Folks online are getting too damn helpful.
Folks online are getting too damn helpful.
Tara at Graphic Design Blog lists seven mistakes beginning designers make. It’s a pretty good list — I see the first item a lot.
Read more at Graphic Design Blog.
At the Christian Science Monitor Marjorie Kehe offers a few suggestions for reading up on health care. Her list of five and a half books includes the following:
I have read none of these. Are they really the best?
Craig Mod makes an interesting case for celebrating the (supposed) demise of “disposable books” — he elaborates at some length a simple distinction between books where the content and form are integral and those where they are independent — and welcoming the IPad as a reading platform. Here’s a sample:
We’re losing the dregs of the publishing world: disposable books. The book printed without consideration of form or sustainability or longevity. The book produced to be consumed once and then tossed. The book you bin when you’re moving and you need to clean out the closet.
These are the first books to go. And I say it again, good riddance.
Once we dump this weight we can prune our increasingly obsolete network of distribution. As physicality disappears, so too does the need to fly dead trees around the world.
You already know the potential gains: edgier, riskier books in digital form, born from a lower barrier-to-entry to publish. New modes of storytelling. Less environmental impact. A rise in importance of editors. And, yes — paradoxically — a marked increase in the quality of things that do get printed.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everything in that last paragraph were true! Unfortunately, part of this is fiction writing. Check out the NYT bestseller list and see if you can observe “a marked increase in the quality of things that do get printed.”
To me the most interesting part of Mod’s argument is his vision for booklike content that disposes of the metaphor of the page, as shown in the image above (the image is Mod’s). In this vision the content metaphor is not the bound book but the East Asian handscroll, on which stories were rolled out continuously from one end to the other rather than proceeding page by page.
The book is a perfected technology, but why should the electronic platform inherit the binding metaphor?
Bronwyn van der Merwe has an interesting post over at the BBC Blog about redesigning their web content. Whether you approve of all the decisions or not, what’s wonderful about the post is how through and generous it is in sharing the various elements of the design. The design uses a grid system, which is pretty standard for print materials but is more difficult on the web because of the lack of uniformity in screen resolutions. The post looks at banner design, embedded media, mobile platforms, fonts, sources of inspiration, type over images, color palette, and more. They are moving away from lefthand navigation to top-of-page horizontal navigation. They even created a new set of icons. And a style guide, which they are sharing as a download.
I’m not crazy about the aqua tones (this site also uses a blue palette but I hope with a bit more soul), and I don’t really understand combining Helvetica with Gill Sans. Etc. Still, it’s a great look at the process of rationalizing design on a large site with many different kinds of pages.
El Pais is talking about a new Dictionary of Americanisms (Diccionario de americanismos) published by the Asociación de Academias de la Lengua in Madrid under the direction of Humberto Lopez Morales, secretary general of the academies. Lopez Morales, though now a resident of Madrid, was born in Cuba and lived in Puerto Rico.
Americanisms are a more vexing problem in Spanish — the second most spoken language in the world — than in English. Travelers across the Americas have to learn new words even for simple things like straws, napkins, and avocados as they travel from Mexico to Argentina.
And of course the language is always changing. While dictionaries of Americanisms exist, there has not been a major new work in this area for twenty or thirty years. This book fills that void.
Logging in at 2,500 pages, the dictionary costs 75 euros — about a hundred U.S. dollars — but for those of us who sometimes translate from Latin American Spanish it will be an essential reference to own or at least consult.
I’ve seen them in meetings (especially “NATO Initiatives”: meetings that are “no action, talk only”). They’re listing to the discussion, sometimes contributing comments, browsing documents, and responding to text messages on their cell phones. They think they’re pretty sharp.
But, according to Clifford I. Nass, a Stanford psychology professor, “Heavy multitaskers are often extremely confident in their abilities…. But there’s evidence that those people are actually worse at multitasking than most people.” The surprising result of a survey he conducted was that people who self-identified as multitaskers actually performed worse on multitasking exercises than people who said they preferred to concentrate on one thing at a time.
The reason for this seems to be that chronic multitaskers give themselves up to distractions and overload their memory or attention capacities. David Glenn, in an article about the research in the Chronicle of Higher Education (read more there), writes that “People with strong working-memory capacities don’t have a larger nightclub in their brains. They just have better bouncers working the velvet rope outside. Strong attentional abilities produce stronger fluid intelligence.”
Image via Scott Beale / Laughing Squid, laughingsquid.com.
This may be the earliest example of written English to survive in a British church. Recently discovered on a wall in Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire, it probably dates from the fourteenth century. But what does it say?
Dr John Crook, who produced the digitally enhanced image of the text shown above, is asking the public for help in deciphering the incomplete inscription. “If anyone thinks they can identify any further letters from the enhanced photographs,” he said, “please contact us via the Salisbury Cathedral website…. It would be wonderful for us to solve the mystery.”
Read more at the Daily Mail Online.
The Bookseller is back with another round of odd book titles. This year the six finalists for the Diagram Prize for odd book titles are the following:
As I mentioned before in this context, as the translator of Frozen Coagulated Cultures in Wine, Cheese, and Sauerkraut Production, I fail to see what’s so funny about these titles.
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