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Quote: Ira Glass on Creative Tinkering and Cutting “Crap”

May 21st, 2010

“More than half of our week is simply engaged in looking for stories and then trying stuff out. [...] We’re really good at our jobs–we’re as good as anybody who does this kind of thing–and I’ve gotta say, we tinker around at a lot of stories, and between a half and a third of everything we try, we’ll go out, we’ll get the tape, and then we kill it. [...] By killing, you will make something else even better live. I think that not enough gets said about abandoning crap.

Quote: Leonardo da Vinci on Simplicity

May 18th, 2010

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

Video: Dan Meyer on Teaching Real-World Problem Solving

May 15th, 2010

“What problem have you solved, ever–that was worth solving–where you knew all of the given information in advance? Where you didn’t have a surplus of information and you had to filter it out; or you didn’t have insufficient information and you had to go find some.”

Green Bay Shipping, Bridges & City Deck

May 14th, 2010

I’ve loved the location of our apartment since we moved to downtown Green Bay in October for two reasons:

  1. I’ve had the opportunity to watch Green Bay’s new City Deck develop from a rough patch of industrial shoreline to its current state as a community-friendly boardwalk / bike path.
  2. Living just south of the Main Street Bridge gives my kids and me the chance to watch (with equal enthusiasm) large ocean-liners cross under these draw bridges and down the relatively narrow navigable stretch of the Fox River.

I snapped a few quick pictures with my point-and-shoot as one such ship passed by with the bridges lit up for a Friday night (click thumbnail for larger image):

Green Bay's Main Street Bridge

Ship Crossing Under Green Bay's Main Street Drawbridge

Ocean Liner Navigates Fox River in Green Bay
Green Bay's Main Street Bridge and City Deck Lit Up At Night

All told, the pass-by took about 15 minutes (much to the chagrin of the cars stuck waiting at the drawbridge), and the ship seemed to span about 2/3 of the distance between the Main and Walnut Street bridges (2 city blocks).

Quote: Conan O’Brien on Cynicism

May 14th, 2010

“Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism. For the record, it’s my least-favorite quality; it doesn’t lead anywhere.

Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard, and you’re kind, amazing things will happen… I’m telling you; amazing things will happen.”

(signoff from his final “Tonight Show”)

Video: Motivation for Non-Menial Tasks & Careers

May 14th, 2010

Found this video summarizing Dan Pink’s “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us“, and had to post. In addition to expressing significant ideas in a digestible way, the video animator is just plain fun to watch!

“The best use of money as a motivator is to pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table. Pay people enough so that they’re not thinking about the money, they’re thinking about the work.”

Quote: Will Smith on Preparedness

May 11th, 2010

“If you stay ready, you ain’t gotta get ready.”

Quote: Jakob Nielsen on the Problem with Completely Re-Thinking User Interface

May 10th, 2010

“The penalty for [the iPad's] beauty is the re-emergence of a usability problem we haven’t seen since the mid-1990s: Users don’t know where they can click.

For the last 15 years of Web usability research, the main problems have been that users don’t know where to go or which option to choose — not that they don’t even know which options exist. With iPad UIs, we’re back to this square one.”

(from Jakob Nielsen’s post: iPad Usability: First Findings From User Testing)

Quote: David Simon on Storytelling

May 7th, 2010

“Fuck the exposition, just be. The exposition can come later. If I can make you curious enough, there’s this thing called Google. If you’re curious about the New Orleans Indians, or ‘second-line’ musicians–you can look it up.”

(from an interview on Dan Meyer’s blog)

Quote: Albert Einstein on the Value of Problems

May 7th, 2010

“The formulation of a problem is often more essential than its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skill.”

Quote: David Whyte on The Antidote to Exhaustion

May 5th, 2010

“You know that the antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest [...] the antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness.”

