Fly on the Wall: “I’m running into a problem with HumanTime” Matt 21 Apr 2006

38 comments Latest by Ward

Embedded MessagesWe compared the similarity of the hidden shapes in the Fedex (arrow) and Basecamp (checkmark) logos. The story behind the Basecamp logo from Jason: “we first had the mountain turned around…so the tall hump was left, shorter right…Anil Dash said ‘hey if you turn it around it makes a checkmark’…DONE.”

Sam’s working on time parsing. He wrote this, “I’m running into a problem with HumanTime.” I wondered if that was some sort of deep philosophical statement. Sam is a subtle philosopher.

Jason went on a sharpie refueling mission…
Jason: 7 color sharpies in the hizzie
Jason: look out pointillists

David posted this product shot and Marcel said, “it’s funny (interesting) how more and more products are throwing in a mac laptop in the background for product photos.”

Ryan gave some advice to Sam who’s writing an Ajax-related article: “it’s also helpful to consider the difference between ‘how i do something’ and ‘how you do something’…it can be way easier to write how you did something instead of trying to offer a general tutorial.”

Jason took a stand for standing desks (though he doesn’t actually have one). Marcel’s not sold: “from standing all day while teaching i can attest that it doesn’t scale temporaly after a while.” I chimed in: “adjustable is supposed to be the best ergonomically. i always like that concept: the best position for you is something (anything) different than the position you’re in now. (keeps repetitive stress type bad stuff from happening).”

I have a vision for a horizontal work station. “something that would let you lie on your back while using your computer (split keyboard at your sides w/ suspended screen or projected screen image on ceiling). a bit ridic but would be perfect ergonomic solution. plus, then companies could stack workers vertically, like at one of those japanese pod hotels. ; )”

Tip from Marcel: Pineapple juice is refreshing and delicious. Another tip from Marcel: Joao Gilberto.

Speaking of music, Fela Kuti is popular in 37land. Jason recommends Best Best of Fela (I’ve got Confusion/Gentleman and dig it a lot too). Ryan concurs: “oh fela is the man.” Jason loves the 14 minutes tracks. Marcel was convinced: “endurance love making all over my ears…blush

The word enterprise came up and led to one of Marcel and Ryan’s patented tete a tetes…
Marcel: in french theory, ‘enterprise’ is a term which refers to a philospher’s life’s work :)
Ryan: oh really? i thought that in french theory “enterprise” stood for a ham sandwich, cuz everything is relative and can be deconstructed beyond recognition
Ryan: (I kiiid)
Marcel: you win
Marcel: which, unfortunately, means you lose
Ryan: damn!
Marcel: or not!
Marcel: gives up
Ryan: somebody call hegel

Jason pointed out this “insanely pretty bird.”

Jamis is moving to Idaho. The state motto there? “Esto perpetua (Let it be perpetual)” which Marcel thinks rocks. Jamis added: “trivia fact about idahoans: every person I’ve known who was raised in idaho seems to know the state song, etc. by heart.”

Jamis pointed to a review at Amazon that quoted author Dave Marks: “Don’t use exclamation points! This makes any writing look amateurish and fuzzy. If you’re saying something that’s important, the way you say it should be strong enough so that you don’t have to tell your reader that it’s important by using exclamation points at the end of your sentences.” Jason said, “punctuation is a crutch I will never even use periods any more I’m serious” Marcel countered, “huzza…verbs supperfluous…verbless speech!”

Ryan thinks tagging outside of social software is “extremely overrated” which led to a discussion of how people use tags…
Ryan: does anyone here use a tagging feature in some software?
Jamis: but that’s about it
Jason: Backpack
Marcel: i don’t really…on the rare occassions i use delicious i’ll take my post but i do so rather perfunctorily
Ryan: have you ever used your tags to find your own links?
Jason: flickr too
Marcel: and i’ve never actually searched delicious by my tags
Ryan: JF, have you ever used your tags to find one of your photos on flickr?
Jason: not really, but I do use other people’s tags
Jason: quite often on flickr
Ryan: yeah i use other people’s tags too
Ryan: but that’s public
Ryan: i know i’ll never win on the tags issue
Ryan: i am interested in if people use them tho

Nice letter:

I’m proud to announce that my partner and I have started promoting our rails service…I know positively that we could never have pulled together a service with the potential to reach a wide audience on an investment of less than 10k in cash without rails, basecamp, or your philosophy.

