Today is Heather's birthday. Send her some lovin.
I love my new neighborhoodie.
Photo by Heather.
I'm a designer for a living. I spend my days moving pixels. Sometimes I feel like all those pixels on the screen own me. Now everybody knows - I am my pixels' bitch.
Sorry for the business intrusion, but we've got a contract position to fill at Technorati. So if you're a hardcore xhtml/css wonk in San Francisco and you're interested in a 1-2 month, in-house contract, read on!
UPDATE: Position filled!
San Francisco Stories started out as a website, then became a book published by So New Media. It went out of print there a year ago. I finally got around to republishing it, thanks to the good folks at Lulu. I got my copy today and it looks great. Check it out!
Cross one thing off the Life List. Next?
Caroline strips down her old site and relaunches at Each Man. (Aside to Caz: I got the reference.) Tom goes minimal with Plastic Bag. (Aside to Tom: Bold, confident design. Props!) I'd say there was a trend here, except that Matt just took his previously stripped-down A Whole Lotta Nothing and layered on the CSS lovin, complete with girly dropcaps. (Aside to Matt: Don't worry, I know you're all man.)
Anyway, redesigns are in the air. Makes me wish I had the time to give the ol' dotcom a fresh face, but, well, my redesign energy is being directed elsewhere right now. More on that soon.
It's nine months ago today that Heather and I were married. And every day I'm more glad.
Happy nine month anniversary, baby.
Jeff Veen makes a great comment about intimidating interfaces and I couldn't agree more. My favorite recent example of this was at Tickets.com. Try to buy concert tickets and this is the first thing you see:
Captchas (those annoying "type that crap from the image in the box, you monkey") are annoying enough, but the bold, red time limit is surely the bridge too far. You, there! Jump through this hoop! Now now now!
Back to Jeff's post. If Yahoo 360 really wants to encourage their users to blog, I have an easy two-word suggestion for them: Ask questions.
We've been doing this at Fray for years and it never fails. If you say "tell me a story" to someone, their answer is always the same: "I don't have any stories." But if you tell them a story and then ask them to respond in kind, they will. It's just built in to human nature.
Ben Brown's new dating site, Consumating, does this really well. In addition of the usual boring bio stuff, the site asks an interesting question once a week. Members are rewarded for answering them with more exposure for their pages and "points" they can apply toward special features of the site.
Yahoo 360 should encourage their users to blog the same way you encourage people to talk at a party - ask 'em a question!
I've been posting photos to Ephemera for over 15 months now (666 photos as of today - creepy!). Any content-based site that runs long enough eventually has to solve the how-do-I-find-stuff problem. Blogs do this with archives by date and category. Others increasingly use search, leaving it to the user to figure out what they want (not always a good idea).
But photo sites have a special problem (and opportunity) here. Because the content is visual, simple text search is not a good solution. And tagging is awesome, but only when you've got a community to help you tag (future idea!).
I had a brainstorm while washing dishes last night and whipped this up: Ephemera Archive by Color. It's a page that reduces each photo down to its average color and then displays them all at once. The result is fascinating. A sea of khaki and grey, punctuated by the occasional bright orange or pink.
As a photographer, it's interesting to me to see what colors I tend to photograph in an incredibly general sense. But as an interface designer, I think this is a novel exploratory interface. Sure, if you're looking for puppies, you should just go to the Pets Category. But it's a mistake to think that web surfers always know what they want. Sometimes they just want to pick a theme and be surprised. That's what this is for. Plus it's a great faraway overview of all Ephemera photos, divined down to their base color, in one glance.
Interesting or just silliness? You tell me.
Issue 2 of JPG Magazine, the quarterly of brave new photography, is here! Inside you'll find 43 photographic interpretations of the word "lost." Also includes a set of powerful portraits by featured photographer Ryan Keberly of Detroit's disposessed, as well as an interview with Adriene Hughes, who is using photography in her battle with cancer. This issue of JPG Magazine paints a new picture of what it means to be lost ... and found.
I'm really enjoying the crappy camera in my Sidekick 2 lately. You can see the results in my Flickr Photos Tagged Hiptop.
Bloggers Don't Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Journalists
Just a thought from 5 April 2005 about Blogging, Internet, Journalism, Weblogs.
Here's a fun thing to try: Ask your typical blogger what they think of journalists. "Hacks!" They'll scream. "Journalism sucks!"
Then tell them about bloggers being treated differently than journalists. "Unfair!" They scream. "We're journalists, too!"
Try to follow the logic here: Journalism is lame and broken, so bloggers want to be journalists.
With me so far? No? Let's start over.
