Monthly Archives: April 2011

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Using Cellular Atomata as a Design Principal for ‘Natural Design’

I read this really thought provoking article using Cellular Atomata, prime numbers, and layered images to create seemingly random backgrounds for web pages. Yes, backgrounds for web pages.

The problem is that on so many web pages, load time is an issue and so is screen size, so it’s really hard to avoid those lines or patterns that seem to repeat and distract from the content on a variety of devices.

It’s actually a great design principal to accommodate randomness, so the eye can focus on the structured content. It’s kinda like having a great forest in the background to an architectural monument. If done right the monument and surrounding garden will really pop against the scene.

In any case the author, Alex Walker, discusses how to uses geometric patterns based on prime numbers to create a sort of randomness in the background. The examples he gives are a much more understandable explanation than say Stephan Wolfram gives about the value of cellular automata in creating natural systems.

I think this better illustrates what Stephan Wolfram was talking about with cellular automata.

It’s clearly brilliant to use it as a graphic design principle.

Maybe Cellular Atomata (CA) rules could be used to generate layout width & height rather than typical asymmetrical patterns? An app like Flipbook could benefit from it, to keep the page layouts feeling designed and fresh.

I think Alex is on to something here using CA (Cellular Atomata) as a design pattern.

I would love to see it in designing UX and Architecture. I would love to see CA being used as a way to generate dynamic, but structured design.

It’s brilliant. Imagine what Santiago Calatrava could do with such a pattern.

Paypal IPN Validation Fails with Adaptive Payments and PHP query/ post parameters

If you are looking for a solution you can find it here.
Thank you Gleb ( )

The problem comes in how the API is designed, and it takes advantage of a little known feature of query parameters and their allowed characters. Paypal uses array’ed parameters like:


The problem is that PHP does not know how to parse the query parameter and either skips it or stops processing the list. ( i can’t remember which ).

Paypal’s Adaptive Payments API is neat and freshens up their functionality, and additionally uses JSON as a communication layer, so I think it’s clearly their future, however, there are a number of little problems like this as you walk through getting up to speed on the API. I hope this helps anyone in the future by saving them an hour to day.

It kinda reminds me of some of the problems we had getting the MySpaceID API up and polished so I guess this is a nod to all of those APIs that do it right the first time.