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Category Archives: theMechanism


The Thinking Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Fridays, covering the ideas The Mechanism is thinking and talking about with our peers and clients.

In the U.S. this weekend is Memorial Day weekend, the official start of summer. Many people travel to visit family and friends or just to take their first trip to the beach. In the spirit of the holiday weekend we are going to do something different. Instead of sharing the items we’ve been talking about we are going to introduce you to two services we love and share items that you could enjoy while commuting to your destination or while taking some deserved time off.

Once you discover Instapaper you wonder how did you manage without it. Created by Marco Arment, co-founder of Tumblr and coffee aficionado, Instapaper is a simple tool to save web pages to read later. The text is stripped out of any web page and becomes available, via apps on most mobile devices, for you to read when you have the time. It is also available online through the Instapaper website. Instapaper is time-shifting for text, TiVo for words.

Longreads is the perfect compliment to Instapaper. Founded by Mark Armstrong, Longreads posts links to new stories every day — they include long-form journalism, magazine stories from your favorite publications (The New Yorker, Esquire, The Atlantic), short stories, interview transcripts, and even historical documents. The site has a brilliant search feature that allows you to filter articles based on length, so you can find the perfect article to read in the amount of time you have available.

In the age of Twitter and Facebook status updates, these two services encourage long-form reading. Here are some of the articles we’ll be reading this weekend, as discovered through Longreads:

Error Message: Google Research Director Peter Norvig on Being Wrong
(Kathryn Schulz, Slate, Aug. 3, 2010)
Time to read: 16 minutes (4,050 words)
Norvig explains what happens when a company (in this case Google) takes an engineering-centric approach to its products and business. First, it means that errors are actually a good thing.

Apple & Design: The Man Who Makes Your iPhone
(Frederik Balfour and Tim Culpan, Businessweek, Sept. 9, 2010)
Time to read: 21 minutes (5,204 words)
Foxconn founder Terry Gou might be regarded as Henry Ford reincarnated if only a dozen of his workers hadn’t killed themselves. An exclusive look inside a postmodern industrial empire.

Later: What Does Procrastination Tell Us About Ourselves?
(James Surowiecki, The New Yorker, Oct. 11, 2010)
Time to read: 14 minutes (3,574 words)
Take comfort in this exploration of the “basic human impulse” of putting work off.

Master of Play: Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo’s Man Behind Mario
(Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, Dec. 13, 2010)
Time to read: 37 minutes (9366 words)
Jamin Brophy-Warren, who publishes a video-game arts and culture magazine called Kill Screen, told me that there is something in the amplitude and dynamic of Mario’s jumps—just enough supernatural lift yet also just enough gravitational resistance—that makes the act of performing that jump, over and over, deeply satisfying. He also cited the archetypal quality of Mario’s task, that vague feeling of longing and disappointment which undergirds his desperate and recurring quest for the girl. “It’s a story of desire,” Brophy-Warren said.

Twitter Was Act One
(David Kirkpatrick, Vanity Fair, March 3, 2011)
Time to read: 18 minutes (4,543 words)
“The Facebook Effect” author David Kirkpatrick on another Silicon Valley superstar—Twitter and Square founder Jack Dorsey. In submitting to his first in-depth profile, we learn about the events the led to him stepping down as CEO [since then he has returned to Twitter as CEO], his long-term goal (to become mayor of New York City), and his earliest career experiences.

Cranking
(Merlin Mann, 43 Folders, April 22, 2011)
Time to read: 12 minutes (3,068 words)
A disappearing dad with a looming book deadline examines his priorities, and promises changes.

The Thinking Mechanism is a series of weekly posts, published on Fridays, covering the ideas The Mechanism is thinking and talking about with our peers and clients.

• Whenever I hear anyone talking about cloud computing I think the cloud is were turbulent weather happens. This became obvious yesterday when an outage of Amazon Web Services brought down many websites and services for most of the day, disrupting social media and your check-ins.

Is the Amazon outage Skynet’s first attack?

iPads are more widely used than Linux.

• An internal review of a project led to a debate on how many characters can the longest possible email address have. Try to guess before you read the answer.

The web goes green for Earth Day.

• And lastly, colorful, eye-popping photos of Easter eggs splattering.

