Category Internet

Wind Map: Tracking The Invisible Force In Real Time

Wind Map

With Hurricane Sandy slowly making it’s way to the east coast you may want to check out Wind Map, a website that tracks the directions and speeds of the wind in the U.S. As you can see in the image above the wind is pretty strong right now, about 20 to 30 mph, but it’s expected to pick up as the day progresses. It’s a rather beautiful way of visualizing such an unseeable part of nature. Be safe east coast friends!

Rothko vandalized: The Internet helps to catch an art saboteur

Rothko vandalized: The Internet catches an art sabatouer

Yesterday a man named Tim Wright tweeted a saddening photo and caption, “Just saw this Rothko painting being defaced #tatemodern”.

Hyper Allergic, a blog centered around critical art thinking, picked up the story and ran with it, digging up a ton of data and eventually finding the guy who did it. I think they did such a great job of covering the story. They have 13 updates to the post, each with more and more data that helps give insight to the what and the why. It makes me proud to see folks on the Internet banding together to do some good like this.

Unfortunately, a beautiful Rothko was damaged, and worse than that, the guy who did it likens himself to Duchamp. A sad day for fine art. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that we’ll be seeing more great works behind glass.

The design thinking behind the new

The new

In the last year or so I haven’t mentioned my job very frequently, mostly because I’d been working on something that I wasn’t at liberty to share… that is until today. Yesterday, the small 30 person team I’m a part of at Disney relaunched with a new look and feel, bringing the site firmly into 2012. Since January we’ve been hard at work trying to create our vision of what Disney is on the web, challenging a lot of the status quo and creating something exceptional.

I’d like to mention that the Matterhorn team, our previous codename, is the finest team I’ve ever worked with. I’ve never met more talented, driven individuals, and that without our tight bond this project could never have happened. I should also mention that these views are my own and not those of Disney, you know how that goes. Please read and get a glimpse behind the curtain of how we made it happen.

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The realists guide to email maintenance – A handy list by Matt Gemmell

I’m stealing this from Swissmiss because it’s so apt to my day-to-day that it’s scary. I’m not sure what other people’s email is like, but I tend to get a lot of emails in a day. It gets so bad that I then feel overwhelmed, guilty, anxious… Not generally good things. Matt Gemmell recently put together this great blog post that relates to people who do get a lot of email, and some handy strategies to handle the situation.

You won’t create contexts, and you certainly won’t file stuff appropriately. You won’t do your weekly review. You’re also probably not the overall person in charge of the next Mars mission. Those systems are not for normal people; they’re for obsessive-compulsives who just happen to prefer filtering email than counting toothpicks or quadruple-checking that the oven is off.

You, however, are a normal person, and the time you’d spend on all those formal task-management rituals is better spent aimlessly surfing the web, or even going home early. You’re just an ordinary lassie or laddie who gets too much goddamned email.

I am fully there with you. I want less hassle, not another job to do.

He spells it out so simply that I feel a bit silly for not already knowing this, but I guess it’s like AA, you feel better when you know there are other people out there just like you. Thanks to Matt I cleaned up my inbox and am already feeling less stressed about it.

Braun Japan’s Website Is Sexy and Simple

Braun Japan website

Braun Japan website

Braun Japan website

Braun Japan website

I randomly came across this Japanese version of Braun’s website the other day and was super impressed by the cleanliness and simplicity of it. Letting the images really speak for themselves, the site showcases the time pieces and objects that define who they are. The images above taken from the site don’t really do it justice, as it has this peaceful transition that further sets the tone of the site.

Also be sure to check out the Braun History section, which is a graceful descent into their past (though sadly, but obviously, in Japanese). And for further contrast, take a deep breath and check out the piece of work that is the American Braun website. Yeesh.

Facebook: Wallstreet 1, America 0

Facebook: Wallstreet 1, America 0

In case you have a deaf ear to the world’s biggest social networking company, on Friday, May 18, 2012, Facebook had it’s initial public offering on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

Starting at a comfortable $38, the stock took an early tumble by the end of the day as a deluge of buyers followed the major investment companies into the stock. Whether Facebook was worth $100 billion or not didn’t matter – this was as sexy as Wall Street could come outside of Armani suits and Ferragamo shoes. A web company, many believed, that could rival Google as the greatest web IPO of all time.

