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April 2005 Archive

Supermercato PAM

posted by DL Byron on April 26, 2005

Pam Store After travelling across Europe earlier this month, Pam finally found a store with her name on it! It's the Supermercato PAM, an Italian Supermarket.

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Go Shakespeare, it’s your Birthday

posted by DL Byron on April 23, 2005

To celebrate the Bard’s birthday, here’s Sonnet 55, one of my favorites, addressed to the beautiful young man, perhaps a lover, perhaps just the Bard’s patron — the debate goes on … The theme is the power of Shakespeare’s own art to outlast time and thereby make the beloved eternal. Sonnet 55 surges with some of the most powerful imagery ever breathed into a mere 14 lines of verse. What better quote to post on the Bard’s 441st birthday!

Sonnet LV
“Not marble, nor the gilded monuments”

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rime;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besemear’d with sluttish time.
When wasteful war shall statues overturn,
And broils root out the work of masonry,
Nor Mars his sword nor war’s quick fire shall burn
The living record of your memory.
‘Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity
That wear this world out to the ending doom.
So, till the judgement that yourself arise,
You live in this, and dwell in lovers’ eyes.

Shakespeare in the news

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AMP Do Good

posted by DL Byron on April 21, 2005

Create PosterLucky I didn’t delete the email from Right Brain Terrain in my spam filter, ‘cause they’re selling Alternative Motivational Posters (AMP) that do good for the creative types in the office. There’s no guy leaping a dangerous gorge or soaring eagle imagery in these posters. Instead beautiful, poetic, design that’s coming from people that obviously love what they’re doing. Scroll through their blog and find a collection of designy sites that have linked and posted on them as well. I hadn’t thought of it that way before, but I think we could say that Clip-n-Seal is an “Alternative Bag Clip.”

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PowerPoint is a distraction

posted by DL Byron on April 20, 2005

One of my favorite passages from the La Vida Robot story I blogged about a couple weeks ago:

"Why don't you have a PowerPoint display?" he asked.

"PowerPoint is a distraction," Cristian replied. "People use it when they don't know what to say."

"And you know what to say?"

"Yes, sir."

I wonder if Cristian is a fan of Tufte?

That's not to say that you can't do good or interesting things with PowerPoint, but I wish more people saw it as the crutch that it is.

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Hollow Sidewalks

posted by DL Byron on April 18, 2005

Hollow Whenever we visit NYC I hear the same, distinctive, hotel-room rattling sound. It sounds like a forklift crashing through a steel grate, falling two stories underground, landing on metal garbage cans and, scattering the cans in a 5 block blast-zone radius. We've stayed in different parts of the city and hear the same sound. I've come to expect it and I'm always on watch for the actual source of the sound.

On our way to the Apple Store, I saw these Hollow Sidewalk signs and wondered if that had something to do with it. Why would the sidewalks be hollow and what's under them? Do the metal traps covering the sidewalks periodically open and close, in a synchronized manner? That could be the sound source. That or the fabled mole people at work, turning the machinery that keeps the city working.

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Pugcast, a podcast for dogs

posted by DL Byron on April 18, 2005

Coudal's Fresh Signals asked today "what took so long?" when linking to the Pug Blog's first pugcast. Agreed! There has been definitely "something missing" in podcasting, and a pugcast can extend the technology into new dog demographics. You can subscribe to the pugcast and get the latest audio from Cap’n the Adventure Pug.

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Back in the day

posted by DL Byron on April 15, 2005

Neon DreamEric Rice, the rockstar podcaster, is determined to be a videoblog VJ to the world and has been posting on a variety of topics. Earlier in the week, we were discussing video projects and I showed him some old Textura Design net.art projects. He posted on one of the projects today and included it as an example of expressing yourself with video. Back in the day, before business blogging, Clip-n-Seal, and all that we do, it was just net.art and being creative. We brought some of that back with Pug Blog and the art continues on at Sikwenshel, Robroy's site.

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Make a Meme

posted by DL Byron on April 14, 2005

Show Down Eyebeam announces the first-ever Contagious Media Showdown, a contest to show you got the stuff to make a meme, like the old-school dancing baby, an accidental blogger, the Abba Video, or unfortunately the Star Wars Kid.

Eyebeam’s timing is right on, being it’s like 1997 again, we need more fun on the web and in blogs. That’s one of the reason we launched Pug Blog, as a creative outlet (recently updated with the new, PugFavCon PugFavIcon). People are working more and could use a laugh.

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A shot across IE's bow

posted by DL Byron on April 13, 2005

In another example of why I design, develop, and test for Internet Explorer last, Dave Hyatt responds to the release of the Acid2 Test by jumping right in, testing his browser, and blogging the whole process. Compare to that to Scoble’s initial response and the lack of any word yet from Microsoft and you can nearly conclude that MS just doesn’t care. I say nearly because Scoble has been working on connecting WaSP and the IE team, but soon the time will come when the creative professionals and developers may say, “put up or shut up.”

The reasons to speculate on why MS doesn’t care are endless. They’re not cool, there’s no money in Standards, they’re too big, security, etc. What I’ve concluded is that IE is a huge dev time suck and I’m not alone. My clients feel the same way. Early this year, we delivered a project that was spec'd specifically for Firefox and not IE. One client emailed

"I'm a Mozilla convert. Not that I liked IE that much anyway, but I really dig Mozilla. If it only worked for MS active-x crap then I could ditch IE all together."

