Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Cloudjammer's 2007 Playlist

The members of the Cloudjammer Creative Network are notorious music junkies (whether or not that makes us connoisseurs is open to debate). In our offices, studios, and homes, we keep the music playing all day long, beating away the silence with a wide variety of the best music available – from classic tunes by Billie Holiday, unpublished college rock and the newest indie, brit rock, hip hop, and southern "rawk" on the market.

Sample some of the music on Cloudjammer's playlist – from perennial favorites to this season's newest additions. If you like what you hear, jump off to iTunes or Amazon and flesh out your own library. Also, don't forget to check out our favorite tracks from last year (or the year before)

Listen to samples from this issue's playlist

Happy listening! fb

Birds&Wire "Oh My"
from the album "AthFest 2007, Volume 2"
Buy this song on iTunes | Listen...
A recent Athens, Georgia discovery, Birds&Wire mixes jazz, country, folk, and indie rock to create soaring sound. We hope they get an album out soon.

Drive-By Truckers "The Living Bubba"
from the album "Gangstabilly"
Buy this song on iTunes | Listen...
The prolific Truckers deliver a powerful song about a musician living with AIDS – part dirge, part defiance. We've been hooked on this song for months.

Floyd the Locsmif "Still Luv' Huh"
from the album "Divine Dezignz #1.2: Re-Discovered"
Buy this song on iTunes | Listen...
A perfect blend of hip hop beats, old school soul, and electronic chop, this track is trendy, sexy, and certain to keep your head bobbing.

Billie Holiday "Strange Fruit"
from the album "AthFest 2007, Volume 2"
Buy this song on iTunes | Listen...
A 1939 jazz classic, this signature Holiday song beautifully and graphically depicts a lynching in the early century South. A powerful track.

Ray LaMontagne "Be Here Now"
from the album "Till The Sun Turns Black"
Buy this song on iTunes | Listen...
Acoustic guitars, gentle strings, piano, and quiet drums create an symphonic and original sound that first captivated us in the trailer for Away From Her.

People In Planes "Falling By the Wayside"
from the album "As Far As the Eye Can See"
Buy this song on iTunes | Listen...
An atmospheric track with layered vocals and lush instrumentation gives this UK indie band's music a hint of Radiohead and Muse.

Peter Bjorn and John "Young Folks"
from the album "Writer's Block"
Buy this song on iTunes | Listen...
The whistling song! This addictive track represents the Swedish trios departure from their earlier pop-heavy rock to a more satisfying, and fun, indie variety.

The Presets "Girls And The Sea"
from the album "Beams"
Buy this song on iTunes | Listen...
A trobbing electronic track reminiscent of She Wants Revenge but with a more melodic instrumentation and smoother vocal delivery.

Venice Is Sinking "Arkansas (Thoughtbeat Remix)"
based on the album "Sorry About the Flowers"
Buy this song on iTunes | Listen...
An Athens band of the R.E.M. vien, this alternative group combines cello, viola, flute, and violin with the traditional rock ensemble to great effect.

Amy Winehouse "You Know I'm No Good"
from the album "Back To Black"
Buy this song on iTunes | Listen...
This English soulstress brings a doo-wop, sexually charged sound reminiscent of the Ronnettes with lyrics that would do Sinatra and Ray Charles proud.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The User Trend Away From 800x600

From time to time, we are asked to give recommendations regarding the target screen size for an online or interactive project. Over the years, several Cloudjammer creative professionals have researched this issue. But in the last year or so the canon 800x600 pixel design specification has come under more serious criticism.

According to, a developer’s resource, as of January 2007, 80% of computers use a screen size of 1024x768 pixels or larger while only 14% use 800x600 or smaller (in fact, since 2005 the next smallest size, 640x480 pixels, has been used by an inconsequential percentage of user). Certainly, 14% is not an insignificant percentage but the studies’ margin of error (6%) could raise the larger resolution’s market share as high a 86%.

Perhaps a better indicator of user habits, though, is the dramatic trend away from 800x600 toward larger screen resolutions over the last five years (see figure at right). If trends continue, 800x600 may soon be relegated to the same negligible status as 640x480 (itself, once the design standard, for those of use who remember web design in the late 90's).

Does this mean that web- and interactive designers should target the 1024x768 dimensions a the new standard? Of course, the answer depends on the intended audience. Ideally an interactive design should expand and condense gracefully, suiting both large- and small-format users equally well. But for most applications, especially the business-to-business and consumer-facing projects in major metropolitan areas with a broadband high market-saturation, designs that target the larger screen proportions are appropriate. What's more, these larger designs may be better suited to service interactive customers in the future, as 800x600-limited users become a smaller and smaller minority.