Month: June 2008

Freshening Up the Brand



This is the summer of making rash decisions (and actually following through).

I decided last night around midnight that the old robinyang.com was way too ... old... and frou frou. and overdone.

So I threw out the old code and put together a brand new one-pager (okay two, if you count the alternate view) by... oh, 1am. Most of the time was spent writing the copy.

It's fun, it's snappy, it's sweet, it's bright and it's straightforward. No bullshit, no fancy graphics (maybe one fancy graphic later. We'll talk.), just links and confirmation that X, Y and Z Google results for "robin yang" actually refer to me.

Check it out here: robinyang.com.

Next, sprucing up this place a bit. Thinking about adding comments again. Definitely need to add pagination.

Summer Story

let's get out of here, he said. you and me. let's just go.

i smiled (maybe laughed, even) but i didn't reply. what do you say when a life-changing possibility presents itself like that? if you were in a movie, you'd flutter your eyelashes and say something smart and sweet. where to?

anywhere, he'd say. anywhere we want.

this being the crushing dullness of reality, i said nothing of the sort. it was a joke, anyhow. and, admittedly, i was caught off guard in a major sort of way. hey man, what's going on?

you're awesome, you know that? i love that you just get out there and like, do your thing.

love?

i got hung up on that. it's a word that all at once thrills and calms.

it was dusk and getting darker by the minute, but on a summer night in southern california, you don't need a jacket. so there we stood in the middle of the plaza, t-shirts and skirts.

you keep on making the music and i'll keep on rocking, i said. clever, i thought. don't be cutesy, don't be a girl. be 'awesome' and casual and keep your cool. people like that in a conversation buddy.

rock on, he said. hi-fived me, and excused himself to a new group who had just walked over.

back up here. *record scratches* that was it?

well next time, you say. next time you'll look up with a glint in your eye and say let's do it. and it wouldn't be some carefree conversation starter.

would you be missed? probably. it'd be fifteen minutes, twenty tops, before one of you got a phone call or text.

maybe you'd only make it to the parking lot before the excitement of leaving it all and just going for it got lost in the fumbling of car keys.

maybe.

--

i don't really know what kind of line to end this story with. a message about romance? about taking chances? overanalysis of friendly chats?

it's about summer. it's about time, and choices, and connections and letting things in to fill up your life and give you a little something to dream about. that's how you start.

Firefox 3 and the Mac (Second, er... Third Chances)

I've never particularly liked using Firefox on a Mac. To be honest, I really only use it for the DownThemAll! extension, which is a perfectly silly reason. Maybe it's because I've been too lazy to import my Safari bookmarks. Most likely it's because I've never gotten comfortable with the graphical user interface - even themes designed to look like the metal/brushed metal/unified metal "Mac style" didn't seem quite right.

So when I read that Firefox 3 was going to have 'native' skins for each operating system, I thought "Hey, maybe I'll give it another chance. Maybe it's changed. Maybe it'll keep its promises this time. Maybe I won't get my heart broken... again."

It's just not meant to be. Here's a look at the navigation bars in Firefox and Safari (this area being where interface differs the most - in-line forms, submit buttons, and other features on webpages aren't too much of a concern).


Tab bar in Firefox 3 [Mac]


Tab bar in Safari 3 [Mac]

Part of the problem seems stem from the fact that I'm still running 10.4 instead of 10.5 - there's a distinct color difference where the Firefox navigation bar meets the Mac window bar. Leopard isn't that old. There are plenty of Mac users out there that haven't upgraded yet. I don't know if the solution necessarily means separate skins for each Mac OS, but it means less familiarity - even if it's a somewhat tiny detail.

The other part is something that Alexis at Design vs Art talked about this morning: the treatment of tabs.

The tab metaphor works with browsers (and in other areas as well) because everyone knows the physical implementation - the file folder. We know what it means and how it works - the label on the tab of a file folder shows us what's inside, and when we access that tab, we reveal its content. It's simple enough and it works easily in design.

What Alexis noticed was that in the Mac OS 'native' FF3, tabs aren't attached to their windows, but rather, they are attached to the bookmark/navigation bar. This breaks the metaphor. It's no longer intuitive that a 'tab' in a browser works the same way as a tab on a physical file folder.

Here's the thing, though. Safari has upside-down tabs as well. They too 'belong' to the navigation/bookmark bar instead of the appropriate content. And while there has been some discussion of the issue, it's certainly never been a point of contention for me. I've never opened up Safari and thought to myself, "You know what. I love Safari, but these goddamn upside down tabs drive me bonkers. I sure hope it's fixed in Safari 4."



Upper: Firefox tab closeup. Lower: Safari tab closeup.

Which is not to say that's true for Firefox 3. The issue here with the tabs is way more noticeable because there's more depth to them. The bookmarks bar is 'puffy' and there's actually a shadow cast on all the inactive tabs. In addition, the Firefox tabs are distinct from one another - there's 3 pixels in between each tab, as well as between the tab and a few pixels between the bottom of the tab and the top of the webpage area. Safari's tabs sit right against each other, and there's a smaller gap between the tab bar and the webpage.

It's just a few pixels, but the attention that Firefox's tabs draw to their... um... 'tabbiness' by casting shadows and distinct separation makes it all the more jarring that tabs are actually attached to the top bar instead of the content it's referring to.

Firefox 3 isn't ugly. But those few small details are inconsistent enough with the carefully tuned Mac UI that it still feels 'wrong' to use it. Maybe I'm just picky, but I don't know if I can really get used to Firefox on a Mac.

What's this mean? It means that for now, for me, Firefox is still my secondary browser, fired up only when I come across some service that doesn't support Safari, or to test out sites with the Web Developer plugin. Like (some?) relationships, it's never completely over. I'm not going to just let it go - but at the same time, Firefox doesn't add enough to my life that I need to make it a central part of my browsing habits.

Now Featured on TwentySomething.Alltop.com

Thanks Guy Kawasaki for getting my feed on Alltop.com! If nothing else, it'll encourage me to post more frequently - with meatier content. :)

If you're unfamiliar with it, Alltop is a news site to end all news sites. It grabs headlines from news outlets to personal blogs and compiles them in a single page for each category. For example, http://gaming.alltop.com/ lists all the latest headlines from a ton of gaming websites (GameDaily's on there, too!) And http://twentysomething.alltop.com/ (where I've been listed) features blogs written by us kids in our twenties.

It's a site for people who don't like/know RSS (Really Simple Syndication). Maybe your mom doesn't know how to use Google Reader. Maybe you just want all your sports news in one place.

The ones I check daily:
LifeHacks
Men
Gaming
Social Media

and now,
TwentySomething

Meet Chester


Just tested out Spore's Creature Creator. He's so cute! See him in action over at the GameDaily YouTube Channel

Spore looks pretty amazing. It's been a long wait but all signs point to it being worth it. Look for the demo download on BigDownload.com tomorrow!

For Real?

Willis: dude have you heard of bloc party?
Robin: is that a game?
Willis: no, it's a band.