Kiss the sky

Rose 4:30 am. Wife and Kid in car service 5:30 am—off to airport, then Michigan. The Kid, not yet two, gets airplanes. On Fire Island, during a vacation which ended weeks ago but seems to have taken place in a separate century, she flew a toy airplane “to Jamaica” for several afternoons running. Not only that, she pointed out the real airplanes and helicopters occasionally flying over the island, and distinguished correctly between the two types of airborne vehicle.

Before this same vacation was halfway over, a mini-tornado touched down in nearby Queens, New York, initiating a week of hard rain. To find out if we needed to evacuate the island, we turned on the beach cottage’s small TV and watched the local news broadcasts, which were only slightly less operatic than The Sopranos. Panting TV journalists interrupted their Katrina-like reportage of the weather event to hype airline terror threats that turned out to be pranks or mistakes. When the TV showed three airplanes in a row as part of its “terror in the skies” coverage, The Kid pointed, clapped, and cried, “Airplane! Airplane!”

And when The Wife was called to her ancestral home last week, The Kid, not yet two, understood that Mommy was taking an airplane to give Grandma an all-better kiss.

Now they are both flying to the ancestral home to see Grandma. As I write this, they must be nearing their landing place. But I am not with them. I go to Seattle.

My grandfather, for whom I was named, died in a plane crash when my mother was eleven. The incident colored every moment of her life. I grew up afraid of flying in consequence—convinced I would die like my namesake. I don’t know when I stopped being afraid. I do a lot of flying, and my main worry, when traveling solo, is to be sure I’ve packed a book I love. (When traveling with The Kid, my anxieties revolve around liquids, snacks, diapers, and naps.)

I do a lot of flying, but not nearly as much as I could. I could speak in a different place every week if I said yes. These days I am careful about yes. Not because I fear, but because I love.

Today it’s Seattle. The book I’ve packed is The History of Love.

Inspiration and perspiration

AIGA | Aquent Salary Survey Calculator
Are you getting paid what you should? Find out with this free online calculator, created by AIGA and Aquent after surveying nearly 6,500 design professionals.
Pantone’s Fall Fashion Color Report
The fashion forecast is for cool, calm colors from the earth. Wear them tomorrow, see them on your website the day after.
Magic 8_Ball on ‘Zune’
Daring Fireball has fun kicking Microsoft’s me-tooism.
CreativeIQ: Create Letterhead Templates in MS Word
Creating letterhead templates in Microsoft Word that don’t suck.
Most Inspired
Design inspiration aggregation.
Netdiver: Outstanding
Design inspiration, collected by Netdiver. Sharp concepts and fresh perspectives.
“People nearby started to panic”
A mobile phone rings on a London-to-New-York flight.
Time Capsules: Douglas Coupland: September 11
From the vantage point of a 52-day book tour that began on September 11, 2001, the author recalls the surreal first days of post-9/11 America.
Congress: Hall Pass Revoked

If Net Neutrality didn’t do enough to get you squirming HR5319 AKA Deleting Online Predators Act AKA DOPA should serve as proof that Congress should no longer be allowed to vote on any laws governing the internet. In case you missed the news, DOPA basically will require all public schools and libraries to block access to social networking sites and chat rooms.

The Agency Model is Dead – Blue Flavor
Brian Fling of new agency Blue Flavor lists “signs of the decline in the traditional agency” and discusses his agency’s nontraditional approach.
AppZapper – Making uninstalls easy
AppZapper for Mac OS X lets you confidently try new apps while knowing you can uninstall them easily. Drag one or more unwanted apps onto AppZapper and watch as it finds all the extra files and lets you delete them with a single click.
Bokardo: Why Netscape Will Succeed
Bokardo, a blog about social web design, says Netscape’s reinvention of itself as a mass-market version of Digg will succeed.
Zach Klein: Connected Ventures + IAC
The guys behind collegehumor.com sell to Barry Diller’s InterActiveCorp.

[tags]design, business, inspiration, fashion, color, AIGA, salaries, links, digg, netscape, blue flavor, bbc, douglas coupland, 9/11, 911, writers, book tour, publishing, memoirs, mac os x, macosx, software, net neutrality, online predator, london, new york, nyc[/tags]

An Event Apart Seattle

Join Kelly Goto, Erin Kissane, Jason Santa Maria, Eric Meyer and me for a jam-packed day of design and code on glorious Puget Sound.

