Archive for October 2004

Congratulations Boston

Congratulations Boston on your well-deserved World Series victory tonight. It’s been 86 years and you deserve every ounce of credit for the most amazing comeback in baseball history.

Coming into the Series, one would have thought Boston’s toughest task would be getting by the Cardinals. Instead, it turned out to be getting through the 7th inning of tonight’s game when someone inexplicably let the lead singer of Creed on the field to sing God Bless America.

Such a shame to have to share the spotlight with Scott Stapp.

I smell another curse…

The Curse is (Almost) Lifted

I grew up on baseball. From watching games, to collecting cards, to little league, to high school ball, and then back to just watching games, baseball has been a common fixture in my life since I was six years old. In 1986, when I was 12, I had my first major formative baseball moment in the form of the 1986 World Series.

Living in Los Angeles at the time, I had just endured a brutal American League Championship Series with Boston’s Dave Henderson homering off Donnie Moore to eliminate our beloved California Angels and advance the Red Sox to the World Series. The homer was such a powerful event that it not only crushed the Angels but it also led to the eventually suicide of the pitcher who threw the pitch.

Furious at the Red Sox for beating the Angels, I adopted their World Series opponent, the New York Mets, as my favorite team of the moment. I watched the entire Series thinking Boston was going to win. They played a great Series and had the Mets down to their final out in the 10th inning of Game 6.

And then I was introduced to the Curse.
→ Read the rest of this entry

ABC News Redesigns

I’m 30,000 feet above Seattle right now heading to Vegas with Keith, Jason, and The Wolf and all I can think about is what’s launching tomorrow. By the time you read this, we will have launched a brand new ABCNews.com. Several months in the making and several years since the last major redesign, the new ABCNews is the latest major media site in the Disney family to jump on board the real-world web standards gravy train.

A collaborative effort between the ABCNews team in New York City, the Disney Internet Group in Seattle, and a few outside consultancies, the new ABCNews.com is a refreshing reminder that dramatic change is possible in organizations of any size. I feel lucky to have worked on this project and wanted to share as much as possible about what went on behind the scenes to bring you what we now believe to be one of the best news sites on the web.
→ Read the rest of this entry

sIFR 2.0: Release Candidate

UPDATE: Version 2.0 is now available. See article here.

Alright, we have a solid release candidate! This evening, I present sIFR 2.0 Release Candidate 1, and unless any major problems are found, this will end up being the exact code in the final release. I want to thank everyone who has put sIFR through its paces and helped Mark and me squash bugs and add feature enhancements. It wasn’t until I released sIFR that I fully realized the power of open source. What may have taken months to develop otherwise, instead took only weeks… and only evenings at that. I know I still have to create the official sIFR primer and idiotproof instructions, so I’ll be doing that over the next week or so and monitoring this comment thread for any issues which may arise. The download is here and the updated example is here.

And since David Guillory asked, it is indeed pronounced “siffer”. Spread the word to the homies.

What’s new in this release

Here are some details about sIFR 2.0 RC1:

  • This release was mostly for fine-tuning. The concentration was on stability and reliability.
  • Proper uppercasing is now supported and it won’t mistakenly uppercase your URLs in the process. Please note that “upper” or “lower” are now passed in as the last parameter of the function to induce uppercasing or lowercasing. This is the only change which may affect existing implementations.
  • Various DOM and speed improvements.
  • More consistent font sizing.
  • Support for common usually-escaped characters like “, ‘, &, and %.
  • Automatic whitespace-stripping, following the same conventions as HTML.
  • Complete IE 5 Mac compatibility.

Quick Instructions

The usage instructions are identical to the previous betas with the exception of the upper/lowercasing change mentioned above. Here is what to do:

  1. Download 2.0 Release Candidate. sIFR is licensed free of charge under the standard CC-GNU LGPL.
  2. Get familiar with index.html. That’s really the only file which contains the things you’ll need to adapt. It contains the replace statements at the bottom and the CSS at the top.
  3. To make your own .swf files, simply open up the .fla file in Flash, doubleclick the textbox which is on stage (it takes up the whole stage), and choose your own font from the Properties palette. Then, choose File > Export and you’re done!
  4. The parameters to use in your replacement functions are explained in the html file. Plug in your parameters and you’re good to go!

