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The Slow Web

Interesting article here.

One of the centerpieces of the Fast Web is this notion of real-time. Your friend listens to a song, and you find out about it. The smaller the gap between these two, the closer it is to real-time.

Real-time interactions happen as they happen. Timely ones, on the other hand, happen as you need them to happen. Some real-time interactions, like breaking news about an earthquake, can be timely. But not all timely interactions are real-time. I’d argue that most are not. And where the Fast Web is built around real-timedness, the Slow Web is built around timeliness.

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Designing Websites is Not Nerdy

Designing Websites is Not Nerdy

Ok I lied. It is a little bit nerdy. But I would argue it’s a little less nerdy then many would assume.

I love designing websites, and the prospect of earning a living doing just that makes my mouth water. But the reason I love designing websites may be a little different then some assume. Most people consider programmers, web designers, and pretty much anyone in computer related industries nerds. That may be more or less true, but how many people consider carpenters nerds? I certainly don’t, and you’d be hard pressed to find someone who does. But, as a web designer, I have enjoyed working with my friend Spencer Covey on various construction projects because I love building beautiful, functional things. Building websites is very similar in concept. No one loves building websites or programming because they love making tons of mathematical calculations or making arbitrary boring programs–well, maybe some do, but they would be the true nerds of the computer industry. The real fun in any of it, is getting clear concrete results, and solving problems. It is the same goal wether you are building a website, application, or a house. And that is why we aren’t all that much different from the rest of the world :)

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The Incomplete Manifesto for Growth

I took a creative writing class last fall, and the professor started off the semester by having us read the Incomplete Manifesto for Growth. While I don’t necessarily agree with all of them, these are certainly some great guidelines for design and learning in general, and absolutely worth a read for almost anyone. *Hint, click the link.*

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Harnessing the Power of iTunes Smart Playlists

Many people, much like I used to be, are completely oblivious to the feature in iTunes of Smart Playlists. They are useful for making dynamic lists which are more tuned to your mood, without creating a new playlist every single day of music you want to listen to.

I’m going to lay some groundwork for creating a good playlist but you could and should, personalize this to your preferences. To create a smart playlist you need to hit the shift key (option on mac) and click the + icon at the bottom which has now turned into a fancy snowflake looking thing (not sure what else to call it). This will pop up the smart playlist dialogue which is where all the magic happens.

  1. Create a smart playlist, and for the criteria we’re going to select “Rating” and is 5 star. Then we’re going to add another rule and add “Last Played” Not In The Last, and then select an amount of time according to your preference. Then we’re going to create separate lists for 4 star songs, and 3 star songs, and optionally 2 and 1 star songs with decreasing frequency. Personally I only go to 3. I use 1 star exclusively for flagging songs for removal from my iPod/iTunes library, and 2 star songs are mostly songs I only keep for the sake of listening to with friends and family. Aka, songs I don’t care for but others seem to like. Now the idea here is that you probably want to listen to 5 star songs more frequently then 4 star songs, and 4 star songs more frequently then 3 star songs and so on. I like setting 5 star songs to 5-7 days. 4 star songs to 2 weeks, and 3 star songs to 4 weeks or more. You can adjust to your own liking. Here is an image for reference
  2. Most people, unless your obsessive about your library, have a lot of unrated songs. So now we need to add a playlist for all those great songs you have sitting in your library collecting dust because you forgot about them and don’t have them in a playlist. So we’re going to create another playlist and add some criteria to help it get songs you like instead of just grabbing stuff all over the place. First we’re gonna make a rule and put “Rating” is and then leave it blank. It will get all the songs not rated so you can begin rating them accordingly as they come up. You can leave this playlist out if you don’t want to have to rate stuff to kick it out of your list, otherwise you should begin rating away to get more personalized selections. If you want to continue to get songs you haven’t heard recently you can add another rule to get songs you haven’t heard in the last few weeks (refer to above if you can’t remember how to do that). Then I added another rule to make sure I wasn’t getting any christmas music in here out of season. Finally I checked the box telling it to limit to 25 items and told it to select by the most played. That way I can get stuff that I have listened to a few times but not in the last 2 weeks.
  3. Recently I added a list that gathers my Neglected favorites. Aka, 4-5 star songs that haven’t had very many plays so far. I do this by limiting the list to 15 or so songs in the 4-5 range and telling it “Select By Least Often Played.” That way each time I get new songs that I really like, they are instantly in that list because they haven’t been played very many times.
  4. Finally you need to create one playlist to RULE them all! ;) Create yet another smart playlist and choose “Playlist” is and select your smart playlists you just created. You will have to do this individually for each one. Once that is done you will get a pretty decent mix of songs you haven’t heard in the last few days that you hopefully like :) continue rating and modifying to your liking.

There are an abundance of options in the smart playlists and you can look through them and adjust to your liking. They really are an amazing feature if you like to use playlists at all. If you find these lists useful, do some searching on the all knowing google for other Smart Playlist ideas.

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“Done is better than perfect”

Done is better than perfect

I read this seemingly obvious statement in a letter written by Mark Zuckerburg to his investors on “The Hacker Way” and I realized trying to make things perfect is a mistake I commonly make wether it be projects or even blog posts. The designer side of me wants make everything absolutely perfect before calling it finished. The sad reality is that it will never be perfect. So trying to achieve that is an impossible goal. Also, it is arguably more efficient to “finish” a project and continually modify and improve it, than to try and get it all right at once (as noted by Zuckerburg in the letter). It is a very thought provoking letter and offers some insights into the operations and success of the Facebook, and worth reading if you have time.

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My website gets a facelift, and happy birthday to me!

The fact that it is my birthday and that I have a completely revamped website are completely coincidental. I have been tweaking this theme for a couple of weeks, ever since I decided that I didn’t currently have the spare time to redesign it myself from scratch, and I needed some aesthetic and functionality upgrades. Hopefully it will be more conducive for my purposes in the mean time until I can create a more fine tuned solution in the future. Also I have updated portfolio and about information that was utterly lacking previously.

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Free Subtle Textures for Web Designers

Free Subtle Textures for Web Designers

This site has some AWESOME textures available for FREE primarily for the intent of Web Designers. I say this because they all have seamless repeatability. So no messing around in photoshop for hours trying to get that seam just right for tiling. Combined with a simple letterpress technique you have an instant aesthetic wonder!

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