%3Fxml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"%3F>
year’s-end retrospective was a fun read, as was that of my dotcomrade , so I figured I’d give it a shot as well. The problem with following in these two fine gents’ footsteps is that I suck at photography, both the “taking the picture” part and the “recognizing that this would be a good time to take a picture” part.
But one thing I apparently cheap cialis suck at is blathering all over Twitter. A quick review of my tweets from 2010 confirmed that I predictably chirped about pretty much all the important (and sooo many unimportant) events of the year.
So, without further ado: my year in tweets, with commentary.
Time to put this project in a headlock.
The year started out with a frantic race to the finish line with our , the ongoing redesign of Blinksale and at least 2 other incubating projects. I shipped my best stuff in 2010, and it sure feels swell.
The Tablet may be the one thing Apple has done in the last 10 years that has done absolutely nothing to excite me.
Heh. And here’s what I tweeted 3 months later:
“Got to play with an iPad for a bit this morning. Keyboard is truly awkward, but everything else is pure awesome.”
Mmmm, tasty crow! My skepticism turned to curiosity as I started seeing some of the real-world applications of the device. Now, after getting an iPad for Christmas this year, it has already taken up near-permanent residence on my coffee table, serving as a stellar substitute for my laptop or iPhone for many activities. It’s a lot of fun, and holds a lot of possibilities. I can’t wait to see how it will evolve.
Making plans for a backyard transformation.
In late 2009, we tore out a massive, ugly (and massively ugly) left in our backyard by previous owners to make way for something less… hillbilly-ish. This year, we succeeded in putting in a smaller but nicer , flower & gardening boxes, 4 and 6 bushes. These days, there’s nothing more relaxing than sitting outside on a warm day, enjoying the sights, smells and sounds. Time and money well spent.
Had a great time at the Bright Corner reunion shindig. Been a while since I’d seen most those guys. ∗sniff∗ good times…
is the little company that brought me to the Dallas area almost six years ago, and I credit my co-workers there for most of my subsequent successes. They are not only my friends, but my mentors. It was great to get most of the old crew back together to reflect on the past, discuss the present and get excited about the future.
1 inch of snow? WORST FIRST DAY OF SPRING EVER.
Wait for it…
Seven inches of snow on the ground this morning.
I’ve lived in Texas almost my entire life. We get the occasional dusting of snow. Sometimes it even sticks for a few hours. But this? , especially for March. Unfortunately, I don’t think I could live anywhere that it snows on a regular basis, because after a while I was kind of coming unhinged by the sight of snow. Not a fan, as it turns out.
Redesigning a beloved web app. One that I & thousands of others have used for years. The stress. I feel it.
By April, the design for the new Blinksale had been chosen and I was working my way through all the various pages. Having incredible respect for the / crew (who originally built the app), it was a bit unnerving to be putting my fingerprints all over Blinksale.
Steam for Mac may end my use of Boot Camp for gaming. #yay
I’d been gaming from Windows via Boot Camp for years, but as great as Boot Camp is, it’s a real inconvenience to have to load up a different OS just for gaming. Though Steam for Mac has its issues (and a limited Mac games catalog), it is still so great to be able to play most of my games on OS X. Look me up. I’ll give you one guess as to what my Steam handle is.
omg omg omg omg @rdio
I can’t tell you why I never tried a music subscription service before, but for 5 bucks a month, it’s tough to beat . 2010 was a fantastic year of music for me, and it has much to do with this great music service. I discovered a boatload of both new and old music in what was a sort of mid-year musical renaissance.
Tonight was my third time seeing Imogen Heap perform. It’s still not getting old.
I don’t get out to many shows these days, so I choose wisely. You can’t really go wrong with Imogen Heap. Her charming stage banter is only surpassed by the great music. This show was especially great, as she had a full band along for the ride!
New work: You+Dallas.
launches! It was a rough and tough road, but ultimately an incredibly rewarding experience. I learned so much about managing complexity, design patterns, working with developers, documentation and much, much more. EPIC PROJECT. What a relief it was to ship it.