I went to school for journalism. Got a BA in photojournalism, which just meant I took a lot of photos in my journalism classes. I've worked as a journalist and an editor. I have some experience in this. So let me be clear: Please, for the love of all that's good and holy, do not turn bloggers into journalists.
Folks, journalism is a craft. It takes a lot of time to learn to do well. There are rules, written and unwritten, that are applied. Laws that matter. Experience that you have to earn. Journalism - good journalism - is really, really hard.
Blogging, like you're reading now, is not hard. It's not supposed to be. A lot of people have worked very hard to make blogging as easy as typing a thought and hitting a button. That's the beauty of blogging - anyone can do it, about anything.
So again I say: Please, for the love of all that's good and holy, do NOT turn bloggers into journalists!
When Apple sued the proprietors of three rumor sites because they'd revealed trade secrets, bloggers screamed, "but journalists are protected from that! Bloggers should be, too!" Which sounds good and just until you give it more than a minute's thought.
To become a journalist, you have to go to school, go to college, intern at some crap paper, work for crap wages, write whatever dreck the established writers don't want, put up with egomaniacal, power mad, amateur Napoleon editors who will freak out if you put a capital letter in the wroNg place, and do this all for years and years before they let you near a story that matters.
To become a blogger you have to register for a free account, slam your index fingers into a keyboard a few times, and click POST.
Tell me again how those things are the same. Tell me again how they both deserve equal protections. I mean, with a straight face.
People, being a journalist is hard. A lot harder than it looks, in fact. That's why so many of them are so bad at it. But just because you have a Blogger account, don't pretend for a second that makes you a journalist. What that makes you is a source. A potentially interesting source, yes, but no more interesting than a guy on the corner with a bullhorn.
And, remember, that's a good thing. The reason blogs are interesting is because they're not journalism. They're unfiltered personal voices. Raw emotion. They don't have rules to follow, editors and advertisers to keep happy, parent corporations to make rich. They're the real deal.
Here's a secret: Journalists want to be us. It's true! We bloggers have the freedom to be painfully honest. When's the last time you looked up from a newspaper and said, "wow, I can't believe she said that!" I do that just about every time I read Dooce.
If blogs wanted the same rights and protections as newspapers, they'd have to adhere to the same standards, laws, and process. Is that really what you want? An editor breathing down your neck? And if it is, why don't you just go work for a newspaper?
Please, we have newspapers. Let's make something different out of blogging. Let's not make it into something old and dying because they get the cool toys.
Certainly there are some bloggers that are journalistic in tone and approach, but that's the exception. Why force a young, flexible medium into that one dull corner? Because if we apply the same standards to blogging as are applied to journalism, blogs will get boring in a hurry. That's not what I want.
So if you enjoy blogs, then next time some blogger gets their panties in a twist about journalists getting all the breaks, just say: "Damn right! Ain't it great?"
And then go post about it on your blog.
Heather and I are having much fun moblogging today. She has an excuse - she is participating in 24 in 48: A collection of 24 people posting photos for 48 hours for your enjoyment. Me? I just like to follow the cool kids.
A small moment from The Big Kahuna:
Phil: The question is, do you have any character at all? And if you want my honest opinion, Bob, you do not. For the simple reason that you don't regret anything yet.
Bob: Are you saying I won't have any character unless I do something I regret?
Phil: No, Bob. I'm saying you've already done plenty of things to regret. You just don't know what they are. It's when you discover them. When you see the folly in something you've done. And you wish you had to do over. But you know you can't because it's too late. So you pick that thing up and you carry it with you. To remind you that life goes on. The world will spin without you. You really don't matter in the end. Then will you attain character. Because honesty will reach out from inside and tattoo itself all across your face.
Words to live by.
This section is called Just a Thought. It's a blog where I post little pieces of what I'm thinking about at the moment. This page shows thoughts from April 2005, including:
Happy Birthday, Baby!
29 April 2005
23 April 2005
Web Developer Gig
23 April 2005
My new book, same as the old book
21 April 2005
19 April 2005
I am the Luckiest
18 April 2005
Come here often?
15 April 2005
Ephemera Archive by Base Color
14 April 2005
11 April 2005
Heather via Flickr
9 April 2005
I am a salty old man
2 April 2005
Regret and the Big Kahuna
1 April 2005
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Working the web since 1995, Derek Powazek is the creator of many award-winning websites, a couple of which still exist. Derek is the cofounder of JPG Magazine and the CCO of 8020 Publishing. Derek lives in San Francisco with his wife, two nutty Chihuahuas, a grumpy cat, and a house full of plants named Fred. More »
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Happy Birthday, Baby! 29 April 2005
Pixel Boy 23 April 2005
Web Developer Gig 23 April 2005
My new book, same as the old book 21 April 2005
Redesign madness 19 April 2005