Archive for the ‘web’ Category
23 November, 2011 – 6:38 pm | Filed under daily life, personal, web | No Comments »
Man, what a summer. Lots to recap, but that’s not what I’m here to do today. :)
I’ve been having a bit of an internal struggle about the best blogging platform to use to quickly share stuff with people, particularly now that Google Reader’s been integrated with Google+. My attention span’s shot, as is evidenced by the lack of frequent posts here (we’ll see if I can fix that, though). But also having acquired my first smartphone this summer, I like the idea of posting photos on the go. I’ve been using Twitter for that (oh yeah, note to self, fix the feed to the right) but wonder if there’s a more central location that’s frequently trafficked. And I’m trying to curtail my Facebook usage/dependency. Maybe I can somehow combine it all here…we’ll see.
Anyway, cool links from the last few days:
How to switch your parents’ web browser without them knowing (via LifeHacker)
Need I say more? Seriously.
Finding your flow: spend less and do more (via Get Rich Slowly)
This really spoke to me, especially in light of the “shortened attention span” thing above. In this age of being overwhelmed with so much information, it’s easy to take stuff at face value and then move on to the next shiny gem. Learning how to go deep (and I’ll confess that the music examples definitely wooed me) and improve your understanding and appreciation is something everyone could benefit from. I guess this spoke to me on multiple levels: I like the idea of understanding more about things you already love, but also about having the awareness to ask questions and to seek out knowledge about things you don’t even realize you don’t know much about.
List of 45 Oscar-nominated animated short films (via Cartoon Brew)
I try to link to this annually–there are almost always some fantastic pieces of animation here. People focus on what’s more readily accessible and these are often overshadowed–the art of short-form storytelling is so, so underrated. This is only the first short-list, by the way–they’ll pare this down further for the final round of nominees that’s then mentioned on Oscar night.
And now for a more personal turn–things I’m thankful for this year. (Which may or may not also serve as a recap of this summer.) I do have some reservations about the history behind Thanksgiving, due to learning more about how inexcusably horribly the Native American/First Nations tribes and groups have been treated over the last 500+ years, and how schools teach flat-out revisionist history around the day and all that…but the sentiment of humility and gratitude behind the holiday is a nice one. So let’s go with that for now. :)
I’m thankful for the well-being of my family and friends, and for my health and general fortune in life. I’m thankful to have a roof over my head, money in the bank, food in the fridge, and to have the opportunity/luxury of splurging if I wish.
I’m thankful that my life is going well, and that even when it doesn’t, I can almost always learn something from those experiences to help me grow and expand my sense of perspective.
I’m thankful to be an intelligent woman in a society with no inhibitions on when and how I use my mind and express myself.
I’m thankful to have finally landed what has ended up being a pretty cool job just outside of Boston (where I have resided since late September), after a grueling 5+ month search in an unforgiving economic climate. (I’m also thankful for my pretty sweet apartment, and my very cool roommate.)
I’m thankful to have had an unexpected but really nice “romantic interlude” at the very end of my stay in Pittsburgh (and for a couple of months beyond), and though it ultimately had to end because of the long distance between Pittsburgh and Boston, I’m thankful to now have a new good friend in my life.
I’m thankful that I was able to
1. complete a master’s degree
2. and emerge relatively unscathed
3. and more enlightened about myself and the world on so many levels.
I’m thankful to be in a city where I have a few good friends, and to be fairly close to another big city where I have many more good friends (and cousins). (New York! Amtrak! Tofurky will be had this weekend!)
Though I have major reservations about many aspects of US foreign policy and general attitudes among some in power towards those different from themselves, I’m thankful to be in a stable and safe country, and to never have known war or poverty or deep hardship firsthand. And I’m thankful for our troops–I don’t support any of our wartime activities but I do support the people who have been asked to carry out tasks that most of us couldn’t dream of facing, in the name of protecting us.
I’m thankful for my friends, period. I just don’t have the words to convey it, but you know I love you all.
I’m thankful for my family–though we have our share of scuffles, we’re always there for each other. And I’m thankful to have finally grown closer to a number of my cousins in recent years (and to be a chithi/”younger aunt” to the two newest additions of my family).
There’s a lot of other stuff I could list, but I feel like it all ultimately falls into one of the above in one way or another. I try to avoid being thankful for petty things, but at the same time, sometimes the silly things in life can be the most helpful…so I may as well mention that I am also thankful for Cookie Monster, jigidi.com (jigsaw puzzles galore), and mindless comedy, which helped me get through some rough days in grad school. :) And samosas, and rasam. Man, there is almost nothing more comforting to me than good Indian food.
