here:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's in the trees

Looking out my bedroom window, the leaves are changing. Summer is winding down, and the leaves are there to prove it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The New York Moon

Just came across a fantastic site worth checking out. There is tons of material to explore, including the new "Tweet Radio" that supplies a dictated feed of random tweets from everyone. Intriguing, mesmerizing, strange, exciting, and fascinating!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

123 John: A Graphic Memoir

To forever cherish the memories and experiences of 123 John this summer, I created a little "graphic memoir" for my roommates and I to commemorate the months of June and July. It's a short MagCloud [maga]zine that presents a goofy architectural/graphic analysis of our house and surrounding environment, describing how we used the rooms and what we did there.

Check it out here:

I would also like to mention that a friend of mine who was seriously involved in the Princeton University Band in college has been working on a new MagCloud zine of his own, charting the history of the group with lots of material from the university archives.

R.W. writes:
The idea with the MagCloud was that it's a way to publish preview and draft versions of the book before it's finished. It's an easy and professional-looking way to keep other band members, the Princetoniana Committee, the Athletics Department, and other interested parties informed about the content and progress of the book; later, it will be useful for shopping the finished product around to various publishers when looking for a printing & distribution deal; and, perhaps most importantly, it's a new way for the band's friends and alumni organization to get alumni more involved with the band.

Rather than just sending out quarterly mailings asking for money, the Friends of Tiger Band can send these small historical MagClouds to attract the attention of some alumni who may have grown apart from the group since their days as an undergraduate. It doesn't directly solicit money, so it's not subject to Alumni Giving's fundraising black-out periods, but may lead to increased alumni activity and donations with the band as a fortuitous side-effect, and may get alumni excited to purchase the full book once it is completed.

This is just the sort of thing that MagCloud—or any other self-publishing and printing service—wants people to be doing. The client just makes the updates and figures out what content to provide. The printing and distribution is handled for them. Awesome.

Check out the preview version of the zine here:

"The Spaceship Next Door"

It's funny seeing this story in the New York Times today. Guilford is the neighboring town to where I grew in Branford, Connecticut, and this "spaceship" was always a site of wonder, amazement confusion to me growing up. The house is right on the road that my family took to a restaurant we frequented.

Here's an image of the building using—GASP!—BING MAPS! They've got a great feature called "Bird's Eye View" that gives a very different look that Google's Street View (which isn't available for this location). [Update: This map view is old news, it's a feature that Microsoft has had for a while, and I just got excited when someone showed me recently, assuming it was new with Bing (thanks, R.W.!)

Click here for a view from the air (rotate to get more views of it, too...then use this to find your house and see if you can see your cars in the driveway).

Very funky building, and very cool to see it getting attention from the NYTimes.

Who Lives There - Wilfred Armster Structure Moves Guilford, Conn., Beyond the Colonial Period -

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Look here for New York City nostalgia

Came across this collection of vintage NYC photos this evening. Incredible collection of images, the ones of the old Penn Station are incredible and tragic at the same time. The perspective of the photo where B-25 plane hit the Empire State Building is also amazing.

Penn Station (demolished)

From the outside:

Terrifying view

Ultimate skyline silhouette:

All photos found here:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Happy Birthday Adam!

Even though you're across the world, Egypt doesn't feel so far away when we're all thinking of you. Make it count, alright?


This new Flock browser

I've got no reason to talk about this other than I think it's pretty cool.

A friend recently turned me onto a new web browser called Flock. It's based on Firefox, so it supports all of the regular Firefox extensions. But it's Firefox and a whole lot more.

The idea is to create a browser that brings your "digital lifestyle" into once place, and it does a darn good job. The side toolbar (think bookmarks bar) now hosts a whole bunch of integrated features like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Picasa, Flickr, and lots of other apps and services that I'm not yet familiar with. At a single click, you can pop open your news feeds and "check out what's happening," and then just click and hide and get back to work, doing what you really SHOULD be doing.

The mini-blogging platform (which I'm using now) and media clipboard are perfectly integrated and are much nicer to write with than Blogger's interface (and provides you with more screenspace). This web clipboard allows you to drop and drop videos, pics, text, link, whatever and then just drag it into an email or post later on. So cool. So easy.

There's ALSO a media browser that sucks the pics and vids from a site and shows them in a scrollable bar across the top of the browser.

There are a few things missing that are VERY frustrating. Three main gripes:

1) Best thing about Firefox is that you can type regular words in the Awesome Bar (address bar)—something like "basset hounds wiki" or "pillars of the earth amazon"—and it will skip the search site and take you where you want to go. It guesses (usually correctly) at what you're looking for and saves you the hassle of that "www" and ".com" crap. Flock doesn't do this, and takes a lot of getting used to. I'm sure there's just some config setting to change that I don't know about yet.

2) You can't use the MacBook's fancy trackpad features like the 3-finger scroll to change pages, or go to top and bottom of the page. Slows down navigation and takes some relearning, if you've got the Firefox habits.

3) No Twitter groups. If you still don't "get" Twitter, then this probably doesn't mean much to you. But I've got a whole bunch of interesting people that I follow, in addition to close friends, and groups allow you to filter the tweets in your feed to you can read what you want when. Without groups, it becomes difficult to follow with everything coming into the same place (desktop apps like TweetDeck do this...Flock developers, don't make me go back to TweetDeck, please).

