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SKETCHEE IDEAS: A Creativity Blog


Entries in Technology (13)

Sunday
Jul062008

Ugly Open Source Design

Using Audacity this past week has inspired me to talk about the ugly open source programs floating around. Many great open source programs don't care about design. Searching about Audacity, many developers defend the look of the program as being usable. Usability doesn't make something well designed, although that is definitely part of the designers considerations.

Audacity
Screenshots of Audacity. Creative Commons License photo credit: webg33k


Scribus, which I had talked about before, is an open source design tool for designers. But it's not yet looking too good. The interface isn't as outdated as Audacity, but still feels like something out of the Windows 95 era. It feels much more complicated and less polished than InDesign. Open Office has the throw back look down to a science. It looks very much like an early version of Office despite having many advanced features. (Microsoft has since made the Ribbon interface part of office making it easier to find underutilized features)

Firefox and Thunderbird have a great look because they're easily skinned. That encourages the design community's help.

Although I think that too many open source programs have pretty poor UI design (from a mass market perspective), the open media center Elisa has a fairly commercial looking pretty design too. It's pretty much inspired by Apple, but taken in their own direction.



Design is a huge part of innovation. That seems to be a place where commercial products can beat open source. Despite the criticism, a lot of this is great software in a bad package.
Tuesday
Jun102008

Remixing Radiohead on Old Tech

James Houston brings us Big Ideas. It's the Radiohead song, played on old computer equipment. It's great to see people think way outside of the box. The idea of this remix is to illustrate how something can be more than what they were designed for. That's an inspiring sentiment and makes for a nice art piece.


Big Ideas (don't get any) from James Houston on Vimeo.

Want more Radiohead? Read about my trip to their Nissan Pavilion Concert
Thursday
Apr172008

Not Enough Technology Coverage

The average cable station has less than one minute of science and technology coverage in five hours of coverage according to this report. I listen to probably 50% or more science and tech coverage in the form of audio and video podcasts. It's probably true that the people with the most interest in tech will be able to seek out this information on their own, but general news sources really need inform people of at least some of the goings on of the industry. With so much repetition on 24 hour news stations, you would think they would be scrambling for content
Sunday
Mar162008

Invisible Logic

I saw the movie The Invisible. It was bad. Really bad. It's filled with plot holes. I have not seen a movie this poorly developed in a very long time. And I've seen some bad ones. Characters do things with no apparent motivation. The movie makes you ask "why?" But don't wait for the answers. I'm all for suspension of disbelief, but this one passes the threshold too much too often. Any answers you do get are one-dimensional and unimaginative. Worst of all, I spent much of the movie hoping that what I suspected would happen wouldn't. Because it would be ridiculous. But no they didn't spare me. Watching it on DVD, my friend Shane and I were reeling. We'd yell why is this happening. Most disappointing to me is how misleading the trailer turned out to be. The trailer touts that the main guy (Justin Chatwin) will have to solve the mystery of his death. There's no mystery as the circumstances are given up right away. Don't worry though, the scenes with the old man from the trailer explaining this are omitted. I didn't expect a great movie even with that trailer, but it was still horrifyingly worse than I could have imagined. The tough girl is touted as a victim of circumstance, but I didn't see any reason to feel sorry for her. There's no heroism in caring about those who care about you, it's much more moving to care about those who don't. Skip it!

If you didn't notice, there was a new episode of the SketcheeBook Podcast last week. The next new one will go out this Tuesday! I'm having some problems with the audio recording quality that I didn't have before. Hopefully I can get them squared away soon. For these two episodes, it will have to do.

Tuesday
Mar202007

Starline on the Podcast

Check out the latest episode of the SketcheeBook Podcast, Starline Hodge (Candi Comics) has some fun stories. Really entertaining listen! Thanks Star, if you ever want to come on the show again let me know!

I'm hoping to have another guest soon, there's one person who has said he'll do one so hopefully he'll get on that soon. He's probably reading this.