Lost and innocent days

So, something is not working correctly with my Delicious feed. Something about the rdf/xml has changed. It is not generating properly when I preview it, and not updating at this site s of yesterday. Hmm, well, I’ll have to check my RSS plug-in. The annotated version is still working fine, and I like it better anyway. I still haven’t figured out how to get MT to understand the perl, and haven’t had time to really work on it.

I actually want to overhaul this whole blog (who doesn’t always want to pick at theirs?) because I find it really hard to read. The design is just picking up on my portfolio site and it is in desperate need of an overhaul too. I’m never happy. Designers are never happy. They complain a lot… 🙂

There’s a discussion going on at Mezzoblue, Dusting off Skeletons, about first websites. It’s kind of cute, especially the posts about sites made (gasp!) “way back” in 1998, or something like that. I’ve been tempted to jump into the fray because I’d just been looking at my first real site at the WayBack Machine a few weeks ago. I was seeking out an old site that I had found incredibly inspiring (Mkzdk) because I could not remember what it was called, but knew there was a link there. Happy to see it is still online and still beautiful. My first site went online in 1995. It was for a communication design business I co-owned called Working Media. There is a copy of it (well, version 2.0) from the first Archive crawl in 1996: Working Media. The business eventually folded and the domain (wmedia) is being held by a squatter. Have fun, nobody’s gonna give you any money for it.

As was typical of the time, the site featured a large illustration and links to company info. There was also The Vault, our weblinks and webpicks pages, where each company member got to choose favorite sites. Everyone was just getting familiar with the medium then. If you follow links from the Wayback, it will take you to those sites as they appeared then as well (assuming they were crawled). Sites were hand-coded, server-side imagemaps were cutting edge, javascript did not exist yet, backgrounds were “oh so new” and oh so overused. My site was designed for the standard grey of the time.

Inspired by gaming and experimental hypertext, especially the game Myst, many clients and early web designers wanted to create little worlds with their sites. No one wanted to just come out and say “I am X and I do Y.” Early web proposals from that time, at least that I was involved with, created elaborate and mysterious (obtuse, mostly 😉 environments for “discovery,” no matter how silly. Sometime I’ll have to do some wayback sleuthing and find a few examples of ridiculous early web design. However, there is an innocence to these early sites, and an enthusiasm that begins to be lost with the advent of authoring programs and –eek — FrontPage. Suddenly the web was very ugly, boring and Navy Blue.

I continued to weave my sites by hand until Mick passed along a copy of GoLive Cyberstudio (the precurser to Adobe GoLive) in 1997. Even then, it took me a long time to really feel comfortable using an authoring program. I had bought PageMill in ’96, but it sucked lemons. A waste of money, never used it. Eventually, Adobe got it right after buying out Cyberstudio. Now, I am finally getting up to speed with Dreamweaver MX. I thought Dreamwever was pretty awful until recently. Now I think it is incredibly powerful. I can’t decide which, GoLive or Dreamweaver I like better, but need to know them both.

It is so hard to stay current in this field. One will never become an expert because the rules are always changing. It’s exciting to see CSS finally taking off and revolutionizing web design once again. I notice that sites are beginning to use big mysterious images and an environmental feel again, and it makes me all fuzzy.

. + . + .
another useless card:
well, only for me, and only for today. This is actually a retty clear oracle command for the intended audience:
Convert a melodic element into a rhythmic element

a week of avoiding this weblog (or the tale of King Zook)

Not only did my art-making adventures disappoint, I also found myself avoiding this weblog. I think it was because I did not have art ready to post, but also because the past few days have been exceedingly emotional. Of course, the question is, what do I say in the blog? Just because I’m opening my own life up (well, a little, give me time and I’ll tell you my stories!) doesn’t necessarily give me the right to discuss the lives of my friends and family.

So, I’ll just cut to the end of the tale. My mother’s cat died. His name was Zook and he was very cool. He was a Maine Coon cat, very large and very intelligent. Not really like a cat, more like a boyfriend. He had been ill for a while, I guess my mom was in denial about it, and by the time he was rushed to the hospital by my very distraught brother it was probably too late. He died Tuesday night, poor thing. They brought him home and buried him in my mom’s backyard next to his dear kitty pal Neptune, who died just about this time last year. He was 13.