Peace be with yinz and y’all. :)
9 March, 2010 – 2:24 pm | Filed under commentary, daily life, japan, school, web | No Comments »
Spring break is here! It’s not super-relaxing, but it’s nice to not have stressful deliverables hanging over my head, for once. I still haven’t gotten to actually see any of the “touristy” stuff around Pittsburgh, but getting out and enjoying the warm(er) weather and wandering a bit around Oakland and Shadyside has been really nice. I’ve walked around 7 miles in the last 2 days–not a ton, but it’s more than I’ve done in a long time (though I probably balanced it out with that chai from Caribou and that amazing ice cream from Oh Yeah!…). If not for a meeting I have with my new thesis advisor this afternoon, I would definitely make it out to the Mattress Factory or the Carnegie Museum of Natural History or something.
What actually prompted me to post something in here, though, was the Gchat status message of my friend Shuby:
Yelp took my review away! Weirdos.
I’d heard a fair amount about the controversy surrounding Yelp already, both the original East Bay Express story and the more recent allegations of extortion. I used to be a really big fan of theirs–the idea of an online review feature with vetting and such a generally positive vibe really appealed to me–but after this recent news, I scaled back heavily and just sort of “hovered,” but didn’t use them so actively anymore.
But talking to Shuby revealed that a negative review of hers had been pulled; it was still visible on her profile, but no longer visible publicly. That was the final straw for me, and I e-mailed Yelp to have them delete my account, with an explanation of why. It’s one thing when there are these faraway allegations with some random website you aren’t extremely invested in that occur with people you have no relation to, and it’s easy (or easier) to brush them off. When it happens to a friend, though, that’s something else.
Anyway, in other news, let’s see…
Like I mentioned, I do have a thesis advisor for next year–yay! He’s the professor who taught our Design Studio last semester, and we’ve struck up this great rapport and had some good conversations about our similar international experiences (he grew up in the Philippines and is very well-traveled, and like me, he doesn’t identify with being completely American or completely from the country of his birth). I also have a secondary advisor–my fantastic Global Communication professor (who’s from Romania), and I’m considering assembling a “committee”-of-sorts, involving relevant HCI and Psychology faculty. Most importantly, though, I do have a tentative thesis topic in mind: developing a resource to assist JET Programme participants upon the completion of their time in Japan, and particularly addressing reverse culture shock, as well as other more administrative things (like pension refunds and the like).
I like the topic, but I feel guilty for going back to “the Japan thing” yet again. I’m sure I’ve driven my housemates and all my classmates–not to mention all my friends back home–crazy with how often I still bring it up, over two years after the fact, but I guess it’s a real case of “you can take the ALT out of Japan, but…” with me. I was fortunate enough to have a great experience that has impacted and changed me…however, the return process was rough, and very difficult at times. Reverse culture shock did really impact me for a solid year after coming back, in small and big ways–and I’m far from the only one. I’m also not the only one who felt unprepared for what Life After Japan would be like.
Anyway, I’m meeting my advisor this afternoon to just touch base and see where to go from here. I may also broach the subject of focusing on something similar but not Japan-related–I was thinking of doing something to help international Indian students when they arrive in the US, but my Global Comm professor advised me against it because she said I, as an Indian, would be “too close” to the subject matter and may not be able to be purely objective. (She only found out 5 minutes later, though, that I’ve only been back to India twice, my first time being when I was 18.)
I’ve also been doing some web work, but not the “for fun” kind…though I find the challenge of constructing a site in standards-compliant XHTML and CSS to always be fun, so it’s rarely “not fun.” I’m redesigning the blog/website of my studio group, and as part of my assistantship, I’m helping to architect and build a site with information about some of the technical resources the School of Design has, and I’m also helping to develop a guide with information for incoming grad students that can be a reference for current students. That should be pretty cool–hopefully it’ll come to fruition by the end of this term, but if not, I volunteered to help out over the summer (wherever I’ll be…). Maybe eventually I’ll find the time to finish implementing the redesign of my website, too (and moving it over to the new web space I purchased last week for much cheaper than my current host)…
Anyway, time to get my day going–meetings, wandering around, and packing! I’m off to Atlanta tomorrow for just a couple of days, to run errands, see family and friends, and pick up my car. Hope you all enjoy the rest of your week!
21 February, 2010 – 7:13 pm | Filed under design, personal, school, web | 2 Comments »
Ha, so I never actually posted my work here, but in the last few weeks I redesigned my portfolio and posted some of my better pieces there. Check it out!
