The best two minutes of your day

I have this idea for a post that was born in a comment I made about RSS readers last week, and I told myself I’d make a real post with something interesting to say about an actual topic, soon.

And then I saw this video. It was recommended to me as “possibly the best two minutes of your day” and I have to say, it was absolutely the best two minutes of mine.

makes having to play all Sousa’s ludicrously high formerly violin parts on my clarinet in high school band entirely worth it.

and while I’m at it, hedgehog launch is both adorable and addictive. Launch hedgehogs into orbit!

Go read other stuff

I’ve been running around all over the place the last month or so, doing this whole graduating and then preparing for (delaying via grad school) the rest of my life. I finally had about a week to sort of decompress, if you can call unpacking/repacking/getting rid of useless Stuff I’ve accumulated decompressing, and my laptop couldn’t connect to my home LAN.

Anyway, I made it Seattle, where I’ll be for the rest of the summer, and right away had to take care of a pneumonia patient. Now of course I’m sick too, but with a little luck I won’t have anything worse than a rhinovirus sapping all my energy. And while I am sleeping it off, you my numerous and loyal readers can amuse yourselves elsewhere.

Interaction-Design.org is new to me, and I haven’t spent a lot of time exploring it yet, but it looks like a place to keep your eye on.
web accessibility checklist – a checklist is no substitute for serious attention from an accessibility specialist, but it’s a starting place when that’s just not practical.
physical interface: touching considerate design – I especially like the seat control. I eagerly await the day when industrial designers are done slapping rows of identical rectangular buttons wherever seems convenient (to the manufacturer, of course, not the user).
Microsoft’s Being Human report was released a couple of months ago. Probably you’ve heard of it by now, but if you’re me you still haven’t really read it yet. Worth a look.

maps

In yet another foreshadowing of my HCI interests (this time in the display of complex information), ever since I learned that maps can show more than political boundaries and the location of large bodies of water, I’ve been kind of fascinated by them. So finding this map blog just now was pretty exciting.

The post on map-related songs reminded me of a beautiful song by Great Lake Swimmers, who have a very nice site marred by gratuitous use of frames or I’d link to the page where you can download “Your Rocky Spine.” Instead I will link to the file directly and call it a day.
Your Rocky Spine by Great Lake Swimmers
It’s not about maps so much as using geography as metaphor, but it’s such a pretty song I couldn’t help but share. And anyway, isn’t using geography as a metaphor the whole idea behind maps that show information besides topology?

Other neat map things:
2008 web trends map
naming styles in the US (the Name Voyager is also a fun bit of data visualization. My name appeared briefly in the top 1000 names in the 1950s, and has reappeared this decade, both times due to pop culture influences)
Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s moonwalk, superimposed on soccer field, baseball diamond, and universal studios soundstage
maps as clothing
maps of war has animations of historical trends and events. I think some of the maps end up losing a lot of important complexity, but still interesting to play with.
human brain cloud is not quite a map, but it’s fun. It might be interesting for someone to work more seriously on it, to turn the presentation into something a little more sophisticated. At the very least, I’d like some visual representation of the strength of connection between two words.