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 31, 2008

Thursday Top 5

Music for one apartment and six drummers

The Koepp and I (A Play in Two Parts)
An interesting post by screenwriter Josh Friedman, who wrote the early script versions of "War of the Worlds," about how a completely different writer got all the credit.

Not Martha
My favorites are the logo cupcakes! Well, that's not what they call them, but that's what I call them.

The Easter Bunny Hates You
What the Easter Bunny does the other 364 days of the year.

Spiders on drugs

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Corruptibles

Take action against the Broadcast Flag, Audio Flag, and Analog Hole.

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Is your cable company blocking your Internet?

SF Weekly featured a cover story last week about Comcast blocking subscribers who are using peer-to-peer programs like BitTorrent.

Regardless of the potential for copyright abuses by P2P, BitTorrent and digital advocacy groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) make the valid point that Comcast, as the nation's second-largest internet service provider, has a duopoly on bandwidth and therefore a stranglehold on a public utility that shouldn't be subject to the whims of a single corporation.

This is core to the recent concerns raised about so-called "net neutrality," and SF Weekly's piece is a good primer. The EFF also has some additional information on Comcast's abuses of their subscribers.

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The Tales of Beedle the Bard

J.K. Rowling mentions The Tales of Beedle the Bard in the last Harry Potter book, and it later surfaced that she had hand-written and -illustrated seven copies of the 157-page book of wizarding fables. purchased one of the seven copies at a Sotheby’s auction, for a whopping £1,950,000 (donated by Rowling to charity), and has now released some photos of the book and synopses/reviews of the stories contained therein.

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I've been a Clash fan since before I knew what punk rock was. KFRC used to play The Clash in the 1970s and '80s when it was still a pretty hip rock radio station in the Bay Area. Later it changed formats to oldies (which is ironic since they switched formats again recently and now play The Clash again, but now they're the oldies!).

Mick Jones and Tony James were friends before they became famous in The Clash and Generation X respectively, but lately they've been recording again together. For the past five years they've been releasing their songs for free on the net under the moniker Carbon/Silicon. A few of their downloads are available on their official site, and a lot are available on various Clash fan boards like this one.

Now they've released a full "conventional CD" in stores (and on iTunes Music Store), and the pair were interviewed on Tuesday's "Fresh Air" on NPR (listen to the stream or podcast).

Update: I'd be remiss if I failed to point out to Jason A. that there's a bunch of Clash, Pogues, Jam, Sex Pistols, and other bootlegs available in the threads on this board.

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Arbokem's Downtown Paper

Two weekends ago I was at Compostmodern, a one-day conference put on by the AIGA about sustainability and the design industry. I chatted for a while with the reps for the great paper company New Leaf Paper, and I asked them if they'd ever heard of Arbokem paper, which I'd used back in 1997 and '98 for some clients and for Bay Area Action's letterhead.

Arbokem's little-known Downtown Paper line was one of the best alternatives on the market back in the late '90s, and that's saying a lot. That time was pretty much the beginning of recycled papers' popularity, but almost no companies processed chlorine free and very few paper lines were 100% post-consumer.

But Arbokem's Downtown line was even better. It was 45% wheat straw (agricultural waste that would ordinarily be burned and cause air pollution), 42% post-consumer recycled paper, and 12% calcium phosphate, which whitened the paper without the normal chlorine bleaching process that causes cancer-causing chemicals to be poured into our streams.

Tonight I was thinking about the paper again and I Googled Arbokem to see if it's still around. Sure enough, the company is, and apparently they do all sorts of other obscure R&D, but it looks like the paper is not produced anymore. Shame, it was a great alternative.

Incidentally, while Googling Arbokem I came across this 1997 article from the Palo Alto Weekly that I'd never seen, which mentions my use of Arbokem (look for "Western Front Graphics," my old company name, about two-thirds down).

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Last day at CNET

Friday was my last day at CNET Networks.

When I woke my computer at work on Friday morning, Entourage had popped one of its helpful event reminders up on the screen for me (Entourage is Microsoft's Mac version of Outlook, for you PC people).

I thought the choice of wording was somewhat ironic. It had marked it "Overdue" since the event was scheduled in the calendar to begin at 9 am, and didn't arrive until later in the morning.

Anyway, it was a somewhat melancholy day. I was at the same time sad to be leaving and also excited that I'd soon be able to take advantage of the "time off" to work on my own projects.

I walked around the six floors of the building saying goodbye to various people I'd worked with over the past 3+ years. I had a last coffee with my coworker Anne, signed all the official severance paperwork, and then I handed in my badge to security and walked around the corner to the pub where I'd invited everybody for happy hour.

I learned a great deal and worked with some spectacularly smart and talented people there, and those things I will miss. Of course, no place is perfect and there were plenty of things I won't miss. But mostly I'll miss the great people I worked with and the great work we did.

Oh well, I suppose it's just time to do some of my own great work now.

But I'm-a takin' a couple weeks off first ; )

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Thomas Allen, Uncovered

I can't remember where I heard about Thomas Allen's book, Uncovered, but I mentioned it to Jason the other day and I thought I'd post it for others as well.

Allen's photographs breathe new life into vintage books and magazines by literally liberating some of the heroes and heroines from the pages, sometimes (as in the example above) creating a new pretext in the story.

Here are a few other shots of his work. The book, featuring an intro from Chip Kidd, is available from Aperture (the publisher) and Amazon.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008


One of the photoblogs I like the most is Absenter, by Chicago designer Naz Hamid, who also designed one of my favorite online publications, Gapers Block.

Naz stopped updating Absenter a while back (I think he primarily uses his Flickr stream now), but I went through every photo again this afternoon. I always liked the way the background color for the title card at the bottom changes to a hue picked from the day's photo.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thursday top 5

Exeter: "Making the gay go away"

Tiger Team
A TV show (full episode online) about a team of guys hired by companies to test their security by breaking in.

Ronald McDonald insanity
The Japanese are truly insane.

Slow-motion precision whipping

Stabbing at Leia's (Uncensored)
Not precisely safe for work, but only because there's a little strong language and a sort-of adult situation. Best part's when the cops arrive.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thursday top 5

Tom Willett, "I Want More Porn"
This guy's the new Johnny Cash.

111 nude SF women on couches
A book (premiered last week at 111 Minna) by Merkley??? (sic – his name includes the ???). Note: Not exactly safe for work or small chill’n.
I also like his take on "photographers."

Ready to don your hero gear?

Misprinted Type
The awesome design and collage of Eduardo Recife.

Modified Pez dispensers

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

"The Story of Stuff"

"The Story of Stuff" is a 20-minute history lesson and an economics course all in one, but it won't put you to sleep like your professors did. It's a fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns and was produced by Free Range Studios, the same folks who did "Store Wars" and "The Meatrix."

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Well this was an unproductive day

I stayed home from work with a little stomach ickiness, but I was hoping to get a lot of work done today nevertheless, on the computer. Instead, the power blinked out before I'd even gotten out of bed and it didn't come back on until after sunset and I'd been forced to light candles. Meh. What a wasted day.