Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

Web design and development for small and large business, e-commerce, b2b, b2c, SAAS, and community websites. User experience design and usability testing.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Google's plans for their dark fiber

Technology pundit Robert X. Cringely believes Google has the WalMart business model in mind in its strategy to buy up dark fiber.

" one of Google's underground parking garages in Mountain a secret area off-limits even to regular GoogleFolk, is a shipping container. But it isn't just any shipping container. This shipping container is a prototype data center. Google hired a pair of very bright industrial designers to figure out how to cram the greatest number of CPUs, the most storage, memory and power support into a 20- or 40-foot box. We're talking about 5,000 Opteron processors and 3.5 petabytes of disk storage that can be dropped-off overnight by a tractor-trailer rig. The idea is to plant one of these puppies anywhere Google owns access to fiber, basically turning the entire Internet into a giant processing and storage grid..."

» Read the article...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Did you miss Pink Week?


Friday, November 18, 2005

Designing "topic centers"

I've been working on some new page types at work called "topic centers." They're basically intended to make related content from disparate sections on the site readily available in one place. For example: 1) audio software for your PC, 2) MP3s you can download, 3) games for your PC, and 4) video previews/trailers for upcoming DVD releases, all collected in a new topic center called "Home Entertainment."

It's been fun, because I can push the design envelope a little since these new sections need to look rather different than normal category "doors" (as we call them).

One of the challenges is to present these somewhat dissimilar content types in a unified page design. Another challenge is to humanize the site more — presenting hundreds of pages of software downloads can look boring as hell if you don't infuse some personality into your site.

So far, I think my solutions are working pretty well. Here's a snippet from one of the other topic centers, this one called "Best of," on which we feature the most popular downloads according to both our members and our editors.

Filed under: design

You Knit What??

This blog by punk rock knitter and knittykitty is hilarious. Velma, you'd better hope none of your stuff attracts their notice : D

From their disclaimer: "Look kids, we're ragging on nasty knits here, (And occasionally a model's obviously airbrushed 15 inch waist) because we ourselves are knitters, and we know that knitting a garment takes a LOT of time and effort, and it pisses us off that these people think we're going to waste our time on this crap.

"Seriously. It's not like we're attacking random knitbloggers, or anything, which we've considered, because damn, some of y'all have designed some seriously fugly shit. But, we're not overly fond of death-by-knitting-needle threats, so we decided against it.

"So, we're sticking to national publications/yarn company published patterns/online knitzines. If you're some random onlooker and you want to take shit personally, big fat boohoo to you because, one, you didn't design the fugknit in question so get over it, and two, don't you have some knitting to do?"

Edit: I just read every entry in the entire blog, back to last April.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Crumpler Bags

These guys have a hilarious Flash site. Right up Mr. Attitude's alley.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Microsoft to undermine AJAX?

In its usual mode of creating a competing technology that usually doesn't quite work with the original (JavaScript v. JScript, etc.), Microsoft is reportedly developing a web app development framework code-named Atlas, in order to compete with AJAX (Asyncrhonous JavaScript And XML).

In case you haven't been paying attention, AJAX is the technology to watch. Even a few of the giants are testing the waters with AJAX; Google's Personalized Homepage and Google Maps are good examples, and both Yahoo! and Microsoft have launched beta sites using AJAX recently.

» More on Microsoft's Atlas...
» More on AJAX...

Filed under: tech, web dev, browsers, javascript, css, ajax

Miscrosoft Live

Microsoft appears to be making an entry into the area of user-customizable web experience sites with the new, which appears to be using AJAX for things like drag and drop without page refresh.

Edit: I just came across another Microsoft site using AJAX, and this one's implementation is a little better. is a stripped down customizable home page.

Filed under: tech, web dev, browsers, javascript, css, ajax

How to skateboard with a friend

Fancy newsletter in shiny metal and minty green

We just finished a long-needed redesign of one of our newsletters, the Download Dispatch Mac Edition. All our newsletters are available in HTML or plain text, with the notable exception of the lowly Mac newsletter, which had been text-only until today.

Here's a before-and-after comparison...

» Subscribe to the Mac Dispatch (or any of Download's newsletters — PC games, PC software, free MP3s, etc.)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Steve Jobs: America's most prominent Arab-American

An article (killed by Fast Company) reveals that Steve Jobs may be the most prominent living Arab-American. Jobs, head of Apple and Pixar, was adopted as a child. Frederic Alan Maxwell's article (first few paragraphs here) reveals that his biological father, Abdulfattah Jandali, immigrated from Syria in 1952.

Not surprisingly, Jobs' reaction to Maxwell's biographical digging has been less than enthusiastic.

Filed under: apple, people

Flickr's humble beginnings as an MMORPG

In an interview with Flickr's Eric Costello, Jesse James Garrett of Adaptive Path learns that the popular photo sharing site actually began as an offshoot of a massively multiplayer online game called The Game Neverending.

Also notable is the news that "soon enough in Flickr you?ll be able to order prints, which is a much-requested feature from our users," according to Costello.

I'm still betting that Flickr will be swallowed whole by Yahoo! (Flickr was bought by Y! a few months ago), since it's Yahoo!'s habit of completely obliterating the brand and interface of purchased properties; anyone remember the great branding and UI of eGroups? No? Exactly. Because Yahoo! bought 'em in order to create Yahoo! Groups.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Revver: New viral video site

From "Forget Google. The Internet's real killer app has always been the strange little amateur videos, like the Star Wars Kid or the Numa Numa Dance, that find explosive popularity almost overnight...."
» Read article...
» Visit
Edit: Another new video site —

Filed under: video, humor, distractions, tech