Capn Design

August 2010

This month I posted 21 entries, crafted 52 tweets, listened to 322 songs, watched 6 videos, bookmarked 8 sites, took 5 photos and favorited 28 things.

20100827hallowed.jpg “Hallowed Ground”

Yet another thing I was slow to post, but I couldn’t let this one slide. These are images of places that are all the same distance from Ground Zero as the proposed “mosque”. The author has also posted some reactions to the photos.

What Is Liquidmetal?

I’m a little late on posting this, but Gizmodo does a very thorough job of explaining exactly what Liquidmetal (the company Apple recently acquired) can do. If you really don’t feel like reading all that text, this sentence sums it up nicely:

To sum it up: Liquidmetal is useful anywhere you could imagine an extremely hard, somewhat flexible, easily moldable piece of stuff to be useful.

Adam Atomic talks Canabalt

Adam Saltsman is interviewed by Indie Game: The Movie and there are some fun tidbits about the making of the game. Here’s a direct link to the video.

Cee Lo Says Fuck You

In my version of The Blind Side, Cee Lo Green is adopted by my Jewish parents in our Chicago suburb, grows up to be a phenomenal musician and protects me, his adopted brother, vociferously. Also, this song is so amazing; can’t wait for his new album. [via @tdominey]

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Posted August 19, 2010

My friend, @michaelbeno retweeted a tweet that said I had to watch this. I did. I did not regret it. You should too.

Actual Yakuza Review a Yakuza Game

Boing Boing brought them in to play the game and they seem to enjoy it and find it authentic. I particularly enjoyed this back-and-forth:

K: If they had shabu (crystal meth) as a power-up item, that would be realistic. It’s a yakuza game.
S: They have sake!
M: Kiryu is an executive, right? We all know the guys at the top don’t drink or do speed.
S: Yeah, not anymore.
M: Can you smoke in the game? I forget. That should be a power-up.
S: Cigarettes and shabu should be in every yakuza game.

Sam Smith: No one tougher than Scottie Pippen

Sam Smith paints a portrait of Scottie Pippen on the eve of his induction into the Hall of Fame. Here are some choice nuggets.

It’s told famously by his high school and college coaches, but truly defies explanation. The supermodel skinny kid who didn’t play much in high school and wasn’t even sure he wanted to play in college, even if he could. But his high school coach called in some favors just to get him a look at NAIA Central Arkansas. Pippen, maybe 135 pounds then and 6-1, couldn’t get a scholarship and wasn’t recruited by even a junior college. He became team manager and went to school on a Pell grant before a scholarship came open late in his freshman year and he got it in more a charitable move. He cleaned the locker room and handed out the towels. He said he enjoyed that because he could just hang out with the guys.

And now he’s going into the Basketball Hall of Fame. C’mon, you cannot even make that up.


[Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant’s] friendship was legendary at the time as they were inseparable. They’d call each other a dozen times a day and agree on clothes to wear to the game. They purchased the identical cars, dogs and lived on the same street. They were each other’s best men at their weddings, a few months apart. They had the same agent and vacationed together. In the Bulls’ yearbook in answer to the question, “Who would you take if you were going to the moon?” Pippen responded, “Horace Grant.” One of my favorite stories was when Pippen’s cat died and Grant called in saying he’d be late for practice because he had to mourn with Scottie.

Mike Monteiro on Buying Design

If I ever get back into client work, I will share this post with all of my clients.

Most people don’t need to buy design. And only about half the people trying to buy design should be. Your designer should be a partner, helping you solve your problem. You have a goal in mind; the two of you work together for a solution. Getting to that solution includes researching the people you want using your object, the market for that object and who, if anyone, is trying to sell that same sort of object. If all of that sounds like a pain in the ass, and it kind of is, then don’t buy design. Hire a production team. You’ll save money.

Also, I hope Mike enjoys that this post comes right after a huge Hitler poster.

20100812mannersposters.jpg Vintage Tokyo Subway Manner Posters

Man, these are gold. This one is about taking up too much space (they explain all of them). [via @nickbilton]

The Best Magazine Articles Ever

Kevin Kelley collects a list of the best magazine articles ever. It’s extra awesome if you think about how long this would have taken to compile 20 years ago.

Adventure Time on Flickr

Fred Seibert, who (I believe) produces Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, has been uploading production art from the series to flickr. Dan gives some more background and a shows off a few of his favorite pieces.

Designing a Better Subway Map

Eddie Jabbour, the author of the KickMap, explains (in great detail) the story of its creation. There is a lot of content here, but I especially like when he dives into the details of execution (e.g., straightening out roads, clarifying subway line crossings). [via Gil]

Disposable Content

Posted August 6, 2010

20100806tumblr.jpgYesterday, Khoi recognized one of Tumblr’s major shortcomings — the shallow identity.

