Thinking Differently

October 6, 2011
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Steve Jobs changed my life. It was a gradual process that began in the fall of 1984, when I first interacted with a Macintosh. I had moved into Castle Moose, a house full of game-playing Harvard graduates and later the location of some of my culinary milestones, including the legendary pumpkin pie story. In addition […]

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Beautiful Soup

March 25, 2011
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Most major science fiction conventions have an art show, an area of the convention devoted to the display of artwork by the Artist Guest of Honor as well as other who hope to sell their work. I’m not a fan of art shows. More specifically, I’m not a fan of the illustrations, photographs, and paintings, which […]

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Re-Make, Re-Model, Revisited

August 6, 2010

It’s been a little more than a year since I last updated the appearance of the blog. It was beginning to feel cramped and claustrophobic, so I went for the look you see here. The gray background is gone, the outer and inner borders have been removed, and the text column has been widened. I […]

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Rock That Font (Slight Return)

June 12, 2010
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After writing yesterday’s post about the remarkable Rock That Font blog, I sent them a one-sentence email: “Submitted for your approval, my homage to your remarkable blog,” along with the link. Less than ten hours later I had a reply from Shawn O’Keefe, one of the founders, asking if he could publish my Joy Division […]

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Rock That Font

June 11, 2010
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A friend and reader of this blog sent me this email about a month ago: About the typography of rock album covers: I have never seen a website that seems more precisely designed for [you] — except that there are no recipes, alas. A visit to the site confirmed his description; it was as […]

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Best. Client Bribe. Ever.

March 31, 2010
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A Good Client thanks you for quality work done on time or ahead of schedule. A Great Client thanks you for the work you’ve done with a gift, what my friends in the biz call “client bribes.” I’ve received some fine bribes in my freelancing career: chocolates, bottles of wine, port, or scotch (a 12-year-old […]

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Multitasker, or Multiple Unitasker?

November 17, 2009
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Alton Brown’s conversion of a fire extinguisher into a smoothie maker got me thinking about unitasking devices in my own kitchen. (A digression: The fire extinguisher in that demo is a CO2 model, which is hardly ever sold for kitchen use. Kitchen extinguishers are usually dry chemical models, which I don’t recommend for smoothies unless […]

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Information is Beautiful

November 11, 2009
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One of my secondary careers — book designer and typographer — began with a commission to design this book. Before the project started, the author gave me a copy of The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte, telling me that he wanted me to emulate the book’s production values, editing, and clarity of […]

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Irving Penn, 1917-2009

October 8, 2009
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Photographer Irving Penn died yesterday. Anyone with even a passing interest in modern American design is familiar with his work. He transformed fashion photography from overcrowded set pieces to minimalist abstracts that focused on the clothes and the models themselves. The photo above – one of his most well-known – is of Lisa Fonssagrives, who […]

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Mahlon Hoagland: 1921-2009

September 25, 2009
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He worked with James Watson and Francis Crick. He discovered transfer RNA and amino acid activation. He was twice nominated for the Nobel Prize. His name was Mahlon Hoagland, he passed away last week, and you have never heard of him. I had never heard of him until a series of unlikely circumstances brought us […]

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