Naturally there seems to be a gross miscalculation in both value and necessity. The Nasdaq Exchange had “auction software problems” early on, delaying the debut, preventing a fair playing field on trading, and confused the hell out of every clueless investor. Furthermore, the IPO was supposed to be supplemented by Wall Street’s largest companies/crooks: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America had projected a high revenue growth which would have led to massive investment from both firms. By the end of the day they had all lowered their expectations. The stock began to plummet. Regulators have stepped in and brought legal action to Morgan Stanley for possibly deceiving their customers. By tuesday the stock lost 18% of its issuing price, dropping to $31.

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Making it easier to read on the web (without the help of an app)

Zeldman's Web Design Manifesto 2012

On Friday, Jeffrey Zeldman posted this inspiring article speaking to his recently redesigned personal site, which sports a hefty 24px body font. He speaks about the ever changing landscape of web design, and as it’s his personal site, he wanted it to be extremely legible.

This redesign is a response to ebooks, to web type, to mobile, and to wonderful applications like Instapaper and Readability that address the problem of most websites’ pointlessly cluttered interfaces and content-hostile text layouts by actually removing the designer from the equation. (That’s not all these apps do, but it’s one benefit of using them, and it indicates how pathetic much of our web design is when our visitors increasingly turn to third party applications simply to read our sites’ content. It also suggests that those who don’t design for readers might soon not be designing for anyone.)

The piece resonated with me because it was similar to my thoughts when I redesigned The Fox Is Black back in April. The majority of guests that read The Fox Is Black have at least a 1280 x 800 monitor, so having larger images and a larger font makes sense. It’s giving you the reader an easier way to ingest content. This isn’t a revolutionary way of thinking, but I’m not sure it’s as considered as it should be these days, when even the New York Times devotes almost 75% of their to ads. We can only hope that there’s a coming shift in how people read on the web.

Cube, a game about Google Maps

Cube, a game about Google Maps

I’ll definitely give it to the Google employees for coming up with some really fun ideas (though I still don’t care for the mothership). My buddy Matt this morning sent me this new game they came up with called Cube, a game about Google Maps. They’ve taken all the mapping data they have and have turned it into one of those giant marble games, where instead of getting the marble into the hole you get it to the waypoint. The physics are pretty fun, and be warned, you may lose some of your work day playing this.

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out

Paul Ford for New York magazine has a hysterical run down of Facebook’s purchase of Instagram. His analysis is spot-on and snarky, it reads exactly how I spoke with my friends about the whole ordeal. He also nails the whole thing right at the very end.

So if you’re an Instagram user, you’ve been picking up on all of the cues about how important you are, how valuable you are to Instagram. Then along comes Facebook, the great alien presence that just hovers over our cities, year after year, as we wait and fear. You turn on the television and there it is, right above the Empire State Building, humming. And now a hole has opened up on its base and it has dumped a billion dollars into a public square — which turned out to not be public, but actually belongs to a few suddenly-very-rich dudes. You can’t blame users for becoming hooting primates when a giant spaceship dumps a billion dollars out of its money hole. It’s like the monolith in the movie 2001 appeared filled with candy and a sign on the front that said “NO CANDY FOR YOU.”

Facebook purchases Instagram for $1 billion: Now what?

Facebook purchses Instagram for $1 billion

That’s a headline I never thought I’d have to write. Earlier this morning Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook had acquired Instagram, my favorite app in the world, for $1 billion. The question is: now what?

My immediate concern now is what Facebook is going to do with my photos and all the metadata attached to it. My guess is that they’ll do what they do and sell advertising with it, which is gross to think about. I don’t really fault the Instagram team for making this move, I mean, would you turn down $1 billion? No, you wouldn’t. Here’s hoping that Facebook’s greasy fingerprints remain off of Instagram and the team can continue to develop one of the best apps ever created. Only time will tell where things go from here.

Update: I thought this quote from Dennis Berman was rather poignant.

Remember this day. 551-day-old Instagram is worth $1 billion. 116-year-old New York Times Co.: $967 million.

It’s odd to think that we see an app like Instagram to be valued more than a classic institution. I don’t think that’s necessarily wrong either, it just means that we our idea of what’s importance has changed. Sharing a moment with our friends is perhaps more worth our time than reading an article about economics or the arts.