Tuesday, April 20, 2010


The Postal Service has been changing its cancellation marks. As you might expect, I'm a fan of the old way. This cancellation is much like letterpress printing. The printed image is raised and it actually touches the surface it prints on. The cancellation looks good, and the date and city information is easy to read.

The new inkjet cancellation keeps the wavy line of the original, but doesn't retain the circle with the date/city info. The dot pattern isn't tight enough to make small, readable lettering. So the letters are quite large. I'm guessing it's faster to run mail through the inkjet cancel machine because the printer doesn't actually have to touch the piece of mail -- it just sprays the surface as it goes by.

Probably the major advantage of the inkjet cancellation is it that it's programmable. Someone decides to promote Arbor Day or something? It's just an easy computer change. Still looks bad with the sloppy dot pattern, but it's quicker and easier than making a new, physical, cancel marker.

The biggest disadvantage of the inkjet cancellation is keeping the thing in focus. Yikes!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Zoom in on "Foot In The Door 4"

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts' Foot In The Door 4 exhibit is all about quantity. And context.

Delores's piece is on display as you enter the exhibit. We were worried it would be on the sculpture area, but fortunately it was hung on the wall.

As with all these pictures, click for a closer view.

Sandra's piece also has a pretty good position -- you can get a good look if you bend over a little bit.

Roz got the very bottom of the display. Actually, it's kinda nice -- she has one side completely to herself.

Linda wasn't real lucky with her placement -- she's in a corner. And the glass on her frame adds sharp reflections of her neighbors art to her piece.

Kirk snared a very good spot in the sculpture forest. I think his display here on the table is equally as good as if he had been on the wall -- except he got an extremely rare and valuable corner spot! Two sides free from other art! Excellent work, Kirk!

Jil also snared a window seat for her entry. Very nice!

Steve was not so lucky with his 3-dimensional piece. It's positively buried in a thicket of other sculptural pieces. Bummer!

The photo below and at the left is of a regular Minneapolis Institute of Arts gallery sign -- jumbled in with the "Foot In The Door" artwork. Amusing.

And finally, I have a complaint about the "Foot's" artist catalog, available online and in kiosks and on computers in the exhibit itself. For some reason, the art is displayed in groups that are nine rows across. A normal computer screen will only display four or five rows at a time.

This nine-row configuration means in order to see everything on each screen, you have to scroll up and down AND scroll left and right. A major pain -- and a major usability blunder.

Why didn't they just put four rows per screen? Then you would be able to click and scroll your way through a large amount of entries without undue mouse futzing. (I've Photoshopped together a nine-rows-wide screen below.)

The "Artworks" viewer is labeled "beta," so I hold out hope that something will eventually be done to make it easier to view the artist information.

Complaining aside -- what an amazing show! Five thousand pieces! Overwhelming!

Note: And here is some crop art that made it into the "Foot" show.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ride the Ducks postcards

My friend Doug sent me some Wisconsin Dells postcards. I never knew there were so many variations on the Ride-the-Ducks theme!

Click to enlarge.

Update: A few more Ducks postcards.