The Time and Place

Monday 18 September 2006, 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Bell Harbor International Conference Center
2211 Alaskan Way, Pier 66, Seattle, WA 98121 (Map)

Beautifully situated at Pier 66 on the downtown Seattle waterfront, Bell Harbor provides stunning views of the city and across Elliott Bay to Mt Rainier, plus easy walking proximity to the shops and restaurants of world-famous Pike Street Market.

The Schedule

Doors open at 8:00 am and the fun starts at 9:00:

9:00 am Hardcore CSS [Eric Meyer]
An in-depth exploration of what makes CSS work, how it works the way it does, and how you can make it work harder for you.
10:00 am These Aren’t the Droids You’re Looking For [Zeldman]
Selling design, accessibility, and web standards to tough clients, stubborn bosses, and unconvinced colleagues.
11:00 am BREAK!
11:15 Solving (Re)Design Problems [Jason Santa Maria]
Visually repositioning a beloved brand (namely, A List Apart). Design as problem solving. Knowing which problems to solve.
12:00 pm “One True Layout” [Eric Meyer]
Incredible stroke of genius or gross hack to be shunned? Eric analyzes this new “miracle” CSS layout technique and examines the pros and cons, both immediately and into the future.
1:00 pm Lunch
2:00 pm Sponsor Giveaways
Free software and services courtesy of Adobe, AIGA, Media Temple, Mozilla, and New Riders.
2:10 pm Textism (Writing the User Interface) [Zeldman]
Better design, better branding, and better usability through word choice. Editing for designers.
3:00 pm Designing for Lifestyle [Kelly Goto]
As design migrates from the web to mobile devices, our approach must also shift. Learn how companies are using ethnographic-based research to design smarter interfaces.
4:00 pm BREAK!
4:10 pm CRITIQUES [Kelly Goto, Erin Kissane, Eric Meyer, Jason Santa Maria, Zeldman]
A rip-snortin’ romp through the design, code, and content of sites created by some of the smartest people in the world — namely, the attendees of An Event Apart Seattle

The Afterglow

Join us after the event for a Happy Hour and a Half featuring free cocktails, sponsored by Blue Flavor.

6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
The Alibi Room
85 Pike St Ste 410
Seattle, WA 98101-2001
(206) 623-3180

[tags]aneventapart, an event apart, seattle[/tags]

We hold most of these truths

A copy of the Declaration of Independence in Thomas Jefferson’s own hand is on public view at The New York Public Library. Accompanying it are several of the very first printed versions known to have survived.

Standing in the presence of these yellowing pages is like glimpsing the face of God, for they are the foundation of American democracy, and their core idea underlies all human rights struggles, liberation movements, and emergent democracies around the world.

The version in Thomas Jefferson’s own hand is fascinating not only because it’s in Thomas Jefferson’s own hand, but also because it contains passages that would have ended slavery at the birth of the American nation. But those passages had to be deleted before the Declaration could be signed by representatives of states where slavery was practiced.

Put another way, the client bought a document intended to liberate all humanity, but demanded changes that kept part of humanity in chains. It would take another 100 years and hundreds of thousands of deaths before slavery ended, and the tragic legacy of African enslavement plagues the U.S. to this day. (At The New York Times: a slide show of Freedom Rider portraits, a work in progress by my friend Eric Etheridge.)

So the next time a client requests changes that make your work less beautiful, less usable, or less smart, remember that greater people than you have lost bigger battles over far more important matters.

The Declaration of Independence is on view at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue now through 5 August and admission to the Library is of course free. If you’re in New York City this summer, the exhibit is worth a look. (Plug: And if you’re in town next week for An Event Apart, the Library is just a few blocks away from the Scandinavia House venue.)

