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, January 01, 2009

Thursday Top 5



Mac vs. PC: More than meets the eye
Great SFX short. See the large, HD version here.



Lemmy, the movie
Someone’s making a documentary about one of rock ’n’ roll’s baddest bad-ass. Need I warn that Lemmy is never safe for work?



Farewell Mr. President
See all the farewell videos on the YouTube channel. You have just 19 days to add your own. (Hooray!)



Herzog and the Monsters
Lesley Barnes uses an interesting animation technique, although it’s a bit hard to follow the story this way. The crappy YouTube video compression doesn’t help matters.

USPS offers free mail-in e-cycling
Got a new mobile phone for xmas? Get rid of those unwanted small electronics for free, using the USPS’s recycling program.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

“60 Minutes” follows illegal e-waste from U.S. to China

This Sunday’s “60 Minutes” episode takes us to Guiyu, China, one of the world’s most toxic cities, thanks to e-waste exported from countries like the United States. In Guiyu, pregnant women are six times more likely to result in miscarry, and seven out of ten children have overly high levels of toxic lead in their blood.

Importing e-waste is big business in developing countries, where it’s either landfilled (causing massive toxic waste dumps) or “recycled” by workers (often children) earning little to recover gold and other metals by burning the plastics off of electronic parts, exposing workers and the local environment to cancer-causing toxics.

The “60 Minutes” crew filming in China was accosted by thugs who didn’t want them filming at the e-waste site in Guiyu (see preview below, sorry about the commercials).



Some U.S. “recycling” companies are no better. The “60 Minutes” investigation learned the Colorado recycling company they caught on tape exporting CRTs illegally, and “42 other American firms just like it, were recently caught in a government sting. They all offered to break the law by selling such e-waste when solicited by a federal agent posing as a foreign importer.”

Watch the full “60 Minutes” investigation on Sunday, November 9, at 7 p.m. ET/PT, on CBS.

More about e-waste:
Coverage at CNET News
Basel Action Network
Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Notes from AIGA Compostmodern 2007 (part 2)

Last January I attended Compostmodern 2008, a green design conference presented by the AIGA SF.

I’ve already written about Boisset Family Estates and DeLoach Wines (“The environmental impact of the wine industry”), and CleanWell hand sanitizer and soap (“An alternative to normal antibacterial soaps”) (which I use and heartily endorse), but I hadn’t had time to write up some of my other notes and impressions.

My pocket journal (an ultra-thin Moleskine) is where I jot down such things while I’m out and about. My electronic journal (this here blog yer lookin’ at) is where I save those things for posterity, and share them with others. So here are a few ideas I heard speakers talking about, which made impressions on me:

Self-Indulgent Design
Designers practicing “self-indulgent design” is equal to driving a Hummer. Examples: Elaborate, unnecessarily long brochures, annual reports, and the like which often contain just three words per page and use fluorescent or metallic inks, plastic sleeves, and other wasteful and nearly impossible to recycle materials.

Low Rate of Paper Recycling
Still only 50% of paper is collected for recycling, and whether all of that actually gets recycled or not is another story. Yet 35% of the waste going to landfills is still paper! C’mon people! I can hardly believe that it’s still so difficult for people to just have two separate containers near their desk, and to be mindful of which one gets garbage and which one gets paper. This is not rocket science. A child can do it. And often, children do it way better than adults.

Electronic Design is Wasteful Too
One big eye-opener for me was something I already knew, but that I hadn’t really processed completely (or maybe I just didn’t want to admit it to myself): Web designers aren’t really polluting and wasting less than print designers. We think of the web and electronic design as a more pure and less wasteful design process, bypassing the pesky problem of deforestation for the pulping of our paper and the nasty chemicals used in the printing process. But in fact, always-on web servers and storage for videos, PDFs, and other files is not free. Servers = energy consumption = oil drilling, coal burning, even *yikes* nuclear energy (and waste). And let’s not forget that servers and hard drives go bad within a few years, all those cellphones and other nifty electronic devices we’re designing iApps for become some Third World country’s e-waste problem (and those countries’ poverty, environmental, and health problems eventually become our problem).

And here are a few links to things I heard about or saw at the conference:

LetsGreenwashThisCity.org
PG&E started a huge publicity campaign a year or so ago under the laudable banner of “Let’s Green This City.” A group of citizens has formed the Green Guerrillas Against Greenwash to unmask the $10 million publicity campaign as mere greenwashing, and offers San Franciscans an alternative in the form of Proposition H.

PaperSpecs.com
An independent (not owned or sponsored by any paper companies) database of information that designers and printers can use to specify paper stocks. It’s a paid service ($19.95/mo. or $158.40/yr.), and I haven’t paid for it, so I don’t know how good it is. They have some free paper, printing, and environmental information available too, but you can’t access the paper database without paying for membership.

Encyclopedia of Life
EOL.org is a new project that intends to harness crowdsourcing techniques to create a vast online resource of information about the Earth’s 1.8 million known species.

The Designers Accord
“A global coalition of designers, educators, researchers, engineers, and corporate leaders, working together to create positive environmental and social impact.” I joined earlier this year.

Core77 / BusinessWeek Design Directory
I’d seen DesignDirectory.com a couple times before, but hadn’t bothered to list myself until this year. In participation with the Designers Accord, you can search the directory exclusively for firms/individuals who have certified that they’ve adopted the accord.

Freedom of the Press
In the gallery I observed a single display copy of Freedom of the Press, a newsprint publication by Brian Ponto and Lindsay Ballant. In excellent culture-jamming style, in 2004 they commandeered newspaper racks in New York and inserted their own newspaper with stark observations on American politics and how Americans get their news.

CheatNeutral.com
A satirical nod acknowledging how many people (including me) view carbon trading: “Cheatneutral offsets your cheating by funding someone else to be faithful and not cheat. This neutralises the pain and unhappy emotion and leaves you with a clear conscience.”

Compostmodern 2009
Saturday, February 21
Herbst Theatre, San Francisco

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Goodwill now recycling computers

Goodwill is now accepting electronics for recycling at some locations in California, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

In a partnership with Dell called Reconnect, Goodwill is apparently keeping anything that looks like it is in working order, and anything that's broken or otherwise not usable is going to Dell's Asset Recovery people for recycling. This means they take all kinds of e-waste: broken CRTs (monitors), random parts, old CPUs, and pretty much anything.

Check the site to see if your local location is participating and what they'll take.

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