Dec 10

Joyeux Noel word lovers


A merry Christmas to all, and I wanted to share with you the Wordle analysis of the Christmas Carol. This is a great tool for business use also if you have to visualize a lot of text for a slide.

Feb 10

Plunge into history – online

Microsoft has released a technical preview of streetside photos, a Bing service which will overlay Flickr photos into Bing Streetview – including historical photos.

For all lovers of history, this means that you’ll soon be able to enter 3D renditions of historical landscapes, and walk through them – like a Star Trek holodeck without the characters (yet).

Try it: visit Seattle’s Pioneer Square

Think of the possibilities: Stroll through the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris; visit Dresden before the bombing; follow Allied troops landing on Omaha Beach. This will be yet another way to make history relevant.

Aug 08

My Swiss chalet treehouse: initial construction

(May 24, 2008). I cleared the lower branches of the single fir tree in the back yard. My neighbor says it was one of his live Christmas trees of many years ago. As backdrop, note the fence – my project of two years ago.


I prepared two 4×4 posts forward of the tree, and P. worked on the two support trusses.


We attached the two trusses to the front and back of the tree, and added some bracing to the front posts.


The next step was the addition of plywood flooring. Note how the posts extend past the floor, which helped to support the walls.


I then added three wall sections and rafters. I placed a tarp and took a break during the June rains.


 IMG_0183 IMG_0191

Aug 08

Gmail predictions 2009

Here’s what Gmail will gain in 2009 – these fall mostly in the duh category:

  • Image search – returning results just like Web Images search (although with the added challenge of limited context for search)
  • Image gallery – show all image in your gmail account as a gallery
  • Image slide show – show image attachments as a Picasa-style slide show

Nov 07

A lock after my own heart

I’ve been a reluctant locker lock user in the past – but this new product, where I can choose my own code, is just what my old brain needed. The wheels are probably easy to destroy, but this is just the right amount of locking for my YMCA.

Master Lock: Residential: School & Campus: Product No. 1534

Sep 07

Amazon’s amazing remodel


Sweet, sweet UI from the UI gnomes at Amazon

Mar 07

Target Stores & The Migros School of Retailing

Link to Target : About Target : Our Focus on Design

I must credit my wife for first mentioning this to me: the new Target Stores, and their focus on customer experience, take direct inspiration from the Swiss chain Migros, particularly in the area of store design and product merchandising.

 The telling clue was the recent announcement that Target is carrying Migros’ house- brand chocolate, Frey (in stores only). Once I picked up a large shipment of Frey chocolate, I felt right at home in the newly remodeled Redmond Target store, and starting humming Migros’ jingle. That’s when the revelation hit: Target is collaborating with Migros, and not just in the chocolate aisle.

The most obvious parallel is the color scheme, and it’s relentless application throughout the store: for Target it’s red/white, and for Migros orange/white. But there’s also a very Swiss sense of order and organization, and a consistency in visual merchandising that US stores rarely adopt on that scale (just visit your local department store). The brand selection is another giveaway: Target is carefully mixing mid-scale brand names with upscale house brands.

Next time I’m in Switzerland, I’ll check whether Migros is learning anything from Target. In the meantime, Migros could use some of Target’s advice on Web design…