No end in sight

Now playing in New York and Washington D.C. and opening “everywhere” later this month, NO END IN SIGHT is the story of the American occupation of Iraq. The film explains how a military victory in 2003 descended into a seemingly endless nightmare of war.

Political scientist and first-time director Charles Ferguson in not a propagandist, and his film is not a left-wing tract. It is an attempt to chronicle U.S. policy decisions, told by the people who implemented or advised on them.

Ferguson’s camera captures the candid recollections of high-level insiders including former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage; Ambassador Barbara Bodine, in charge of Baghdad during the Spring of 2003; Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell; and General Jay Garner, in charge of the occupation through May 2003.

Interspersed with these interviews, footage shot in Iraq shows what life is like on the ground for Iraqi civilians and American soldiers as the country spins into chaos.

NO END IN SIGHT somberly chronicles the principal initial errors of U.S. policy in Iraq: insufficient troop levels; allowing the looting of Baghdad; purging professionals from the Iraqi government; and disbanding the Iraqi army. With relentless logic, the film shows how Iraq descended into insurgency, warlord rule, criminality, and the anarchy that now borders on civil war.

It also reveals how the advice of military commanders and strategic analysts—advice that might have saved Iraq—was consistently ignored or trivialized by a small cadre of ideologues who thought they knew better.

NO END IN SIGHT offers much truth and little hope. It is a glimpse into a terrifying abyss—and a film every grown-up American should see.

[tags]noendinsight, iraq, war, charlesferguson[/tags]

My Ding-a-Links

“The Dark Side of the ‘Citizen Media’ Revolution”
“Blogs—the primary engine of Web 2.0’s so-called ‘citizen media’ revolution—are ten years old this week,” says Andrew Keen. Mine’s over twelve, but who’s counting? (And how can something that old be called Web 2.0, anyway? But I digress.) Keen fears that unmediated publishing, made possible by the web, is lowering the quality of discourse. To oversimplify (but only a bit), “professional” writer + editor + publisher = good for civilization; Jane Smith + WordPress = bad for civilization. The idea that the two conversations might enrich each other eludes Keen. Coincidentally, he has a book on the subject.
Mahalo – “first human-powered search engine”
Currently in Alpha, whatever that still means, Muhalo (Hawiian for “Thank you”) wants to be a hybrid of Google and Wikipedia. Whether these two ways of finding and learning can be combined by a volunteer community is the noble and exciting experiment Mahalo will perform. My Mahalo profile, written by Dave, seems pretty good for a start. Suggestion: encoding ampersands to create valid URLs on “return” links would be a nice (and easy) minor technical improvement. Hat tip: Daniel Schutzsmith.
Diagonal Stripe Background Generator
Satire of an exhausted “Web 2.0” visual trend, or useful graphic design tool? It’s both! Ajax-powered visual design tool lets you create, preview, and download seamless, striped background images, with or without gradients.
Tartan maker
Still using diagonal stripes? Get with it. Generate seamless tartan patterns for all your Web 3.0 needs.
Requirements? That’s Sooo ’90s
“Usability and accessibly must be passive to be truly successful. No requirements, no rules, no instructions.”
Supermoxie
Fine adult and children’s book illustration by Jena Scott.
Film Techniques of Alfred Hitchcock
Top 13 basic film techniques of Alfred Hitchcock. The audience is pulled in by eyes, camera, distractions, point of view, montage, simplicity, ironic characters, dual actions, MacGuffins, etc. Every visual storyteller should know these principles. Via Kottke.
Ugly Airline Math: Planes Late, Fliers Even Later – New York Times
Statistics track how late airplanes are, not how late passengers are. The longest delays—those resulting from missed connections and canceled flights—involve sitting around for hours or even days in airports and hotels and do not officially get counted.
exPhone
Recycle or help someone reuse your old cell phone (AKA mobile phone).
Recycle Your iPod or Cell Phone
From Apple. Like it says. Free.
iPhone: The Music Video
Twittered by millions. New York Times technology columnist (and former off-Broadway pianist/conductor) David Pogue dumps his old mobile for the iPhone in this sing-a-long video, set to the strains of “My Way.” It shines brightest when folks in line at the Apple Store start belting out the refrain. P.S. What’s up with the boat boy?
ZOMG! Spare me the POSH acronyms, please!
Ara Pehlivanian’s well-reasoned rant against the rebranding of semantic HTML. Minus the anger and hyperbole, I agree with him.
R.I.P. Kramer
No, not the fictional character played by racial harmony guru Michael Richards. Kramer was a great WordPress plug-in that found incoming links to your site’s posts and printed them in your comments field. Alas, a few days ago, Kramer began time-stamping all such links December 31st, 1969 at 3:58 pm in place of their actual publication dates. Not only did this strew one’s site with factual inaccuracies, it also had the effect of sticking rudimentary inbound link text at the top of every comment column, since comments publish from oldest to most recent, and no comment will ever be older than December 31st, 1969. When obvious potential remedies such as emptying the cache failed to correct the problem, I (and presumably every other Kramer user who’s awake) disabled Kramer. The program has not been updated since 2005. Perhaps some nice person will fix it. If not, R.I.P. and thanks for the good years.

