The future of the book

An Economist essay:

Those who use e-reading devices can see which passages were highlighted by other users, and there is talk of expanding offerings so people can discuss books in the margin at the same time. Bob Stein of the Institute for the Future of the Book predicts that some e-books will start to be sold with a “gloss” of commentary from their authors or other well-known critics, sort of like the director’s cut version of films.
There will be new experiments in storytelling, new genres born of the electronic age, and new authors who never would have been discovered in a print-only world. But there will also go on being lots of books in print—many of which may be more pleasant to hold, feel and own than ever before. In the face of the e-book there is “an imperative now to make the entire physical package itself special”, says Scott Moyers, an editor at Penguin Press.

The future of the book

An Economist essay:

Those who use e-reading devices can see which passages were highlighted by other users, and there is talk of expanding offerings so people can discuss books in the margin at the same time. Bob Stein of the Institute for the Future of the Book predicts that some e-books will start to be sold with a “gloss” of commentary from their authors or other well-known critics, sort of like the director’s cut version of films.

There will be new experiments in storytelling, new genres born of the electronic age, and new authors who never would have been discovered in a print-only world. But there will also go on being lots of books in print—many of which may be more pleasant to hold, feel and own than ever before. In the face of the e-book there is “an imperative now to make the entire physical package itself special”, says Scott Moyers, an editor at Penguin Press.

Monodraw

ASCII art editor for OS X.

Plain text has been around for decades and it’s here to stay. Monodraw allows you to easily create text-based art – like diagrams, layouts, flow charts and visually represent algorithms, data structures, binary formats and more. Because it’s all just text, it can be easily embedded almost anywhere.

Monodraw

ASCII art editor for OS X.

Plain text has been around for decades and it’s here to stay. Monodraw allows you to easily create text-based art – like diagrams, layouts, flow charts and visually represent algorithms, data structures, binary formats and more. Because it’s all just text, it can be easily embedded almost anywhere.

Giving Colors More Colorful Names

Tom Osborne, Design Director at Viget:

Now that we have a whole rainbow it makes referencing difficult beyond hex values. In other words, the colors need an equivalent for casual conversation — something with soul.

I’ve been playing around with a few different methods. While I haven’t found a perfect solution, there are some options:

Use a tool - There are tools available like Name That Color and Color Name & Hue (h/t @chuckborowicz) that provide approximate names based on hex values. These are great; but, the names can be too esoteric for everyday use.
	Compare to a list - Compare colors to lists like Named Web Colors, Crayola, or Ingrid’s Color Thesaurus and look for similarity.
	Make it up - Just wing it. There are no rules. Name the colors however you like. Try an image search based on a term to see what colors emerge. Ask a friend for a second opinion. Everyone has an opinion about colors.
	All of the above - Go crazy. Do all the things.
I usually go with “All of the Above.” I use the tools for discovery and ideas — sometimes I reference lists — then I pick the best fit, or add my own. Yes, it can be time-consuming. No, it does not have any real meaning as far as the HTML and CSS are concerned. Yes, there are official named web colors (but, they’re limited and don’t always fit). No, there’s no real system to the process — but I think it still works.

I really like this. (via @smashingmag)

Giving Colors More Colorful Names

Tom Osborne, Design Director at Viget:

Now that we have a whole rainbow it makes referencing difficult beyond hex values. In other words, the colors need an equivalent for casual conversation — something with soul.

I’ve been playing around with a few different methods. While I haven’t found a perfect solution, there are some options:

  • Use a tool - There are tools available like Name That Color and Color Name & Hue (h/t @chuckborowicz) that provide approximate names based on hex values. These are great; but, the names can be too esoteric for everyday use.
  • Compare to a list - Compare colors to lists like Named Web Colors, Crayola, or Ingrid’s Color Thesaurus and look for similarity.
  • Make it up - Just wing it. There are no rules. Name the colors however you like. Try an image search based on a term to see what colors emerge. Ask a friend for a second opinion. Everyone has an opinion about colors.
  • All of the above - Go crazy. Do all the things.

I usually go with “All of the Above.” I use the tools for discovery and ideas — sometimes I reference lists — then I pick the best fit, or add my own. Yes, it can be time-consuming. No, it does not have any real meaning as far as the HTML and CSS are concerned. Yes, there are official named web colors (but, they’re limited and don’t always fit). No, there’s no real system to the process — but I think it still works.

I really like this. (via @smashingmag)

Bruce Lawson:

Twenty years ago today, Opera’s CTO Håkon Wium Lie published Cascading HTML style sheets – a proposal.

It’s fascinating to look through the original proposal, especially the examples:

40%
font.family = times
h1.font.family = helvetica 100%

Håkon Wium Lie:

The CSS proposal was to have sliding scale where the author was fully in charge in one end of the scale, and the user was fully in charge in the other end of the scale. In between, the browser would try to mix requests to make everyone happy. This works well for certain properties (like font-size) but is hard to do for others (like font-family).

The Next Big Thing In Responsive Design

Dan Gardner and Mike Treff for Co.Design:

When you look at the print version of any major print publication over time, you realize that they don’t just have a couple of templates. They have hundreds. They have the ability to respond to any combination of events with a design that gives each event the proper editorial weight.

Somehow, we’ve lost that ability on the web. Most homepages use the exact same layout, day in and day out. And it’s not just homepages. Article pages—where most users first land on websites—look exactly the same, too. To a user, a day when war breaks out in Iraq can feel exactly the same as a day when the biggest news is a change in Bieber’s hairstyle.

The Next Big Thing In Responsive Design

Dan Gardner and Mike Treff for Co.Design:

When you look at the print version of any major print publication over time, you realize that they don’t just have a couple of templates. They have hundreds. They have the ability to respond to any combination of events with a design that gives each event the proper editorial weight.

Somehow, we’ve lost that ability on the web. Most homepages use the exact same layout, day in and day out. And it’s not just homepages. Article pages—where most users first land on websites—look exactly the same, too. To a user, a day when war breaks out in Iraq can feel exactly the same as a day when the biggest news is a change in Bieber’s hairstyle.

All You Need To Know About Vertical-Align

Christopher Aue:

CSS offers some possibilities. Sometimes I solve it with float, sometimes with position: absolute, sometimes even dirty by manually adding margins or paddings.

I don’t really like these solutions. Floats only align at their tops and need to be cleared manually. Absolute positioning takes the elements out of the flow so they do no longer affect their surroundings. And working with fixed margins and paddings immediately breaks things on the tiniest change.

But there is another player here: vertical-align. I think it deserves more credit. Ok, technically, using vertical-align for layout is a hack, since it wasn’t invented for this reason. It’s there to align text and elements next to text. Nonetheless, you can also use vertical-align in different contexts to align elements very flexible and fine-grained. The sizes of elements need not to be known. Elements stay in the flow so other elements can react to changed dimensions of those. This makes it a valuable option.