I just upgraded to Movable Type 3.2 a few days ago, and as predicted, it has just enough nice new additions to keep me, once again, from switching to WordPress (sorry Matt!). If I were starting from scratch, WordPress might be my chosen platform, but MT gives me enough to keep me happy, and it’s still arguably better than WordPress in several important categories.
Anyway, my overall opinion of this new version of Movable Type is a positive one, and I do recommend all MT users install this upgrade… but we’re still not quite there yet. I’ve been bugging Anil on IM a lot over the last couple of weeks, and both he and the Six Apart team are aware of these little nagging issues. They are dealing with them as time allows, but I of course, must continue pushing…
This just in: ESPN is looking to fill a very high-profile web position — Creative Director, ESPN.com. You heard it here first. Yes, that’s right… a chance to set the design standards for the largest sports site on the web and continue to blaze the trails ESPN has been blazing since the original days of ESPNet SportsZone back in the mid ’90s.
I’m not going to post a long description of the job since the position more or less sells itself, but I will say that this is a great opportunity to work with some very talented people on some very exciting projects. The position is out of the main ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut and is only suitable for a candidate with a wealth of experience managing design teams as well as a killer portfolio. Experience managing the design of high-traffic web properties is a huge plus as well.
Anyway, I don’t work at ESPN anymore but I’ve volunteered to post the position on this site in hopes that either a Mike Industries reader or a friend of a Mike Industries reader might be the right person for the job. If you (or someone you know) think you might have the right stuff, drop me a line through the contact form and I’ll see what I can do. I can’t answer many specific questions about the job but I can help shepherd the process along a bit. Any e-mails should include at the very least a URL where some of your work can be viewed.
ESPN has word of the latest scandal to hit baseball: milk consumption contests. Much like The Saltine Challenge, these competitions test the human body’s ability to ingest an uncomfortable amount of food over a very short period of time.
The Milk Challenge has been around for a long time and is, in my opinion, much tougher than the Saltine Challenge. The idea is to consume an entire gallon of the white stuff in less than an hour without throwing up. I’m not even sure I could do that with water, but with milk? Certainly not. Too much lactose makes the stomach very, very angry.
So you’d think that if someone could actually defeat the Milk Challenge, he’d be showered in glory and valuable prizes, right? Well, not in baseball. Brad Penny, pitcher for the Florida Marlins , challenged a batboy to complete the challenge with $500 in cash as an incentive. The poor kid ended up drinking the gallon, held it down, but didn’t come in under the one hour mark so he never got the payout. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Marlins then suspended him for six games! 10 games for steroid abuse and 6 games for milk abuse. Good times.
I only hope Penny ended up giving the kid his $500.
A List Apart, the venerable online periodical for web people, has quite possibly just pulled off the perfect redesign.
Everything is great. Nothing is bad. Click here to see the wickedness.
Favorite design touch: The hover underlines which disappear in the middle of the center-stacked text.
Favorite new feature: Adjustable color palettes for different issues.
*Prediction: A center-stacked headline mini-boom begins today.
I run a 20 person fantasy football league of industry bloggers. We have an extra spot available. The entry fee is $25 (goes straight to prize pool) and the online draft is this Sunday at 6:30pm Pacific.
If you’d like the spot, simply send me an email with your picks for last year’s fantasy MVP in the QB, RB, and WR positions. Need to weed out the crazies. :)
This weekend I was psyched and honored to attend Tim O’Reilly’s third annual Foo Camp in Sebastopol, California. Aside from being one of the best professional/academic gatherings I’ve been to, it reminded me exactly how little I know. Ever sit in a room full of 20 people laughing at a joke you don’t even begin to understand? Multiple times? It’s humbling.
I experienced a little of that this weekend, not to mention breaking bread (or keg) with the some of the people I most respect in this industry. To try and remember every conversation would be futile, but the most surreal moment for me was at a dinner table with Esther Dyson and Jeff Bezos when I relayed to Jeff that we used his original attorney at Amazon to incorporate our own company. Apparently this attorney was also instrumental in talking Jeff out of Amazon’s original name “Cadabra” (sounded too much like “Cadaver”).
*Note: 2nd most surreal moment — riding an off-road Segway for the first time. Fun!
This weekend wasn’t about networking though, and that’s what made it so different and so much better than any conference I’ve been to. Nobody pitched their product, nobody talked about how great their company was, and nobody tried to appear better than anyone else. In essence, the political and competitive aspects were completely absent, and replacing them was genuine altruistic discourse. People demoed concepts and expressed opinions they’d never do in an open forum with the simple caveat “Please don’t blog about this.” In other words, there was no agenda other than the exploration of ideas.
