Google Maps in ASCII Art

Google Maps done in ASCII art. See http://tllabs.io/asciistreetview/ for yourself, well done.

”O Deer”, the parking lot builder made some signs

When I parked my car at a Park and Ride this summer in Kent, I saw this sign. My first thought was “Whisfull thinking of the city planners to warn about deers”. Only when I saw that there were a dozen of these signs I understood that it wasn't a warning but an indicator for where I parked. I saw that another area of the parking space had a realistic wolf. This is where someone didn't understand how pictograms / metaphors should work, they should be abstract and translate the environment towards the reality, indicate your space or actions via something else so one can predict what the result of the action should be or for example where one is. When I see a traffic sign of deer, I don't think “I parked in the deer section”. I think -stupid as it may sound- be careful when parking there are deers here.

Take for example the pictograms for the parking lot of Schiphol Airport, worldwide known for the best use of abstract pictograms and metaphors. What the London tube did for abstract maps, Schiphol did for icons. Clear abstract pictograms. Not drawn to resemble traffic signs and thereby confuse the reader but the Schiphol icons are clearly an indicator by themselves. All in the same language, pictograms of what foreigners think as “Typical Dutch”, wooden shoes, tulips, windmills etc. Borrowing from that was is good for the purpose of the objects but not steeling bad metaphors like a traffic sign with a red border generally associated with “forbidden”, not like blue sign that is associated with “information”

What you can learn from this if you use graphical metaphors IRL or in an application.

  1. Think about what you want to say
  2. Think about how you want to say this
  3. Think about how someone else will and can read this
  4. and do hire a designer :-)

Blue Piles of Shit On The Horizon

Last week I travelled from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom. Doing so I crossed two other countries, Belgium and France before taking the ferry to the Island I love so much. Let me tell you a story about one of these borders I crossed, the one between Belgium and The Netherlands. When one drives from the Netherlands towards the Belgium, one can see the border from kilometres away.

Not that there is a huge fence. There is no borer patrol or customs at all.
Not that there is a life size doted line that separated both countries, there is just a blue sign welcoming you in Belgium.
Not that the landscape changes dramatically from flat Low Lands to the Belgium Alps, there is very gradually change of culture, language and landscape.

Still one is able to spot the border from far. Simply by the fact that all what is ugly in a country is moved as far away from the country as possible and placed at the edges of the geographical boundary. So high windmills delivering electricity are stacked up to pollute the horizon, nuclear power-plants are tactically moved to the edge as well as other unpopular geographical activities, all moved towards this area from both sides.

Think about this. Just as many people life in this area like any other inner country area, maybe even more. So the impact of these activities is just as big as it would be in the centre of The Netherlands or Belgium. But there are less voters in the border area for Belgium and for The Netherlands. If you don't aggregate the voters that is.

Just as many people have hinder, only half the number can complain to their local / federal government. From “The Big Picture” Point of View, doing stuff like this is complete nonsense, just as many people are impacted. From a political point of View it makes perfect sense, Not In My Back Yard!

So is this relevant for Drupal one might ask and why or how? It is relevant. And I’ll try to explain the why and how here.

I see the same happening in our community, both geographical and political wise piles of shit are shifted towards The Other. And it is not that I see this happening, I think I am one of he persons who is guilty of shifting the shit I don't want to the edges of my comfort zone and thereby maybe to you. This post is a “Sorry” for that. And a start to make sure that we all try to do the best we can for the Drupal Universe. Not just the part of the universe you (I!) are (am) located in.

If one looks at the last 5 years, there has been a clear trend that there is more friction between the EU (excluding the UK) and USA. Due to different political backgrounds, due to “oversee” wars, due to different visions about how to solve international terrorism and for example Guantanamo Bay, there is growing scepticism in many countries in the EU towards the USA. Triggering a similar reaction of those stupid fat Yankees towards the fine High Culture citizens of the EU. That was a joke. My statement is that if you cant make a joke about an argument, you are in real trouble.

