What's your personal favourite design up there?
The diplomatic answer, of course, is that they're all wonderful.
But since you've got the Magnum against my temple, Bruce, I'd say that Didier
Hilhorst's Release One, Radu Darvas' Zunflower, Doug Bowman's Golden Mean,
and Mike Pick's What Lies Beneath went way past my expectations of what the
Zen Garden could become. Each one offers something totally unique CSS-wise, but
they're also Damn Good Design.
But those are the obvious choices. I am really fond of the
set from design #24 (Dan Rubin's Not So Minimal) to design #31 (Kev Mears'
Hedges) inclusive; each one of those is unique, well-designed, and an incredible
addition to the project.
Just between you and me, Bruce, I never expected the quality
of work that we've been seeing. Personally, it's been humbling, inspiring,
and an honour to work with the various Garden submitters.
You also run mezzoblue.
Blue is the expression of my quiet sorrow within.
Actually, I'm a pretty happy guy right now. I did some brainstorming
in fall '01 to come up with a domain name that wasn't long taken, and I ran
through a bunch of variants on a 'cold' theme ? PixelBlue, MezzoFrost, and
a few others. It felt right at the time, but I regret having locked myself
into a specific palette. On the bright side, I got a really interesting colour
scheme out of my latest re-design.
What's your favourite film/ piece of music/ building /
pizza flavour/ foreign word?
At the moment: Amélie / Itzhak Perlman violin solos / Rockefeller Center / California Pizza Kitchen's Peking
Duck / merde. List subject to change within seconds of publication.
Who do you think are the cutting-edge designers at the
I was browsing through Doug Bowman's portfolio the other night, and
I said to my wife, "you know, it's good to be intimidated by other people's
work. It gives you something to shoot for." The work of Todd Dominey and the Cuban Council/K10k
crew always make me smile. I wasn't familiar with Mike
Pick until he submitted his two Zen Garden designs, but I've quickly become a
fan of his portfolio.
I love browsing the design portals (surfstation.lu, pixelsurgeon.com,
designiskinky.com) now and then for inspiration and some good, clean link-lovin'?
but I can't commit myself to much more than the casual encounter. It's nothing
personal, darlings, I just can't keep up with your shiny rocks and flashy
The end of IE standalone, and the death of Netscape ? a
fillip or setback for adoption of modern mark-up techniques?
Depends on the day of the week. I go back and forth a lot.
The optimist in me says that Mozilla/Opera/Safari will quickly
fill the giant hole left behind, the rise of alternative devices like wireless
makes standards support more important than ever, and dealing with IE6 for
the next six years will be a minor inconvenience at best.
The pessimist in me says that Microsoft never did like the
web, and as they shift their focus away from it, we can bet whatever their
strategy is from here on out will be proprietary. And given their incredible
market share, we're just going to have to support it. The optimist in me interjects
that there's no way in the world Microsoft can win that game; the public likes
the web way too much to let them yank the carpet out beneath us.
The optimist wins out most days, but it's not a great situation.
On a scale of 1 (=Amish) to 10 (=Star Trek Convention attendee),
how geeky are you?
My wife would claim a 12 for me, but I haven't seen Star
Trek in years so it can't be all bad. It's a sliding scale at any rate, and
compared to those who are liable to read this, I'm probably a 6. Compared
to average Joe on the street? Definitely a 9.
Are Standards preventing people from publishing on the
Web by placing barriers to entry (CSS, XHTML etc etc)?
An excellent question, and one that has started popping
up in my personal e-mails from the Garden. My answer is no way, but I'm looking
forward to the discussion that saying that will generate.
XHTML and CSS is a combination that no amateur should be
forced to learn. 1996-era HTML was okay for them because a simple document
consisted of a few presentational tags, and that was it - none of this abstract
'separation of presentation from content' nonsense. Most amateurs never get
beyond the single-letter tags, and we shouldn't expect them to.
But as the web moves toward XML and the aforementioned abstraction,
the barrier for entry is unquestionably raised. CSS is vital for the future,
but picture your less-than-computer-literate family members trying to wrap
their minds around inheritance and the box model. Yeah, right.
So if the web is for everyone, but the issues involved in
creating for it require a stack of textbooks six feet high, then how does
the average amateur publish their family photo album?
Services have been filling this gap for years. What we can't
lose sight of is in publishing HTML, you first have to grasp FTP and directory
structures. This in itself has been a significant barrier to entry, and most
amateurs never bother. Web sites like Fotki and Kodak's Picture Playground offer a solution for
photo storage. Now that weblogs are the Big Thing, all-in-one services like
and AOL Journals will continue the trend.
Amateurs never need know we're changing the underlying code
the web is built on. And while the technology doesn't matter to them, it sure
is nice for me to see TypePad standards-compliant
from the bottom up. Hopefully more services will follow suit.
You're a designer. I'm not. I wholeheartedly support the
aims of www.bancomicsans.com
in vanquishing the comic sans typeface from the earth. Do you?
Oh, absolutely. At first I thought it was just a pedantic
in-joke for typography geeks, but then I started noticing the guy has a point.
It's everywhere. I don't think it's fair to hold Vincent Connare (the
designer of Comic Sans MS) responsible for the ubiquity, but I guess that's
a lesson for designers everywhere: your work represents you, whether you want
it to or not.
Assume you were tyrant of the world for a day. What else
would you ban?
Vietnamese coffee and the big four: Nestle, Sara
Lee, Proctor & Gamble, and Kraft.
Whoops, I'll get down off my soapbox.