Full Coverage: James Brown, 1933 - 2006
James Brown - The Godfather of Soul Official site.
These days, I think things like projects through as thoroughly as I can while doing daily tasks and chores, figure out the most efficient way to get stuff done and then when I get to the project, I just execute the plan. Sounds kinda simple and obvious and even seems stupid, but I think it's working.
It's kinda like catchin' a wave, riding it up and onto the crest for a little bit and then cutting back down into it to ride it out. Nature is efficient in everything because that produces the best results, and more opportunities for success -- survival + efficiency creates accomplishment.
There's another set of waves coming right at me and I'm gonna catch one of them... gotta go!
Here's a wacky idea I got when I was talking on the phone with the F-Man about work stuff. It was just a little personal challenge to see if I could turn the idea into a graphic worth looking at -- and to share the idea with others...
It's just a little spoof, don't take it seriously.
Okay, I got a new job and love it. Back to the creamy-centered core with the old crew. The project is coming along nicely, but we're flying under the radar so I can't discuss it. We've got engaged customers, and a system to build from the roots-up -- but not a whole lot of time to build it. This is agile development from the trenches. Basically, we brainstorm often and communicate a lot. We figure out what we need to do in manageable chunks, divy-up tasks and get right to it. We don't do a great deal of documentation just yet either.
I'm staring at one of the new Dell 24" panels, with a Dell820 (Dual chips, 2Gb RAM, and all the fixin's) under the hood. Still stuck on WindowsXP, but that's okay for now.
Riding on the right bus...
You know things are going well for a company when employees are happy, collaborative, and courteous to each other, and the kitchen is stocked better than your favorite grocery store. It's really nice to have a window seat because it provides opportunity for perspective.
A good working environment, good communication, the right tools. These are some of the things that make great companies great. Great companies make great products. These are basic but critical factors that tend to lead to success.
You can build things with a good hammer. Just about everyone likes a good bus ride. Everyone likes success.
Children's Halloween Safety Tips for Trick-or-Treating
Yankee Halloweens excellent list of Halloween Safety Tips
I'm not sure about this caution though... "DO NOT, repeat, DO NOT wear and use rollerblades to go out trick-or-treating" -- what if I'm planning to be "a rollerblader" this year?
Info on "upset stomach", or "indigestion"
This ScrapBlog tool is just amazing. You can assemble artwork, photos, or anything else into slideshows and mess with this little gem for hours. Flash 9 required, but worth the upgrade.
You can set permissions, create an rss feed, blast emails to share with contacts. Tools include crop, add link, edit photo, shadow, grid and more. The Scrapblog application also comes with some backgrounds, stickers, text, frames, and shapes -- and you can add more as you need them. Just get some photos and get started!
Verizon Quick Review:
By the way I switched my ISP to Verizon in August and its great. I get 15Mbs. bandwidth via fiber and its fast -- this old machine can't really take full advantage of it though. The install was free, but they had to put the dish on my roof rather than the side of the house to get the best angle to the satellite. I'll check it when I clean the gutters in the Fall and Spring. So far, I'm really happy with the service and it's a little cheaper than my previous ISP.
DirecTV Quick Review:
I also get DirecTV and its really good, unless the weather's rotten. I'm not as impressed about the NFL Sunday Ticket as I thought I'd be because it seems like I'm not getting as many games as I should (sometimes the games are "not in my area" or something). Having
the "mix" channels is cool too because you get to see small screens of the most popular channels being watched for several categories: Kids Mix, Sports Mix, and the News Mix for example. You can switch the audio for the screen you want to listen to, and select the channel from there.
Okay, so far I'm really impressed and today isn't awash with wasted efforts. I need to run some errands now, so I'll have to take a quick break from being productive here.
So much to do... anyway, I'll take a shot at some of my more efficient productivity methodologies and see if I can churn out some stuff, and get some of the ideas out of my head and onto this weblog.
Wow, I'm really loving the new features, and noticing more as I use the new beta blogger -- it really kicks butt for sure! I figured I'd better think about and possibly upgrade my blog's design and general look and feel, so I started by creating another instance of me (this "user icon") and next I'll look deeper into the new CSS, and templating I now have access to with this recent upgrade. I chose one of Jeffrey Zeldman's templates to start with.