A while back, I worked with a delightfully creative fella named David Sherwin (@changeorder) on his newly released book, Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills. David had the monumental task of presenting a variety of challenges to a gaggle of designers – all meant to be quick and highly creative interpretations of individual challenges – much like a teacher dolling out projects to students at the last minute, curating them, and finally, organizing the copy to support the designs. Well, it turns out that putting a deadline of 90 minutes on a project and taking out the financial rewards that occasionally come with the practice graphic design, actually enables you to develop some fairly exciting stuff, as documented in Mr. Sherwin’s new book from the good folks at HOW Design Press. As far as I can recall, in addition to doing all the heavy lifting involved with writing a book these days, David also was self-tasked with doing some design as well.

I just got a chance to revisit the logo design I created for the Global Magic Society, (one of David’s cheeky challenges for the book), by happening upon a blog post at changeorder.com – part of the marketing for Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills. As it turns out, it was an otherwise creatively productive use of 90 minutes of my day.

The proof of my contribution to Creative Workshop: 80 Challenges to Sharpen Your Design Skills is documented at this link and on the Print Website for your enjoyment. While you’re reading about my small contribution to this magnificent tome of creative hutzpah, get yourself over to Amazon to order your very own fancy copy, printed on glorious slices of tree.

Both the NYC and London offices of theMechanism are hiring.

New York City

We’re seeking a creative, confident and professional Web Developer for our NYC office. You’ll need to demonstrate that you’re an efficient xHTML/CSS expert who stays on top of future trends. We’re looking for someone who is excited, creative and can work in a comfortable team environment to develop standards-based, lead-generation sites.

Central London

We are looking for a developer with 3-4 years experience building functionally-rich web applications to join the team in our Central London office.

Read more about the opportunities and apply here.

theMechanism is excited to launch our newest podcast series: barKode.

While our other podcast, theMechcast focuses on group discussions, barKode (partially named after the last name of our Senior Developer in New York, Jeffrey Barke [note the wry use of his last name barKe in the title]) will be focused on educational web design and standards-based talks, including those delivered at the The New York Web Standards Meetup Group. The first episode of barKode is called, “Web Mapping Part One–Google Maps Tutorial” where Jeffrey Barke, Senior Developer at theMechanism, leads a two-part discussion on web mapping in general and Google Maps in particular. Part Two will be on February 21st at 6:30 at the New York Creative Bunker.

You can subscribe and enjoy future episodes of barKode at feedburner.

theMechanism is proud to have Waggener Edstrom’s Consumer Group website featured on CssGlance.com as an example of a well designed and innovative CSS based website.

CssGlance.com is the first italian website focused on providing its audience with a database of well designed and innovative CSS based websites from all around the world. They want to show that good design and web standards are two sides of the same coin. CssGlance even has a pretty little button for our website:

CssGlance Showcase Gallery

CssGlance.com is yet another thing we love about Italy – alongside Garlic Bread and Meatballs, of course…

According to Smashing Magazine, theMechanism’s recent design for Waggener Edstrom Consumer group is “Inspirational, Usable & Elegant”. They also threw around words like “profound” and “enduring” too.

We wholeheartedly support and trust their judgement.

From Smashing Magazine:

We all love beautiful, usable and impressive web designs. To achieve them, web developers need to focus on many aspects, but basically it all boils down to the question, how well the content is presented and how easily the information can be perceived. Harmonic color schemes are as important as solid and consistent typography. Precise visual structure and intuitive navigation are essential for both usability and accessibility. In fact, mostly it’s a keen attention to small details which gives web-sites a profound and enduring nature.

We’ve selected some more of them. Over 60 elegant, usable and impressive designs with a well thought-out color scheme, typography and visual structure. Their beauty lies in the way the information is presented. Their usability lies in the way they communicate presented data. That’s what makes them different.

Have a peek at all the inspiring designs from various firms right here.

Decadesrocklive.com has won a prestigious CSS World Award in the category of Entertainment.

Why prestigious? Well, it’s because we strive to build our sites to be standards-compliant, and so should you.

Why CSS World Awards?. Well, they recognize the work done by developers that build websites using CSS. We like these types of awards, because it heightens the awareness of the companies using Web Standards.

Great stuff to check out at the winners page for everyone who is interested in this kind of stuff. Congrats to everyone who won.

DecadesRockLive.com has been nominated for site of the year in the Entertainment category on cssmania.com, which recognizes the work done by developers that build websites using CSS. This site has been chosen from thousands of entries on the site by several luminaries in the Standards Advocacy world.

It was the first build done for theMechanism by our Standards Advocate, Bill C. English and we couldn’t be prouder of the fella.

You can check out several of the entries (including Decades Rock Live) here.