Leopard Chronicles Part 3: Adium I Do Believe I Failed You

OK this incident was just freaky. Whilst I’m freaking out and asking Julian to help me recover my iTunes library , I was noticing that none of my IM emoticons were showing up. Instead, I just got the standard Apple “I don’t know what this image is” question mark:

Perplexed, I decided to go into the Preferences menu and see if I could sort something out. And then I was really perplexed. My Preferences menu looked like it had died during the upgrade:

If you run into this, simply trash the current version of Adium and reinstall it. In my case, the preferences remained intact, so reinstalling fixed all my problems without any additional setup work required.

Anyway, this will be the last Leopard Chronicle about an application hiccup. I just couldn’t resist showing off that Preferences window, since it freaked me right out.

Leopard Chronicles Part 2: Re-Upgrading iTunes

Shame on me for believing Apple when they say that their new Leopard OS “works with the software and accessories you already have.” I’ve already mentioned that Leopard didn’t play so nicely with Safari . It turns out that it doesn’t play well with iTunes either.

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My First Experience with Leopard

I’ve been watching the blogosphere and waiting for the latest version of Mac OSX to reach a level of quality that most people seemed to be happy with it. With update 10.5.2 that seemed to happen, so I bought the disc and set it up on my machine.

And my first experience with Leopard was so special that I just had to share it with everyone:

Take a moment to let that sink in. It’s not saying that I have an old version of Safari, or that the Safari I’m referencing can’t be run on Leopard. It’s telling me Safari can’t run on Leopard. Period.

What it means to say is that I’m trying to open the version of Safari left over from my Tiger installation, and that version doesn’t run on Leopard. That’s just not what it actually says.

And whether or not I figure out what the error means to say, it’s still pretty jarring to hear that Apple’s browser doesn’t work on Apple’s latest operating system.

Powerful Visualizations

One of the first things you learn in an Information Design curriculum is how to communicate a message across different distances. What do people notice from far away? Are they compelled to come in for a closer look? How do you hook your reader into coming closer to examine the entire piece?

I’m always impressed by pieces that can do this without using any words… they establish a compelling macro view that is equally interesting at a micro level, when you’ve stepped right up to it. Yesterday, I received a link to some recent Chris Jordan work , and I was really impressed by the message behind these visualizations. They can be enjoyed as they are, but they become even more powerful when you read the caption associated with each piece.


Smashing Mag is a Few Days Late

The first iteration of the category subtitles on this blog wasn’t… ideal. I received a ton of feedback on it (including Vince’s subtle comment ), prompting me to find a font that still had a certain decorative quality to it, but was still very structured and appropriate for what I was trying to achieve.

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6 Things I Learned Designing a Custom WordPress Theme

My free time for the past two weeks has been spent building the new WordPress theme that you see here. Now that I’ve finished the project, I’m starting to reflect on my experience, and while I found a ton of great resources, it wasn’t entirely positive.

Frequently, there was information that I wasn’t able to find – either because I didn’t know where to look or because the information didn’t exist. My only path forward was to crawl through the WP-Includes folder to gather how things work, step-by-step. Coming from someone who used to run API usability tests, I can say this far from the ideal developer experience.

Well, I can’t do anything about the WordPress framework. But hopefully some of the things I learned will help other people, so I’ve captured them here.

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Design-Developer Workflow with Expression: 6 Things Developers Should Know

Reality for designers who work in Microsoft shops has changed in the past year, mostly due to the fact that the Microsoft Marketing Machine has worked exceedingly well. The message – targeted primarily to developers, mind you – is that the Expression suite of products solves all your developers’ woes around translating designs into functioning code. The pain point is legitimate, and so the message has sunk in.

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Silly Users, Developers Know Best

I’ve been semi-addicted to lately – basically, it’s a Facebook application that allows you to play Scrabble with your Facebook friends. While I’m trying to limit the games I play, it’s a great chance to play games with people I don’t see every day. I’m not into MMOs, and Scrabble can be a casual game – check when you want, play a word, come back in a couple days.

I had been playing a game with Vince (Japan), Eric (Lincoln, NE) and Jason (Omaha, NE). Vince and I were neck and neck for most of the game, and at the end it looked like he was going to win. In fact, the word-by-word score showed Vince winning, yet somehow the win went to me:

Vince, determined to have an untarnished Scrabble record, encouraged me to investigate the discrepancy. I’m nice, so I did. I opened the “Contact Us” page on Scrabulous, and found there was an FAQ about scoring already:

Scoring is not correct.
The words are scored perfectly and there are no bugs. To double-check, please right click on the board and choose NUMBERED BOARD. For more details, please see the Rules of Scrabulous.

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Ready, Set, Restart!

Adobe, Adobe, Adobe…

A couple years ago, I wrote about Windows XP’s habit of updating overnight and restarting the computer without user input . This caused its share of problems, but today Adobe topped it.

Back story : Apparently it was a big update day for Adobe, because I had almost 200 MB of updates to download and install. This process was taking a couple hours, so I went into a meeting with my coworkers. The meeting ends and I return to my computer. After a couple minutes, an unnerving dialog appears:

Your computer will restart in one minute.

And here I am with Visual Studio open, an unsaved mock-up in Illustrator, two functional specs, and a half-written email. Freaking out, I desperately try to decide what to save first (meanwhile my boss is asking me what’s wrong since I’m making such a spectacle).

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Facebook’s Shifty Notifications

over the… enthusiastic nature with which some Facebook applications try to get you to sign up. I guess it’s all about the numbers. But as I watched my notifications over the course of a week, I was intrigued by what I saw. At the start of the week, I was being notified about these items:

The items under “Other Applications” aren’t applications that I added to my profile. In fact, I don’t know where they came from at all, or why Live Blog is checked but others aren’t.