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.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

"Are there fact-checkers at The Chronicle?"

Many people claim Apple is making a big mistake by so jealously guarding the technologies behind the iPod and the iTunes Music Store. In fact, many decry this stance as similar to the supposed mistake Apple made in not licensing the OS in the 1980s, thereby losing the personal computing battle to Microsoft.

I'm personally not sure which argument I believe. But one thing's for certain, it's not as simple as these people say it is.

John Gruber, one of my favorite bloggers and Apple experts, refutes the idea that Apple is making a mistake by so jealously guarding the proverbial keys to the iPod and the iTunes Music Store.

In fact, Gruber disputes practically every supposed "fact" in Dan Fost's analysis of Apple's current business strategy in the San Francisco Chronicle, in which Fost utters the same claims that Apple's making such a big mistake.

Frankly, Fost's humiliation makes me echo Gruber's sentiment: "Are there fact-checkers at The Chronicle?"

Filed in: journalism, apple, tech

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Oh man, am I a grup?

I don't quite know what to make of this article. Reading it, one moment I'm thinking "cool," the next moment I'm thinking "you're totally taking the piss out of me."

I do know one thing for sure. Ynnej is gonna say I'm a grup. Or a yupster. Or whatever.

But there are too many things in the article that just don't bear out as being true about me. And too many I don't even aspire to (blecch, who wants to spend $450 on jeans?).

But there are plenty I do agree with too! I do want my kid(s) growing up listening to the Beatles and Wilco. And I don't care if Wilco's "so over." :P

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Photoblog has been updated

I posted a bunch of pictures to the photoblog tonight to bring it up to date and to backfill to where I left off about ten days ago.

Monday, March 20, 2006

My Flickr photostream

I've gone and finally set up a Flickr account. No, I'm not abandoning my photoblog; not by any stretch of the imagination (although I realize I've gone a few days without new pictures).

As part of my redesign of Webshots, I need to familiarize myself more with some of the more than 90 photo sharing sites I've uncovered in my research. And Flickr's one of the best, so I need to know how it works.

So just to tease you into going to look, I've posted some photos that I haven't posted to my normal "Fun with Light" photoblog. Go see!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Hail in San Francisco

The cold air we've been getting all week from Alaska and Canada sent us another bout of moisture, lightning, and thunder, and this time there was a bit of hail. So Velma and I went up on the roof for a few minutes to check out the lightning before it passed us by. You can see the icy hail on my jacket and Velma's hat.

Top 5 for Friday

Windows Vista preview
That?s funny, it looks strangely familiar...
» video

Awesome Radiohead cover, awesome video
"Just" by DJ Mark Ronson, featuring Alex Greenwald from Phantom Planet.
» Quicktime high quality/bandwidth version
» other versions

A glimpse into Apple's OS X 10.5 Leopard?
An analysis of patent documents suggests that the Finder will get more powerful via metadata searches performed by an enhanced Spotlight.
» post

"And in other news tonight, Voltron got totally served."
Adult Swim almost makes me wish I had cable again.
» video

Punky Chips Ahoy! oi! oi! oi!
There's nothing more punk rock than, um, claymation.
» video

Tuesday, March 07, 2006 added to CSS Mania

My Google Alerts informed me that somebody submitted my site to one of the growing CSS galleries out there. I've currently got a rating of 10. Cool. So what are you waiting for?! Go rate it!

New job

Last week I officially started my new job as Senior Designer for CNET Networks' Community Group, which consists of and, plus some as-yet unannounced future properties still in development.

It's called the Community Group because the sites fall in the social media business space, which relies heavily on the engagement of its users. Webshots, where people share photos with friends and strangers alike, and, where people rate each other and flirt in the Interweb's relative anonymity, are prime examples of user-centered social networking sites. While newcomer Consumating (CNET bought it only last December and it's staff is a whopping two people!) sports the latest accouterments like tags, Webshots is notably losing ground to the scores of up-and-comers like Flickr, both in terms of its technology and its look and feel. They'd decided a while ago that they need to, among other things, redesign the site.

Which is why they hired a designer who follows the latest web technology trends, practices user-centered web design, and specializes in UI and redesigning websites.

I'm a little sad to leave, mostly because I worked with some really great people over the last year and-a-half. But with the onset of a recent internal reorganization that moved me out of and under, I decided that the new situation just wasn't going to work for me. Too many meetings, a 30–40% productivity hit, and diametrically opposed work and management styles spelled disaster from the very start.

Luckily, I happened to pass Webshots boss-man Martin Green in the hall (Webshots and Download are both on the 6th floor of CNET Networks' headquarters) and he greeted me with "How are you?" to which I offhandedly replied, "To tell you the truth, I'm kinda pulling my hair out," and then I went merrily on my way to yet another futile meeting.

Apparently he took that to heart and asked my old boss what was up, and it turned out that the Webshots team had been looking for a designer like me to redesign the site. Actually, they'd been wishing they could get me to redesign the site, but company policy usually frowns on poaching employees from other business units.

I'll miss the folks at, and I'll miss being "a Downloader." There is a sort of prestige in being able to say you work for the world's biggest shareware site. I mean, almost everyone who's used a computer for any length of time has heard of or CNET. But lots of people have never heard of Webshots, even though it's probably the oldest photo sharing site, and is in fact the world's largest. Yup, way bigger than Flickr, although they have all the buzz-factor. Way bigger than Yahoo! Photos, way bigger than Shutterfly or any of those other print-your-photos companies. Webshots has been around for over ten years, and it pulls something like 22+ million unique users.

When I redesigned it was a little awe-inspiring to think that about 1.3 million people were going to see my work every single day. That's about how many unique visitors averages on a given day. But after a while I just kinda got used to it.

'Course, now I gotta do the same for Webshots.

It'll be fun.

PS> They gave me a promotion and another raise :D

Distractions for the masses!

Very cool design for cord management. Perfect for iPods and iSights.

Midnight Ukulele Disco
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps." On a Ukulele. And it's awesome. Seriously.

This new site went live today and features the latest feeds from,,,,,,,,,, and on one page. The color palette's a little too dark and each entry's entire line should be clickable. But I like their tagline :P

Real-life Simpsons intro
Aww, now I miss the Simpsons.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Distractions for the masses! Friday videos and stuff to piss you off all weekend long...

Can('t) drive 55
Students from Georgia State University decide to obey a law to show how stupid the law is.
» video
» article

"Yeti. It's Eastern European."
Ohhhh, now I understand why people like MySpace
» video

Does this make me a sadist?
Hee hee ha ha this is hilarious. A kid gets slapped in the head by a cat.
» video

Carnivore II?
The US government wants to sweep the Internet to keep everyone safe. How do Americans sleep at night knowing they voted these people into office? Does anyone remember Carnivore? Oh great, now I'm on some government watch list...
» article
» about the original Caranivore program

Yeah, I can do that
Jason, here's why I really wanna play snooker soon.
» video

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Autistic teen's hoop dreams come true

To help Jason sleep better tonight, here's my vote for feel-good video of the year.