Sunspots: The blood sport edition 37signals 29 Aug 2006

19 comments Latest by maikeru

Vitamin interviews Dan Cederholm about Cork’d and more
“Secretly, or not so secretly I guess, we’ve been thinking about other sites, I won’t go into detail right now, but there are other beverages beside wine, so we’ll see what happens…It’s so much fun working on something of your own. You feel more invested and you don’t feel like you’re on the clock so you put more detail, more attention to detail, and you’re just more excited about it. It’s fun.”

Conan O’Brien on trusting your gut
“There’s a temptation to overthink the whole thing. I’ve had a Field Of Dreams philosophy to this: If you build it, they will come. I still have no idea. I don’t look at research. I don’t look at who’s watching, or when they’re watching. I’ve never been interested in any of that. I’m interested in doing what I think is funny. For the last 13 years, that seems to have worked for me.”

Craig Newmark’s biggest single project? Monitoring Craigslist’s New York City housing section
“When you are in a situation where you feel everyone else is cheating, a lot of people feel a moral sanction that they can cheat, too…Real estate in New York is a blood sport. It’s not like anywhere else.” Newmark has taken to dropping in on real estate agencies unannounced when he is in Manhattan. “I’m letting them know I am really committed and that I really exist. I’ve had a few cases, specifically three, where people have reported problems getting a fee back, and in each case I’ve talked to the agent and gotten it back.”

Article on Ruby on Rails and David in Chicago Tribune [Registration required]
“Last summer, Ruby on Rails helped a small team of programmers at EarthLink to contribute to the New Orleans relief effort after Hurricane Katrina slammed into the city. Tasked with building a Web site to help survivors reconnect, the team had less than a day to get the application up and running. ‘Had we gone through our normal development process it could have taken weeks,’ said Greg Hartling, team leader on the project. Instead, Hartling’s team decided to build the application with Ruby on Rails. Six hours and one skipped dinner later, SurvivorsReunited.com was online. The first names were in the database the next day.”

Freaky coincidence: ‘Standing Still’ plays over Home Depot sound system while ImprovEverywhere pranksters move in slo-mo and freeze in place
“Amazingly, about thirty seconds before the freezing in place began, the Home Depot PA system started playing Jewel’s 2001 hit, ‘Standing Still.’ Really. Several agents came up to me after the mission asking how I had gotten that song to play. I wish we were clever enough to sneak into the Home Depot back rooms and insert a CD into their stereo, but it was honestly just a freaky coincidence.”

Edward Tufte on NPR
“If your words aren’t truthful, the finest optically letter-spaced typography won’t help. And if your images aren’t on point, making them dance in color in three dimensions won’t help…If you look after truth and goodness, beauty looks after herself.” [via Kottke]

“Free Energy” discovery provides five times the amount of energy a mobile phone battery generates for the same size and doesn’t need recharging
“When he attempted to share his findings, he says, scientists either put the phone down on him or refused to endorse him publicly in case they damaged their academic reputations. So last week he took out a full-page advert in the Economist magazine, challenging the scientific community to examine his technology.”

Gucci breaks out from Flash
“[A] seemless interactive user experience without using proprietary browser plug-ins — with the user never noticing what’s going on under the wraps. It just works.” One Flash-like problem remains: What happens when someone wants to share a link with a friend (e.g. “Check out this handbag!”)? [Update: It is possible to link products but not specific styles.]

19 comments so far (Jump to latest)

John Topley 29 Aug 06

You have to register to read that Chicago Tribune article. Why do so many newspaper sites do that? Stupid!

Matt Carey 29 Aug 06

John: I totally agree! Very annoying and very out-dated

Tony 29 Aug 06

How much did you test the Gucci site? I browsed the products, selected a handbag, and as far as I can tell, got a direct URL to a specific item: http://www.gucci.com/us/us-english/us/fall-winter-06/85th-gucci/handbags.asp#fw06_85_163804_D590G_9022

seth 29 Aug 06

I believe the latest version of flash (and perhaps some version before it) technically allowed for bookmarking (e.g. sending a direct link to the shoes in question). But it is up to the developers to use it. I’m not a big fan of flash, but I believe it is a mistake to blame the technology in this instance.

It is also technically possible to fix both bookmarking and “the back button” using what most people refer to as “AJAX”. It involves some serious hackery, but is nonetheless possible.

George Hotelling 29 Aug 06

Steorn, the “free energy” company, shows the power of passionate small teams…

… to bilk investors for millions on an obvious fraud.

Ben Delaney 29 Aug 06

um…Seth….It’s not Flash. Pure Javascript goodness there. And as far as linking to a specific image, seems to work fine — when you’re on a specific item and not in the general “gallery”. example link. Pretty nice work if you ask me.

