Thursday, December 3, 2009

We Feel Fine


This is an amazing work on the language of feeling, data visualization, and making vast information accessible to the non-expert. The authors combine rich illustrations and good storytelling.

We Feel Fine - Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar


IMGP9320, originally uploaded by bjornmeansbear.

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
-- Sir Winston Churchill

I'm an enneagram one--I'm a perfectionist. To me, answers are right or wrong. There's room for interpretation or application of the rules, but in the end, either you know your stuff--and the thing is good, or works, or is safe, or is beautiful--or you don't.

So, mostly, I hate criticism. I especially hate criticism that I don't ask for, that drops unasked from the lips of a friend or loved one. It doesn't matter that the criticism is intended to help me correct something entirely avoidable, but if someone notices I've made a mistake, and catches me unprepared, I get defensive, and feel like the world is against me. If I can't take action to remedy the critism, sometimes I feel like everything is lost. My defensive critical mind's reasoning is that mistakes are bad, and therefore people who make mistakes are bad.

It's probably because I have a constant stream of diagnostics and criticism going on in my head. I'm not kidding--I hear that critical voice while I nap! Nicholas Lore writes that it's like having a one arm that's an always-on-alwasy-sharp's fine as long as you give it something to do, but not so good when you don't put it to work and inadvertently aim it at yourself.

But sometimes, sometimes I welcome criticism. I welcome criticism when I still have options, even while I'm facing a problem, but don't know what to do next, someone outside may have the experience or perspective to know what to do, and I ask for their input, and willingly implement their advice.

I welcome criticism when I trust that the critic has my best interests at heart, that I'm not being put down or categorized forever like a bug in a collection, stuck forever no matter how my arms and legs flail. I can accept criticism from people close to me if I feel that our relationship isn't in danger if I fail to act as they suggest; I won't face rejection if I don't follow their advice or input. We'll be okay even if I repeat the same mistake again.

Even when I'm not feeling stuck, criticism can sometimes be helpful, if it's presented in a context where it's clear that criticism is going to be given, and that I'm not just the recipient, but a co-creator in shared understanding. I first experienced this constructive technique while at art school. Critiques were a regular part of life there, we'd meet to talk about our work or the work of our classmates. We learned to use critique and its methods in almost any situation, from film to architecture, from photography to magazine layout.

Regular critiques served Churchill's healthy diagnostic function, and were both stimulating and highly motivating. Critiques are not about right or wrong but instead taking the next step forward towards the goal.

How To Respond Effectively To Design Criticism - SmashingMagazine
How to Accept Criticism with Grace and Appreciation - zenhabits
Feedback. The Creativity Killer - Six Revisions
How to Handle Criticism - Stepcase Lifehack

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

lights in a bottle

bottle lights

Here's a fun decoration that you can make with all those left over wine bottles this holiday season.

Wine Bottle Light - Wit & Whistle

aroma wheel

aroma wheel
How can you describe the flavor? Here's a set of prompts.
Aroma Wheel - DataViz

Monday, November 23, 2009

to know how good you are...

To know how good you are at something requires exactly the same set of skills as it does to be good at that thing. --John Cleese

The Dunning-Kruger effect is a fascinating phenomenon. (Link opens PDF)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

make great shit.

If you want to make great shit, you must first know what great shit is.

I think Rory Marinich gets it just about right in his post called "Make Great Shit"

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

simple fruit galette crust on the counter

who says good food needs expensive gadgets?

Monday, November 9, 2009

How to set up an e-commerce site using PayPal to process - Ars Technica

Paypal is not really pretty, and it's not really stylish. But it will help you accept money from friends and strangers.
How to set up an e-commerce site using PayPal to process - Ars Technica

Sixeyes: MP3 Blog by Alan Williamson

Sixeyes: MP3 Blog by Alan Williamson
Have you ever had a friend that always had music on that you liked? Did you ever wish he created a blog, or that you could create one that would bring you musical delights? Alan Williamson's blog sixeyes is just like that.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

film music |

Moby will let you use his music for your non-profit or student film for free, and for a donation for profit making ventures. So cool! film music |

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cell Phone Coverage Maps - AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile

Someone finally did it! A map where those mobile phone things don't work so well. My dream: that  AT+T would use it to revise its infrastructure. (Caution, the site is super slow at the moment)

Cell Phone Coverage Maps - AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile

Monday, November 2, 2009