Designing Milk

The New York Times is running a great article titled Solution, or Mess? A Milk Jug for a Green Earth (thanks to Sarah Kampman for posting it to the IxDA list). In the piece, Stephanie Rosenbloom covers a major shift in the packaging of new milk jugs recently introduced to the shelves of Walmart and Sam’s Club.

The New \"square\" milk jug in action. Photo from The New York Times
Image taken from The New York Times Article

There are a couple of very interesting aspects to the story. The first is the customer response to the new design (some love it, many hate it, most seem to be unsure) and the change required in their usage (some “feel like novices at the simple task of pouring a glass of milk”). The second is the benefits delivered by the new design: increased shipping and storage efficiency, reduced cost for the manufacturer and the customer and significantly reduced environmental impact.

It is very hard to introduce changes to an existing product or service, all the more so when it is as entrenched in day-to-day life as the common milk jug. I’m really curious to see how the new packaging is received over the next year or so and how it will be tweaked to meet customer needs.

On a side note, does anyone else think the word ‘milk’ sounds weird? Say it a few times: milk milk milk. Weird.

Recent Links: June 22 to June 29

Here are the most recent bookmarks that I have saved to Ma.gnolia.

CloudStatus

“These charts display real-time health status and the last twenty four hours of health history for key Amazon Web Services. Click a Service in the left panel for detailed service health status, metrics, and more history”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Live Search with Quicksilver Style

A tutorial outlining how to set up a live search on your Web site that mimics Quicksilver’s presentation and uses the apps string ranking algorithm.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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30 Essential PDF Documents Every Designer Should Download

Useful set of resources for any designer

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Silence The Echo with MacGDBp

A great review of MacGDBp which includes useful information for setting up and using the app.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Two-Finger Scrolling for Pre-2005 PowerBooks and iBooks

“Luckily, with the help of some third party software the two finger scroll feature and the two finger secondary right click function are easily added to older G4 laptops.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Intel-based Macs: Starting up into Apple Hardware Test

“Apple Hardware Test (AHT) contains a suite of diagnostics that will test the hardware of your computer and is a great way to rule out a hardware problem when troubleshooting your computer.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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The what, when and why of wireframes

A great presentation covering the purpose of wireframes, the different methods available and their place in projects.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Sold Out Digital Downloads

I was looking forward to purchasing the full version of the Spore Creature Creator, so after following the appropriate links, I ended up on the purchase page hosted on GameTree. After pressing the green Buy button, my cart remained empty – no matter which browser, no matter how I reached the page. Better than that – there wasn’t an error message to be seen.

So, I e-mailed the people at GameTree Online asking them to fix the problem. I came back an hour and a half later to see if it was working yet (hope beyond hope that they’d fix it on a weekend), and when I reloaded the page, this was presented to me: Sold Out of Spore Creature Creator (a Digital Download) - GameTree Online

They have sold out of a digital download.

Let me repeat that – I cannot give them money because they have sold out of a digital download.

Brilliant.

UPDATE: The situation appears to have been corrected. Woohoo! I wonder if they’ll write me back?
UPDATE 2: They wrote me back after the problem was fixed, though the support guy told me that it seems to work now, so I don’t know if they found the problem in parallel to my correspondence or if the techs fixed it behind the scenes and didn’t communicate with their frontline support staff. Either way, I’m having much fun with the Creature Creator.

Recent Links: June 15 to June 22

Here are the most recent bookmarks that I have saved to Ma.gnolia.

Lingon

“Lingon is a graphical user interface for creating an editing launchd configuration files for Mac OS X Leopard 10.5. You can use launchd on a Mac to launch scripts and applications whenever something special happens or at a specific time or periodically. You get all launchd configuration files in a list to the left so you can easily see all and choose which one to edit.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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MacGDBp

“A native Cocoa application that allows Web developers to debug their PHP applications. The tool makes use of the Xdebug (http://www.xdebug.org) PHP extension that provides remote debugging functionality.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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UserVoice

A Web service that makes it easy for your users to vote on what is most important to them so you know what to focus on.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Power User’s Guide to Firefox 3

A useful collection of Firefox 3 tips.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Rubicon Rucksack Baby Bag

“Unless you’re into the “dad in drag” look, we recommend the Rubicon Rucksack, the most masculine diaper bag we’ve come across. A rugged buffalo leather bag, it comes with two interchangeable linings that transform it from diaper bag (complete with bottle pockets) to padded laptop bag. “

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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300 Vintage Style Textures and Photoshop Brushes

Vintage design, when done well, can make a user feel like they have been transported back in time. This particular style often uses design elements that look like they were found in the attic of an old house dating back to the 1920’s, 30’s, or 40’s. If you have a project coming up that requires this type of design, here is a big roundup of textures and Photoshop brushes, all found at deviantArt.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Flickr: Smithsonian Institution’s Photostream

Amazing high resolution photographs scanned by the Smithsonian, with no known copyright restrictions.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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What is good tequila?

Detailed explanation of the different types of tequila.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Obama Graphic

An information graphic that explains how Barack Obama has “reinvented” campaign finance.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Webfonts.info

The website dedicated to webfonts & @font-face embedding

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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MacGDBp: A Remote PHP Debugger for OS X

Blue Static has released MacGDBp, “a native Cocoa application that allows Web developers to debug their PHP applications.” The tool utilizes the Xdebug PHP extension to connect to the running PHP app so the developer can step through their code, add breakpoints and see the local variables and function call stacks all within an OS X interface.