ML 29 Aug 06

Re: Gucci, you can link to a specific product but not to a specific style within that product (there are often lots of variations, like this handbag with 9 styles).

seth 29 Aug 06

@Ben - you really shouldn’t start off sarcastically when you end up with your foot in your mouth. But I can, since I am about to actually correct somebody (something you failed to do).

Um, Ben…

I didn’t bring up flash. the poster did: “One Flash-like problem remains…”

Now, I know the word Flash appears in that sentence, Ben, but if you have a strong command of the English language (which I will not presuppose you do) you would notice is is followed by “-like.” This means that it isn’t /actually/ flash, but “like” flash in the way it looks, behaves, etc.

I got that.

If you have a sufficient level of reading comprehension (which I will not presuppose you do) you would know that the poster, in essence, was saying that Flash and AJAX share the described problem.

I was simply saying that this problem can be overcome using either “technology.”

But you are lauded for proudly displaying your javascript fanboy colors.

Gregg Hartling 29 Aug 06

I’d like to correct a factual error in the Chicago Tribune article. There’s a mistake in the portion about EarthLink. We definitely used Rails to launch our hurricane survivor site in record time, but we did not build SurvivorsReunited.com (which also appears to be a Rails site).

Coincidentally, we just decommissioned our own Katrina survivor site last week, so I can’t even point to the correct site.

Stephen 29 Aug 06

Are there no other pictures of Edward Tufte?

Jack Straw 29 Aug 06

What happens if javascript is disabled: black screen. No “javascript is required” message?

Mrad 29 Aug 06

The Gucci site is impressive. Gotta say I hate the window resizing though. Don’t take control of the size of my browser window. It angers me.

I always love how the mere mention of the “F” word pisses off so many folks. I wonder, do devout Flash developers get as pissy about the mention of AJAX or JS? Hmmmm….

Jack Straw 29 Aug 06

Mrad: yes…yes they do, “ajax is a fad, flash has been doing this for years”

Avi 29 Aug 06

I hate flash so much. I think Wozzelle’s work is awesome and kudos to Gucci for breaking out of the mold - what’s another fashion site built with flash anyway?

Man, I really do hate flash.

Ajax might be a fad, but only it’s implementation. The goal behind Ajax and Flash is a rich user interface (which doesn’t always equate to a useable experience), and I don’t think that’s a fad. Today, we use Javascript and XML, tommorow, we’ll use something else, that’s why it’s development.

Mrad 29 Aug 06

Jack: Mayhaps I don’t hear quite the outcry from the Flash community because AJAX/JS folks outnumber Flash folks. Or maybe the latter just yells louder. ;)

Avi: Lemme ask you this: why do you hate Flash? Is it because it’s leveraging a proprietary plug-in? Is it because it’s been abused for so long(skip intro)? Or is it because you dislike Flash development? I’m not trying to be sarcastic, I really want to know.

I personally enjoy Flash, and think it’s done great things for web development. I doubt we’d see JS doing the things it’s doing today if the precident hadn’t been set by Flash. But now that JS can accomplish so much, people can truely weigh what’s the best tool to accomplish what.

Not to mention the great discussions/disagreements that arise as a result. It’s always fun to get in here and ruffle a few feathers. :)

Cameron Barrett 29 Aug 06

Re: the Gucci site. It’s pretty impressive work but the Javascript made my browser slow to a crawl. I’m using Camino in Mac OS X on a pretty fast G5. The window resizing pissed me off as well.

Initial impression: it’s solid work but I think the same thing could have been accomplished a lot easier without all the crazy side-scrolling and massive amounts of Javascript. There is ony so much spinning beach-ball of death I can take.

Avi 29 Aug 06

@Mrad:
Flash being a proprietary plugin really bothers me, especially with Adobe involved. But that’s not really the point, the point is I believe a website should be written in extensible markup languages. The reasons why are many, but basically, I believe that it’s in these standards and constraints that a website becomes it’s own medium. Call me a purist, call me naiive, I’ve seen so much beauty in webstandards and so little in flash.

Mrad 30 Aug 06

Ok purist! hahaha :D - just kidding.

Thanks for indulging my curiosity. And thanks for articulating a response instead of saying “it just sucks”.

maikeru 05 Sep 06

In response to George Hotelling (Steorn, free energy), I found what seems like a follow up article here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/story/0,,1858134,00.html

Here’s a quote:
“And, until their claims have been assessed by the jury, McCarthy says they won’t be accepting any investor offers. So if this is a hoax, it would appear not to be a money-making scheme; Walshe says the Economist ad alone cost 75,000.”

While I doubt they’ve found free energy, they may have found something, so I’ll save judgeing until the scientific community have investigated.

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