Thursday, February 09, 2006


Get Stock Icons for Digital Professionals at IconBuffet. Wait, actually, please don't.

I don't know if I'm exceptional here, but I have a really hard time deciphering what many of the little icons used in applications and websites actually mean. I have grown accustomed to the near universal use of the blank sheet of paper to mean something like "create new document". But in Microsoft Word, the blank sheet with a magnifying glass on it means "print preview". WTF. Why doesn't it mean View Zoom?

Consider [Windows] XP Style Icons at Their E-mail Application Icon Set (regular $249, on sale for $77) taught me that an envelope with an explosion on it means "Mail Blaster": Email Blaster! Now all I have to do is figure out what the hell "Mail Blaster" means. Also, an envelope with its right side made out of metal means "Edit mail": Edit Email Finally, envelopes floating in a transparent vat of water mean "Bulk mail": Bulk Email

The icons used at ebay are so intuitive that they produce multiple glossaries to explain them: Icon Glossary for Listings, and Icon Glossary for My eBay. From the latter we learn that a green guy riding on a blue guy's back means "Second Chance Offer": Second Chance Offer

It all makes sense now, I take it back, icons are great.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Competing Headlines

A story on NPR, entitled Babies' Cells Linger, May Protect Mothers says: "Some scientists have proposed that when a woman has a baby, she gets not just a son or a daughter, but a gift of cells that stays behind and protects her for the rest of her life."

Meanwhile, Yahoo! News is carrying a story from, entitled Kids are Depressing, Study of Parents Finds. Quote: "Any parent will tell you kids can be depressing at times. A new study shows that raising them is a lifelong challenge to your mental health."

So: kids are good for you, but kids are bad for you.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

I think my banana is trying to sell me something

I bought some bananas at the grocery store on Monday, in the morning. That afternoon, I selected one of the bananas from the bunch, detached it, and proceeded to peel it. While peeling the banana, I noticed that the round sticker on its peel said simply "Curious George" in the familiar red script.

I spent the next 45 minutes in a daze, my head spinning with the implications raised by the small and deceptively harmless sticker on my half-eaten banana (I often lose my appetite when I go into a daze). Now, there is a Curious George movie coming out this year (Curious George IMDB page, and the always lovely Official Movie Site). We live in a world where the marketing infrastructure exists such that there is a sticker, on my banana, promoting a movie about a monkey.

I tried to find more details about this banana sticker promotion, but all I could find were two "articles" (really, each just regurgitates the same press release) about a Curious George themed Retailtainment event:, whose health advice is to eat foods of 5 different colours per day, and Progressive Grocer.

By the way, Retailtainment is real, people. It's not a joke. From "We have a ... team of energetic, outgoing, retailtainment certified professionals ... Create a fun and exciting WOW shopping experience." They should consider diversifying into Advergaming.