I can’t wait to try the app, though I do wish they would have chosen a name that is a bit more pronounceable.

SproutCore: Apple's Flanking Move?

SproutCore LogoI wasn’t all that familiar with Sproutcore, Apple’s JavaScript framework prior to reading this article, but after thinking the arguments over, I think Apple has been flanking the other players in the application marketplace (both online and desktop) for a while. The article Cocoa for Windows + Flash Killer = SproutCore provides some very good reasons for Apple’s moves onto Windows with Safari and other apps; I highly recommend you read it if you’re the least bit interested in development on the Web, the iPhone and/or Rich Internet Applications (RIAs).

Being based on open web standards and being open source itself means SproutCore will enable developers to develop cross platform applications without being tied to either a plugin architecture or its vendor.

Sitting on top of web standards will also make it easy for Apple and the community to push SproutCore ahead without worrying about incompatible changes to the underlying layers of Windows, a significant problem for the old Yellow Box or some new Cocoa analog. SproutCore also lives in a well known security context, preventing worries about unknown holes being opened up by a new runtime layer.

Daniel Eran Dilger – Roughly Drafted

These developments are exciting for oru industry, but also for the world as a whole – a solid platform that can be as portable and accessible as the Web, yet have the power of the desktop has long been sought. We may finally have it in our grasp.

Recent Links: June 08 to June 15

Here are the most recent bookmarks that I have saved to Ma.gnolia.

Debategraph

“Our goal is to make the best arguments on all sides of any debate freely available to all and continuously open to challenge and improvement by all.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Patterns for Designing a Reputation System

“These patterns are somewhat different from the typical UI or rich-interaction type of pattern. They don’t tell you how to lay out a page or where to put an interactive widget. Instead, they address how to design a reputation system for your social software.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Automatically Create Table of Contents in Visio

“I use Visio to create wireframe documents, and as updating Tables of Contents in Visio is very dull, I wrote a macro (a small program) that automatically generates a Table of Contents list for a Visio document. It is stored in a Stencil.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Fight the Smears

A site put together by the Obama campaign to fight rumors, falsehoods and smear tactics.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Shift

“The Shift project was started in May 2008 as a fork of the apparently defunct CocoaMySQL project. The goal of Shift is to enhance upon the CocoaMySQL project and provide Mac OS X users with a completely free and elegant way to handle their MySQL databases.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Recent Links: June 01 to June 08

Here are the most recent bookmarks that I have saved to Ma.gnolia.

Plainview

A full screen browser that strips all of the usual UI chrome, making it easy to give “presentations with the tools we are comfortable with, and have them look just as awesome as PowerPoint. Well, actually, a whole lot more awesome.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Why we don’t skip Photoshop

Jeff Croft provides a good counter-point to the recent “Why We Skip Photoshop” article from 37 Signals.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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100 Must-Read Books: The Essential Man’s Library | The Art of Manliness

A list of 100 books every man should read during his lifetime. Very interesting list.

“From a seemingly infinite list of books of anecdotal or literal merit, we have narrowed down the top 100 books that have shaped the lives of individual men while also helping define broader cultural ideas of what it means to be a man.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Repeal Day is December Fifth

The official website of Repeal Day, which celebrates the repeal of Prohibition on December 5, 1933.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Recent Links: May 18 to May 25

Here are the most recent bookmarks that I have saved to Ma.gnolia.

Image to Data Droplet for OS X

“Just drag any gif, jpg or png onto the droplet and the base64 encoded data is automatically added to clipboard. Paste away.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Google AJAX Search API Blog: Speed up access to your favorite frameworks via the AJAX Libraries API

“We have worked with a subset of the most popular JavaScript frameworks to host their work on the Google infrastructure. The AJAX Libraries API then becomes a content distribution network and loading architecture for these libraries.”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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AJAX Libraries API – Google Code

“The AJAX Libraries API is a content distribution network and loading architecture for the most popular open source JavaScript libraries. By using the Google AJAX API Loader’s google.load() method, your application has high speed, globaly available access to a growing list of the most popular JavaScript open source libraries”

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Catalyze – A Community for Business Analysts and Usability Professionals

Catalyze – A Community for Business Analysts and Usability Professionals

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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HatBox

Welcome to Hatbox: A Modern Haberdashery, Austin’s only hat store. Previously Vertigo Hats, Hatbox has been serving Austin for over 30 years. Located in the heart of downtown we’re at the epicenter of Texas on 6th at Congress Avenue across from the Driskill Hotel. Our selection reflects an everyman and woman’s hatstore, whether you’re a cattleman, oilman, legislator or chief, college student, musician, sophisticated professional about town, or just good ‘ol mom we’ve got your hat!

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Trulia

Use Trulia to find real estate, homes for sale, recently sold properties, local school information and much more. Trulia is a free unbiased real estate search engine where you can search via location, map or neighborhood.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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Travian

Travian is a browser game featuring a world with thousands of other real players. One begins the game acting as a chief of a tiny village

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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DevKick | Web Development for Designers

Web Development for Designers

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Tags: , web development

IETester

IETester is a free WebBrowser that allows you to have the rendering and javascript engines of IE8 beta 1, IE7 IE 6 and IE5.5 on Vista and XP, as well as the installed IE in the same process.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

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