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Hero Quiz

Here’s a quiz that’s too much fun not to take. Answer a series of questions and the Hero Quiz will tell you what type of hero you are. Via Romance Writer Cynthia Eden

Of course, I scored 88% Jack Sparrow. It could be no other way.

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Navigation Smavigation: Search Is Where It’s At

There’s plenty of talk about where navigation should be, what it should look like, how it should perform, and so forth. Well, I’ve finally articulated in my mind an idea that I’ve had for a while. Navigation is dead. Really, it’s for the crows. Why worry about what kind of navigation you’re giving your users when you can give them something better: Search. In fact, why put more focus on navigation than you do on search? Hey, Google replaced navigation with search, and look were it got them.

Three Methods of Search

  1. Let Someone Else Do It
    Ummm, can’t we just use Google’s site search? Yea, but then you’re sending you traffic away from your website. You get less control over the process, and what happens when parts of your website aren’t publicly accessible or isn’t indexed by Google? On the upside, it’s super cheap and easy to implement. Oh, and it mostly works well.
  2. Custom Script
    That’s an ideal solution right? Well, they’re often difficult to write or find, and they can be inaccurate or excrutiatingly slow, but you do get all the control back.
  3. Search in a Box
    Hey, did you know Google sells a standalone, turnkey box that handles search for you. Simply, hook it up to your webserver and go. However, from $1,995 to $30,000, it’s pretty expensive. You do get a lot more flexibility, power, and ability to customize.

Okay, so I don’t have any answers. I do know next time I spend a lot of time thinking about designing a website, I’m going to tackle this search thing head on.

Anyone out there have some brialliant intra-website search solutions?

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Why Logos Aren’t That Important

Andy Rutledge has a great article discussing the unimportance of logos. No really, a designer is talking about how little importance the logo holds. I can’t agree enough. While the logo has it’s place, a super-huge, animated, flashy logo justs destroys what the focus should be on (hint: content). Actuallty, whenever more effort and time is spent on a logo, it destroys that same focus.

Here’s how Andy puts it:

I believe that the logo is the most abused, misapplied, misconceived, wrongfully distracting element of design and business today … Seriously, the logo is just the simple mnemonic that can be used to mark (brand like a cow) products and marketing materials so that people know who made them or who is trying to say something to them. The logo itself only articulates what the brand already broadcasts. That’s it … Regrettably, more than a few clients I’ve worked with want their logo and their website to say things about them that are entirely inaccurate – as if doing so will fix their shortcomings … No, this new logo will not fix your crappy company

Sigh, I just want the world to know that it’s all about the meat and potatoes (or something like that).

Ok, let me throw one more thing into the mix: 99.9…9% of the time the logo should be on the top left of a website. Here’s an article claiming that .9…9 = 1. Was that too subtle?

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Death to HiDef DVD

I hate this new format war. Mostly, because it’s completely conjured up to milk consumers out of money… Anyone remember DivX players?

Anyway, here’s a nice detailed look at why both formats will fail: 10 Reasons Why High Definition DVD Formats Have Already Failed

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How GoldenEye Was Made

Here’s a great article written by one of the designers on how one of my favorite games, GoldenEye, was made. The author actually attributes much of the games success to not following the “right” way of making games.

From the article:

The level creators, or architects were working without much level design, by which I mean often they had no player start points or exits in mind. Certainly they didn’t think about enemy positions or object positions. Their job was simply to produce an interesting space. After the levels were made, Dave or sometimes Duncan would be faced with filling them with objectives, enemies, and stuff. The benefit of this sloppy unplanned approach was that many of the levels in the game have a realistic and non-linear feel. There are rooms with no direct relevance to the level. There are multiple routes across the level. This is an anti-game design approach, frankly. It is inefficient because much of the level is unnecessary to the gameplay. But it contributes to a greater sense of freedom, and also realism. And in turn this sense of freedom and realism contributed enormously to the success of the game … I should mention that the entire team was very green. 8 of us had never worked on a game.

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Cooking On Your Car

In case you ever need it, here’s instructions on how to cook with your car’s engine (via). So, which adds more flavor, the carburetor or the manifold?