Moreso than other blogging systems like WordPress or ExpressionEngine, Tumblr blogs frequently offer only scant few details about their authors. I can’t recall how many Tumblr sites I’ve visited where it wasn’t clear who was behind the posts, what their background was, or what their intent was.

While that’s certainly an annoyance, it hints at a much larger problem; modern publishing platforms (Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter) put a huge emphasis on new content. When you’re looking at the primary view for any of these sites, it’s a stream of data without much encouragement to look back. By focusing solely on what’s current, individual posts become less important.

Most of these services don’t offer any way to browse archives other than a “more” link at the bottom of the page. Tumblr offers a way to search a user’s archived content and has archives, but most people access Tumblr content via their dashboard. Without a way to discover or curate, content get lost.1 With a focus on new content, quantity has a greater value that quality which makes it less valuable in the longterm. Adding fire to the flame is advertisers’ obsession with impressions (though that’s starting to change), which favors sites that publish fast and furious.

It’s Time to Recycle

A couple days ago, Eric Schmidt said that it now takes two days to create the same amount of data that was created from the dawn of civilization to 2003. It’s no wonder we’re just throwing away stuff from earlier in the week. This is why we need to find ways to expose the best stuff in our stream.

People have already started remixing new content, with Flipboard being a recent success2. There are also sites like fflick, which tell you what your friends on Twitter think about movies, and Favstar, which collects your most favorited tweets. There is also software that archives your tweets, like ThinkUp and Doug Bowman’s Tweet Archive. Still, only Favstar helps expose interesting content from your archives and it’s pretty lightweight.

While I’d much prefer that any of these services add features to expose interesting content — something Flickr does well — they all have APIs and I imagine there are enterprising engineers working on this right now. Flipboard has proven there’s a pent-up demand for services that automate curation. Let’s see some more exciting examples.

  1. To be fair, most sites don’t do a great job of curating archived content, but old-school blogging platforms like Movable Type and WordPress have long offered plugins to view popular or active entries.
  2. See Michael Sippey’s take for a relevant argument.
20100805akb48.jpg Paige Ferrari Explains Japanese Pop Group AKB48

As you can see from the photo above, we saw this band everywhere. And yes, I am joining the group next year. [via dj]

Mr. Akimoto’s real genius is knowing the power of numbers. Keeping the group big is important. In addition to making promotional duties a breeze, it prevents individual members from becoming too famous and, thus, inaccessible or… perhaps, more importantly, irreplaceable.


You control a racing game using an arcade cabinet, but the car and track are real and right next to you. The video is pretty awesome.

The Proposition 8 Ruling (in simple language)

It’s a little long (but way shorter than the 138 page ruling) and vey clear. This passage made me a little giddy.

So what happens next?

Nothing happens yet. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will review the case. After that, the U.S. Supreme Court will probably review it, regardless of what the 9th Circuit says. If the current ruling survives that, same-sex marriage will essentially become legal in every state. There was nothing to limit this holding to Prop. 8.

The author goes on to explain this is far from guaranteed, but it still gives me goosebumps. [via Marco]

An Unbelievable Catch

Posted August 5, 2010

This is a catch by an outfielder from the Hiroshima Toyo Carps, the team I went to see in Japan two weeks ago. Only if he jumped into the stands, ran up to the top row and caught the ball doing a back flip would this be more impressive. [via Buzzfeed]

20100804bus.png Straddling Bus

China is developing a bus that would straddle two lanes of traffic and run on a rail system. Passengers would enter on the second level and it would be 10% of the cost of an equivalent subway system and reduce traffic by up to 30%. Also, it looks pretty Jetsons. [via Jalopnik]

Photos from Japan

Posted August 3, 2010

I’ve got a few blog posts in mind about my trip to Japan, but I figure that you might want to look at my photos while you wait. Below is a slideshow of all of my photos, but I also put together a collection of various sets that break them up by city.

And if you want to go old school, here’s the photoset from my trip in 2005.

Halo 2600

A playable recreation of Halo for the Atari 2600. The author, Ed Fries, also wrote about creating it. He apologizes about writing for a general audience, but I’m glad he did.

The thing you need to realize about the Atari 2600 is that it is an incredibly limited machine. It has only 128 bytes of RAM and without bank switching the maximum program size is just over 4000 bytes. There are just two 8 pixel wide monochrome sprites, two one pixel bullets, a “ball” and a 40 pixel wide background (and even that is exaggerating…). There is no memory to store the screen image like any modern console or PC, instead it has to be drawn a line at a time by changing the values of the registers that control the sprites and background. The processor is so slow that only 76 clock cycles occur while a line of the screen is being drawn, and the simplest 6502 instructions take at least 2 clock cycles. So just to draw an image of the Master Chief is pretty tough. To create a complete game while living within these constraints is much harder.


Trippy video from Cyriak. [via waxy]

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