~ 09 January 2006 ~
I hope all of you had an enjoyable Christmas break. I’m pleased to report ours was much better than last year’s. No pens in eyes or anything like that.
Though I took hardly any time to do much other than family activities, I did take time to note a few things that came to mind during the break. Here they are in random order:
- I would surmise Florida has the most custom license plates (PDF) of any state. We saw close to two dozen different plates during our 3-week stay.
- It’s impossible to eat healthy on the road for 3 weeks straight.
- How bizarre that the human body can adjust itself to a new time zone in a relatively short timeframe. Florida is 2 hours ahead of Utah, so the first day we were back home, the boys were up at 5am (7am Florida time), we ate lunch at 10am, and had dinner at 4pm. We’re slowing easing back to Mountain Time.
- Skimboarding is apparently, once again, all the rage with the cool kids. They were all over the place at Siesta Key. It brought back memories of skimboarding in Northern California as a teen on a board I made in woodshop in 7th grade.
- The Sago Mine tragedy was truly just that — a complete tragedy. Perhaps nearly as tragic were the scores of erroneous headlines in print. I wonder if news blogging added to the confusion or corrected the false reports sooner. (I was offline most of the trip.)
- Thank you, Gmail Mobile.
- Assuming USC was about to trample all over Texas with a 12-point lead, I turned off the Bowl Championship with about 10 minutes left in the game and missed one of the best comebacks in bowl championship history. I’m such a loser. I suppose the game recap via iTunes will have to do.
- Losing 20/20 vision is no fun whatsoever. For years I’ve taken pride in my vision and hoped it would stay that way for years to come. Not so. Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed I can’t read distant signs as well as I used to. I suppose it’s part of aging, but I wonder if staring at a close computer screen for hours each day has sped up the process.
- On a happier note, go @media 2006! I’ll be presenting on Mobile Web Design, and I’m honored to be included in such great company. This won’t be my first trip to Europe, but it will be my first to England.
- A toddler will make virtually no sound at all if drowning in water above its head. Somehow two of my sons were underwater simultaneously while swimming in a pool at the start of our trip, and I was fortunate enough to be looking in the right direction when it happened. Otherwise I’m not sure I would have heard/seen it immediately. (They were both fine, just a little startled.)
- Coldplay’s Fix You is my vote for best song of 2005. It’s become a bit commercial since, but I was immediately enamored by it the day of X & Y’s release.
- An iPhoto printed album with photos from our family shoot at Sundance was by far the best gift we gave this Christmas.
- Sprint’s coverage is markedly worse in the Tampa/Orlando/Sarasota areas compared to coverage here in Utah.
- I’ve been describing myself as “New Media Designer” for some time now when people ask what I do for a living. I don’t know why, but there’s something about “Web Designer” that strikes a bad chord with me. Like it sounds lower-caste or something, even though I mean the same thing. I don’t know. Maybe I’m being haughty, and maybe “New Media” isn’t the best term either.
- I thumbed through a few tech books over the break, and for some reason it made me wonder if the style of writing in which we’ve become accustomed to reading and authoring is doing more harm than good. Meaning, we tend to write very casually, without a lot of fancy adjectives and complex sentence structure. I wonder if this “dumbing down” for the sake of clarity and “get to the point” value is causing me to sacrifice long-term education for short-term skill enhancement. Make any sense? That’s why I never tire reading Khoi Vinh’s Subtraction. Not only do I enhance my skills, but Khoi writes with such eloquence that I can’t help but walk away educated too.
- Yahoo! Go Mobile launched last week, while Kelly Goto offered her 2006 mobile predictions.
- JSM started a new bi-weekly feature titled “Under The Loupe”, the first of which, White Space, is notably good.
- This was the coolest card I saw this Christmas.
- Guy Kawasaki started blogging.
- Vermont Originals sports some sweet hand-crafted flap hats for those of us outside Florida.
- The December/January 2006 Issue of Fortune Small Business has an interesting write-up on Umbria, a blog research firm in Boulder, Colorado. Long story short, after a spider crawls through some 20 million blogs in less than a minute, a linguistic algorithm analysis produces an “Umbria Buzz Report”, which tells clients how their products or services are being portrayed in the blogosphere. It even estimates audience age, gender, and such things as sarcasm based on the blogger’s writing style. With clients such as Sprint, SAP, and Electronic Arts, I wonder if I need to follow this company a bit more closely.
- Newsvine beta invites began shipping. I’ve been using it for a little over a month now, and I’ve been quite impressed. I hope many of you have had or will have the chance to take a peek, as well.
What other news did I miss while out?
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A selection of fine reading, available for a limited time only:
- Jobs home page reorg
- Coming soon: Mobile Web Design, the book
- Dyson ad: Text as more than just words
- Setting sail for Europe
- Review: Sumo Omni bean bag chair
- Dashboard widget for Authentic Jobs
- Limited-time offer: $99 listings
- Nine skills that separate good and great designers
- Fire sale
- Introducing AuthenticJobs.com
CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standard Solutions A solid round-up of indispensable CSS design techniques by Andy Budd, Simon Collison, and Cameron Moll.
Mobile Web Design A guide to publishing web content beyond the desktop. Tips, methodology, and resources. Now available.
Letterpress Posters The unassuming beauty of a freshly letterpressed print.
That Wicked Worn Look. Techniques for that worn, aged, distressed look.
Mister Retro Machine Wash Filters Turn the dial to “Instaworn” with these filters.
Blinksale Dive in and enjoy shamelessly easy invoicing from Firewheel Design.
Basecamp My preferred web app for internal and client project collaboration.
HOW Conference Austin, June 24–27. Pentagram, Adobe, P&G, et al.
Web Design World Seattle, July 20–22. Practical sessions on web design.
Stimulate Salt Lake City, September 2009. Entrepreneurship and design conference.