Sunspots: The no big fuss edition 37signals 08 Aug 2006

12 comments Latest by Geoff DiMasi

Interview with chef Mario Batali
His attitude toward food shopping sounds like a good approach to UI design too: "Q: What are your criteria for food shopping? A: That it be presented naturally, with no big fuss, and that it be alive and vital -- or at least look that way.
Jakob Nielsen on AJAX, maps, etc.
Take maps: yes, it's one of the usability guidelines for store finders and locators to show a map of your location. But don't make this a highly interactive map -- it's better to use a hand-drawn map that's optimized to giving directions to your address...The very nerdiness of the name "AJAX" gives me hope that it will be used for causes more worthwhile than those now characteristic of Flash. Doomed by its own name, Flash had similar potential but was so grossly abused for 'flashy' design that it never succeeded in adding much useful functionality to the Web."
Book: "Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: A Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin"
"This is simply the best book about art I have ever read. Like other reviewers, I can say that this book permanently altered the way I see the world (and art)."
Plant a phone call to yourself
"Have you ever been in a situation where you wished your cell phone would ring?...With "The Popularity Dialer", you can plan ahead. Via a web interface, you can choose to have your phone called at a particular time (or several times). At the elected time, your phone will be dialed and you will hear a prerecorded message that's one half of a conversation. Thus, you will be prompted to have a fake conversation and will easily fool those around you."
Girl Talk's new record samples 150 different sources
"It ricochets from Top 40 hits to obscure gems and back again like a cool breeze, clocking in at less than 42 minutes. The sampling is pure precision, slotting razor-thin (but highly recognizable) guitar stabs on top of blaring synths on top of anthemic rap couplets and so on, all at breakneck speed." The future of music?
Ford trumpets its "Commitment to Design"
Bold Moves is a weekly updated video documentary series that takes you inside Ford. Design is the theme of this edition. "If Ford wants to turn itself around, they'll need to build quality vehicles with a focus on fresh design. In the past, Ford has turned to design to save the company — Will it work again?"
Kathy Sierra on the style of her Head First series
"The brain is always scanning for things which don't meet its predictions or expectations. So we try to use anything we can to get the brain to react — surprise, novelty, mistakes, bizarre images, people (the brain responds more emotionally to people than to things), anthropomorphizing (for the same reason), unusual images, things that engage more senses, etc."
Illustrations as conference notes
Kim Leon's "interactive conference graphic notes" from SXSW offer an interesting twist on typical conference notes.

12 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Aaron 08 Aug 06

Would you mind writing a post about your experience now at 37signals having a new investor (Bezos) on board.

Something like a “learned lessons” post. The good and bad of having a new investor on board.

I wouldn’t be suprised if I wasn’t the only person interested in hearing what 37signals thoughts are on having someone new at the company

JF 08 Aug 06

Aaron, there’s nothing special to write up. It’s business as usual here. We’re working on our existing products, our new products, and a few things on the side just like we always have and will continue to do.

Jeff is a minority investor, he’s not an employee or someone who has a physical presence in the company on a regular basis. He’s busy with his own company and his other passions. That keeps him occupied.

When we need his advice we’ll ask him for it. If he has something he wants us to hear he’ll tell us. Other than that it’s business as usual.

Aaron 08 Aug 06


Thanks for the comment.

It’s interesting to hear that Jeff’s addition is more like putting a lawyer on retainer to secure his services in the future.

Though, a little better than my example since instead of you paying him - he paid you guys.

Keep up the good work and congrats you your success

barnacle 08 Aug 06

Static Maps are lame on websites generally. If you are from out of town then a static map may not give enough detail of how to get to the location. A few times I have not been able to find the street they mentioned on my road atlas so I didn’t even know what suburb to look in, let alone to get to the right street. AJAX maps however let the user zoom in or out as far as they like.

Peter Cooper 08 Aug 06

I was excited about that Girl Talk album after reading the post heer and the review.. but I got it and wow.. it’s really unlistenable (IMHO). It’s ultra clever and really well done, but it’s really incohesive and headache-inducing. Might be a killer soundtrack for a game though! Sadly, I think DJ Shadow is still gunna have to carry the torch in that genre.. but thanks for the recommendation!

Kyle 08 Aug 06

I would just like to point out that Mario Batali is a genius, and I can’t wait to go back to NYC for another visit to his Babbo and Lupa restaurants.

That is all, thank you.

Cory Forsyth 09 Aug 06

Hello, I’m one of the cofounders of the Popularity Dialer and I just wanted to say hello and thanks for the mention on your blog. I’ve been a big 37signals fan for a long time, since circa 2000 when I bought a 37signals ePimp t-shirt (btw, are there any of those still around? I lost mine a year ago and would really like to get another one). I use both Basecamp and Backpack all the time, too.

Thanks again for mentioning us on your blog. I respect 37signals a lot and I think the web is a better place for your presence in it. I’ve even started learning Ruby due largely to the accolades that I hear about it at SvN here.

Cory Forsyth
co-founder, popularity dialer

Geoff DiMasi 09 Aug 06

Just out of curiousity… did you read “Seeing is Forgetting…” after my post a week and half ago here?

It is an inspiring read, for sure.

ML 10 Aug 06

Yes Geoff, your comment inspired the link. Thanks.

Geoff DiMasi 11 Aug 06

My pleasure.

I really enjoy recommending that book, since I want the world to filled with more “aware” people.