design for simplicity


mlsamuelson's blog


Kubuntu Linux + XP in VirtualBox == absolute sweetness

After a few months of dual booting Windows XP and SuSE Linux 10.2, and feeling rather bifurcated by the workflow, I've finally hit upon my perfect setup.


Creepy Canary movie site

It's a very creepy website. I feel an arresting sense of altered reality by entering this zone. Very akin to the feeling on set for my day on Canary.
- Eli Kramer on the web site we built for Canary


Web site usability and bathroom findability

My wife and I celebrated our anniversary the other day and a large part of the festivities involved me _not_ touching a computer. My work is almost always on my mind, though (sorry, Sam), and at lunch, I stumbled upon the realization that what a person goes through trying to find a bathroom in a restaurant is a great illustration of what we go through when we try to use web sites. That is, bathroom findability is analogous to web site usability. Refer to the footnotes below to see the similarities.


Application equivalents: screencapture

I plan to make an ongoing series of posts regarding equivalent programs for designer/developers in OS X, Linux, and XP. Most of the comparisons will be between programs that provide a GUI (or Graphical User Interface).

So how about screenshots? I've recently updated the portfolio section of this site, and that act is fresh in my memory. I opted to use Linux for this, but have previously used XP for the task.


Pressing the Print Screen button (or Print Screen + ALT to only grab the current window) copies an image of the screen to the system clipboard.


XP, OS X and Linux: working on a sane, productive workflow

Over the course of the last few months I've moved from using Windows XP as my sole design and development environment to a mixture of OS X, OpenSUSE Linux and XP in various contexts.

Recently I wrote the following:

everything a person can do can be broken down into smaller units of action. It's a wax on, wax off sort of deal. If we can just remember that, and then simply seek to learn the vocabulary and identify the moving pieces...

...then we can build mastery. It's never really that hard. It just takes perseverance.


Second patch to Drupal Core

Had my second patch to Drupal Core submitted the other day. It's a good feeling.


Kids and code

This Friday I'll begin teaching a 5-week enrichment class in HTML at my daughter's elementary school. (Not that she signed up for the class. She opted for ceramics...)

I'm hoping to put some great training materials together, and to post them on this site eventually under a creative commons license.

On a related topic, today in one of the Drupal IRC channels, I learned that a Drupal contributor who's work and thoughtfulness I've admired is 12 years old.

That. Is. Awesome.

In fact, I use one of his contributed modules regularly.


You know you're a geek when...

... you're sending an email and you choose to add words like 'cron' and 'grep' to the spellchecker's dictionary.

... you're writing a blog post (in North America) and you use single quotes where grammatical convention would dictate double quotes, but you dismiss grammatical convention thinking, "PHP would parse it fine either way."

... you're thinking you should adhere to the rule of three when writing a funny list like this, but then it occurs to you that you could argue the numbering started at 0, so 2 really equals 3.


A flashlight for every black box

Meant to post this a few weeks back:



I recently completed a redesign/relaunch of Key features include: empowering the client to update their own content easily using a browser-based interface.

Additionally, adding images to the site is automated for the client - no resizing or cropping of the original photos is necessary, as the site handles that when the user uploads the photos. Check out


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