Archive for February, 2006

Ramones, Johnny, Joey, DeeDee, Tommy

I am strongly influenced by my high school days in Houston. I treasure these 20+ year friendships. While I’ve lost touch with some, the internet allowed me to stay in touch with a core group. A friendship philosophy I developed in college still applies today. My philosophy is, if we have ever been friends, real friends, then time and distance are meaningless. I’m your friend forever, with no strings attached. You can walk back in to my life and I’ll be thrilled to hear your voice and we will pick back up right where we left off.

And if I don’t call you, or email you, or IM with you…that doesn’t mean I don’t think of you often. For example, Michelle (Meesh) Gardner, one of my best friends since junior high, has an incredibly strong influence on me. It is as though I carry her voice in my head. Often, when I need advice…I’ll literally think of my dear friends, and it is as though I can hear their words of wisdom in my ears. And yes, Meesh is always brilliantly opinionated, bitingly sarcastic and unerringly on target.

Over the past week I’ve been taking a wonderful stroll down memory lane that was triggered by an extra order of shrimp at dinner last Friday. The manager of the restaurant arrived at our table with a side order of shrimp for my son. As he placed the dish on the table, I saw a sparkle in his eyes that triggered a 20+ year old memory. My stream of consciousness went like this…jewish, houston, sam, young judea, drummer, gedi duroe, rock-n-roll high school…(I best stop there). Indeed, it was Sam, the drummer in the band from my high school days. No, no…I wasn’t in the band. I just dated the lead singer/lead guitar.

Sam and I swapped stories and email addresses and by the end of the weekend, we had reconnected with many more of the old crew. Becca, David, Rhonda, Nikie, Norman, Roberta, Bryan!!!and still looking for Bryan and wondering if Glenn ever reads his email.

And who do I have to thank for this stroll down memory lane…well, I personally blame Lindsey’s post the other day…about the lost art of meaningful eye contact. Thanks Linds for yet another great gift!

I’ve been working with one of my favorite designers, Andy Greer, to create a series of screensavers for the Blanton Museum. My initial goals for these screensavers are:

  • expose more of the blanton’s valuable collection
  • make art a part of your every day life
  • open your eyes to news ideas and images
  • inspire you to come hang out in the new museum

We are using Screentime to create Flash based screensavers for both Mac and PC. The most recent version of Screentime has a feature that allows us to create dynamic content using XML and files stored on a central server. Sweeeeeeeeeeet. So….my plan? Your screensaver changes as the exhibits in the museum change! How cool is that?

Now, a few lessons learned to share:

  1. Deleting screensavers in Windows XP is a manual process! Imagine I want to delete a screensaver named foo:
    • Make sure your current screensaver is NOT set to foo.
    • Head to your C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 directory and look for the file named foo.scr and delete it.
    • Also scam around in this directory for a folder named foo dir and delete it as well.
  2. By default, the latest version of Screentime creates screensavers that ping a server. This will trigger an alert by most firewalls that says something like: “foo.scr is attempting to connect to a DNS server.” At the moment, the only way to turn off this ping it to create a txt file named ping.txt with a “1” in it and add it to your saver’s “External” files. when building your screentime screensaver.

Now, for all you designers out there…I’m sure this is information you’ve had carved into your brains…but I’m just learning about the importance of aspect ratio when designing screensavers and desktops. At the moment, I’m wondering if the following ratios are enough for me to consider 4:3, 5:4 and 8:5?

Resolutions with a 4:3 aspect ratio:

  • 800 x 600
  • 1024 x 768
  • 1152 x 864
  • 1600 x 1200

Resolutions with a 5:4 aspect ratio:

  • 1280 x 1024
  • 1600 x 1280

Resolutions with a 8:5 aspect ration:

  • 1280 x 800
  • 1152 x 720
  • 1680 x 1050

So…what words of wisdom do you have for me when it comes to aspect ratios or screensaver design?

Some girls want roses, diamonds and chocolates. But for me, the gifts that mean the most are the ones that are straight from the heart and cost nothing but time.

Over 20 years ago, my love wrote this note to me in a street on campus.

Glenda, I love you - Scott

I treasure this hunk o’ concrete, for whenever I pass it, I’m reminded of the unconditional love that blesses my life.

To my wonderful (crazy, loud, intense) husband:
You are my soul mate.

Today I was told by a software vendor that their product could be used in Firefox. I was thrilled beyond words…until I pulled back the curtain to discover the IE Tab Extension.

What is the IE Tab Extension? It is just a quick way to open up Internet Explorer inside a tab of Firefox. I think of it as IE in a Firefox costume.

When I ask for browser agnostic tools, I mean tools that comply with W3C standards and do not require you to use a specific browser. I do NOT mean have IE masquerade as Firefox!

