Links Elsewhere

Present Imperfect

When we embrace flaws and mistakes, we create even more beauty. That’s what woodturner Bill Karow believes, and what drives him in his craft: to reshape people’s opinions about things they perceive as worthless, and to find joy in that pursuit.


Quote for the day

Questions are places in your mind where answers fit. If you haven’t asked the question, the answer has nowhere to go. It hits your mind and bounces right off. You have to ask the question – you have to want to know – in order to open up the space for the answer to fit.
~ Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School
Source: 37signals blog


Aggregation question for the day

Do you think that the links posted by people (aka “human aggregators”) you follow on Twitter or Facebook are good enough to persuade you to quit using your RSS aggregator? Either way, why?


Opinion for the day

Save the InternetAfter a continuation of unresolved issues with the speed of my Comcast web access, the fact that they are pushing to make things even worse by fighting Net Neutrality makes me pretty grumpy.

In my estimation, what Comcast and the other large ISPs are pushing for would be similar to the maintainers of our highways arguing the right to sell FedEx exclusive access to the entire left lane of the Interstate system for their trucks (and then being given the right to drive twice the speed limit as the folks in the right lane). This just seems fundamentally wrong.

If you agree, I invite you to visit Save the Internet and say so. If not, help me understand your point of view.


Ideas Recap

At our last Refresh meeting, I asked for some follow-up ideas about… ideas – where you might find inspiration. I realize this is long overdue, but listed below are some of the responses I received.


I find the best ideas come either right away or much, much later when I am not expecting them. Any kind of formal thinking process usually seems to yield a lesser result. So I go for lots of gathering and storing, so the subconscious is full and always busy looking for a solution. I find washing dishes is the best way to unleash that solution, which is why I invest in rubber gloves to prevent dishwater-hands (a little known but devastating designer’s affliction!)



When I am designing for a web site and in a “rut” about design ideas, I enjoy visiting template farms like or I am always amazed at the creativity, and this visual stimulus sparks my own ideas. I am extremely visual, but it helps me to see how colors go together first-hand in a design. Then I “get” it.

Drawing sketches on paper has never appealed to me. I find that if I can draw large swatches of color using Photoshop, I can then get moving in a design direction. Even though I am from an earlier generation of designers, I still prefer electronic methods. I am a “tweaker” in that my initial design always needs enhancement to reach its full potential.

I feel as if I have developed “two minds” or frames of reference when designing. I design, then step back and look at it almost as a different person would. This is a skill that I have picked up over the years. I didn’t have it when I first started out.

Magazines also spark ideas, both for print and for web design. Again, it helps me to actually see an idea implemented. I’ll take parts of several different designs and put them together in new and different ways. I am always on the lookout for new design ideas.

I have found it is best to listen to that little inner voice that tells me something isn’t quite right in a design. If I don’t, someone else always seems to point it out!


Google – I Google everything.  Type in a key word and click – be amazed on
what comes up and where it takes you.

Learning about Lean – This blog discussing learning how to see and view
things differently.  It’s helped me to re-examine some of my company’s core
workflow approaches and to resolve some daily challenges.

Simply Getting Things Done (GTD) – This blog is interesting, but sometimes
full of a little iffy.  I’ve recommended this to several people who are
always disorganized and can’t break free from their inbox or clutter.

Linked In – This is how I found Refresh Tallahassee and I use it as a
networking and marketing tool.  I’ve gotten several blogs or articles
written about T-Formation from activity from LI.  Its great exposure.but you
have to work it.  I generally only spend my off-time and weird moments doing
anything on LI – the three minutes you are waiting for a meeting to start,

Typeface Periodic Table – just because it’s there –

You Suck At Photoshop – for those that haven’t seen these incredibly funny
tutorials – check out the series:

Printspiration – Graphic design inspiration for those that are stuck – steal
someone else’s idea here:

Roger Van Oech – The original “Whack on the Side of the Head” guy – read
that book forever ago, and it was really enlightening.  Look at different
problems through the eyes of different people.  Very imaginative.  Here’s
his blog –

