Friday, March 30, 2007

Goodbye, Hello, Hello Again

A friend died suddenly this last week. It was quite a shock. I didnt know him very long, but we had worked pretty closely together on a couple of projects last summer. He was a gentleman and a good person. I haven't been able to bring myself to go into the building where his office is. He had many good friends there, who I cant face just yet. That would mean moving past the willful denial stage. I'm not ready for that, just yet. But soon.

Tomorrow, I'm meeting some of the bloggers I've met on Rice Daddies, in San Francisco. I'm looking forward to it, never before having made the transition from web to real life. This I'm ready for.

My 20th high school reunion is coming up this summer, with all the self-impossed emotional baggage that entails. I'm not ready for that, just yet. But soon.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Three pieces on being real


I read this article in business week about the dubiousness of carbon credits, and I hate to say it but the article made perfect sense:
"Nature does not fall for accounting schemes."
You cant simply buy your way out of your carbon footprint. All of these celebrities and organizations claim a zero carbon footprint by throwing money at the problem, without actually changing any behaviors that might actually lead to a reduction in carbon footprint. sigh.

Here's a way to reduce your carbon footprint: reduce your carbon footprint.


I finally read John Maeda's Laws of Simplicity a month ago or so. I had been putting it off, because I was sure that Maeda's insights into simplicity would be so delicately nuanced that my own head scratching about it would seem childish.

His first law, brilliant:
"The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction. When in doubt, just remove. But be careful of what you remove."
I was surprised to find myself frustrated by the rest the book. Especially since the second of three sub-headings (!!!!) of the first law of simplicity was: hide the complexity. What? So, if after your first attempt at simplification, you still have complexity, you should just hide it?

Well, having "hide" as the second sub-heading is kind of arbitrary, made so the three subheadings would spell out "SHE". Wait, ten law of simplicity and you have to gum it up with mnemonics? Where's the simplicity in that? You see my frustration? In the end, the book was very good to read, but left me wanting more. I mean, less.

thisislarry's law of simplicity: simplify.


My favorite design icon, the AK-47, is the subject of a fascinating new book, called AK-47 (hows that for simplicity). Think Guns, Germs, and Steel meets The Tipping Point meets The Hot Zone, set in the world right now, seeing world politics being infected by the cheap, ubiquitous, indestructible AK. I especially enjoyed reading about the difference in design philosophies leading to the AK (make it simple) and the opposing American M-14 rifle (make it precise). In the end, the marketplace spoke, and the simple design is still winning.


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