Please be patient, I have a lot on my plate. My advice to other folks using blogger is to upgrade if you're given the option.
Okay, seems like this is related to an upgrade. Here's the error...
001 java.net.ConnectException: Connection refusedblog/53/15/13/latentdesign/archives/2006_10_01_latentdesign_archive.html
Ah well, hmmn there's an "upgrade" note mentioned -- no, that was for last year, and it seems the upgrade went smoothly. Nothing specific in the online help (which by the way is usually really good). Perhaps I've broken some kind of rule or violated an agreement -- I'll look into that as I get more time. Okay, well I'll keep trying in the hope of getting things running again.
Thanks for giving me some of your time. :-)
UPDATE: Seems there's always a work-around! Here's what I did... Logged-out and then back in to my account, and then upgraded to the new version of Blogger at beta.blogger.com and I have to say I'm liking it a lot so far for sure. Oh, and did I mention that it's lightening fast?
This is an example of the creamy-goodness surrounding the way that Google quietly and pleasantly adds value and new features without disruption to their customers. This is a standard others should follow. You go Google/Blogger! And thank you for your excellent service and products. This is how you maintain customer loyalty...
As I waded through their sign-up "process" I began to get an uneasy feeling... Was it the poor interface design? Maybe all those blinking advertisements -- which seemed to have little or no relevance to me as a user -- were putting me in a hypnotic trance? Wow, this thing is just painful, and seemingly designed to shove as many ads down a user's pipeline as is technically possible, and still have a bit of room for content on the screen. Hmmmn, radio buttons strewn about, check-boxes placed after text and in a disorderly fashion, at least 35 items in the left column navigation, and on it went...
Possibly the worst abuse of them all was this: user's have to opt out of the smorgasbord of crap the site has signed them up for (these folks have been "invited" by the way, and are guests the service wants to turn into loyal paying customers), and then comes the big one -- you are forced to choose one of their paid subscription services (which by now you probably don't want). By this time, I was frustrated and heated up enough to realize what was going on... So, despite that fact that I was given a free month of service at their mid-level price, I chose the "Free Trial" which apparently (and conveniently?) only lasts for two weeks before timing out. Okay, so now these losers have my email and want me to be associated with this crappy service? Wrong!
My brain had now warmed-up enough to quickly figure this out. I changed my email account to one I no longer use, which they then logged me out and forced me to log in and then verify. This will be changed again to a phony email shortly -- I'll beat them at their own slithery game. It's funny that I can't find any way to quickly cancel or delete this account...
If this is how they plan to "entice" new customers to sign up, I've got two words for them and they're not, "good luck". Save yourself the headache when someone invites you to a sip of their snake-oil-like service, and push the invite to your spam and blocked senders list.
Oh, and by the way, stay out of my inbox.
Scary, huh? My first thought was the old Groucho Marx quote -- then "hey I am somebody, I think"... and then "hey, why's my avatar got a light blue background?" Maybe it's a sign of my current state of mind: " Kind of Blue"? Anyway, maybe this is some sort of progress... back to the grind!
Lately I've been spending alot more time just surfing, absorbing, doing, and thinking. My feeling is good design comes from both practicing the craft, and crafting the practice. It seems obvious that you need to actually use something to begin to understand it fully, formulate an opinion or get something done, and only then will you begin to be able to impove it.
Paths To Be Travelled.
I've been on a jaunt hitting as many "buzzed" sites, cool sites, and web applications as I can -- and actually using them. I've been messin' with this blog (admittedly nothing innovative, special, entertaining, or even informative here), tinkered with a bevy of bookmark sites (like del.icio.us, ma.gnolia, blinklist), and delved into some of the more social nooks and crannies out there. I'm only now -- after really working with these tools and toys as on a regular basis -- beginning to gain an appreciation of the power and positive aspects of what can and should be done for the user (or better described as consumer). As I wade through it all my expectations rise. I'm writing this post from my Gmail account, but could have just as easily used my Yahoo! account, or even logged into blogger.