It’s guaranteed in a project that IE will be the most troublesome to deal with and you can find comments in code like:

  • /* added to workaround an IE 5 Mac bug, IE/Win seems to need it too */
  • /* hide the HR from CSS browser that use the above styles, necessary because IE Win is inept at styling HRs */
  • /* for smart browsers */

And those comments are rather tame. View source on sites and you'll find worse. Talented and smart developers work at MS and updates to their dev products are expected to improve standards support. Those guys, including Robert get it, but IE is still their Achilles’ heel. Our struggles are nothing to compared to what I expect a software company, especially Microsoft, must have when dealing with IE.

Congrats to Dave Hyatt and the community for a positive response to the Acid2 Test. Microsoft, you're up next. Robert and all of us have done our part. The time is now.

For more on Acid2 Test, see the WaSP press release. Also note that I'm a member of WaSP.


Dave Hyatt's has nearly completed the test and Dean Edwards is tracking it on his site and predicting a horse race. Mozilla is tracking and discussing Acid2 on Bugzilla.

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Talking Smack with MusicNet

posted by DL Byron on April 12, 2005

Pam pPod On our way back from NYC, a couple weeks ago, our flight was delayed and we joined other travelers huddled around the only power outlets in the terminal. We’d take turns plugging into the outlet to charge our laptops. The newness of her iPod hadn’t worn off yet and Pam was playing with all the menu features (Pam is shown in today's photo at the Manhattan Apple Store, happily about to purchase her iPod). Seeing her iPod, the traveller next to us noted that he had the latest in digital audio gadgets and showed us his Creative Zen Micro and pitched us on how users prefer subscription services. He also claimed that Apple would have a subscription service in 6 months. We discussed this further, debating subscription v. pay for downloads, Real’s hack, how Napster is destroying its brand, and it turns out the guy was a marketing rep for MusicNet. As he discussed MusicNet’s services, he also disclaimed most of the features of the Zen micro: “it’s not, but, it could, this bugs me, the menu … .” His effort culminated in the radio being the only feature better than the iPod and that’s because the iPod doesn’t have a radio. He was a nice guy, but Pam and I remained unconvinced.

The flight was delayed another hour and the debate about subscription services picked up again. I don’t really care either way. I prefer to buy music and some want to lease it. There’s room for both. While a recent study found that pay-per-download is preferred, I’m sure MusicNet’s marketing staff is at the ready to say otherwise. They can also convince themselves that the iPod sucks because it doesn’t have a radio.

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Blogging 101 Seminar Slides

posted by DL Byron on April 11, 2005

Here are slides for the 21 Century Coaching SIG seminar today

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Podcasting RAINS

posted by DL Byron on April 11, 2005

Eric Rice distributed a set of interviews over the weekend on behalf of The Regional Alliances for Infrastructure and Network Security (RAINS), which has developed a Realtime Tsunami Warning Service. RAINS Connect & Protect™ collects tsunami warnings when issued, and immediately sends localized alerts via computers, pagers and cell phones, to local citizens responsible for public safety — thus dramatically increasing the speed and reach of the warnings within a community. A great community service and a podcaster doing his civic duty. Tsunamis are a concern in Puget Sound and the West Coast. We had one in 1949 and experts predict another will happen.

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Pugs rule

posted by DL Byron on April 07, 2005

Pug BlogI'd been talking for months about launching a blog about Cap'n, our pug. This week we rolled and are proud to join fellow bloggers Merrylog, Bringing up Shelby, and Puggy Blog.

I spend a better part of my day with Cap'n. She's mostly near my feet, under the desk, next to the printer. Pug Blog is about her, living with pugs, and all things pugs. I also hope to find and blog about items like the Pug Foo Fu Dog Tea Lantern Sculpture, which only the true pug fan can appreciate (and even that's a stretch). Also, and mostly, Pug Blog is a good break from all the business blogging I evangelize.

Here's more on the .

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Sometimes a button isn't just a button

posted by DL Byron on April 07, 2005

I've been working with a company on their business blog and we soft launched it earlier this week. An email quickly came in wondering why code shows up in the browser when you click on a newsfeed link. The discussion continued to orange buttons and I explained that there''s more to the orange button than a pretty button.

By using a text link instead of a button you call less attention to a geek feature and still meet the needs of advanced users. You can link to a what's a feed page or use Feedburner, which preprocesses the feed into html. You also stay neutral on a standards debate and offer all syndication forms. Considering a broader audience on a business blog, it's better to not call a reader's attention to a shiny button that'll just confuse them.

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Stinging in the Rain

posted by DL Byron on April 06, 2005

NYC RainMuch of our trip to NYC was spent walking around in the rain. I’m good with the rain, living in Seattle with a blog appropriately called, “Dreeping in the Rain,” but the NYC rain was harder. It beat down upon us and stung our faces. The rain maybe harder because of the wind currents around the buildings or the sky is closer. I’m not sure, but I’ve never had to use an umbrella in Seattle.

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La Vida Robot

posted by DL Byron on April 05, 2005

There's a great story in this month's Wired about 4 immigrant kids from Phoenix who beat a team from M.I.T. (and everyone else) at the national underwater bot championship.

I thought is was a great story - funny, heartwarming and inspirational - and I dropped Joshua Davis (the author) an email to let him know how much I enjoyed it.

Josh told me the teachers have set up a scholarship fund for the kids. I happily donated some money and humbly suggest you 1) read the story, 2) donate and 3) spread the word: La Vida Robot Scholarship.

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