Archive of Posts from January 2010

Thomas The Tank Engine OF LIES

If you're like me you have a toddler in the house. And like me you have come to tolerate at least a few of the big names in children's media such as your Mickey Mice and your Curious Georges. TV is a rare treat in our house, but last week Eddie was sick and we were in survival mode. So we drove to the local media dispensary to purchase a distracting video disc.

I don't know about you, but when I make DVD purchasing decisions I rely on specialists to find quality: the critics. I don't have to watch hundreds of hours of children's programming when the voice of critics can be distilled down to their essence on the DVD packaging itself. And what better review is there than, "A Roller Coaster Ride of a Movie!" Faced with all possible choices, we picked up what the critics lead us to believe was an action packed adventure with Thomas the Tank Engine called The Great Discovery, containing that very blurb at the bottom:



I was looking forward to sharing an afternoon of singing British children and roller coaster-like adventure with my son until I got a closer look at that packaging at home:



You might be thinking, "Oh! I wonder what well-respected children's magazine this critic Topham Hatt writes for?" Let me burst your media bubble: "SIR" TOPHAM HATT IS A CHARACTER IN THE SHOW! It's like quoting Yoda to sell The Phantom Menace: "Like this movie, you will!"

We haven't watched The Great Discovery yet, but I'm sure it'll be just fine. Maybe Sir Topham Hatt keeps his acting hat walled off from his editorial hat. Seems like a fairly blatant conflict of interest to me though.

New Look!

This site has a new look! I had some rare free time last Sunday morning so I changed the colors and made up a new header image. I haven't been posting much here beyond my delicious bookmarks, but I'm hoping this new look will help motivate me to post more.

Here's roughly how it worked. I started with the Sea of Japan palette at Color Lovers:

Sea of Japan palette

Then I flipped through a couple design books and stock art for inspiration. Here are a few that were sources for the new look:

Ibys Logo
IBYS Logo, c. 1929, Euro Deco

Sociedad Anonima Mariano Vila Letterhead
Sociedad Anonima Mariano Vila letterhead, 1933, Euro Deco

Lighthouse Matchbox
Indian Matchbox, Matchbox Labels

I also stumbled on an antique compass image I liked in a Google Image search. Then I threw all of these into a blender, added Futura, and pow—new header. So thanks to those sites, books, and designers for inspiration. I'm not sure how this will get me blogging again but at least this is a non-automated post.
  • A peek behind the curtain at Facebook with an anonymous FB developer.
  • "...Brad's work was altogether more messy and funny and human and passionate and complicated, just like the man himself. I can offer no more succinct summation of the man than that he was a good man and a good friend, profoundly funny and profoundly kind." Anil shares some memories of Brad.
  • "...the hero is the most damaging person on a team, particularly on a team that’s supposed to be writing high-availability or otherwise mission-critical software." Interesting analysis of team dynamics. [via jessamyn]
  • "One user following another in social media is analogous to one page linking to another on the Web. Both are a form of recommendation." Amit Singhal on how Google ranks Tweets for real-time search.
  • Rules for PR folks who want to work with bloggers. "FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE means FOR IMMEDIATE DELETE."
  • Hey, blogs still exist. What do you know? This is a great list, and a good reminder that the best of the web is still delivered in chunks longer than 140 characters.