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.

Monday, July 31, 2006

letter to Orson

Dear cat,

Please stop biting us. We feed you. We pet you. We adopted you. We like you. In fact, we love you.

Except when you bite us. When you bite us, we kinda regret adopting you. And we don't want to feel like that.

The puncture wounds in my left arm, from the incident last week, are finally healed. Although the scratches haven't completely. And the new scratch on my finger is going to take a couple days.

Tell you what, we'll make you a deal. We'll keep feeding you, and you stop biting us.

Also, please stop stalking us when you're in an angry mood. Please stop swiping at us when we walk by. We pay the rent.

In fact, what's up with those violent mood swings anyway? One minute you're all lovey-dovey — pet me! pet me! — and the next minute you lash out like a vampire who smells blood. All we did was pet you like you wanted.

And the playing thing. You have to understand that, "playing" with your nails out means that we end up not wanting to play with you. Playing isn't a blood sport.

Oh, and please stop shedding. Okay, maybe that one's a bit unrealistic. But perhaps you can shed less?

How about this — you work on the not biting and the not slashing and the not drawing blood parts, and we'll deal with the shedding. Deal?

Mark and Velma
(the ones who feed you)

North Coast Earth First! is podcasting

Who knew? Not I. They have a new(ish?) website too, which I didn't see until I happened upon it today.

I'm in the process of downloading their four podcasts from iTunes [link launches iTunes], and they appear to be video podcasts. I haven't watched them yet...

finally, a week off

I've been working way too hard for months, and what with my dad dying and my mom breaking her hip, the pace and stress were definitely getting to me.

When this happens, mental exhaustion turns into physical exhaustion, and my body begins to rebel. I'm achy and sore all the time, especially in the mornings, when sometimes my legs and feet hurt so much I have to rub them for 10-15 minutes just to be able to get out of bed. My immune system also weakens, making me susceptible to illness.

And, aside from being just physically wiped out, my composure and patience wane and I'm much less productive and focused than I normally am.

Normally, during crunch time for a public launch of a massive website is not the optimal moment to take a week off. Luckily, my boss could see that I'm not operating on all cylinders and was understanding of my need for a break. It helps that there are enough finished designs that in the queue for the production staff to work on, and that other people are on vacation too so therefore it seemed like this was the one week I could get away.

So I'm at home all week. Velma has to work, so I get to catch up on rest, take a walk or two, do a ton of work on our wedding website and the invitations, and catch up on some errands like getting keys made and getting an oil change for Velma's car. And if I'm lucky, I'll get to the beach one day...

Friday, July 28, 2006

why tags can be both good and bad

One of the best things about tags is that they give non-hierarchical control to users of a site, thereby allowing an organization with, say, two people, to effectively leverage the far greater power of a volunteer staff of hundreds or thousands of users, as those users engage with and enhance the site's content through the use of tags.

Sites like digg are a great example of this.

Of course, there's a downside. You're giving over a level of editorial control to basically any wacko who walks in off the, er, Internet.

Thanks in part to Ynnej's inability to just simply smile for a damn photo, and in part to the ability for any member to tag another member whatever they want, I am currently the only person on Consumating tagged ear_sex_guy.

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I am a bay polluter

Man! I only scored 30? I got penalized because, although I know that I'm supposed to use up my paint or dispose of the excess via a Household Hazardous Waste program, I'm lazy like most people and I just keep the excess (partly because I think I'll eventually use the remainder).

This survey on Save the Bay's Keep It Clean! site is pretty informative, though, about everyday ways people can prevent pollution.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Web 2.0 logos for 1.0 companies

There's a funny thread going on over at yayhooray, sort of a challenge to Web-2.0-ize some well-known corporate trademarks.

Web 2.0 companies have become pretty well-known already for a particular look, often exmplified by bright colors, soft, rounded fonts, and lots of shiny/glossy graphic effects.

Here's an earlier article by Font Shop International did on the typeface trends in Web 2.0 companies, and here's the now-famous Flickr set of Web 2.0 logos.

tags: design, web design, logos, branding, Web 2.0, humor

Monday, July 24, 2006

Metro newspapers' website gets a facelift

Metro has finally redesigned its website, which was pretty innovative for a while, but was looking seriously dated. Indeed, a peek at the Wayback Machine shows that the site's look stagnated between 1996 and 2005, nearly ten years without any significant changes in the design!

The new design isn't exactly spectacular, but it's better than looking like you went out of business and forgot to shut of the webserver.

Indicidentally, they also own, whose launchpage appears to have been given a facelift too, maybe last year around the same time they redesigned all their city guide portals like For Ynnej and Angelo, I note that they have, and for Sarah, they have (sorry, no

tags: web design, design, media, newspapers

Friday, July 21, 2006

buy any of my CDs for a buck

Can it really be that cheap?

Okay, so there's about 75 cents added for shipping. But c'mon, we're still talking about a full album for less than $2!

I've been a member of since March when it was still in beta, and I'm not afraid to admit that it's the single most useful web app I've come across in the past year or so.

So far I have mailed 187 CDs to people, finally getting rid of some of the hundreds of CDs I got back in the Western Front News days, when I received all kinds of free music. Mind you, this is stuff I've lugged around for the past ten+ years, and most of it's stuff I never listen to.

The best part is, it's being requested by people who actually want it! I'm not throwing it in the trash bin. I don't have to lug three boxes down to Amoeba only to get 80% of them rejected by the buyer. Through lala I'm connected to I-dunno-how-many-thousands of members who have mysriad musical tastes, and eventually someone's going to want the obscure hair metal CD from 1991. Seriously, it's happened numerous times already.

I have received 183 CDs from other users, all of it stuff I selected, all of it very cool music which I have added to my iTunes. I'm listening to Alkaline Trio right now, and a little while ago it was Pizzicato Five.

I highly recommend lala.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Go bug the readhead

Yeah, I know I haven't posted in a while. There are reasons. More about that later.

Meantime, my better half, Velma, has also not been posting to her blog for a while. But recently she did ask if anyone was even reading, so if you ever read her blog and haven't checked in for a while, go on over and urge her to continue writing.