Tag Archive for 'weblogs'

Life Below ‘The Fold’

Irish designer Paddy Donnelly, in a nicely-designed article, attempts to subvert the accepted wisdom of the page fold:

The fold is one of those guidelines that has been thrown about so much that it’s now become a ‘rule’ of web design (or maybe more appropriately a ‘ball and chain’ of web design) with web designers blindly obeying without question…

If everything of exceptional quality is pushed upon the reader at the beginning, once they start exploring and the rest of the site isn’t of the same calibre, they’re going to be let down.

I agree—scroll below the fold on most large-scale web sites, and the quality diminishes as you move down the page. I don’t know if that’s because too much attention is paid to ‘the fold’ myth, or because most web sites have a vertical up-and-down ‘rail’ structure… or, if we’re just bad designers.

People scroll. People read left-to-right. We should design for these rules.

New Capndesign.com

I love Matt Jacob’s just launched redesign. Bright and fresh, with cool jquery charts, archives that mashup photos and posts, and some Typekit.

New Capndesign.com

Screen shot

Congrats, Matt! If only things didn’t look so stale around here.

Al Shaw on Redesigning the Front Page of Talking Points Memo

On Redesigning the Front Page of Talking Points Memo »
Al Shaw talks about some of the design considerations and technical wizardry that went into the face lift of the Liberal-leaning politics blog. Be sure to watch the video demo of the ajaxy front page CMS editor.

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.

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.


I’m writing this from the new WordPress iPhone app. It’s a pretty light, straight-forward interface. It allows saving posts locally on the iPhone before publishing or saving drafts to the server, enabling offline drafting.

There is even rudimentary photo support – but you can’t really control the placement or sizing of the image – it is merely appended to the end of the message. You don’t even see the image markup until it is published or saved as a draft on the server.

But even then, the limitations of the iPhone become clear – there is no copy/paste, and the classes that determine how WordPress displays uploaded images is unneccessarily complicated. (They should simplify that.)

So, though this is a pretty nice app, I’m not sure how useful it will be without more formatting options and copy/paste. For instance, I can’t even provide a link to it’s app store page. Also, why doesn’t the iPhone have characters luke curly quotes and em/en dashes?

UPDATE (from my Mac): Here is the link to the app.

Speed up syncing from your Mac to MobileMe

Speed up syncing from your Mac to MobileMe » MobileMe isn’t exactly “pushing” so much as “syncing every 15 minutes” – Ars Technica points to a way of speeding this up.

Adding Flickr to WordPress 2.5’s Media Bar

I’m a big fan of the new WordPress admin interface, especially the new media buttons that lets you quickly add photos, videos, and audio to your posts.

wp-media-flickr 1But what if you use Flickr for your photos? Well, there is a great plugin called WordPress Media Flickr, written by yu-ji. It adds a little Flickr media button, and makes adding a photo from your Flickr photostream a piece of cake.

His site is in Japanese, but he has a great screencast showing the plugin at work.

Continue reading ‘Adding Flickr to WordPress 2.5’s Media Bar’

WordPress 2.5

A bit of administrivia to pass along…

WP 2.5I spent some time this weekend updating this weblog to WordPress 2.5 RC1.1. The 2.5 public release should be available soon, but you can grab nightlies that are pretty solid.

There are many new features, but the one I was most looking forward to was the redesign of the admin screens, by Jeffrey Zeldman, Jason Santa Maria, and Liz Danzico of Happy Cog. The design is simpler and fresh, and I like how they separated the pure administrative options from those that deal with posting and managing content. Also, the posting screen is greatly simplified and elegant.

Of course, in order to upgrade WP, I had to first upgrade the k2 theme, which my design is built upon. This involves reconciling my old CSS with any changes made since to K2, lest I break my site. After a few hours of work, everything was in order and I’m happy to report that the RC5 nightlies of K2 worked perfectly for me in WordPress 2.5.

If you’re curious about WP 2.5, but not ready to upgrade – Chris Johnston has put up a public demo of 2.5, (login with admin/demo).

And if you’re considering taking the plunge, I recommend first making a backup and verifying that your theme is compatible.

kottke.org is 10

Three cities, two serious relationships, one child, 200,000 frequent flier miles, at least seven jobs, 14,500 posts, six designs, and ten years ago, I started “writing things down” and never stopped. That makes kottke.org one of a handful of the longest continually updated weblogs on the web.

