Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Deep thoughts

Hi there. There are a number of reasons which have compelled me into making this site. I’ll try to list here-below the main ones.

Twit but don’t tweet.

Twitter is a great web application which allows you to stream your life on the web. Anything can go in it  in a way that resembles the stream of consciousness as Joyce introduced it in “Finnegans Wake”. Yet sometimes your thoughts and actions are a little more coherent than that. Twitter though does not force you any specific clustering or ordering of the information. With that respect Twitter does not differ too much from a RSS aggregator. You can put post a big jumble made of everyday activities, things you have found on the net, ideas, and meetings. Twitter is an open application and its functionality and purpose simply emerges from how the users interact with it.

To facilitate the twitting process, the crew of twitter has provided you ways to twiter using other application. I definitely like this paradigm shift from application-centric to service-centric, I think it’s the key of truly 2.0 web apps. This twitter tools clients connect to twitter via a service HTML/XML interface (aka twitter API).

Because I am now in charge of my twits via such an API  I can use different agents/sources to interface with my twitter timeline. By doing so, even if the my twits get aggregated on the same endless flow of consciousness, I can still separate the sources which are producing the twits.

This is basically my “content architecting” reason behind Deep Thoughts.. A way of engineering my content so that I can differentiate my blog twits, from one-liners twits, from loosen everyday twits. Same final twitter stream, different sources. The good thing of it is that the above mentioned meta-tagging of the twits with “category-like” information is now implicit.

Pun is Fun

When I thought about this site first it was quite late in the night. I was pondering about the real meaning of twittering, about the messages we like to share with our more-or-less acquainted followers. Sometime the content is not as relevant as it is its emotional value “I twit, ergo sum”. It is a relief to know that somebody is fine, and while “no news is good news”, a small insignificant twit could still be a warm and reassuring signal for its followers.

Still, are not we able to produce more valuable information that stuff like “Going to bed”, “Pizza tonite”, or “Watching tv”? Are we not capable of grand and important thoughts? I think we are. So if we believe that a thought is deep and worthy to be shared with others, we should encase it, nurture and protect this small but bright product of our brain.

Said that, now the real question remains, is “Pizza tonite” a deep thought or not? Well, if I believe that “Pizza tonite” is a deep thought, than it gets a whole lot of new connotations. A message becomes a deep thought the very moment I believe it is.

Ok, we are all great thinkers. Now it’s just a matter of keeping our ego under control and remember that deep thoughts, quotations, and punchlines are not really literature masterpieces, but more a corny pseudo-literary thing.

So while I was pondering about this and much more, I came up with the name for this tryout. Why not calling this project in a way which renders the fact that we are thinking animals, hence creatures with ideals as well as strong longings (I mean hot sex here, for the records). Hence “Deep Thoughts”.

Quoting Natalino

I love to come up with deep thoughts but I am not that famous yet. So how can I enjoy my quotes? Easy, make a websit! It is such a wonderful thing to quote yourself! If you want to deepthought as well, I have made a very simple but effective wordpress theme, drop me a line and start deepthoughts-ing youtself!

Graphic design by space, size, and ratio

I have been reading a lot lately about typography, layout design, design by space, font design, design by function, and ratios in design (golden ration, ratios in the movie industry, ratio in photography, etc) and I wanted to challenge me with a graphic design where this theories and findings could be tested.

The design you are looking at is a fully scalable design, where each component or collection of components has a “pleasant” ratio (I tried first with a rigorous formulation, but I dropped it, since I could not come up with the “best of the best ratios”). The design is build around the human visual scanning processes. After the initial impact of a wide quotation isolated with plenty of space, the eye starts its scanning process.

Firstly, the eye focuses on the main diagonal which is stronger and goes from top-left to the bottom-right of what it could it a card-like format. The card like format is enhanced by the bottom horizontal line as well as a small dot on the top-right corner.

Secondly, the “weak” diagonal eye scanning process takes place going from the little dot on the top-right back to the main center, bottom-left to the leading bottom line, which guides literally the eye back to the colophon “Natalino does not tweet”.

Typography & readability.

I have used the commonly available serif font “Georgia” since I wanted to be Mac-Win browser agnostic. This is unfortunately only a limitation of the medium, not a design choice. Secondly, I wanted a big title aiming for decorative effect as a product of the typographic design. I have played with the leading, size, and spacing of the characters in “Deep Thoughts”.

I wanted to preserve the ratio and still I needed to render a long title. To achieve this I used the fact that our patter recognition reading process needs only the upper part of the characters for faultless reading. This holds for “Deep”. What about “Thoughts”? For this is sufficient to recognize the ending characters, which are not occluded. Well, what about throats then? This kind of misreading is not possible since the g presents a very noticeable glyph, which would disambiguate the two words at a very early phase of the reading process. Further, an even complex cognitive process would predict the word “thoughts”, exploiting the high correlation between deep and thoughts in English. (By the way, during this phase the pun kicks in as you would aspect, but this happens much later compared to the initial reading).

Usability and UI design.

Last but not least I wanted each element in this design to bear a meaning, and an action. The actions should also be intuitive or at least perceived as expected/plausible. It would be weird now to explain which actions are attached to the various elements, since I have just said that they are plausible. So, I leave this part for you to discover. Enjoy my deep thoughts!


The deep thoughts blog is now moved/merged with the rest of pseudo-artistic posts. Over here. The original template is gone with the wind of internet. But a snapshot remains of that nice minimalistic design.