“If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him… the people who give you their food give you their heart.”
When the Knight News Challenge put out a call seeking innovative digital projects, Austin Ellis and I jumped at the opportunity, applying with a plan that would make campaign contribution data more transparent on the web. Now in its fifth year, the contest funds projects that focus on the advancement of news reporting in the digital age that fall in the categories of mobile, authenticity and sustainability. Our proposal titled “Financial Footprints” would use a browser extension to display campaign contribution information to users on relevant web pages. A short quote from our application sums up the basic premise:
Malcom Gladwell makes a compelling case for why new media tools will not reinvent activism and become a catalyst that shifts our social or political landscape. His comparison of The Civil Rights Movement and social networks like Twitter and Facebook is particular interesting. It’s a lengthy article but well worth the read. I lingered particular long on this passage.
The instruments of social media are well suited to making the existing social order more efficient. They are not a natural enemy of the status quo. If you are of the opinion that all the world needs is a little buffing around the edges, this should not trouble you. But if you think that there are still lunch counters out there that need integrating it ought to give you pause.
We’ve seen an explosion of meta gaming on the web in the past couple of years. Ever since Foursquare brought badges into the web conscience an influx of copycats have sprung up attempting to implement gaming features of their own. These days you’ll find badges and rewards systems on many of the Internet’s most popular sites. But the model has always struck me as flawed. It’s the cart coming before the horse. What the whole equation is missing is game design.
Earlier this year the team at Wikia started down the path to redesign their product – a popular wiki hosting platform. Over the summer they brought me on the project as an interaction and visual designer. And just last month we let the redesign loose to a passionate community of select users. Our redesign effort concentrated on making the experience of using a wiki, where a community of users contribute the content, easier. It’s still too early to judge if we accomplished our goal of attracting a larger audience, helping them discover content, and engaging them as editors. However, after a couple weeks, the reactions that we are getting from users are encouraging and we’re excited to continue improving the site.
If you’ve been in San Francisco recently you’ve probably seen posters urging you to vote “No on 23” in the November 2nd election and calling it the “DIRTY ENERGY Proposition”. It peaked my curiosity and lead me to research just what Prop 23 stood for. After digging through the muddy details it became apparent that this was a blatant attack on our environment, strictly to enrich the corporate bottom line.1 It’s also an assault on California’s burgeoning green tech field which is leading job growth in the state.
This bit of work began as a postcard and made its way into a banner hanging from the San Francisco Ferry Building on the occasion of Wikia’s Food & Tech event. The logo was a piece of work we put together for the Healthy Recipes team at Wikia a few weeks ago. The event, which took place on Sunday October 10th, saw a handful of local chefs serving up their culinary delights and an esteemed panel discussing technology’s role in shaping the food we eat. It always puts a smile on my face to see my work placed in the context of tangible moments like these.
At 2 Out of Three designing websites is our specialty. We enjoy taking on every aspect of a project because it means we’ll have the ability to translate our creative vision from the early stages of wireframes all the way through to the last line of code. We’re extremely proud of our latest work for the niche travel experts Best of Both, where our vision extended not only to the imagery present while browsing, but also to the tools that the team at Best of Both will implement for updates.
“The whole purpose of climbing something like Everest is to effect some sort of spiritual and physical gain. But if you compromise the process you’re an asshole when you start out and an asshole when you get back.”
Yvon Chouinard from the film 180 South°
Check out our new website The Better Mixer for an up to date list of the best ginger beers. You’ll also be able to leave your own rating, write a glowing review, or rant for the world to see.
It’s been eighteen months since 2 Out of Three’s first ginger beer tasting was held in South Lake Tahoe. In that time the ginger landscape has changed. The old classics, Bundaberg and Cock N’ Bull, have seen their reign as ginger beer of choice challenged by a new breed. So it seemed like the perfect time to hold another tasting. This time the location was San Francisco’s Outer Sunset neighborhood. We gathered the new upstarts (Fever Tree and Goslings) and got our hands on a few classics that eluded us during the first tasting.