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December 6 to 12, 2004
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Architects Are Really Poor Web Designers
I came across this link on the "sea ranch cabin":
I really like the design sense of the architects behind it, but am continually frustrated by the design of architects' Web sites. Architects typically have the least usable sites on the Internet - they're full of Flash and require way too many clicks and motions to get to the real content - which is usually obscured by fancy, obtuse navigational elements. If I'm a potential client, I want to be able to save images and content-specific URLs for future reference. I want to be able to get to past works quickly and navigate the portfolio easily. I want to know exactly what the firm has done in the past, and what their credentials and press are. I don't need or want fades, dissolves, animation, or background audio. Is this so hard? Earlier this week there was a popular link to the top usability issues of musicians' sites - which are generally just as bad for the same reasons. Architects need to put as much attention into the usability of their information as they do their physical structures:
New Tech
Handy Mac-based tools for those recording audio interviews that need transcription:
The sparkline PHP graphing library allows Web designers to convey large sets of information in a compact, useful way:
New old tech - Apple's selling refurbished Macs now, at discounts up to 1/3 off:
Modern Life
The Supreme Court will hear the case on whether P2P service providers are liable for content on their systems! This popular item is worth repeating and may change how you experience, purchase, and sell content online:
In an area of SUV-dominated San Francisco, a car gets ticketed for being too small:
"Santa's seen it all"
Handy child psychology tips and world-weary wisdom from a 14-year store Santa veteran:
Restaurants are installing fake phone booths for use by cell phone users to minimize noise pollution:
A pioneering global study shows that U.S. kids don't rank so well in math skills:
Thanks to overcrowding and stress over Muslim immigrants, more are leaving Holland than entering:
"Film use fading like an old photo"
In 2006 more images will be printed from digital film than from traditional camera film:
A slew of cell phone tour guide companies are taking off:
A nice introduction to randomness and why it's so important to science:
Terrorism and You
John Perry Barlow's fight against Homeland Security may set a legal precedent regarding searches:
"In sworn affidavit, programmer says he developed vote-rigging prototype for Florida congressman; Congressmanís office silent":
"Democrats on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee have asked Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell to answer for a host of voting irregularities they say occurred in Ohio Nov. 2.":
The Beginning of the Terminator
The military's using robots with machine guns now:
Homeless Iraq vets are showing up at shelters:
"US Army plagued by desertion and plunging morale":
Health/Environment
Watching TV "rewires" infant brains, causing behavioral disorders:
Place a remote camera on an eagle and this is what you get. See an eagle dogfight from the eagle's point of view!
An inspiring account of an organic farmer in Marin County, CA. - this is the future of farming:
An absolutely cool higher-tech redesign of the VW bus. I think this would be a huge hit:
How to get your house off the grid:
The same author believes renewable energy could be Silicon Valley's Next Big Thing:
Here's a good resource for the enviro-conscious - treehugger.com:
A paper vase made of recycled design magazines:
LED holiday lights - bulbs are so 2003!
An interesting essay on how anti-consumerism can actually increase consumerism:
Beijing's Watercube, which aims to be a sponge-like masterpiece of biological architecture:
Art/Design/Music
Beautiful photos of all the national parks in the U.S.:
I'm intrigued by the clean design of this design magazine - it seems to be getting raves:
It's still a little early to call, but here are some pictures of the year, more worthy for their subjects than aesthetics:
The Eiffel Tower has a skating rink for the first time in 115 years:
Mark Morford details the long history of rock and roll selling out to corporate interests:
An essay on dysfunction in popular music. What did you expect from kids who were products of the highest divorce rates in history?
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