Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Mighty Hoax From An Eggcorn Grows

If I had any defecated readers, this would be for them.

By a hair's breath, this could be a tough road to hoe. I'ts even possibly all for knot, due to an alterior motive. Or maybe it's Old-Timer's disease kicking in, something I probably inherited from one of my anisters.

If someone said this to my face we might end up in a bear handed fight because I'd take it as a bold faced lie, and I'd tell him to cease and decease instead of baring witness like that.

You can bet that his chickens would come home to roast and he'd have to come to turns with that. Or end up right in the crutch of the matter and then die of conjunctive heart failure.

But I have to remind myself to curve my enthusiasm to avoid death charges that might be thrown my way. Too many of them and you end up dough-eyed, for sure, at least. And that would require a whole bunch of explanation marks to clarify any far-gone conclusion, avoid financial heartship and flying the flag at half-mass.

For all intensive purposes I would be out of gameful employment, and could get my nipples in a twist over it. Then I might have to girdle my loins and prepare for battle with a taste of granola oil, which would require me to grim and bear it. In lame man's terms though, I would be internally grateful because I'm lack toast and tolerant and can't stand the locust of control being elsewhere.

If it was, I'd even consider making a pack with the devil to hone in on my main concern, which is really much to do about nothing, i.e., no holes barred during an outer body experience, which often occurs while I'm speaking pigeon English and looking for planter warts.

But usually I just play it by year. That way I generally avoid post-dramatic stress disorder as well as post-pardon depression. "Reap what you sew," is what I say, and if not, then ring your hands of the whole deal.

No use standing around soaping wet, holding a spear of influence, trying to spread like wildflowers. Do that and you'll end up stark raven mad, so, for heaven's sake take it with a grain of assault and look out for the invincible hand. It's something you can count on because it's always up to stuff. It's obvious from the right vintage point, and if not, then it's "Whoa is me!", and you're back outside with the windshield factor to deal with, and could be pulled over for wreckless driving.


"PHOENIX—A man from Somerville, Mass., and his friend who went around the country this year removing typographical errors from public signs have been banned from national parks after vandalizing a historic marker at the Grand Canyon." (More...)


Language Log
The Eggcorn Database
Eggcorn at Wikipedia
Sister Salad: "Yo Comments Are Whack!"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sheep Sheep Poo Poo

First comes the grass.

Then, the sheeps.

Poo follows shortly. Endlessly. Forever.

A resource waiting for its chance to shine.

All poo really needs is a chance. A chance to show the world what it is capable of. A chance to prove its worth. A chance to reach into the note card market, bookmarks, and, yes -- air fresheners.

Creative Paper Wales is a creative paper company in Wales, wherever that is. Possibly near an ocean. Maybe on an island. An island infested with sheep.

What to do? Where to find creativity?

Ah, the sheep. Close at hand, ever churning away at the grass, veritable fountains of poo.

Creative Paper Wales, located at Twll Golau Paper Mill, Aberllefenni Slate Quarry, Snowdonia, Wales, United Kingdom, said: "Yes, we can do it." So they did.

You can too. "Making simple and attractive paper is enormous fun and remarkably easily learned. You can do it yourself with improvised home made equipment...start making your own paper at home using a kitchen blender." Presumably a spare, but who knows? You can visit Creative Paper Wales's site to find out.

And pursue answers to other questions such as "What is the furthest a sheep has ever flown, unaided?", "When faced with a 'water emergency' a sheep will...", and so on. Sounds like real fun.

Oh, and where can you buy "Rose fragranced Poo-Pourri", and so on.

No, seriously. They really do this.


Make your own
Creative Paper Wales
Sheep Poo Paper Air Freshener mention at Shepherd's Notebook

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Simplified Mind

Simplicity means getting to the point. Let’s do it.

No matter what else you have in your life, where you go, what you do, the web is a little different. Not different in kind so much, but in degree. Enough different that you have to change your thinking a little, but not past that.

Simplicity isn’t minimalism, scraping by with the bare bones, just because. Minimalism can be fun, and clean, and to the point, and so elegant it makes your teeth hurt. But minimalism can be an exercise in emptiness too, done for its own sake. And we’re not talking about that.

Another thing we’re not talking about: being simplistic. No stick figures. No limiting ourselves to words of one syllable. No sounding dumb. Simplicity is not that.

Try this: "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." Leonardo da Vinci said that. He wasn’t stupid. You know that. I know that. He knew that. Everyone knows that. But he praised simplicity. So maybe we should think about it.

You could say that simplicity is the absence of ornamentation, doodads, or pretense.

You could say.

If you like being negative.


Simplicity is about being positive. Negatives make good fences, for walling things off. Wall off a concept and then you can forget about it. That’s handy. That’s convenient. That’s clever.

In a way, that’s even clean.

But it isn’t productive.


If you are being negative, even in a constructive way, you are thinking about what you don’t want.

Think about that.

To think about what you don’t want is to be stuck to it. Like a big hairy creepy buzzing insect stuck on flypaper. Trapped. Held. Locked. Limited. Doomed.

Not productive.

So let’s go beyond that. Let’s get somewhere. Let’s think about what simplicity can do, what’s right about it.

For one thing, simplicity makes us think.

If we want to do something, and keep it simple, then we have to know exactly what we’re up to. Pare things down and we’re at the core. Once at the core we can decide if that’s really, really what we want. And if it is, then we put it in the display window and see who comes running up to buy it.

