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Photo Credit: Piter-Design

Is this what's left?

Falling in love with what you for a living do can be a dangerous wonderful thing.

Folk Art Reb Roberts
Image - Reb Roberts

It was like Paris in the spring. At least I think Paris must have been this way. Living in the midwest we have a thousand points of light from video, glossy photos, movies. I know all of this must be true. Surely my relevant observation can replace the real. After all i'm from the midwest, it must be so.

We have a hands off idea of life here but the romance is extraordinary. I fell in love with movement, of color, of light. These things can create a vivid perceptive vision of life and time. Like looking through a store front at Christmas. The tactile experience of this notion contains grit, grain and small shards of glass. Those things can only be experienced by touch. That's hard. I have my perspective to keep me warm. Why have touch when I have technology?

In the read only midwest we don't need to contribute to create good. We can just rate it at a distance.

Cultural sustainabilty takes work and romance. It can flurish if we touch it. Feel its sweat, taste it, inhale its aroma. Feel its sting. That takes much more than a damn cell phone. It requires heart and soul and the idea that life is about looking at it head on. So how do we make human interaction interactive again? As for me, I still believe.

January 13, 2019 referenced as community.

Field Notes

Sense and sensibility

When it comes to it. Is all design about accessibility?

Recently, I purchased a Lenovo Ideapad330. Nice laptop, simple and easy. This laptop has a rsolution of 1366x768. The screen is somewhat pale. This presents an insight to thinking about accessibility relative to hardware limitations. Colors that are too pastel wash out. Typical examples are unfocused text in drop down boxes or other fields that present options to the user. The other, is the use of hue in text and not enough contrast AND typically below a font size smaller than 16px. No study is needed to know that this crates user fatigue

It still appears we have a websafe pallete

Time to create a baseline palette that reflects the scope of hardware performance and not take bad design memes for granted. Even the simple things need refactored.

January 11, 2019 referenced as standards.

For You, a blast from 1973

"Memories light the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored memories of the way we were"- Bergman, Hamlisch

The eye exam was brief and to the point. After having good vision all my life I don't need glasses. I need cataract surgery and I have Diabetic Retinopathy from a time I did not control my sugar. A long fought lifestyle battle changed that. The effects remain.

In 1973 cataracts and surgery were a big deal. People would postpone treatment or ignore it. It was talked about as though it was cancer. Ahhhh the good ole days.

1973 was also the last time that I had a reference, however abstract to cataract treatment. So when it was my turn I found myself in 1973 referencing something that had evolved past that time or my memory. Still, it seemed this reference guided my dread and fear dispite my science background.

"We will get you fixed up!", the ophthalmologist reassured me. I got my referral and off I went. The expectation is to assume people have a sense or are familar with whats going on. Things change so much and so fast that for those of us with a lifetime of memories we need to be reminded of the now. Maybe now days thats true of most things we navigate.

September 06, 2018 referenced as human.

In excess...

Too much aint pretty

For all the information we have, we lack the personal tools to manange its constant push. What happens when its velocity and amount exceeds the scale or scope to comprehend it? It seems cultural anthropology moves much slower than the constant push of information.

For most, adaption is not cultural growth. It's cultural adjustment.

It's all you can expect when you, me, and everybody else struggles to get their attention like a child with no home training. As design evolves do we begin to consider just how much their aesthetic ability and patience have been challanged before they get to us?

I wonder what the probability of fatigue is? huh...

Composed the week of August 08, 2018 referenced as human.

For A Brief Moment

It is quiet in my village tonight

Courtesy of a neighbor we had fireworks that rivaled the 4th last night. Saturday we entertained the nicest couple and their daughter. Went swimming, had BBQ, the kids went to see the Angry Birds movie. Everybody laughed a lot. Then, the evening of this holiday, it is so quiet. For a moment it seems, America stands still. We both celebrate and remember those who could not be here.

We do this together by laughing louder, throwing another log on the fire, one more beer or another piece of BBQ and the gooey kiss from the latest infant foundling.

Then we pause as we thank those we celebrate so that we may never take that laughter for granted.

Not bad for a people who can't decide which bathroom is correct.

Composed Saturday May 30, 2016 referenced as value.

Washington Square

Music from Counting Crows at You Tube

Watch at You Tube

I grow tired of the indignity imposed on humanity by a would be educated populous. If you want money to go to school work in public service. That you may interact with those that you are so desperately attempting to rise above. Life is not your house, your car, or your closely held fears. It is having the nerve to look your neighbor in the eye. Do they have a class for that?