Knowing all the latest acronyms, buzzwords, tech-speak, and techno-babble will only get you so far -- and if your lucky enough, a free cup of coffee and an engaging conversation. The point at which I always seem to wind-up is all of it doesn't matter without a user or consumer. If you build it, they may come. Hype won't keep them coming. Simplicity and usefulness will. As I try to squeeze as much into each day these days, I use the methods, and products that allow me to get things done easily and efficiently, and sometimes with elegance. What's my user experience? Lately, it's generally getting better and I seem to be doing more and actually getting more done in less time. In a sense, I'm using it to infuse it. As I go about my daily business I'm noticing new patterns, new approaches and ways of doing things and helping to achieve desired results by design. My goal is to become a better designer along the way.
Practicing the craft requires using the products you are crafting. Crafting the practice to me means developing methods and processes to enable or create successful results on a consistent basis.
Click on a number to change the image, doubleclick it to view the full image. Use the mouse wheel to cycle through.
Mario Klingemann's weblog is definitely read-worthy, check it out for more information and more mondo-cool stuff...
QuasiMondo: Almost Home
Wow. This is great. This is a really interesting YouTube video of a guy who spends a lot of time messing around with huge blocks of concrete. His efforts shed light on some possible solutions to amazing and sometimes mystrious engineering projects. I like his focus on simplicity, science and basic physics, and his "down to earth" style.
In the meantime, open your ears, and put your wallet back in your pocket -- check out jamendo
"On jamendo, the artists distribute their music under Creative Commons licenses. In a nutshell, they allow you to download, remix and share their music freely. It's a "Some rights reserved" agreement, perfectly suited for the new century.
These new rules make jamendo able to use the new powerful means of digital distribution like Peer-to-Peer networks such as BitTorrent or eMule to legally distribute albums at near-zero cost...
On jamendo you can freely download music from all genres, write your own reviews, and participate..."
Imagine a world in which every single person is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge....
Wikipedia - Encyclopedia
Wiktionary - Dictionary
Wikiquote - Collection of quotations
Wikiversity - Free learning tools
Wikinews - Free-content news
Wikibooks - Free textbooks and manuals
Wikisource - The free library
Wikispecies - Directory of species
Commons - Shared media repository
The Catalyst: How open source design (and a big shot of fashion) saved Puma, and invented an industry.
Puma has since become the fourth-largest athletic apparel company in the world, a transformation that testifies to Zeitz's vision and willingness to roll the dice. After spending several years kicking the company's bad habits--by slashing production costs and regaining control of U.S. distribution, among other things--he decided to put an unrestrained 21-year-old skateboarder named Antonio Bertone in charge of a new division called "sport lifestyle" to incubate experimental fashion projects.
Zeitz, meanwhile, has gone on to turn his company into an open-source design playground."
"Are we almost there yet?"
"The butterfly that goes from Canada to Mexico and partway back lives six to nine months, but when it mates and lays eggs, it may have gotten only as far as Texas, and breeding butterflies live only about six weeks. So a daughter born on a Texas prairie goes on to lay an egg on a South Dakota highway divider that becomes a granddaughter. That leads to a great-granddaughter born in a Winnipeg backyard. Come autumn, how does she find her way back to the same grove in Mexico that sheltered her great-grandmother?
Wildebeest, in their famous migration across the Serengeti, learn by following their mothers — or aunts, if crocodiles get Mom. But the golden horde moving south through North America each fall is a throng of leaderless orphans.
Birds orient themselves by stars, landmarks or the earth's magnetism, and they, at least, have bird brains. What butterflies accomplish with the rudimentary ganglia filling their noggins is staggering."
I've (finally) had a little spare time to do the mega-surfing that I used to do on a regular basis last night, and again early this
morning. This is a good thing.
I went on a Web2.0 binge in search of what's going on in the industry,
who's doing it right, and ways to spread the word and share it.
One critical aspect of mega-surfing is the need to let things sit, and
well, fester a bit. Maybe simmer would be a better word?
SitePal... allows you to create a wide-array of animated speaking characters, which can be added to your website for a variety of applications. You've got a friend at SitePal!
