4 August 2004 10 am est

Safer than Kabul

Monday, 2 August 2004, NYC: Citicorp Center is declared a target, and I’m on my way to a meeting a few blocks north of it. I walk The Wife to work, tell her I love her, grab an agency partner and head uptown half an hour early, allowing time for traffic snarls and security searches. A giant wrecking ball may be poised to smash us, but cabs still smell of chemical air freshener. Frightened or not, people are going to their jobs. Americans, divided about everything else, seem united on that point.

When I first moved to New York, you might avoid a certain street or a certain park for fear of getting mugged. Now you choose Fifth Avenue over Lexington because if a bomb goes off you’ll be farther from the blast center. It takes far more courage to walk out the door in Baghdad than midtown Manhattan, so we have that going for us.

As the cab crawls up Madison, instead of the presentation I’m about to make, I contemplate oblivion. Can a society that produced Duke Ellington and the Bill of Rights come to an end? Can we stay not only safe but free? Why are we the only couple in our Lamaze class who expect a girl? Why are all the other expectant parents we know carrying boys? Soldiers for a thousand year war?

At the meeting we shake hands and acknowledge the threat to our existence with little jokes and chuckles — as people always do when touched by the shadow of the whitefaced chess player.

Previously in The Daily Report...

Only defenestrate...
Douglas Bowman’s “Throwing Tables Out the Window” is a compelling crash course and proof of concept on the business benefits of designing with web standards.
The New Samaritans
Robert Andrews summarizes an emerging “good samaritan” phenomenon in which independent web designer/developers, frustrated by a hard-to-use or inaccessible site, voluntarily rework the site in question, “right under embarrassed proprietors’ noses.” The work, typically performed for free, most often focuses on front-end improvements to key top-level pages. Such makeovers form a roadmap for turning a confusing or inaccessible or bloated site into a more usable, accessible, and streamlined one. Yet rarely do potential corporate benefactors take advantage of the free work done on their behalf...
Faces We Love: Heine’s Tribute
This family of eight fonts, legible at even the smallest sizes, is perfect for designs requiring an aged or antique feeling.
Architectural Digest vs. This Old House
How vs. why in web design. (ALA No. 184 and drop-down menus.) When web designers discuss their craft, they almost always focus on how to do a thing, rather than what things should or should not be done. As an industry, we are more like “This Old House” than Architectural Digest.
Production for Use
To understand and evaluate any design, you must consider the use context for which it was created. A case study and lessons therein. The beginnings of a broader approach to understanding web and interface design (including the relative importance of web standards).
Clarendon is the new Helvetica
The quirky slab serif has been quietly undergoing a renaissance similar to that enjoyed by Helvetica in the 1990s.