Saturday, June 18, 2005
in lame design from CNN
This e-mail alert interface widget is on the sidebar of an article about the
girl who went missing in Aruba. There's only one option available, which would
dictate a check box, not a radio button. Once the user clicks the radio button
it, they can't de-select it. I suppose once you've got a few alerts activated,
maybe radio buttons would make more sense. I'd hazard to guess that your active
alerts would all be listed, and you could use the radio buttons to select and deactivate some. Of course,
there's already a “Manage alerts” link, which ought to provide a certain amount
of control over such matters, but I'm speculating. It requires a whole registration process, and I'm not interested enough
to experiment. Suffice it to say, the default appearance when there are no
alerts set, looks lame. I wonder if this is a case of a clueless interface designer, or one of management meddling.
“The amount of erotic content a work of art can hold in solution is
– Kenneth Clark
Go get 'em, Oliver.
For a couple of days now, I've fooled around with the templates and themes
feature of iView. I'm getting somewhere. Using the feature, I'll be able to
generate web galleries of my shots, using my own page design, with minimal
editing after the page is built. I've never been fond of the generic galleries
that come out of iView or even iPhoto. With this feature I can add my own branding
and copyright notices, and omit the “Built with iView” badge and link.
all good. What's not good, are the bugs and the crappy code that they use
in their example pages. Some of it looks like it was written in HTML 2.0.
I had to mess
around a bit to figure out that the tag that's supposed to insert the full-size
my image into a page was inserting a goofy little gif icon, instead. Since
I'm on a unix-based host, capitalization is important. That ruled out some
other options. Finally, I figured out a work-around. I generated a test gallery,
and my full-sized image sprang into view.
The next thing to do, is to work up a nice design using good, clean
HTML and CSS. I think I already have an application for it with a client.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
PBS: Not a Hoax This Time
I can't count the number of times I've been forwarded the infamous “This morning
on NPR, Nina Totenberg said...” e-mail. I waved somebody off just a week or
two ago. Now, it looks like the hoax e-mail was a collective premonition.
Friday, June 10, 2005
A House subcommittee voted yesterday to sharply reduce the federal government's
financial support for public broadcasting, including eliminating taxpayer funds
that help underwrite such popular children's educational programs as "Sesame
Street," "Reading Rainbow," "Arthur" and "Postcards
In addition, the subcommittee acted to eliminate within two years all federal
money for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting -- which passes federal funds
to public broadcasters -- starting with a 25 percent reduction in CPB's budget
for next year, from $400 million to $300 million.
MoveOn is organizing a response. They've already collected 300,000 signatures
opposing the action, and they're aiming to collect another 100,000 by the end
of the day. Please sign
IN REALITY, THE ARTIST WHO 'SELF-CENSORS' IS CENSORING (AND HENCE DISRESPECTING)
THE ART, AND THE PEOPLE WHO ARE DENIED ACCESS TO THE ART. (S)HE IS ALSO MAKING
THE CENSORING OF OTHER ARTISTS ... AND PEOPLE IN GENERAL ... MUCH EASIER.
I need to keep this in mind. I sense that it has even broader significance
than I understand right now.
Yesterday's NY Post
couldn't take acquittal for an answer. The headline read “Boy Oh Boy,” and the
subhead referred to Michael Jackson as “Jacko.” Now, that's what I call impartial,
thoughtful reporting. Clearly, the press has its own convictions.
Conn. Gov. Vetoes School Junk Food
HARTFORD, Conn. - Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell vetoed a bill Tuesday, 6/14/05,
that would have banned most
soft drinks and junk food from Connecticut school cafeterias, school stores and
vending machines. The legislation also would have required 20 minutes of physical
activity for young students through fifth grade each day, outside of gym class.
In an Orwellian turn of phrase, the governor said that imposing
state standards on
school districts for nutrition and physical education “undermines the
responsibility of parents with school-aged children.” Instead, the governor
called on the education commissioner to develop guidelines for school
nutrition and physical education policies. Guidelines, of course, are merely
suggestions. If “rules are meant to be broken,” guidelines are meant to be
The real deal: Soft drink companies had lobbied fiercely against the bill,
and schools expressed concerns about losing revenue from sales.
“In our Diogenes search for physical beauty, our instinctive desire is not
to imitate, but to perfect.”
– From The Nude by Kenneth Clark
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
So much of photography is about the quest for a certain quality of light. Softboxes,
though potentially overused, are a good way to go, when you want an even light
source with soft shadows. It's a particularly nice kind of light when you want
to do fill flash, or when reflective surfaces are involved. Too often, strobe
lights just blow out the highlights. My SB-800 comes with a diffuser dome, but
the light through it was still too hot and uneven in most cases. I'd seen
what studio softboxes can do, so...
Yesterday, I plunked down $30 (less than the cost of a movie date with snacks)
for a LumiQuest softbox. I figured at that price, it was a cheap experiment.
