Links for the Week - 2010.02.12

This is more of a “what I’ve been reading” rather than a link dump from previous week’s RSS feed. A Plea for Plain English – Tony Davis’s “A Plea for Plain English” rings home with me. Far too much writing is full of heavy, pompous words used purely to make the author feel smarter. Joseph Conrad – one of the greatest writers of the English language – was not a native speaker. Yet he wrote with a simplicity, grace, and style that is still unequaled. While we all can’t be Joseph Conrad, we can all strive to write in clear, concise, readable prose. Technical writing doesn’t need to be dry, writing effective prose can be just as much an art form as creating a brilliant short story, novel, painting, photograph, or song. I’ve been getting a lot more interested in mathematics. Not just how they related to computers, but also how mathematics relate to design. Design, art, and aesthetics are partially governed by universal principles. There are ratios that are more visually pleasing simply because we find them in nature. Being aware of these ratios helps us create effective designs that draw in the reader and hold them to the content. B-movies. I watch a lot of old slasher, exploitation, b-movies. Flash, iPad, Standards – Jeffrey Zeldman talks about why the total lack of Flash on the iPad is a good thing: it provides an incredibly compelling, public, reason for designers and developers to abandon proprietary formats like Flash and Silverlight and focus on open standards. Some people would argue that a lack of Flash would kill the device but on the flip side what can you do in Flash that people need to do that you can’t do with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS? Combine that with the in browser relational data storage that HTML5 provides and there is no reason to use a proprietary graphics engine apart from vector graphics bullshittery/professional masturbation.