The new @blinksale is live. Read all about it:
Whew! A month after You+Dallas launches, rolls out! Clearly, I’ve been busy. Though this redesign was mostly a reskinning of the app, there was a bit of new visual design thrown in. And, a couple weeks later, Blinksale added brand new functionality the the workflow in the form of estimates.
Do you have video content that you’d like to sell? Would you like said selling to be dead-simple? Hit me up; I have a protip for you.
Um, did I even sleep this summer? Between our You+Dallas client work, and work on Blinksale, our scrappy little studio had been developing a cool new way to buy & sell videos online. , as it is called, was beta-launched at the end of July and has been enjoying a steady stream of signups and tire-kickers every since.
This phone is friggin gorgeous.
iPhone 4: best birthday present ever. It may be the finest piece of industrial and software design I’ve ever seen. Even now, I hold it and feel like I truly am living in the future.
Instagram is great! Makes me wish I hadn’t bought Hipstamatic a couple weeks ago.
Though there had been other apps with the same or similar functionality, Instagram was the first to craft an experience that felt natural and fun. I had just purchased Hipstamatic and was bemoaning its complexity and rigidity. Instagram was a breath of fresh air, and a great social experience to boot.
Are you a @blinksale customer interested in taking credit card payments on your invoices? firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the beta list.
Though only released in private beta at this time, Blinksale gets a huge upgrade feature: Blinkpay. A $10 add-on to Blinksale, Blinkpay will initially allow clients to pay invoices with a credit card. The option to pay with electronic check + other related features are rolling out in the next few months.
This has been a huge undertaking. The feature itself touches many parts of Blinksale, and had to be carefully integrated. Working with payment processors was also a huge challenge. The feature seems fairly simple, but you would not believe the plethora of paperwork and minutiae required to make it work. But that’s the point, isn’t it?
Goodbye, Viewzi: :(
Though Viewzi was no longer being developed and had been essentially left to drift on the internet seas almost 2 years ago, the site was still available to those who liked using it. But the time came when it no longer made sense to continue supporting the non-trivial costs of keeping the service online, and we pulled the plug. Viewzi was a great idea, and I’ll always remember the time I worked on it fondly.
It is ∗so∗ quitting time.
And so ended my last day of full-time employment at Doublewide Labs/Blinksale. It was a fantastic run, and I’m so glad I was able to be a part of such great opportunities. I will still be involved with design and product development to some extent, but not as my full-time gig. Thusly, I am currently looking for work in the Dallas area (or via telecommute). I’m excited for the possibilities!
I’m not crazy about the album title (it makes me think of Mariah Carey for some reason, and friends: that’s not right), but holy woah do Metric bring the rock on this, their 4th album. These kids know how to write the hooks, you know? “Sick Muse” may be my favorite Metric song evar, and the video for said song is pretty great, too. It’s amazing to me that much of this album was written during a time when singer Emily Haines was wondering if she wanted to keep making music. Geez, she even sounds awesome when she feels like quitting.
Caveat lector: My setup is terribly simple. I am no electronics wiz. I will probably be of no help to you if you ask for my advice.
My goal was to:
Below is a schematic of how all my components are connected:
And here is a photo of the whole setup in action:
There are plenty of downsides, but I’m willing to live with them:
So that’s basically it. Not all roses, but not bad as a new feature of a service I was already paying for. And though I no longer have the equipment by which to compare the two, I swear that (at least) Hulu’s 480p video quality is cheap cialis than what I was getting with satellite. And now that I am using my stereo for sound, the audio is better, too. Despite an expected number of downsides, this switch to internet-only TV is turning out to be a major win—not the least of which is that I don’t burn away hours in front of the TV watching stuff because it’s there. The act of watching TV is now so deliberate (and slightly annoying) that I spend more time doing things like writing nerdy blog posts about TV instead of watching TV. Um, win?
Oh, and Hulu: I love you.]]>
So we kicked around a number of ideas, including one that would involve redrawing the sifter in an entirely different perspective, but came back to the simpler idea of somehow altering or enhancing the existing logo. It’s not that there was a compelling brand reason for this, it’s just that the object definition, idea & physics of the logo are all there already.
