Tim Berners-Lee, Linked Open Data and a Bag of Potato Chips

May 28, 2010

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who created the web while working at CERN, is someone we should listen to when he talks about the future development of the Internet.

What he’s hot on right now is something called Linked Open Data, something he believes will be the next evolutionary step for web development. He uses the information on a bag of potato chips to illustrate this concept:

The outside of the bag contains different sets of information, each using a different vocabulary and coming from a different source, Berners-Lee explained.

The front of the package displays the name of the brand and the company’s own marketing claim that the chips are crunchy. The back of the package has nutritional information, such as calories and vitamins, defined by terms generated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Finally, there is a Universal Product Code (UPC) bar code on the bottom of the package, which is not understood by humans at all but rather is recognized by scanning machines globally as the moniker for the item.

In other words, this single package of information actually is a collection of data and attributes that have been developed by multiple parties, not just Utz.

For the rest of the article, go here at IT World.

Chuck Klosterman on Fame, from “Eating the Dinosaur”

May 24, 2010

“I do not know how much money Britney Spears earned last year. However, I do know that it’s not enough for me to want her life, were I given the option to have it. Everyday random people use Britney’s existence as currency; they talk about her public  failures and her lack of talent as a way to fill the emptiness of their own normalcy. She — along with Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton and all those androids from The Hills — are the unifying entities within this meta era. In splintered society, they are the means through which people devoid of creativity communicate with each other. They allow Americans to understand who they are and who they are not; they allow Americans to unilaterally agree on something they never needed to consciously consider.”

“A person like Britney Spears surrenders her privacy and her integrity and the rights to her own persona, and in exchange we give her huge sums of money. But she still doesn’t earn a fraction of what she warrants in a free-trade cultural economy. If Britney Spears were paid $1 every time a self-loathing stranger used her as a surrogate for his own failure, she would out earn Warren Buffet in three months. This is why entertainers (and athletes) make so much revenue but still are wildly underpaid: We use them for things that are worth more than money. It’s anew kind of dehumanizing slavery — not as awful as they literal variety, but dehumanizing nonetheless.”

— Chuck Klosterman, Eating the Dinosaur
Buy the book here on Amazon

This is the first collection of Chuck Klosterman’s work that I’ve read though it won’t be the last. I think he’s really nailed something important about how fame, celebrity and media work today in the excerpt above. Especially when he writes, “We use them for things that are worth more than money.”  Scary. But true, I think.

Colorful Currency Worldwide from COLOURlovers

May 21, 2010

I’ve pulled your coat to the good folks at COLOURlovers before and here’s a wonderful selection of world currency employing a rainbow of color palettes, click here to see them all.

Josh Woodward – “Chainsaw”

May 17, 2010

I first heard this darkly comic folk song by Josh Woodward on the Radio Free Oz podcast hosted by one-half of the legendary Firesign Theatre, Peter Bergman and David Ossman. The sweet beauty of Woodward’s guitar makes a sharp contrast with the twisted lyrics. You can download 150 free MP3s as well as purchase his CDs here. Support this talented singer-songwriter, you won’t regret it.

6 Critical WordPress Plugins You Should Have Installed from Six Revisions

May 12, 2010

If you develop for the web you likely already know about 6 Revisions. Here’s their list of 6 essential WordPress plugins:

  1. WP SuperCache
  2. Akismet
  3. WP-SpamFree
  4. Google XML Sitemaps Generator
  5. All in One SEO  (Search Engine Optimization)
  6. WP-PageNavi

To learn about their functionality and why you should install them NOW, go to the complete article here.

131 FREE Web 2.0 Photoshop Layer Styles from Dezinerfolio

May 10, 2010

Photoshop is an essential part of every web designers tool kit. And if you’re proficient in PS, you know that layer styles are akin to Paragraph and Character styles in InDesign and QuarkXPress: the fast way to apply consistent effects.

Now Deziner Folio has made it even easier for you (and what’s better than easy, right?). They’ve put together 131 free PS Layer Styles that install in a snap. You read that right: 131 FREE layer styles. Free and Easy. Two of my favorite things. Grab them here.

Design Inspiration: Over 500,000 Vintage Ads and Vintage Covers FREE!

May 5, 2010

The web has always been full of resources to help inspire good design, but never more so than presently. I’ve just come across two sister sites that are great for inspiration: a collection of over 100,000 vintage print ads and 450,000 plus covers from books, magazine and comic books.

So if you’re stuck for a new angle of approach for your current design project, or you just want to stroll through a digital history of ads and covers from the past Vintage Ad Browser and Cover Browser are your portals to over a half million designs at a price every designer can afford: FREE!