Latest Blog Entries

  • New Blog Entry for CDG: The Nose

    Finally got time last week to write another blog entry for CDG. After some editing from the lovely Jennifer Hoppe, it came out today. Entitled What One UI Developer Learned at the Opera, it a short but important lesson about learning from other sources can be an aid in design work.

    As well as a nice trip to NYC…

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  • What One UI Developer Learned at the Opera

    (Originally published on CDG Interactive/Innate blog, edited by Jennifer Mayne Hoppe)

    Images of the Met production of Shostakovich’s The Nose, produced by William Kentridge –
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    A lot of people think of user interface (UI) developers as “tech guys,” but I see myself more as a designer. At its base, design is about solving problems. So I’m really a designer who solves problems through programming. Like any designer, I have to think creatively—and I often find inspiration from the wide world OUTSIDE of my cubicle. (Yes, despite appearances to the contrary, I can function away from the office from long periods of time, like a cubical lungfish…)

    Take, for example, a recent Saturday I spent at The Metropolitan Opera. I watched a performance of an opera titled The Nose. Composed by Dmitri Shostakovich, in 1930, the opera is about an official who wakes up and find his own nose missing, only to find out that it has full life of its own (as well as higher status than he does). The music and the singing were well done, but was really got my attention was the production’s design.

    The design was conceived by South African artist William Kentridge, who is well known for his work with stop animation from drawings and paper cutouts. In this production, Kentridge melds his own aesthetic with historically appropriate references from the 1930s. Specifically, the set design follows the artistic strain of Russia a movement was about breaking and re-interpreting of artistic conventions like the revolution that spawned it.

    Kentridge enhanced the on-stage elements by projecting stop animations into the production. Projected onto the back of the set, the animations looked like early abstract shape animations of the same period in which the opera took place. Then Kentridge mixed the animations with live film and archive film footage. Rather than distracting from the action on stage, these elements truly enhanced the satirical nature of the opera.

    And that’s what really good design does. It frames the content for maximum impact and engages your attention. Great design happens when someone examines a problem thoughtfully and creates a solution that fits so well, it seems like the only solution.

    So now that I’m back “home” in my cube at Innate, I’m taking inspiration from my afternoon at The Met, and striving to find the most elegant, effective, and engaging solutions to the design and technical challenges that I’m working on.

    Such is the life of a UI developer!

  • Charles is One Year(s) Old

    First Anniversary

    Actually, he’s a few weeks older, but who cares.

    I knew that it had been awhile until I started writing again in the Moleskin notebook I carry around. I wish I could say more but there was some much happening outside of the project that nothing was really done for about six months. Thankful, work has started again. In this case, I took a different tack and worked around what I do best: building and programming. So far, by using prototyping (IxD idea) to try out some of the ideas in the initial plans, I made some progress and new changes that should be an improvement down the road.

    A shout out to Todd Zaki Warfel for some much need inspiration.

    There is still a lot of work to think about and more concepts to play around with. I’m even examining a few ideas from almost five years ago because of one change that needed to be made for better functionality, which some refresher in PHP programming (long time…).

    As for the new design, that is still on hold. Finally asked another designer but he is busy as well (and just like me, can’t complain). But with the change in plans, that will wait until all the concepts have been played out.

    So basically, more work, changing ideas, better direction – which leads to a more upbeat tone about the project.

    BTW – Why the name Charles? I’ll tell all the worth while secrets when this is finally over, hopefully before 2011.

  • UI or UN? The Life of a Front-End Developer…The Lecture???

    No. Really.

    Basically, it originally started as an idea for me to do something close to work but outside the office.  However, there are a number of ideas that need fleshing out. Not just about work (dealing with bad HTML code) but also about ideas about Charles, TWP, front-end developement, and IxD.

    And linguistics.

    More news to come.

  • Storm and Stress

    After three weeks of work and vacation (which was almost like work), I got a free weekend.

    One in which I got to do nothing.

    Now this week, a hopefully(?) slow work will allow me to do the following:

    • Write two blogs entries for CDG – one on the book Search Patterns by Peter Morville/Jeffery Callender and the other about The Nose (The Met/MOMA)
    • Started prototyping work on Charles, which I started Sunday, first bit of work in a couple of months
    • Starting more blog entries here, including a brief one about the last three weeks

    I have a number of things to do before things speed up again at work. There is also the next two trips in May, which I need to get ready for.

    First, NYC again for another Met performance – instead the Russian satire of The Nose, it will be the dark, German expressionism of Lulu.

    Then this will be followed by my yearly pilgrimage to the Pacific Northwest again (Seattle, WA/Vancouver, Canada).

    Lots to do, lots to see. Just need to do more than one blog entry per month.


  • Back from Interaction 10…into Snowmageddon

    Leaving Savannah after Interaction 10

    More photos, posted at my Flickr account – Interaction 10 (IxDA)

    Flew into Savannah before Snowmegeddon Round #1 came around and it was goregeous. Rainy but in the 50’s and I could wear a light jacket for a few days. Great time, only to fly back home the day before Snowmegeddon Round #2 came in. It took 2 1/2 weeks before I could see the sidewalk again.

    Snowed-in Neighborhood

    As for Interaction 10, it was a blast and a real big work motivator for the remainder of the year. Some of the lectures presented some real interesting ideas and I will find some way to introduce or talk about them in my work. It also helps meeting interesting designers and other professionals that really want to make the profession better.

    As for Savannah (beyond the really nice weather) was a good host and just darn friendly (Southern hospitality does exist…). I would definitely love to come back ASAP but the conference has to move to a new site. Unfortunately, it will not go back to Vancouver next year. 🙁

    However, it will go to…Boulder, Colorado. It was announced on the last day, with a special low rate for about one week (sorry already gone, darn…) But, the excitement as already started. Especially with a really funny and interesting video promo – see

    Anyways, as soon as I can break open my piggy bank, I am registering for next year.

    Interaction 11 @ Boulder, Colorado –

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  • Excuse me if you heard this before, but…

    I am really, really busy.

    Sorry for the month delay but new blog postings will be up in the next couple of days.

    I will also be writing two blog post for CDG again, both dealing with topics brought about during lectures at Interaction 10 in Savannah a few weeks ago.

    As for here, blog posts about Interaction 10/Savannah and the restart and final stages of Charles project.