design

Aesthetics and computation

Paul Bissex
This evening, the Western Mass. Developers Group was treated to a talk by Ben Fry of Processing fame. It was excellent and inspiring. Having not much prior exposure to Processing or his work, I left hungry for more. (The title of this post is taken from the name of the group at the MIT Media Lab where Fry did his PhD work.) I liked the graphical-REPL flavor of his live demos.

The iPhone keyboard doesn't suck

Paul Bissex
This began as a quick reply to a discussion on the Well about a recent posting from John Gruber which links to a hit list from Crackberry.com about the iPhone. Gruber focuses just on the keyboard issue, about which I found I had this to say: With the built-in spelling correction, I can type close to 30wpm on my iPt keyboard. This is faster than I ever was with Graffiti, which I used for about 8 years and was pretty good at if I say so.
iPod touch: one week down, one week to go

iPod touch: one week down, one week to go

Paul Bissex
My first week with the iPt has been a thorough validation of my decision to jump ship from the Palm platform. The things this new device doesn’t do are still a problem, but the things it does do it does incredibly well. I won’t gush over those because they’ve all been thoroughly gushed over. But anybody who thinks the success of the iPhone/iPt platform is primarily based on superficial factors of appearance or brand image likely hasn’t used one for more than two minutes.

Color names in JSON format

Paul Bissex
I’m an inveterate side-project starter. I spent some time tonight deleting old web projects from the server, and it felt great. I did come across a couple things I wanted to save or pass on though; one of them was this quaint list of named web colors (the “Netscape color names”). I still use these in my web classes when I first introduce the idea of colors in HTML, because it’s a lot more fun for students to type in “lemonchiffon” and see the result than it is for them to learn hexadecimal.

The anti-desktop movement

Paul Bissex
An opinionated minority of advanced computer users are rebelling against the WIMP (windows, icons, menus, pointers) model of HCI. They are developing and promoting alternative interfaces (typically desiigned to work with unix-based systems) that embody their opinions. I haven’t used any of these yet, but here are the ones I keep encountering references to: Ion Ratpoison Orion StumpWM Most if not all of these credit the terminal-only GNU Screen (a program I do use) with inspiration.