I was at the Strand Bookstore the other day to see Malcolm Gladwell and Steven Johnson hold a discussion. Based on recommendations, I spent a part of my summer reading both of their books. I must say that each piece is an interesting investigation into the thinking process.
I found that Johnson’s book, Everything Bad Is Good For You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter could have been a little more quantitatively supported, but I agree that video games do have positive effects on today’s youth, and that these qualities have been, for the most part, neglected by mainstream media.
Gladwell’s book Blink made quite an impact on me with the concept that knowing everything may may not be as good as just knowing the essentials. In Blink, Gladwell writes about Paul Van Riper’s victory over the U.S. Military during a trained simulation known as the Millenium Challenge. According to the book, Van Riper defeated his overwhelming opponent by not focusing on the details, not analyzing every piece of data, but rather acting only on the information at hand. I feel that this concept could easily carry over into my realm, as Web designers are continually trying to know it all when it comes to the technology. The question is, does that really make the design better?
I’ve gradually moved away from the portfolio-style photos I posted on Beyond Second in the past and have been uploading photos that I feel expose parts of life in Harrisburg that aren’t necessarily familiar to everyone in that area (that was really the whole point of the site to begin with). Surprisingly, I rarely take pictures of New York (I didn’t take a whole lot when I was a tourist, either), but I still carry my camera when I go back home.
I’m still very proud of this site, and once I finish my thesis and a few of these freelance jobs I intend to revisit it and give Beyond Second the redesign and features it deserves.
So I still miss this valuable tool that was so helpful in Adobe Illustrator 10. Like most of the design world, I have since moved on to Illustrator CS 2, but am still not satisfied with the alternative provided in the filters menu. The tool itself had an organic quality to it. Unfortunately, the Math behind the effect was irreversible, and the tool was ultimately dropped after Adobe got flooded with support calls. Based on what I found in Google Groups, it looks like others missing this lovely tool have since given up the cause. Rumor is that it can be revived by simply placing it in the plug-ins folder, however, I haven’t had the luck of getting it to work. If anyone’s figured it out, I’d appreciate the tip.
I suppose this could be categorized under industrial design…Nintendo recently released photos of their upcoming Revolution controllers. Different, to say the least, and I’m wondering how backward compatibility works with these things. I also wonder if this will deter game authors from programming for such a unique controller. Oh well, I guess I’m just going to have to learn how to drive a Mario Kart with two of these things in my hands…
In the midst of redesigning my portfolio site and reorganizing all the files on my server space, I removed some files associated with a presentation I did at ITP on Cascading Style Sheets. Since I took it down, I’ve had quite a few requests for it (It sounds like it’s been helpful, which I’m happy to hear), so I have now placed it back up on the site. Here’s the link:
I suppose that, given the industry that I am in, it was inevitable that I would come to this point. I’ve been tinkering with creating a content management system (CMS) for my clients, have been fiddling with RSS Feeds, am generally interested in online “movements,” and believe that good writing only comes with practice. I’m still not sure I totally like the blog, though. Granted, this tool has empowered the individual voice; like the video camera that preceded it, blogs have put a power once reserved to the corporations and the big businesses into the hands of the individual. As my wife pointed out to me, however, that which is published by the corporate giants benefits immensely from editors; I guess I could blame blogs for spreading some of the degradation of our language, not to mention the soapbox it has provided to so many that probably donâ€™t need it (myself included).
Well, with that said, Iâ€™ve found myself reading blogs far more often. I generally read those that are industry related (Flash, ITP), belong to old friends far away (Chicago, California, Spanish Harlem â˜º), or just to keep up-to-date with my other home (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania).
Reading a friendâ€™s blog definitely helps me to break the iceâ€”especially if I havenâ€™t seen them in a few years. Iâ€™m hoping this may help me keep in touch with some friends and possibly make some new ones. If this doesnâ€™t work out, it wonâ€™t be a big loss, as Iâ€™m in the midst of being contracted to redesign a companyâ€™s blog and needed the experience, anyway.
I'm a creative technologist at Hauck Interactive, Inc. and an adjunct instructor at HACC. I live in Harrisburg, Pa. with my wife and two boys. I enjoy good coffee, Trappist beers, Orioles baseball, and good design.