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December 15, 2006

iPhoney?

Filed under: Apple — admin @ 8:52 am

Gizmodo expect an ‘iPhone’ announcement from Apple on Monday.

I wonder what these guys are making of the whole ‘iPhone’ moniker?

December 4, 2006

FIA confirms 2007 entry list

Filed under: Formula One — admin @ 11:43 am

The FIA have released the 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship entry list.

There’s a bit to take in — new sponsorship deals for McLaren (Vodafone), Renault (ING) and Williams (AT&T); a few rookies in top teams (Hamilton, Kovalainen) and the positioning of the drivers within teams. For example, I find it interesting to see Massa as no. 5 and Raikkonen as no.6 at Ferrari.

Looking down the list, it appears that teams give the first number to their longest serving driver (true of Renault, Ferrari, Honda, BMW, Red Bull, Williams, Spyker and Super Aguri).

In fact, only Honda and Toyota are the only teams with an unchanged lineup (OK, so BMW ran Kubica from Germany onwards last year, but they started with Villeneuve. Spyker haven’t confirmed their second seat yet, so it could go to Monteiro — which would also add them to this list).

I’m just looking forward to seeing how the respective graphics departments have done with the new colour schemes (McLaren = grey/black — Vodafone = red | Renault = yellow — ING = orange). An unenviable task!

September 18, 2006

An Ive for Design

Filed under: Apple,Design — admin @ 9:34 am

Businessweek have a piece on Jonathan Ive, Apple’s vice-president of design, including his impressive portfolio.

The original iMac, iPod, Powerbook, Mac Mini–Ive is responsible for some great, great work. And then there’s the iPod Hifi

September 10, 2006

Formula One — the Great Design Race @ the Design Museum

Filed under: Formula One — admin @ 10:53 am

The Design Museum is currently running an F1 exhibition called Formula One — The Great Design Race. I visited it yesterday and can wholeheartedly recommend it.

Yes, there are classic and modern F1 cars on show but for me the real gem of the exhibition was the on-board video footage through the ages–they’ve got on-board footage of Fangio, Senna and Stewart at great tracks such as Monaco and the old Nurburgring. What amazed me was the amount of slide Fangio and Stewart had to cope with: compared to modern-day F1, those cars slid around a lot!

The Nurburgring piece is truly amazing: it’s the first footage of the old 14.2 mile circuit I’ve ever seen and it was just amazing: cars skimming past trees and fields at 170 mph plus, the car leaping over crests, sliding all over the place, stark camber changes–it really is a great piece of footage.

If you’re in London and fancy a view, it runs until 29th October and costs only £7.

September 7, 2006

Observer commercial seeds of change

Filed under: Photography — admin @ 10:11 am

The Observer’s ‘Seeds of Change’ photography competition received some great entries. ‘Is he dead?’ by John Roberts is just great.

August 29, 2006

Let tabs be tabs

Filed under: Design,Usability — admin @ 8:26 am

Khoi Vinh has an interesting take on the design of tabs as a method of interaction. The piece regards the interface design of IM clients, namely Adium and iChat with their tabbed chat windows, but the part that resonated with me regarded the tabs.

In the eight years or so I’ve been doing design for the Web, I’ve seen–and admittedly have also personally attempted–more unnecessary re-inventions of the basic tab metaphor than I care to recount. For some reason, we designers find the basic visual construction of tabs (perhaps most prominently displayed at Amazon.com) to be dissatisfactory, but there’s no denying that they work. I’ve come to grips with this, and now I tell any designer I work with: let tabs be tabs.

Why do designers try and reinvent the wheel here? This is something I am also guilty of–I recently has cause to tweak a design to make the main navigation more obvious and clear-cut, so I designed it as tabs. Despite trying numerous ’sexy’ tab designs, I found the simpler they were, the better they worked. In terms of design, the tabs were probably the most simple elements on the page. They didn’t need to be complicated. Tabs are understood.

It’s strange, Khoi cited Amazon’s tabs as an example of tabs ‘that work’. I’m sure most UI designers would look at them and think “they could be spruced up a bit”. But I bet most designers would struggle to keep them as usable and, well, obvious as they currently are.

August 7, 2006

What has Leopard got in store?

Filed under: Apple,Geekery — admin @ 4:22 pm

The start of the annual WWDC always sparks a frenzy amongst Apple afficionados about what new and exciting features will make it into the next release of OS X.

