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.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Stonehenge not created by Spinal Tap after all

The first excavation allowed inside Stonehenge since 1946 has brought some interesting new interpretations as to its purpose, and scientists have for the first time been able to carbon date the bluestones (there are two types of stones in the ring, sarsen being the other) as having been placed there about 2,300 BC, which is about 300 years later than originally thought.

Based on a variety of factors, the two professors in charge of the dig have concluded that Stonehenge was considered to be a place of healing. And then there's the mysterious “Amesbury Archer.” The BBC has an interesting article and two cool vids (especially the second).

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday Top 5

The Lost Colony: Book 1
I can’t recall having seen a trailer for a graphic novel before. This book looks cool though. More info from the publisher; or buy The Lost Colony from Amazon. Update: Removed the embeded video since it loaded automatically every time (lame). See the trailer on the video page.

Ninja cat comes closer while not moving!
[via Jason]

Artistic pool part 2
This guy has waaaay too much time on his hands. But he’s freakin’ awesome.

Night Vision
Flickr group featuring some shots from Troy Paiva's book, Night Vision: The Art of Urban Exploration.
Got a picture? Got an MP3? Send somebody an audio postcard.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Farking Zarquon! Eoin Colfer is writing a sixth Hitchhikers’ book!?

The author of the popular Artemis Fowl series has been contracted by Hyperion books to write a sixth book in the evermore inaccurately named Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy trilogy.

The sixth book is reportedly titled And Another Thing... and is scheduled to be published in October 2009 by Hyperion.

The book has been sanctioned by Douglas Adams’ widow Jane Belson: “I am delighted that Eoin Colfer has agreed to continue the Hitchhiker series. I love his books and could not think of a better person to transport Arthur, Zaphod, and Marvin to pastures new. The project has my full support.”

Colfer told the BBC he feels “more pressure to perform now than I ever have with my own books,” adding that he was “determined that this will be the best thing I have ever written.”

Colfer told the BBC his first reaction was “semi-outrage that anyone should be allowed to tamper with this incredible series. But on reflection I realized that this is a wonderful opportunity to work with characters I have loved since childhood and give them something of my own voice while holding on to the spirit of Douglas Adams.”

I suspect there will be a lot of negative criticism for the eventual outcome. Fans tend to have strong opinions about the purity of their favorite writers’ oeuvre. For fans of Douglas Adams, perhaps doubly so.

Interestingly, almost this exact same thing happened just a few years ago with my other favorite writer (Adams and Heinlein are the two faves, in case you haven’t been paying attention). A partial manuscript was uncovered from the Heinlein Archives at UC Santa Cruz, and Spider Robinson was asked to complete it. The result, Variable Star, was not exactly a Heinlein book, but still an interesting read and not so disastrous as I’d imagined it could have been. I actually liked it a fair amount.

So I will adopt a cautious skepticism about the sixth Hitchhikers’ book, dust off the Artemis Fowl books I haven’t read yet, and wait for 2009.

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Does your pencil manufacturer get an A or an F?

Maybe you don’t even use pencils anymore. But millions of schoolchildren have been heading back to school this month, stocked with packs of brand new pencils.

Most pencils are made from unsustainably harvested wood. Worse yet, many are made from some of the most endangered forests in the West, the Sierra Nevada. But there are alternatives.

Download ForestEthics’ Back To School report card (PDF) and send it to anyone you know who uses pencils, or cares about our forests : )

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thursday Top 5

“Jesus Is My Friend”
This is certainly the peppiest Christian rock song ever recorded. But they should know by now that rock ’n’ roll is always perverted by the influence of the devil. Hence the lyric: “Once I tried to run / I tried to run and hide / Jesus came and found me and he touched me down inside...” 8-\ [via Jason]

The Reverse Graffiti Project
Reverse graffiti artist Paul Curtis: “I make pictures by cleaning. I am a professor of dirt.” More info on the project.

The largest record collection in the world
I bought a bunch of vinyl records and singles this year to add to my collection. Some people think my collecting is crazy. But my collection is nothing compared to Paul Mawhinney’s.

Roger Horrocks
A photojournalist specializing in environmental and underwater photography. Some stellar underwater shots on his site.

Tea TV
From San Francisco’s Samovar Tea.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Finally updated the Mac Pro (my desktop machine) to Leopard, having done the other three computers in my household long ago (Velma’s, my laptop, and the Mac Mini entertainment center).

It was a little more complicated than normal, since my quad-core Intel Mac Pro shipped with a hard drive that had been formatted using the Apple Partition Table, and Leopard won’t install on such a drive, so you have to erase it and reformat it using GUID Partition Table.

I had to use Disk Utility to copy my main OS drive and all my settings (using the Restore function) to a separate HD I fortunately had enough space on, then reboot from the new copy to make sure it was bootable, then completely erase and repartition my prior OS drive (always scary), then reboot from the Leopard install disk, install Leopard using the function that will let you copy your account/network/personal settings from another Mac (or another drive), and finally reboot from the freshly updated Leopard OS that replaced the old Tiger OS.