Composed Saturday April 23, 2016 referenced as video.


What do Jeffrey Zeldman and a train condutor have in common?

Curation exists beyond the information we store. It is also about how we use that information. Curation now has form and state that moves beyond the printed page.

Applications are data that modify form, state, and moreover define functional use

Mr.Zeldman wrote a piece about Pintrest and their decision to remove features from their mobile that helped him curate collections of visual artifacts. The stark way they removed the features was jolting to a man that makes his living on the web.

For a while I drove rail crews to and from waiting trains. At times the trains were in odd places so the conductor would navigate for me with his cell phone. These people are just about as strict as you can get. Procedure that is static and persistant. This conductor was not as eloquent as Mr.Zeldman when he found out his droid phone provider had pushed a new build and therefore a new app for the map he was accustomed to using. At 1:00am in downtown Chicago he was pissed and did not have the luxury of time to adopt new software.

Could it have to do with the perceived nature of 'apps'?

How many apps have you downloaded or deleted over time? They seem to be disposable and at times are marginal in one way or another. Could it be that Mr.Zeldman and the train conductor fell prey to a mobile culture that writes apps instead of applications? Being accountable for software integrity should not be an after thought for mobile.

Additional information was added April 9, 2016: There is further evidence that this exists on a behavior level. A change in pill shape and color reduced compliance when taking medication. Although these events are anecdotal to each other it is not hard to come to some conclusions about product integrity and assimilation. How do we design transition to do a better job?

Pill color switch disrupts medication adherence at Medwire

Read Jeffrey Zeldman's article at Medium

Composed Friday April 08, 2016 referenced as human.

Creation & Curation

So much of one, not enough of the other. In so many ways.

I wondered how to reference this. To curate is not curation. It can be as much liturgy as it is design. I think this has a lot to do with the perseveration of what we value.

Liturgy is how or why we collect the things we do. So at the baseline regardless of scope or scale this is about a simple collection of what you value and the ritual by which you collect it.

It is a colloquial anthropological event

The sum of what we collect becomes a colluqiallity, a floating point of things marked with time and described with a scope of sentiment to structured documentation. On the same page, at the same time. A duality of both left and right side thought reside in any collection.

It has to accommodate the relative and the relevant

The event of collection is relative to who, what, where, and when, regardless of the data collected. These things describe workflow and provide a backbone or hierarchal for the relevant nature of what is curated and its dissemination. It is also qualitative. From the temporal nature of a social network to the static and archival. It has to respect a velocity of discovery at both ends of the spectrum.

These values and the masters they serve have been one sided of late. The push of social networks has been the loudest and by their populist nature most prevalent. It is easy to push information. What is not as simple is its quantitative and qualitative values. As a curator you define those values so that the liturgy can be defined by value and not by rule. So, how is that working out?

Composed Sunday April 03, 2016 referenced as design.

A You Tube Overlay and my contempt for Javascript

A failed javascript solution made possible by inline CSS

I have wanted to use and learn javascript. For one reason or another I have not used JS in any big deployment choosing smaller markup solutions for responsive design and style metrics. It always seems fragile for what I wanted and so many ways to do one thing right makes it incumbent...also. LOL A large enough memory stack in your favorite browser will reduce it to a paperweight. Does this sound fragile to you?

How one developer just broke Node, Babel and thousands of projects in 11 lines of JavaScript @ the Register

I was using a Js tooltip library to load a U Tube play button overlay for video screen grabs. I was also load a timing function and a J Query fadeIn for the page. The Js load of these images causing issues with my page fade in. The UI performance was sluggish and inconsistant.

So I could go on here but the point must be obvious.

A browser at its core is a parser. It understands rules to parse markup and CSS. It does not natively support extensions, addons or a translator such as a javascript engine. To use these things is divergent from rendering a web page. With async ad networks and user metric Javascripts it has become a unpredictable payload problem.

This CSS solution uses inline style within the anchor link to the video to call the You Tube screen grab as a non-repeating background image. The arrow overlay is set as an image within the anchor link. Note these images can be resized to accommodate responsive design.