I’m finding myself relying more on Google Reader to keep up with everything, so I’ve added a list of my shared items to the right-hand pane. Amusingly, they do tie in with the “design, music, and science” tagline…there could be more music in there, though. (There can always be more music.)
So we had 3 days off the week before last, due to record snowfall in western Pennsylvania. There’s still snow everywhere, with more on the way, but they’ve at least finally been able to clear the primary and secondary roadways; some of the sidewalks (especially on my walk to school, conveniently enough) are still covered in slush, but that’s where my $30 Target boots have saved the day.
Anyway, last week was pretty intense, in part because of that and because of the huge career/networking/internship fair we had the preceding week (I had five interviews on Friday the 12th, as well as one earlier in the week). This past week, I had a presentation, two papers, lots of readings, and just General Fun Stuff to deal with. But it’s done now, and I can take a deep breath before jumping into the next huge pile of work (and rehearsals, as we have a concert Friday!) that awaits me.
Some fun stuff I’ve come across (a.k.a. going through my list of starred posts in Google Reader)…
Clients from Hell – for designers to commiserate (and for most non-designers to cringe in sympathy).
Volcano-on-volcano action – two neighboring volcanoes are erupting simultaneously on the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia. (It looks like three in the image, but the middle “plume” is simply a cloud.)
Birds on the Wires (YouTube video) – really lovely and inspirational scenery-inspired musical project. I saw a TV commercial recently that played with this idea, but I’m not sure which came first.
25 user experience videos that are worth your time – this is almost 2 months old now, but still a cool resource. I’ll admit that I took notice of it due to the very first talk by Jesse Games Garrett, and how he describes Beethoven as a user experience designer. Last semester, I gave a very similar presentation for my Presentation and Pitch Design course, describing John Williams as an information designer, well before I saw this talk. I guess I’m on the right track, then!
Sleeping kitties! My friend Anne posts adorable animal photo posts all the time. This made me feel so warm and cozy.
Artists take on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe – some great illustrations in here (with a couple of She-Ra throwbacks, too). Also a few months old.
Have a good afternoon!
21 June, 2008 – 1:59 pm | Filed under commentary, design, products, site, web | 1 Comment »
Lately I’ve been getting pretty sick of this influx of social networking apps–not their existence, but their names.
Flickr. Tumblr. Pownce. Reddit. Utterz.
Give me a freaking break. So now it’s the “in thing” to create an app and give it a name that omits or twists a letter around in a preexisting word? Thanks to Flickr, I can no longer type or read “flicker” without it looking strange. I’m sure that wasn’t what they set out to do, but now everyone is doing something similar and it’s crossed that line from being cute to being ludicrous.
And it’s cool that these apps have all been created out of a movement to connect people online further and to facilitate the faster retrieval of information, but after reading Jeffrey Zeldman’s article on the death of the personal website, I can’t get it out of my head when I think about all this stuff. I remember the days when I–when everyone I knew–would put everything up manually. Photos, current music faves, books we’d read recently, favorite bookmarks. But now there’s Flickr, last.fm, AllConsuming, and del.icio.us, and dozens of sites just like them. People embed these apps and applets into their personal sites–which have typically evolved into blogs–and so their sites have become a lot more effortless, and in some ways, a lot less personal.
I do have a Flickr account. It became a necessity in terms of uploading the 3200-plus photos I took during my two years in Japan–there was just no way I had the time to thumbnail them and manually code and update my website to host them. I will admit that I hesitated in signing up for Flickr, though, in the hopes that I could indeed do it myself. But with the exception of creating a del.icio.us account a while back and updating it maybe twice, I haven’t touched it. I also have an active account on Facebook, but that’s a little different from these labor-saving sorts of sites.
I’m the type of person who digs my heels in when some new, flashy item or fad comes along. IPhones? Pfft. mp3 players? Why, when CDs work so well? (I did give in and I own a Creative Zen 30GB media player…but I will never give up on CDs. The mp3 format is, by definition, quite lossy and compressed, and I can’t stand listening to a symphony or quartet or violin concerto when it’s all muffled due to minimizing the file size. I lament that stereo systems have become obsolete, and that I now have to shell out money for a home theater system to get the best possible sound when I don’t even own a TV!)
In terms of these “new-fangled” apps, I’m definitely digging my heels in. I know SXSW Interactive this year revolved around Twitter in terms of meeting up with folks, and since I left straight for Osaka from Austin, I couldn’t bring my laptop with me and missed out entirely on that aspect of the conference…and if I go again next year, I might sign up just to take advantage of that way to network…but only for that.
And whatever new websites I develop, I definitely won’t be giving any of them cutesy names.