Stupid Ideas: Use the Latest Technology

When trying to promote one’s self, or one’s Website, it is important that one take advantage of the newest and latest technologies.

For instance, spinning, flaming logos.

Or, in modern parlance, embracing every new JavaScript framework and sneering at last month’s as passé. It proves you can do really neat things with really neat other things, even if everyone is just using the exact same Bootstrap template.

The latest technology is chic. It’s cutting edge! It’s all about the self-promotion of pushing the envelope beyond what your customer’s browsers actually support. They’ll update eventually.

But really, a problem that often vexes any good application development and design is getting so caught up with the newest toys that things like audience needs get put on the back burner in favor of cool toys.

Why? Usually because it saves us from having to think about it. We don’t have to think about what the audience wants. We don’t have to think about whether what we are promoting is worth the effort. We don’t have to engage with the product. We just make it look pretty, ideally with someone else’s canned solution, or make it appropriately shiny and jangly. Done.

Sometimes pushing out new toys succeeds, and you create demand for something where none existed before, or at a bare minimum you trend for a bit as everyone oohs and aahs over your cleverness. But most of the time it just adds unnecessary clutter to the final product. The really old IBM ad above nails it on the head. It looks neat, but how does it address customer needs?

Compare Google Docs to Microsoft Office. Google Docs has actually be reducing functionality in their office suite, not increasing it. Why? Because it is not meant for desktop publishing, it is meant for sharing ideas online, collaboratively, in the easiest was possible. Once something in finalized, then export it to Word, or better LibreOffice, and give it to the content experts to make it look sharp. Google are masters of using the most advanced toys possible to make things as plain and and simple as possible. Though they are far from innocent on the latest technology trap. They are so determined to keep things as fresh as possible that the tools you are working with can change from one day to the next without even a hint of advance notice. 

Socially Support the King!

A strong platform of humans rights creates an interesting conundrum: It assigns an arbitrary, idealized definition of self to all individuals that has no bearing on nor interaction with their role in society. This self is not a concrete social standing, but an abstract ideal. Such abstract ideals were formerly reserved for nobility and the clergy, the members of which represented the highest abstract notions of nobility and divinity.

So …

What happens when people lose strong, clearly defined identities to abstract and arbitrary ones?

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The Pirate Moot, Chapter 3: With the Spring comes December

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On a not-quite-so-cold day, late in the spring, Seji practiced her martial arts with the Sisters of Kril in the rocky flat outside the monastery. It was an easy place to slip, stumble, or fall, making it an ideal practice ground. She has been practicing with them for nearly a year. At first the acolytes had much to teach her and she has much rust to shake off, but today she was leisurely fending them off as they came at her in waves. It had taken some time to convince them to not hold back, but today the rocky plain glistened with sweat, blood, and the deep scoring of deadly magicks. The blood was mostly hers, she was going easy on them, but their healers would still be getting plenty of practice when this was done.

She was about to call for a break when she was nearly taken down by an especially agile acolyte as she was distracted by two people walking toward them from the north.

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The sublime typo

We are a culture that likes to make the claim of be a textual culture, a culture of written words, but we only have one word for typos: typo.

We have thousands of words for colors, even the ugly colors, an excess of creative neologisms for finding new and inventive ways to talk about things that have gone terribly wrong in sports plays, or politics, or even interpersonal relations.

But when it comes to things gone amiss in the written word, it is a typo. 

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The wait for the Messiah® is over!

GENMES

Hubris one leads to you buying round two.

Everybody strophe!

Yes, that really does say “HE’BREW: The chosen beer.”

Now to find out if it is any good. If it is like most religions, it will probably have sort of dry, sort of bitter aftertaste, and consuming too much of it will leave you less than coherent and prone to do stupid things only to claim afterwards that the beer made you do it.

Courtesy of Schmaltz Brewing Company via the beverage center.

Equivalent content

Equivalent content: a brief lesson in basic design principles.

Equivalent content is content that serves the same function as that which it replaces. This equivalency is one of intent and meaning, not of visual appearance, unless the visual appearance is the meaning you are trying to convey. This is a critical and easily addressed point in making Web sites accessible.

Consider this good example of describing visual appearance:

This detail image of the hand of Michalengelo’s David clearly shows how it was disproportionately large, perhaps deliberately scaled to be more prominent when seen from a distance.

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The Pirate Moot, Chapter 2: You just need a catalyst

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There were plenty of questions that got answered when Ornery returned after two years without so much as a letter, though not immediately, and probably not of the important ones. Okay, really, most of the answers weren’t answers at all.

“Where where you?”

“Had to go someplace.”

“What were you doing?”

“Things.”

“Why?”

“To escape all yer questions.”

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