Archive for December 2006

An Animated Look at Why E-Mail Is Broken

The interactive animation below accurately describes the state of my e-mail situation, in this, my 13th year with the medium:



Over the last couple of years, I’ve gone from someone who returns 99% of e-mails — and relatively quickly — to someone who routinely takes days, weeks, and sometimes even months to return certain mails, recently resorting to instant deletion just to avoid the buildup.

I’ve tried to figure out how to best express the dynamics of the situation in words, but an animated illustration seemed to get the point across much better, so this weekend, I whipped out Flash for the first time in about a year. The end result is kind of soothing actually… turn spam off, slide the top to “Fast”, and slide the bottom to “Manageable”. Now that’s e-mail nirvana… something I’ll never achieve.

Thanks also to professional mathlete Tom Laramee of SongStage.net for helping me even out the slider effect with an exponential decay equation.

What's In Al Gore's Bookmarks Bar?

I have this really peculiar habit of always examining what is in the Bookmarks Bar of people’s browsers. I do it when I’m looking at someone’s computer screen, when someone sends me a screenshot which includes their browser, and even on TV when I see a browser somewhere in the frame. You can tell a lot about someone by what they’ve decided to drag in there.

So tonight, I was watching Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” on DVD and about halfway through the movie, they cut to a scene of Gore typing on his Powerbook. For a split second they showed his web browser and I hit pause and snapped this picture:

I’m not sure exactly what URL that is, but it appears to be one of the results from this Google Images search.

I don’t know why I think this is worth posting about, but it just seemed weird to me. You can tell by the rest of his Bookmarks Bar (not shown) that he hasn’t customized much else, but he apparently felt the need to have photos of him on the web one click away at all times.

So what’s in your Bookmarks Bar? Post screenshots in the comments using a standard IMG tag…

UPDATE: Thanks to Mike West’s further investigative work, we also now know that Gore is apparently using Gwen Cassidy’s nytimes.com account! … and possibly her laptop as well.

sIFR 3 Beta Is Here

Just in time for the holidays, the Dutch Wolf has posted the first official beta of the brand new version of sIFR! sIFR 3 is chock full of great new features that are sure to bring out your inner typography genius, and because Flash is now owned by Adobe, we’ve even created an unimaginative new icon for it! :)

Some highlights of sIFR 3 include:

  • Much easier implementation with no need for font tuning anymore.
  • Constant font sizing with no more fuzzy logic used to determine actual type size.
  • Smoother anti-aliasing and better readability via Flash 8/9’s Saffron rendering engine.
  • Ability to use Flash’s text effects such as shadowing.
  • sIFR now renders on-demand instead of after everything else has loaded, making for a much quicker viewing experience.
  • … and a whole lot more.

So head on over to the Dutch Wolf’s place and check out the new beta for yourself. The quicker we can all help squash any remaining bugs, the quicker an official sIFR 3.0 implementation can be released.

The Ultimate Showerhead Post

It’s not too often you can stump Google these days. Search for any product, current or past, and you almost always get a slew of results telling you all sorts of things about it. Specifically, what it is, where to buy it, or what product has now replaced it in the product line. This usually even works on nostalgic products purchased decades ago.

Recently, however, I searched for a type of showerhead I’ve used since my college days and couldn’t find a single useful reference anywhere on Google. It’s the simplest and most powerful of showerheads I’ve ever used and it’s called “The Skimpy” (pictured to the right). It shoots a concentrated, forceful mist in a controlled stream unmatched by any other showerhead I’ve tried. The last time I purchased one was at a local hardware store maybe five years ago. It was about $8. The only reference on Google was an image of the showerhead in an obscure “product photos” section of the Interbath website. Subsequent searches on Interbath turn up no mention of The Skimpy.

So, I have a few options here. I can move the old Skimpy to my new place and use a different showerhead in the second bathroom. Or I can scour the interwebs for a place that somehow might still have Skimpies. OR… I can write a blog post soliciting opinions far and wide on what the best showerhead in the world is.

So that’s what I’m doing. Number three.

If you have any useful information on what you believe to be the most excellent showerhead you’ve ever used, post it in the comments along with a brief explanation as to why it’s so great. With any luck, after a few weeks, we’ll have the world’s most complete resource on superlative showerheads.

UPDATE (4/13/11): The Kohler Flipside is the best showerhead in the world.