<a style= "background:url (image/201511161730.jpg)" class="utube" href="...."><img src="yt.png" alt="Watch at You Tube" title="Listen and watch at You Tube"/></a>

The CSS classes that do the work:
display: inline-block;

a.utube img{
margin:30px 0 0 105px;

Composed Wednesday March 30, 2016 referenced as design.

Closing Time

Music from Tom Waits at You Tube

Watch at You Tube

Goodbye Pops. Goodbye Jack. We love them both. One lived to be 95, the other 13 years. It has been an eventful winter. They both lived damn good lives and along the way they both made a difference. It's time to depart and get back to life. Although, I will never forget this particular place.

Composed Monday February 24, 2016 referenced as video.

Credibility And Mediocrity

A one act play with two scenes

The first scene is rather predictable for this life and time. At some point our young protagonist is asked to believe not in what is being said but that it is somehow believable because it has social authority or some populist doctrine attached to it. Our hero is then left to decide if the information is credible on its own or relies on the mediocrity and supposition of social practice to be credible for it. This play never ends the same.

Composed Saturday November 21, 2015 referenced as human, liturgy.

Hots On For Nowhere

Music from Led Zeppelin at You Tube

Watch at You Tube

For a Monday morning. How was your weekend?

Composed Monday November 16, 2015 referenced as video.

Chasing Out The  <blink>

Getting rid of the obvious is not enough

It used to be the obvious things that the web standards movement railed against. The injustices that were sticking out like a sore thumb. Mostly, this was just a call to use HTML in a wellformed progressive practice. What you were supposed to do became an inflated crusade and undermined the message.

disseminating efficient effective information to the majority

One statement can mean so much. Almost ubiquitous, this statement should preface any workflow process. Which brings us to the blink or marquee elements or...?

What is yours? Define the blink.

Composed Sunday November 09, 2015 referenced as design.

Love Town

Music from Peter Gabriel at You Tube

Watch at You Tube

From the Philadelphia soundtrack.

Composed Monday November 2, 2015 referenced as video.

Value - Of Other[s]

More than yours, or mine. The plural as predicate.

That usually means that you don't fit in a check box. Or your box is so small it is not recognized. You are excluded from being a type or class. Insignificant to count or even perhaps consider as a value on a line of data points. If you can't be enumerated into a group then you can't be an individual. You are an other.

The coalescence of other[s]

So here is the thing. There is more than one other, and what these others do can't be predicted. This coalescence is predicated on each of these others lives, experiences, and the good things they bring to share. Usually that does not fit into a check box, a magazine article, overhead compartment, or five minutes on the View. It comes from the predication and humanity of the other[s].

Composed Tuesday October 27, 2015 referenced as human.

Not For Everybody

The current state of everywhere is nowhere

Does everything on the web have to be absorbed like a transdermal patch? For ideas to reach and make an impact do they need the popularity or validation of a prom queen?

Small independent content publishers were here long before the web. Some made a living at writing and publishing at this scale but just as back then the scope is the art, curation, and humanity of the work. It stands for it's own value and not for the current state of the medium at large. It ignores this vagary by it's very nature.

Some of the best publishing does not exist as a global notion.

When small tomes were published to paper it reached a number of minds within the locale. There was no systemic distribution. Perhaps recognizing that one of the qualities of the WWW is distribution gives small content publishers the ability to to reach beyond their locale. Not in the hope that it relates to everyone. That is merely relevant. You want to make it relative to someone, not something. That is the strength of the independent content producer.

Composed Wednesday October 21, 2015 referenced as human.

World Of Wonders

Music from Bruce Cockburn at You Tube

Watch at You Tube

The not so subtle heart beat of humanity. The reminders of time past.

Composed Monday October 12, 2015 referenced as video.

The Shape of Things

Mr Tyndale's tale. Then and now.

Perhaps the most enduring thing about information is that despite the many ways to authenticate it's credibility humans rationalize input. Turning the relative into the relevant and derivative. The hazards when a culture uses copy and paste way too much. Then and now.

Refresh certainly does not have the value of disruption.

▶ More about William Tyndale at Wikipedia.

Composed Tuesday October 6, 2015 referenced as liturgy.

Hounds Of Winter

Music from Sting at You Tube

Watch at You Tube

Composed Monday October 5, 2015 referenced as video.


Music from Dave Matthews Band feat Jeff Coffin and Bela Fleck at You Tube

Watch at You Tube

Composed Saturday October 3, 2015 referenced as video.

Proof Of Concept

Scope drives scale.

