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Exit ArchiveArchive for May 16th, 2006
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This post started as a small note at the end of the previous post, the one regarding MacBooks. But it grew quickly, like a weed on the side of the highway, demonstrating with utter clarity my absurd attention to useless detail. (Though, really, I think it’s not at all useless, otherwise I would not have written so much about it or care about design as deeply as I do.)

I had formatted my parts of the MacBook IM post in blue, and boy, did it look nice! It was obvious who was talking, and pretty, too! However, I keep forgetting that the design of the Forum is such that anything in that light blue is a link. I have posted stuff before where I have made plain text that same blue because it looked all pretty, but that was wrong, since that color is reserved for links.

This takes me back to another IM I had with Chuck as I was designing the new Wren Forum. Chuck did not like underlined links from a design standpoint. I thought it was a good concept, since anything underlined on the Web is, as everyone now knows, a link to something else. You can do anything you want with the text, color- and font-wise, but no matter what it looks like, if it’s underlined, it’s a link. Simple. Ugly at times, perhaps, but simple and, once grasped, intuitive.

So why didn’t I design The Wren Forum with underlines? Because style won out. Every link in the sidebar (Latest Musings, Categories, Wren Peeps, etc.) would have been underlined. In one of the first designs, I did this, and it was a mess! So I decided to do away with the established norm. A bad idea for ease of use, definitely. To compensate, though, I decided that all the text links in the Forum would be the same light blue color. Any text that color would be a link. Anyone visiting the Forum would soon be able to figure this out at least subconsciously. To keep the light blue links tied with the expectations of most Web users, the links change color on mouse rollover, and the underline reappears to assure the user that they have, in fact, rolled over a link.

Excellent. So it is. And I like it. Except that I have fudged on my own design standard in one place: The top link bar (About The Wren Forum, FAQs, etc.). Since I’m on a roll, I might as well explain that to you as well.

See, the links in that bar can not be my blue link color because they will not stand out enough from the bar’s background color and would therefore be hard to read. The solution, of course, was to make the background bar the same darker blue as the other blocks of blue in the Forum. But, once again, I chose looks over propriety. Having yet another bar of that very same color made the site that much more dull to look at. Having one bar of lighter blue ads a nice dimension to the look of the site. I have justified this change from my own convention this way: The top link bar is, upon glancing at it, different from the rest of the Forum. The text items in the bar are topics and suggest linkage. Therefore, the lack of the light blue is not detrimental, and the links still become underlined on rollover to confirm that they are, indeed, links.

I offer this all up as a sort of apology to those who believe, as I do, that user interfaces (which is what the entire Wren Forum is) should be clean, consistent within themselves, obvious, and, in the end, nice to look at. While I am okay with having dropped the underlined links because most nicely-designed sites have since done so and have, therefore, created a new expectation of Web users, I am less happy with my white text links at the top and my lapses in text formatting on some of my past posts.

I hope you can all forgive me and find mercy in your hearts for my wayward choices.

Instead of posting a well-written entry about the new MacBooks out today, why not share with you an IM with Jimmy? It is much more revealing. And embarrassing in how it demonstrates my complete absorption with pretty much any new thing Apple releases.

* * * * * *

10:06 AM


I am paging through now. Oooooo!

THough the glossy screen? Disaster!

haha.. it’s funny i dind’t even have to say what i was eluding to

I know!

yes, i do agree… glossy screen, bad

But so far they look nice. The keyboard looks cool, with the keys all separated.

No latch?

I haven;t even checked out the Apple site yet!

where ar eyou looking then?

10:10 AM

i hope they come out with a black iMac!

I’m reading the news sites.


Yes, I’ll bet a black iMac is in the works.

you think


And I hope they do a 13" PowerBook. (I hate MacBook Pro!) I love my 12" and I’d hate to have to bump up to a 15" when I upgrade.

i need a desktop… i have my laptop, and it’s great

Yeah, if I could justify having both, AND keep them synced somehow, I’d love a desktop.

But I’m too used to taking my laptop with me on almost every trip now.

And it was plenty fast until 10.4!

And it may be slower now, but it still works perfectly well.

10:15 AM


i take my laptop everywhere

so the new macbooks are basically imacs inside

same specs

the glossy screen is optional

Oh, and the MacBooks, too? Good. I saw that for the Pros.

For show situations, having a glossy screen is bad!

oh… i’m confused… i thought that was for the macbooks

grrr… there’s not enough destinctino between the names

nevermind… the macbooks have glossy screens

10:20 AM

I have to wonder why that’s such a selling point?

Everyone’s been mentioning it like it’s some kind of wonderful feature.

I must be missing something.


that’s true

i hate glossy

Oh, I did not know you could send SMS via Address Book!

they put the usb ports on the left side still… that’s annoying

I’ve been using another app.

so if you use an external mouse, the cord has to loop around

WHy the left side?

Oh, yes.

10:25 AM

how do you send sms through address book?

Well, I saw it on their site, and I see the option greyed out when you right-click on a number.

But maybe it’s ’cause my phone isn’t connected right now…

Oh, I see. You click the Bluetooth button in Address Book.


10:30 AM

Oh, and you can log received messages in Address Book! It stores it in Notes.


I bet there won’t be a 13" PowerBook.

It loks like they’ve got the bases covered.

13" for the MacBooks, 15" and 17" for the Pros.

they have to come out with one more size for the macbooks, i would think… no?

You’d think…

Oh, and the MacBooks use that silly Intel on-chip video, sharing the RAM!

No dedicated vid card.

interesting… so what does that mean

Well, a separate video card has its own RAM, so it does all the video on its own.


The on in the MacBook shares memory with the OS.

Which, I’ve heard, anyway, is less desirable.

that’ll kink up the processing and the video feedback

It definitely means that if you have a 1GB RAM chip, a WHOLE HUGE WHOPPING 64MB is used for video!

So it’s not too much.

I think I’ll have to wait and read some test reviews.


But conceptually, it’s not the best solution.

10:45 AM

I’m gonna post this chat on my blog!

It’s perfect for showing off the geekery

what chat?

This one!

oh, nonono…


* * * * * *

You know, I started writing a little thing here about the text color formatting in this post, but it got so long and had nothing to do with this post in the end that I made it it’s own posting! Read it if you love explanations for things no one ever pays attention to.

Now, go enjoy looking at the new MacBooks! Now! Go!