So, the next time a vendor tells you that their product will run in Firefox, make sure to ask this question. Will it run on any standards compliant browser? Is it truly browser agnostic?

Are you a lean, mean design machine? Do you long for the opportunity to design web sites the way you know they should be: accessible, usable and standards complaint? Does your organization care more about cheap, fast results rather than quality code? Then it is high time for a web wrestling smack down in SXSW style! Liz Danzico, Giorgio Brajnik, Bob Regan, Steve Guengerich and I are ready to wrestle your web demons to the ground.

While we perfect our best wrestling moves and eye the underbelly (source code) of our opponents, we want to challenge you to throw websites into the ring. Perhaps you know a site that could rip all other sites to shreds. Or maybe, you know of a site that is so bloated and lazy that it is just askin’ for my best wrestling move, the flying corkscrew clothesline.

So, don’t be shy, shout out the URL of a site that fits our profile of Good or Wicked. And then stand back and see which sites we choose to put through the gauntlet of accessibility, usability, information architecture and standards compliance.

Accessible, Usable, Semantic, Standards Compliant, Elegant
Brick Wall, Confusing, Bloated, Invalid, Ugly

Come on…get up and fight…you shivering junkyard!

My dreams are filled with digital museum experiences. Easy, intuitive access to art. Inspiring and creative interactions with art, ideas and people that transform me. And entering from stage left, a herd of rhinos. Pink elephants emerge stage right. Rhinos and elephants and art? Yes! Rhinos and elephants and art! You see, the ever so talented Peter Samis is sharing his passion for interactive multimedia experiences and art through a grand open source project named The Pachyderm Project.

The first time I saw Peter’s work was the Anderson Collection, where he brilliantly designed “Art as Experiment. Art as Experience.” From his excellent use of Zoomify in A Closer Look to his thoughtful use of video and audio and text, Peter’s ability to create experiences that engage and inspire is obvious. And this post wouldn’t be complete without a reference to Making Sense of Modern Art. The only thing better than Peter’s online experiences would be a personal guided tour of SFMOMA with a curator.

Now Pachyderm makes the authoring tools for rich multimedia learning objects and puts them in the hands of museum professionals. Am I dreaming? Or is this real? (pinch) Awake! Oh how I want to see what happens when you mix one Pachyderm, a digital art collection and the creative minds of the Blanton.

I’m a tender hearted girl, despite my bravado. And lately, I’ve been letting the world stomp on my heart. When the shattered pieces won’t hold together, I have a number of books on my nightstand to help me heal. One of my favorites is “The Cup of Our Life“. I opened to the chapter on the broken cup last night and resonated with these words:

too pained
too discouraged
too brokenhearted
too burned out
too disenchanted

I kept reading. And found it exceeding difficult to say the breathprayer:

Breathing in: Strengthen me…
Breathing out: …encourage me

But I know not to run from grief. I know there are lessons there. And I’ve experienced the surprising resilience of my hope in situations much bleaker than this. For truly, what could be worse than the loss of a child?

As I sat at the low point…I could see the light of hope…and felt another book calling, another comforter, Simple Abundance. I turned to February 6th and received exactly what my heart needed to hear.

“You can live a lifetime and, at the end of it, know more about other people than you know about yourself…”

“Today, deliberately turn away from the world….”

“Wean yourself away from the opinions of others – however talented, creative and celebrated they may be – as you journey within. Absorb the shock of becoming aware that many of your preferences and opinions are not truly your own. Begin instead to listen to the whisper of your authentic self telling you which way to go….

Only when the clamor of the outside world is silenced will you be able to hear…”

Listen carefully.

Spirit’s playing your song.”

So, I’ll keep dreaming and moving toward my goals. I see which way my compass is pointing. Thank god for my loving husband, children and friends who dry my tears, hold me and love me just the way I am. And perhaps as I walk around this stumbling point, which seems like such an unecessary detour, I’ll discover something that I would have missed. (deep breath) Be present. Be here. Be me.

My dear friend Lindsey’s great grandmother, Anne Browning, passed away last night. Even though I’ve never met Anne, I can see her spirit in Lindsey. As I read the post about Anne’s passing, I was reminded of a message that comforted me when I lost a dear friend to Leukemia. As my heart was breaking and my tears were flowing, this song came to my rescue. A song that helps me deal with death by giving me the hope of heavenly eternity:

I Will Get There – Boyz II Men

I’ve been in these chains for so long
I’ll break free and I’ll be there where I belong
Hold my head up high, I’ll stand tall
And I swear this time I won’t fall
I will do this
No matter what it takes
‘Cause I know no limitations
And I’ll reach my destination, I will get there

I will get there
I will get there somehow
Cross that river
Nothing’s stoppin’ me now
I will get through the night
And make it through to the other side

And as far as I’m concerned, Lindsey, you are an angel right here on earth.}}