Seth Godin mentioned Disney's technique of pushing work further. It's a worthy goal, yes, but did Disney have to describe it with a grammarian's nightmare like “plussing”? Why not “adding” or “pushing,” or “exceeding” or “going a step further”?
Sometimes, for ideas to stick, for a new concept to kick the block out of your head-gears and set 'em spinning, the idea has to be short, punchy, and memorable. Being able to say, “Plus?” at the end of a presentation might be the right kind of poke to represent a whole new way of working. “Add more” is too smooth, but verbing “plus” pops the track in your left brain, sending that train careering into your right.
After seven years, I've removed My Yahoo as my browser home page. For the last week or two, Safari has been crashing halfway through loading my.yahoo.com. I don't know if it's Saft or PithHelmet, or if Yahoo changed their ads or code. Anyone else notice this?
Until I figure out what's up, Delicious will have to do. Random distractions are go!
Ranting comes easy to me, so I have to remember to talk about things I like too. Here are some things that get a thumbs-up lately:
Thrift store ledgers. I wrote the first drafts of these posts in a little book from Unique thrift (pictured below). The cover and spine say “Journal,” as in accounting – it's lined for bookkeeping in blue and red.
This type of ruling is very helpful for list-making and sketching web designs. You've got a central column with a few columns of built-in checkboxes. The big margin at the top affords itself to headers and dates. Plus, people give envious looks when I pull this green-edged wonder out at meetings. All for a buck!
I've got a few others, one of which is full of the debits and credits of a local property company from the twenties. I haven't yet convinced myself that I don't need to preserve that one for posterity.
Graphics Press's invoices. Ashley said, “It's so old.” You wouldn't expect less from Edward Tufte. The invoice is simple, set in Gill Sans with gobs of whitespace. The dynamic parts of the form (addresses, quantities, dollar amounts) are in Courier, the international sign for “typewritten.” They're fresh but unmistakeably invoicey. I got mine when I bought
Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style by Virginia Tufte, Edward Tufte's mother. The book design is very easy to look at, and from the first few chapters, her clean, elegant writing is a perfect match. An absolute steal at $16 (shipping included)!
We were driving back from the store and Ashley was enjoying her A&W Diet Root Beer immensely. She noticed the phone number for comments and decided to call A&W and let them know how much she liked the product and its old-timey bottle.
The woman who answered the call, after Ashley punched around for a few minutes in their phone system, was not excited to hear Ashley's compliments. In fact, she treated Ashley like she was making a complaint, zombie-slurring her way through the same questions about our ZIP code and the batch number.
Note to company: when we like your product, we form a relationship in our heads with your workers, who we imagine to care about how we feel. Treating nice gestures like annoyances breaks that relationship.
This gem, though, after she hung up:
A: “So they're owned by Cadbury-Schweppes. Who knew those two were in cahoots?”
D: “Well, yeah. They're a big, big company.”
A: “Hm. And the funny thing is, I was looking for a Cadbury egg. And we all know my feelings toward Schweppes.”
I had to click seven different red boxes and surf around two half-page ads, but I just cancelled my MySpace account, and it feels wonderful. I know MySpace is the fastest-growing blahblah, and the founders have discovered a way to electronically wire crack to the brains of fifteen-year-olds, but it's never done it for me.
Maybe it's Saft or Pith Helmet, but MySpace has always been dog slow in Safari. The navigation, the iframeyness, the ease with which other users can hijack the entire UI: they've put me off from day one, but I felt like I had to be there in case something interesting happened. Nothing did, for me.
If I were dating, or if I needed to keep up more with the local music scene, MySpace would be indispensable. I have friends who use it a lot for those things. So far (and I created an account in its early weeks) I've mostly gotten messages that go like this:
Hey! Remember me from ten years ago when we said maybe two words to each other! Wow, here you are on The Internet, and I here I am on The Internet, and I'm talking to you on The Internet! Wow!
Let me know if MySpace is useful to you in ways I've missed.
Diet Coke Black Cherry Vanilla (or is that a sub-title, like “Diet Coke: Black Cherry Vanilla”?) might be the fakest soda I've ever tasted. It's like they gave some six-year-olds the run of the pantry and asked them to make soda. It's the soda aliens would make for their earthling guests to make them feel at home. It's dimes that have been soaked in codeine and melted into a pot of vanilla reduction.
The downside to running your life in a screen session,
as I discovered yesterday, is that it all goes away when you restart,
and OS X doesn't warn you about quitting running background processes. I
save more frequently now, to protect myself from stupid future myself.
In addition to the couple hundred real books I've been carrying around, I have a crapload of e-books on my PowerBook's hard drive. I just checked and it's 2,208. Yeah. If I read three books a week, those would take over fourteen years to get through. So it's doable, but I'd better get cracking.
Reading books on the computer is rough. I can handle short PDFs (it's a lot of PgDn) or Palm docs in their nifty reader app, but my eyes and back don't cooperate a few hundred pages in.
So, when I read this recommendation on Cool Tools, I was excited. I poked at eBay and managed to shake loose a Sony Clié PEG-T615C for about $40. After a day of playing around, I'm very pleased. I followed leads at ManyBooks and The Gadgeteer and settled on TiBR as my reader software. It has a wee battery display, and its interface gets out of the way.
That's the key to using the Clié as an e-book reader: getting the unnecessary stuff out of the way. The running program stays on the screen when you turn the Clié off and on, so you don't have to go through a bunch of menus and open dialogs to get back to your place. I could be making to-do lists and reading e-mail and editing Word docs, but for forty bucks, I'm happy to make this a solid, quick, single-purpose machine, a portable reading facilitator.
And facilitate it does. The T615C's screen is pleasantly bright, and after a minute's use, your brain adjusts to its wee-ness. It's no
Librie, but it's a lot better than trying to read Ulysses on an iPod. The default font hasn't bothered me yet; it's pretty transparent. When I'm reading, the whole device fades away, except for the chunkily satisfying toggle you use to page down – I want that button on every gadget I own.
Two 64MB memory sticks (I think I've got the names of the different disk formats straight – they all sound the same) were included in the auction I won. 64MB is a whole lot of book (the complete works of Shakespeare take up about 600K), so I'm set for the foreseeable future. Batteries, don't fail me now.