Monthly Archive for October, 2008

New York Times Anthrax Scare

Who?

Equipment and officials from some government agency that I’ve never heard of, in the lobby of the New York Times Building in midtown.

The lob­by of The New York Times Build­ing, where I work, was closed this past Wednes­day, after an employ­ee on the 13th floor opened an enve­lope that con­tained a pow­dery sub­stance. (The 13th floor is where the edi­to­r­i­al board and some colum­nists have offices.)

It turned out to be a hoax, but for sev­er­al hours the build­ing was in near lock-down mode. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I decid­ed to dis­re­gard warn­ings and went out to meet Lisa for lunch. When I returned, I was locked out for almost an hour, as the police had roped off the building’s entrances. Peer­ing through the win­dows on the 8th Avenue side of the build­ing, I saw a huge cur­tain stretched across one of the ele­va­tor banks. Some fire­men went in with a stretch­er, and the broad­cast news media start­ed con­verg­ing on the street. (Apolo­gies to the very friend­ly NY1 cam­er­a­woman, for refus­ing to talk to her on cam­era.)

All I could do was to take some pho­tos, and wait to be let in. After about an hour, I received word from a col­league inside that they were let­ting employ­ees back in through the freight ele­va­tors in the load­ing dock down 40th st. That was about all the fun I could han­dle for one day… back to work.

More Pho­tos below the jump.

Con­tin­ue read­ing ‘New York Times Anthrax Scare’

How Hackers Show it’s Not All Bad News at the New York Times

Apolo­gies that this blog looks a lit­tle New York Times-y late­ly, but I had to share this – O’Reilly’s Andrew Savikas wrote a very inter­est­ing post on some of the inter­est­ing stuff we’re doing:

…there‘s some­thing going on at the Times that prob­a­bly won‘t make it to Sil­i­con Alley Insid­er, much less the main­stream busi­ness press, and it‘s some­thing that‘s start­ing to make me think the Times just might suc­ceed in adapt­ing to the chang­ing rules of the media and pub­lish­ing game…

So what’s the Times doing that’s so impor­tant? They’re hack­ing.

Savikas goes on to list a lot of exam­ples, but the best one that I can pro­vide is the com­ing release of our APIs, which will enable peo­ple on the out­side to play, tin­ker, and mashup NY Times con­tent. There are only a few APIs cur­rent­ly pub­lic, but there will be a flood of releas­es in the com­ing months.

[via Jere­my]

UPDATE: Oh man, a bit after I pub­lished this today, we launched our Visu­al­iza­tion Lab – a part­ner­ship that uses IBM’s Many Eyes tech­nol­o­gy. More Info Here »

What the Hell, Malcolm Gladwell

My friend Julia writes today on Huff­in­g­ton Post – What the Hell, Mal­colm Glad­well. She takes the Tip­ping Point author to task for not includ­ing one woman in his new book Out­liers, which exam­ines high achiev­ers:

But what about Vir­ginia Woolf, Susan Son­tag, Tina Brown, or Indra Nooyi, the CEO of Pep­si­Co?

What about Oprah?

The omis­sion of women in Out­liers says more about the nature of “big think” books than it does about Mr. Glad­well.

I think that lets him off the hook easy, but it’s inter­est­ing to read Julia’s thoughts on the book pub­lish­ing world. She posts reg­u­lar­ly to the Harp­er Stu­dio blog, at 26thstory.com.

New York Magazine Profile of Nate Silver

New York Mag­a­zine has an inter­est­ing pro­file on Nate Sil­ver, the man behind the polit­i­cal web­site FiveThir­tyEight.

Sil­ver uses data analy­sis to track and weight polls, based on their his­tor­i­cal track records and method­olo­gies. What’s inter­est­ing is that he right­ly pre­dict­ed the out­come of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic pri­ma­ry race, while com­men­ta­tors at the time were talk­ing about a Hillary Clin­ton come­back.

This Election’s Poster Child

Design crit­ic Steven Heller looks at poster design this pres­i­den­tial elec­tion cycle, and the unprece­dent­ed out­pour­ing of sup­port for Sen­a­tor Barack Oba­ma:

So, do these posters have any impact on vot­ers? Not the spe­cif­ic images or mes­sages but cumu­la­tive­ly they are a grass­roots effort that excite through the show of col­lec­tive sup­port. What’s more, posters often appeal to per­son­al needs and emo­tions, not all rouse in the same way for every­one. Hav­ing many options allows par­ti­sans to engage as they choose. This show of sup­port goes in the plus col­umn for Barack Oba­ma.

Take a walk down Smith Street in Brook­lyn, and you’ll see Shep­ard Fairey’s poster in many shop win­dows – it’s almost com­ic… not just street art any more.

Streetsy: 40+ Streetartists You Should Know Besides Banksy

Jake Dobkin presents 40+ Street Artists You Should Know Besides Banksy:

Every­one knows who Banksy is – but the inter­na­tion­al stree­tart com­mu­ni­ty has hun­dreds of oth­er great artists that deserve your atten­tion. Here’s a selec­tion of the very best.

