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.

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

WordPress App for the iPhone

iphone320wpThis is pretty sweet. I am writing this post from my iPod touch. I was schmoozing with Brad Williams of WebDevStudios at WordCampNYC today about iPhone apps. I knew he had Bump and I would like to have tried it but I took it off my Touch. Being WordCamp, Brad asked if I had the WordPress app. What? I didn’t know. He told me to be sure and get WordPress 2. I just did and this is my Hello World. So let’s save this puppy and move on before the Colts/Pats game begins.

UPDATE: That worked well. I didn’t try adding photos yet, but will. What I can not do with the WordPress app on my iPod, is make a link. So now I will make a link to Brad and WebDev while editing/chained on/to my desktop ‘puter looking out onto Broadway. It’s a beautiful day. The Colts prevailed!!!

Typography on the Web

Typography on the web


The large lettering above is not a graphic but done with HTML CSS styling. Notice that you can select and copy it. This is very cool. I saw this on the design blog Check it out for a good review of the history, future and politics of website type. (My take: Open Source VS Microsoft, more or less)

This may seem like a topic for designers only but it is not. Google can read and rank HTML type more accurately than text that is displayed as a jpeg, png or gif image. Very important for your SEO (search engine optimization). Also, the fonts used give your site identity making it memorable. (Are you going to make me say the word “branding”?) My Delicious bookmarks on Type can be found here.