I was also struck by how little millions of dollars seem to change great technologists. Brewster Kahle sold his company to Amazon for $250 million several years ago and the cat is still hard at work and walking around in 10 year old New Balances. Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake are freshly minted from their $35 million sale of Flickr to Yahoo and not only have they continued their great work at Flickr, but their pace of innovation seems to have actually increased.
There were only a few other designers at Foo Camp so perhaps that led a bit to my fish-out-of-water feeling, but in the end, that could have been the best thing about the event. I’d rather stand around a campfire with an engineer, a CEO, a video producer, and a sociologist and talk about mass transportation than talk about Gaussian Blurs with a bunch of people who are already like me. This phenomenon was actually the subject of many conversations around tagging and communities; do you really want your online information so tuned to your current tastes that you are never exposed to anything new?
Anyway, it was a great weekend and I sincerely hope a new crop of people are able to enjoy it next year. I’d certainly go again, but I much agree with Scoble on the issue:
“I’d far prefer that someone else had a chance at it… Let’s put it this way… I was dragging down the IQ scale.”
You and me both.
My first reaction was that Google had been redesigned… rather poorly in fact. I asked Mike Rundle if he was getting the same page. He said yes. Then, I instant messaged a few people who weren’t in the conference. They were all getting the regular page.
So then I thought maybe Google was testing a new design on a small percentage of the population. Companies like Amazon have been known to do this. As I queried more people, it seemed that everyone in the conference (all connected via the same wifi network) was getting the weird version and all people outside were getting the normal version.
So I suppose two things are possible:
Anyone have any insight into this? If the first scenario is happening, oh my god, change it back. If the second scenario is happening (which seems more likely), is this even kosher with Google? And furthermore, if it *is* kosher, are we going to see more of this? Why wouldn’t Comcast or any other huge ISP do this? Is this part of the future plan for Google?
Anyone have any insight?
Original illustration by Michael Schwab.For the 5th Monthly Mike Industries iPod-A-Month Creativity Competition, we’re going to keep it extremely simple. So simple, in fact, that you aren’t even the one who has to be creative. The winner of this competition will be the person who posts the best site I’ve never seen in the comments.
If you have a site you’d like to nominate, by all means do, but please no self-promotion whatsoever. If all goes well, we’ll have a nice
little page full of inspiration by the time everyone’s done.
Here are the rules:
<a href="http://www.theurlofthesite.com">Site Title</a>
* One entry per person only. Multiple entries will be disqualified and overtly offensive material removed. Multiple entries are also considered overtly offensive.
Good luck, and you can’t tell me it gets any easier than this!
Helpful hint: If the site you submit requires 20 minutes of time just to figure out what’s going on, I probably won’t get past the first minute.
Just a quick note to let anybody who’s interested know that I’m going to be in San Francisco for the Blog Business Summit from Wednesday until Friday and then Foo Camp in Sebastopol over the weekend. If you’re going to be at either event, feel free to come say hi.
I love going to San Francisco because it’s my second favorite U.S. city behind Seattle, and it’s home to many great designers like Michael Schwab (work pictured at right), and Doug Bowman. I also can’t wait to get my hands on about twenty In-N-Out burgers… a delicacy not available in the Great Northwest.
The Blog Business Summit should be an entertaining affair with plenty of great speakers, not to mention a pinch of Scrivs as well. Those of you who thought the kid’s head couldn’t get any bigger are about to be wrong. :)
If you’re going to be in the area and haven’t purchased a ticket to the conference yet, I believe some are still available.
As for Foo Camp, well, I really don’t know what to expect at all from it, but I’ve heard spectacular things. I haven’t been to Sebastopol since I was about 10, but I do remember they have the world’s best apple juice. The opportunity to camp, do keg-stands, and talk shop with some of the best minds in the industry sounds like a good time… I can’t wait.
I’ve wanted to add polls to this site for quite awhile now but never had the time to write a good voting component. Sure, there are some pre-made ones out there ripe for stealing but I wanted something fast, compact, flexible, and standards-based. Something I could just insert into any blog entry at any time to allow voting.
As luck would have it, we need polls at our new company, and so we busted one out. Several things like visual effects and more flexibility still need to be added, but I figured I’d let it loose for some early testing. Please make your selection on the right and post any suggestions or bug reports in the comments.
A couple of notes: You can only vote once. This is controlled via a combination of IP checking and cookies. The poll should work in all browsers, but we haven’t tested the obscure ones yet, so no guarantees at this early alpha stage.
The next thing on the plate is to add auto-updating, so for high-volume polls (certain not any on this here little popsicle-stand-of-a-site) you will be able to watch the results change on the fly.
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