CS?

It’s noteworthy that Adobe today announced the launch of its Creative Suite, which somehow combines it’s powerhouse Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, GoLive, and Acrobat together to make for a serious contender with Macromedia’s new integrated suite Studio MX 2004. Enough will be written about this to fill a small book, but what is interesting to me is that all of these applications are finally being integrated, following Microsoft’s lead with Office (and Sun’s StarOffice).
The pundits in 1995 said there would be day when all software would be blended and that an end user could just do whatever and come up with whatever+. The pundits in 2000 said that all of these apps would be served online and we wouldn’t have to fork over a hefty $549 here and $399 there to upgrade (which I suppose I’ll have to do with Adobe and Macromedia, respectively, soon) but pay a monthly online fee and be done with it. Perhaps these new near-integrated design applications are just two steps away from that server-based model?

American

I received John Cash’s American Recordings in the mail today and it’s quite magical. While the whole of it is relatively dark, I sense within this album much more irony and and even forlorn self-tribute than his previous or later albums, such as Solitary Man and The Man Comes Around. It’s as if Cash found that his true name is “Cash,” the man who built up an empire of song by looking at the poverty of self.
I suspect that Cash, in creating this album, however, is pointing to a larger issue around Americana (thus the title), in that American culture pushes hard on those who are used to being pushed. And I also imagine that he was less than happy with this album, as his next two albums are tribute covers to others who may not have lived the life of Cash but understood its majesty. In other words, those later albums were easier to master aesthetically and are easier to listen to because they’re essentially not about Cash.

Anna

I’m very fond of those named Anna. My father’s mother’s name was Hanna (a variation), my daughter’s caretaker’s name currently is Anna, and I just found a very nice fine art portfolio by Anna Blakney Sutton, illustrator for The Morning News, one of my very favorite online pubs. Ms. Sutton is a talented draftsperson and her site is a fitting container for her very fine paintings.

Investing in good design

I found this to be good, illuminating, and (helpfully) brief article on the business value of web standards by Jeffrey Veen of Adaptive Path, a firm that measures and consults on user experiences. While I’m not completely up to speed on standards yet, I’m getting there, and I think all web folks will be sooner rather than later with the release of the new, supercool Dreamweaver MX 2004 which should arrive here any day. That is, after I purchase it.

The Sunflower

I’m reading yet another book on war and holocaust. This one was recommended to me at shul a few weeks ago — The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness. It’s a short story by Simon Wiesenthal about an SS officer who asks the writer forgiveness for his self-confessed crimes. I’m impressed by the clarity and sincerity of the writing, the ambivalence of its tone, and the way that Wiesenthal interweaves history, personal experience, and mystery in a narrative of dire events.
I’m mostly looking forward to the commentary that is published at the end of the book by the Dalai Lama, Primo Levi, and others.
Today is the first day of Fall in the year 2003.

Barneys New York

After over one year of work, I’m thrilled to say that the new BARNEYS NEW YORK website is up and has been officially announced via email.
I provided creative direction, design, and design implementation for this website, as a contractor to a small web development firm. The project went very well and I’m honored to have been a member of the amazing four-person creative team that developed it.

A Rare View of 9/11

This is an unusual piece of footage (not shown in its entirety) of the two planes going into the WTC. What’s strange about it is not that the videographer captured both planes that day but that it only surfaced a few days ago – the author, a Czech immigrant, knew he had important video contents but didn’t know how to get it to the news media — truly an indictment of today’s television programming and business.

Smooth Porn

I knew this would happen. Bill Noll, a photographer and lover of his new Power Mac G5, took some close-up photographs. The photographs are highly fashioned and they seem to touch on a new kind of techno-porn, which only Apple and VW seem to have advanced. It’s a pretty salaciouis means of selling imagery and I have yet to really understand how it works (though the advertisers don’t seem to be having a problem).
But I believe it differs from previous commodity fetishism in that both Apple and VW have taken the hair, secretions, colors and other epemera completely out of human sexuality and visualized the entirety in a way that allows us to enter and exit the technology cleanly — no effort, no anxieties, no jostling, and no orgasms allowed. Moreover, no sex. Just good, very clean fun.

Wrongfulness

I heard an interview on WNYC this morning with Joe Conason, the writer of the much-celebrated new book Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth and it was completely disarming. Conason, not for the first time, contends that it was the Clinton administration that foresaw future terrorism coming to the U.S., that they had started to prepare the country for a 9/11-type event, and that its staff briefed Condoleeza Rice and friends about the inevitability of an attack. Bush ignored their advice and Cheny set up a terrorism task-force that never met until after 9/11.
Most interestingly, he talked about how Bush et. al. pulled together the resources, while almost all planes were grounded, to evacuate Bin Laden relatives (about 140 of them!) out of the country to Saudi Arabia on the request of Bush’s old pals in the oil-based government. This is a little featured report, but it did make the New York Times’ page 11 yesterday. The FBI, our eternal watchdog, never questioned the family members about their involvement in 9/11. Excuse me now while I throw up.