New tools, and a spankin' fresh new look...

...this is me, ptamaro. :-)
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.

Hello, hello, hello... Is This Thing On?

Now that I'm trying to put some real effort into my weblog and make it visit-worthy, I'm getting publish errors... What a bummer this is since I have a topic in mind that I'd like to write about and a few that come to mind that somewhat related to the error. Let's see if this thing's on, and I'll keep trying!

Okay, seems like this is related to an upgrade. Here's the error...
001 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 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...

Battered-User Experience. Oh my goodness, are they serious?

Okay, I know it's kinda early on a rainy Saturday morning, but this one deserves a post for sure. I noticed an email from someone who is in my network on a particular web service. I clicked on it to read, and investigate what the deal was. In short, my visit to Ecademy[dot]com was a time sink at best. This is a classic example of poor user experience -- and quite possibly "abuser experience" would better describe my visit.

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.

Whoa, now... I'm a "poster-child"? Scary...

Ok, so I just noticed that I've made number seven on the "top contributor" list on

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!

You have to be in it to win it, I think.

Back to Square One, Again.
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, 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.

Rockin' Around the Clockr...

Clockr uses random digit images from Flickr to display the current time.
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