Month: April 2003

Designing a Blog

(Only slightly ‘Art’ related… or am I clutching at straws?)
Regular reader(s) will know that I purchased a digital camera recently. As such I’ve got a few photo’s I’m proud enough of to put online. This of course gives me an excuse to re-design the site again. (There is a side article here about the propensity to re-design that is evident in a lot of us…)
Core to the design, of course, is the fundamental question of “Why do I have this site?”. Given that I still can’t answer that question I’m setting it aside with the knowledge that I have a site and leave it at that.

So, with a view to streamlining things here and to meet my “at odds” minimalism and gadget/script fascinations, I’ve begun to study how I use this site. How I interact with it, how it serves me, and of course how other people use it. For example, I know that I don’t write longer pieces as often as I used to, I know that the blog veers between personal journal and random links (random in number and intellect), and I know that the photo’s section will grow, particularly as I am about to get a camera with my mobile phone.

I know that of the 20,000 or so people who have visited here in the last year or so (since I started a new counter): 94% use IE 5 or 6, Windows is used by 95% as their O.S., 800×600 is a comfortable minimum resolution with less than 1% of visitors using 640×480, and I can plan on using at least 16.7million colours (24 Bit) if I so wish.

So how does all this information help? Well it kinda does and kinda doesn’t. My current theory is a simple one, personal sites, around which the core activity is ‘blogging’ have a focus which bring certain requirements into play. For example, it is a personal site, so you should have an ‘About’ page. Add in usability and readability and you start heading towards the ‘generic’ blog design. A navigation bar (top or side) featuring links both within and outside the site, and a content area. Yes colours, layout and use of images can personalise this to an extent, but there is still an underlying design that is followed.

This is not a bad thing, as such, but it bothers me. Why? Because this website is an extension of me, a reflection of my personality, and I’m not happy with that being ‘generic’. I may be pretty middle of the road with most things, but I know that, as a person, I typically fall into the ‘middle’ of many categories. So I’m trying to avoid that with the next design of this site. Obviously the core design cannot change radically or this site stops being what it is, similarly I know already that I cannot change my focus and usage of this site easily or the reason for this site ceases to exist, so I guess I’m headed back to where I started. I’m not sure where that will take me, but I’m gonna have fun finding out.

Art

Today is Performance Art Wednesday it seems.

So today this blog will be high-brow and obtuse.

And it is art.

Art in the space of the mind.

(And no I’m not sure how long I will keep this up for either…)

Counters, Referrers and such like

Seems the RE_INVIGORATE guys have been hard at work. I login every week or so, and have just noticed that the Traffic Monitor has moved and been updated. If you are looking for a good site counter, why not give it a try?

Phone Booth

Hmmm not sure. Colin Farrell was good, Kiefer sounded bad but, I dunno, it just didn’t fit properly. The tense moments were tense, the emotional moments were emotional, and the funny moments were funny. That was the problem. It could’ve been much better with a few more twists (easily gotten as they would’ve been) and the comic moments detracted and broke the suspense. Bad script if you ask. But as you weren’t I’ll just suggest that you leave this one for either rental or a Monday night on Channel 5.

Phone Booth

Phone Booth

Good to see Colin Farrell getting a leading role, and he holds his own well here despite a slightly dodgy script and a flat ending. Premise of the film offered a lot and, while we enjoyed the movie, I think it could’ve offered more. That aside, Farrell plays his part well, Kiefer Sutherland earns his easiest money yet as the disembodied ‘Caller’. Enjoyable, only the script and an occasional loss of focus stopped this being a great thriller.

Films

Phone Booth tonight.
X-Men 2 on Thursday.
And hopefully we can still catch the Pianist as it’s still showing at the UGC in Glasgow… also fancy The 25th Hour (Edward Norton and Spike Lee, so you know it won’t be awful).

Yes we’ve got a lot of catching up to do film-wise and the UGC pass will be taking a battering in weeks to come.

For all you writers

I include myself in this, having studied minimalism in technical writing: Take the Fat Out of Your Writing

“Is your writing wobbly? Next time you take finger to word processor, think clarity, relevance, sincerity, concision and transparency.”

Hicky Burpday

The lady is another year wiser Happy Birthday Heather.

Now I don’t know her from Adam (Eve?) but I have been visiting her site on and off since the early days (1999 or so). If you have never been, go and trawl through the archives for some wonderful photography, go to the famous mirror project, or just remember her when you utter the immortal phrase “Rabbit, rabbit” on the first of each month.

Spot on as usual

“The sun is shining, the weather is sweet, makes me wanna move, those dancing feet”
In an attempt to regain some fitness I’m back at the 5-a-side, unfortunately all it’s doing at the moment is re-affirming just how unfit I am at the moment.

You know the feeling don’t you? Well I’d try and put it into words but Stuart (as usual) says it better than I can.

Ayurveda

Stumbled across this in the Metro this morning. Ayurveda: A Brief Introduction and Guide. The Science of Life “Ayurveda identifies three basic types of energy or functional principles that are present in everyone and everything. Since there are no single words in English that convey these concepts, we use the original Sanskrit words vata, pitta and kapha. These principles can be related to the basic biology of the body.”

The article in the paper was outlining how a company is claiming it can use these principles for the development of team building. I have to say it sounds a bit like the Belbin idea (take on Inspirator, divide by three… etc etc), and similarly it does seem eerily accurate. See if you can ‘pick’ yourself from these:

Vata type:
Do you thrive on variety and actio but have a tendency to burn out easily?
Do you prefer others to work on the finer details?
Do you prefer to talk face to face rather than sending an e-mail?

Pitta:
Do you interact on an intellectual rather than emotional level?
Do you like complex problem solving through analysis and critical thinking?
Are you flexible with others but not when your inner values are at stake?

Kapha:
Do you tend to avoid confrontation at all costs?
Do you love the finer details and are precise with them?
Do you prefer e-mail rather than talk face to face?

So which are you? And can you guess which I am?