Simplicity is really about deciding on goals. Nobody can do everything, though lots keep trying. Try hard enough and you go out of business. Because no one can figure out what you’re up to.

Simplify and you have a chance. Not a guarantee but a chance. The reason? Because you’ve exposed the core. Because you are showing the essence. Because if you have a jewel you have it out of its case, unwrapped, sitting in the sun all sparkly.

When people see it they know what’s up.

Now on the web it’s all about information. There is no substance. That’s one thing that makes it hard. That’s one thing that makes all software hard -- it’s all in your head. Programmers spend their days creating imaginary machines, which is why development is tough. Trust me here, if you’ve never programmed for anyone else, you have no idea how weird it gets. Almost nobody can think abstractly at all and yet this work involves three, four, six, eight levels of abstraction, all fighting with each other.

Web sites too.

Web sites are software.

You aren’t selling anything, if you have a commercial site. Not really. Whether it’s products or services. You aren’t sharing substance. Not really.

Your business may be substantial, and have a reputation. Many satisfied customers may have bought your products or used your services. But a web site is only a few electrons sprayed onto a computer screen.

That’s as real as it gets.

We are dealing in illusions. Impressions. Vague wisps of current flowing to and fro.

Slippery things for human minds to deal with.

We need help.


There are several kinds of simplicity. The most obvious is in graphic design. This means how things look. The pictures. The colors. The type styles. The layout. One column, two columns, three, 18, whatever. That’s one thing.

Programming. Most people have no clue, and they shouldn’t. This is totally behind the scenes, and it takes an expert to do, but it should be simple too. This isn’t our final point though.

Usability is critical. And guess what? It’s also one of the most overlooked areas on the web. Think about that one. What are visitors to your site supposed to do?

OK, time’s up. They’re supposed to use it.

Usability is a whole separate specialty. Keep in mind that someone coming to your web site for the first time will give you four to six seconds to make an impression.


Pop quiz: how many second chances can you squeeze into four seconds?


But that’s still a little off target.

Here’s the simplicity bullseye: concept.

Bet you never expected that. Bet you thought that a nice, flashy design full of hot colors with plenty of pull down menus and twirly things might do it. Or if you’ve been around the block a few times, you were thinking of how people would actually use your site and end up making you rich.

But those aren’t it.

It’s the concept.

That’s where simplicity goes nuclear.

"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." Antoine de Saint Exupéry. To the point. You can see his idea right away. Strip off the cruft, scrape away the barnacles right down to bare metal, and you have it. Everything else is byproduct.

That’s what you want. The concept.

You are exposing who you are and what you are about. No hiding. No wobbling. No waffling. No waste. Put your neck on the line, boldly. Win or lose, succeed or fail, you want it to be quick and decisive.

Simplicity enables that.

By hewing to simplicity you know what to leave out and what to put in. You know how much web site you have to build, and you know it’s going to be smaller. You focus intently on doing just what you need. Exactly what you need, and none of the rest.

You get done quicker. You get done cheaper. Your results are cleaner and easier to maintain.

Your message is clear and focused.

You meet your business needs. You serve customers.

That’s the point.



Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Color Me Colorful

Color palette generators:

Color Palette Creator
Color Palette Generator: Turns a photograph into a color scheme
Color Scheme Online
ColorBlender: Color matching and palette creation Web Color Combinations Testing Tool
colordb: Online tool for finding colors and schemes
ColorJack Sphere
ColorJack Studio Create and share colors Color Palette Generator
EasyRGB color palette creator
GenoPal Online Free tool for finding harmonious color schemes
Kuler: Create and share color schemes online
Wellstyled Color Scheme Generator 2
Wellstyled Color Scheme Generator 3

Color palettes, schemes, and info:

A glossary of terms related to color.
A simple introduction to color theory.
Adam Polselli: hues to Use in 2005.
AIGA: The Art of Camo.
Color Codes Matching Chart: Pantone/CMYK/RGB equivalents.
Color in Motion Flash color exploration.
Color Rules of Thumb with examples.
Color Schemer: website-ready color schemes.
Color shades in hexadecimal.
ColorBurn: winners of Firewheel Design's "ColorBurn" contest. Library of user-generated color schemes.
Colors Found in Nature and Interface Design.
Colors on the Web: articles about color usage online for designers.
Colour Lovers palettes.
Daily Color Scheme (Thru Sept. 2006, anyway.)
Darkeye: designs and color palettes by individual colors.
Design Melt Down: sites by dominant color.
EasyRGB Create color palettes, or search.
Fashion in Colors: color as a design element in Western fashion. (Flash)
Fashion Trendsetter: Color schemes based on fashion trends over the years.
Finding a color between two others.
General color theory principles.
Hair and Skin Color Charts. Color palettes based on images and photos.
List of named colors including gamma variations.
List of named colors with hex values.
List of Online Color Resources for Designers.
Mezzoblue: CMYK (for Those Who Do RGB).
Mezzoblue: Creating color palettes.
moreCrayons: Tools for finding web-smart colors.
Palettes: web Page Design for Designers.
Pantone home Interior color schemes. web designs and their color schemes.
Skin Color Charts.
Veerle: Choosing color combinations for websites.
VisiBone Webmaster's Color Lab Classic.
Web 2.0 Gradients: Photoshop gradient palettes.
Web 2.0 Specific colors.
What's Its Color: A color scheme based on an uploaded image.
Why Color Matters: Color in marketing and business.