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web stuff

Friday, February 15, 2002

more internet archives: movies

The Internet Archives has an amazing collection of ephemral movies donated by the Prelinger Archives. Nearly 1,000 of them. A collection of stills as well (though I'm not sure yet how they're organized). Ephemeral films are those like those old science movies you saw in grade school, or films made by company PR departments, government safety films, stuff like that.


posted by lee on 02/15/02 at 11:04 AM

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Wednesday, February 13, 2002

WSJ Spent $28 mil on overhaul

From ComputerWorld: Completes Web Site Overhaul

It cost $28 million over two years! Twenty-eight million smackeroos! Revenue is just $36 million/year. They switched to Vignette for content management - planning to spin off customized newsletters. The sites run on IBM's apache-esque servers. The figured personalization is the way to go, so that's why they spent the big bucks. That works out to be about $45 per existing subscriber - seems like a pretty steep retention cost.

One would think a financial newspaper would know what it was doing. We'll see. I've been a subscriber (to the interactive edition - not print) for years - since day one as a matter of fact - and frankly, I didn't have any problems with the old version and see nothing special about the new version - at what, $6 a month, it's not something that's preying on my mind to cancel - I think it's a good deal. It's one of those monthly charges you don't really notice - under-the-radar charges are what content sites should aspire to - so I have a hunch their churn rate isn't particularly high. I dunno - I guess I'm just awestruck that $28 million can even be SPENT building a website (or series of websites, as in the case of WSJ). Least they could've made it PRETTY!
posted by lee on 02/13/02 at 06:43 AM

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Tuesday, February 12, 2002

A design journal - interesting

the dcn
posted by lee on 02/12/02 at 06:50 AM

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Friday, February 08, 2002

I’m a red-winged blackbird


You spend an incredible amount of time primping, preening, and posturing to attract the opposite sex. As much as you want to attract that devoted love, though, you know these efforts serve another purpose: rivals won't enter your territory because of your intimidating presence.

At least according to The Mating Game on, web home of the National Wildlife Federation.

"When a male Red-winged Blackbird detects another male in its territory, it approaches the intruder, drops its wings, and raises its beak, all of which serve to make the bird appear large and intimidating. The male exhibits the same behavior when it approaches a female. But it's not trying to frighten off the female. In both instances it's demonstrating its fitness and dominance. Presumably a female will be most interested in mating with a male that can defend a territory and, by extension, provide a steady supply of high-quality food."

This is a GREAT site!
posted by lee on 02/08/02 at 07:39 AM

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Wednesday, February 06, 2002

The info is good, but ...

HFI has quite a bit of free information on the site: Human Factors International.

My main problem is it is one of the more annoying sites I've visited. The pages (asp) are very slow to load, navigation is slow, and the menu bars are EXTREMELY annoying - they pop the images into place o n e a t a t i m e and veeerrryy slowwwlllyyy.

Is the information I read good? Yes. Would I hire them to recommend usability fixes for our websites? Not unless they fix their own.
posted by lee on 02/06/02 at 07:34 AM

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Thursday, January 31, 2002

Conventions & Web design

Via today's webword, an article definitely worth reading: Attack of the killer conventions by David Walker.

Which leads to Web Design Patterns by Martijn van Welie.

Then read Examining User Expectations of the Location of Web Objects by Michael L. Bernard.

A lot to digest. But interesting.
posted by lee on 01/31/02 at 08:41 AM

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Monday, January 28, 2002

KISS, Part One

Gerry McGovern makes some good points in his current article: The need for simple English on the Web.

"Writing is about communicating. If your reader requires a dictionary of slang in order to wade through your content, chances are you wont have too many readers." Hear hear!

And for the most part, I agree with him. Until I get to this paragraph:

"Unlimited choice scares people. (Practically nobody goes beyond the second page of search results.) Complex language confuses them. Long convoluted documents turn them off."

Which is pretty patronizing stuff. Unlimited choice does not scare people, for cryin' out loud - people have limited TIME and limited PATIENCE - so why bother going beyond the first page of search results if one finds what's needed there? Isn't that the point of searching vs. surfing? Complex language is a waste of TIME - so why bother? Convoluted documents waste TIME and PATIENCE, so why bother with them? There are too many choices available for any web user to put up with bullshit of any ilk. If the crap detector goes off, a reader immediately moves on unless the info is absolutely essential (such as bank-speak, like that found on Chase Online).

One thing web writers ARE doing well is contributing to the destruction of the English language. But I'll save that for my next rant.
posted by lee on 01/28/02 at 07:50 AM

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Wednesday, January 23, 2002


Check out KATBOT.

I'm not quite sure what this Funny Garbage site is all about, but the design and execution is pretty interesting. Hello Kitty lovers will like this site a lot, I do believe.
posted by lee on 01/23/02 at 09:38 AM

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Tuesday, January 22, 2002

Very nice Robby B.

I link to this simply because I really like the design. It's different, effective, and I didn't even mind having to figure out that the scrollbar is there, just invisible (as opposed to a stylesheet screwup). R o b b y B . c o m My compliments to the designer.
posted by lee on 01/22/02 at 10:21 AM

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Sunday, January 20, 2002


This is a nicely designed site, despite the truly annoying music, the typos, the random spelling variations (is it "color" or "colour"? Doesn't matter - there's both here). The content is rather silly, from Paul Goldin, Psychologist (whomever the hell that is and why would I even care?) - another of those personality test things. A good way to waste five minutes. Colorgenics
posted by lee on 01/20/02 at 02:41 PM

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