Monthly archives: December, 2006

Zen and peace, join design and code

the Zen of CSS designI’ve just finished reading the best technical book I’ve held on my hands this year: “The Zen of CSS design“. Using the famous “CSS Zen Garden” website, it speaks about design, CSS, and standards on Internet. It’s not a CSS reference book (but it cleverly shows the common css pitfalls), and it’s not a design book (but it comments a lot of design tips and stuff to consider). So, being nothing at all, is plenty of wisdom, making a correct use of the “Zen” meaning in its tittle ;-)

Every chapter illustrates a concept, like design, layout, typography, etc. It shows some real examples from the website, in the way to help you to understand the different uses of every subtle element. For example, in the design chapter it comments things about:
– colours (use and psychological meanings), contrasts, unity
– shapes, lines and curves, patterns (and textures)
– space, margins, shades
– how to help the eye leading
A lot of interesting stuff to save in your hard disk brain!!

If you feel a bit sank among web design, developing, programming, and such things, it could be like a roadmap for you. Of course it’s not perfect, and for example I disagree the quality of one of the last chapters. But there are lots of interesting comments, and the final chapter (recovering all the solutions for the common CSS pitfalls) is a really nice jewel. The best book bought by my company (thanks to my suggestion to my manager).

Creativity tracks

Some days ago I was thinking about a better way to value my vocabulary. Months ago I programmed a small word counter, but it was too simple and boring. I wanted to create something more interesting, more visual, like to show when and where I have written the most creative words.

How to measure creativity? Roughly speaking, you could say the most creative words are the least appearing words in a text. With this idea in mind, I started to program a “thermogram” image, with the timeline of the week as the X-axis and the position in the text as the Y-axis. Every word I’ve written was going to be a point in the image, and its colour intensity was the inverse of its appearances. The final result is here:
Creativity tracks

Honestly, I was waiting for a surprising visual result (like the kind of things that you can see in Information Aesthetics’ blog). I’ve tried different intensity curves, but it doesn’t change a lot. However, this result is somehow interesting. As you can see, I usually write on Monday, Tuesday and Wenesday at night, and at the midday on Sunday. The most creative point seems to be at the center of a post written on Wenesday night. Moreover, I shoud keep writing to fill more pixels ;-)

If you’d like to put this in your blog (only wordpress blogs), here is the PHP file which generates the thermogram.