5 Things I Love – May 23

image for weekly list of five things I'm currently loving in life, music, art, etc.

1. Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Ignite the Soul’

I actually saw this video a week or so ago and don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to post it until today. Not only does it appeal to me in the sense that it’s the symphony orchestra and, well, I was a music major at one point in my life; but it also does a great job of bringing context to the video with the various locations that can be seen. It’s not your classic image of a symphony playing in a massive orchestral hall. If it were I would support it out of love for the arts, but it’s highly doubtful I would love it. Also, great tag line.

P.S. They can’t afford to air the video so please share it with your friends if you haven’t already.

2. Spinach Quesadillas at Nuevo Vallerta in Grand Blanc

I had actually been to Nuevo Vallerta on a number of occasions before discovering these. Actually, it was my mom who discovered them an after hearing her rave over them I decided that when we went there this past week I really needed to give them a try. Totally worth it. The steamed spinach meshes wonderfully with white cheese and just a bit of spices folded into a flour tortilla. If you’re a spinach and Mexican fan I’d recommend giving it a try.

3. Angry Nerds

An entertaining spoof on the oh so popular angry birds game with birds from ‘the Hacker’ to ‘the Agilista’. Should they ever decide to move beyond spoofing I think there could be a definite market for their deck chair propelled fowl.

4. Stella McCartney’s Fall 2011 Mosaic Clutch

I spotted this in my June 2011 issue of Marie Claire and love the almost tribal look that the mosaic gives as well as the interest of being a square clutch. There’s a second clutch of a similar nature that looks like it features inlaid abalone and is gorgeous as well. I’m sure they’re beyond my price range, but it doesn’t stop me from drooling over them ;)

5. Fat Belly Handymen

So, I haven’t actually had any handyman work done by these gents, but they were my vendor neighbors at the 2nd Annual Baker Auto Show yesterday and proved to be the type of neighbors who are both entertaining and helpful. Of course, the sense of humor should be obvious considering their name, but they also helped me attempt to wrangle an octopus-like canopy (even if we did eventually give up in defeat) and chase items that the wind decided didn’t belong on my table anymore. Being a renter, it’s unlikely that I’ll need handyman help anytime soon, but if I did they’d definitely be on my to call list.

NaNoWriMo: Bonus! NaNo meets Pirates of Penzance

This video was forwarded out via @NaNoWriMo’s twitter feed yesterday and it was so fabulous I thought I’d post it here to share with you all.

Now we shall return to our regular NaNoWriMo posting schedule.

P.S. Have a safe and enjoyable Halloween weekend, everyone!

8 Keys to Success

As I was catching up on my alerts e-mails for the last week or so (I’ve been out of the office since Tuesday), I came across a link to this great video from Richard St. Johns on Penn Olson’s blog from TED 2005 and decided to share it with all of you. It’s only about 4 minutes long, so grab a cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy.

What is TED?
TED, short for ‘Technology, Entertainment, Design’, is a small non-profit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. They do two annual conference every year, plus a number of local conferences, all with remarkable speakers and subjects. These speakers are recorded and their talks are available free of charge on TED’s website. I highly recommend taking a few minutes to drop by and check out what they have to offer. Videos range in length from a few minutes to 30 or 45 minutes long.

Icons and Technology

I recently did a lunch and learn presentation to my co-workers on the subject of iconography and, after the excessive ragging I got last time for not recording a presentation, I caught it on Silverback. I’ve included a copy of the powerpoint and the quotes which I used below.

One note – I did realize in going back over my notes that the article is not “Realism in UX Design” but “Realism in UI Design” from UX Magazine. This has been corrected in the Powerpoint version.

Iconography Powerpoint

“Noobs in the digital space don’t understand things holistically. They barely understand the basics. They lack any cognitive surplus to provide themselves with an overview of the environment they interact with.”
Thomas Peterson, “Anatomy of a Noob

“It’s pretty rare in the real world that we rely on iconography alone to represent ideas. Bathroom doors generally have an icon of a man and the word “Men.” Stop signs have the word “Stop” on them.”
Jensen Harris, “The Importance of Labels

“Part of the user experience effort around Outlook 98 was improving the menu and toolbar structure. One of the problems noticed again and again among non-expert users was that people didn’t use the toolbar at all! …In the end, one change caused a total turnaround: labeling the important toolbar buttons. Almost immediately, the toolbars were a big hit and everyone at all skill levels starting using them.”
Jensen Harris, “The Importance of Labels”

“Web iconography instantly denotes certain site elements… it’s important to appeal to the viewer’s sense of familiarity here. A custom set of icons has a certain cachet, but if your ideogram is too obscure, it will fail to communicate the desired message.”
Jessica Neuman Beck, “Does Your Copy Hold Up To A Quick Glance?

“Ever notice how many iPhone icons use analog objects? Phone, envelope, etc. We are wedded to the comforts of familiar objects.”
“Yet how many kids growing up these days will know why an icon for a phone is shaped like that?”
Brenden Dawes tweets, “Iconography: Where are we headed?

“Images are the main content of our thoughts regardless of the sensory modality in which they are generated and regardless of whether they are about a thing or a process involving things or about words or other symbols.”
Antonio Damasio

Also referenced are these articles and books-

Realism in UI Design
The Humane Interface
Designing Web Navigation