Trying Blackbird Pie

May 4th, 2010

So today the Twitter Media blog suggested a new feature to streamline the process of showing tweets in html instead of screen grabs. Okay, it turns out it was just a script the blogger whipped up, but still a good idea…

Here is what a tweet looks like after being encoded via the Blackbird Pie script:

Going to give this Blackbird Pie (html single-tweet inline quoting) a try…less than a minute ago via Tweetie

And that’s that… I’ll see about maybe using this as a tool in future posts (when appropriate, of course). @twittermedia suggests using it instead of trying to quote tweets, and it does seem to do a good job of keeping tweets “live”, in the sense that the information that would be clickable on Twitter’s own service is kept clickable.

UPDATE: @twittermedia has acknowledged that Blackbird Pie is an experiment that the individual was toying with, not a full-fledged Twitter-sanctioned feature:

Wow, I’m really glad everybody’s eager to ditch screen grabs of tweets! But, let me caveat this little hack of mine: than a minute ago via web

As such, I think I’ll hold off on crating BBP-specific styles for my own site… for a little while, at least. As you can see there are a few display inconsistencies (i.e. the CSS background property of the latter tweet overwriting the background of the earlier tweet), but it’s still better than just quoting in text.

Quote: Rick Webb on Telephone Communication

April 29th, 2010

“The telephone was an aberation in human development. It was a 70 year or so period where for some reason humans decided it was socially acceptable to ring a loud bell in someone else’s life and they were expected to come running, like dogs. This was the equivalent of thinking it was okay to walk into someone’s living room and start shouting. it was never okay. It’s less okay now. Telephone calls are rude. They are interruptive. Technology has solved this brief aberration in human behavior. We have a thing now called THE TEXT MESSAGE. It is magical, non-intrusive, optional, and, just like human speech originally was meant to be, is turn based and two way. You talk. I talk next. Then you talk. And we do it when it’s convenient for both of us. ”

(quoted from rickwebb’s tumblrmajig, found via

Quote: Merlin Mann’s “Step Zero” for Productivity

April 20th, 2010

“Before you sweat the logistics of focus: first, care. Care intensely.”

“Busy Work” Exercise

April 15th, 2010

I don’t like it, and I don’t do it.  Even if it just feels like busy work (i.e. treadmill-style exercise) I can’t bring myself to devote time to it.  Why spend all that time and energy to accomplish (effectively) nothing?!  As you can imagine, this has left my physicality in slow but steady decline since colllege.

Why college?  Because when I wasn’t walking up to 1.5 miles across the UW Madison campus to get to class a few times a day, I worked summers as a residential construction carpenter, and physical exertion (especially in the framing stages) was par for the course.  I was in the best shape of my life, and I never even looked at a gym or an elliptical machine.

And now I’m a designer/programmer.  I work inside, at a desk, typing and clicking.  I exercise my mind like crazy (which is why I continue to be challenged by and enjoy my work), but that doesn’t do much for the love handles.

Green Bay to De Pere Bike Route

So I changed the game on myself.  Instead of driving or getting a ride into work, I ride my bike (either 4.25 or 9 miles, depending on route chosen).  There’s no motivational question of “Why am I doing this?” once you get started; you need to get to work, and this is the means of transportation available.

Also nice is the fact that I live on the eastern shore of the Fox River, and I work a few miles upstream on the west side.  Once you start on the trek and decide your path for the day (see map image), there are NO shortcuts… you just keep your head down, keep pedaling, and you work toward the bridge that’ll get you across to where you need to be.

It offers all the “mental looseness” of free time, while still using that time to accomplish something (both getting to work and “working out”).  It’s work and it’s busy, but it’s not busy work… and that makes all the difference.

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What is tID?

The Image Distillery is a clarity-focused creative shop which specializes in website design and consulting for small businesses.

We've operated out of Green Bay, Wisconsin since 2006, crafting and maintaining websites for small businesses, typically those with 50 or fewer employees.

Favorite Entries

Reining in the Web, Loosing the Local


Limit Options, Make Decisions, Maintain Sanity (an anecdote)

The Importance of Asking "Why?"