Morning cup o’ links

Perhaps it would have been better to make a sausage analogy for these links, rather than a coffee-and-sausage one. But since one of the links is to a post written by Marco Arment, coffee seems appropriate. (Then again, a Google search reveals that I am far from the first person to use the phrase “morning cup o’ links” so maybe I should spend less time worrying about it being a non sequitir and instead worry that I am horribly unoriginal.)

Each morning I start the day by perusing the latest on Twitter and my RSS feeds, and I almost always find something interesting to read. But today was more interesting than most, and simply retweeting the links didn’t seem adequate. Also, some of these links may become topics for discussion on this week’s episode of The Undisciplined Room, so this is your homework.

First up, we have a post on The Verge discussing homeless hotspots at SXSW. This is a topic I’ve been reading about for the past few days, but this post was the first that made me think beyond my gut reaction that this was shameless exploitation.

Next, with a HT to Daring Fireball, and via Marco Arment, we have a look at Curator’s Code and why it’s a bad idea. The evidence has been mounting for me that Maria Popova’s 15 minutes of (borrowed) fame are almost over (especially when I’m reminded of her love of Ayn Rand and Malcolm Gladwell), and Marco helps solidify that thought.

Then we have type designer Mark Simonson (who designed the Proxima Nova font that I use in the Room 34 logo and branding materials) discussing font anachronisms in The Artist. As much as I enjoyed The Artist, issues with the fonts it used (especially straight quotes, and the fact that it used fonts in a lot of places where hand lettering would have been more appropriate) even distracted me, so I can’t imagine what it must be like for someone like Mark Simonson or Chank Diesel. (Full disclosure: I did development work on Chank’s mobile website.)

And finally… Chicago musician and multi-talent Joshua Wentz has just announced the release of the Side 2 EP by Absinthe and the Dirty Floors, one of the many musical projects with which he’s involved. He’s also made a video for each song on the EP, like this:

How to write like an architect

I found this on, and I know Jason Kottke’s audience outnumbers mine by several orders of magnitude, but I still found it interesting enough that I wanted to share it here.

I’ve been thinking about architecture (the occupation, not buildings themselves) a lot lately as I’ve been working with some architects as clients. The thing I like about architects is that I think there’s a lot of similarity between what they do and what I do — both architecture and web design/development require a mix of artistic sensibilities and methodical, scientific thinking that don’t often come together in other fields. Of course, it takes a lot more training and skill to become an architect; I won’t even pretend we’re in the same league in that regard.

Probably the biggest difference between the two fields is that what I do is almost entirely based on computers (obviously), whereas while computers are certainly an integral tool to architects, the end product of their efforts, along with many of the tools and techniques they use to do their jobs, are physical, tactile, hands-on. Paper, pencils, T-squares, rulers, etc. I use those types of physical tools so rarely anymore that I can barely even write my own name legibly.

Which brings me to this pair of videos on How to write like an architect. It’s fascinating to see how these letters come together and the orderly yet stylized results.

And here’s how you do it with a pencil…

In another age (maybe even if I were a mere decade older), architecture is likely something I would have pursued instead of the path of least resistance web design offered me when I emerged from college at precisely the right moment (1996). Working with architects as clients has allowed me to get a vicarious taste of that world.

Bring down IE 6!

IE6, R.I.P. I wish.Here’s a far more detailed, reasoned explanation of why Internet Explorer 6 is just plain bad than I could ever muster in the midst of one of my Microsoft-fueled rages. (OK, maybe that overstates it a bit and gives Redmond too much credit for my anger issues.)

Here it is, plain and simple: Internet Explorer 6 has been around as long as Windows XP, and it’s even longer in the tooth. A lot has happened to the Web in the last 8 years, and IE6 is simply not equipped to handle what 2009 websites throw at it. It’s a security nightmare, and it’s woefully lacking in support of even relatively modest features that all other browsers out there today support, and that we in the web design and development community desperately want to take advantage of in building functional, aesthetically pleasing, just plain cool websites.

But we can’t. Or, we can, but then we have to spend a substantial chunk of the total time and budget of a project (often a third or more) hacking our own (standards-compliant) work to try to make it even just passably functional in IE6. This has to end. IE6 is not just a pain in the butt of web geeks like me. Because it is wasting the valuable time and financial resources of anyone involved in the creation of websites (and by extension, any business or organization that has a website), it is a drain on our economy in the same way as old, gas guzzling cars or any other outmoded, grossly inefficient system.

It’s time. IE6 is dead. Lay it to rest.

Waste = Happiness!!!

Make it a Dixie day! For the next 10,000 years!I have to admit, I’m no great environmentalist. I’m a typical wasteful American, but I at least try to be aware of how wasteful I am. I avoid blatant acts of waste, and in true Midwestern Lutheran style, when I do waste I am overwhelmed with guilt, even if it doesn’t actually stop me from doing it.

But then I see something like I did today. My kids are watching Go, Diego, Go! and then on comes a commercial for Dixie paper plates. The overall message of the commercial is that if a mother really cares about her kids, she’ll use Dixie paper plates, pretty much for every meal, so that instead of spending time doing dishes, she can have “extraordinary moments” with her kids. I’ll try not to fall off my high horse here, but I think it’s shamefully irresponsible for Georgia-Pacific to promote this kind of egregiously wasteful behavior as both the duty and the desire of anyone aspiring to be a good parent.