Amen, Sister

These last three years were God’s great kick in the teeth to me, and it hasn’t been easy. But things like these make me want to take back the ball and throw it really hard at the back of somebody’s head, like, I told you, motherfucker. If that makes sense, great. If not, I can’t explain it. (“Oh FUCK” by The Reverse Cowgirl)

Great blog, great writer, great quote.

I Knew It: Bad Boys Get Laid More Often

According to two recent studies, men exhibiting bad behavior (psychopathy, Machiavellianism, narcissism) tend to attract and bed significantly more women. Well, hell, anyone who went through high school could have told you that.

The study found that those who scored higher on the dark triad personality traits tended to have more partners and more desire for short-term relationships, Jonason reported at the Human Behavior and Evolution Society meeting in Kyoto, Japan, earlier this month. But the correlation only held in males. (New Scientist, “Bad guys really do get the most girls”)

No AP, Please

Patrick highlights recent unacceptable behavior on the part of AP over at Making Light. He makes some excellent points about how restrictive and ridiculous this sort of attempt at strong-arming individuals can be. A core principle of copyright law is the role of “fair use” to allow others to provide feedback, response, analysis, and commentary on a given work or material, since copyright law itself is provided as an incentive to promote scientific and cultural advancement. A blogger referencing (e.g. linking to the article, quoting specific passages, or re-summarizing/restating the basis of the article) a work clearly falls within this principle, on several fronts.

I will concede such cases as where the majority or entirety of the article is quoted, in particular in situations where it is done so without commentary, but that’s not what’s being discussed, here. What’s happening in THIS circumstance is pure, unbridled greed, without even a nod to the law as it stands.

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include —

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors. (Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. § 107)

DailyLit

DailyLit is a system to receive books to read in small chunks via email or RSS. The basic idea is that as part of our day to day lives, we find it hard to find time to sit down and read, but we can usually find time to spend 5 minutes reading an email or post. So with that in mind, the folks at DailyLit took a bunch of books from public domain and creative commons licenses, and broke them into manageable parts, and allow you to receive these parts via email or RSS. They’re also experimenting with using Twitter, which is how I first heard about them. Very slick!


Detroit Book Depository

The deteriorating remains of the Detroit Book Depository

Jessica showed me this the other day, thought I’d share, as it’s really pretty impressive. The short version of the story is that they used to use a warehouse system for school books and materials, until a fire broke out, and decimated the building. Due to insurance settlements, they were never allowed to salvage from the building, and it was all left to rot.

Pussy

But, sure. I’ve been hurt. I’ve been hurt by my own doing. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve opened up at the wrong times, to the wrong people, under the wrong circumstances, and I’ve been involved with the emotionally distant and the scary obsessed. I’ve been unable to reciprocate someone else’s love, and I’ve loved without reciprocation, and both situations have been crushing. I’m okay with that. (Pussy, By Debauchette.)

Interesting post.

Photoshop CS4′s Interface

So, John Nack has previewed the new Photoshop interface, which has been drawing a fair amount of criticism around the ‘net for being “un-Mac-like”. I think the criticism is frankly a lot of gnashing of teeth because it’s different, and very little else. As Nack points out, if you bother looking at some of the best “Mac-like” apps, including applications made by Apple itself, much of the new design draws very similar parallels. It’s a very clean, modern interface, and keeps pace with the trend towards encapsulated applications (the document driven, single window experience). Frankly, I like it, and look forward to it.

Let’s face it: any user who multitasks ends up with a boatload of windows open at any given time, and there have yet to be really any effective ways to manage all the windows. This is becoming increasingly problematic as we find ways to have more and more windows up at any given time (I’m looking at you, Spaces), and so user interfaces have been forced to rethink how they display their data, to better encapsulate that data, so that everything related to a particular document STAYS with that document. Tabbed browsing was the start, but it’s totally logical that this design philosophy would (and should) enter other applications. Some of my favorite applications are ones that integrate data into the session window — a prime example is Scrivener. In Scrivener, the inspector is attached to the document window, rather than sitting in a separate “inspector pane/window”. From a design perspective, this makes it absolutely clear as to which document you are inspecting, which is particularly important if and when you have multiple documents open at once. The application is designed so that everything you need to do to the document can be done from one document window, with multiple files within it. You can even split the window to display attached research files or another page of writing at the same time, or if you decide you really NEED it to be in a separate window, that option is only a right-click away. That is GOOD DESIGN: it avoids juggling through multiple windows just to get your work done.

Detractors who might say it’s not “Mac-like” haven’t been paying attention. While there is, of course, the opportunity to get it wrong, and not make an effective interface, this is true regardless of whether you’re talking about a unified interface or a multi-window one. However, it’s pretty clear all the way down to the interface of the Finder, that we’re shifting towards a single-window-per-need design philosophy (if you don’t believe me, use the “Find…” option in OS X 10.5, or “Create Burn Folder”, or try out iChat with “Collect Chats into Single Window” turned on and tell me it’s not a better way to juggle a dozen conversations).

The key to note in what I’m saying is that it is PER DOCUMENT, or PER NEED. The places that I’ve seen single-window interfaces be successful is where elements that belong together are placed together. A window, in essence, becomes a method to encapsulate the data related to the task or project it was created for. As such, there are going to be times it DOESN’T make sense. Frankly, I’m just glad designers are realizing that there are times that it DOES.

Twitter Links

I’m sure many of you are already familiar with Twitter, which is sort of a messaging service to allow for more ubiquitous communication. For those who aren’t aware, the folks at Common Craft have made an excellent video to explain it:

So, there are a variety of ways and places you can include Twitter. Personally, I have it set up via IM using their Jabber service, and also have it added as an application on Facebook. I’ve even added it as a sidebar on my website. These are all free services that haven’t required me to install anything to use.

However, there are some really fantastic other options for those who want a bit more of a robust user experience. Icon Factory has an OS X stand alone application that sort of set the gold standard for 3rd party twitter apps, called Twitterrific, which integrates your tweets right into the operating system, making for a seamless and easy experience. I used it for a while, however when they started charging for it, I stopped using it, and instead stuck with the Jabber services, which, while adequate, lacks both the punch and the reliability Twitterrific offered.

Recently, however, the IM services Twitter offers went down due to overload (a LOT of people use Twitter, and it is a constant battle to keep up with user demand), and has remained down for over a week, leading me to re-look at the 3rd party landscape. So, now I’m trying out an application called Spaz, which has been written using Adobe’s AIR framework, Spry (a free AJAX framework also from Adobe), and jQuery. It’s open-source (modified BSD license), free, and multiplatform (OS X, Windows, and Linux). While I miss the seamlessness (and lack of another icon cluttering my Dock) of Twitterrific, otherwise it seems to be a very respectable client, and well worth the time to check out.