Helpful web tools are at Centricle.com. Delve into the interactive browser rules support matrix, word & character counter that would even impress Sesame Street's Count von Count, favelets galore, a bitchin' regular expression tool and a text wrapper that would get respect from even the most Gangsta developer in you -- just to name a few.
CSS Mania - A showcase offering more than 400 screenshots a month. Looking for CSS design inspiration?
LifeClever - Tips for design and life.
DESIGN SOJOURN - How to do good design and create clever products!
MyHeritage face recognition technology discovers which celebrities you look like...
Make: technology on your time. A wordless pancake recipe, and lots of other cool projects...
Jackson Pollock (jacksonpollock.org) by Miltos Manetas, original flash animation by Michal Migurski. Cool Flash stuff...
EasyPrototype - Make Your Designs Understood the First Time.
EasyPrototype is software that lets anyone create instant interactive prototypes from hand-drawn or electronic images without programming.
Unfortunately, I can't show you or discuss the details of what we're working on, but suffice to say it's gonna be impressive if everything falls into place as planned. I will try and squeeze out some examples when I get some spare time though. In the interim, I'll post a few juicy links here... and I'll post more as time permits, and as I find 'em. These should keep you busy for a while though. ;-)
+ Related links:
Flex 2 SDK, Adobe Flex Builder 2 (An Eclipse based IDE for Flex application development), Flex 2 Component Explorer, Flex 2 Style Explorer, flex.org, FlexDaddy.info, Much Ado About Something***, Live Relection by Jason/Calm In The Chaos, FlashGuru, Flash Magazine, Moock.org's MoockBlog, and Google Search Results.
That said, I was looking through the web tonight to see if I could find this birthday thing and stumbled on "textorizer - vectorise a picture using text strings" which takes text strings and maps them to an image, and then creates an SVG output. The tool is by Dan Brickley who, among other things, contributes to the FOAF Project.
This is very cool I must say, and I love text photos (and really wish I had more RAM to mess with it a bit more) because they tell more than a thousand words.
My machine is at a virtual crawl at the moment, so I'll just try and post a Self Portrait [PNG version of the SVG saved from inkscape] of what I was able to save for your perusal.
This isn't just a typical time-sink, this one is actually physically painful due to frustration, headaches, poor posture from long hours in a bad chair... Computers should always work for humans and not the other way around. More on this topic some other time. Where's the love?
UPDATE Friday July 28, 2006: This was not meant as a "Dvoraked" perspective (or rant) on the pros/cons of CSS, it's use, or current confromance of different user agents... I think it was just late, and I was very tired -- I'm not really sure what my point was anyway, but I felt better after writing the post.
+ Other posts: Molly E. Holzschlag, Dvorak's Article - Why CSS Bugs Me (him, not me!) - not sure what his point is either...
A fisherman makes a very unusual catch at Buffalo Springs Lake.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a fisherman hooked a fish he says he`s never seen before and lake officials are just as amazed: a 20-pound fish with what looks like human teeth.
Scott Curry has caught thousands of fish at Buffalo Springs Lake. He knew his catch was something special from the time he hooked it.
"It took a long time to (reel)in," he says. "I didn`t want to lose it. I was afraid line would break on it."
After reeling in the 20-pounder, Curry realized it wasn`t a typical catch. This one had teeth.
"I haven`t seen anything like it," he says.
+ Full story...
Red Bellied Pacu Fish, The Amazonian and Guianan forests, Photos / Fish and Angling, FishBase.org Photos, KAMC28 LOCAL NEWS Lubbock, TX...
Update Tuesday, July 25, 2006: My, What Big Teeth You Have!
Wed Jul 19, 6:46 PM ET
GOLDEN, Colo. - Beer company executive Pete Coors has pleaded not guilty to charges of driving under the influence and failing to stop at a stop sign.
His attorney entered the pleas for him Tuesday and Coors did not appear in court, said Jefferson County district attorney's spokeswoman Pam Russell.
Coors, 59, vice chairman and a director of Molson Coors Brewing Co., was pulled over by the state patrol May 28 after he left a friend's wedding celebration.
+ Full story...
+ Other coverage...
If your into real sports, make it a point to watch Wednesday Night Fights on ESPN2. That said, watch all the boxing you can -- it's good for your soul.