Guy Kawasaki – of course we have to include him –

Wishful Thinking – Good tips about keeping the juices flowing – from England
– Excellent writing – be sure to read the articles –

Johnny Cupcakes – T-shirt designer and egomaniac.  I love this guy’s concept
and business.  He prints t-shirts with cupcakes on them and hosts huge
events around the world to promote them.  This is one of my favorite things
I point to when somebody asks me about starting their own line of t-shirts
(I get that once a week, easy)

Russell Davies – Always an interesting blog.  I love his weird pictures he’s
always taking.

Funny or Die – When you are stuck and just need a break – go here – laugh at
something and then get back to work

Boing Boing – Another site with a lot of fun, weird stuff –

Max Kerning – Typeface humor –


More On Google Wave

Catch the Wave!

Sitepoint has an interview with web avatar Cameron Adams, who’s working with Google on Google Wave. It’s interesting to see his comments on testing at Google:

“For testing stuff hot off the presses, we basically walk around the office with a few prototypes, tackle people to the ground, and force them to use the application. This could either be in the form of static mockups or sketches, coupled with questions like: What do you think will happen if you click this? Or, the process that I find most valuable for an application like this is to create a simplified prototype of the behavior that we’re thinking of and let people have a go on at it.

It’s quite different to have an image that requires people to use their imagination than it is to present them with what the engineers will build after two months. So, I have a bunch of different interactive prototypes that focus on one area each — scrolling, typing, inserting, dragging, and so on. And we’ll tune these until we like what we have and users get the optimal experience. Then we hand it off to the engineers to build it properly.”


Telework Or Die! The Flu Pandemic

Bad news from the Florida CIO Council Pandemic Preparedness Committee today. According to the Florida DOACS Pandemic Planning Toolkit,

  • “Susceptibility to the pandemic influenza virus will be universal.
  • Illness rates will be highest among school aged children (about 40%) and decline with age
  • Among working adults, an average of 20% will become ill during a community outbreak
  • Per HHS planning guidance, Florida is planning for a severe influenza pandemic similar to 1918, as compared to a moderate pandemic similar to 1957, 1968. Either one could happe.
  • Persons who become ill may shed the virus and can transmit infection for up to one day before the onset of illness. Viral shedding and the risk of transmission will be greatest during the first 2 days of illness
  • Multiple waves (periods during which community outbreaks occur across the country) of illness could occur with each wave lasting two to three months
  • A future influenza pandemic in humans is considered a certainty by the scientific community. When it will happen is entirely uncertain
  • In a severe pandemic, absenteeism attributable, to illness, the need to care for ill family members, and fear of infection may reach 40% during the peak weeks of a community outbreak, with lower rates of absenteeism during the weeks before and after the peak.
  • Governmental and business planning should include contingencies for worker absenteeism of 20% to 50% during the several-week height of a pandemic wave

Page 9 of the Planning Toolkit contains a plan for the impact of a pandemic on businesses and government. This includes

  • “Train and prepare ancillary workforce (e.g., contractors, employees in other job titles/descriptions, retirees)” (and let’s not forget those dedicated OPS workers!)
  • “Establish policies for flexible worksite (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts)”

Looks like there could be lots of rapid promotions in the future, like on Omaha Beach on D-Day.


The 4-Hour Workweek

Just got a copy of Timothy Ferriss’  “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich“. There’s some interesting stuff here, particularly for those of us who already work some or most of our hours as teleworkers. A sample:

“What separates the New Rich (NR), characterized by options, from the Deferrers (D), those who save it all for the end only to find that life has passed them by?

D: To work for yourself
NR: To have others work for you

D: To work when you want to
NR: To prevent work for work’s sake, and to do the minimum necessary for maximum effect

D: To retire early or young
NR: To distribute recovery periods and adventures (mini-retirements) throughout life on a regular basis and recognize that inactivity is not the goal. Doing that which excites you is.”