Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, February 03, 2021

Here’s a free tip for all those bloggers who’ve just discovered Mandarin Design’s Easy CSS Pullquotes, and have proceeded to include pullquotes on every single post ever since:

Stop it.

Pullquotes are indeed neat textual tricks, and serve a few purposes in page design (online or offline). For presentation’s sake, there’s one function that’s primary:

Besides informative functionality, pullquotes are used as page decoration. They can be used to break up large amounts of text. Especially on the web, if visitors are confronted with large amounts of text it’s unlikely that it’ll be read. Having a pullquote gives the impression that there really isn’t that much to read, and it gives readers a “break” from the long text.

Note the part about “long text”. That means that, if you’ve hammered out a post that runs a few thousand words, a pullquote or two would be most welcome in helping the reader’s eye move along. In that context, they work.

They don’t work when your post is a measly 50 words long. In that case, you don’t have enough body content to justify having a big chunk of repeated text horning in on those 4-5 lines of posting. It’s completely unnecessary and, ironically, intrusive. Using a different font color doesn’t change that.

So, please. Use that pullquoting trick sparingly. Going to the well too often dries things up quickly.

And in case you’re wondering what gives me the authority to mouth off on the subject: Six years of magazine and website design work, along with six years of newspaper work before that. Along with a generally keen eye for document-media design. S’there.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 02/03/2021 05:58 PM
Category: Bloggin', Creative, Publishing
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

trade winds
Three weeks ago, I speculated that, sooner or later, the Tampa Bay Lightning would be trading top center Brad Richards.

I guess I’m not the only one doing the caponomic calculations: A couple of days ago, Michael Russo at the Star Tribune sniffed out the Minnesota Wild as a trade partner for the Bolts, with goalie Manny Fernandez being the centerpiece of a deal involving Richards or blueliner Pavel Kubina.

I noted that Kubina’s contract will be up after this season, along with Richards’. And Kubina will also take some effort to re-sign; his last negotiation was far from smooth. But of the two, Kubina is actually the more imperative signing for the Lightning. Defensive talent is always in shorter supply throughout the league. And with Lecavalier and St. Louis locked up, Richards would be extremely difficult to retain.

Since my original post, the Bolts have shaken off their slumping ways, going 7-2-1 in their past ten games and making a go of it for a playoff spot. So it seems like the need for a major trade involving Richards is now unnecessary, and maybe even harmful. Still, the team’s streaked like this before. And Richards’ contract situation isn’t going to change. So it’s hard to rule out anything. Best bet: If the team goes through another extended losing stretch, it’ll likely pull the trigger on a trade and hope it either jumpstarts performance, or else clears the decks enough for next year’s roster.

Dealing for Fernandez would be far from ideal for the Lightning. I’m not sure it represents an upgrade from the current Sean Burke-John Grahame tagteam in goal. If Minnesota does become Richards’ destination, it’ll be strictly a matter of expediency.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 02/03/2021 04:52 PM
Category: Hockey
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback

the engine
Behold the power of the iPod: By virtue of its dominant market share (some 90 percent of portable digital media players), it’s spawned a billion-dollar industry dealing in add-on widgets:

Not when making add-ons for the iPod is a $1 billion business. Does that sound like hyperbole? Consider this. Last year, Apple sold 32 million iPods, or one every second. But for every $3 spent on an iPod, at least $1 is spent on an accessory, estimates Steve Baker, an analyst for the NPD Group, a research firm. That works out to three or four additional purchases per iPod.

That obviously makes accessory makers happy. It thrills retailers, whose profit margin on the accessories is much higher than on an iPod. And it delights Apple because the racks of add-ons made just for the iPod — 2,000 different items at last count — send a strong statement to consumers that the Apple player is far cooler than a Creative or Toshiba player, for which there are few accessories.

This confirms what a casual perusal of the electronics department of any Target or Wal-Mart will suggest. You’ll see all manner of speakers, headphones and protective covers filling the shelves, all customized for iPods; you’ll see zero store space devoted to competing players. This is precisely the point I was making on Sarah’s blog a few weeks back. The market has spoken.

Tying into this market response is the “Made For iPod” initiative, Apple’s attempt to apply quality control to the third-party production (and extracting some residual income for Cupertino).

Overall, I think this is a great example of the revenue potential to be had when a company shifts fully from the computer/tech sector and into consumer electronics. The computer business certainly deals in accessory items, especially with the concept of the PC being the media nerve center, through which all other household/office devices interface. But the possibilities explode when applied to more limited, more single-purpose devices like media players.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 02/03/2021 03:03 PM
Category: Business, iPod
| Permalink | Trackback | Feedback (2)