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Calvin and Hobbes and Fight Club

This incredibly detailed essay compares Calvin and Hobbes to Jack and Tyler from Fight Club (via).

I have a new found respect for Calvin and Hobbes now knowing that they grow up to start Fight Club.

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Phone Jacks to VoIP

Engadget has a great article on how you make your in-house phone jacks work with VoIP. It actually looks pretty simple too.

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Jack Sparrow’s Back

Great photo of the winners of a Jack Sparrow look-a-like contest. Via

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Broken Laptop Hinges

My wife’s writing laptop’s hinges broke. The cheapest I found new hinges for online was $49.00. Sheesh. In the meantime, she needs a quick fix. I tried duct tape. I’m pretty sure that would fix it; I just couldn’t figure it out how. In the end, I tied a string around it… Surprisingly, the string worked pretty well. Unfortunately, I think my wife is too proud to use it.

Anyway, here’s a guy who thinks he has a solution to the broken laptop hinges problem (via Make), but I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what he was doing.

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Shaken & Stirred

Last night was my best BUDS birthday. After struggling with what I wanted to get him, I settled on a mildly interesting but not overwhelmingly perfect gift. Of course, to make up for it, I determined to hit the town with him in celebration. No, we didn’t blaze through the town in a hazed spectacular. We merely took a relaxing tour through some interesting bars in the city.

Anyway, when my BUDS brother took leave for the evening, we decided to hit a local martini bar. The place was atmospheric enough, and we mused on the meaning of being a year older (not really). So, happy 26th birthday, bro!

Oh, and what about the whole point that I’m trying to make? If I ever own a tiny martini bar, I’m going to call it Shaken and Stirred. That name came to me in an early morning act of inspiration.

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A Great Break

Warning: This may be my crudest post to date, but it needs to be said.

I used to hate using the restroom at work. You might know what I’m talking about. I was one of those people who could only sit on a toilet in the privacy of my own home. Something changed at my current job though. I realized that if you take that break while working (versus painfully holding it all day like I would sometimes try) you were getting paid essentially for you know using the bathroom. In fact, after a while, I found that whenever I was taking a bathroom break at work, I was more relaxed than I would be at home. At home, there’s plenty of things I would rather be doing. At work, well, there’s just work, and I might as well take as long as I need. Besides, is there any better place to let a difficult problem mull through your mind?

So, now I’m a true convert, and you might be thinking I just shared too much.

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ATV + Jetski = Quadski

Mark this incredible vehicle down for my wishlist. It’s a 4 wheeler (ATV) that converts into a jetski. Go on land or water, when you’re this cool, you just don’t care.

I heard they were going to remake the original Karate Kid and all the bad guys ride around on these instead of dirt bikes. Daniel-san is really going to get his butt kicked now; I don’t even care how good he is with a soccer ball.

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Are Computers Getting Cheaper?

Continuing with my When Does an Operating System Cost Too Much line of thought, I began wondering if computers are actually getting cheaper, or if the cost is just getting juggled around.

Sure, every year, you get twice the computer for the same price as a year before, but that’s only the hardware side of the story. It seems to me like that cost is just redirected into paying for the software.

Honestly, no matter how many improvements Microsoft makes to Word isn’t it still just a word processor. Aren’t those improvements actually just fixing problems that exisited in the last verision of the software? When do we shut the case on the word processor and consider it solved? Same goes for the spreadsheet, and how come a web browser (a piece of software just as complex and useful) is free when we pay over a $100 for just a spreadsheet and word processor?

For that matter, is it fair to charge for an operating system? You don’t sell a car and then charge an extra premium for the engine that runs it, although that sort of tactic is something that would be associated with car salemen before it would be with computers.

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When Does an Operating System Cost Too Much?

When the OS costs more than a computer… It costs way too much. According to Download Squad, Windows Vista Ultimate will fit that bill.

[W]ith a price tag around $450 … that’s about as much as a budget Dell system will cost you.

Personally, I think the most ANY piece of mass market software should cost is $99. Anything more expensive should at least double as a defense against a zombie horde.

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