Stop Wasting Time! (but be sure to walk aimlessly)

June 30, 2009

Few newspapers do new media as well The NY Times. From their interactive features, to special blogs by artists and illustrators, The NY Times continues to publish great web content that’s fresh and relevant.

Maira Kalman’s And The Pursuit of Happiness Blog is one of my favorite ongoing features. Kalman (whose illustrated version of Strunk & White’s Elements of Style makes a great gift) uses her unique style of illustration and storytelling to school readers on the various histories surrounding American Democracy.

In the most recent post, Kalman takes us on a tour of the home of Thomas Jefferson, discussing the revered (and sometimes reviled) statesman. The entire post is a wonderful read, but this Jefferson quote about making use of time has been resonating with me for the last few days. Check out the quote below, and definitely check out the rest of the blog over on The NY Times site.

Maira Kalman for The NY Times

Google May As Well Have Run An Ad On Craigslist

June 15, 2009

Illustration by Gary Taxali — A response to Google’s request for free work.

I despise “contests” put on by companies looking for free work. I also hate when said contests are voted on by the general public i.e. the very same people who submitted to the contest. It’s basically spec work under the pretense of opportunity — and there are few things worse than spec work.

Free work with the promise of “exposure”, however, is even more loathsome than spec work. Granted, exposure is always good but when a company has a set business model and your work, though not entirely tied to the business model, may in some way benefit that company’s bottom line, it is only fair that they offer more than “exposure” for something they obviously see as valuable.

A round of applause to the NY Times for publishing this article about illustrators who declined Google’s request to feature their work on its new web browser without any compensation. Like the article says, when you’re a company as large and profitable as Google, there’s no reason to invite artists without offering to pay them. It’s not as if they’re a floundering non-profit, with limited resources, and a philanthropic agenda. Cheers to Melinda Beck and Gary Taxali for speaking out against it on record.

There will always be takers, Google. Some of us are not in a position to decline the exposure. Still, that doesn’t make it okay. For a company as “progressive” as Google, you’d expect a little more r-e-s-p-e-c-t for the artist.

Use Their Work Free? Artists Say No To Google

also, here’s a link to Drawn’s repost of Gary Taxali’s Drawger post referenced in the article
Don’t Call Me

The Little Sauce That Could: Sriracha Gets Interviewed by The NY Times

May 20, 2009

cropped photo of Gavin, a member of an indie rock band proclaiming his love for Sriracha

Remember that blog Stuff White People Like? Sure, it’s still around but it’s arguably not as popular as it was a few years ago. Nowadays, people are more into awkward family photos than sarcasm-laced socioracial observation. I suppose it’s for the better. After all, white people can only like so many things. However, there was one thing I always thought should have made the list but didn’t. Maybe it did. I don’t know; I didn’t really follow that blog but for the sake of argument, lets pretend it didn’t: Sriracha, aka “Rooster Sauce.”

I first encountered Sriracha at my second job out of college. There was always a bottle of it in the company kitchen, and anytime someone used it the entire company stood in ovation. Not really, but someone always commented about how it was the best sauce ever. My roommate at the time also loved Sriracha, but he was Asian so I thought nothing of it. What made me realize it was more than just any sauce was when I moved on to a different company, with an entirely different company culture. I’m talking no more beer Fridays or downtime hi-jinks. The new office was quieter, less rambunctious, more ping-pong than Last Night’s Party. One thing that remained, however, was the Sriracha. There it was, right on top of the company microfridge, next to the lightly salted cashew halves.

I guess this doesn’t prove anything about white people liking Sriracha more than anyone else, but I always thought it’d make a good entry for Stuff White People Like. At any rate, the NY Times has a nice little story about Sriracha, its creators, and the drunk folks who leave messages proclaiming their love for the sauce on the company answering machine. My former coworkers would surely approve.

Employee Number 20 in The NY Times

March 2, 2009

The NY Times Business Section has an interesting article on employee number 20, Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Search Product and User Experience (the woman who controls the look and feel of Google). Apparently she’s somewhat of a celebrity. Who knew?

Putting a Bolder Face on Google