Christoph Niemann’s Abstract City

One of my favorite blogs on NYTimes.com is writ­ten by the Ger­man illus­tra­tor Christoph Nie­mann, called Abstract City. He only posts once a month or so, but each one is as unique and inter­est­ing as the last.

And, it is amus­ing that his blog – of all NYTimes.com blogs – doesn’t have an illus­trat­ed icon in the head­er. It’s not inten­tion­al on our part, he just hasn’t got­ten to it yet.

See More of Christoph Niemann’s work »

Ready for David Pogue

Shadows
Me, standing in, as lighting is set for a David Pogue shoot.

Today, myself and a few col­leagues helped Zach Wise set up and shoot some green screen video of New York Times Tech­nol­o­gy Colum­nist and near-Broad­way per­former David Pogue. The video will be inte­grat­ed into a mul­ti­me­dia piece that Zach and I are work­ing on, which should be done before Thanks­giv­ing.

This is the first real video shoot that I’ve worked on, (hav­ing in the past done a lot of voice-over work with sound engi­neers). What’s scary is that we did this large­ly by our­selves – Zach found a stu­dio at the near­by CUNY Grad­u­ate School of Jour­nal­ism, we hung the green fab­ric, and we set up the light­ing with a lit­tle help from their engi­neer.

David Pogue came in a short while lat­er, I grabbed a boom mic, and we were off to the races. It was a lot of fun, and Pogue nailed the takes – I have no idea how he did it with­out a teleprompter, but he had us all laugh­ing sev­er­al times. And he was very patient and friend­ly through­out the shoot, even when we had to embar­rass­ing­ly scram­ble back to the office for more P2 cards.

So, that was the hard part – now we have to design and build this thing.

CIA Tactics Endorsed In Secret Memos

The Wash­ing­ton Post has a page one sto­ry today on a pair of secret Bush Admin­is­tra­tion mem­os sent to the CIA, that explic­it­ly endorse the agency’s use of tor­ture tech­niques. It’s unclear who the leaks came from, but it appears that the mem­os addressed con­cerns expressed by then-CIA Direc­tor George Tenet:

The repeat­ed requests for a paper trail reflect­ed grow­ing wor­ries with­in the CIA that the admin­is­tra­tion might lat­er dis­tance itself from key deci­sions about the han­dling of cap­tured al-Qae­da lead­ers, for­mer intel­li­gence offi­cials said.

So, Tenet was look­ing to cov­er his ass. Nice report­ing WaPo.

Mad Men, Mad Props

Mad Men is such an enjoy­able show – but, type­face design­er Mark Simon­son takes Mad Men’s prop mas­ters to task for their typog­ra­phy sins.

None of these mis­steps occurred to me when watch­ing, so maybe I need to brush up on my his­to­ry of typog­ra­phy?

The Measure of a President

The Times has an inter­est­ing (if not com­plete­ly point­less) info­graph­ic on pres­i­den­tial height and weight, in recent his­to­ry. I like that the sil­hou­ettes are all most­ly rec­og­niz­able – Jim­my Carter’s smile, Har­ry Truman’s spec­ta­cles and William Howard Taft’s bel­ly… fun­ny.

It was done by Scott Stowell’s design stu­dio, Open N.Y., the peo­ple who design GOOD Mag­a­zine.

No Want!

No Want!

Katya gets involved in the party planning. (Photo by Lisa)

More Pho­tos from our V.P. Debate Par­ty »

MSM Ahead of Curve on V.P. Debate

Did you know that NYTimes.com streamed live video of last night’s debate, right on the top of its home page? There was a full-screen option, too. Pret­ty cool stuff – even Gawk­er was impressed.

Also, check out our V.P. Debati­na­tor – a mashup of video, tran­script, and time­line from the debate.

Beehive vs. Chompers: V.P. Debate Party

V.P. Debate Party

Invitation design for our party, Thursday night.

I couldn’t resist – Lisa and I are host­ing a V.P. Debate par­ty this Thurs­day night, so I whipped this invite up. The idea was to play up two of the more strik­ing ele­ments of the can­di­dates’ appear­ance: Sarah Palin’s bee­hive and eye­wear, and Joe Biden’s abnor­mal­ly large teeth.

The result is kind of awk­ward but fun. It looks like an elon­gat­ed John Ker­ry-sized head, but it’s not worth fuss­ing with the pro­por­tions at this point. Just go with it… I did.

UPDATE: The always charm­ing Emi­ly point­ed out a rather obvi­ous spelling mis­take in the design above. Can you find it?

Subtraction 7.1 Beta

Khoi Vinh recent­ly realigned his blog, Subtraction.com, con­vert­ing the back-end from Mov­able Type to Expres­sion Engine. (Full dis­clo­sure: Khoi is my boss.)

There are a few new tweaks to the famil­iar design, the most notice­able being the link roll fold­ed-in with longer form entries, cre­at­ing a nice chrono­log­i­cal flow. Also, he cre­at­ed tem­plates for pho­to posts.