An Event Apart NYC Schedule

A detailed schedule of An Event Apart NYC has been posted at aneventapart.com and reproduced below for your convenience. Join Tantek Çelik, Ze Frank, Aaron Gustafson, Jason Santa Maria, Khoi Vinh, Eric Meyer, and Jeffrey Zeldman for two days of design and code in the heart of New York City:

9am – 5pm, Monday 10 July & Tuesday 11 July
Scandinavia House
Victor Borge Hall — Level A
58 Park Avenue, New York City, NY 10016
Map | Hotel info

Victor Borge Hall is located on Level A, one floor below ground. Enter at the front door on Park Avenue and take the elevator located at the rear of the entrance hall, across from the ground-floor Gift Shop. Wheelchair-friendly restrooms are located on Level B, accessible via the elevator.

Seating is lecture-style, in a comfortable and exquisitely designed theater space, and doors open at 8:00 am. There is no Wi-Fi at this venue, but we will provide downloadable files the night before the show for those who wish to follow along on their laptops.

Schedule

An Event Apart NYC runs from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. We have a lot to cover, so the event will start promptly. Arrive early to get a good seat! Doors open at 8:00 am; for best results, plan to show up between 8:00 am and 8:30 am. Here is what you can expect over the two days of this conference:

DAY I – DESIGN DAY

9:00 am Welcome and Housekeeping [Zeldman]
9:05 am Textism (Writing User Experience) [Zeldman]
Better design and better usability through word choice. Editing for designers.
10:05 am BREAK!
10:15 am Solving (Re)Design Problems [Jason Santa Maria]
Visually repositioning a beloved brand (namely, A List Apart). Design as problem solving. Knowing which problems to solve.
11:00 am Bringing A List Apart Together [Eric Meyer]
How someone like Eric Meyer takes a design and turns it into a living, breathing web page.
12:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm Sponsor Giveaways
Adobe, Media Temple, New Riders and AIGA Press will hand out valuable software, services, and books for free.
1:15 pm A Day in the Life of a Design Director [Khoi Vinh]
From sun-up until the stroke of midnight, Khoi Vinh will take us through a typical day inside the NYTimes.com design group.
2:15 pm What’s the Story? [Zeldman]
Finding brand narratives that set your site apart from others like it. Seizing inspiration from limited budgets.
2:50 pm BREAK!
3:00 pm Web 0.2 [Ze Frank]
A personal, down-in-the-trenches view of how the technology revolution impacts the way we communicate with a mass audience.
4:00 pm DESIGN CRITIQUES [Jason Santa Maria, Khoi Vinh, Ze Frank, Zeldman]
A rip-snortin’ romp through the design and architecture of sites created by some of the smartest people in the world (namely, the attendees of An Event Apart NYC).

DAY II – CODE DAY

9:00 am Welcome and Housekeeping [Eric Meyer]
9:10 am Hard-Core CSS [Eric Meyer]
An in-depth exploration of what makes CSS work, how it works the way it does, and how you can make it work harder for you.
10:10 am BREAK!
(You’ll need it)
10:30 am Microformats [Tantek Çelik]
What are microformats, and how can they transform the web? Tantek Çelik, co-founder of the microformats movement, tells us what’s already happening and what comes next.
11:30 am “One True Layout” overview [Eric Meyer]
Incredible stroke of genius or gross hack to be shunned? Eric analyzes this new CSS layout technique and examines the pros and cons, both immediately and into the future.
12:30 pm Lunch
1:30 pm Sponsor Giveaways
1:45 pm So you want to be a DOM Star [Aaron Gustafson]
What does it take to be a great front-end developer in today’s marketplace? Aaron Gustafson lays it all on the line.
2:40 pm BREAK!
3:00 pm Web Standards Second Edition [Zeldman]
What a long, strange trip it’s been.
4:00 pm Code critiques [Eric Meyer, Aaron Gustafson, Tantek Çelik]
A fast-paced, rough-and-tumble review of markup, style, and scripting on a select group of sites created and submitted by attendees.

Food

Catering is by Restaurant Aquavit, the country’s premier Scandinavian restaurant, and includes vegetarian choices.

Lunch

  • July 10: Gravlax Club, Grilled Scandinavian Shrimp, and Roasted Mushroom sandwiches. Salad and potato salad.
  • July 11: Smoked Salmon, Spice Roasted Pork Loin, and Roasted Mushroom sandwiches. Salad and pasta salad.

All Day Long

Freshly Brewed Coffee, Decaffeinated Coffee, Selection of Teas, Assorted Soft Drinks and Sparkling Water.

