Sounds of the Internet’s Most Annoying Acronyms

The internet is great at coming up with new words. Some of them are easy to sound out (selfie, wearable, even “emoji”), but acronyms are a much tougher phonetical nut. They’re no less words than the clusters of letters around them, yet don’t have agreed upon pronunciations. When you read them, what do you hear? Here’s my take.

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Go Wiki Yourself

Quick, name the one marketing step you can take that will have the largest possible effect on your company’s online presence, yet is totally, completely free?

I’d have been hard pressed to come up with a good response before last week, when brilliant young CBS Interactive editor Andrew Nusca tipped me off. The answer is: make sure you have a Wikipedia page.

A Wikipedia page not only immediately lists your business in one of the most-searched global databases, it also adds organic (and valid) search engine weight to your own website, when you make sure Wikipedia links back to it.

Nusca and his wife, with some beerNusca and his wife, with beer

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When I really want to remember something, I write it down where it could disappear at any moment.

An unsaved, unnamed notepad document, open on my screen. Its analog equivalent might be a scribble on a piece of tissue so light it could be blown away by the slightest window breeze. Continue reading Noted

Seven Way Venn, Colored

Came across a black and white seven way Venn diagram by way of Information is Beautiful and had the urge to see it in color. Though the numbers provide a hint at all the different overlays of the seven sets, I wanted more differentiation. I decided to created the colorful version in Illustrator. You can download a PDF here.

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In Defense of Likes and Faves: Doodling in the Margins

What does it mean to like or favorite something on the internet today?

The Backstory

The above is a riff on a line from Robin Sloan’s recent coup d’app, Fish. His tap essay explores the difference between liking something online and actually loving something online. Robin posits that in the overwhelming stream of great posts, articles, pics and videos, something we love on the internet is something come back to, something we read or visit at least twice. Fish is a beautiful essay with a strong point; it’s innovative, well-designed and touching, and I am a big fan.

However, I don’t quite agree with the disparagement of liking, faving (and even +1-ing) that helps form the essay’s underlying thesis. According to Sloan, when you deign to spend a click on one of these actions, (emphasis his):

“You’re saying to your friends or followers: This is worth your time. (But me, I’m on to the next thing.)”

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Quick, Call 9-1-1

Because this logo needs serious help.

Or really, it needs to be put out of its misery.

The idea of a 3-1-1 non-emergency call center was pioneered in Baltimore in 1996. Chicago took it a step further in 1999.

New York City’s is the largest, and it has been quite successful since starting up in 2003.

Philly’s fledgling project, which was launched Dec 31, 2008, has been received with mixed results.

The program is without a doubt a step in the right direction.

Philly311 is on twitter, is set to receive their millionth call, and even monitors the neighborhood citizens’ reporting site SeeClickFix.

However, in August the hours were cut back from 24/7 to business hours only.

Public perception will play a large role in the future growth and funding of the program. Design is key in this regard.

logo_311_NYC This logo does not help. It is overly complex. It looks like many other company logos, without really being as nice as any I can think of. It is not an easily recognizable shape.

And mostly, this logo does not convey easy access to information and help. Much the opposite: the unbalanced colors and shapes suggest a frenzied, harried, mess.

NYC even has a whole set of different logos and posters available for download based on their clear, straightforward logo.

Anyone in Philly Gov have authority to hire a logo designer? 😉

The Art of Data

All images © Nick Hardeman
All images © Nick Hardeman

Nick Hardeman is an MFA Design & Technology student at Parsons in New York City.

He has created some surprisingly fantastic bauhaus art from data visualizations of the 1997 music video “Mo Money Mo Problems” from the Notorious B.I.G. album, Life After Death.

From Nick’s blog:

“The algorithm detects edges in the image and attempts to trace motion from frame to frame, using the initial frame as their starting point. … The bright colored track suits worn by Puff Daddy and Mase in the dark backgrounds make for good tracking and nice color combinations.”

Check the Flickr set of several of his renders for more colorful abstract enjoyment.

A recent “quick demo” created for a class is also quite attractive and interesting: he maps the newswire of the New York Times over the course of 24 hours by category.

This Flash/Papervision interactive web app shows what news is posted at each time of the day, giving some insight into the minds of the influential NYT web editors, if not the web news audience in general. Fun to play with.

The school can likely take a bit of the credit. Founded in 1896, Parsons was the first college to offer programs in Fashion Design, Interior Design and Advertising and Graphic Design.

This was thanks to Frank Alvah Parsons, a co-founder who became the school’s president. Anticipating a new wave of the Industrial Revolution, Parsons predicted that art and design would soon be inexorably linked to the engines of industry.

A recent Harvard Business blog post, entitled “MFA is the New MBA,” lends credence to this view, and shows it becoming more & more accepted.

Creativitiy -> Innovation -> Success.

[Via Visual Complexity]

Key Stone

Rosetta Disk Top FaceThe Rosetta Project and the Long Now Foundation are building an archive of all documented human languages.

Founded in 2000 — or 02000, as they like to write, the project published their first edition Rosetta Disk in 2008.

The disk holds 1500 languages from around the world.

Made of double-sided micro-etched nickel, the disk is a visual archive, not a digital one. Not format-dependent; all one needs to read the disk is magnification. Like microfiche, but with much more density.

One side of the disk is a guide to the main archive on the reverse. It is etched with a central image of the earth and a message written in 8 major languages:

Languages of the World: This is an archive of over 1,500 human languages assembled in the year 02008 C.E. Magnify 1,000 times to find over 13,000 pages of language documentation.

The message is printed in concentric spirals, both maximizing the number of people who will be able to read something immediately upon picking up the disk, as well as implying how to use it – magnify to see more.

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