Speaking of Soul, did you know that the infamous/famous James Brown, The Godfather of Soul, was a boxer at one point? True. Just look it up in his autobiography, "James Brown The Godfather of Soul" -- it's a really good read, and a true rags-to-riches story.
Speaking of good books, I plan on reading Teddy Atlas' biography "Atlas: From the Streets to the Ring: A Son's Struggle to Become a Man" at some point soon. You should too...
Life in "the square-circle" is a lot about setting the table. It's about 25% preparation, 25% skill, 25% smarts, 25% effort, and 75% heart -- and in the end it all adds up. ;-)
+ Related links: FightNightNews.com, JewBoy Promotions, TalkingBoxing.com, BoxingScene.com, Title Boxing Equipment, HBO Boxing, more...
I think it's worth the download and a try, but hold-off if you need your extensions or like your themes and stuff like that. Here's a MacWorld article that delves into some of these things in more detail... First Look: Firefox 2 beta.
Ah yes, this is better than good -- took a few minutes to mess with MacOSaiX and it it really awesome! You can grab it at http://homepage.mac.com/knarf/...
You can select a photo, pick a few keywords and then grab your mosaic tiles from a bunch of different image sources like google images, or flickr, or use glyphs (i haven't tried that yet though).
Here's the MacOSaiX (from my photo) I made this afternoon.
You know when you're in the midst of a development cycle and things just don't seem to be "coming together" as they should? Well, that's how it was for a while, but today things have begun to really "gel" in terms of the schedule, the product, and the UI -- so much so that I'm pleasantly surprised -- and actually I'm feeling really good about how the new functionality works in the product and the way in which it looks and feels to the user.
I hope to put some screens here, or maybe a link or two so you can see for yourself.
Another look at Netscape...
I had to test something posted on the JBoss forums to see if in fact our theme architecture had gone awry on Netscape. of course, this is a new laptop, so i had to get Netscape and install it again. i remember back in the day doing a rollout of Netscape 2 for BBN as a contractor. i gotta say that it's really come a long way over the years...
They're getting bold with the main menus to the right -- threw me at first though. the "Display Like" menu on the left-side of the tray is cool and seems to render well for each (Firefoxf, or IE6.x) seems handy.
They've gone wild with the menus though -- there are two SECURITY CENTER menus, bookmarks, the Weather Bug, Webmail, tabbed browsing of course, the sidebar (with it's own tabs) -- oh, AND it also displays web pages!
JBoss Portal Demo
JBoss has set up a demo of the 2.2 Portal (thanks for the heads-up Martin) and it seems like things are really getting there. it's not live yet, check it if you get time JBoss Portal 2.2 demo
15 Mar 2006
I've finally spent a little time with some new tools, etc.
I've been messing around with some new software tools lately and figured i'd share.
GIMPshop - GIMP hack
This is a nice idea -- tweak The GIMP to be more like Photoshop. I gave it the old college try, and yes it's better (multiple documents vs. single, palettes and names match better, etc.) but it isn't close enough for me yet. At the end of the day it just come down to price, what's the overall cost of not using best of breed, and how many hoops do you want to jump through just to get through the day?
* try GIMPshop
Project ManagementThis one seems promising. I feel like we've got so much going on that it makes sense to use something to help me manage it all in terms of
project work. I was never great with MS Project, but this open source tool seems to give it a good run...
* try OpenWorkbench
TWiki Firefox extensionI'm using this one now. Mike D. just showed me this one and it seems to make the wiki blogging experience a little better/easier... I'm a
horrible typer these days (i used to type 45 words/min), so for me it helps. It's a TWiki toolbar and context menu for Firefox (i'm currently using Firefox 126.96.36.199 and it works) and it's definitely worth a spin.
* try Twiki Firefox Extension Add-On
Blog and feed aggregation solution
Web 2.0 API Reference
Maya on Linux - but budget and time restricts me...
I'd love to play with SoftImage too... Blender is just a little too left-brain for me.
From Don S.:
"By a good margin, Adobe Photoshop is the one application that most people want ported to Linux"
16 Feb 2006