Any Questions? See examples below.

Composed Saturday October 3, 2015 referenced as design.

Thank You For Lettin Me Be Mice Elf

Live Cover Music from Dave Matthews Band at You Tube

Watch at You Tube

Enjoy the weekend. With both hands.

Composed Friday October 2, 2015 referenced as video.

Ritual Dance

Music from Michael Hedges at You Tube

Watch at You Tube

Composed Friday October 2, 2015 referenced as video.

Negative Scale

Making simplicity serve

All I want is a way to capture and cache screen grabs from You Tube videos. This can be done in one line of cURL and a shell script ran with cron at the server.

I visited the You Tube Data API and obtained a authorization key.

To return data about videos You Tube uses JSON and a https get request. This request can be shaped to what you want. The value selected returned the URL's for the screen grabs, 3 sizes in total along with channel, title, and description data. It is the image URL conventions we are interested in.

While the API is extensive the image URL conventions in the JSON return allow us to just swap out the video id to return the image. There is no need to call the api to do this time after time just to get the URL image data. This is static anyway you just need to be able to update the screen grab cache. This is also simple via a call with cURL.

curl https://youtubeurl/xx/ VIDEOID /default.jpg > domains/domain/html/path_to_folder/ ARTICLID .jpg

The curl call can be added to a batch shell script that can be ran when a new image is added or a cron job to update and refresh automatically.

To reference the image to the post the image is named after the time/date serialization (article id) of the post. e.g. 201510021214

URL and application naming conventions allow us to repeat and refresh the image cache without making a ton of API calls and produce images for posts with a few moving parts.

Composed Thursday October 1, 2015 referenced as design.

API Simple

So then this is about relative worth

What is the worth of a simple API request when the code to generate the pull is larger than the request itself? Without easy top level access to simple public artifacts how does the API promote an ease of common use in everyday practice?

The most common, simple forms of information from a given API should be made as accessible as possible

To give common access to otherwise low priority public information encourages use and promotes better understanding of metadata and its application to curation.

Composed Monday September 28, 2015 referenced as design.

Authoring Markup

Using HTML as an adjective, instead of just using it.

Good ideas however simple and atomic can be made complicated by the engineer, profiteer, or book publisher. HTML has suffered through all three. Just how do you make something, that is by nature declarative, imperative by definition?

HTML became an influential symbol of design guilds.

What it was expressing changed. It became about an ideology of authority and right or wrong about it's application or fitness. Is this how we apply natural language? It is as if our thoughts need to be codified by type, paper, and ink and not the value of the expression or its value to communicate. For most of us, shouldn't it be simpler than that?

Composed Wednesday September 17, 2015 referenced as literacy.

Are We Reaching?

Artifacts tell quite a bit about a civilization and its direction.

Because of the scale of these artifacts no one sees them as such. It isn't the quality of information they store. It is the expression of the application itself.

These artifacts demand things of us. These artifacts are so persistant they influence the nature of the words expressed. This was supposed to support the future not be the future.

If the first generation of moveable type gave direct scale to ideas this vision scales based on the application against the scope of the information itself. This represents a fundamental change in the function of moveable type for the sake of a digital medium. This has become an abstraction to the ideas expressed.

It is no wonder that the information these applications carry isn't curative in nature. How can it be when the application managing these ideas is merely an artifact itself?

Composed Saturday August 29, 2015 referenced as design.

I'm Dying

For real, no shit

The modern miracle of medicine. All the rage. Need help? Get a script and a pill that's all it takes. But whose symptoms does it help?

For anyone out there that does not have a clue. I know I am dying. Shit just does not work right anymore. Again, I am painfully aware of this on a minute by minute basis. Your attempt to cope with my illness is not usually empathy but sympathy and well meaning pseudo advice. Your vulnerable state concerning my mortality is touching. You see your mortality in me and you respond. These days, I am touched by the compassion I feel from people but for those who wish to sympathize, fuck you. Feel it but don't pat me or anyone else like me on the head.

So is it about the sick getting help or the healthy feeling better about the sick?

We placate and normalize the horrors of mortality and illness for the healthy. The culture wants to feel better about themselves and turn a tidy profit from your death. A win win for the healthy and for the anthropological notion that life only moves forward. So I am left behind with the rest of us that are dying. Do us a favor, look elsewhere to see your reflection of mortality.

Composed Sunday August 02, 2015 referenced as human.