[tags]POSH, kramer, exphone, keen, britannica, search, searchengine, wiki, google, wikipedia, mahalo, recycle, iphone, ipod, recycling, hitchcock, apple, design, webdesign, accessibility, backgrounds, patterns, tiles, diagonal, tartan, generator, ajax, tile, maker, creator, web2.0, stripes, diagonal, diagonal stripes[/tags]

Thursday links

Designspotter.com
A web-based platform (public group blog) for design publication, protection, and publicity. Upload an image of your work and a linked description to feature your product at no cost.
Oliver Stone, Terror Tourist
Fred Gates pimp-slaps Stone’s 9/11 blockbuster (movie review).
Google Strict vs. Google Deprecated
Does Google’s crap markup really save bytes? Philipp Lenssen finds out.
GraphicDesignBar:Design Forum
Fine new design blog, rich in inspiring links. (Yes, that’s one of Douglas Bowman’s standard Blogger templates.)
P22 News: Lanston Type Co. Summer 2006 releases
Goudy, Bodoni, and Broadway, oh my! P22 announces the latest installment of remastered fonts from the historic Lanston Type Company.
We are the Web: Fighting for Net Neutrality and Internet Freedom
Net neutrality and internet freedom are being disbanded by greedy corporate swine and the lobbyist-fattened US lawmakers who are their lackeys. In case you didn’t know.
Natural language hCard
Jeremy Keith on adding hcard semantics to ordinary body copy—naturally. (I’ve done it here.)
David Hughes Illustration
Kind to your eyes.
AsylumNYC
AsylumNYC presents all non-US artists with the opportunity to exhibit and live in New York City, providing a solo show at a recognized New York institution and the legal aid necessary to obtain an artists visa in the United States.
Weekly inspiration – 14 July
Thought-provoking UX/IA blog posts noted.
New York Times Librarian Awards
“The New York Times Librarian Awards were created to support and recognize public librarians, who do so much to nurture a better-informed society.” Nominate your favorite librarian from anywhere in the U.S.
Ben Hammersley’s Dangerous Precedent
Concise, uniquely conceived blog entries, elegantly written and cleverly embedded in photos which function as parallel blog entries. The creator is a thoughtful and multitalented web developer, portrait photographer, and book author.

[tags]librarian, awards, typography, design, graphic design, web design, user experience, UX, information architecture, IA, microformats, hcard, net neutrality, webstandards, web standards, bandwidth, Google, Oliver Stone, art, illustration, immigration, links[/tags]

Heartwarming

Baseball weather has come to NYC. And a baseball stadium is where we’ll hold An Event Apart Atlanta in just a few days’ time. If global warming worked the other way — if the winters were getting colder each year — the world’s governments would have already worked together to reverse global warming. But when winter grows milder and spring arrives sooner, it feels so good it’s hard to realize how bad it is. But I digress.

We’re busy prepping for Atlanta, so here are some links:

