On Macs and PCs, again

After some recent criticism that brought to light the fact that this site was becoming ‘somewhat’ Mac-centric, I decided to be more vigilant about spreading hatred and vitriol in the Windows direction. However, after helping a co-worker with a presentation on a Windows laptop today, I’ve decided that only more hatred and vitriol are required, certainly not less.

In several years of using a Mac I have not seen a single screen look like the one attached. But yet, this was the first screen I saw this morning when I started the laptop. I must argue that (i) it makes absoltuely no sense to show this screen to my Grandmother, my Great Aunts, nor to anyone else, and (ii) there is no way a screen like this one would show up on a Mac.

Despite the abounding negativity from the naysayers about Apple these days, there’s simply no way that a screen like this would be displayed to the user, and certainly you’ll admit that it shouldn’t.


The black magic behind content management

Great insight from Jonathan Kahn on content strategy and how we might go about choosing the right CMS for a project. Spoiler—it's about the content, not the CMS:

The rise of content strategy is dealing the content management industry a huge kick up the backside. In the web’s Wild West era, the CMS was run by the IT department—or sometimes a lone webmaster who knew HTML—so CMS choices were based on features, price, and cultural fit, rather than web or content strategy. It was the classic IT drill: selection committees, feature matrices, and business lunches with men wearing neckties.

Oddly, discussions of content strategy are still had in hushed circles, perhaps in the coffee room or over lunch, or exchanged in secret notes throughout the day. For reasons unknown to me, the real conversations are still being facilitated with feature matrices and neckties. You tell the nice man what kind of website you need and he tells you what he's going to build it with.

Odder still, almost every day I see a company launch a new site with Flash. Yes, that Flash, the bane of the internet. Every time I see a company proudly launch a site with Flash, I cry a single tear for the money and time it's going to cost to update and modify and eventually redo.

As Kahn argues, conversations about content shouldn't be about tools, it should be about content. There are exceptional open source tools out there to help you get your content to the web, all of which you can freely download and play with until you find the right one.

Next time, when the nice man with the tie tells you that he is going to lock your content up in Flash or some other proprietary CMS, tell him 'thanks for your time.' Or get out your wallet.

When everyone at 37Signals drops by for a visit

I had a rather large spike in traffic last week after posting a comment over at Signals vs. Noise. It’s incredible to think about how much influence people like this have over the blog ecosystem. If I was selling a product (or even really writing posts with regularity), traffic like this could have a major impact.

Opportunity aside, with the variety of things going on these days I was just left praying that the traffic wouldn’t take off too much and push my site over. The small victories are the ones that count.

From Me to You

Just discovered a lavishly stylish new photo blog today. From Me to You features of reams beautifully murky and underexposed images from yesteryear.

Don’t look till you’ve got the time – it’s addictive.

The Fogo Island Arts Colony

While clicking through the collection of today’s Fresh Signals from Coudal Partners, I saw that they were linking to a Globe and Mail article about the Fogo Island Arts Colony and the architectural work of Todd Saunders.

Says Globe columnist, Lisa Rochon:

A mission of Shorefast, a non-profit that fosters social entrepreneurship, is to provide visiting writers and artists time and space to do their work while breathing new life into a community hit by the cod fishery collapse and out-migration. Instead of outport, Cobb wants us to consider the communities of Fogo and nearby Change Islands as places of intake.

Having been Jo Batts Arm, the community on Fogo Island hosting Cobbs vision, just last summer, I can confirm that none of the descriptive imagery is invented. Though much of the island of Newfoundland is rocky, rugged and sparse of trees and vegetation, Jo Batts Arm is something well beyond that. It’s a place mostly without trees or grass, without almost anything to distract your eye from its two prominent elements: rock and ocean.

Maybe it’s just luck or good fortune that Cobb chose to come back to her home to invest in this project, or maybe this tiny little community on Fogo Island, Newfoundland is the perfect blank canvas for artists looking to create in almost complete sensory underload.

An open (but then closed) door policy

When I started at my current job three years ago, office doors were never closed. All telephone and face-to-face discussions were had in the open, for all to hear. In the last few months, almost all conversations have been whispered behind closed doors.

Three observations: (i) once one person starts shutting their doors, others will follow, (ii) once you start closing your door, you will continue to do so indefinitely, and (iii) once you start closing your door, you will effect a definite, noticeable change in the office atmosphere, for better or worse.

Just sayin’.

charity: water

This morning I supported a fundraising campaign led by Cameron Moll, a designer I’ve been following since I started making websites. For years he has been selflessly helping web people like me learn about design and web standards. Today I had an opportunity to give back.

You can help too. Visit charity:water campaign and help support an organization that helps bring fresh, clean water to the people of central Africa.