I like San Francisco signage

The last time I was in San Francisco, I battled with a bout of nostalgia as I missed the real City.

But hanging out in North Beach yesterday, I remembered the thing about San Francisco I noticed a few years back: The signage hasn’t been updated in 20 years or so.

San Francisco signage and scene

Check out the old-school logos. They’re all over town, especially the soda signage, for whatever reason. And not a trace of Copperplate Gothic Bold in sight. Seriously, Copperplate Gothic Bold is the new Comic Sans. It’s not a bad font on it’s own, but now it’s everywhere, etched on every new retail window in some cities. (I definitely noticed an onslaught of it in Boston, for example.)

I’m just sayin’, if there’s something I like about San Francisco (other than the fact we all had a good time yesterday, circumnavigating the festival going on in the park and eating cannoli) it’s the signage.

Well that was an interesting week

It has been a long time since I’ve been this happy to see a Friday night.  It’s the end of my first full week back at work since the birth of our daughter.  It’s the end of a week that started with a blog post that was intended to get approximately the amount of attention it got.  It’s the end of a dramatic week in terms of staffing changes at work.  We (my family, not my employer) also seem to be squeezing the act of changing addresses into the month of June, although it’s all just paperwork and phone calls at this stage. (If you live in Santa Cruz and have a stash of good cardboard boxes around, drop me a line.)  Somewhere in there factor in an oncoming series of family visits and a long list of tasks and a large stack of paperwork or two.  I usually call this a rains/pours situation, and I stopped being surprised by it long ago.  Being surprised isn’t in my job description — any of them — but keeping my sense of wonder intact definitely stays high on the list.  Luckily, I have a 6.5 pound source of wonder in my lap as I type this.

The journalism program we’ve all been waiting for

The Knight Foundation handed out some money today, notably to Henry Jenkins and company at MIT and Mr. Holovaty, who is getting plenty of press for his jump from WaPo to startup.

But just a little lower on the list, you’ll find the future in the form of a grant to the Medill J-School at Northwestern to, well, for lack of a better explanation, Make More Holovatys.

This is exactly what a number of folks, myself included, have been advocating for a while: Teach programmers journalism and/or teach journalists programming. With at least one of those steps built into this Master’s degree, things are looking up in Evanston.

If I were still spending any time at all on campus at San Jose State, I’d be bugging the J-School to talk to Google or Yahoo about throwing around the small amount of money necessary to fund a few graduate fellowships for programmers. The campus is already teeming with excited young coders — it shouldn’t be that hard to reel in three or four.

Shifting priorities

If posting gets a little light around here, it’s because a few projects are working their way toward completion. One is nearly finished (more on that within the next few weeks) and another I just made a big change to get started on in earnest. There’s a third that’s on hold for a few minutes, but I’m sure I’ll be picking it back up shortly.

Anyway, I’m sending you away so you come back for more, later, when things have settled down a little bit here on my overcrowded desk/desktop/brain/life:

  • The Fresno State Collegian online edition covered an off-campus shooting this week with breaking news updates, slideshows and video. Powered by WordPress.
  • I’m about halfway through News, Improved. If you’re any sort of edito, manager or publisher with any level of seriousness in you about training your employees for the future present, you really need to pick up this quick read. Look for the examples at your circulation level, and have at it.
  • The relaunched-on-the-fly Kiowa County Signal in tornado-ravaged Greenburg, Kansas has a map up where readers can “flag” the places they knew until last weekend.
  • On the mapping note, my colleagues at work have brewed up the beginning of something really cool for local search: Santa Cruz Spots. Maps+Reviews+Ratings = a really handy database. It’s still in beta, so feel free to kick it around and let me know what you think.

That’s it for now. Go away. Come back later.

The creative impulse

I’ve been talking with too many photographers lately, and as expected, they all think I should take more pictures.  Funny how that works.  All I can say is that in 1-5 weeks I will have a very good reason for taking many pictures for a long time.  I’ll try to give the cameras a better workout than I usually do with the cats and the occasional walk on the beach.

I shoot little bits of video for work, but it’s not always the same feeling.  There’s little spontaneity in a well-thought-out two-minute video feature, where walking in with a solid storyboard in my head is an advantage, especially on deadline.  I’m satisfied with the document, but it doesn’t necessarily stick with me in the same way as a still.

But that’s just me.  I was raised by photographers in the wild suburbs, so take this all with a grain of silver halide.

Photographs coming soon.

Five doing something right

After my little dust-up this morning and a busy day at work, I’m in no mood for negativity, or even handwringing, so without further mealymouthedness, here are five doing something right:

  1. Lawrence Journal-World redesigns: From the heartland of Django and grid design comes something clean and bright, as it should be.
  2. All Things D: From the Wall Street Journal comes this news/blog/video site (is there anything it can’t do?) linked to a big conference that all the really really cool kids get to keynote. Matt says it’s running on WordPress MU. Of course. Check out the Brightcove-powered video, in which the reporter reads off his monitor while looking into the conveniently placed webcam. Not so hard, is it?
  3. Chris Amico: Isn’t the first expat/traveler in China I’ve read, but for someone I’ve never met, his writing makes a lot of sense to me. Check out this post on a Three Language Daze. I had a chance to learn some Chinese in elementary school, and you can tell I didn’t take it because I’m clueless enough not to specify which flavor of Chinese Mrs. Hagan was teaching.
  4. Angela Grant: Ditches Blogspot, becomes newsvideographer.com, switches to WordPress, proving that she takes her blog as seriously as her biting critiques of your newspaper video. Keep it up.
  5. You: Yes, you, if you’re a journalism (or computer science) student who takes Rob Curley up on his offer. Here’s a hint: When the Washington Post calls with an internship, you pick up the blog post and send Rob something impressive.

Tell me about someone, somewhere, something else doing it right to finish up the work week. Heck, tell me about five.

Should I tag five bloggers and make this into some sort of positive-thinking meme? Um, no. But feel free.

Imagine I tagged you, and write about five right things you saw this week. Do it now.