tom haynes

The Hotel Inntel


Yes, it’s a real hotel in the Netherlands. More pictures at Design Milk.

No chair

It’s great to see people’s reactions to this “invisible chair” marketing stunt by KLM.

Chrome speed tests

Is Chrome faster than a potato gun, sound waves, or lightning? Watch to find out.

Also: the behind-the-scenes video.

UX for Chrome and Chrome OS

Some nice UX guidelines for Chrome and Chrome OS. I love how they’re completely rethinking the OS: everything from open/save dialogs to cursors (although the proposed cursors are pretty ugly).

Presentations: good and bad

Just finished Tufte’s The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint (the whole thing, not just the sample on his site) and was pretty down on PowerPoint.

Then I read the New York Times’ We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint which also hates on PP a bit, although the title image isn’t really a PowerPoint slide, it’s a poorly designed diagram.

But then I ran across Note & Point, a collection of beautiful presentations. I think this shows that presentation aids are great when you use them correctly, which often means ditching the “title and bullets” theme and designing something that actually supports your talk.

Massive Attack video

Massive Attack – Splitting the Atom

Great song, amazing video. I’m not even going to let you watch it here — go to vimeo for HD and full screen. You’ll be happy you did.

Opening MHT files on Mac

Easiest way to open MHT files on Mac OS X? Download Opera, it opens them perfectly!

Duplicate, again

I posted the other day about a multi-touch gesture for duplicating an object, and Debra linked me to this Gesture Reference Guide. There’s a duplicate gesture described in the PDF but I’m not sure I understand or agree with the way it would work. Here it is:

My issues with this idea are that a) it doesn’t seem natural and b) it sounds like it would interfere with other gestures, like selecting more than one object, or even tapping two things sequentially — the tapper shouldn’t have to worry about releasing her first finger before tapping something else. I don’t see it listed as being implemented on any of the devices, so I guess it’s just Luke’s idea for the gesture.

Background patterns

I’ve noticed that some well-designed sites (Exhibit A, B (above)) are using speckled/textured backgrounds (A, B) which subtly add some character and originality.

My question is: what’s the best way of making a background like this?

Multi-touch "duplicate"

Are there any standards out there for creating a copy (eg. duplicating) of an object using multi-touch? I couldn’t find any with a quick search, so I mocked up a possibility.

The first one is for when you simply want to create a copy of an object. This is analogous to right clicking and choosing “Duplicate” (in OS X).

The second is the same as dragging and object and holding the option key, which creates a duplicate in the drag location (either elsewhere on the desktop, or into a new folder). The first steps are the same (press for a second to get the plus circle), but then instead of tapping the circle, the user drags it and it morphs into a shadow of the object.

Is this natural? Discoverable? Unobtrusive? Does it conflict with other gestures?

Six month exposure

The above photo, taken with a pinhole camera attached to a pole for six months, shows the sun’s path for an entire summer. Fascinating. You can learn how to do it yourself here.

Here’s another one of a bridge in Bristol:

Social interaction

Some thoughts about designing for social interaction from Boxes and Arrows. Includes some interesting facts about “strong ties,” “weak ties,” and “temporary ties.”

Infinite scrolling

I just added infinite scrolling with the help of the Infinite Scroll plugin for jQuery. No backend code needed at all. Scroll to the bottom to load more posts automatically!


Alice for the iPad. Exciting!

Natural user interfaces

Don Norman’s “Natural User Interfaces Are Not Natural” is insightful.

Control of our systems through interactions that bypass the conventional mechanical switches, keyboards, and mice is a welcome addition to our arsenal. Whether it is speech, gesture, or the tapping of the body’s electrical signals for “thought control,” all have great potential for enhancing our interactions, especially where the traditional methods are inappropriate or inconvenient. But they are not a panacea. They come with new problems, new challenges, and the potential for massive mistakes and confusion even as they also come with great virtue and potential.

Gets me brainstorming what the gestures for copy and undo should be, the right ways to show users what gestures are available (and what they do), and conventions for feedback when a gesture doesn’t elicit a response.


Made this the other week. Maybe you can help me complete it?

A ring a day

Making a new ring every day! Some are actually jewelry and some are just fun creations. My favorite is above, but you’ll have to click through to see what’s inside.

Popular Science+

Great discussion and demo of the new iPad app for Popular Science.

It’s interesting how he refers to scrolling directions; I would call dragging left to see content on the right “scrolling right” but he calls it “scrolling left.” Same with up and down.

I’m also wondering what software they use to make the virtual-reality style mockups. Any ideas?


Lomo LC-A timelapse.

Hide chat statuses in Gmail

I like to keep my Gmail chat open when I’m online, but people’s statuses distract me, and the list is hard to scan when some people are on two lines and others are only on one (is there a scientific explanation for why?). There used to be a Lab, called Muzzle, for hiding statuses, but they removed it.

Here’s how to hide people’s chat statuses from Gmail (in Safari):

Create a text file, and put

tr.vm { display: none !important; }

in it. Save it, then open up Safari’s preferences. Go to “Advanced” and then choose “Other…” as the style sheet and select your text file. No more statuses!

Game Table

Game Table reminds me that just because we can impose rules and structure into software doesn’t mean we have to.

Game Table is not a video game. There is no “logic” built into these games. Game Table simply provides brilliantly designed game tables and game pieces along with an extremely intuitive and fun way for you and your friends to interactive with them.

I love this idea.

Interaction map

This interaction map — created for SI 622 (Evaluation of Systems and Services) — shows the structure of the DTE Energy backend. Click for a larger version.

Chat roulette improv

Wow, I hope PianoChatImprov posts more of these.

edit: Sherri links me to Ben Folds’ “Ode to Merton” (Merton is the guy in the above video), in which he does the same thing, but live in concert.

IRS training course

This document (PDF, from is pretty fascinating. It teaches IRS employees how to use the internet for researching tax cases.

This reminder is on the second page:

You are not completely anonymous on the Internet. Website logs track your IP address, last site visited, type and version of browser, and date and time of request. IP addresses can be traced back to the Internet access provider or organization that controls the IP address, i.e., through are assigned to “”.

But apparently there is an “Internet Content Filtering Change Request Form” (long enough name for you?) for employees that need to access sites that block IP addresses.

Regarding social networking sites:

Employees may not use either their correct identification information or false identification information to become “friends” to gain access to the taxpayer’s social network site.

Other information includes using Google advanced search, Google street view, social networking sites,, search engine caches, and WHOIS searches.

Using FileMerge with Git

This article explains how, but also has a lot of other information. Here’s my short summary:

  1. Run git mergetool -t opendiff
  2. Hit enter to start the merge
  3. Use up/down to move between conflict sections, and left/right to choose which one you want.
  4. When done: apple-S to save, apple-Q to quit.
  5. Hit enter to repeat for the next file.