The grief we feel when we lose a pet is compounded by the hurt of their suffering. We don’t want them to be afraid. The unconditional love of a pet, their presence in the ups and downs of our lives, and the shortness of their natural lifespans makes their passing heartbreaking. They mark phases of our lives and when they die, a little of us goes with them.

Zook is dead. Long live King Zook.

Super Tuesday

Well, with such a diminishing field, it’s a bit less super (thanks for asking!), but, it’s important to vote today. There are still options. Vote for the candidate you would have supported, they are still on the ballots, and keep their messages at the forefront of the democratic debate and policy. Make a protest vote, throw your support behind one of the two front-runners, vote for someone who inspires you, whether they’re running or not. The right to vote in free elections should never be diminished or taken for granted. So, don’t let the day go by without exercising your rights!

Card: Don’t break the silence.

Free your desktop and your mind will follow

Today’s Globe ran an article about itinerant computer fixit folks, some of whom have been doing very well charging people $125 an hour to fix their PCs, clean out viruses, organize and optimize their home offices. Great work if you want it but the real question for me is: Why do people keep buying PCs?? Why do everyday folks who “hate computers” or who just want to be able to enjoy the world of the web, or do their taxes, or write that novel, continue to buy into the viral nightmare that is the Microsoft OS (95, 98, 2000, XP, take your pick) and family of software.

I think its just ignorance and fear. Just because 95% of the lemmings dive into the sea, it doesn’t mean you have to also.

The arguments I hear why people buy a PC instead of a Mac usually fall into one of these excuses:

They’re cheaper.
Not necessarily true anymore from a hardware standpoint. For example the eMac, Apple’s all-in-one box, designed for education, but available to anyone, packs a lot of G4 power into a $700 price. And, from a software ease-of-use and security standpoint, there is NO comparison. Just think of all the lost time spent cleaning up viruses or trying to uninstall something off a PC. Or of the steep learning curve needed to customize and configure a typical desktop PC. Or of the lost time and expense all this clueless spreading of email viruses and worms costs you, your company, your school.

For Windows Users, ‘Browser Hijacking’ Is Only the Latest Threat

They are what my friends, co-workers, kids have.
So what? Are they going to come over and fix your machine every time something goes wrong? Oh yeah, I guess they are…

I need Microsoft Office, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint.
Runs just fine and dandy on a Mac (which means it’s just as sucky and bloated as it is on your PC). And since Macs can read PC files, communicating and collaborating with all those unhappy PC using friends of yours is transparent.

In fact, the “Not enough software titles available” excuse is also hollow. Yeah, maybe there are not enough crappy games or niche titles but, really, you won’t miss them. All the really good stuff is cross platform and the Mac’s iLife series of products can’t be beat for ease of use or price. I’ve been using computers for work and for fun since 1985. I started out on expensive proprietary design systems such as Lightspeed. Such early innovations begat goodies like the Amiga, a way-ahead-of-its-time desktop computer. We bought an Amiga in 1985, and I still marvel at the work Mick and I produced with it. In 1989, I bought my first Mac, a Mac IIcx. It cost me $5,200, quite a lot of money for a machine with 4mgs of RAM and a 40meg hardrive! But, I was producing full-color award-winning magazine spreads with that thing and completely revolutionizing how the company I worked at at the time (a multi-million dollar custom publishing company) did business. Point being, I’ve never owned a PC, I’ve never wanted to own a PC and I’ve never missed any exciting software innovations because I don’t own a PC.

PCs can be fun for people who like to tinker with their computers but most people don’t (and this rant isn’t really for those that do…). But it is this large majority of users who keep buying them. They find anything “under-the-hood” to be mysterious and frightening. Microsoft isn’t doing anything to dispel that fear either, ignorance is bliss for them. Stupid users means more profits. We seem have been collectively conned into continuing this oppressive monopoly of Microsoft by simple ignorance and fear.

Common, we’re a democracy here… free yourself from tyranny. Make your next computer a Mac, or if you’re feeling ambitious, convert the PC you have into a Linux box.

