Posted by: mostwanted | Thursday, April 15, 2010

Adobe CS5’s new icons and branding

Adobe this week unveiled their latest creation with the announcement of Creative Suite 5 and with it came revelation of the latest design and branding they are employing for the new software suite.

Shawn Cheris, Lead Designer of the Desktop Brand team, provided some background information into the process that goes into designing the branding and presentation for each product launch and provided a look through Adobe’s history of splash screens.

The branding team begins work for each Creative Suite iteration about a year and a half before the estimated launch. This process typically precludes any of the marketing work for the products, so the team has to start from a clean slate. The team designs everything associated with the presentation of the software: splash screens, application icons, graphics during the installation process, file icons—the whole nine yards. In the end, they come close to creating about 10,000 different assets for each release.

Cheris also explains how the design team had to take a 180 for the Macromedia merger in 2005: “When Adobe and Macromedia merged in 2005, the Brand Team was faced with a challenge: how to merge dozens of disparate product offerings from two companies into one cohesive system—practically overnight. Botticelli’s Venus simply wasn’t going to work anymore. We needed something simpler—something more systematic and extensible.”

“Under designer Ryan Hicks, a new system was born. Using color as a primary reference point and representing apps by a two-letter mnemonic, the Brand Team implemented a system that was both beautiful and functional. Users could easily distinguish one application from another at even the smallest sizes—a real challenge at times with the feathers and starfish icons of the early CS systems. At the time, the user community had mixed reactions, but over the years, the new system has proven to be immensely popular. We have watched with joy and amusement the appearance of countless imitators and fun surprises like hand-made CS3 pillows.”

For CS5, the branding team wanted to tread past the traditional “monolithic” design established from the Macromedia merger while still keeping the new color system intact since users had sorely missed the eccentric and dynamic designs of previous Adobe software. Inspiration for the new branding came from a diverse range of sources: “Otl Aicher’s work for the 1972 Munich Olympics, traditional drawing tools, machined metal surfaces, Swiss design, lithographic advertising posters of the early 1900s, and more.”

CS5’s presentation is based around a new grid system to ensure that they wouldn’t just be outputting rectilinear elements for the applications. The base grid was used as a foundation to create more diverse and complex shapes.

And the resulting splash screens:

The new icons continue the traditional color differentiated approach established from CS3 but now employ two main colors per application. Cheris explains how this small change has “substantially increased the visual differentiation between product icons, making it far more usable for customer who have a multitude of Adobe applications installed on their system.”

And the final product(s):

Posted by: mostwanted | Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Evolution of Microsoft Windows Operating Systems

Windows 1.0

Windows 2.0

Windows 3.0

Windows 3.11

Windows 3.11 NT

Windows 95

Windows 98

Windows 2000

Windows Millenium Edition

Windows XP

Windows Vista

Windows Seven

Posted by: mostwanted | Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Old School Computer Ads

Posted by: mostwanted | Saturday, December 5, 2009

Changes & The Internet of the Ancient World

Traveling the Silk Road: Ancient Pathway to the Modern World

American Museum of Natural History, New York

The time is 8.00 p.m. in Baghdad on 14 November, 1000 AD. I discovered this with the aid of a brass astrolabe, a map of the sky with moveable parts (pictured above). I peered through sight-holes to measure the altitude of the red supergiant star Betelgeuse (a twinkling bulb in a model night sky), spun the astrolabe around, rotated a dial, aligned the rule to a mark on the inner rim and read the time on the instrument’s outer rim. A simple task for a Muslim astronomer at the turn of the first millennium.

Baghdad was an important stop on a 7,400-kilometre journey along the Silk Road, a network of trade routes that, at its peak 1,000 years ago, stretched from China to the Mediterranean. The road guided merchants on foot or on camelback through scorching deserts and snow-capped mountains, where they confronted bandits, sandstorms, frostbite and hunger, among other dangers. The trek through the exhibition is much safer, but there is still plenty to do. Visitors can watch live silkworms chomping on mulberry leaves, play with interactive maps and displays, listen to an orchestra of ancient Chinese instruments and listen to familiar folk-tales carried to a global audience along the Silk Road – which was “the Internet of the ancient world”, says the museum’s president Ellen Futter.

To guide their journey, visitors are equipped with a passport that they can stamp at four cities en route through the exhibition: Xi’an, the ancient capital of China, from which camel caravans set out loaded with silk for trade with the West; Turpan, an oasis city on the edge of the Taklimakan Desert in northwest China; Samarkand, a merchant city now in present-day Uzbekistan; and Baghdad, once a meeting place for scholars and known as the City of Peace. On the way, visitors grasp the great cultural and technological developments that flowed along the route: music, religion, language, numerals, medicines and innovations such as paper-making.
A two-metre-long, table-top interactive map charts these advances. Paper was invented by Chinese craftsmen in 50 BC, who mashed plant fibres such as hemp and flax with water, shaping the pulp into paper using a wooden mould. One such mould, with a screen made of woven reeds, is on display. The Chinese kept their paper-making technique a secret for centuries, but it slowly wound its way westwards. The Diamond Sutra, an ancient Buddhist text printed in 868 AD, is the oldest known dated example of a paper book and was found in a cave in Dunhuang, an oasis town that formed an interchange between China and western Asia. The first paper Koran was copied in Persia in 971 AD, and in 1150 Arabs set up the first paper mill in Al-Andalus, the Islamic territories in southern Spain.

Innovations travelled in the other direction, too. Glass-blowing was developed in the Middle East in around 100 BC, and then progressed eastwards: one beautiful, long-necked cloudy-white bottle from western Asia dating to 800-1000 AD is imprinted with pairs of graceful, curved-horned ibex. Irrigation techniques also spread along the Silk Road: artificial underground rivers called karezes, which rely on gravity to carry mountain water to distant desert fields, were first used in Persia more than 2,500 years ago and still move nearly 300 million cubic metres of water in the Turpan Basin each year.

A mock market displays luxury goods offered by traders in Turpan: items such as leopard, tiger and ermine fur; red coral and green jade; a profusion of fruit including figs, peaches, pistachios and melons – the latter transported in lead containers packed with snow – and medicines such as rhino horn, rhubarb, ginseng and bezoars, the brown pellets of undigested food extracted from the stomachs of goats and cows, purported to cure a range of ills and rid you of “perverse goblins”, according to one Chinese doctor.

A final video quiz reminds us that the globalization of trade and culture continues unabated. China, which grew wealthy on silk sales, is now the world’s biggest exporter of manufactured goods. To get the best price for their catch, rural fishermen in India call ahead the markets on-shore from their cell phones:  more than four billion of which are now used worldwide. And in a 2001 speech to “celebrate Britishness”, then UK foreign secretary Robin Cook called a sauce-doused ensemble “a true British national dish”. It was the quintessential Indian cuisine of the chicken tikka masala.

Source: [parts edited by me to include more info for blog readers]

Posted by: mostwanted | Thursday, December 3, 2009

If You Write It, They Will Read It

The title is a play on the good ol’ phrase “if you build it, they will come” which is the point of this article. What’s real? What’s possible? And what’s really possible (read: sustainable)? Virtually unlimited access to cheap money blurs lines between what makes economic sense and what doesn’t. If it can be financed it will be built.

Dubai, however, is like NASA — both have proven that anything is possible when you ignore economic costs. Many technological discoveries were made in the process of putting a man on the moon; but the project did have, and was expected to have, a negative return on capital.

Dubai has followed a similar path. The “absolutely impossible” category may not include building an underwater hotel, or the tallest building in the world, at a cost of $4.1 billion, or a covered ski resort in the middle of a desert, but these projects surely deserve a place in the category of “economically impossible.” Like putting people on the moon, Dubai’s projects were destined to have a negative return on capital. At least NASA was up front about it.

Dubai’s construction wonders were made possible by high oil prices and, more importantly, unlimited (at the time) global liquidity — subprime global lending on steroids. Today, however, a city that could do no wrong just a few years ago, is defaulting on the debt it issued to finance its building boom. However, what’s happening in Dubai is just the most recent, most vivid example of what took place all over the world until the economic crisis. Economically impossible endeavors with negative returns on capital were everywhere and Dubai is just the latest to go bust.

Though everyone is talking about Dubai’s potential default, the scope of the problem is greater. Think about how much energy (oil, coal, natural gas), materials (steel, concrete), and industrial products (cranes, tractors) — in other words, stuff — it took to build these economically impossible wonders. China, the most populous country in the world, also masked its share of economically impossible projects through the guise of “stimulus” and at times, outright censorship. China is the birthplace of the largest shopping mall in the world, which is empty, and a city built on spec for a million people that remains mostly vacant. These two just scratch the surface. The rest of the world, including the US (after all, we built a lot of now-empty houses and condos) is swarming with economically impossible projects.

How many houses (or in the case of Dubai, mansions), factories, hotels, skyscrapers, shopping malls, and railroads won’t be built because there are too many already built? And if this isn’t convincing enough, funding economically impossible projects will be difficult for a while, as lack of liquidity and insurmountable losses suddenly turn bankers into… bankers. They find religion (at least for a little while) and start giving loans to folks who can actually pay them back. Dubai is the exemplar of economically impossible activities that have taken place everywhere.


A friend asked me, “But why would people in Dubai spend billions of dollars on buildings if they have little chance of earning a return on it?” He added, “I would think they’d have rational voices at the table pointing out obvious holes in these multi-billion dollar projects.”

At first I tried to explain that if things can get financed, they’d be built – consequences be damned. Then I explained how groupthink works, that under crowd pressure, especially after their initial predictions of the bubble bursting were proven “wrong” – as real estate prices kept climbing – skeptics were either turned into believers, got quiet or got fired for being doomsayers and not being “team players.” My friend started to see what I saw, and then I told him a joke that I heard from Warren Buffet a few years back.

A very successful oilman dies. He faces St. Peter, who says, “You’ve been a good man and normally I’d send you to heaven, but heaven is full. We only have a place in hell.” The oilman says, “Any chance I could talk to other oilmen who are in heaven? Maybe I can convince someone to switch places with me?” St. Peter says, “It’s never happened before, but sure, I don’t see any harm in it.” The oilman goes to heaven, finds an oilmen convention and yells, “They found a huge oil discovery in hell!” Oilmen are stampeding out of heaven to hell, and our oilman is running along with them. St. Peter asks him “Why are you going to hell with them? I have a spot in heaven, you can stay.” The oilman answers — “Are you kidding, what if it’s actually true?” 🙂

Posted by: mostwanted | Thursday, December 3, 2009

Vegas of the Middle East (without the casinos or the booze or the women)

Subprime Dubai – Are the Good Times over?

While we in the US spent our Thursday eating turkey and watching football, the rest of the world’s markets went into a downward spiral as Dubai announced it wanted its lenders to give the country a six-month moratorium on some $60 billion in debt repayments (what happens to interest accumulation at this point?). This has the potential to be the largest sovereign debt default since Argentina as speculators state real debt owed maybe closer to $80-90 billion and this hidden/off the book debt is the most disturbing news to upset the world markets over the last few trading sessions apparently. Somehow this was a shocking development. (Duh how can too much debt and real estate be a problem?) And by markets I mean gold, commodities, oil, stocks, and risk assets everywhere. They all went down. The US markets experienced their own sell-off on Friday, though not as deeply as the rest of the world.

Just to clarify a bit further – while the enterprise in trouble, the Dubai World [DW] corporation (who made a bid for US ports security a couple years back), is a subsidiary of the Dubai government, it is for all intents and purposes its own business unit. The Dubai government said on Monday it wasn’t responsible for the debts of Dubai World, dealing a blow to creditors’ assumptions that the Arab emirate would guarantee the conglomerate’s liabilities. “Creditors need to take part of the responsibility for their decision to lend to the companies,” said Abdulrahman al-Saleh, director general of Dubai’s Department of Finance. “They think Dubai World is part of the government, which is not correct.”

To get an answer, let’s look at some facts about Dubai. It’s one of the Arab Emirates (city-states), but unlike its neighbor Abu Dhabi, oil is only about 6% of the local economy. While the foundations of this city (and the rest of the country for that matter) were built on oil revenues, the city has diversified into finance, real estate, tourism, trading, and manufacturing. It’s a small emirate, with a little under 1.5 million residents, but with less than 20% being actual citizens of the UAE– the rest are expatriates (foreigners who can never become naturalized citizens according to UAE law). The city’s GDP is estimated to be around $50 billion. In comparion, the GDP of my city – Austin, TX is some $72 billion. And with much bigger $700 billion bailouts given to companies in trouble last year by the US government, one would think such relatively small debt of DW would be peanuts. Au contraire mon frere – the problem here seems to be the chance or rather the risk of Dubai defaulting on its debt not just equivalent to its entire GDP but possibly double that.

Dubai has become a byword for thinking large. The world’s tallest building, underwater hotels, the largest man-made islands (plural), indoor snow skiing in the desert… the list goes on and on. Then came the credit crunch. Property values dropped by as much as 50%. Sales, say the developers, have slowed. Now theres an understatement if I ever heard one. Seems there was a lot of debt used to speculate on real estate by DW, not to mention buying assets such as Barney’s, Las Vegas casinos, banks, etc. So who’s on the hook for all the capital for these ambitious projects and purchases? Looks like 50% of the debt is held by UK based banks with the lion’s share of the other half being held by other euro-zone members. US banks seem to have little exposure. Admittedly, the estimates may be confusing the debts of Dubai with that of its neighbor and capital Abu Dhabi, so it’s hard to know a reliable number, other than that European banks are the most exposed.

Now, here’s the deal: Abu Dhabi has the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund at over $650 billion. Dubai has a “mere” $15 billion. If they cared to, Abu Dhabi could write a small check and make all the problems disappear. It just seems that they’re not ready to do that — at least not yet. Apparently, Abu Dhabi already got (owns) the world’s tallest building on past debt problems which was built and is located in Dubai.

Construction and real estate were as much as 25% of Dubai’s economy. Let’s see — large leverage with maybe $5 billion in interest in a $50 billion economy that’s 25% construction? A construction and real estate-driven economy. A real estate bubble. Sounds like CA, FL, Spain, LAS VEGAS, anyone? How can this be a surprise, except that everyone expected big brother Abu Dhabi to pick up the check?

While Abu Dhabi did advance $5 billion earlier, Dubai isn’t letting that money out of the country just yet. There are live projects to be finished (on-time), you can understand. From where we sit, this is just a rather hard-headed negotiation; a restructuring of who owns what and who will get what assets. It will all settle down (eventually). Given the massive losses that world banks have already taken, this is rather small chump change.

But in any event, one of the lessons to be learned is that investors should pay attention to where the leverage is. Unsustainable debt trends end in tears — always do. Spain, Greece, Italy, the UK, and Japan will all have to face major restructuring in the next decade due to major leveraging. And we in the US will also find that we cannot grow debt at our current (unsustainable) levels. Will we pay our debts willingly or be forced to by the markets? Either way, it will make for a less-than-optimal economy over the coming years.

P.S. In the title, casinos should be in quotes because while there are no legal slot machines or poker tables in gambling dens (AFAIK) in all of the UAE, there is definitely gambling going on in the country – albeit with someone elses money on a much larger scale.

In the same breadth, booze also, according to some of my non-muslim friends, flows freely (if you know where to look) as if you were in the south of France. And while there may not be any strip clubs or such, Dubai is notoriously famous for its Euro-trash “street workers”.

Posted by: mostwanted | Monday, November 23, 2009

Gotta Love Vintage Ferrari’s

In 2008, an anonymous and very wealthy Englishman bought a Ferrari 250 GTO at a staggering price of $28.5 million.

Only 39 models of the legendary Ferrari 250 GTO model were ever built, from 1962 to 1964.
It was already considered one of the most valuable cars in the world, previously thought to have been worth approximately 14 million British Pounds.

But with the recent record-breaking sale, it seems the Ferrari 250 GTO is even more valuable than had been thought.
Powered by a 3L, V12 engine, the 302-horsepower Ferrari 250 GTO can do 0-60 in 6.1s and reach speeds of 176mph.

Posted by: mostwanted | Thursday, August 27, 2009

You Might Be a Gujju If…

– You have at least 1 relative in the stock market.

– You’re never worried about what happens if you get stranded in Ghatkopar. All you’d have to do, you know, is walk across the road and find a relative. (Still easier, just shout, “Mama! Masi! Faiba! Kaka!” a couple of times. At least one is bound to be around.)

– You don’t worry about being stranded in New Jersey. You’ve been told by everyone that the thing to do at such a time is to open the telephone directory, turn to “Shah” or “Patel” and call any number for help.

– You measure the success of a wedding by how many people praised the food.

– You believe Narendra Modi is the solution to everything. From your hair to the nation’s defence .

– You understand that when someone says “Dhirajbhai no babo” or “Maniben ni baby”, the “baba” and “baby” in question could be 40 years old.

– You either think the garba is the coolest thing ever, or you wonder why the whole world makes such a big deal out of it.

– No packing for any trip is complete without thepla.

– Winter = undhiyu.

– Summer = keri no ras.

– Monsoon = have su karvanoo?! kai na sujhe to bhajiya sutarwana …

– You assume (in marital situations) that because Mara bhai na vevai ni dikri na sasu gave a recommendation, the person in question is virtue personified.

– You have no problems with love marriages. You just view them as a last resort, that’s it.

– You may not donate anything to the orphanage down the road, but when there’s a calamity in Gujarat, you send truckloads of money, food and amenities.

– You feel a slight sense of pride in Ketan Parekh, no matter how much you hide it.

– You think the G-U-J-J-U sequence in Kal Ho Na Ho was rather cool, actually.

– You’re so attuned to smiling and laughing for no reason at any given social occasions, that funerals become odd for you. (Non-Gujju funerals, that is. At Gujju funerals, everyone has the same problem, so they understand.)

– Sunday mornings = Gathiya and jalebi.

– If you go on a picnic, everyone brings atleast 10 foods each, which is bound to include dhokla, kachori, chewro, thepla, mathia, fafda and maybe 3-4 different athanas and fried green chillies…

– After a heavy picnic lunch, all the men say, “chalo round maarine aavye”.

Posted by: mostwanted | Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hot or Not: #1 – Noureen DeWulf

Noureen DeWulf

DeWulf, an Indian American, was born in New York City, New York, and was raised in Georgia. Her parents are from Pune, Maharashtra, India. She attended Boston University and is now a Hollywood Actress.

DeWulf was first known as the star of the 2007 Academy Award (for Live Action Short Film) winning musical comedy – West Bank Story – in which she played a Palestinian fast-food cashier named Fatima who falls in love with an Israeli soldier. DeWulf also starred in 2006’s American Dreamz alongside Hugh Grant and Mandy Moore. She was next seen as one of the leads in the Fox Feature Comedy, The Comebacks, which was released in the United States in October 2007. DeWulf played a small comedic role in Ocean’s Thirteen as Frank Catton’s main Expo girl Mirage, which released in summer 2007 and also “Littly Singh” in Americanizing Shelley, for which she wore a fat suit.

As well as her film acting career, DeWulf’s television career also includes guest appearances on CSI: NY, Numb3rs, Love Inc., Girlfriends and new NBC Comedy Chuck (TV series) where she plays a beguiling undercover counter agent. She has also starred in 3 network comedy pilots for the WB, Fox, and CBS.

In 2009, DeWulf began recurring on the CW hit show 90210 (TV series). Also in 2009, she was seen in the Matthew McConaughey release Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. She is also in “The Goods: The Don Ready Story” starring Jeremy Piven. She is in the new Fox Network Drama “Courtroom K”, which stars Alfred Molina.

DeWulf was ranked #100 on Maxim Magazine’s Hot 100 List (2007).

Read More…

Posted by: mostwanted | Monday, May 4, 2009

Paris Voted Europe’s Most Overrated City, London the Dirtiest

LONDON (Reuters Life!) – Holidaymakers, be warned: London has the worst food, Paris is the most overrated and Brussels is the most boring, according to a survey of what travelers think about European cities.

In the poll of nearly 2,400 travelers, by website TripAdvisor (, the British capital was voted the dirtiest in Europe, home to the worst-dressed people and the most expensive.

Paris did not come off any better, with travelers saying it was the least friendly city and the second-most expensive.

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But both popular destinations redeemed themselves in the online poll, with Paris voted as having the best cuisine and best-dressed people, while London was seen as having the best nightlife, best public parks and most free attractions.

Europe’s capital cities all have their highs and lows, but no other continent offers travelers’ such a wealth of culture and sights within such short distances,” TripAdvisor spokesman Luke Fredberg said in a statement.

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“Despite London emerging as the dirtiest and most expensive city, its fantastic free attractions prove that you don’t need to be a millionaire in order to enjoy the capital.”

Venice beat both Paris and Rome as Europe’s most romantic destination, but it was also voted the third-most expensive, after Paris and London.

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Traveler seeking friendly locals should go to Dublin, while the health-conscious may prefer Denmark’s Copenhagen, voted the Europe’s cleanest city.

Prague was picked as the best bargain destination, while people seeking visual treats should head for Spain’s Barcelona, but avoid Warsaw in Poland, which were seen as the cities with the best and worst architecture respectively.

And the most boring city? Travelers voted for the Belgian capital Brussels, with Switzerland’s Zurich a close-runner up.

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Full stats here – [News Provider]

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