White Socks, Nice Shoes

How do you impart relevance on the relevant?

It would seem that anything is available. How much of it is attainable?

Everywhere. The ability of the web and media to place a product or social phenomena in your face like it belongs there. After all isn't there equality in every media push? Can the same be said for it's payload?

There is also a cautionary tale to all this new. It comes from 1962 and tells that sometimes disruption and velocity can be devastating to those not able to apply it or understand it. Ken Kesey wrote a message that tine and place did not change. To bad we can't read.

▶ Read More One Flew Over The Cuokoo's Nest at Wikipedia.

Composed Thursday July 23, 2015 referenced as literacy.

Public Image

"Can You See The Real Me? Can You? Can Ya?" - The Who

Everybody is boring in the same way everybody is interesting. It is a point counterpoint to your personality. Boring as hell, that's people and that's natural. Personalities are only so big.

Has your public image been supplanted by your media driven profile?

The capacity and velocity of information networks have created an unintended consequence for social networking. To fill this void you echo likes, shares, hashtags and what is suggested for you. This is cheap filler for boring. So, while you are filling the boorish void with noise you devalue what you have to say. The value of boring is that it helps identify the remarkable in people.

Composed Wednesday July 8, 2015 referenced as human.


Turns out, size does matter. So does how we count it.

Special persons day. Where big people sit in little chairs next to their young prodigy. We were treated to a song and the Pledge Of Allegiance along with counting by 10's. We also got a worksheet and a bag of Skittles. Candies just about the size of a dime. We had to do counting, graphing, and evaluation. Such is the world of Pre-K.

The big push is to get kids engaged earlier. How they are being introduced to simple concepts affect core learning into the future.

While we worked I observed. The math involved counting and graphing by color. Skittles are considerably smaller than what is ergonomically normative. The work I have seen has large typefaces. The common belief is that handwriting easier if it is larger. This is true. It is ergonomically normative at that age because of developing motor skills. The larger assumption is that spatial skills track with motor skills. So children count and organize large items. By what scale do we measure spatial skills and are they mutually exclusive to motor skills?

The grandson organized the candies by vertical bar. No problem. It is when he began to count he could not count the small items visually. I observed the same from others as math concepts gave way to best way adaptation. They lacked the spatial skills to count the small objects.

Instead of this imperative is it possible to write big and think small?

Writing needs occupational development but spatial skills already exist that exceed this need. As the operators and functions of mathematics become more complicated so do the concepts. Yet, from the very beginning of the learning process spatial comprehension takes a back seat at the simplest of levels. We have to foster occupational skills that nurture and foster spatial development to build a foundation for extensible thinking.

Composed Friday July 3, 2015 referenced as human.

Nate Is Using His Big Words Again

Having a core competency is not Common Core.

One of these things involve a text book publisher making a profit. The other, involves being prepared, ongoing learning, and an open mind. So how do people confuse the two?

The common core spec can be found here. It was transposed into weights and measures and a profit center making it something else besides a way to prime peoples minds. A shame.

This profit center also masked the real message

What emerged from the Common Core was a second outcome. The idea that local competency can no longer be competitive to the global condition. This has been brought about by the velocity and the amount of information needed to solve problems and arrive at the best answer.

So maybe having a core competency is being competitive to the velocity and amount of information that exists beyond your physical locale. The challenge is not the information itself. It is how we use it.

Composed Wednesday July 1, 2015 referenced as human.

Almost Human

Is it how or what you say or the means by which you say it?

The book, brochure, and poster have been hallmarks for printed communication for over 500 years. They impart semiotic markers for how we live our lives. As people we have come to look for standard information in familiar places within these formats. While moveable type is portable the information formats or standard remained for the most part static.

Precedents were created to make document systems extensible within an established format. These imperative constants guide printed communication and have gone as far as shaping our spatial comprehension of how we apply information so that we may curate or preserve an extensible but static format. Quite simply you can not have the semantic without the semiotic foundation. Defining semiotic need allows semantics to create rich context within a native scope.

Web designers have long stressed that the web be semantic but without semiotic foundation. They claimed the rules were too cumbersome. The same rules that advanced civilization for the past 500 years. As programmers we are not only responsable for the disruptive we are also accountable for the constant and familiar.

Have we been doing our best with the constant and familiar?

▶ Define semiotic at Wikipedia.

Composed Sunday June 28, 2015 referenced as design.