Minolta quits camera biz
A former ad client, at one time the 3rd largest camera maker in the world, can’t compete against digital.
“Would you write your life story in pencil?” was an ad I tried to sell them for their Maxxum line of high quality, 35mm point-and-shoot SLRs. (Instead they bought “More Maxxum Magic!”, a line I did not write for them.) Even so, it’s sad to see them go.
Monochrom Brandmarker
An attempt to evaluate the power of brands by making Austrian people draw twelve logos from memory, 25 people per brand. Via Coudal.com.
Magnolia Blossom
Mac OS X dashboard widget embeds social networking in your desktop: “Watch websites scroll across as they are bookmarked by ma.gnolia.com members. Spend less time scrolling through pages of text and find those eye-catching sites now!”
Gapers Block
Clean, good-looking, well written Chicago blog.
In Progress: Logo Design (A)
Cameron Moll on the National Gazette identity he and Jason Santa Maria are designing.
In Progress: Logo Design (B)
Jason Santa Maria on the National Gazette identity he and Cameron Moll are designing.
Top 15 Skylines in the World v. 3.0
An urban planner picks his Top 15 skylines. Via Gapers Block.
Dieter Steffmann typefaces
Immense archive of Dieter Steffmann fonts. “Acorn Initials” is typical Steffmann work. Re-blogged from March 2004.
CNN.com redesigns
1024 wide. Looks great. Pity about non-validating table layout. Via Hivelogic.com.
coComment
In one central place, track comments you’ve left on blogs all over the place.
My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
“…total access to original tracks with remix and sampling… Download all the multitracks on two of the songs. Through … Creative Commons licenses, you are free to edit, remix, sample and mutilate these tracks however you like. Add them to your own song or create a new one. Visitors are welcome to post their mixes or songs that incorporate these audio files on the site for others to hear and rate.”
Drupal
Open source content management platform that cares about accessibility and standards.
Airbag – Styrofoam
Adventures in food management.
Designers must write
“As my ability to shape both written and oral communication improves, I am better equipped to direct the work of others.” (Via Cameron Moll.)
In Search of a Comprehensive Type Design Theory
“Type designers might be convinced that our profession is vital to society, but we wouldn’t risk going on strike.”
Ironic Sans – Pre-pixelated clothes
“Stop worrying about whether or not the producer of that Reality TV show you’re on will pixelate your carefully chosen t-shirt. Beat them to the punch with pre-pixelated products!” (Via K10k.net.)
Thank You for Smoking – main titles
Beautiful! via Stan.
America’s Technology Future at Risk
A new study released by the Economic Strategy Institute explains why U.S. companies can’t compete in key new business sectors, and offers a variety of regulatory and investment prescriptions (via Thomas L. Friedman).
Teaching at Risk: Progress and Potholes
The Final Report of the Teaching Commission (via Thomas L. Friedman).
It’s a great time to start a business
Six reasons to start a business today (by 37signals’s David Heinemeier Hansson).
IE7 Improvements and Bug Tracking
Eric Meyer weighs in.
W3C: Failed Commitments?
Much ado about nothing. Forest. Trees.
Happy Doomsday to You!
“Washington was about one horseman short of an apocalypse yesterday.”

Four things

I blame Mark Simonson.

Four jobs I’ve had
  1. Writer for The Washington Post and City Paper
  2. Laborer in a PVC coating factory
  3. Art director
  4. Keyboardist (Yatz, Spoons, Pop Maru, Insect Surfers)
Four movies I can watch over and over
  1. Rushmore
  2. Swing Time
  3. North By Northwest
  4. Best in Show
Four places I’ve lived
  1. New York City
  2. Washington DC
  3. Bloomington IN
  4. Pittsburgh PA
Four TV shows I love
  1. The Office (Brit.)
  2. Arrested Development
  3. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
  4. The News Hour with Jim Lehrer
Four places I’ve vacationed
  1. Istanbul
  2. Rome
  3. San Francisco
  4. London
Four of my favorite dishes
  1. Madras Rava Masala at Dosa Hut
  2. White Omelette at Penelope
  3. Sag Paneer
  4. Tofu in Spicy Ramen
Four sites I visit daily
  1. Coudal Partners
  2. Daring Fireball
  3. Signal vs. Noise (by 37signals)
  4. A List Apart
Four places I would rather be right now
  1. Anywhere with Carrie, baby, and doggie.
  2. Seriously.
  3. That is my answer.
  4. Home best.
Four bloggers I am tagging
  1. Eric Meyer
  2. Tanya Rabourn
  3. Jason Santa Maria
  4. Greg Storey

A film apart

Couldn’t make it to An Event Apart Philadelphia? Curious about what you missed? Our new, two-minute video reveals all. Well, anyway, it reveals what can be shown in two minutes. Shot on location at The Franklin Institute by filmmaker Ian Corey, it’s packed with thrills, chills, and design geekery.

See Zeldman explain why, the more words you have, the less you communicate. See Eric Meyer unveil the code behind last year’s best web layout. (Okay, so I’m prejudiced.) See Jason Santa Maria squeeze genuine typographic goodness out of two utterly common fonts. See lucky attendees win nifty prizes. See the music, hear the light.

Updated 24 January: SMIL video captioning by Andrew Kirkpatrick. Video playback requires QuickTime 7.