School Of Seven Bells – Half Asleep
Gang Gang Dance – Egowar
Mahogany – One Plus One Equals Three Or M
Empire Of The Sun – Walking On A Dream
The Whitest Boy Alive vs Mylo vs Cut Copy – Otto’s Golden Journey (Andy Webb’s Dreamy Blend)
Phoenix – 1901
Air France – No Excuses
College – The Energy Story
Christ. – Cordate
Flying Lotus – Auntie’s lock/Infinitum (featuring Laura Darlington)
Flying Lotus – Roberta Flack (Mike Slott’s Other Mix)
The Avalanches – Since I Left You (Cornelius Remix)
Super Furry Animals – Some Things Come from Nothing
Engineers – Let’s Just See
Sigur Rós – Gobbledigook
French Kicks – Abandon
Blind Man’s Colour – Brother Sport (Animal Collective Cover)
Beirut – The Concubine
The Kooks – Kids (MGMT Cover)
Benoit Pioulard – Ash in the Sky
Bibio – Bewley In Grey
Daedelus – Experience
Unless you’re an RSS subscriber (if you are, click here to view player), you’ve probably noticed the new audio player at the top of the page. I’ve been wanting to add a flash based player for a long time because while the small single track player we have been using (and will continue to use) for music posts is good, it’s not something you can just turn on and let it play while you work. This new player is based on the JW Player framework and supports XML playlists and all the good stuff. It was a total pain to develop though, the documentation was a little thin in the skinning department so it’s been a very protracted process to say the least. I ironed out the last kinks over the past week so here it is…finally: the ISO50 Playlist. We’ll be refreshing the playlist often, usually with 16 or so song mixes probably every couple weeks or so.
The initial mix I put in tonight is just a collection of some of my favorites from the blog over the past year or so, nothing too specific or themed. Every song in the player (now and in the future) will be songs that we’ve previously posted on, so if you’re looking for more information on the song or artist just type it in the search box below (also new…well the design at least) and the relevant post(s) should come up. This is definitely a beta so give me the heads up in the comments if you run into any issues with the player as only a few people have tested it so far. On a related note, I’ve added a “featured posts” column in the hopes that it will make older posts a little more discoverable. I’ll also be adding a “featured categories” section next week as well in which I’ll try to compile some nice groupings of related articles on various subjects. As the blog gets on in years and the posts pile up, most of these additions are aimed squarely at highlighting older content, music and otherwise.
All of these changes and additions may get you thinking about the redesign I had discussed a while back. I haven’t given up on that plan, but it’s definitely taken a back seat as the process of finishing up my next album has sort of consumed me. I decided to make some incremental upgrades (like those mentioned above) using the current theme and then treat the redesign as it’s own phase a little later. Still contemplating that light background…
At any rate, the Playlist is here and I hope you enjoy! As always, your feedback is greatly appreciated.
I came across the HAL Project site the other day and thought I’d post. There are a lot of cool visuals inspired by the original film along with your very own HAL screensaver. Link
Back in my days in Sacramento I spent a couple years at BKWLD, a small web shop in Roseville, CA where I got to work closely with fellow designer Jeff Toll (aka Jeff Doe). Jeff has recently launched his personal portfolio showcasing a lot of the excellent web work he’s done as creative director for BKWLD. I’d urge any web designers looking for inspiration to have a look, there are some great examples in there (including the FWA site of the day he did for The Wreckers).
Jeff Doe Interactive Portfolio & Print Portfolio
Jeff’s also got an interesting blog going on here
Came across this very cool CSS/HTML grid designer today. Aptly named “Grid Designer 2″, this tool allows you to mock up grid-based page layouts and set typography styles. A very handy page to have in your bookmarks, now they just need to make a widget out of this. Grid Designer 2
Related Reading: Five Simple Steps to Designing Grid Systems, Aisle One
I just successfully upgraded the WordPress install for ISO50 to the new 2.7 version. I must say, this new version is incredible. I was running 2.1 for the longest time as a result of some early edits I made to the core files when I first installed WP (not recommended, but I didn’t really know what I was doing back then). There is a detailed guide on how to upgrade at the WP codex, but I decided to use a plugin that does everything automatically. It literally took 1 minute and I didn’t have to really do anything. The plugin, Instant Upgrade, is available here. If you’re running an older version of WordPress, you really should upgrade simply for security reasons alone, but the new admin interface and features are definitely worth it on their own.
Anyways, let me know if you notice anything weird on the site, I will be trying to flush out the bugs this afternoon.
