Less of this, more of that

the brief guide

less TV, more reading
less shopping, more outdoors
less clutter, more space
less rush, more slowness
less consuming, more creating
less junk, more real food
less busywork, more impact
less driving, more walking
less noise, more solitude
less focus on the future, more on the present
less work, more play
less worry, more smiles
breathe

(a brief guide to life – zenhabits.net)

I usually find stuff like this to be cringeworthy. ‘Less worry, more smiles’ is the kind of thing I’d expect to see on a fridge magnet at the house of someone who believes it to be a profound message.

Sometimes it’s good to find a list like this though, and actually give the suggestions some thought. I’d have to agree, for example, that I should eat less junk – it’s obvious, but I don’t ever make a serious effort to eat better.

Food for thought.

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Cult of less

Mr Sutton is the founder of CultofLess.com, a website which has helped him sell or give away his possessions – apart from his laptop, an iPad, an Amazon Kindle, two external hard drives, a “few” articles of clothing and bed sheets for a mattress that was left in his newly rented apartment.

This 21st-Century minimalist says he got rid of much of his clutter because he felt the ever-increasing number of available digital goods have provided adequate replacements for his former physical possessions.

[ … ]

The tech-savvy Los Angeles “transplant” credits his external hard drives and online services like iTunes, Hulu, Flickr, Facebook, Skype and Google Maps for allowing him to lead a minimalist life.

via Cult of less: Living out of a hard drive – BBC News (Link added by me. ‘Mr BBC’ is funny about inline links for some reason.)

I’m really conflicted about stuff like this. I would love to de-clutter my life and live out of a backpack in a minimalist apartment, but in reality I’m a magnet for clutter. I don’t know where I would be without bookshelves, piles of magazines and boxes of toys and gadgets.

Creating linkbait: A guide for the untalented

So you want to get links, but don’t know how to start creating linkable content? Let me walk you through my process for creating awesome linkbait.

via A Simple Guide to Creating Linkbait – SEOmoz

Allow me to summarise:

1. Take your ‘inspiration’ from what your competitors are doing.
2. Can you put a spin on any of that? Don’t copy, just do something similar to whatever is already popular.
3. Create your content. Hire people to do this if you lack talent.
4. Get people to link to your content. Ass licking always helps.

And whatever you do, don’t take any risks!

Posted in SEO

Sexy CSS3 infographics: I propose a revolution!

There have been two separate trends on the web in recent months and years:

  1. Infographics are everywhere, typically in the form of long JPEGs. These are often criticised as being poor examples of information design (or just poor examples of design), but they still seem popular.
  2. Creating snazzy effects with CSS3 and HTML5. Increasing support for dropshadows, rounded corners, gradients, real fonts, rotation and all other kinds of nice visual enhancements, has resulted in masses of experimental designs. It’s even possible to create many types of fantastic (and terrible) charts and graphs, as well as icons and illustrations.

So CSS3 and infographics are a natural fit. They could be interactive, animated, hyperlinked, semantic and searchable. Besides, making big dumb JPEGs for the web just seems like a retrograde step. Why not put that effort into making a really nice page?

(How the Internet works / “Infographic”)

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My David Lanham portrait

My David Lanham portrait

(View on Flickr)

Dave is a designer at the Iconfactory and responsible for the ultimate Twitter icon, Ollie the Twitterrific bird, but he broke his foot while playing soccer over the Fourth of July. That means that the poor guy is relegated to staying off his feet at home. Rather than wallow in self-pity, he decided to use the opportunity to keep himself from going completely Rear Window and offer up his design skills to the Internet public.

FaceTime + $50 = Awesome Personalized Avatar – mashable.com

(See also: Wired, Cnet, TUAW, Gizmodo, and plenty of others.)

Sitting for a portrait over FaceTime was a really strange experience, but David is very friendly and made it a lot of fun. He did two sketches in about ten minutes, as well as taking some screeshots for reference and he later produces the final product in Illustrator. I’m thrilled with the result! (Trivia: Apparently I am the first portrait to have received a pattern background.)

David said he had been overwhelmed with requests as a result of the extensive coverage in the geek press, and was now booked up until December and after then he will decide whether to carry on with more, or not.

You can see many more portraits in his Flickr set, follow @dlanham on Twitter and absolutely check out his website. (He has loads of great wallpapers and icons!)

Post edited 2010.08.16: I received my portrait in the post today, with a bonus sticker. I’ve added a photograph to the gallery at the top of the post. It’s a lovely quality print. I think it looks great. :)

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The Cult of Mac: On being an Apple ‘fanboi’

Back in 1994, Italian novelist Umberto Eco (writer of “Foucault’s Pendulum” and “The Name of The Rose”) published a now-legendary, whimsical piece in the Italian news weekly Espresso, contending that the Microsoft/Apple rivalry is “a religious war.” Eco was “firmly of the opinion” that the Macintosh is Catholic; “It is cheerful, friendly, conciliatory, it tells the faithful how they must proceed step by step to reach — if not the kingdom of heaven — the moment in which their document is printed.” He pointed out that with a Mac you deal with simple formulae and sumptuous icons, and “everyone has a right to salvation.”

On the other hand, Eco contended, the (then mostly DOS-based) PC was Protestant, “or even Calvinistic,” demanding difficult decisions and interpretations, taking “for granted the idea that not all can reach salvation.” The PC user “is closed within the loneliness of his own inner torment.”

Is Apple a Cult, a Religion or a Brand? – theappleblog.com

iMac My computer history, briefly, has been Acorn Electron, Amiga 500, various PCs running Windows 95, then ME and finally XP, which brings me to the machines I use now. I have an Eee-PC netbook (which for a year was my only personal computer). I experimented with a few Linux distros and eventually settled on CrunchBang Linux.

I also bought an iPhone 3G in this period, which eventually helped me decide to buy a 27″ iMac, which I think is absolutely fantastic. Continue reading