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  May 30, 1999
Trouble at the North Pole again...

I just love how
this site just gets tackier every time I go there. Why do I visit it? The Goldblum o' Grams of course! Send one today!

May 28, 1999
A friend said, "Grrr" today, and it reminded me of David Lynch's fabulously existential comic strip,
The Angriest Dog in the World. (Yes, that David Lynch)

My favorite song to hear the Asylum Street Spankers perform live is
It's A Sin To Tell A Lie, now available in RealAudio.

Blog coverage continues apace.
Scott Rosenberg favorably contrasts bloggers to traditional journalists.

For those keeping score on blog commentary from outside the blog community, there's:
JonKatz at Freedomforum
JonKatz at Slashdot
- Dan Gillmor discussing Slashdot
Smug on weblog-rolling

So when do we inevitably ascend to the next meta level, covering the blog coverage?

May 27, 1999
I can't figure out how old the piece is, but I remember that long ago I read, and loved, Blair magazine's "
Gay or Eurotrash?" Ever since then I found it's a question that comes up frighteningly often, at least here in San Francisco.

Brig, I too am an Obi-wan Kenobi. Maybe it's an information architect/UI designer thing?


May 26, 1999
Oh. I was sorely mistaken on May 21. "
Eppur si muove" must mean "Bookmark this page."

A chronicle of 14 days of eating
mac and cheese. Me, I'm a fan of straight-up Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner (with the cheese powder, not the goo). Nothing says "comfort food" like chewy vibrant orange pasta. Also, if you prepare how they suggest, it's too runny. Use no milk and extra butter. Mmmmm.

SonicRim is a user-centered design firm begun by ex-Fitchers. The web site is annoyingly obtuse. They label their approach Postdesign, for which they've even constructed a Manifesto (Version 2.2--I'd love to see what's changed over time.) While thought-provoking and well-meaning, I must say the movement's name is abominable. Postdesign? It's simply smart design, and nothing that revolutionary about it. I suppose being sensible doesn't draw attention, though.

Swoon. I think I'm
in love. (And with promised daily content!)

May 24, 1999
Lots of good architecture and humanities content and links to find

First yesterday's Green Room, now this. Have I been in a cave? Why was I never aware of
Xerox PARC's Forums? Seemingly free to the public, and some fascinating topics.

I discovered the forum reading about
The Theory of Inventive Problem Solving. TRIZ (the Russian acronym for the phrase) seems quite useful. The process discussed there reminds me a lot of Henry Petroski's Invention By Design: How Engineers Get From Thought to Thing, a useful book marred by Petroski's rather lifeless writing style.

If you're an info-glutton like me, there's never enough daily bite-size content sources. A particularly mature one is
Retro's Teletype, offering a brief article (nearly) every day, typically hearkening back to the first half of our century.

May 23, 1999
It's come to my distressed attention that a number of my friends have yet to see Errol Morris' brilliant documentary,
Fast, Cheap & Out of Control. Have you? Why not? What are you doing piddling around on the Web when you should be seeing the movie? (If you're interested in supporting the peterme Single Malt Scotch Fund, purchase the video from Amazon.)

If you have seen the movie, then you, too, know how freakin' cool
Rodney Brooks is.
Unfortunately, I can't find any decent Web pages about Ray Mendez,
naked mole rat specialist.

The Green Room looks fascinating. In-depth interviews and discussions with scientists, technologists, and mathematicians. Airs every Monday, 6-8pm Eastern Time. Happily, WFMU broadcasts live on the Web! Why haven't I heard of this before?

May 21, 1999

Wow. Marketers at Sun are
killing the English language.

The latest
Freak Technology Update is out.

So, does

I'm most heartened by
this very gracious mention from JonKatz.

I worked on an early pre-beta iteration of
Productopia, which has now launched for public consumption. I'd love to know what you think. (Be honest!)

Star Wars, Episode IV: The Final Hope. In ASCII. Possibly the most wack shit I've seen in a long time.

May 17, 1999
Okay. So I'm not gonna win any friends here, but I like this
news item. I found our culture's reverence for fine arts perplexing, and the amounts of money spent to own painted canvas disgusting. I mean, hey, I love a great painting, but $5-50 million dollars for an art work when [fill in the blank... children go hungry, AIDS is still killing people, etc.]. Maybe the Tibetans have it right. Perhaps art is at its best when it's ephemeral.

Dig this
cool article and interview with Kyle Cooper, founder of Imaginary Forces. Cooper did the titles for Se7en, among other films. Make sure to check out the Quicktime clips, in particular the incredibly freakish Japanese Cup o' Noodles ad. And Saul Bass' brilliant titles for Man with a Golden Arm and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Sigh. Unfortunately, there's little good information about Saul Bass on the Web. The
best site has some clips and posters, but it's overwrought Flash interface gets in the way.

interview with Bass (with good stills).

