Odd Links

Every once in a while, it’s good for me to purge some pent-up links that I’ve been keeping too close. [I know these last posts have been short, but so am I.]

  • A new site called Tortured by Tyson by our friends at PETA. Warning: Very graphic imagery. Happy dinner!
  • A kind of funny website that recreates the Windows desktop and is built entirely with XHTML/CSS. It makes me happy that this is not what I look at every day on my desktop.
  • Happy Healthy Summer for kids and those who like kids.
  • Amazon’s Google, A9 Beta. The beta is better because it’s cleaner. But I emailed them that they should change the light purple background color of the site because it’s acts like a soporofic.


There’s something beautiful about this visual poem at Born Magazine. Stunning, actually. The music winds like the night highway. Deeply romantic, it reminds me of Winnipeg, where we’re moving soon.

Comment: Spam

After not a lot of trial and tribulation but a lot of ridiculous time-wasting in deleting ridiculous amounts of comment spam from Deckchairs, I found the perfect solution for me: Disable all Commenting!
It turns out to be quite wonderful solution in my case. Deckchairs, as you’ll see from the image above, is technically “A monologue on art, technology, history &c.” It’s been named that since October 2001. And it continues to be and should be a monologue. Other people’s comments, in particular that of V.S., H.W., D.B., and C.K., have been alternately provocative, brilliant, helpful, thoughtful, clarifying and inane but, for now, there’s no more commenting on Deckchairs.
Here’s the logic:

  1. No commenting means spammers can’t waste my time pasting garbage on my precious blog.
  2. No commenting means that I’m more than ever responsible for content, putting more pressure on me to write better and more regular posts.
  3. No commenting means that I feel personally liberated from the daily dread of wondering who is commenting, why no one is commenting, and why I even have commenting on the site.
  4. Really good writers, like those listed above, are focusing on a new blog called Amphetameme.org. The spelling is horrendously cool and I hope to even post something on it soon.

My sincere apologies to all those who have posted invaluable information to the site, only to see it placed in archive heaven. If you would like me to pull out any specific comments to specific posts, please email me and I’ll blockquote your comment within the main post.
Even more unsavory Deckchairs.net changes are afoot!

Paying for the Times

So the New York Times took the bold and, ultimately dumb, step of forcing its online readers to pay for future op-ed and columnist content. I understand the motive, the business model, the necessity for added revenue streams, the financial objective and reader incentivization.
But this is a dumb move because it will ultimately hurt students of (often very) good opinion writing and further isolate the Times from other newspapers and publications. I don’t know many (or any) non-journalist who would pay $50.00 per year to read these writers. Which means that it will ultimately insult the Times’ writers and the quality of their work.
Instead of forcing customers to read op-eds, why not have special sections (such as resources and additional articles) that are created to complement those op-eds and allow opt-in payment structures for them, just as they do now with archived articles?

Tiger, Tiger

Although I’ve purchased Apple’s new OS, Tiger, I ain’t upgrading until 10.4.1 comes out. For the braver souls who are upgrading, I did find a very useful listing of software vendors who have upgraded their applications for Tiger.
I’ve never had perfect success with upgrading an operating system as so many others (seem to) have had. The typical install for me takes 2 weeks of trepiditation and nervous stomach, 1 day of hemming and hawing, and 2 hours of teeth biting as the software loads. Then it’s about 4 hours of complete and utter FREAK-OUT, followed by 2 nights of resentment, anger, self-hatred and fear of technology and 4 days of quiet re-organization. This, in turn, is followed by general fear of OS failure for 2 months.


The good folks at 37 Signals have come up with another very interesting new web-based organizational application called Backpack. It would be great to have an online, sharable, nicely designed, and fast web-based tool to gather notes, ideas, photos, and to-dos together but, let me be one of the few to say: it’s lame.
Here’s why:

  • Backpack, for the father-me, is best known as Dora the Explorer’s expedition friend who helps her find navigate the territories of the world.
  • Backpack is basically a rehashed, genetically re-engineered Basecamp mixed up with Tadalist, both properties of 37 signals.
  • Backpack is too smart for the average Joe and too dumb for the average Geek.
  • Backpacks typically rot, get all beat up, and smell. I wouldn’t want my backpack, filled with old Kleenex, wet matches, and dirty socks to be shared with anyone.

Having said all that, I do love the 37 signals blog.

Thinking with Type

There are a ton of typography books out there these days and most of them are pretty awful. The “Type Style 2001” books are typically (pun unintended) yuck-o as they are immediately dated as soon ink hits the paper they’re printed on.
Our local Barnes and Noble has a surprisingly good selection of typography and graphic design books. Every month or so I visit those lovely shelves to see what’s around and what’s come in. This is always a more pleasant and more useful experience than looking for design books online, where everything looks wonderful. Today, amidst the Dover clip-art books (which I love), the Japanese anime design books, and the how-to books, was Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton.
This is a beautiful, stately, organized, thoughtful, historically-relevant, unpretentious, well-written, nicely designed, clear-headed, critically-oriented, short, vehement, structured, and elegantly constructed book that covers all of the typographic basics and, mostly, inspires. It’s up-to-date, and its examples include some nicely designed websites like Speak Up and recent font developments as well. Were I to someday write a typography book, I would hire Ms. Lupton to replicate this book and then I’d sign my name on the cover.

(von) Kloberg Dies

The New York Times today noted the passing of Edward von Kloberg III. The headline is “Edward von Kloberg III, Lobbyist for Many Dictators, Dies at 63.” (The “von” was his tasteless add-on.)
Kloberg worked in Washington for some of the most evil persons to walk the face of the planet, including “Saddam Hussein, Nicolae Ceaucescu of Romania, Samuel K. Doe of Liberia and Mobuto Sese Seko of the former Zaire.” He tried to recruit North Korea’s Kim Jong Il, another beauty of a man. While my back immediately went up, upon reading Kloberg’s obit, I also realized that it’s too easy to make the distinction between a man like Kloberg and someone like, say, the current President. While Kloberg willingly sought out to represent the most heinous individuals, those who had the discipline and power to decimate and maim populations, some of our own elected officials hold hands with despots and tell us to value freedom and democracy.
To take this line of reasoning further: Kloberg is, in many, many, ways, the more honest of the two. His shingle clearly says: “Hire me if you are a tyrant and I will represent you.” Our President’s shingle says otherwise: “Visit me if you are a tyrant and I will represent you to my people.” Granted, the President lives in a more complex political environment; he needs to pay for many people’s dinners, not just his own.
I wonder if the guilt was too much: Kloberg had “leapt from the parapet of a castle” to his final death.