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Name: Bryan Clark
Member since: 2003-10-31 05:47:51
Last Login: 2007-04-09 17:43:01

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I'm a graduate of Clarkson University with my Bachelors and Masters in Computer Science. My research areas are in Human Computer Interaction.

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If writing is a muscle

I haven’t been to the gym in a long time.

David Eaves, a person I have immense amounts of respect for, has been using a tag line related to this title/intro on his blog for quite a while, probably longer than I’ve known him.  And I honestly never gave much thought to the idea that writing really is a muscle until recently. I’ve taken a break from being a designer (or a programmer) to work as a product manager for over a year now. Designing and coding require a set of skills I’m very familiar with, code is an interpretive language that people use to communicate with each other about the details of commands they issue a computer. While design is a more visual language of storytelling, heavily using imagery and some text to convey the journey of a user to the team intent on correctly interacting with that user.  Both pursuits are about communication but each uses written language in a very different way.  As a product manager I’m forced to lean on my skills as a writer and I don’t think I had much in the way of skills previously but whatever bedridden muscles have been dormant are reawakening as I realize how young and foolish I really was to ignore this essential form of communication.

I’m hoping there is more to come, perhaps starting with some tech posts about recent projects while I try to grapple with this idea of writing more than a tweet.

Syndicated 2015-02-10 07:07:17 from Bryan Clark

Open Source Design: Versions and Forking

It’s almost the new year so I’m getting started early in trying something new.

I moved to using only HTML/CSS for almost all of my mock-up purposes a while ago (see Why we skip Photoshop) . It’s just as fast, interactive, and removes much of the translation issues that that happen when an image is converted into HTML.

While the switch to HTML mock-ups has been good, I’ve continued to encounter the same issues I had with Photoshop images where I have to systematically save new versions of the original source and output.


I’ve had many different approaches in trying to version my files.

No index file, just use the HTML list page the web server provides.

  • version 1/
    • prototype.psd
    • prototype.png
  • version 1.1/
    • prototype.psd
    • prototype.png
  • version 2/
    • prototype.psd
    • prototype.png

Or just appending the version numbers to each of the files as you save them.

  • prototype-1.psd
  • prototype-1.png
  • prototype-1.1.psd
  • prototype-1.1.png
  • prototype-2.psd
  • prototype-2.png

Later I end up with a mess of files with version numbers and I don’t really remember what happened changed in each of the versions. This is both true for myself and for anyone else who browsed my designs later.

I’ve also tried creating an index.html file so I could link to all the different versions and describe them but that index file is hard to maintain; eventually getting old and out of date.


Oh so you want to participate in the design process? A remix of my mock-up simply means you have to choose a version and then copy all the files onto your own web server and try to get my attention so we can discuss your changes.


Am I still working on this mock-up or have I moved on? You’ll probably never really know because there’s no easy way to tell. If I have an index.html file then hopefully I put the last active date on it or if I don’t you could use the last modified time in the directory listing.

A New Way!

My new trick that I’ve recently started trying is to use GitHub Pages to host my HTML mock-ups. So far it seems to fix my version and forking problems.


I’m keeping a simple rule that each check-in must work (I can’t break the whole thing) and I should describe the changes in my commit messages as much as possible so myself and others can understand why the mock-up might have changed drastically.

There is no version numbering to deal with here since git does all the versioning. The GitHub page only displays the latest version, which is a little bit of a setback, but anyone can clone the source and then checkout the older versions locally.


Not only does GitHub provide a super simple way for people to fork my mock-ups but it also allows me to see what those people are doing by keeping track of the forks and their progress. I could actually incorporate changes from someone else into my mock-ups by merging them in.


It’s pretty easy to see from the source view the last time I was actively working on a mock-up. And you could drop over to my profile view to see what other mock-ups I was more actively working on.e Bonus!


I’m going to try to add some standard pieces to my pages so it’s easy to find the source code and perhaps a README page which quickly describes how to see the older versions of the mock-ups.

Any other ideas?

Syndicated 2010-12-28 23:04:54 from Bryan Clark

Thunderbird Conversations

Jonathan Protzenko, who worked with us over the summer, released Thunderbird Conversations the other day.

If you haven’t tried it out already you really should. We’ve been demoing it on the road for quite a while and I’ve been using it as my main way to interact with Thunderbird for weeks now.

Check out the TB Conversations Video for how it works.

Note: Thunderbird 3.3 is required for Thunderbird Conversations

See the Thunderbird Conversations post on the Mozilla Labs site for all the details.

Syndicated 2010-12-09 00:48:40 from Bryan Clark

Vancouver Go-Kart Spring GT

This Thursday at 11am PST will mark the beginning the the Spring GT race season in Vancouver. Mozilla Vancouver is set to take on a number of other local companies like Nitobi, mainsocial, KRANKY cafe, and others in several rounds of go-kart racing.

If you’re in the Vancouver, BC area and want to participate just ping @clarkbw or show up at the Richmond Go Kart Track; we have an open reservation. We have local cafes, tech shops, and individuals racing; you’ll fit right in. If you can’t make this weeks race, don’t worry; we’ll be scheduling other (weekly) races on different days and times to make sure everyone can at least participate in a few races.

This is an outdoor track, so dress appropriately. Oh yeah, and neither I nor my employer assume any responsibility for your ass during this activity.

Syndicated 2010-05-10 23:56:23 from Bryan Clark

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