Archive for February, 2010

MacSE from Wikimedia Commons

From the Associated Press:

Bill Warren founded an early online job board in the 1990s, helped kick-start an industry and was president of Monster.com, one of the leading Internet career sites. But these days he’s not very happy with the results.

So he’s taking another crack at it . . .

Here’s the link.

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How do you envision the way people use your website? According to Steve Krug, web designers think “great literature” (or at least “product brochure”), but users think “billboard going by at 60 miles an hour.”

The notion above comes from Krug’s book Don’t Make Me Think. There’s a chapter called “How we really use the web” on his site, Advanced Common Sense. It’s sobering reading if you’re a designer, but probably a lot closer to how people do use the web. Some of his other points:

  • We don’t read web pages. We scan them.
  • We don’t make optimal choices. We satisfice.*
  • We don’t figure things out. We muddle through.

Problem is, designers are people who DO like to figure things out.

This chapter is well worth a look. There are powerful implications for my career field, radio, which I’ll explore in different blog post.

*Satisfice was coined by economist Herbert Simon as a cross between “satisfying” and “sufficing” in Models of Man: Social and Rational (Wiley, 1957).

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More Sacred Harp


Tim Eriksen leading at the 18th annual Ohio Sacred Harp Convention. About 150 people attended.

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Food from the 18th annual Ohio Sacred Harp Singing Convention, now in progress. Tim Eriksen is leading a great singing school for about 200 people.

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I was making a late lunch today and saw this bright prismatic image on a cabinet. It was coming off our glass-topped stove, but originated from the afternoon sun hitting a 3-sided little flower vase in the window sill. The image only lasted a few minutes, so I grabbed my cell phone to take this photo. This doesn’t quite do justice to how vivid it was, even if only briefly.

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A new Ohio River bridge

The Cincinnati Enquirer has a story suggesting a generally lackluster reaction locally to designs for the Brent Spence bridge replacement across the Ohio River to Northern Kentucky.

Here’s my take:

Roebling, from Wikimedia Commons

1) It has to have a WOW factor. This will be the defining image of Cincinnati for the 21st century and beyond. Forget the Big Mac; the new structure has to be a contemporary complement to the deservedly cherished Roebling suspension bridge, John Roebling’s model for the Brooklyn Bridge. It can’t be ordinary.

2) A double-decker is OK — but why not a triple-decker? Use the middle deck for flexibility (in-bound or out-bound as traffic warrants). As you can probably tell, I’m not an engineer, so there may be structural issues I don’t know about.

3) While we’re at it, why should traffic in-bound to Cincinnati get the lower deck? That’s true of Brent Spence, but it needn’t be true of the new one. Along with the cut in the hill coming in from Kentucky, it’ll be the best place to showcase the skyline for visitors.

4) I’ll nominate the relatively recent bridges in Savannah and Charleston as interesting contemporary designs. For that matter, Columbus IN has a nice (small) one.

5) No tiaras, please.*

*Sorry, this is an inside reference for Cincinnatians. The soon-to-be-tallest building in town will have a tiara.

Inspired by Princess Di.

I can’t wait.

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Winter snow

from the front porch

Cincinnati got hit with just the right amount of snow yesterday, and at just the right time – late on a Friday night. Many people left work an hour or two early, but it didn’t really start accumulating until after dark.

The winter storm warning is due to expire at 6 pm Saturday, but as of noon it looks as if all the precipitation has essentially stopped. There is (or was) a snow emergency, I suppose to keep traffic off the road. But I hear a good bit of it at 12:40 Saturday. Still, we’re encouraged to shovel out today, because it’s going to get colder and stay that way.

I’m sorry for my sister Jean in the Blue Ridge mountains. They’re getting a ton of it, just one of many storms this winter that keep her snowed in. She uses a wood stove for heat and has a generator to keep her well pump from freezing. Talk about resilience.

But here: No traffic. No reason to go out (unless we want to – maybe we’ll go bring in some firewood from the pile). By tomorrow, and certainly by Monday, the roads should be OK. Our city of Wyoming does a great job with street cleaning if we need it. Our tax dollars at work.

This is about the only thing that’s good about my not working in radio right now. I’m not thinking “We’d all better get to the station and keep it on the air.” I’m listening to Van Morrison and the Chieftains. Surfing the web. Baking bread. Taking photos. Thinking about, but not yet, shoveling the driveway. Not a bad day.

Here’s a short photo gallery. Technically these are in color, but I really like the almost-monochromatic look.

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