« Sam SpadeHot »
06.28.2002

I Discover Edward Tufte

A blogging smackdown in the house tonight, as each fights to craft the perfect entry, the One Entry that will suck traffic remorselessly away from the other.

It has been ark-building weather for three days now, assuming that Noah built his ark in a tropical swamp without benefit of air conditioning, and yet despite it all, the fireflies came out tonight for the first time. Blinking out in the yard, looking for hot firefly action. I am curious to hear who says firefly and who says lightning-bug out there - I have vague Midwestern memories of the second, but it grows more hazy as I advance in years.

On the way home from work today, a matronly woman in pink shorts flagged us commuters down, and made us wait while her husband hurried to move a troupe of cows across the road, Vermont's major north/south artery. I like this state. The cows looked none the worse for wear, though you would think the milk would be curdling in their udders by now. When will it ever get cool again?

--

I am reading a fantastic, most wonderful book on information design called Visual Explanations, by Edward Tufte. I read and read and get red-faced at the thought of all the terrible interfaces I have built in my short career. Just listen to what the man so insightfully says about computers. It sums up everything that is wrong with browsers today:

(Writing in 1997, describing a poorly-drawn graphic)

"Each intriguing and smartly annotated image is surrounded by a noisy border, administrative bloat that consumes an astonishing 42% of space in each framed rectangle. It resembles all too many computer displays, where a cramped window showing the user's work is framed by a bureaucratic debris of scroll bars, buttons, titles, icons, and overproduced drawings."

That is just so right. Now I have to go fix all my web applications.

Speaking of which, do you want to adopt the Semant-O-Matic? I just got permission to release it under the GPL. It needs a good home.

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