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I’ve been away

§ Music · Design thinking · Personal

Away from the Internet. I haven’t been reading blogs and evidently I haven’t been writing my own. I normally search out and devour what people are writing, but recently it seemed too much like hard work. I still had the appetite for keeping on top of what’s being written, but I lacked the will to forage and feed.

Seven days mountain biking might have been a holiday well away from computers, but as well as the obvious physical demands, hammering down Alpine mountain sides takes its toll on the mind too. There’s some fairly major concentration involved, both conscious and sub-conscious. Immediately follow that by 2 weeks intense pressure to finish a project for a ‘big’ client and I guess you have a recipe for burnout, even over that short period of time.

Well I think I’m back. Friends have stopped saying I look tired and I’ve returned to the swing of things, so what have I missed? (Obviously these may be old news to some of you.)

One of the most impressive sites for some time has to be Todd Dominey’s PGA Open Championship. Beautiful, engaging design, shining examples of how and when to use Flash to enhance a page. Immaculate typography throughout and of course XHTML+CSS under the hood. Someone somewhere said they didn’t think much of the design because it was too grey. Which is like saying you don’t rate Ferraris because they are red – completely ignoring the inherent beauty and engineering prowess.

Also just in is Phantom Power, the new album from Super Furry Animals – Wales’s finest band and one of Britain’s shiniest jewels in the diadem of popular music. Like Rings Around the World before it, Phantom Power is available as a DVD and immaculately pressed vinyl, supplemented by a terrific Web site.

Pixelsurgeon interviews Super Furry Gruff Rhys, who explains why the album has a more conventional, acoustic sound then its predecessors.

Pixelsurgeon itself has also been redesigned. The new look is cleaner and more elegant than before, crucially retaining the refined typography. We have lost the section colour coding though, which was done so well in the previous incarnation. So it looks great, but for a new site it’s underlying code is pretty ropey. There’s am XHTML doctype but it doesn’t come close to validating. The layout is done with tables and the Super Furries interview is contained in one giant paragraph, with double <br>s and <b> tags. A definition list would have made much more sense, or at least a bunch of separate paragraphs. I suspect the problem lies in a crude CMS, but either way the end product could do with tidying up under the hood.