Sunday, September 28, 2003

what a weekend to be in chicago

Cubs win. Wrigleyville revels in ensuing bedlam.

Notre Dame loses to Purdue. The faithful at Durkin's and Kendall's raise a mug to toast the still-slumbering echoes and Stu Schweigart's two huge picks.

Soldier Field opens to season ticket holders Saturday and to a national audience on Monday night. There has been nothing but controversy surrounding architects Wood and Zapata's insertion of a postmodern design into an existing neoclassical structure that is the iconic old stadium. However, in architecture as in software, I always believe the final test of success is the staying power of the finished design, no matter how painful the birthing process. Early reviews from everyday people (well, season ticket holders) about the seating layout and field site lines are glowing. The exterior treatment will never please everybody, so we just have to accept its polarizing effect. If the new dame graces the public in her Monday night coming-out ball, then the critics, like despondent second place Sox fans, will have to find a new audience in this town for their gripes.


Friday, September 26, 2003

Can Purdue beat Notre Dame?

Oh but we must, we must. I'll be playing my traditional Friday night PS2 matchup to predict the winner. Over the long term, the PS2 has shown an uncanny ability to OUIJA board its way to the same finish as real-life. Last year I lost most of the games Purdue won, but won several they lost for a similar record. No big deal. What rattled me, then, is that my PS2 pitted me against Washington in the Sun Bowl, which is of course what happened in the real world last year. Pete Fiutak has the call of that stunning bowl upset in his stream-of-conciousness notes. One of the great Boilermaker wins caps an otherwise agonizing season of close shave losses with nicks and cuts galore.


oh, the function forsaken in the name of form these days

According to The Register, Nokia's rolling out their new 7600 model in Europe, positioning it largely as a trendy fashion accessory that happens to be a GSM camphone/MP3 player. It's an audacious crambox of with-it technology, i'll give them that. But I double-dog dare you to text your mates effectively on that keypad. Shades of the 3650's digital rotary dial.


Thursday, September 25, 2003

OS X can keep the brushed metal, I says.

Brushed Metal is Ugly has decided that OS X's Brushed Metal look (found in Safari, QuickTime, and a variety of newer iApps) is fugly. Some may agree, but I actually find this look far less distracting than the default Aqua hard-candy-and-pinstripes look for extended usage. I'm not against their petition, but I'm against overly ornate UIs and buttons that go whoosh.


Wednesday, September 24, 2003


Just when it seemed lawyers had finally put enough distance between themselves and well-deserved L.A. Law elevator shaft exits, The RIAA offered this non-apology to a 66-year-old woman on whom they mistakenly sic'ed the dogs. Please let this industry crumble to dust asafp so the artists and fans can start over, to make both markets and music together again.

This blog needs help

Revenge of Black Background looks like the full effort of someone who spent 20 minutes borrowing templates from MT and then assumed that it was the Seventh Day and took a breather. Sheesh. Someone make this guy prove he's a from-1994-on veteran of the web, not another shopworn template whore.

(You know, if a blog links to itself, modern browsers probably experience a pang of recursive doubt, but then get on with it. The "throbbing N" vintage Netscape wasn't nearly as indecisive.)

Quasi-Related: I wonder if the grad students in rhetoric programs across this fine nation, from UMaine to Washington, from USC to Creighton, have explored who bloggers consider to be their implied audience/mock reader. Right now I'm pretty sure mine is me, merely content to make movable type's gears emit pleasant clicking sounds. For me to just keep chucking content over a stone wall, I'm gonna need to believe there's some sort of connection between me and some interested peoples.

So, if you found yourself here, stranded in this blog by accident, I bet it wouldn't be the first time that's happened. How can I make it worth your while?


Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Rule #7 of Web Content Management

Websites should link to PDF in lieu of equivalent HTML only if selling that content or providing it for extended offline reading.

PDF is a DRM (digital rights management) tool that's actually ahead of its time. PDF is not a proper standard for rapid-fire web-based information exchange, Google's deconstruction of it in search results notwithstanding. PDF makes web infoseekers download, wait, scroll, zoom, scroll again, and then in many cases find themselves unable to copy/link to/reference the found infonugget in any meaningful way except to forward the whole bloody binary on to the next unsuspecting chump.

If I am buying a valuable report, requesting a backup copy of a detailed user manual I need to refer to off the grid, or acquiring information that's been digitized because in its original form it was archival-only (e.g., turn-of-the-century house plans), I'm happy to wait and download a PDF. I'll even suffer some marketing materials because I might want to save specs, contact info, or some "feature comparison chart" for later reference. Otherwise, dear webmaster, you've fouled my user experience by taking me out of my browser. Please stop doing that.


Sunday, September 7, 2003

only Programs win games like these

the difference between "team" and "program" is usually illustrated in X's and O's as a college football season matures -- often around game 8 or 9, when championships still appear to be up for grabs to the worthiest of the worthy. however, this past saturday revealed both playmakers and posuers in early September, giving fans a feast of great action on the gridiron.


  • miami. who else gets down by 23 and then scores 28 unanswered, right down to the wire, to prop the gator's jaws with a truly bitter defeat? actually, FSU's missed FG at the end of regulation against the Canes last season might've been more dramatic, but for squandered opportunity and gutsy comeback mettle, this game tops it.
  • michigan. they turned houston into a bye week -- that's what you should do in pre-conference play, plain and simple.
  • sooners on the road. the 47-yard TD strike after the fake punt wasn't gimmickry, it was high skill on display.
  • irish. of course. i can no longer summon the strength to summarize this outfit's infamous good fortune. talk amongst yourselves.


  • my own boilermakers. we're apparently peerless for believing our own hype. defense allows yet another 4th down, 4th quarter go-ahead touchdown? the only thing that should get behind our senior safeties should be their jersey numbers. and if you still think MAC teams are no big deal, think again. Bowling Green is a good squad with a great quarterback. they're mad with knockoff-fever now, and it would be great to see them play another big squad with a glass jaw. What's that? OSU on Sept. 20th? Could be shades of SDSU.
  • virginia and nc state. both folded up their top 25 card tables with unacceptable losses, though few should be surprised wake forest found its way -- those guys are fast and have enough flaky formations to befuddle most saturday d-coordinators.
  • maryland. a darling 3 weeks ago looks to be dirtbagged by week 4. FSU on the rise again?

of these 'poseurs,' i'm going with purdue as the day's worst upset even though NC State and Virginia were higher-ranked. As the local Journal+Courier's Jeff Washburn elaborates in his clear-minded after-action report, "if this Boilermaker team is as good as labeled, it does not lose to Bowling Green. Here. In Ohio. In a bowl game. It doesn't happen. Ever.". just when the boilers were fantasizing about the "p" word after a $70 million stadium renovation, a killer comeback bowl win against the Huskies, and a fraternity house full of returning senior starters on both sides of the line, they fail to make two or three big plays they certainly could probably execute blindfolded in practice. and that's just it -- "programs" get mentally tough and never look past an opponent, no matter how orange its away uniforms might be. purdue, your seat at the kid's table is now open, and you'll have to beat michigan and osu on the road to get up from it again.