I need some data to

I need some data to help make a decision. Do you take the easy route, if it’s a sure thing, or do you always go for the big payoff, even if a great deal of risk is involved? Let me know by answering this very simple poll question:

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After seeing the concession and

After seeing the concession and acceptance speeches the other night by Bush and Gore, I couldn’t help but laugh at how those short, simple remarks were so thoroughly examined under the microscope. News anchors were going on and on about each sentence, political experts talked about this phrase here, this other sentence said there, and how it all would relate to the new presidency. It went on for almost an hour, for each speech.

But this story takes the cake. Apparently, the tone of the speech was a good one, according to GBLT organizers. Even though Bush doesn’t think gay-bashing should be a hate crime and even though he adamantly doesn’t support “special” rights for gays (special? uh hello, they’re asking for basic rights everyone else gets), these organizers think that 5 minute speech is their ticket to acceptance in his administration. Yeah right.

Earlier this evening, I started

Earlier this evening, I started watching something on TiVo, and after a minute or so, I paused it to check my email. Then I checked on a few sites. 30 minutes passed. I took a phone call. I got up and got something to eat, played with the cats for a while, and then realized the show I started watching was still sitting on pause. So I walked over and watched it.

Then it hit me. Remember VCRs? You hit pause, walk away, and after five minutes they begin a series of actions including un-pausing themselves, hitting stop automatically, and jumping back to live TV. Usually, this becomes obvious because the TV starts blaring and kills the silence of a paused tape. Why in hell did VCRs do that?* As far back as I can remember, my family’s first VCR did that. They kept that “feature” in for 20 years without ever changing it.

I realized TiVo is a new device, and it’s different in a very simple way: it’s a machine that does exactly what you tell it to do. Isn’t it funny that a device doing what you want is a new thing for consumers to expect? We’re so used to expecting the limitations engineers give us, that TiVo seems downright revolutionary.

I could credit heightened consumer expectation with the now widespread use of the web, but that’s a story for another day.

(* 12:29am update: Nick tells me “the tape expanded due to stress around the reading head and heat from the mechanics of the VCR, etc… typically, if the tape isn’t released it will snap…. sorry, I am certified in videography… couldn’t resist.” Even after considering Nick’s comment, I’m still surprised no one came up with a VCR that didn’t stress or heat tapes so a pause button could stay down forever. It’s a fairly popular user complaint.)

I am no longer web-safe.

I am no longer web-safe. If you don’t like this new design, don’t worry, I’ll probably be tossing it in a month or so. Sometimes I forget how much fun playing in photoshop can be, especially when I usually spend my time staring at code all day. I forget like that a muscle, my design sense atrophies when not used, so I’m promising myself that I’ll put some effort into redesigning more often. The old design is still here anyhoo.

Cheated. Either way this election


Either way this election went, everyone was going to feel cheated. It was clear after the election night coverage couldn’t declare a winner, I knew it, you knew it, we all knew it.

Close elections usually point out the fact that “every vote matters” but this election pointed out (not just in Florida, but in all states) that there are measurable failure rates (3% nationally?), ballot interfaces may never work for everyone, and that minorities may be discouraged from voting. So rather than this close election teaching the importance of voting, it made clear the fact that not every vote gets counted, and may never be.

Not a good day for american democracy.

This photo from my pt.

This photo from my pt. reyes shots reminded me of old art class assignments. Designing a book cover was always a popular assignment. So I came up with this. If this were for an art class, it’d be followed by twenty minutes of the class criticizing my choice of images and typefaces, which I’d defend with “hey, it was my gut feeling to use those together.”

Then someone would notice that there is in fact no actual road in the shot, and I’d realize why I don’t design book covers for a living.