Jamis’ toilet broke…
Marcel: and until then….i hope you have a spare ;)
Jamis: yah, we do :)
Marcel: Jamis man doesn’t need to go to the bathroom anyway
Marcel: he transcends the physical
Ryan: “hey don’t toss that milk jug. i need it.”
Jamis: I’ll just stop eating for a few days
Marcel: or you could burn just as many calories as you eat and become a perfectly fueled machine
Ryan: Less Waste
Jamis: efficiency!

Jason changed the room’s topic to “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” -Edmund Burke

Marcel went to the dentist. Marcel’s teeth must have been pretty impressive because one of the girls who works there invited him to “an interactive theatrical dance party opera” this weekend. “A small part of me is perversly intrigued to find out what that actual turns out like,” he wrote. “It will also, apparently, include a silent auction, public body paiting, as well as break + aerial dancing…doesn’t sound very silent on the whole.” Jason replied, “Sounds illegal.”

Sam’s working on the Backpack calendar. He posted a demo movie where he added this new event: “shoot more rats.” Speaking of, Jason updated us on Operation Enduring Freedom…From Rats. So far he’s shot three and now he’s gone and bought an electrocution device
Marcel: i’m imagining you emerging from the water surrounded in flames, face painted all black
Marcel: Apocolypse Now style
Marcel: these rats fucked with the wrong guy it seems like
Jason: dude it’s true man
Marcel: you are about to Get Real
Jason: Real is in effect
Jason: Get Rats

38 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Mike 21 Apr 06

Maybe we’d have a Backpack calendar if it wasn’t so campy at 37 world headquarters.

ML 21 Apr 06

Mike, there’s tons of cool calendar stuff happening. We’d share that too but it’s Top Secret. Campy is open source.

Mark 21 Apr 06

IKEA has a stand-up desk — sort of. It is actually built similiar to a desk size drafting table (except it doesn’t tilt) and is adustable thanks to a small electric motor. Combine it with an adjustable stool and you can sit, stand or lean at your pleasure.

dave rau 21 Apr 06

I’ve been wanting a stand/sit desk for quite some time. Does anyone have any recommendations? I’ve seen the one at IKEA but it seems sort of expensive for what it is. Plus the nearest store is in Atlanta, and I’m in Tampa. Ugh.

Colin Scroggins 21 Apr 06

Ryan: I prefer tags anywhere that would normally require folders for organization. Associative organization is more flexible, does not require me to have a fixed hierarchical structure in place to organize information, and does not require me to create duplicate items to cross-reference (like folders would). There are few situations I can imagine where I would not prefer tags over folders or categories.

Dane 21 Apr 06

I’ve been using IKEA’s sit/stand desk (the GALANT, as it were) for about six months now, and I’m a raving fan. I’m standing at it right now. I’ll typically stand for the morning and sit in the afternoon as my legs begin to tire out.

It certainly isn’t cheap, but in my past I have ruined my button-clicking hand working with bad ergonomics. While many people who start small businesses rave about the economic efficiency of building a desk out of two filing cabinets and a door, I can attest that such an arrangement can have dastardly effects on the health of one’s nervous system.

Having a computer bring you to tears not from frustration, but from pain, is not a pretty scene. I’m serious when I say that being able to stand while working at a computer saved me from a lifetime of luddism.

The motorized nature of IKEA’s desk is great, as it makes it really easy for you to make small adjustments in the height of your desk throughout the day. If I feel that a nerve in my arm is starting to get pinched, I’ll move the desk up or down a few inches to compensate.

It’s one of those things that if it’s easy to do (like, you don’t need to relocate cinder blocks or move yourself to a different desk to do it), you obviously find yourself doing it more freely.

brad 21 Apr 06

Donald Rumsfeld works standing up for 8-12 hours a day, which is why he doesn’t think keeping Iraqi prisoners standing for hours at a time should qualify as “torture.”

I like the idea of sit-stand workstations, but I read in the NY Times about a doctor who went further and actually installed a treadmill underneath his stand-up desk. He sets it so that he walks slowly whenever he’s at his computer. I really like that idea, as I tend to think best when I’m in motion, and the thing I dislike most about my job is that it’s completely sedentary.

Mark 21 Apr 06

Dave -

I’ve only seen that sit/stand desk at the store, and only once at that — meaning on the first visit it was there, a few weeks later it wasn’t. I’ve never been able to find it on the IKEA website.

I don’t think it’s actually the Galant or a variant but it is very similiar.

Luis 21 Apr 06

With respect to the red version of the Basecamp logo, has anyone noticed it looks a lot like logo of one very popular sport apparel maker?

Mark 21 Apr 06

Oops. Disregard my previous comment. I misread your post and didn’t notice the sit/stand designation in your link.

