NYC Art Scene, Newsweek & TDB

TDB Art BeastSince early last year, I have subscribed to The Daily Beast (TDB) newsletter, but with the glut of emails and web reading waiting in my queues,  I have not paid close attention. Until today. Today I saw a TDB headline about the 2011 Armory Show: “A Sam’s Club for Art?” It did not have the review I was hoping for (that’s why I did not add a link) but in searching for that link I did find two that I want to share and am posting here. ART BEAST: The Best of Art, Photography and Design looks like a great place to go for reviews and to stay informed of the New York art scene. In my analog life,  I looked at print versions of The New Yorker, the Gallery Guide, and The New York Times.  This may well be my internet equivalent. #Bookmark

Blake Gopnik on artIt seems Blake Gopnik does much of their reporting. His website  Blake Gopnik on art looks just as promising and his Archive is a great stop to scan the images, looking for what might interest me. Looking is so much faster than reading.

What about apps? MoMA has one that I use. And Flavorpill too. If you have any recommendations, please leave a note in the comments.

Having worked at Time magazine for more than twenty years, I have observed with great interest the demise of Newsweek and its merger with The Daily Beast. This past week I become aware that some of my Time colleagues have “gone over.” Once I would have considered this disgraceful, but since the disastrous downturn in publishing these past five years, I am more forgiving. It’s a jungle out there. As a designer and lay cultural anthropologist, I am very interested in seeing what this marriage looks and reads like. I will be giving updates to this blogpost as the roll-out takes place.

Breaking News, at Least to Moi!

For the most part, this blog is directed to my clients, current and future, as well as other designers and developers who share my interests. I began building websites about ten years ago and for the past three years constructing them with WordPress. When not building them, I am reading/watching tutorials and monitoring the uber developers to improve my knowledge and skillz. That would include not just software knowledge f or me but what is available on the web that aids my client’s self promotion.   With that in mind, I want to share  a couple of “articles” I found this past week that stood out.

Google SearchFirst, The Dirty Little Secrets of Search, is a New York Times article about how J. C. Penny “gamed” the Google search engines. The Google formula that parses its searches is a closely guarded secret. David Segal gives the most informative investigation I have seen about this process. SEO (search engine optimization) is always of interest to my clients and fellow geeks. Web Words That Lure the Readers is another New York Times article on the subject of SEO.
UPDATE 022711: Seeking to Weed Out Drivel, Google Adjusts Search Engine

history of typeSecond, was a link from to a Tim Brown lecture, More Perfect Typography as Vimeo screencast and LogoTalks blogpost. Typography has been an obsession for the past thirty years and yet there were some new ideas here that, even if I don’t agree with them, they are certainly worth considering. I thank Tim for sharing his philosophy.

Facebook pagesThird is Facebook. (I should probably do a post just on Facebook but until then….) Facebook has been getting more and more attention as destination that is driving the web. Could it be Web 3.0? I think it is too early to say, but it must be considered now and I am advising my clients to add it to their knowledge base if they want to promote themselves or some product. How Brands Can Make the Most of Facebook’s New Pages from Mashable is a great place to start.
UPDATE 021911: I got caught in my first Facebook spam today. A trusted friend posted a link where she got a free iPad for being an iPad tester. I clicked and started filling out my contact information. Soon it became suspicious as it went on and on. Later I saw a note from her apologizing to all her “friends.” Facebook’s reputation depends on excellent security. Negative publicity will tarnish it.

iPad + NY Times = Meh

(Note: In March 2013, Search was finally added to the mobile apps. This was my primary objection. See other Updates at the end of this article.)

In November 2011, I bought an iPad. Yes, I am in love. BUT I have one very serious reservation. I am a dedicated NY Times reader/subscriber and I think their iPad app is lame. This makes me wonder about the iPad’s future. The NY Times was on the ground floor when Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad in April 2010, so why does it seem to me that they are not making an effort to have a great app? The iPhone/iPod Touch app is better. The Times Reader web app is excellent and their website viewed in a browser is the multi-media gold standard of journalism.

iPad and iPod Touch
Viewing the New York Times: 1. iPad app, 2. iPod app, 3. web site in Safari

In general, the iPad reading experience is terrific. Of course it is different than reading a paper book, magazine or newspaper but it is much more intimate and personal than reading on a computer. Designer Ben Hoff has a great post iPad: Redefining Media Consumption that expresses my experience:“The interfaces of many apps that are out right now for the iPad, make you never want to view the standard website. YouTube looks amazing. The Maps app is just wow! Instapaper makes for a great, easy on the eye read of saved web content. The reason that these look so great, opposed to their native web-based forms, is that they were designed to fit specifically on one screen and one device so they are customized to look and work exactly the same, all day, everyday. When viewing the native website, depending on what computer, browser, screen size, etc. everything will look different. On the iPad, not the case. The apps just look beautiful (with exception to a few I’d assume)! The Apps are what makes and will continue to make the iPad a major success.”
Continue reading

Writing What You Know: Realia

Margaret Roach Inc. is also a print publisher. Hot off the presses is the memoir manual Writing What You Know: Realia by Marion Roach Smith–Margaret’s sister, but no relation to me. Described as “the essential, eccentric guidebook for anyone telling their own story—in print or on a blog. Stop treading water in writing exercises or hiding behind ‘writer’s block,’ and learn to write memoir with intent, starting today. Marion Roach Smith’s disarmingly frank but wildly fun and unforgettable tactics, gleaned from the sold-out class she has been teaching for 13 years, will teach you how.”

