I don’t use credit cards as means of delaying payment over a longer period of time. I like their ease and simplicity. Swipe and go. I pay no fees. Life is simple. Of course when it’s time to view my credit card statements online it’s a big pain visualize my recent transaction history. Perhaps this is simply with my bank but it seems they want to make it as hard as possible or simply don’t care about user experience. If I want to view past transactions my only option is to download a PDF for each month. If I make a partial payment of my credit card balance owing, the system will only ever show me the total and never update to what remains. Only when the payment due date passes will it update and tack on interest and the remaining balance. I decided to create an interactive mock-up of what could be done to provide a more informative and usable experience when trying to understand the situation of your credit card debts.
I have been pondering for some time what the result of displaying bar charts of latitude and longitude population distributions for countries would look like. A co-worker shared a site with city populations for the whole world. I finally managed to get around to creating a mashup of Google Charts and Maps.
Web design has changed enormously in the last 10 years. CSS has now been broadly accepted. That wasn’t the case back in 2005 when sites such as CSS Zen Garden were trying to gain attention to CSS. When CSS Zen Garden appeared they showed impressive and motivating examples of using CSS. The examples no longer pop or look impressive. They look standard or even plain compared to HTML5/CSS3 websites. The web has progressed and adopted CSS so that CSS Zen Garden is no longer impressive. Sites with CSS always had a distinctive look to them that netizens took time to accept. Today non-CSS pages are unacceptable.
I’ve spoken before about the great cartographic course I took during my undergrad that referred to the book How to Lie with Maps. Many of the lectures (and examples in the book) contained examples of chart and map errors/propaganda/lies. Since then I have kept an eye out for other examples. I am often rewarded with examples such as this:
I recently read a journal article my supervisor had co-written and thought “I can do this!”. The article clearly laid out a procedure for creating a model that would distribute houses around a central business district based on the preferences of the agents and other model parameters.
Although I tend to constantly dabble in web design I rarely construct a fully functional website for consumers/public. I’ve designed/developed plenty of simple pages to present SVG and web applications but they don’t have high levels of interaction in terms of data input/output. One of the earliest occasions I created a fully functional site was for uvicultimate.com back in 2001. It was a successful site for UVic intramural ultimate as it became the place to go to to check for schedules and update your ultimate team profile. The domain has since been taken over for the ultimate team.
The GRUL website for the Greater Region Ultimate League (the area surrounding and including Luxembourg) is once again ultimate frisbee related. It was developed in an effort to encourage the growth of ultimate in the region which has few large cities that can support a league on its own. The challenge was to design a super simple website that people can use to interact with other teams and standings that encourage friendly competition. I was also trying to minimize site usage time so that people can get back out to the fields. I used a Lightbox variant that allows me to overlay iframes for all the form contents. All the site’s content, except for the FAQ page, is on one page. I’m still not 100% convinced with the styling. I will update it if the site is effective.
Crêpes are one of the most overrated dishes – in terms of difficulty. If you make them people are overly impressed. Crêpes are a complete meal. Fill them with savoury for the main course and then sweetness and fruits for dessert. I added blended spinach to the batter for a nice change. By all means try it without for the first time.
When I was playing ultimate frisbee back at UVic in the intramural league, the reoccurring challenge was to find a great team name that contained the word ‘disc’ within it. I don’t remember many. The discombobulators and discord are the only two I remember. The best names were not necessarily those with the word ‘disc’ included but they were admired nevertheless. Some great team names I have come across over the years are: Uvictim (for the the UVic team) and Hoof Hearted (get it?). I stumbled across a list of 10,000 English words a few months back and thought this would be a chance to see all the words that have the substring ‘disc’ within.
The fresh air of hiking in the Pyrénée during the summer can lead to some random ideas. Julia, our good friend Anne and I went hiking last August for four great days. During one of the many conversations that occur during uninterrupted days of long talks, Anne and I made a pact to create awareness posters and an ash tray for the smokers around our building at the University of Luxembourg. Anne and I work in the same building. Our campus is a non-smoking area but this has little effect and no enforcement. Ash trays are located only at the entrances to the campus – there are none on campus. This leads to many smokers upon finishing their last drag dropping their cigarette butts on the ground or into storm drains by building door ways. Besides the obvious ugliness of dozens of cigarette butts littered on the ground there are also environmental impacts. The filters hold back much of the toxic chemicals from being inhaled and stay in the filter. As this filter dissolves and breaks down the chemicals typically end up flowing into the storm/rain water piping system which usually flows into nearby streams. These contaminants have obvious impacts on the health of flora and fauna downstream.
I recently learned that this cake is the equivalent to a cooked ‘mousse au chocolat’. This explains why it is so damn good. This is a cake that I am regularly asked to make due to its extreme yumminess. I have had other chocolate cakes that I would make regularly before I discovered this one. I haven’t made the previous ones since. The name L’Indemoulable translates best as The Unremovable.