Fly on the Wall: “The magic is that everything has a center of gravity. You just need to find it.” 06 Jul 2006
22 comments Latest by JD
Some of the activity this week at our internal 37signals Campfire chat room:
It’s a dirty secret that much of what we admire in the design world is a byproduct not of “strategy” but of common sense, taste and luck. Some clients are too unnerved by ambiguity to accept this, and create garganuan superstructures of bullshit to provide a sense of security….Not only do designers enthusiastically collude in this process, but many have found ways to bill for it.
David found this alternative to Snapz Pro for intel macs but Jamis said it’s kind of flakey. A call went out to the wild: “COME ON Ambrosia! Update Snapz! or COME ON APPLE! Make one!” Suspicions abound that Apple uses a homebrewed one for its own stuff. Hmm.
Ryan noticed something interesting while reading through Tufte’s Beautiful Evidence. “What struck me is how you almost never have to hold something in your head while turning the page…he usually finishes his thought within the two pages you can see…and when you flip, it’s something new…that’s an excellent self-imposed constraint…’whatever i need to say, i’ll do it here.’” Jason replied, “Yes, I love that. I noticed that more on this book than others. The image and text is in one spread so when you turn you are turning your attention to a new idea. If you have too much to say than the space allowed then you are probably saying too much…it definitely makes it easier to design the book too…you can design each spread as if it was a standalone poster.”
Sweating the details sometimes means a lengthy debate over a single word choice. It took a 1305 word discussion to decide which one of these was the best choice for a feature in Sunrise: ping, alert, reminder, or task.
Jason is blown away by stone balancing. “The magic is that everything has a center of gravity. You just need to find it,” he says. Jamis is wowed by watermelon carving. Marcel said the stone balancing stuff is zened out but he thinks watermelon carving is the pits. Ok, he didn’t really say that second part.
Jamis sent an email to Amazon with a question about the ship date of something he recently ordered. They replied with a 5 paragraph response and upgraded the shipping to 2nd Day Domestic at no extra charge. “Totally above-and-beyond, impressive,” he said. “But I have to wonder if they actually read my email :)”
Jamis got a spam that purports to be the IRS and takes you to a site that asks for your SSN, credit card, etc. So he went to irs.gov to see if there was a way to report it and found this page. To report suspected tax fraud activity, you have to FILL OUT A PAPER FORM and MAIL IT to them. Mail it!? How 1985. Maybe we should get Senator Ted Stevens to explain to the IRS how to use the series of tubes that is the internet.
I changed the room’s topic to “The defining factor is never resources, it’s resourcefulness.” -Tony Robbins
eBay is banning sellers from using Google Checkout and David thinks that’s stupid: “Only going to give GMoney a ton of legitimacy and interest.”
Jason is inspired by watch design but hardly wears ‘em anymore. “I don’t need to know what time it is most of the time…but I just love the engineering of watches and how you can make a million designs with roughly the same constraints.” Ryan agreed, “Yeah, they’re fun and they’re all about subtlety cuz the scale is so small.”
A round of huzzahs for the nice video tour (toward the bottom of the page) for Goggle Checkout. Also, Jason thinks putting the the cart icon in Adwords is “very smart.”
Ryan noted this interesting Matisse quote: “I do not paint things, I paint only the differences between things.”