February 4th, 2014 by Chris Silver Smith
The logo of the 12th Man Foundation, designed by Chris Silver Smith
The recent Super Bowl hoopla brought the Seahawks 12th Man to national attention, but I wonder how many realize that this fan support concept was founded by Texas A&M University? Most of my friends and acquaintances are unfamiliar with my past ties to the A&M organization and its iconography as well. Shortly after college, I worked for TAMU as a scientific illustrator, mapmaker and graphic designer. While in that capacity, I designed the 12th Man’s iconic logo.
If you’ve driven around the state of Texas for any length of time, chances are good that you’ve seen this logo on decals on the back windows of a great many vehicles. I think it’s probably the most widely visible thing I’ve ever designed.
So, how did the 12th Man itself come to be associated with the Seahawks, way up in Seattle, Washington? Read the rest of this entry »
April 1st, 2013 by Chris Silver Smith
Have you tried out Google Maps in “Treasure Mode” today?
Google Treasure Map of Dallas
I just noticed it late in the day. On the left side is a box for more information about the new beta program: Read the rest of this entry »
December 4th, 2012 by Chris Silver Smith
Ever wonder where Santa Claus’s north pole home is actually located? Well, Rovaniemi, Finland makes a pretty credible case, claiming themselves as the official home to Santa.
Homepage of Rovaniemi's tourism website featuring Santa Claus
A number of characteristics of our Santa myths (a.k.a. “Father Christmas”) appear to’ve been adopted from Sápmi (a region of Norway, Sweden, Finland and part of Russia often referred to as “Lapland”) and its indigenous people, the Saami. Rovaniemi is well within the Sápmi lands. Read the rest of this entry »
December 2nd, 2012 by Chris Silver Smith
LinkedIn’s ads which autopopulate people’s profile information into the ad can be jarring. Here’s one which gave me a shudder — it portrays me as a Googler!
I don’t see myself as an employee of a huge, publicly-traded company since I was with Verizon years ago, so the ad was pretty disturbing to me! I just wasn’t ready to see that! It’s possible that Read the rest of this entry »
November 30th, 2012 by Chris Silver Smith
Mike Blumenthal posted earlier this week that Google Local is now a veritable train wreck, and I don’t think his statement is hyperbole.
For some time now, Google Local (originally just referred to as “Google Maps”, then called “Google Local”, then called “Google Places”) has had some problems in how it handles how local businesses can manage their own data. All local data providers struggle with the process of how to verify whether someone has the right to change a business’s information — and Google’s phone call / post card verification process is no exception. So, it’s had that problem from the beginning, although it doesn’t seem to’ve gotten any smoother in the meantime.
Then there’s the changing nomenclature — they just don’t keep consistently using the same brandnames and terminology to refer to the data display, versus the interfaces that businesses use to manage their own data. Google Local Business Center became Google Places — where you could login to manage your Google Place Pages (your business profile pages that would appear in Google).
Now, along comes Google+ (aka “Google Plus”). Which has personal profiles for people to use in interacting socially, and then they allowed companies to set up profile pages for businesses — “Brand Pages”. Then the real sh*t hit the fan when they then smashed Google Places into Google Plus, and started referring to THOSE as “Google Plus Local” or “Google+ Local” pages.
But, what of those companies that had set up “Brand Pages” already?!? The advent of Google+ Local pages essentially Read the rest of this entry »
May 7th, 2012 by Chris Silver Smith
If you’ve ever tried to piece together the location of where some historical events occurred, you often will find that it’s very, very hard to do. I find myself doing this every so often, and each time I’ve thought that there is likely a large niche for a site which could attach timeline information to locations. There are often times when it would be useful (or interesting) to know what past events happened at a particular place, or to find the more precise locations for some notable historical event. Since there isn’t any central site for this sort of thing, people end up trudging around trying to find often-vague historical documents which mention the historical event, then try to match the historical locations up with current maps.
I found myself in this situation just this past week. I was half-watching Whitechapel, a crime mystery show set in England on BBCA, and the detectives had been in the home of a batty old woman who suffered from obsessive hoarding. Another character in the show was a sort of consultant for the police about historical crimes, and he’d mentioned a serial killer in America in the late 1800s, H. H. Holmes, who’d murdered potentially considerable quantities of people he’d lured into the hotel he operated, and the rooms were set up in some maze-like arrangement. Since Holmes was entirely unfamiliar to me, and since the whole story sounded so over-the-top, I figured it was fictional. But, not so! When I Googled this on my Android cellphone, I quickly discovered that there was indeed such a killer! Read the rest of this entry »