Kottke.org is 10 years old today. Jason’s weblog has been a big inspiration for me as a weblogger; his enthusiasm for design, media, science, and all things web, has launched a thousand memes, and made him an indispensable voice in digital culture.

Subway Love

Lisa’s photo on Gothamist!Another Valentine’s Day related post – Lisa’s snapshot of this note in the Carroll MTA station made it to a post on Gothamist!

The original is available in her Flickr photostream.

She is kind of a big deal, ’round these parts.

RSS Updates

I’m doing a little house cleaning of this site’s RSS feeds. For a while, I was experimenting with splicing in del.icio.us and flickr content along side the weblog posts. Kind of like my own tumblr hyperblogging experiment, via RSS.

However, after thinking about it, I’ve decided to limit the main RSS feed to only weblog entries. It just makes sense, since a lot of my del.icio.us and flickr content is channelled into expanded weblog posts anyway. And, Ricky makes a persuasive case against what he calls hyperblogging. So, the default feed is now just what I put through WordPress.

Continue reading ‘RSS Updates’


copy cattimothytipton.com is using a slightly modified version of my K2 stylesheet, without atttribution.

The post layout is the same, and he’s using the same exact sidebar modules, in exactly the same arrangement. His CSS is full of my custom selectors/classes, and is still hot linking to images on my domain.

It’s one thing to take someone else’s work, pick it apart, and learn from it. It’s quite another to just take someone’s work, remove attribution, and tweak it just enough so that it has your name on it.

My site is built-off of the K2 framework, which is the work of a lot of excellent designers and developers. The difference is that I’m upfront about attribution, AND, I’ve taken the time and care to fashion something new.

So, Timothy, might I suggest reading Greg Story’s post on How to properly steal the design of a website?

I ran a diff on the two stylesheets, and took some screenshots:

no attributionbreaking IMG references instead of removing?hotlinking to IMG on my domaincopying IMGs over to your own servercustom selectors


It’s been nearly 24-hours since I relaunched this weblog, and the feedback has been encouraging. Thanks to everyone who emailed or left a comment.

I talked last night about my desire to use a typographical grid for this design, but I also knew that this had the potential to look quite antiseptic and sterile. I thought of the comment that David Carson makes in the Helvetica film, as he points to the word “caffeinated” that has been printed out in Helvetica Black and hung on the wall next to other identical looking words: “This doesn’t say ‘caffeinated’!” To avoid the trap, I needed to work in a design element that would make things a little more interesting.

Continue reading ‘Splat!’

A New Nedward.org

Today, I’m launching version 6 of nedward.org, a typographical grid-based layout, with heavy use of Helvetica Neue. This site has always used a similar shade of green, so I wanted to maintain that bit of consistency with the past, while introducing something very different. I also wanted to bring together my content from twitter, flickr, del.icio.us, and last.fm, while keeping it distinct from the weblog content – yea, I’ve gone back on my post is a post comments.

The last major revision of this site was launched on May 1 2005, but even that was somewhat of a realignment of the previous design, which dated back to 2001. I’m a big proponent of Cameron Moll’s realign not redesign rule – so I spent the past few years tinkering away, refining the same basic layout.

Continue reading ‘A New Nedward.org’

Blogging for 7 years?

I’m totally getting old! I just realized that I missed my “blogging” anniversary… On this past July 11, this site hit the 7 year mark.


FIrst Post? It was about that brick of a digital camera (point-n-shoot) that I bought that summer.

My original weblog was on blogger, and then was migrated to a ned.suckahs.org, when we set up the suckahs domain in July 2001. (More on that here.) In February 2005, I decided to split it out into the domain I use today.

Windows Live Writer (Beta)

I’m posting this from inside Windows Live Writer, a newly released “weblogging” application by Microsoft. It’s a slick little windows app, with support for publishing to Movable Type, WordPress, as well as Live Spaces, by default.

Paul Stamatiou has an extended review, but here are some of the features:

  • WYSIWYG Authoring
  • Spell Check
  • Photo Publishing
  • Map Publishing, (via Live Local)
  • Compatibility with Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, WordPress (and many others)

Also, like most good WYSIWYG editors, it allows you to toggle over to HTML code view – (taking a quick look at this post, I see that it writes pretty clean code).

Note: There is no support yet for Tags, a new feature in MT 3.3. (Categories & Keywords are supported.)

