Four short links: 14 Jan 2009

Something beautiful, something informative, something mindblowing, something revealing: something for everyone in today’s link set.

  1. Trees and Forests on Old Russian Maps – old maps, like old books, are works of art. I loved this collection of symbols; it reminded me how much creativity and beauty we’ve lost (temporarily, I hope) in modern maps.
  2. Distinguishing Decorative from Meaningful Elements in UI Design – as a thoughtless cloth-eyed coder who designs CSS with the same care and attention that a boar on Viagra devotes to lovemaking, I appreciate this detailed explanation of why a simple design choice (a border around something) turns out to have been the wrong thing to do.
  3. Interview with Clay Shirky and Part 2 – from Columbia Journalism Review. This is as good as the Bruce Sterling improv on the future from last week. Every paragraph has a philosophically sound quotable nugget. This is about the future of newspapers, the fiction of “information overload”, the bogosity of Luddism, and a fine fine rebuttal to Nick Carr’s Google stupidity.
  4. Sampling Twitter – serious geekery by Dewitt Clinton, who tried to sample the Twitter ID space for an indication of representative user behaviour–follows, friends, active, etc. “Again extrapolating for accounts too new to test and private accounts, this suggests that 23% of all assigned ids, and thus 6.8% of all potential user ids, are assigned to someone who is posting regularly, is following other users, and is being followed by at least one other user. This implies that there there are up to 1,200,000-1,300,000 active, connected users on Twitter.”
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