netWert Ideapad

December 2002

I missed it, too
December 23, 2002 +
Grant Barrett missed his World New York so much that he finally relaunched it. Read, bookmark, return daily, and heighten your intellect.

Some people still like 800x600
December 20, 2002 +
...but for everyone else, this is an interesting argument: Haven't Online Ad Sizes Really Kept to the Same Size?

It's not you, it's your age
December 20, 2002 +
Don Norman on the UI generation gap. I was just as he described at 15, and I'm just as he expects as I near 30. Dead on.

Re: 'Kitsch Breeds'
December 20, 2002 +
Why does Dean Allen insist on repeatedly ripping into James Lileks? Is the writing that abominable? Is there an unspoken personal vendetta?

Perhaps this continues the longstanding tradition of public literary jabs thrown by authors with no love lost, but the tone of these posts can make a reader cringe. One cannot help but focus on the highly personal undercurrent of Allen's posts, which turn his criticism into the equivalent of poking an index finger into his target's chest. Each new post makes Textism that much less enticing, which is a shame, because he is usually an enjoyable and entertaining writer.

Doesn't Allen know his little corner of the Internet can't stand caustic, self-impressed blowhards?

December 19, 2002 +
Newly launched: Gawker, a weblog finely tuned to the pace of New York City, covering art, commerce, shopping, trends, and that most important city standard, gossip. With a Corcoran ad banner, no less. Best of luck to Nick Denton and co. on their new venture (which looks like it will become a daily stop for me).

December 19, 2002 +
Furnident zut alors! My definition is now No. 1 on Google. The furnidents in my bedroom look like they'll come out fairly cleanly, too. Successes abound.

Robert Plant read Tolkien
December 18, 2002 +
Yes, rock fan, all those capitalized words in the "Lord of the Rings" movie reviews today sound familiar for a reason: Led Zeppelin used them in song.

"Twas in the Darkest depths of Mordor I met a girl so fair,
But Gollum and the Evil One crept up and slipped away with her"

Ramble On

New favorite URL candidate
December 18, 2002 +
My all-time favorite personal Web URL:

New discovery and a close second:

Stupid "netwert."

Call me, I'll be on my router
December 18, 2002 +
Vonage is a voice-over-IP service that is both dirt-cheap and easy to use. The future is now! I will consider signing up for a cheap plan as soon as I can find out how seamless the service is.

HTML toys
December 17, 2002 +
HTML rendering tool by Andre Torrez. "This is a very simple application that renders HTML as you type it into the top box."

Textile by Dean Allen. "A humane web text generator."

And to think I'd finally memorized —.

New York moment
December 16, 2002 + Posted to Quite Keen
The buses on Madison Avenue at 5 o'clock on Friday afternoon were all running Limited service, which meant none of them were stopping at 61st Street, where I was waiting for one.

When a taxicab stopped in front of me, I decided to take it. I was not the only one: a man approached from behind me to take the cab for himself and a friend. In my best New Yorker mode, I shot him a look, and said, "Excuse me, but I was here first."

"We're just going up Madison," he said, and inspiration struck: "Share a cab?" I said. The three climbed in and rode to 79th Street, where I got out. The meter read $3.50; my traveling companion said, "A dollar from you is fine."

Instead, I gave a $5 bill to the driver, instructing him to use the difference on the remaining fare. "Have a good trip uptown," I said to the man in the back seat.

"Thanks," he said, then added with a grin: "Next time, it's on me."

Disappointing interface trends
December 16, 2002 + Posted to Getting It Right
An increasing number of design and IA sites are designing pages without any visual heft. The current move toward minimalist page design is prudent in the world of RSS and PDA feeds but makes for a rather lifeless browsing experience.

Gray text instead of black is the biggest offense. My eyes are feeling the strain of too many #666666 references on sites like IA/ and Xblog. On an LCD screen, the text is more difficult to read, not more pleasing to the eye. Note that Boxes and Arrows, an early adopter of the so-light-it's-going-to-drift-away color scheme, has wisely pulled its body text designation back to black. The rest would be wise to follow suit.

Similarly, visual minimalism in page layout is pleasant enough, but please, give your pages some weight. The current weblog trend is gray text, pale non-underlined links, two spartan columns, and not much else. Yawn. A very fine line exists between basic and boring. C'mon, insert a third color or fill that open space a bit. Go ahead. I dare you.

What innovation can there be if leading-edge Web thinkers are publishing pages that look like glorified .txt files?

December 13, 2002 +
Lots and lots of New York City maps in this Metafilter thread. Yeah maps!

Craig's list post of the week
December 13, 2002 +
I need a little ass (San Francisco).

Return to form
December 12, 2002 + Posted to Getting It Right
I always liked the Yahoo directory tree. In this space in the past I have lamented the continuing destressing of the Yahoo directory in favor of more profitable, and cluttered, services.

Happy as a clam I am to now have a direct destination for Yahoo Directory. Does anyone know whether Yahoo is keeping its records up to date anymore? (via Anil)

Also: Try the beta Google shopping engine, aka Froogle.

My new alternative news source
December 12, 2002 +
I should have begun regular reading of the Christian Science Monitor long ago. Its reporting and perspective are regularly impressive.