Additional Notes

You won’t have to replace any of your existing replace statements (from beta 2) unless they are affected by the upper/lowercasing change mentioned above. You need only replace your .js file and your .swf files. You may notice a slight font sizing difference between the last beta and this release. This release’s sizing is more correct and consistent so please roll with the new.

There are only two significant issues I know of which remain unsolved:

  1. Possible weirdness in certain versions of Opera.
  2. Certain typefaces, especially script fonts, may contain characters with non-conventional metrics which can cause clipping of letters in some cases. An example is a handwriting font (like Cezanne, for instance) where the crossbar on the “t” extends far beyond the width of the T. Sort of like if you were signing your name and you dragged the tail end of the last letter back over the word. The problem with this sort of font is that Flash is unaware of the stray strokes. The only solution to this, moving forward, is for users to manual adjust the left and right margins in the Formatting palette in Flash if necessary. I don’t consider this necessarily “solving” the issue, but if you find yourself in this predicament with an ornate script font, give it a try.

A Brand New Movies.com

The #1 movie site on the internet just got a facelift yesterday. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Chad Roberts and the Movies.com team upstairs along with some Flash and video work from our own group, Movies.com now has themselves a CSS-driven, standards-based site which is quicker to load, easier to use, and ten times more flexible than its predecessor.

The Movies.com relaunch is the first of several major relaunches you’ll see out of Disney in very near future. While not the biggest site in Disney’s portfolio, Movies.com represents other example of a category leader moving towards web standards in a very meaningful way. Where ESPN.com led the way a year and a half ago, other Disney sites are now following suit as part of their normal redesign cycles.
→ Read the rest of this entry

Shared
Steve Jobs speaks about the future at the International Design Conference in 1983:

31 years later, it’s safe to say this is one of the most prescient speeches about technology ever delivered. Jobs covers wireless networking, tablets, Google StreetView, Siri, and the App Store (among other things) many years before their proliferation. A fantastic listen.

How to travel around the world for a year:

Great advice for when you finally find the time.

LiveSurface:

A fantastic app for prototyping your design work onto real world objects like billboards, book covers, and coffee cups. This seems like just as great of a tool for people learning design as it does for experts.

50 problems in 50 days:

One man’s attempt to solve 50 problems in 50 days using only great design. Some good startup ideas in here…

How to Do Philosophy:

If you’ve ever suspected that most classical philosophy is a colossal waste of time, Paul Graham tells you why you’re probably right.

TIME: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us:

Stephen Brill follows the money to uncover the pinnacle of corruption that is the U.S. Health Care system. A must-read article if there ever was one.

DIY Dot Org:

A beautifully designed site full of fun and challenging DIY projects. I could spend months on here.

The Steve Jobs Video Archive:

A collection of over 250 Steve Jobs videos in biographical order

Self-portraits from an artist under the influence of 48 different psychoactive drug combos.

Water Wigs are pretty amazing.

David Pogue proposes to his girlfriend by creating a fake movie trailer about them and then getting a theater to play it before a real movie. Beautiful and totally awesome.

Jonah Peretti's letter to BuzzFeed’s employees:

If you’re wondering what a excellent blueprint for a modern media company looks like, look no further than Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti’s latest email to his employees. In it, Peretti explains a lot of his company’s virtues, the most important being a relentless focus on always providing what’s best for the user. Vox Media (operators of The Verge) is the only other company I can think of which approaches this level of reform and execution.

The Covers Project:

I love this so much: a cross-referenceable database of cover songs, searchable by song or artist. Slowed down, acoustic covers — no matter the song — are so enjoyable to me that I wish it was a requirement to play one at every show. If you like them as much as I do, make sure to check out M. Ward’s Let’s Dance or Sun Kil Moon’s entire album of Modest Mouse covers.

“More and more people in this country no longer make or do anything tangible; if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary. I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.”
- Tim Kreider’s denunciation of the cult of busyness is excellent. (via jimray)
The iPhone and Disruption: Five Years In:

Take your pick of about 20 great quotes from this Daring Fireball article. My personal favorite:

The iPhone is not and never was a phone. It is a pocket-sized computer that obviates the phone. The iPhone is to cell phones what the Mac was to typewriters.