More Information & Download

UPDATE: Om has a nice review:

It is not often, I say good things about Microsoft products, but with this free-blogging tool, I have to say: write on! …the software actually lets you use your blog styles for editing, has ability to add plugins, and has an SDK to extend the functionality of the program. You can also swap out  Microsoft Maps for say Google Maps.

Vox Upgrade

voxWell, I finally have access to a blog on Vox… (the starter account is little more than an online profile). Seems like other people also complained:

With this release, we are also responding to your feedback that the whole starter account thing wasn’t working and have decided to shelve that feature for now. Last week, we upgraded all starter accounts to standard accounts (yay!) and have turned that account level off.

It seems pretty cool, but I don’t have any invites! So, I have no friends. If you’re on Vox, add me to your neighborhood.

(Re) Launches

It’s the end of a week, so I thought that I’d note a few new things that I’ve seen this week.

First, Anna just launched Door Sixteen, which will document the renovation and restoration of the late-1800’s brick rowhouse just bought in Newburgh, NY. I used to read her old blog, Absolutely Vile, every day, so I’m glad to see that she’s back.

Veerle launched her redesigned blog this week, using Expression Engine and a whole lot of magic. A complete, beautiful piece of work, which makes my blog feel completely inadequate and irrelevant.

Last and certainly not least, Todd, (of the local food blog Eat and Destroy,) moved his old beansareevil.com domain to the new, (and aptly named), ScootAndDestroy.com. (Nevermind that he previously moved to beansareevil.com, from foodtastesgood.com – make your freaking mind up, Todd…). He’s got some great scooting videos, the famous Peeps video, and a new feature – silk-screened T-shirts!

Beer Logos in Vector Format

Boddingtons BitterI love this site, which offers tons of beer logos for download, in EPS format [via]. For some reason, this amuses me.

What didn’t amuse me, was the 20 minutes of frustration last night, trying to get a freakin’ Boddingtons at The Burren in Davis Square. I had to order twice, from the same woman, (as she must’ve forgot the first one)… and finally I grabbed a second bartender to go check on things. And, HE was the one who brought me my freakin’ beer. I realize that a lot of bartenders double-pour Boddy’s, (much like Guinness), but you’re not supposed to forget me!

24 Ways

“24 Ways”:http://24ways.org/ is a kind of _advent calendar_ for markup geeks. I’m now in the process of redesigning (as oposed to “realigning”:http://www.alistapart.com/articles/redesignrealign) my portfolio site, and it’s been fun tuning in to these little tutorials.

My favorites include:

* “An Explanation of Ems”:http://24ways.org/advent/an-explanation-of-ems – I love using _ems_

* “Introduction to Scriptaculous Effects”:http://24ways.org/advent/introduction-to-scriptaculous-effects – for a little javascript splash

* “Putting the World into “World Wide Web””:http://24ways.org/advent/putting-the-world-into-world-wide-web – I _work_ in localization, so I enjoy this kind of thing.

PageRank and Me

When I switched this weblog’s domain from ned.suckahs.org to nedward.org a while back, I wanted to maintain both URLs for a transition period, so as not to lose readers.

Sounds innocent enough, but since then, Google has stopped deep-indexing this site. On the advice of Casey, I tried re-directing with 301s, providing a sitemap with every entry on this site, and a whole lot of other trickery… all without luck. To this day, searching the old domain is more fruitful than searching the new one.

Since I’ve tried everything I can think of, I think the fact remains that ned.suckahs.org has a higher PageRank than nedward.org… There are still many people who link to the old domain.

I’ve started sending out emails to the people I know about. But, won’t you help me out, and update your URL?

Thanks in advance.

Mapped FTP drive

mapped ftpThere was a great “how-to” article on Engadget yesterday: Map a drive to your FTP server.

Now, tweaking that CSS file is as easy as right-click, and Edit.

Mint: Languages

Since installing Mint, I’ve enjoyed pouring over all kinds of referrer data, without having to sort through spam bots.

One of my favorite bits of visitor information, (seeing as how I work in the Localization industry), is the language of my readers. Using Marc Garrett’s Parsel Pepper (plug-in), I see that my visitors are overwhelmingly English-speaking.

No real surprise there, but guess what the #2 language is? Believe it or not, it’s Chinese. I have twice as many visitors from China and Taiwan than from either France, Germany, Spain or Japan… (where are my Nordic readers?)

Even more surprising, when I separate out PRC vs. Taiwan, 75% of my Chinese visits are from the mainland. I know there is a huge population advantage there, but I still find that fascinating.