Frank Chimero wants to write a book about the why of design and he’d like you to help fund it on Kickstarter. I dropped some cash and I think you should too. Some of Frank’s words:
The Shape of Design isn’t going to be a text book. The project will be focused on Why instead of How. We have enough How; it’s time for a thoughtful analysis of our practice and its characteristics so we can better practice our craft. After reading the book, I want you to look at what you do in a whole new light. Design is more than working for clients.
But really, this book aims to look at the mindset and worldview that designing develops in order to answer one big, important question: How can we make things that help all of us live better?
We all need a little motivation sometimes and you’ll be much happier if you accept your faults and work with them. This little book is a great reminder that you don’t have to feel down about not finishing something, you just need a kick in the pants. And this isn’t just about your latest web startup, it’s about anything. I’m gonna buy myself a physical copy and leave it on my desk at work. [via Bobulate]
A recurring theme at the New York Times’ Open Government event was the pain involved in taking public data and making it usable. I’ve done very little data cleaning, but enough that I know it is a pain in the ass. ProPublica’s guide almost makes it seem easy.
After you check in on Foursquare at a restaurant that has too many health code violations, you’ll get a text message. It’d be nice if someone had a service that texted me the 3 best dishes to order for the good restaurants. [via @Remy]
I don’t think you could have a better portrait of Doc and Marty. It captures them perfectly and the colors scream 80s. If you’re a fellow Back to the Future fan, I highly recommend Nerduo’s new blog and the shirts they’re selling at 1.21jiggawatts.com. I’m not even sure I like the shirts, but I would buy them solely because of the brilliant domain name.
Yes, this seems backwards, but it looks like this will be a useful tool for understanding how some great sites are put together. I do wish that you could control how often an element appears and export into some common wireframing tools. Maybe that is a bit much, but I like to reach for the stars.
If only we lived in a world where we didn’t have watches, computers, or phones, we’d all be able to enjoy an extra twelve minutes of lunch. As the video explains, the clock speeds up 20% at 11am, then slows down 20% at 11:48am. It catches up by 1pm and you’ve now earned some bonus time. The Instructables project shows you now to make it happen. [via BuzzFeed]
Mandy Brown eloquently explains why most people have a hard time grasping forever.
On many an occasion, I’ve spoken with someone about their reluctance to get a tattoo and heard something to the effect of “I can’t imagine making a decision that would last forever.” My somewhat cheeky response has always been to say it won’t last forever; it will only last as long as you do, which is to say, not very long at all. But most of the time, and for most people, “forever” is that piece of time that we can see with our own eyes. Forever is the length of a single, human life.
She goes on to relate it to the sunsetting of web services like Delicious, which caused incredible upheaval amongst those who depend on it.
Instead of a single life, I hope that we think of forever as the amount of time in which a piece of information is useful. Beyond that point, it is best laid to bed.
This is really funny. Also, Growing Up Slope will soon be a show on FX.
They don’t brag about [owning a brownstone], because my father is a Communist, and he’s embarrassed by being an owner of capital. He allays this guilt by renting out the garden apartment for a few hundred dollars under market.
Typically, when a flight is oversold, the gate agent will broadcast the offer to everyone waiting to board. Delta has unveiled a new system that lets users say how much it would take to let Delta bump them when they check in. Then, Delta takes the lowest bids of all those who play the game. It’s a pretty amazing concept, but could be even better if they had an app that notified you when someone beat your offer. [via Pat’s Papers]
Kenji puts in the effort to explain why we needn’t be ashamed to eat foie gras. He visits La Belle Farms to dig into the details and discovers that, at least there, the animals are treated with care and live a good life. In fact, wages are based on fair treatment.
Bob [Ambrose] is quick to point out that “any mishandling of the ducks—rough treatment, that kind of thing—will cause bruising, reducing its price,” he explains. “So we’ve got a strong incentive to be gentle with the birds.” Duck handlers, who are mostly female (apparently ducks take better to women) work on an bonus-based program where their pay is bumped for every “A” grade lobe one of their charge produces. It’s the first time I’ve heard of a farm that offers workers a monetary incentive to be gentler with the animals. Bob insists that it works, and that the most experienced feeders can increase the number of A lobes from the normal 55% up to over 70%.
As Kenji points out, anthropomorphizing the ducks is a big reason we balk at foie gras. Our bodies and minds can’t handle being force-fed, but their’s can. I understand one’s aversion to eating meat in general, but Kenji makes it clear that foie gras is no worse, and possibly better, than other commercial meat production.
The newest creation from Loren Bouchard, producer of Home Movies (my favorite animated series) and Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist, starts a week from today on Fox. The previews look entertaining, but I’m more excited by the cast, which includes H. Jon Benjamin, Eugene Mirman, and Kristen Schaal.
Like thousands of other travelers, I had my flight cancelled to New York. I was stuck on hold with JetBlue as I waited for someone to take pity on me. All together, I spent a couple hours waiting to talk to people. JetBlue is not the worst offender, but they have inspired me to consider what I believe to be the perfect hold music.
Before I begin, I’m not even going to consider the hell that is a phone tree. That pain deserves its own post.
Tell me how long I have to wait. It doesn’t have to be to the second, but a rough approximation will soothe my nerves a bit.
Play innocuous, classical music. It’s hard to please everybody, so don’t try to pick out cool music. You may have an image to uphold, but when I’m stuck on hold, I just don’t care. All I want is something that holds my attention just enough to indicate you haven’t hung up on me.
Don’t interrupt the music. Again, I just want to zone out until I can talk to a human. It’s okay if you want to update me on my hold time, but only do it every 5 minutes. If you play an ad, or anything really, every minute, you may as well skip the music. It just makes me think a person is coming on the line.
Unless I’m waiting for technical support. Assuming you have a rough idea of my problem, feel free to offer some of the most common solutions while I’m waiting. Just make sure you’ve already put me in the hold queue. Calling 311 is infuriating, because I have to sit through 30 seconds of parking regulations.
It seems simple because it is. I’m not opposed to creative hold-tainment (hard to believe that I just made that up), but you need to remember that people are likely calling because something went wrong and you want to keep them calm. It’s going to make the talking part easier on everybody.
There aren’t a lot of details yet, but the system, revealed via a patent announcement, would give the recipient an opportunity to stop an unwanted gift or correct a size before it’s ever shipped. I don’t know why it needs patent, as this is really a design problem. Even the most beautiful email isn’t the same as ripping apart wrapping paper. On the other hand, this feature is great.
A user could also create a setting where any gift from a specified sender on Amazon.com is automatically converted into gift cards or other items.
It would be awesome if your grandma gave you a peppermint candle maker and you could have it automatically turned into Grand Theft Auto IV. She might be a bit confused when you sent a thank you card, but you’ll be much happier.