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Month: November 2008

The UX of Wagonwheel Projects

There is an old story I tell to describe a common engineering project that goes wrong. The Setup A customer wanted us to build a content management system for them.  They insisted we use Linux/Perl instead of Windows/Cold Fusion.  We had never used Linux/Perl before, but one of our employees said, “I can do it, I  know Perl.”  Sometimes, the desire for money gets the best of your judgment and you say OK.  It was just this one engineer doing the job without help because he was the only one experienced with Perl.  If it was in Cold Fusion, the…

The SuperDiv – Getting Closer

Liquid Canvas is the closest thing I have seen yet to my dream of a SuperDiv. The SuperDiv is a DIV that I can apply styles like: Rounded Corners Shadows/Glows Fades Transparencies Of course, there are details on each on of those. The Liquid Canvas demo is really good.  I am going to download it and try to make it work here.  Super cool!  This is exactly what Canvas should be used for.

The UX of UltraClean Floss

I love when things are designed well. Recently, I had my teeth cleaned.  I don’t go to the dentist enough, but when I do, I usually get all serious about my teeth for a few months.  I was in the drug store looking for floss and spent about 10 minutes staring at the selection.  It was overwhelming.  Each one seemed interesting.  Then I saw this box for Reach UltraClean. The first thing I noticed was the packaging.  The background was black, not white.  That was different.  Additionally, the packaging of the flss itself was semi-translucent.  This was also new.  Most…

Tilt-Shift Photography

I had never heard of Tilt-Shift Photography before.  This smashing magazine article on it is fascinating.  It’s all optical illusions using focus/blur.  I love it.  Check out the time-lapse stuff at the bottom.  It blows my mind. How awesome is it that you can trick the mind with just some fancy equipment?  I love how smart people can be.

jQuery Lightbox

I don’t have the opportunity to use plugins as much as I would like.  Today, I stumbled upon one that I think has excellent UX.  It is the jQuery LightBox.  Keyboard shortcuts, nice fade transitions, great usability for next/back and pleasant titles. If I were using a lightbox plugin, I think this is the one I would use. What would be supercool is a lightbox plugin like this which can plug in the flickr or picasa thumbnails.  I have to think this through.

Reframing Gay Marriage

I just finished reading the very short (100 pages) book called Don’t think of an Elephant by George Lakoff.  I thought it was excellent and highly recomend it.  I want to try it out. Proposition 8 passed in California, unfortunately.  It banned Marriage for Gay/Lesbian couples.  It defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. I hard supporters of Prop 8 talk about the sanctity of marriage.  And how you could have “civil unions” which were the same thing.  I was thinking this morning what else people who voted for Prop 8 would support.  Especially when it…

Mr. Fusion

Remember in Back to the Future when Doc fed his car garbage and it turned it into energy?  It was called Mr. Fusion.  I thought, “What a great idea!  Trun garbage into energy!” Well, they were pretty smart, I guess.  Today I heard news about a laser at Lawrence Livermore Labs that can create unlimited energy.  What is the fuel?  Old nuclear waste.  And guess what…it turns the waste into less toxic material. I am confident that, by the time Ethan graduates college, we will revolutionize energy in the world. Electricity will be nearly free. All new cars will be…

Email Template with 3D Effect

This one is inspired from a picture I saw with a shadow on the bottom.  The shadow doesn’t go all the way up, so I don’t have to worry about repeating background images.  It was a little bit of a pain but it worked out in the end.  I should probably swap the PNG files with GIFs instead. Email Template with 3D Effect. I tested it in ReturnPath to make sure it looked right.

TinyMCE and WordPress

Hmm, I seemed to have broken my wordpress editor.  It started with me trying to install the plugin to make the comments allow rich text editing.  This threw an error about some lang function not being there.  The forums weren’t that helpful, but one said to upgrade TinyMCE.  So I gave that a try.  Well, now the comments editor works, but the main post editor is jacked up. Nuts. Katie and I cleaned up alot this weekend.  We threw away some old books.  We put artwork on the walls.  Lots got accomplished. For some reason though, I feel like I…

Commadot Theme Part I

The sandbox is pretty easy to work with.  I haven’t checked it in IE6, but things seem to be going smoothly.  I decided a “cloud” motif. The truth is, I am not much of a graphic designer.  I know what looks good, but I can’t produce my own stuff very easily.  Clouds allow me to be fuzzy around the edges. Some things in my head were: Animated Friendly Rounded Corners Transparency 3D Layered Original Yes, this list is a jumble of different topic areas, but still, those were in my head. I started with jQuery and jQuery UI.  I added…

Sandbox Theme

I actually just broke my wordpress with some theme that went haywire. Well, I guess it’s about time I made my own theme anyway.  I am starting with the sandbox.  I will be editing and upgrading this theme over time. First thing is clearly jQuery.  Let’s get that bad boy in their right now.

WordPress 2.7 beta 2

I just upgraded to WordPress 2.7 beta 2.  It was confusing at first because I had a plagin that hid the tree on the left.  It’s an interesting upgrade so far.  Some things seem better for me, and some things just rub me the wrong way.  It’s just a beta, so I am not terribly worried. One thing is the color scheme.  Its black and grey.  What happened to the lighter friendlier colors.  This is a little depressing.  The images don’t look finished in many places, so I imagine they are still in flux.  The images for the buttons for…

Barack Obama Wins!

Yay for Barack Obama!  The first Hawaian in the White House.  I am extremely pleased.  Did you know I predicted Biden would go for president in 2008.  I predicted it in 2004!!!  Who is the man?! Yet, lots of other things did not go so well.  That horrible woman Bachmann won who said that Obama was un-american and that we need to bring back McCarthyism.  Ted Stevens, the Alaska felon, might win. (He is winning, but its a recount)  How the heck did that happen??  (He might be a felon, but he is our corrupt felon and he brings home…

Election propositions, 2008

Last year, I complained about too many California propositions and initiatives.  Clearly, no one was paying any attention.  There are a dozen new initiatives tomorrow.  The answer to most of them is “I don’t know!”  How am I supposed to know if the legislation will work?  So this year, I am making a stand and voting based on blind principle.  I am voting yes for anything “equal rights” or “energy” or “mass transit”.  Let’s see how that stacks up. Yes, mass transit. Yes, equal rights for chickens. Yes, equal rights for children. No, equal rights for teenage pregnant women. (I…