Iâ€™ve often wondered what kind of freelance designer subscribes to Print Magazineâ€”or any other designer magazine for that matter. Ranging from $12 to $25 an issue, I have to ask myself if I got suckered when I recently purchased Print Magazine and Step Into Design Magazine–or if it was worth it. Okay, so I found some of the content intellectually stimulating, but, alas, paying for ads–I’m submitting to commercialism at its best (or worst!).
These designer magazines usually focus on print design, but almost always touch on product design, architecture, and Web design (along with a few sprinkled rockstar designer interviews and catchy stock photo ads). While I acknowledge that design spans different mediums, Iâ€™d prefer the articles be on interactive design (something that doesn’t always get the cover). It seems like a magazine based around this model never works, as interactive design is usually devoted to an annual; anyone attempting to create anything even remotely resembling a Web-only design magazine ends up declaring bankruptcy two issues in–worse yet, if they don’t declare bankruptcy, they play the let’s-convert-our-publication-to-a-Web-only concept. Suddenly the lack of researched articles becomes evident, the lack-of-budget shows, and the site loses what popularity it had. Hmm, I wonder if I just uncovered the designer magazines’ need for such high cover prices…
If you know me well enough, then you know that I tend to foolishly squander money on going out to eat. Iâ€™m told it runs in the family, but who knows, maybe I think Milton Glaser was onto something by being both a graphic designer and a food critic.
Someday I plan on heading south to Phillyâ€™s Le Bec-Fin, but perhaps Iâ€™ve found something better in my own backyard; running through Zagatâ€™s 2005 NYC Restaurant Map I discovered Per Se, Thomas Kellerâ€™s restaurant at the Time Warner Center.
I was recently contracted to create a new screensaver for Breathsavers along with a number of site updates. The screensaver is now live on the Breathsavers site, and if anyone’s wondering what the code looks like it can be found on my ITP site (Wave Pattern). Granted, performance-wise, Flash definitely isn’t Java, but I think it’s a cool effect nonetheless.
Being in a class with Doug Rushkoff makes it no surprise that Iâ€™ve seen his PBS series, The Persuaders (Itâ€™s streaming free off the Persuaders site, I recommend checking it out). In last weekâ€™s class we analyzed the work of Frank Luntz within the context of his interview. â€œWhat is the difference? It is climate change. Some people call it global warming; some people call it climate change. What is the difference?â€ Luntz asks in his interview. The difference, Frank, is that climate change tells us less informationâ€”it could be cold or warm, and is therefore an inaccurate lingual representation of what we really need to understand the growing problem.
Check out The Corporation, a documentary that presents big businessâ€™s impact with society. Granted, Iâ€™m not a huge Michael Moore supporter (did they have to end it with him?), and I donâ€™t agree at their finger wagging towards IBMâ€™s involvement with the Holocaust (the film points out that IBM hardware was leased to the Nazis to assist in accounting for Jewsâ€”it falls under the old â€œguns donâ€™t kill peopleâ€ argument), but itâ€™s quite an eye-opener, otherwise.
Whatâ€™s particularly interesting to me is that I once wrote about my belief that corporations should endorse culture and the arts as if it were their responsibility to make society a better place for both their employees and their customers. After all, our purchases practically vote these corporations into some higher office; shouldnâ€™t they give us just a little more back? My views changed upon hearing Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman talk about this very subject in the film. Friedman points out that these corporations are structured to return on their stockholdersâ€™ investments, not on saving the trees or helping the poor. Do we really want a corporate entity thatâ€™s built for making money or excelling in some particular business to tackle these problems? Shouldnâ€™t saving the world be left to the legitimate foundations? Hmmm…
One of the things I love about New York is the opportunity to discover new things simply by taking a walk. Sometimes, when the weight of the school week is past me, I will navigate an unfamiliar course home. This time, I went to check out Mud after seeing one of their gourmet coffee-dispensing trucks positioned at Astor Place. Called the “Joe of the East Village” by a friend, I found the coffee to be, well, liquid crack. Itâ€™s good, and only finals will tell, but in the meanwhile Iâ€™ll stick with Joe (Joe: The Art of Coffee, 141 Waverly Place).
My little adventure took me to De Robertis (Iâ€™m a sucker for the old “founded way before you were born” sign), a pastry shop nearby the original Coyote Ugly, for my ritual of cannoli taste-testing. Overall, pretty good, though the pictures on the wall made me wonder if this was really the shop that Tom Cruise stopped at during his night out in Kubrickâ€™s Eyes Wide Shut. Alas, IMDB trivia doesn’t reveal the truth.
Itâ€™s always refreshing to take a stroll through downtown Harrisburg when I come back on the weekends. While I like the occasional martini, I never cared much for the upscale atmosphere of the downtown bar NOMA (though itâ€™s not their fault that I find that most bartenders improperly overpower martinis). Seeing NOMA converted into a wannabe beach bar this past summer, though, proved to me what a poor business model the place had. Itâ€™s like those vacant spots that have been inhabited by multiple restaurants over the course of a few years; itâ€™s a red flag that somethingâ€™s wrong. Well, fortunately, the nicer-looking NOMA has returned as â€œNOMA:Remixed.â€ I guess the beach scene just didnâ€™t work out, but at least they could have named it something nicer. While I know that NOMA was really named for North-Of-MArket [Street], according to Merriam-Webster a noma is “a spreading invasive gangrene chiefly of the lining of the cheek and lips that is usually fatal and occurs most often in persons severely debilitated by disease or profound nutritional deficiency.â€ Nice.
So, I was pulled over for speeding on Colonial Road last night. Maybe I should blame it on the fact that I donâ€™t get to drive my car that often (since I leave it in Mechanicsburg), or perhaps I should just be grateful that Iâ€™m not on a NYC subway this weekend with all of the terror threats going around. Regardless, I was shocked to only get a written warningâ€”not a citation. I later found out that a friend of mine got the same treatment on the same road. The irony to all of this, though, is that Iâ€™m actually more inspired by a warning to not drive as fast, as if Iâ€™m fulfilling some karmic duty. In the end, the experience makes me wonder if this is some reverse psychology technique created by the police. I donâ€™t want to credit them for being so cunning, but with all of the persuasion Iâ€™m studying these days it would be pretty interesting to hear about the police force trying a different approach (and saving me money in the process).
I find myself using Firefox more often now with the release of version 1.5. In the past, Safari was faster (IE isn’t even a consideration) and both rendered CSS fairly effectively. While I’m not happy that Firefox has decided to endorse Apple’s <canvas> tag prior to W3C approval into the XHTML spec, extensions make Firefox leagues ahead in terms of surfing. The incredible Web developer extension by Chris Pedrick is now available for Firefox 1.5. This is worth installing even if you only dabble with XHTML. Now I’m just hoping the get the bookmark synchronizer back…
I don’t. My philosophy is to show the client a design in the browser itself that’s as close to the final design as possible. However, if I was printing up comps, I would probably use Oddlaa’s Vector Safari File. Check it out.
I'm a creative technologist at Hauck Interactive, Inc. and an adjunct instructor at HACC. I live in Harrisburg, Pa. with my wife and three boys. I enjoy good coffee, Trappist beers, Orioles baseball, and good design.