You probably won’t notice any big differences now, but this is the first step on the path to the new redesign which I posted on a couple days ago. I want to say thanks to everyone who commented, it was a huge help to get such great feedback from all of you. I will be working through all the suggestions and deciding which will benefit the blog the most. As many of you pointed out though, most read the blog via the RSS feed so they rarely even visit the page. With this in mind, I try to make the page sort of the anti-RSS reader version, not stripped down, and not super clean. This isn’t Engaget or something, people come here for more than just the content I think, that is why I’ve never focused too much on things like the inverted contrast, Sifr titles, etc. I still want the blog to maintain a unique visual aesthetic, especially considering 99.9% of all blogs out there essentially look exactly the same. That’s not to say that I won’t be taking steps to make it faster and cleaner in the redesign, I definitely will, I’m just going to try to find a happy medium between form and function. Because those looking for pure function will always opt for an RSS reader.
As for the multiple authors issue a lot of you brought up, this is something I will really focus on clarifying. But to make one initial clarification, a few of you mentioned that you felt I was simply “letting my friends post” on the blog. This really isn’t the case. First of all, Jakub is an A&R, a label owner, and a DJ. I count him as a friend now, but this is from working together (he handles a lot of the day to day stuff for my Tycho music project and ISO50). Besides, he is who I look to when I want to find new music, we have similar tastes, and he is well qualified. This isn’t simply a case of me putting on my childhood friend or something. If I had the time to find new music and put as much effort into it as he does, I would most likely be posting the exact same stuff as him, so I’ve sort handed off a lot of the music posting duties to him and I think he does a superb job (my iPhone is pretty much just a big playlist of everything he has posted on the blog). Beamer is a friend of mine, but he also happens to be the most knowledgeable person I know when it comes to early electronic music and he has a very large collection of rare electronic / ital-disco vinyl. Alex Cornell is a student and my intern here at the studio, his posts are meant to bring a student perspective to the mix. I have been in design for way too long to really see it from that early, super-objective point of view. The point is that I put these guys on the blog because I truly respect and value their opinions and tastes. I am very lucky that they are willing to participate in the blog and I think they are a big part of what makes it what it is. If it was just me posting here you’d all be inundated by a never ending stream of me ranting about what the best version of Windows is for swap disk latencies and MP3s of late nineties IDM. At any rate, I will definitely be making author pages for each of them to make things clearer.
Finally, here’s a tentative list of fixes/upgrades based on your suggestions, there are some other, larger features that will be added but that list is still secret!
The ISO50 blog is now approaching it’s second birthday and with the new year I thought now would be a good time to rethink the layout and functionality of the interface. The blog runs on the superb WordPress platform (highly recommended) so it’s extremely flexible and I want to take better advantage of that flexibility. When I first designed and built the blog I admittedly had no clue what I was doing. At the time I wasn’t really an avid blog reader so I didn’t really understand the finer points of a well thought out blog design. Thankfully, WordPress supports themes so I snagged the classic Kubrick theme (now K2) and hacked it into the form you see here. I learned a lot during the process and during the following year or so of working with the blog so I feel better equipped now to give it another shot. But as anyone in web design knows, it’s very difficult to be objective about your own interfaces and to understand the difficulties end users may have with your design.
So I wanted to ask you, the readers, what you would do to improve the blog. Is there anything about the interface or the layout that’s confusing, cumbersome, or just plain broken? Are there any features that you feel are missing or would be a good addition? I am in the early stages of the redesign, I have some mock-ups and wireframes going and a development install running here locally, so now would be a great time for suggestions. I look forward to reading any ideas or suggestions you might have in the comments
Update: Based on Michael J.’s comments I have added to this post in the comments.
This is a pretty clever concept, a real sketchbook for web mock-ups. I think I’ll stick with Photoshop but this would probably be fun now and then. Via Paranaiv
Yes, I have been quite kind to Microsoft lately, but if you count yourself among the ranks of web designers you know that Internet Explorer is still the bane of our collective existence. At some point, long ago, when Microsoft ruled the browser universe, some genius over there decided to give a big middle finger to all of us designers and our so-called “web standards”. The result is that things just don’t look the way we as designers intend in IE: CSS elements don’t render properly and various functionality breaks down forcing us to implement IE-specific hacks and tweaks to make it all work. Well, MS, in their infinite wisdom, have finally decided to back down and have announced that the forthcoming eighth iteration of their Internet Explorer browser will embrace web standards. What a novel concept! Embracing web standards in a web browser? What will they think of next?
This certainly is cause for some celebration, no more tweaking and comparing, writing IE-specific code to make things look right across all the browsers. But wait, we’re dealing with IE here, so of course there’s a problem with this new development, sort of the last stand of IE’s stubborn unwillingness to play by the rules. Because IE8 now adheres to normal web standards, it can actually break sites that were written to accommodate it’s older versions. Thankfully the solution is an easy one and Ed Bott has a great article over at ZDNet explaining the issue and how to apply the rather simple fix (one line of code!). We’re not out of the woods yet, but at least we can look forward to a day when the IE8 install base becomes large enough that we can all but forget about making our sites look pretty for the previous, less accommodating versions.
Anybody out there done much testing with IE 8 yet? Have you implemented the fix and if so, how is it working out? Let us know in the comments…