Garden input

As spotted on the Optimus project blog:

Large concrete Russian keyboard keys on grass

This is a standard Latin and Cyrillic double-layout on a monumental concrete keyboard installed in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg (shot on Sunday).

Visit the blog for a larger image.

How cool is that! Doubly-so that it is in both Russian and English. But then I have a particular fondness for Russia.

I’d love to have one of those in my garden. I’d love to have a garden big enough to have one of those installed.

Quite inspiring.

Arial or Helvetica?

Arial or Helvetica?

Once there was a typeface called Helvetica.

It was extremely popular.

Later came a software company called Microsoft.

They “borrowed” Helvetica for their operating system and called it Arial.

This inferior typeface is now on millions of desktops all over the world.

Can you tell the difference between the original and the rip-off in these ten examples?

Seemingly, Arial was designed in 1982 by Robin Nicholas and Patricia Saunders — good name! — for Monotype.

Take the quiz.


I got 7/10.

Getting there ... I scored 7 out of 10.

Error’d: But they are ALL new features!

A couple of days ago I was clearing out old CD-ROMs, the ones you get free with PC magazines, and gleaning them of software that I either wanted or thought I should check out.

One application that caught my eye was AceHTML 6 Pro, a development environment for HTML, CSS, JavaScript, ASP, and PHP. This morning I got around to installing it and it was all going well, in a follow-the-instructions kind of a way, until I was presented with this dialog box

Dialog box reads: Do you want to restore the menus and buttons to see the new features?

The dialog box reads: “Do you want to restore the menus and buttons to see the new features?”

I have no idea what this means. I have just installed this application for the first time, so

  1. I would expect the menus and buttons to be “restored”, if that means that they are returned to their default positions, and
  2. they are ALL new features to me, I’ve just installed the thing!

Please, software developers, give us dialog box messages that are actually meaningful to users. 🙂

(Error’d entries on this blog are named after the popular Worse Than Failure feature.)

Toddlers + paint – adults = mess + expense

Two kids in a living room, covered in white paint.

I came across this picture again today, originally spotted on a few months back, entitled “Why you shouldn’t leave a gallon of paint with unsupervised toddlers”.

I don’t even want to think about where they started cleaning up; I can only hope that it was emulsion. I just love the expression on the face of the boy on the left: he looks so pleased with what he’s done.

(I think Neil ‘Neebs’ Costley will be proud of my title.)

Choosing colour schemes for your design

Choosing colour schemes for your website design … or publication … or hair-and-nails combination … or whatever … isn’t always an easy task.

However, there are some clever colour-boffins out there who’ve created cunning tools to help you get the best out of colour combinations. Sadly, most of them are American and can’t spell the word “colour”. IT’S GOT A ‘U’ IN IT!


ColorImpact 3

My favourite application is ColorImpact; I have both version 1.7 (which I got free on a PCPlus DVD) and version 3.1 (which I bought upgraded to).

It is packed with features. The application makes it desperately simple to choose colours (use either hex values, RGB or HSB) and find complimentary shades, harmonies, opposites, and families of the same colour, either darker, lighter, more saturated or less so.

I used this application quite a lot during the design phase of the University of St Andrews website redesign project.

The latest version costs US$49.95 (about GBP £25.75).

Color Schemer

Color Schemer

If you don’t fancy forking out twenty-five quid then you can try Color Schemer’s online version. It doesn’t have quite so many features as either ColorImpact or Color Schemer Studio — their commercial desktop version of the same (4¢ more than ColorImpact at US $49.99) — but is still rather good none-the-less.


Dulux website

And if none of that clever, geeky software sounds your thing, you could always check out and pretend that your website is a lovely big room.

Make sure you don’t actually paint your monitor, though.


Adobe has a great service called Kuler, which allows users to create and share their colour schemes.