Jonathan Field - Maker of Random Stuff

Monthly Archives: September 2007

A comforting thought

You know sometimes you look at the world and it all seems to be going straight to hell. People seem to get meaner and dumber, every stupid idea spreads like wildfire while gems of wisdom are forgotten moments after they’re mentioned. An endless tumble towards chaos with the complete downfall of civilization as its only end.

But you know, it’s not all bad. For example, the trend of diddling the theater screen with a laser pointer seems to have gone away.

Why that one thing, I can’t imagine. But I’ll take it.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Easy Part is Done!

I just launched a little website project I’ve been working on for the past few months. It’s a women’s shoe fashion site with an emphasis on user participation. It’s called One Hot Pair.

It’s a simple version 1, but I like it. I’m happy with the design and the features. Even after all these years, I very much enjoy web design and development if the project feels right. I think I approach it the same way I approach other creative stuff like music or writing — I have to “feel” it on some level.

Why a women’s shoe site? I’m not sure. It’s certainly not what I expected I’d want to work on after leaving Zappos. But I suppose it provided a bit of catharsis for me. Sort of letting myself approach the subject with a fresh mind, uncluttered by business pressures and such.

So as much work as it was, I do think making the site was the easy part. It’s just an environment, and for it to be of any use it would need people to take part in rating and commenting on shoes. The more people who use it, the more interesting it potentially becomes. Bootstrapping that process has no obvious solution, but I’ll tinker with it over the next year and see if anything grows.

If not, well, I still made something that I like :)

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Stressed Realtors

If you ever decide to sell your home yourself, don’t be surprised if you get a few confrontational calls from other realtors. Someone may even call to tell you that “I don’t pay attention to people who list themselves — they don’t know shit and they’re a pain in my ass”.

Stressful job, I guess.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Very disappointing

The senate failed to uphold one of the most basic tenets of the constitution today, by continuing to deny the right to trial for terror suspects. Right after 9/11 I was saddened but not surprised to see our nation sink to that. Now I am surprised and dismayed we haven’t come to our senses all this time later.

Why do our current leaders hate the American ideal so much?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hall & Oates

Oh yes… this past weekend I was one of the most privileged people in the world (so what else is new?) as I witnessed the musical wonder that is Hall & Oates live in concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

The tickets were provided by Lisa’s brother Skip, who had some kind of inside connection. We drove out to LA on Friday night, spent some time with her family, and then went to the show on Saturday night. It was stupendous.

Daryl Hall is 60 years old. He looks better than me, and probably better than you. Oates looks healthy, but he doesn’t look better or worse than he did in the eighties. They put on a hell of a show, and the crowd was really into it. The nice bit was that most of the people there seemed to be well aware of the kitschiness. Everyone in our section was dancing and shouting when the big songs came on. They opened with Maneater. Hall finished every song with about 12 minutes of pseudo-soul singing finale. I later learned that he is in fact a protege of the Tempations, which I suppose gives his questionable moves some credibility.

They did not play “Kiss On Your List” or “Private Eyes” which was sorely disappointing, but with a catalog as large as theirs I suppose you have to pick. Of course, I think they could have fit them in if he had dropped the soul singing finale on just one of the other songs, or if they had skipped over the unknown piano ballad in the middle which most of the crowd used to go to the restroom. Perhaps that was a kindness. If they had played “Kiss On Your List” or “Private Eyes” I would have surely skipped the bathroom and just peed my pants.

I thought in concert it would suddenly become apparent why Oates is so crucial to the band. However this was not the case. He played guitar and sang background, but he seemed no more significant than the other anonymous backing band members. In fact he seemed less significant than the session saxophonist they had, who got a lot of spotlight action and even walked out into the crowd at one point. But hey, I don’t question it… he’s flippin’ OATES! Of Hall & OATES!

The Hollywood Bowl is a cool venue, too. Never been before — it’s beautfiul on a September night, nestled in a valley of trees. Good sound and lights. And several big TV’s so you can see the details from the back seats. Only downside is a 10:45 curfew because it’s in a residential area. Hall & Oates played until 10:50 because they’re that flippin’ cool.

