Archive for the ~everything else Category

Just listen.

Some TED presentations are inspiring and challenge you to do something. Others are funny and entertaining… And still others are just beautiful to listen to. This falls into the last category: So take a break. Relax. Just listen.

Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the New York Times best seller Eat, Pray, Love talks about how creatives can possibly protect their creativity and themselves.

… one day [Tom Waits] was driving down the freeway in Los Angeles he told me, and this is when it all changed for him. And he’s speeding along, and all of a sudden he hears this little fragment of melody, that comes into his head as inspiration often comes, elusive and tantalizing, and he wants it, you know, it’s gorgeous, and he longs for it, but he has no way to get it. He doesn’t have a piece of paper, he doesn’t have a pencil, he doesn’t have a tape recorder.

So he starts to feel all of that old anxiety start to rise in him like, “I’m going to lose this thing, and then I’m going to be haunted by this song forever. I’m not good enough, and I can’t do it.” And instead of panicking, he just stopped. He just stopped that whole mental process and he did something completely novel. He just looked up at the sky, and he said, “Excuse me, can you not see that I’m driving?” “Do I look like I can write down a song right now? If you really want to exist, come back at a more opportune moment when I can take care of you. Otherwise, go bother somebody else today. Go bother Leonard Cohen.”

Louis Vuitton. Not

Hong Kong May 22-23, 2009

Vuitton. Not

Photo from a recent trip to Hong Kong.

Apple Store Hanoi

Apple Store Hanoi

Apple Retail Store in Hanoi

On my latest trip to Hanoi, I discovered the Apple Store here. I can’t image Steve would have come to open this one personally.

StrangeSystems v3.0 now on WordPress

After spending the last year on SquareSpace, I am finally switching over to WordPress. Spent the last month or so finessing the templates. Not quite 100% satisfied just yet, but the bulk of the design is done – I can continue tweaking for the rest of my life.

Why the switch? I’ve been quite happy with SquareSpaces, they really do have the best user experience of any blog software, with their sleek AJAX’ed admin interface/tools and inline blog entry editing, but in the end it came down to one thing: cash. In order to maintain my own domain name on SquareSpace, it’s $12/mo, or about $120 a year. I pay for maintain a server already, so I couldn’t justify the duplicated costs anymore. Another issue also: after some testing, I found that WordPress hosted on my private server is actually faster serving up the main page than Squarespace.

I am not sure hoq long the old site will remain up, but you can still access it at

Let me know what you think of the new design.

New Addition: Resources (see sidebar)

As a web consultant, I always used to advise clients against using such nebulous terms as “Resources”. This was due to the fact that, to different users, the terms mean different things. There was alway an ongoing debate over which is the best term: Resources, Library, Documents, or Publications. There really is no answer to this riddle. So I became a little agnostic. Call it Resource Library or Documents or whatever… just be consistent what you call it across the site. And maybe give a brief intro to what users may find there. Same thing happens around what to call the news section: Highlights, Spotlight, What’s New, Recent Updates, etc, etc.

So it is with very little hesitation and even less thought that I chose the word “Resources” for my list of links to various sites I find interesting.

Here’s a short introduction to the sites in my list so far:

  • Mike Lee Mike’s a personal friend whom I’ve had vibrant lunchtime conversations with while I was in DC. He currently manages web strategy and operations at AARP.
  • A lot of Jason Kottke’s interests in design, New York and technology and mine overlap. Can’t seem to stop myself from reading his blog everyday.
  • Laws of Simplicity John Maeda’s blog is more a journey on the path of simplicity than a prescriptive set of rules.
  • TED conference An amazing source for inspiration from the mouths of the inspirational speakers themselves.
  • Web 2.0 Asia Chang W. Kim, who is heads TNC, makers of the massively popular Korean blog software TatterTools, provides deep insights into web 2.0 technologies not only in Korea but across Asia.

In Korean:

  • Eliot’s Design Knowledge Eliot Bu is a very close friend and CEO at Jina Architects, Korea whom I’ve known since college and spent long nights discussing architecture while at we were attending Columbia. An amazing architect, businessman and thinker.
  • UX Factory I had the pleasure of meeting the insightful and energetic Reagan Hwang, one of the founders/contributors of this User Experience blog. He intends this blog to be a place that brings UX professionals in Korea together.
  • PRAK’s Blog PRAK, unlike his mysterious photo that make many readers think otherwise, is about my age. He write in-depth commentary on the state of web 2.0 developments in Korea and elsewhere.
  • DIGITYPO A colleague at VINYL, Kang Seul-ki writes about interactive design.
  • Monoukee Another colleague at VINYL, Han Dong-ho and I have lunch every week and he’s one of few people I can discuss anything and everything about design.