tom haynes

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.

High-speed trains

Just read this op-ed article about updating the train system in the US. Apparently Obama is on board but the logistics are obviously difficult.

High-speed rail lines are expensive and can take years, even decades, to complete, particularly in a country as large as the United States. As a consequence, the president needs a quick success to show America what a genuine high-speed railway can offer. Fortunately, he has a great test case right on his doorstep: the Acela services along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, which the stimulus package essentially ignored.

Wage gap

This interactive graphic from the (March 2009) New York Times is well-designed and very understandable. My favorite part is the explanatory annotations when you click a certain occupation.

It’s interesting to see the three occupations in which women make more than men.

(Thanks, Sherri.)

96pt type

The New York Times has used 96 point type on the front page only four times in its history.

In 1969:

In 1974:

In 2001:

And most recently in 2009:

The font in most (all?) of these is Cheltenham.

Year in ideas

The New York Times Magazine’s Ninth Annual Year in Ideas is a lot of fun to browse. It’s well-designed, organized well, fun to use, and has really great content (like articles about zombie-attack science and gourmet dirt).

A personal weather forecast

A weather forecast for the entire year from Cristoph Niemann at the New York Times. I will put the chances of “local fog for bespectacled people entering warm room” on February 28 at close to 100%.

Tom Swifties


My contributions:

“We’re finally at the senior dance,” Tom said in a prompt, informal fashion.

“I can’t remember how to convert from base class to derived class,” said Tom, downcast.

“All this fruit will go bad by mid-day,” mourned Tom dolefully.

“I love cows,” he uttered moodily.

“This close,” he disclosed.

Watching the Times struggle (and what you can learn)

Page by page, section by section, the influence of the New York Times is fading away. Great people on an important mission, but their footprint is shrinking and the company is losing stock value and cash and power and the ability to have the impact that they might.

Seth Godin