“When I Inhaled Alice”

I’m sure you’ve all seen the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the eye of a needle images that doing the rounds on the geek news and social networking sites for some time now. Mainstream media finally caught up and proved that although they may be slow on the uptake, they generally do a much better job of reporting than bloggers. Must be the practice, training, etc.

“One of the worst moments was recently when I inhaled Alice,” he recalls.

“I was just putting her in position when I breathed in at the wrong moment and she disappeared. That was nearly a month’s work gone.”

Almost as infuriating was the night when he had just finished attaching a tightrope walker the size of a breadcrumb to a tiny strand of a money spider’s web.

“This fly came buzzing down past the lens and the gust from its wings blew the chap off his tightrope.”

Smart Image Resizing

The narration on this is a bit Norman House, but when you’re this clever you’re allowed. Very much a why-didn’t-i-think-of-that technology, these guys are going to do very well for themselves.

Freelance Tips

Most articles on working freelance either state the obvious to the point of stupidity or witter on with jargon to the point of death, however The 10 Biggest Mistakes Freelancers Make, and How to Avoid Them is a rare exception.

Unfortunately it’s written in the 10 Biggest format Diggers seem to love so much, presumably because of their notoriously short attention spa… oh look, a puppy… but the points are bang on, and the avoidance tactics tend to hit the mark too.

  1. Missing deadlines.
  2. Charging too little.
  3. Lack of preliminary research.
  4. Choosing the wrong clients.
  5. Getting too personal.
  6. Letting off steam.
  7. Not proposing a follow-up idea.
  8. Not having multiple income streams.
  9. Allowing yourself to slack.
  10. Failing to be yourself.

Not sure about the last one, I guess I was too much of an egomaniac for that to happen. ;)

Book Depository Makeover

Well done to Book Depository for – finally – updating their website with a new look. I first thought they had added new features too – a blog, for example – but it turns out they were there all along. I just didn’t notice because of the awful design. :)

I switched to BD in May of last year because of Amazon’s arrogance, and I haven’t looked back since. Dealing with the shitty site was annoying, but acceptable given the amount of time I spend on the site — I hit it about once a week to add a book to my saved list, and once a month to fire a few into a cart and buy them.

The books always arrive within a few days, in plain white padded envelopes instead of showy logo-splashed boxes that are easily spotted for nicking. And here’s something else refreshing: a contact page with an email address. And there’s more email addresses on the About page, if you want to talk to someone higher up.

And the managing editor wants to hear what you think of the site. And he listens, and responds, and asks for more feedback. And he posts his email address in case you want to comment privately. Are you paying attention Amazon? How about you Play.com, and you Dabs.com? See how chuffed people get when they’re not fobbed off?

14 Years Ago

I’m more impressed than the commentors on IP, but Bob Frankston has it right: we’ve made this progress despite the likes of AT&T, not because of them.

Did you know?

That Mercedes cars are traditionally silver because in the 1934 racing season new weight rules were introduced, and Mercedes’ car was slightly too heavy? To lose that bit of extra weight Mercedes decided to drop the white paint traditional to German cars, and raced in bare aluminium. The cars became known as the Silver Arrows, and that’s why Mercedes favour silver for their cars.

Auto Union did the same thing and became known as Silverfish, which is why Audi is quite keen on the colour too; although these days they seem to lean towards my favourite colour, black.

Jakob Nielsen’s Dishonesty

I’ve always disliked Nielsen’s holie-than-thou attitude and painful-to-look-at website, so I’m only too delighted to highlight his admission that in 1997 he suppressed research that demonstrated that users respond to dialog-box style ads on websites.

Now hold your horses before you dive in to defend his honour. Yes he’s admitted it now, and there’s no denying that that’s a step forward. But ask yourself, when did you start admiring him, recently or ten years ago? Would you now, with the same information?

Neilsen is a dinosaur. Move on people.