There are many ideas being presented (John Gruber has his yearly WWDC prelude up), some good, some not so good, but I love the whole sense of anticipation.

Over at Veerle’s Blog there’s a lovely nostalgic post showing the various incarnations of OS X, from the Public Beta through to Tiger. Check out the bevels of doom in iTunes in 10.1!!!

And for a bit of fun and to get your Mac juices flowing, check out the Fake Leopard Screenshot contest winners over on Phill’s blog. The winning entry is excellent.

July 10, 2006

What made Montoya turn his back on F1?

Filed under: Formula One — admin @ 1:28 pm

Juan Pablo Montoya has announced that he’s leaving F1 at the end of the season to race in the American Nascar series. This is serious news.

Montoya has the credentials to justify his presence in F1: 7 wins, 30 podiums, 13 pole positions and 3rd place finishes in the F1 World Championship (in 2002 and 2003). On paper, this looks like a man who belongs in F1. The fact he’s leaving can only be for one of two reasons: he’s either become disillusioned with the whole F1 circus, or he was left without a competitive seat in 2007 — it’s no secret that Montoya’s McLaren contract expires at the end of 2006, and some might argue that he’s the wrong side of 30 to be getting another shot with a top team.

Montoya and McLaren haven’t gelled, for whatever reason. The McLaren MP4-21 is an understeering beast, a trait JPM dispises, and whilst Raikkonen made the best of the MP4-21 last season on his way to winning 7 races, Montoya managed just three wins and 72 fewer points than Kimi.

So earlier in the year when contracts for 2007 and beyond were being discussed, many thought Montoya was heading out of McLaren (to be replaced by Alonso) perhaps ending up at Red Bull or Toyota. Montoya himself said nothing of his contractual situation, save that he ‘had numerous options’ to stay in F1.

I doubt that many people thought he would actually leave F1 though. Sure, there was speculation that he may hook up with Chip Ganassi (with whom he won his Indy 500 and CART titles) in IndyCar, and Nigel Roebuck hinted in his weekly column a week or so ago that NASCAR might appeal to JPM, but few actually thought a driver of Montoya’s calibre would be allowed to slip out of F1 without a competitive drive.

When asked by Autosport “What was the final straw in leaving Formula One and how did you justify taking a pay cut?” Montoya responded thus:

“I don’t think you’re going to be happy getting more money and being miserable all day. When I called Chip I said, ‘Chip you know what. I want to come back racing, and I think the best place to do racing is here (NASCAR).

“It’s not how many millions you’re making or how much money you’re making. It’s a matter of three years down the line are you going to be excited about what you’re doing or not. I think three years from now when I look at my career I’m going to be happier here.”

Which seems to explain why Montoya is going to NASCAR: he’s bored with F1. It’s a total travesty that someone of Montoya’s calibre should be allowed to leave in this fashion when a driver such as Ralf Schumacher is paid $stupid for crashing, moaning a lot and generally not being very good.

July 3, 2006

More Camera Toss

Filed under: Photography — admin @ 11:25 pm

Following on from a previous post (available here) I had a go at tossing my camera in the air with a timed shutter to see what I got. It was a lot harder than expected!

For a start, the camera shut off the first few times. I’m guessing the innards don’t like being hurled around too much! I did eventually manage to time the throw right so that the camera took a shot as it was in the air, but the results were mainly sky.

So I tried a different tack: putting the camera face up on a smooth table and spinning it. That didn’t really work, all I got were slightly blurry pictures of me looking expectantly at the camera! So I’ve discovered my technique needs a lot of refinement, but it was encouraging to get even just one result. Not a decent one by any stretch of the imagination, but at least it wasn’t a total abject failure!

I hope to have another go soon at some more tossing techniques (anyone arriving from Google having just searched for that term, I apologise for the total lack of porn on this post).

June 30, 2006

Camera Toss

Filed under: Photography — admin @ 8:59 am

Camera Toss is a really interesting idea involving throwing your camera up in the air and having it take a shot. It sounds a bit reckless, and I’m sure there’s been many an episode of people not catching their cameras (which would make the resulting photos even more precious surely!) but the results are amazing.

Leaving the shutter open for up to 2 seconds and throwing your camera at light sources, in open spaces or just around any interesting geometric shapes seems to throw (no pun intended) out these great shots.

There’s a whole Camera Toss community, with instructions on how to take the pictures and a set of ‘guidelines’ which will dictate whether your shot gets into the Flickr pool or not.

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