It seems to have worked alright; since you’re reading this, that means I have Internet access and have not found any major problems yet that require me to go quietly, or more likely loudly, insane. But I haven’t checked all my apps yet, so there’s still time.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Lite Brite picture featured in podcast

One of my photos is featured (very briefly) in this podcast from Deke McClelland and O’Reilly Media, Inc., titled “Spirographs on Steroids.” The video, which describes an Adobe Illustrator technique, uses a high-energy production style that cuts to lots of images very quickly, including a picture from my photoblog called “Fun with Lite Brite”. And yes, they did ask permission, and they credited me at the end.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thursday Top 5

Leona Naess “Heavy Like Sunday”
Her site is

“Humboldt County” the movie
At least the two writer-directors are being realistic about their movie’s chances. More about the movie at

Bear Creek Apartments
Hope Larson and Bryan Lee O’Malley have released a new short comic online, written by Larson and drawn by O’Malley. In releated news, Michael Cera has signed on to play Scott Pilgrim in the film version of O’Malley’s popular comic book series.

Conan learns what it takes to be a UPS guy
Conan rules. That is all.

Very dangerous. You go first.
A giant Lego boulder chasing Indiana Jones down a San Francisco hill.

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Thursday Top 5

The sinister 4 a.m. conspiracy: Uncovered!

Google Chrome
Comics artist Scott McCloud helps the Google team de-tech-ify the company’s open source browser project.
Dr. Sarah J. Greenwald teaches math at NC’s Appalachian State University, and gives the couch potatoes-cum-mathletes a few things to ponder.

Yay! shaBangs are finally here!

Get Crafty! Episode 6
Scrapblog gets creative in the videos they produce to show people how their site works. The results are way funnier than the normal how-to screencast.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008


We went to Seattle last weekend to attend the wedding of our friends Patty and Rich, who met in Seattle but actually live in the Bay Area now. We stayed with our friends Chris and Jana, who used to live in the Bay Area but have since relocated to Seattle (Wedgwood, actually). Are you confused yet?

The wedding was an opportunity for Velma to see some old college friends she doesn’t get to see very often. Rich was one of Velma’s best friends in college, and they were part of the swing dancing scene in St. Louis, and later in the Bay Area.

Velma and I used to work in the same building as Jana, and Chris and Jana asked us to be the photographers for their wedding a few years back, in a park in the South Bay. They’ve since relocated to Seattle (Wedgwood), and were kind enough to put us up and show us around a bit too (I haven’t been to Seattle in over a decade). Not to mention picking us up and dropping us off at the airport! Friends can be awesome, can’t they?

We spent most of our time in the Fremont District and Queen Anne, and Jana and Velma spent a solid chunk of time in World Spice downtown, behind Pike Place.

Here are a few of the places/things I enjoyed in/around Seattle:

Eat Local
A cool organic café and grocery on Queen Anne Avenue N. They use local ingredients and make small batches that are perfect for couples or individuals to pick up on their way home. They also brew Stumptown Coffee.

Nikki McClure
Nikki McClure makes extraordinarily beautiful papercut illustrations in a woodcut-like style. You may have seen her calendars or notecards, or recognize her work from books or magazines. We came across a whole bunch of her work (including a few framed originals, which are fascinating to look at up close) in the above-mentioned Eat Local shop, since she illustrated all their product labels.

Update: Nikki has a show, “Vote for Survival,” coming to Needles and Pens on October 10. Needles and Pens is a really cool zine and DIY shop on 16th Street near Delores.

Smart Monkey Recycled Yarn & Knitwear
Leah Andersson recycles/reuses old thrift store sweaters into rehabbed yarn and new knitted items. I saw her booth at the Fremont Sunday Market.

Destee Nation Shirt Company
Chris took us to his favorite T-shirt shop. I really liked several of the designs, but since my travel bags were pretty stuffed and I didn’t want to spend much money on this trip, I decided I’d wait and maybe purchase from their website later.

Revival Ink
I saw this artist’s tees and hoodies at a boutique in Queen Anne and at the Fremont Sunday Market too. I liked two or three of the prints a lot, and would’ve bought one of the hoodies, but while they’re a more earth-friendly 70% bamboo and 30% organic cotton, they have those terribly cheap zippers that seem to jam within a month of use.

Another of Chris’s faves, this shop features some exquisite artisan chocolates from around the world, and has free samples out all day.

Hollywood Schoolhouse
This is where the wedding was held, a lovely but slightly quirky historical building. The 1912 brick structure hosts lots of weddings and banquets, and has some interesting decorations.

Gas Works Park
This 19-acre park is on the site of a former coal-powered gas and oil plant, acquired by the city in the ’60s and opened to the public in 1975. Right on Lake Union, in the middle of Seattle, the park features stunning vistas of downtown and the lakeside portions of the city (Velma, Jana, and Chris pictured above, enjoying the view).

Since we were only a block away, we simply had to stop and see the 16-foot bronze statue of Lenin in the Fremont. Olya had told me about this (appropriately enough) a couple years ago; I hadn’t seen it when I visited Seattle my first time. If you have a spare quarter-million bucks, you can buy Comrade Lenin for your yard. He’s for sale.

The Fremont Troll
The other thing I hadn’t seen last time was the famous Troll. Somehow Holly and I entirely missed the Fremont neighborhood, although we squeezed in practically everything else in our three-day vacation about a decade ago.

World Spice Merchants
This popular spot behind Pike Place Market occupied Velma and Jana so long I had to walk around outside because the strong smells were becoming too much for my allergies. Most interesting to me was the Mongolian tea brick, actual bricks of tea which in the past were broken up to use as currency.

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