Just think about it deeply and then forget it… and an idea will jump up in your face.

Don Draper, Mad Men.

Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.

Pablo Picasso

New Blog Theme & Website Design

Just putting the finishing touches on the new design for the parent site, brianmcbreen.com, and this corresponding Tumblr blog theme (based on the original Swiss Theme by pixelspread).

On the parent site, I integrated tags and the most recent blog post via RSS, albeit with some compromises due to iWeb (which I use mostly for convenience). I did discover this clever way of using grids in the background for precise design, a practice I had longed for in iWeb.

In the blog theme, I made several changes to the CSS and added support for tags and comments through Disqus. I’m sure I’ll do some fine tuning to the layout and as always come across some minor bugs, but for now I’m happy enough to let it live for a little bit. It seems I get restless with the design every few months as those who visit the site often can attest.

What do you think?

Parar y Pensar

As a technology professional who works with the web every day, I’ve become accustom to getting answers to my questions online, oftentimes in just minutes. In fact, like most people in my circles, I take it for granted.

But from time to time however, something comes along that makes you step back and realize what a marvelously powerful tool you have at your disposal, granting you powers only imagined a few decades ago.

I happened to be doing research on some background influences of a philosophy paper I was reading. After following the usual paths of Googling authors and titles from the material, I branched out to some key phrases and terminology introduced in the paper. This led me to other students of the author who, while not referencing the author’s ideas directly, did relate some of the concepts to different contexts. Now I’m starting to get impressed, I’m following a vein of thinking around the web.

Thanks to these new references, I turn back to the original author in search of a recent essay he had published. As it turns out, I find the author’s website, which includes links to the paper as well as his blog, both in Spanish. Using Google translate, I am able to translate the paper to English along with the blog, in about 10 seconds. Done. Total investment: about a dozen minutes and $0.

So, at a time like this I step back and wonder, at what point did what I just do become commonplace? I certainly could not have done it 10 years ago. Makes you really marvel about what the web will be like 10 years from now.