My bad.

Javier Cabrera (ClearYourMind) 21 Apr 06

I have to say it; I love the idea of standing desks. I think Franklin had one? (everyone is authorized to hit me on the neck if he didn’t used one).

Anyone using it regularly?

Jon 21 Apr 06

“With respect to the red version of the Basecamp logo, has anyone noticed it looks a lot like logo of one very popular sport apparel maker?”

Oh totally! I’d never seen a check mark before I saw Nike’s logo…

benny 21 Apr 06

On the other hand, I don’t know if Hemingway was a picture of health and/or sanity.

Sammy 21 Apr 06

One of my coworkers has a standing desk. He has persistent back problems which are aggrevated by sitting at a desk, but evidently standing doesn’t bother him.

Drew McChesney 21 Apr 06

interactive theatrical dance party opera

Peter Cooper 21 Apr 06

FWIW, I use my own tags to find my links on all the time. Almost daily. I can remember.. ‘oh yes, there was that cool Rails vs PHP comparison or something’.. so I look for rails+php and bam, I find what I was trying to think of, etc.. I do have over 2500 links there though, so it’s not like I can hope to remember them properly.

Ben D. 21 Apr 06

The JERKER standing desk is the bomb. I loooove mine. My back problems went away when I started standing. I think I also have better circulation. It took me about a month to make the switch, but I wouldn’t go back.

James Weirick 21 Apr 06

“Jason changed the room�s topic to �All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.� -Edmund Burke”

My Government teacher would love you.

Quick note on tags. About the only time I really use tags is on my weblog. It makes it easier to keep track of post topics.

Dan 21 Apr 06

How about adding preset positions to the motor desk like presets in some vehicles for seating positions? Now that would be cool.


Tom Jones 22 Apr 06

Where can I find more information on that card case from the product shot David posted?

xian 22 Apr 06

On punctuation, notice that the opposite is true for comic books! At least the traditional ones! (Such as Marvel and DC!) They punctuate every sentence with an exclamation point! Unless they are asking a question, I guess? But that’s partly because the period can disappear visually in such a tiny text block!

SamLG 22 Apr 06

“With respect to the red version of the Basecamp logo, has anyone noticed it looks a lot like logo of one very popular sport apparel maker?”

Oh, yes. In fact, I thought, “Basecamp: Just Do It.”

/hides from cease & desist letter

Anonymous Coward 22 Apr 06

SamLG the red is there to show the shape, it’s not part of the logo.

JD McMillan 22 Apr 06

On tags: Tags are great for discovering content - particularly photo blogs like You can find some great photos by clicking around through tags. has a good tag search results page which makes things easier.

But for personal stuff I find tags get somewhat out of control with volume - the issue is retrieval not discovery. But is this just an implementation issue? Take for example - scanning the long list along the right is somewhat cumbersome for retrieval unless you can specifically remember how you tagged a particular link or you are disciplined about how you tag. What’s the solution? When I’m in my own bookmarks section there is a box at the top next to where you can put in tag(s). This box should serve as a search tool - say I’m looking for something that has to do with writing. What did I tag it as? I can’t remember. So I type “writer” into the box and three sections should be displayed on the fly - 1. matching tags: it should list tags like “writers” “writer”. This section helps me figure out quickly what tags I have. 2. Tagged with “writer”. 3. Contain “writer” in the description or notes.

Ideally this would all be on the fly so I can quickly look through my pile of tags and tagged links and find what I’m looking for. It breaks up search into helpful “sections” like Spotlight. Tags become a search tool instead of an end in and of themselves.

Stefan Haubold 24 Apr 06

The shot of the insanely pretty bird was taken in Dresden, Germany only a few minutes from where I work. The building in the background is the New Congress Center (Kongresszentrum). The river in the foreground is the Elbe which is swollen because of spring high-water. The dome in the back is the Yenidze ( a former cigarette factory, which is now used as office building and restaurant.

Anthony Rubin 24 Apr 06

“Imagine being able to change the height of a workstation as easily as you flip on a light switch.”

Ward 24 Apr 06

I also will attest to the Jerker Desk from IKEA. I have a drafting chair for when I would like to rest my tootsies, but when just coming by to check email or do something quick, there is no comparison - standing is a great option to have. Jerker is a great value too.

Ward 24 Apr 06

I also will attest to the Jerker Desk from IKEA. I have a drafting chair for when I would like to rest my tootsies, but when just coming by to check email or do something quick, there is no comparison - standing is a great option to have. Jerker is a great value too.

Ward 24 Apr 06

sorry for the double post.