The thing doesn't look like much: a soft vinyl box with a milky-white translucent
face. Unlike a rectangular studio softbox, the bottom part of the LumiQuest
is pushed upward, like a pentagon with the tip folded inward. The translucent
face of the diffuser has a little lozenge-shaped piece of translucent material
affixed near its center, I guess to create a bit of extra light-absorption
and even out the light's output.
The whole box attaches to the strobe with velcro. The instructions mention
an 'optional cinch strap,' but I didn't see one. Maybe you have to pay for
I A/B'd the softbox against the diffuser dome, and there's no question: the
LumiQuest gives a more even light, and produces softer shadows. Bye-bye dome.
I'll probably pick up a second softbox for the other strobe.
Monday, June 13, 2005
Stay Cool, if U Can
SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE UPTON NY
412 AM EDT MON JUN 13 2005
BERGEN NJ-BRONX NY-EASTERN PASSAIC NJ-ESSEX NJ-HUDSON NJ-
KINGS (BROOKLYN) NY-NEW YORK (MANHATTAN) NY-QUEENS NY-
RICHMOND (STATEN IS.) NY-SOUTHERN WESTCHESTER NY-UNION NJ-
...HEAT INDICES IN THE 90S TODAY...90S TO AROUND 100 TUESDAY...
THE BERMUDA HIGH WILL REMAIN ANCHORED OVER THE WESTERN ATLANTIC
THROUGH TUESDAY. THIS SYSTEM HAS BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR THE HEAT AND
HUMIDITY WE HAVE EXPERIENCED OVER THE LAST FEW DAYS. UNFORTUNATELY...
IT MAY GET EVEN HOTTER BEFORE COOLER AIR ARRIVES LATER IN THE
TEMPERATURES AWAY FROM THE IMMEDIATE COAST THIS AFTERNOON ARE
EXPECTED TO CLIMB INTO THE MID 80S TO AROUND 90. TUESDAY AFTERNOON
MAY SEE READINGS IN THE UPPER 80S TO MID 90S. SUCH TEMPERATURES WHEN
COMBINED WITH DEWPOINT READINGS AROUND 70 DEGREES WILL PRODUCE HEAT
INDEX VALUES BETWEEN 90 AND 95 THIS AFTERNOON AND 95 TO AROUND 100
DEGREES TUESDAY AFTERNOON. RELIEF FROM THE HEAT CAN BE FOUND
AT THE SHORES WHERE TEMPERATURES WILL BE CONSIDERABLY LOWER.
IN THE MEANTIME...TO DEAL WITH THIS HEAT AND HUMIDITY...IT WOULD BE
WISE TO DRINK LOTS OF WATER OR OTHER NON-ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES...WEAR
LIGHT COLORED CLOTHING...AND IF POSSIBLE SPEND MORE TIME IN AIR
CONDITIONED OR WELL-VENTILATED PLACES.
The annual Puerto-Rican day parade was yesterday. I took this on Saturday.
I've been seeing cars decked-out for a couple of weeks.
Sunday afternoon, I sat in a bar that was showing the parade on the TV. The
sound was down, and music was playing, which heightened the visual impact of
coverage for me. I saw people dancing in all sorts of Puerto-Rican flags, underscoring
the focus of the celebration, but I also noticed the pervasive presence of
branding. One float was decked-out with dual giant Corona Bottles. Another
float, full of rappers dressed to look like clones of Fat Joe, was emblazoned
the Hot 97 logo. I'm sure the parade didn't finish without some reference to
The Mermaid Parade in Coney Island is a couple of weeks away.
They're trying to make it kid friendly these days, so participants will need
to be careful about “wardrobe malfunctions.”
Yesterday, I saw a photo taken by a local Brooklyn artist, who imagines participating
in this year's Mermaid Parade. I think her idea of what's permissible at the
parade might be a little out of date, though.
Headlines, Headlines, and Covers
• Stadium Hits Mike in the Polls – This obsession with polling numbers has
to end. Besides even tiny little random-rags that call themselves publications
have been prognosticating for weeks that Bloomburg would be “hurt” (in the
legacy; whatever part of the body that is) if the Olympics bid failed. What
would have been interesting, is if the polls hadn't moved down.
• I Blew $5M of 9/11 Cash – Lottery winners have a tendancy
to blow through their winnings, sometimes ending up worse-off than before they
hit the jackpot.
We've seen the same thing with suddenly-rich star athletes, and with overnight
sensations in the music industry. It shouldn't be surprising that some percentage
of the 9/11 widows would have a similar experience.This woman is apparently
the first to go public. I doubt she'll be the only one.
• This week's Time Out had a cover feature about “Babyburg” – how
folks in “Billburg” are becoming parents – trading nipple
rings for teething rings.
Forget whatever you heard about the “dog days” of Summer.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the thought of a hot cup of tea in the morning
was a very good idea. This photo doesn't show it, but you could see steam rising
from the cup that morning.