I designed the cover and the interior, thoroughly enjoying being back in the realm of paper and ink. Of course, it is all done on the computer, but the process and results seem so different than web design.

More details are here at

Buy Writing What You Know: Realia, just $12.95 plus shipping, from:

Ning Network, Open Source and Hegel

The Lumpen Institute of Fine Arts is a social network on for friends who share my interest in politics and art. It has also proved to be a good example for my clients who need a network site. Ning is similar to Facebook. For example, Steve Brodner uses it for his illustration class at SVA and my son-in-law uses it for organizing his companions on their trek up Mount Rainier. (No links to either of those as they are private.) I am blogging about it here because I have found many clients and associates to be unaware of And because I just made a post there.

Like Facebook, is free. That’s not quite the same as Open Source but it is all part of the the “the new economy.” That’s a loaded phrase, but yes, the internet is changing our culture, including how we do business. I am fascinated with this change. I am part of it and trust my posts here are informative to clients and visitors about how that affects our shared interests.

Most of my website design for the past two years has been done using WordPress software as a CMS–content management system. WordPress is Open Source. (This last link will take you to Wikipedia–also Open Source.) Its advantages and disadvantages effect my designs. Go to Is Open Source a New Economic Paradigm? if this interests you. I will make updates about economics and philosophy there and about how it affects my design and my clients here.

• The April Wired magazine cover story How the Tablet Will Change the World has a pant load of information about our changing computer culture. Steven Levy outlines the brewing battle between Apple’s proprietary OS and Google’s open source Continue reading

JavaScript Panoramas from Rio (what’s up with Apple and Flash?)

I have taken many panorama photos over the last ten years and used Flash scripting to put them on the web. (See Italia) But since 2008 I have limited using Flash for websites. Friend, colleague and mentor Uzi Halimun first alerted me, saying “Steve Jobs has it in for Flash.” (Do a search and you will see.) Once I saw that Flash did not run on my iPod Touch (or the iPhone), I knew Flash would not be in my future until that changed. Mobile computing is the future. This week I did stumble upon this post that addresses just that. Many of the features that make Flash so flashy can now be done with javascript and that is where I am going to develop my skillz.

I am very pleased with this example. I miss Rio de Janeiro and my family and friends there. But this being late January, I miss the sun, the beach and especially the Aterro where I would go almost every day to draw and play basketball. I love this panorama of the Aterro. Does it seem a little jerky? It is a big file.

I just looked. It does run on my iPod Touch. Maravilhosa!! I have set it to scroll automatically upon loading but there are controls that can be set to scroll left, right and pause. This went fairly fast. Good, because I have clients waiting.

UPDATES 2.10.10: Remy Sharp’s HTML vs Flash is another in depth post about the limitations of Flash and the future web standards.
2.19.10: It has been widely reported that Steve Jobs told the editors of the Wall Street Journal to forget Flash. Handsome Phil Elmer-DeWitt gives his expert opinion as to why Jobs is so obsessed with Flash. And Flash creator Jeremy Allaire explains that this is a battle for the future of web content.
4.29.10: Steve Jobs shares his thoughts onWhat Is Wrong With Flash
-Phil Elmer-DeWitt comments of the Fortune tech blog: Steve Jobs Says What Is Wrong With Flash
-As does the New York Times: Apple’s Chief Makes Case Against Flash
8.12.10: Evan Blackford sent this link… It has excellant insight and historical notes about Flash and Open Source.
10.29.10 Mashable reports here on a demonstration by Adobe of a Flash to HTML5 converter. This is exciting but Adobe points out that this is NOT in development but mearly a demonstration of possibilities. I will follow this closely.
1.2.11 I just read this very informative InfoQ post: HTML5 vs. Flash: Where does Adobe Stand? Wish I could find something that tells me what Apple is thinking. Good luck. I am thinking Apple may have to bend a bit. I got an iPad in December and most disappointing was the NY Times app. I am convinced they are not putting all they could into it because their Times Reader web app is far superior. It of course runs Flash.
1.17.11 Worth a look for coding a scrolling panorama.
2.21.11 I am shocked! MacWorld reviews Packager for iPhone from Adobe. This stand-alone tool “takes your ActionScript 3 code and cross-compiles it to run on an iOS 3.0 or later device. The output is native code, not interpreted Flash bytecode; for Apple, this packaging step pretty much guarantees you won’t be shipping new bytecode to the device over the Internet and circumventing the gatekeepers at the Apple App Store.”
4.22.11 This continues to obsess me, especially because no one really writes about it. I was talking with Flash wizard Gabriel Hill (note his animated favicon). I asked him his opinion. He believes it is an OSX core issue. “Flash has never played nice on Macs. They would have to rewrite OSX and that is not going to happen.” I did a search and found a post by Polygeek that goes into the same territory. Worth a look. And the comments.
9.19.11 Following the link Apple vs Adobe lead me to a great roundup of more discussion at
11.9.11 Just saw this link that says Adobe “will no longer continue to develop Flash Player in the browser to work with new mobile device configurations (chipset, browser, OS version, etc.) following the upcoming release of Flash Player 11.1 for Android and BlackBerry PlayBook.” To me, that speaks volumes. Adobe does not expect Apple to “play nice” now that Steve Jobs is the final word. HTML5 is HUGE.