The new Zagat.com features a
search interface in which you build a sentence to construct your query. It's similar to the fill-in search over at Sparks.com. When Felicia Lindau, Sparks' CEO, suggested that as a search interface way back last June, I was quite taken with the idea. Unlike framing Boolean queries, sentence construction is pretty natural for humans, so entering a fairly complex search query isn't too tasking. I haven't seen this model used elsewhere. If you know of examples, please email me.

I'm reading Jeff Noon's
Automated Alice (a fun book! but don't pay $20 for it. I found it remaindered recently for $5), and just began the chapter titled "Hunting of the Quark." The chapter title amuses me because the word "quark," coined by Murray Gell-Mann to name a type of elementary particle, originated with James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake. And, if you've read The Annotated Alice (and if you haven't, do! It's glorious), you know that Joyce incorporated many Carrollisms in Wake. And now with Noon using "quark" in an Alice context, we come full circle. A Grand Unified Theory of literature!

Quark is also a kind of

I'm angry with my body. It seems to have forgotten to express the state of hunger, and simply moves right on into headaches and exhaustion.

Please to be reading my
inaugural essay on Webmonkey. It's about the fallacy of pursuing "speed" above all other criteria in Web design.

May 14, 1999
Sigh. As a native it pains me to admit it, but I fear
Philip is right.

Yee-haw! Fellow A-Team acolytes rejoice! Dirk "Face Man" Benedict is now a
Kamikaze Cowboy. Whatever that is.

Explore the
hidden truth of Lara Croft. [From NTK]

May 13, 1999
"Black calls Web design a 'hybrid of graphic design, advertising, and a whiff of software.'"
Okay. Look. I can't stand Roger Black. There. I've said it. The man might be the greatest thing to happen to ink on pressed dead trees, but when it comes to designing for the screen, and, more specifically for the Web, he's a farce. I normally don't give credence to farces, but this man gets his supposed message out way too much. To reduce Web design to "graphic design" and "advertising" is such an injustice that I fear if I were across a table from him, I wouldn't be able to contain myself from leaping across and strangling him. The man clearly has not a whiff of sense about interaction design, information architecture, or any other elements that truly matter in successful Web work. Which is probably for the better. He'll be done away with eventually. In the meantime, just keep up the facile idea-free work, Roger.

May 12, 1999
How freakin' cool is
this? Track satellites, live, real-time, with this 3D Java applet. Whee! It makes you want to be God and click and drag the satellites around.

So, while I was out of town, Shel Silverstein died. I read and reread
Where the Sidewalk Ends countless times. As I grew up, I discovered the paradox that was Shel--he wrote and drew an amazing amount of adult-oriented stuff, and a recent New Yorker article which quotes Hugh Hefner (for whom Shel did work in Playboy) suggested he was quite a womanizer. This is not to diss his memory, but to show that, hey, he was just a guy. We so often foolishly assume our childhood heroes were knights in shining armor. Anyway, among my favorite of his works is Uncle Shelby's ABZ Book, the entirety of which you can read as originally featured in Playboy.

New interactive toys are up at

Object-oriented programming proves the existence of a Creator. Really.
It's all so clear.

Experience the addled meanderings and freely associative musings of
lemonyellow.com. Currently featuring happy clicking on topics ranging from detective stories to fantasy architecture to deconstructionism.

May 10, 1999
From the proprietress
here comes two tasty links. First, the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names. Type in any dang place name and learn something about it. Then, this angst-ridden canine needs a new home, and some sprightlier reading material

May 9, 1999
I've posted the
slides for my talk on "User-Centered Design: From Thought to Product."

May 6, 1999

Report from
Edgewise '99.
Okay. So. I'm a little excited, because yesterday I not only had the fortune to meet, but I chatted extensively with
Scott McCloud! About comics. About information spaces. About the future of UI on the Web. Eee!

Scott McCloud and me. He actually does look like his self-caricature in Understanding Comics, except with eyeballs. Photo by Jerry Michalski.

I presented a Top 10 Things To Know and Do in User-Centered Design. (Apologies for the clunky title.)

Andrew Zolli, from
Siegel and Gale, presented his Top 10 E-Business Sites That You Probably Never Heard Of. It's a good list to click around.
Financial Engines
8. The Springfield Project
MOAI Technologies
Mr. Wakeup
(Andrew's comment: "How cool is it that I can have the Web call me and wake me up?"
4. Wit Capital
2. Kozmo.com

My critique of Garden.com is up.

May 3, 1999
If you've never heard the surreal radio stylings of
Joe Frank, may I suggest that you do. [RealAudio required.]

Bookmarked to be read later:
Principles of Educational Multimedia User Interface Design

Because we're such a navel-gazing sort, I'm sure a bunch of the WebLog Generation will be pointing
here. FWIW, I pretty much agree with Ms. Harpold (I almost always do).