Daytum Me!

daytum

Have you ever felt that there’s a whole world of quantifiable information that’s slipping through your fingers every day, never to be recaptured?  If the answer is yes, then have I got a website for you:  Daytum can help you collect and arrange whatever information you choose.  Would you like to keep track of how many cheese-and-pickle vs. ham-and-egg sandwiches you’ve eaten this month?  Wanna see it in a pie-chart?  Woo-hoo!

Read More

Get Your Mapcrunch On

mapcrunch

I’ve found a fascinating site for geography enthusiasts everywhere… or just those in love with the random-on-demand nature of the web: go to Mapcrunch to see random Google map street views from around the world. It’s addicting to keep hitting that “Next” button and see a new panorama unfold before you. Keep in mind that you can also swivel the street view all around, and view what’s up the street or behind you. You also get a pin-on-a-map representation of your view, in case you were wondering where, for example, Gordons Bay, WC, South Africa is.

Read More

HTML5 music video

html5video

OK, so this video has been out since late summer, but it’s still worth checking out. Popular band Arcade Fire enlisted Director Chris Milk to create the video for their song “We Used to Wait” and he’s done it all in HTML5. What does this mean? Basically, HTML5 is being developed as the next major revision of HTML (HyperText Markup Language), the core markup language of the World Wide Web. It includes new tags and behaviors which work behind the scenes to display your web page of choice… and it does so without the use of Flash animation.

Read More

How Small Is Small Enough?

nano

I am old enough to remember the wonder that was the new Sony Walkman personal cassette player. I clearly recall walking down the street in Clinton, NY while listening to a friend’s borrowed Walkman, and marveling at the experience of carrying around my own personal soundtrack. Listening to it lent a hyper-real aspect to everything before my eyes… it was almost trippy.  The Walkman was one of the first mass-market products that allowed people to place a bubble around themselves; by shutting off your ears to the outside world, you’re insulated in the comfortable cocoon of your own music choices.  Read More

Dear Blank Please Blank

dearblankpleaseblank

Do you want to get something off your chest, but are too lazy or spineless say it to the person or entity in question? Do you have a snarky comment to share with the world, or maybe a sincere complaint? Are you an up-and-coming jokewriter?

If so, then Dearblankpleaseblank.com is the website for you. Read More

Five Minutes of Top Tweets

twitter

Twitter “algorithmically selects and retweets some of the most interesting tweets spreading across Twitter” in its Top Tweets .

Is it sound and fury, signifying nothing, is it white noise, is it a window into our souls, is it mostly disposable but containing the odd nugget of truth? At any given moment, it could be any of these.

Recently, I decided to devote five minutes of my day to monitoring the Top Tweets in the hopes of gaining some… well, I don’t actually know what I was hoping for, but here’s a sampling of what I found: Read More

Painted On An iPhone

brushes

Is this another compelling reason to want an iPhone, or is it just another reason to have one’s head bowed over a piece of handheld technology? If you’re an artist or merely a compulsive doodler, though, it does sound pretty great.

Brushes is a painting application for the iPhone and iPod touch. If you haven’t heard of it by now, it made a buzz shortly after its release when a streetscene painted by Jorge Colombo was featured on the June 1, 2009 New Yorker magazine cover. That made such a splash, it seems, that Read More

The Grid Goes Down

outtage

Sitting in a Panera in Danvers, MA and enjoying the free Wi-Fi, I worry about how dependent we are on the power grid. I’m not alone in thinking that a life off the grid is the way to go, the only sensible response to our increasingly networked age. Maybe webdesigners like myself are more nervous than most in times like these? Is anyone not?

Getting ready to leave the house this morning due to the massive power outtage caused by last night’s hurricane-force winds, I Read More

Help Choosing Your Website’s Colors

colorjack

Colorjack is a website I found recently that can kick-start your quest for the perfect color palette for your website. The opening page features a virtual swatch-wall — hover your mouse over each color to see palette options, or use one of the links on the page’s right-hand margin for more in-depth help. You can explore clashing colors, complementary colors, or several other options, as well as being able to preview your color choices’ accessibility, i.e. how they would appear to the color-blind. Give it a try — it’s a great tool.

My Life In The Cloud

clouds

More and more, it seems that the digital traces we leave of ourselves — photos, songs, preferences, friends, likes and dislikes, resumes, recipes — are existing in a place other than our own hard drives. To me, it makes perfect sense that the next step for the average online music fan is a site like lala.com, which Apple is rumored to have bought. For a very small fee per song (i.e. 10 cents) you have unlimited access to that song. The only hitch (and it’s a big one) is that you have to log on to lala.com to hear it. That means no copy on your hard drive, no song in your iPod. It is now in the “cloud.” But with the increasingly full-featured music players being brought onto the market, that most likely won’t be an issue… soon, you’ll just log on to your iTunes account with your iPod or the like, and stream away. Of course, a downloadable option is currently available at lala.com, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that one day goes away.

It makes great sense storage-wise not to have to worry about how much hard drive/iPod space you have left for your music, and eco-wise this approach seems poised to obliterate the entire CD-manufacturing industry, with its attendant plastics, paper, chemicals, shipping etc.

I can feel good about these developments because I already own thousands of CD’s and vinyl records. It’s as if I’ve hoarded this manna-music for years, knowing that the day will come when the product won’t be quite as filling, quite as immersive an experience. No gatefold covers upon which to gaze while listening to the tunes; not even a skimpy hard-to-get-back-in-place CD booklet insert. It’ll all be up in the cloud, giving us an awe-inspiring selection 24/7, but I’m not the first to admit that the prospect has taken some of the romance out of being a music fan.

Of course, it should all be about the moment when you close your eyes and listen – a great song is a great song is a great song, no matter the delivery system. But still…

And where does this all end? Could all your stuff be wiped out in some kind of massive domino-effect server crash? Does that make anyone nervous?

Ah, the simple pleasures of flipping on a vinyl LP and enjoying the music that needs no buffering, no compression, no wait time. It’s a welcomed respite from my fascination with lala and 8tracks and the like.