About the Monitor explains the publication in detail. "The idea is that the unblemished truth is freeing (as a fundamental human right); with it, citizens can make informed decisions and take intelligent action, for themselves and for society."

Supersize it
December 12, 2002 + Posted to Getting It Right
The Internet Advertising Bureau approved new ad banner sizes today, each one larger than the last.

I'm designing a 1024x768 ad banner for a January 2004 launch. Looking forward to IAB approval next fall.

December 11, 2002 + Posted to Quite Keen
A furnident is the indentation left in a carpet by heavy furniture that has settled into place.

Somehow not everyone knows this word, but everyone should. Even mighty Google turns up just one search result for furnident. Let this be number two. furnident

Pop swap
December 10, 2002 +
If you're like me, you a) love media, b) love getting stuff cheap, and c) have stuff that you can't bring yourself to throw away because it is potentially worth something to someone else.

Time was, you'd go to, but the site's been overrun by two-bit commercial entities that undercut your sale prices, and you started to feel a bit dirty buying stuff from unknown retail outfits in Idaho, so you stopped going there. Plus the deals weren't that good, and you didn't get much money back from your sales.

Good news! Now you can go to Trodo and get new stuff for free. All you have to do is share some of your stuff in return. All users pay their own shipping costs, and it's a give-one-get-one model. It's peer-to-peer filesharing for physical media.

Trodo is the brainchild of my top-notch colleagues Adrian Holovaty and John S. Rhodes. Go forth and share.

Miss me?
December 9, 2002 +
I'm in sunny rainy Florida. I'll be back in the daily routine Wednesday. More news as events warrant.

Update from last week: the Times ran those conflicting editorial columns after all. They weren't very exciting, although the national news about their withholding certainly was.

December 5, 2002 +
Venerable online music retailer CDnow has been soaked up by the Amazon juggernaut. The transition completed this week, and now CDnow looks and operates just like Amazon. So tell me, why would I go to CDnow over Will they really have price and product differentiation? How long before CDnow redirects straight to Amazon Music?

The coming-out
December 4, 2002 + Posted to Quite Keen
I'm getting search requests for "charley pictures," and who am I to disappoint?

Charley pictures

Don't argue with the boss
December 4, 2002 +
The New York Times sports section chose not to run editorials by esteemed writers Dave Anderson and Harvey Araton because the editorials' viewpoint didn't match the opinion of the main editorial page. Marginally understandable, but surprising to hear. Isn't this exactly why newspapers have editorial columns?

Today's blog surf
December 3, 2002 +

Design 2002
December 2, 2002 +
The New York Times Magazine's "Design, Everywhere" issue is stuffed with fascinating articles about design in current society. I've been reading for two days and I'm still poring through it. Among the best pieces:

A New Poland, No Joke. "In the case of Poland, rebranding is different because the idea came from the government. After years of Communist rule, Poland, rushing to emulate what it sees as modern Western ways, has put itself in the hands of DDB Corporate Profiles, an ad agency whose greatest local success to date has been a beer campaign."

Not Fade Away. "Sun Choe, a Levi's designer from San Francisco, comes by the company's Selvedge store on Mulberry Street, where Troy works. Choe likes the look of the grimy life contained in Troy's jeans so much that she wants to make a copy of them, distressed in exactly the same way that his jeans are -- with identical 3-D 'whisker' folds below the front pockets, fades along the thighs and that shredded back pocket."

The $19,450 Phone. "If you look at watches, pens and eyewear, those are technological products that are essential personal items. I thought that a communications device was ready to mature into something exquisite."

Driven to Distraction. "We had just spent 45 minutes in a cul-de-sac going over the car's features, and I still did not know enough to operate the radio by myself. Such is the state of the modern dashboard: in order to fit in every last comfort drivers could possibly want, car manufacturers have made the mere task of getting from one place to the next an ever more complicated feat."

Irrational Exuberance. "Piecing together its aesthetic lexicon from morsels of Bauhaus rigor and midcentury formalism, with a dash of 60's Op Art and 70's shag-pile thrown in for fun, Wallpaper created a hermetically sealed, self-referential world that spun endlessly, glossily around on itself."

No argument from here
December 2, 2002 +
Post of the Year on Textism.

On comments
December 2, 2002 +
It is often said, dear reader, that comments are the lifeblood of weblogs, bringing the pithy links, quotes and anecdotes of an otherwise humdrum personal site to unparalleled levels of vibrancy.

Thus, in recent months I brought comments to this Web site, in the simple-for-me-easy-for-you form of Quicktopic links, which cost nothing, work well, and encourage return visits, as they remember one's login data efficiently, eschew pop-up windows, and avoid extensive programming by the affable fellow who does the back-end coding for this site for me. Obviously, these pages should and could be as vibrant as possible, and who am I to stand in the way of intellectual discourse?

Except, dear reader, that for some inexplicable reason, save for the news of my engagement and barring the inevitable conclusion that these compound sentences are in most cases a codeine on the synapses, you never say a thing.

Thus, no more comment links for the time being. No dummy, this one.

November 2002




Copyright © 2002 David Wertheimer. All rights reserved.