Despite these shortcomings, the overall feeling and success of Flock is overwhelmingly positive. I've got some other thoughts regarding the idea of having EVERYTHING in the same place that I'll save for later, but this works, and I recommend that anyone with at least a Facebook or Twitter account check it out, and start exploring the extra features.

Let us know what you think:

Thursday, August 6, 2009

You really can't steal this song

Radiohead's new song, "Harry Patch," pays tribute to last survivor of World War I who passed away recently on July 25, 2009. All proceeds from the song to the Royal British Legion.

Looks like you should think twice before your conscience allows you to run over to MediaFire or Hype Machine, huh?

via Boing Boing

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Teaching Young Dogs New Tricks: The past, present and future of collective experiences

It's becoming more and more difficult to say what it means when someone actually "tweets." There are so many different kinds of Twitter users that a single tweet could fall under one of many, many, many categories. Waaaay back in the day—like, a few months ago—it was pretty common to just broadcast stuff about yourself, things along the line of "just got back from a great jog!" or announce to everyone what kind of mustard you just used on your sandwich that day for lunch. Now we've expanded to business promotion, sharing ideas and links, posting photos, broadcasting news and gossip, and telling stories. The best part is that digital resources are now reaching more and more people, and interesting articles, videos, pictures and everything else that people are finding worth talking about are reaching a wider audience. After all, the internet is about connecting users as a single community, not simply connecting each of us to these resources independently of each other.

At one point, sharing links and saving links used to be two different things, but the line is starting to blur. Sharing links entails emailing, IMing and talking about cool or interesting stuff that you find. Saving links is about bookmarking and keeping stuff for later so you can go back to it when you need it. "Social bookmarking" was the first step in blurring this share-save divide. Services like Delicious ( emerged as way to keep track of how many people bookmark certain links, and the more people that bookmark it, the more popular it becomes, making it easier to find for more people: sharing and saving. It's now totally integrated with Firefox, so saving a bookmark to Delicious is just as easy as saving one to Firefox (and more powerful, since you can get to your links anywhere from the Delicious website).

Then Twitter came along. I knew lots of people who scoffed at the idea of sharing every small, minute detail of their lives with the world. But that was Twitter 1.0, and so much has changed since then. Twitter 1.0 was about what was happening now, in the present. With their redesigned homepage, Twitter has established itself not only as a way to talk about the present, but also what happened in the past and the future. The search feature encourages people to see what others are saying about [insert topic here], but it shows you what's other have already said about [insert topic here].

Fundamentally, Twitter is about the present, and Delicious is about saving stuff for future use. But change is afoot. Delicious—used for saving and discovering links that were bookmarked in the past—just recently rolled out some big changes to their site that use Twitter as a way to show what's popular and being discussed in the present. Since popular links might take a while to bubble to the surface before Delicious users get a chance to bookmark them, Delicious is using tweets to find out "what's hot," hoping that its users will see those popular links and then bookmark them.

That was the beginning of Twitter 2.0. It was a decisive moment because it established Twitter not just as something to keep track of the "right now," but also as a way to find out what we might want to look a later. The fact that Delicious is now using Twitter as way to track "save-worthy" links readjusts the responsibilities of Twitter users and what they're tweeting about: instead of just using Twitter as way to broadast what's happening in the moment, Twitter is becoming a way to save and search moments passed.

So maybe you've finally gotten into the habit of tweeting, you have followers and you're sending updates—whatever they might be—reguarly throughout your day. Good for you, but now's time for that dog to learn some new tricks. You've got to start thinking about what you're saying not just as a way to share what's going on now, but to save what happened for later. There are many services popping up—most notably OneRiot (—that keep track of what's being said on Twitter, and your tweets are providing others with valuable information about where to look for x, y and z, as well as the who-said-what when and the why-this-happened-there.

But why Twitter? Because everyone's doing it?

Yes, but there's more to it. It's always good to have a go-to service, something everyone understands and relies on. Somehow, Twitter has emerged as an accessible tool that lots of people love to use. The beauty of the 140-character limit is that, arguably, it makes sure that you only say what's necessary. The power isn't in the individual tweets themselves, but in the message of them as a single united voice of opinion. By readjusting our perspective on what a single tweet really means, we are helping to build a foundation of information knowledge about culture and experience, about news and people, and lives and lifestyles.

Fine, you can go ahead and protect your updates so no one can see them. But then who really cares what you have to say if you're not contributing to the conversation?

This video needs to be shared

I missed this whenever it was on TV, and wanted to make sure no one else has to go on living without it. It is nuts, and it is also about nuts.

It's an inverse relationship

The number of interesting things I do in the RW (or "are-dubs", as in "real world", duh) seem to be directly proportional to the number of interesting things I do in the blogosphere. It's been a busy few days, and the biggest piece of news was the move. Our lease at our house was up after two months, and it was time for me to move across the street. We're all going to miss that house, it really grew on us, and it's even more sad to not have that place to go back to everyday. Now I get to see another family in the front yard when I'm walking by on my way home, not us straight chillin', playing music and cookin' up a good time.

As for this past weekend, it was a whirlwind tour of 4 different music concerts: Bad Boy Bill @Pacha, Soulive and John Scofield@Prospect Park, Bad Plus minus their drummer plus Paul Motian@Village Vanguard and Dan Deacon/Deerhunter/No Age@Brooklyn Bowl. It was both seriously awesome and seriously exhausting. Key photographs to come, as well as key moments that can't, shouldn't and won't be forgotten.

Also, I'm considering moving this blog over to Tumblr...thoughts, anyone?