Thanks Lisa! Thanks Skip!

On another note: Sophie just started a little photoblog. She wanted an outlet for some of her non-work photography. The business is going well, and I have to give her big-time props for that. It’s not easy starting your own business in San Francisco! Now she’s working on finding a little balance between work and pleasure. If she does, she’s ahead of me :)

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Zappos Culture

Every year for the past several years, Zappos has printed up a “culture” book, which they then distribute to employees, partners, and the odd customer. The book is a collection of writings on Zappos culture from each person in the company. The essays range from obvious fluff to clever humor to insightful ponderings, and I think it’s a great idea.

Last year, (that’s 2006 for the time travelers among you), I worked a full year at Zappos, and like everyone else I wrote and submitted a 2006 culture essay at the end of December. I left March 2007 before the culture book was printed, however, and thus my culture essay was not included. Though it’s no great loss to the world, I thought I would include it below because I just read it all these months later and I think it still speaks for me. Which is generally an accomplishment for my caught-in-the-moment writing. Anyways, here it is…

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I prefer roll-on

No really, I do. But there’s not much to be had around here. Just “Ban”, which doesn’t smell that great. South Africa had a wonderful roll-on selection. I found my favorite deodorant ever there. Mmm… Shield.

Last Friday I climbed Black Mountain with Lisa and Cheryl at 4:40 AM. I think it’s about a six mile round trip and about a 2000 foot elevation change — it’s a good hike. Different than other hikes I’ve done because there’s basically no vegetation, so you can see the top of the mountain the entire time you’re hiking. That makes it look small. But it’s not that small.

There’s a Zappos flag at the top, as it has become a popular hiking trip for many Zappos employees. There’s also an old ammo box with a notebook inside it. You sign the notebook when you get to the top, if you want. There’s also other useful things in the box, like water, first aid stuff, and condoms.

At that time it’s pretty comfortable out. We didn’t quite make it to the top for the sunrise, but it was a lovely view anyways. By the time we got back to the car it was hot.

On another topic, I thought this was interesting.

I found this interesting too.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Proof Viewer

There’s got to be 1001 bits of image gallery software on the web, but for some reason I didn’t like any of the ones I’d seen that much. Particularly I don’t like going back and forth between a thumbnail index and a large-view page. I don’t think they’re smart enough about preloading, and I also don’t like the UI details on many of them. For example “previous” and “next” buttons that move around from page to page so you have to reposition the mouse if you want to keep going “next”.

Sophie needed image gallery software for showing proofs to clients, but wasn’t that happy with the ones she’d tried either. So I took a stab at creating one. And here are the results. You can compare and contrast with Aperture image gallery, which she used to use.

Now, it may not be your cup of tea, but I’m very pleased. Mainly because it is usable on an 800×600 screen but also can take advantage of giant screens for more thumbnail viewing. I also like the preloading stuff for “previous and next”, but also for hovering over images in the thumbnail section. And several other little details that nobody will notice but me :)

It’s not general purpose: the main picture size is fixed, cropping at a centered 620×620, and image saving is intentionally hampered for the non-technical. There’s also no captioning. But that was what we wanted for the proof viewer.

Still, I haven’t done that level of detailed javascript/css programming before. Usually I’m a luddite with these web technologies, sticking to HTML 3.2. But I figured I should learn a bit about what the kids are doing these days.

It took a lot longer than I expected, and about 80% of the time spent was getting around obscure behavioral differences in Safari 2 & 3, Firefox 1.5 & 2, and IE 6. Those are all the browsers I tested it on. I imagine it breaks on some others because this javascript/css stuff is so terribly brittle (and people complained about Java runtime inconsistencies?!). But it works well in all of those. I should try to get my hands on IE7 though. Or if anyone has it and it works (or doesn’t) let me know.

Now I’m off to sell my house.

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments