This wonderful color scheme selector (and more reading on color
via Usable Design Media) got me thinking more about color. This neat app also has options to see the color scheme with variations of color blindness. You can preview your own website using this colorblind filter (via the other blog).

There must be hundreds of color pickers on the web, Nathan Steiner reviews 36 of them. Bob Stein who created VisiBone ColorLab and other nitfy tools says “I believe complexity is best mastered by seeing the whole picture in rich detail; that expertise consists mainly of vivid mental pictures.”

It certainly helps me to have brilliant living images in my minds eye, which I aspire to make real in software or other designs. When I was writing 3D computer software in college and designing complex scenes and animation in pure text, I acquired the peculiar skill of visualizing light, saturation and hue from seemingly random alphanumeric series. This ability has been continuously useful as I drifted through user interface design, video compositing and special effects, alpha channel rendering, multimedia and web applications. If someone had asked me, I might have said that by the time the new millennium rolled around I wouldn’t be needing to remember this odd mapping from what I expect to see to RGB. I’m particularly fond of ddddff.

Irene Pepperberg challenges the idea that the capacity for language and abstract thought is unique to primates. “If one starts with a brain of a certain complexity and gives it enough social and ecological support, that brain will develop at least the building blocks of a complex communication system.”

THAT DAMN BIRD: A Talk with Irene Pepperberg provides an entertaining and thought-provoking review of her grey parrot studies and related research. I found particularly interesting a discussion of how playing with toys in physical space relates to the development of language. This has been studied in human children, chimpanzees, and grey parrots.

In the 1970s, [Patricia] Greenfield looked at young children and found that at the time they start serially and hierarchically stacking toys like cups and rings in perfect order, they also start combining their labels in somewhat regular syntactic patterns; that is, they begin to produce phrases like “Want cookie,” or “Want more milk.”

Greenfield argued at the time that these capabilities were unique to humans. Since then similar behavior has been observed in other primates and in grey parrots. It struck me as surprising, yet obvious, that both words and actions are reflective of abstract thought. Play is gestural language.

A simple adventure game, Foobar the Barbarian, is the first game I’ve seen written for the Laszlo Presentation Server.

It’s a neat idea to have the game-play driven from a simple XML file. I can imagine lots of creative folks who could write the “story” for a game, but who couldn’t (or wouldn’t want to) write the logic. I could imagine having doorways or transporters into other people’s worlds by allowing an url to load another dataset.

from Cogworks