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There’s a lot to do so let’s just get started. I’ve been sitting on the sidelines of the American political story that’s unfolding. I did vote in Kings County, New York, but there are a few thoughts I need to get off my chest:
Sharron Angle is an idiot. Plus, a media coward. It’s almost as if the Republicans can’t find a woman to represent their ideals so pretty much anyone will do.
Barack Obama, despite all of his presidential communication flaws and his inability to defend his administration, has done everything he could to make the country work. Nicholas Kristof’s piece today says it all, best. If the Republicans win on Tuesday, it will mean that Obama has a new license to fight for the average American (and not just his policy).
The Stewart/Colbert rally for and against sanity in Washington was a reflection of Obama’s politics – kind, open, and semi-ironic but earnest and rational with a focus on the possible. I really liked the cars in the tunnels metaphor. Oh, the signs were great.
The greening of America during the past two years is being entirely driven by multi-nationals and the small actions by individuals and nonprofits. It’s time that Obama took a few lessons from Clinton and Gore to put together a political strategy (with the former) and an economic one (with the latter).
There’s nothing more interesting to the media than the media. If we could all turn off the networks for the next 48 hours, the silence would deafen us into supporting our best interests.
In sum, this would be the sign I would carry, had I been in DC.
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For my movie fiend friends who keep track of what’s hot and what’s not in the air conditioned confines of cinematic entertainment, take a look at thisUS 2008 chart of box office receipts.
The visualization of these receipts is insanely detailed but, what’s powerful about the way the information is structured is that you can gather a quick, week-by-week understanding of what people liked and how quickly interest dropped off. For instance, Iron Man had incredible staying power (of course) the first week of May. The Dark Knight even moreso during July and August. Cloverfield, on the other hand, dropped precipitously after its first week, perhaps because there are only a few strong stomachs for such fare. I saw all three movies and my favorite, by a small, rounded, green squiggle was Iron Man.
Thanks to Ask H&FJ.
I’ve used InDesign to design printed materials for many, many years now. When you’re working in a text box and you want to move to the selection tool, you have to move from the keyboard, grab the mouse, click on the selection tool and go about your business. It doesn’t sound like a big deal or a time waster but add this movement up over the course of a day and you’ve got a silly workflow.
After 2 minutes of research, I found the solution. It’s a matter of changing the Keyboard Shortcuts in InDesign and it works like a charm.
I’m absolutely fascinated by to-do lists apps, task managers, Getting-Things-Done applications, and online software that help you be productive in less time with less effort, better thought-processes, more focus, stronger results, and more successful completions. I love the idea that you enter a lot of information into a manager and then have it organized and presented to you for production and completion and then repeating tasks and groups of tasks can be repeated to secure one’s place in the workaday world.
None of the ones currently on the market do this. Mostly, they’re just fun to play with. I enter information that looks like this: “This is a task” or “I need to do this” or “I wonder if this thing will crash” and then see how I categorize it. Then I’ll end up being dismayed by a particular oddity of the program and give up on it for six months until there’s a new version out. Repeat as needed. I go back to my large piece of paper that lists all of the most important real tasks I have, such as completing a design, calling a client, or sending a proposal. These are organized in a flat structure (currently there are about 30 tasks that need completion within the next few days). The paper is full. I cross out an item when I’m finished doing it. Then, when that piece of paper no longer feels useful, I re-write the list, which takes me about 5 to 10 minutes of thought and care.
Oh, so what are the new applications I’ve been trying? For what’s it worth, they are the nicely designed Ajax-based Remember the Milk, the wood-styled and potentially useful Midnight Inbox, and the note-taking application aptly called myNotes. The esteemed folks at Omnigroup have publicly announced an application they’re working on called Omnifocus, but there is no release date in sight. I still prefer Paper.
I’m probably the last person to review the new Grandaddy album, Sumday, but I’m so awed by the band’s range of influences — and the fact that they’re very willing to wear them on their sonic sleeves — that I’m compelled to write. Sumday is an excellent album, in part because it stitches together some of the best bands of the past three + thirty years but also because the gentlemen who play in the band are truly talented instrumentalists that clearly leverage their individual talents and interests in British and American pop for the sake of the overall sound.
Here are their overt influences, in order of importance, off the top of my little head.
- The Beatles
- Flaming Lips
- Galaxy 500
- New Pornographers
- The Beach Boys
- The Cars
- Simple Minds
- The Waterboys
- Night Ranger
- Big Country
- Velvet Underground
- The Psychedelic Furs
- Cheap Trick
- Thomas Dolby
There’s also one other band from the 80s that I cannot for the life of me recall — their initials was like INXS but they sung high-pitched, sad-sweet songs; not Soft Cell, not OMD, not Tears for Fears but British nonethelesss.
In case one is sitting around thinking that Mac still doesn’t deserve it’s measley 5% market share, here’s an article, posted on Friday, called BYOB: Build Your Own Browser by Andrew Anderson. Using Mac tools called WebKit that are built into the OS, Mac folks can actually create a customized, simple website browser, not unlike Netscape 4, which probably took 500,000 project hours to complete and still causes me and clients mad headaches.
I have so many mixed feelings about this story on today’s news: Yahoo! News – Jobs Abound in India’s Booming Tech Sector. From everything I’ve seen lately in news weeklies, bulletin boards and newspapers, jobs are rapidly leaving the United States for warmer climes — well, mostly India and China. Good jobs like those at unionized auto plants. Cool jobs like developing new software. Technical jobs like upkeeping and yes, designing, websites. I don’t think that this is inherently good for the American economy, the American worker, or the American consumer but I wonder if this is our just desserts for believing that free trade, free markets, and free business is, well, free.
I’m excited that my synagogue’s new website is now up. It’s now on its third or fourth life, but I did the second redesign for Congregation Beth Elohim website. I’m actually surprised at the end result as I haven’t seen it in a while. Another congregant did all the backend work in PHP and brilliantly created a system for staff to update the site using Excel spreadsheets (yes, spreadsheets!). In fact, I’d even venture to say that it’s more functional from both a user and administrator perspective than almost any other congregational site out there…and I’ve looked at a lot of ‘em. I’m not sure why religious organizations and institutions don’t have good presences but maybe it’s because they have better things to do.
P.S. The site looks best on OS X Safari or Netscape, which render and format the type (more) correctly.