Curious about the development of the Windows-style interface? Here’s a swell history of the Graphical User Interface maintained by Nathan Lineback.

overload

Finding great information on the web can be exhilarating, but keeping track of the information becomes daunting. I’ve been simultaneously adding links at my delicious account and AEContent, sometimes overlapping my choices, although usually not. The criteria for entering a link at delicious differs from what I might add to AEContent. In fact, it’s important that any link in the AEContent database have some academic credibility or be useful to educators. Delicious, a “social bookmarks manager, is an interesting experiment that may end up drowning in its own success. The idea is to post your links to it, instead of your own bookmarks or, in my case, lots of little lost plain text documents. It has no agenda and the members, who become known by their choices, are a diverse lot. There is a growing concern that the homepage is declining in value and becoming a means for spammer-types or other disliked blowhards to push their dubious links on the community. I don’t really see evidence of that. Rather, I feel like I’m dipping in a community pool. I might not like the tone of a lot of the links, but I don’t have to visit them.

Zee cards keep a turnin’

Ok, so none of these strategies really worked for me.

     

  • Simple Subtraction
  • Turn it upside down
  • A line has two sides

Although, seen together they almost form a haiku.

Stupid laugh of the day: Bilbo Baggins
I didn’t know there was a video…

Two more cards turn…

it’s hard to post everyday. I started this blog in part because I implement them and research them so, I might as well keep one myself. I also manage another blog for the Massart new media program, and a wiki (closed), where I’ve blathered on about all sorts of things. But Caught gives me a personal space to try my hand at the public life. Since I’m a very private person, and pretty shy, this is not easy for me to do. I’m also maintaining this blog as a place to keep track of all the swell resources I find out there on the web everyday. So, this is primarily a links blog.

Another reason why I’m forcing myself to do this is because I’m starting to write a book, ok I’m starting to claim I’m writing a book. Once I’ve got some of it together, it will start to make an appearance here, and then I’ll start letting people know about this place, rather than just shouting out alone into the ethernet…

So, yesterday I tweeked PHPnuke all day. I’m finally getting the hang of how it all works together and am actually beginning to enjoy customizing it for AEContent. Yesterday’s card was:

LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR

Which is always on my mind when I’m dealing with art teachers and technology. I’m trying to create a virtual peer community for a technophobic group of folks. So, it’s slow going.

Today’s card is:

LOOK AT THE ORDER IN WHICH YOU DO THINGS

I procrastinate, so any order that allows for putting off what I can’t deal with is a good order…

One thing I’ve noticed is, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started getting some of my best work done in the morning. I’ve never been a morning person. I always wanted to be a morning person but, it just wasn’t happening. Then, about a year ago, I dunno, I started becoming a morning person. It will happen to you too… trust me…

cranky update…

Lowest common denominator… like the atrocious half-time show at the superbowl?? … and I’m not even talking about the stoopid Janet expose. Is this really what people want to see and hear? Whatta load of garbage. And, where were my Areosmith boys at half-time? Pre-game what?? Whatever happened to good old marching bands creating elaborate designs on the field while blasting out barely in-tun medleys of show-tunes? … ah, nostalgia…. Plus, what a bunch of crappy ads (yeah, I admit it, the main reason I was watching).

..oh yeah, go Pats…

What is the reality of the situation?

…the reality is that I didn’t get to post yesterday, because I was too busy preparing for an AEContent workshop, which went well. But I did draw the card in the morning.

What is the reality of the situation? Maybe we need to ask that question more frequently than we do. What are you dealing with now? Is it really as you perceive it?

What is the reality of New Hampshire? Of electability? I wonder because, here we have a group of guys running for the Dem nomination, any of whom would be far superior (and safer for our country) than Cheney, oops, I mean Bush…

Bbut, this one’s too angry, this one’s from Massachusetts, this one’s too young, this one’s too inexperienced in politics, this one’s too radical, this one’s too black, this one’s too Jewish…

If people stopped dismissing them and actually listened to what they have to offer — not too easy in a climate where the media is far more interested in the “gotcha moment” and determining the winners before a vote has been cast — they’d see there is substance of all of these candidates. Hell, if we’re not, as a nation, going to look beyond these superficial reasons for rejecting these guys, why don’t we just skip the election and let the courts decide… oh, we did that last time.

The reality of the situation is that we can’t afford to relinquish that responsibility. We must always question the motivations of our leaders. We must not be so compliant. We must not treat the election cycle as though it was another season of America Idol.

There are no guarantees that the US will always remain a free democracy. We earn that everyday, as a nation, with our diligence.