Afternoon Pick-Me Up

  • July 10: Assorted Cookies
  • July 11: Basket of Fruit

Details

It’s a non-smoking event. Sorry, smokers! Still photography is permitted, but audio and video recording are forbidden, except by our official videographer, Mister Ian Corey. Sorry, recordists and videographers! As always, please be considerate when taking pictures. And speaking of pictures…

Flickr Group

We’ve established a Flickr group for those of you who want to share your photos with the world: flickr.com/groups/aeanyc2006.

Disclaimer

This schedule is subject to change. We’ll do our best to make the experience live up to what we’ve mentioned here, but cannot guarantee a perfect 1:1 correspondence. We thank you in advance for understanding any changes we may be forced to make due to events, people, and other stuff beyond our control.

New York 2006 news

An Event Apart RSS feed

Subscribe and keep track of all the comings and goings of An Event Apart.

[tags]an event apart, aneventapart, design, code, conference, web design, webdesign[/tags]

An Event Apart Seattle

It’s de-lightful, it’s de-lovely, it’s the city on Puget Sound. Join Eric Meyer, Jason Santa Maria, and Jeffrey Zeldman on Monday 18 September 2006 at Bell Harbor International Conference Center for An Event Apart Seattle, a concentrated, creative learning session that could change the way you approach web design. Save $50 when you register by August 18th, 2006.

Silent phone, secret phone

Two weekends ago, my office phone line and an unknown number of other phone lines in my area went dead. I was in Chicago so it didn’t bother me. By Monday night, Verizon had apparently fixed the problem, and phone service was restored for me and my neighbors.

Come the following Sabbath, Verizon rested again.

If you called my office Saturday morning, you would have gotten a busy signal. If you tried Saturday afternoon, also a busy signal. The same on Saturday night.

Things got interesting on Sunday, if you consider no change interesting.

By Monday morning, the phone line was still dead. Noon brought no sudden restoration of telephony. 2:00? A disappointment, quite frankly. As the sun sets on a New York Monday, the absence of phone service attains a mystical sheen. Call me now. Busy signal. Dial again. Busy signal. Busy, busy, busy signal.

I tried using Verizon’s website to find out how to report the problem but it was like searching the moon for goats.

So I went downstairs to the Verizon pay phone, jotted down the “repair” number listed beside its little coin slot, and dialed it on my mobile.

See, if a pay phone goes down, that’s a problem.

That pay phone repair number was honey. After a mere six minutes of voice menu negotiation, I received my prognosis from the computer voice emulator that provides Verizon’s customers with quality service.

Thus spake Verizon:

“At present there is an outage in your area. Verizon is committed to restoring your phone service by … 8:00 … P.M. … on … Wednesday … June … 14th.”

“Committed to restoring” is the sweet part.

As far as I can tell, the problem involves phone lines, so you can see why it would take one of America’s largest phone companies five days to tackle a brain teaser like that.

Fortunately I only use my telephone to run my business, contact my family, and report medical emergencies. So the next few days should be just fine.

Baggage

Eight hours after leaving Laguardia Airport, I must go back.

I’ve got the underwear and striped shirts of a Mr Mbutu Alibekoglu (not his real name) from Fort Wayne Indiana (not his real location) in a suitcase that looked just like ours when I grabbed it off the American Airlines luggage carousel at Laguardia late last night.

I’ll return Mr Alibekoglu’s suitcase; hopefully ours will still be there. American Airlines Lost Luggage couldn’t tell me, mainly because they never answer their phone.

In other news, my office phone was out all weekend, but Verizon seems to be fixing the problem remotely this morning. Already, the phone works again in a buzzy, clicky, clacky, poppy way.

Not that I’ll need an office phone where I’m going.

I’m going to Laguardia, lugging a stranger’s suitcase I picked up by mistake at the end of a weary day. It’s the kind of error you make when tired and travelling with a toddler. You beat yourself up for it, blowing the whole thing out of proportion. But it’s a mistake, not a moral failing; a three-hour chore, not a descent into hell.

Mr Mbutu Alibekoglu’s suitcase contains underwear and socks, not anthrax and grenade launchers. The FBI won’t pounce on you and whisk you to Gitmo when you drag his suitcase into the airport.

Probably.