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October 19, 2006

About Fonts

20 October 2006 One aspect of design which some of us (who are not designers) too easily overlook is fonts.

Thinking with Type cover picture
It's often not until we see a professional at work that we realise the importance of the selection and wise use of fonts. "Thinking with Type" is a great introduction for us Font-Ignorants, it is both a website and a book. [via the Linotype Newsletter]

[Pity the website does such a poor job with screen fonts in Firefox]

Posted by Marius at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2006

Code as Literature

16 October 2006 I just caught up with series of posts by Scott Rosenberg about "Reading Code". Computer Science as Art, Code as Literature. We really do live in a digital age. Why does this surprise me after working with computers for 30 years? Anyway, Scott's series is a good read...

Posted by Marius at 10:12 AM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2006

Why Do They?

Why do Web developers prefer home grown Content Management Systems over commercial and open source CMS?

click for a larger version of this graph

The graphic shows one of the findings of a survey, held by Sitepoint ( an online resource for developers) and Ektron (a well known mid market commercial CMS vendor). Over 36 % of developers prefer to eat their own dog food. Only 10% use commercial systems.


I have my own views, but would be interested in hearing others.

Posted by Marius at 12:22 PM | Comments (4)

October 01, 2006

Friday's data not good enough

Having reliable data is important in many areas, even when the application is leisure. Outside the IT business, my passion is sailing, Not racing, just being "out there". Mostly coastal cruising, often offshore , but mostly within sight of land. Weather is important for sailors. Nothing worse than being hit with a gale when you don't expect it. Now that we have permanent Internet access on the boat, I use the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) website to great effect. Not only their forecast information, but also the (near) real time observations which help predict when that Sydney Southerly is going to hit.

So it is disappointing when a highly reputable organisation such the BOM. has a serious lapse. This weekend, coastal weather observations have been frozen in time at Friday 7.05 am. I reported it to their support section and was particularly pleased when I received an email back from a human within an hour (we're talking early Sunday morning). Unfortunately the response was that "we've notified our NSW office". As of Sunday 4pm the service was still down.

In IT, failure is a common experience, and as an industry we have a poor reputation. Whatever the reason for this failure, it was most likely just one link in the chain. The website works fine, the automated buoys are riding the waves measuring the height. To keep things going needs a close integration between systems, often mediated by mere mortals. Responding to a failure within an hour but letting the problem "go through to the keeper" doesn't help anyone. Having a public website means that your agility and customer focus is on public view 24hrs per day, even on long weekends. A reason to look at our own efforts and whether they stand up to scrutiny, rather than just a reason to complain...

[update: The BOM fixed the problem when they came back from the long weekend at 9.00 am on Tuesday. ]

Posted by Marius at 05:01 PM | Comments (0)