This scepticism and the friction between the old and the new continent is also visible in the Drupal community, like it is in any other bilateral relationship between these two continents. While we share the four world languages (Love, Money, English, PHP) in our community, we differ in so many things we often forget to give some room to each other. It was visible from the reaction on the Paris DrupalCon silhouette to your mothers’ CMS remark, the so called Americanisation of the Drupal Association and for example the struggle to get a Code of Conduct for DrupalCons. Mind you, I have an strong opinion in all of these matters, but this posting is not here to redo these arguments, it is a posting to make room for other others. To seek for what binds us, not what separates us. I think John Postel (“two four six eight, there is someone I appreciate”) said it best when he said “Be conservative in what you send, be liberal in what you accept”. This robustness principle that is the heart of all technical protocols we use on the net, should also be the core of our genes in the Drupal community.
Not just USA vs EU, the world is bigger then those two continents and smaller then all continents.
Not just XX chromosomes vs XY. There is so much more the two genders and it is so unimportant what toilet you use.
Not just gay vs straight. Love and passion can be so much more in a community then .. Ohh, forget that last part...

But for all, everywhere. Independent what you are or where your local airport is located, we should think about the place where you want to go and how you can fly over-there. Not on how you / I can shift the pile of shit towards the end of your / my zone.

When I ask my 5 year old son what his favourite colour is, he answers “Blue”.... “And purple.. And yellow... And gold..” And the he continues some more. Let us remember that the global colour locale we share is blue. And pink. And black. And white. The complete rainbow. And 50 shades of grey, if that is your cup of tea. But mostly, it is blue.

There is an App for that, it is called a browser!

Hi. It’s Daniel. .. Daniel. Of the marketing department? We met.. Never mind.. Listen. Listen up. Are you listening? Sit down. Listen, I have a great idea. Great I tell you. You know we have 20 sites to run. Yep, twenty already. And we do this.. with. Eric counts as well.. 8 people. A staff of eight running twentie sites. And what is missing..? Well.. Yes? Indeed!

Supermarket Visiting

Our editors need to be able to work when they are in the field as well, on the road. Indeed. Yep, you guessed it right. A native App! Download from the AppStore. A native app I tell you, so our editors can write when they are in the field. Now listen, it is a great idea. John and Steven are on iOS.. yes, both using an iPhone. And Lisa always has an Android.. Don't know why.. And then we have Peter who has bad eyes and used the New iPad. Brian is still on Windows. Why can't we fire him..? Paul has a Mac. So we need to make.. Let me see, been a long day. Ooh, wait Eric is on that penguin thing.. Yes Linux is what he calls it. Well forget about Eric, we can't support everything.

So we have to make 20 apps, for every site one. Time two mobile OS-es, one optimized for the iPad. One windows and a mac. So 20 times 5. Say, we have to make 100 applications. Yes that is a lot. But think about the advantages. If they want to edit an article, all they have to do is open an application. Because -and this is the beauty of my concept- it is in fact using HTTP as a protocol from the application to the website. See? We just use what is already there; the protocol. Smart hu?

canada malting silos (tutorial included)

What. What? What you do mean we don't want to build and maintain 100 silos? Why are you calling it silos... It aren't silos? I think you don't understand. It are apps! APPS. Native Apps. Yes I know we will be launching 3 new websites. Ooh, Steven switched to Windows Mobile.. ?

Why do you keep calling this silos? You didn't call it “a silo” when we launched 20 apps for our Android users and 20 for our iOS use... You did? ooh, but still.. What do you mean can't support? What is this with change management you keep saying. Yes, I know our 20 websites have a CMS where you can change data and functionality live for all our users. So, what is so bad that we wait a month or two before Apple.. Yes, I listen.. There IS already an app for that? Great, why didn't you tell marketing? There is an app for using our websites on mobile. Now you tell me.... So, where can I download it... What already on my device? An app for that called.. a browser?

Inkist, nice drawing tool

Sketching around with Inkist

I am not an artist, but my wacom and Inkist (just bought, 7 euros in appstore) are a fine combination.

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