Question: Do you like sketches with embarrassingly bad handwriting? Then peep this, my interweb friend:
A number of different ideas came from sketching, but Garrett and I ultimately circled back around to the cleanest, simplest idea (and, go figure, it was the option we liked best before sketching even began): that of the sifter sitting atop a clear bin. Hey, it could happen IRL. As you can see below, the idea went through a series of permutations, some very pronounced and some very subtle. I believe there were about 30 “stages” from start to finish, though you only see the most differentiated changes here:
Parts of the original logo had to be changed to work as an icon; most obvious is the thickening up of the wooden frame. The original frame was simply too thin and appeared disproportionally small compared to the bin. The mesh at the bottom of the sifter has been simplified significantly to remove unnecessary visual clutter that was obscuring the pile of material in the center of the sifter.
The new bin & sifted material was its own challenge. It had to have some visual interest, but there’s not much that’s interesting about a plastic cube. The material inside the cube, logically, had to be mostly finely-sifted material; the pebbles giving interest to the material sitting in the sifter up top didn’t belong in the bin (and you can see I tried to slip them in at one point, unsuccessfully :). I had to rely on fine-tuned gradients and contrast to give the material shape, volume and interest. I think there’s enough there to satisfy viewers at both very small and very large sizes.
So there you have it. If you’re using Sifter with Fluid, you can download the new icon at . Enjoy!
[Scene: a youthful couple is enjoying a picnic on a sunny day in the park.]
Mary: Hey, John. Would you like to take a drag off my cigarette?
John [ignorantly]: What, are you trying to kill me?
Mary [recoiling at John’s insanity]: What? No! It’s just a cigarette.
John [like a putz]: Yeah, and you know what they say about cigarettes…
Mary [bravely standing up for what she believes in]: Why no, John. I don’t. What cheap cialis they say about cigarettes?
John: [stammering like the idiot he is]: Um.. well, that… um.. you know… erm…
Mary [gloating in her own superior intellect and John’s abject stupidity]: What? That they’re made from all-natural tobacco, farmed in rich American™ soil and rolled in quality paper products?
John [his crooked smile and nervous laugh admitting his general ignorance]: Um, I guess so. [laughs] Sure, Mary. I’d love to take a deep, pleasurable drag of that smooth American tobacco.
This entry is long overdue, as it has been well over a year since I stumbled across this band. And what with them , they’re sorta on my mind. Not that I would write a blog post with the hopes that the band might read it and invite me backstage or anything. Psssh. (I’ll be the really tall guy with the cute redhead at his side, guys — just signal me when you want us to come backstage.)
I’ve been impressed with since the very first time I heard them. I’m also pretty sure I immediately twittered a link to the song I was listening to. And my wife and I even tried to go see them play in Denton last October, but the show was fraught with issues beyond the band’s control and . Disappointing. :(
LoveLikeFire hail from San Francisco and play music that I guess would be labeled “dream pop”, though I hear Britpop, punk, indie rock and shoegazer influences (among others) in the songs. I find that LLF’s music mixes well with that of , , , and . Suffice it to say: it’s the cheap cialis kind of music.
The band has 2 EPs out, & , and has just finished recording their first LP. I assume they will be playing new songs on tour. ♫ Awesome! ♪
And because LoveLikeFire is so awesome, they make it easy for you to listen to their music. In addition to the 2 songs linked up below (which you can also right click + download), you can listen to the entire An Ocean in the Air EP on the band’s .
One of the things that has constantly bothered me about social networks, and made me take pause as I interact with them, is the exclusive, unchangeable use of the word “friend” to describe the relationship you are about to enter into with others.]]>
I’ve been eyeballing these speakers ever since they hit the , so when pointed me towards that was actually selling them, I had to buy. Like, immediately.
And they arrived today!
With a few minor discrepancies, probably due to manufacturing and assembly needs, the 500XLs faithfully duplicate the original iPod earbud design — just scaled up 500 times. They look cheap cialis cool. As soon as I unpacked them, I had a small audience around my desk putting the giant earbuds up to their ears and such. The scaling up of such a small object achieves quite a humorous effect.
I wasn’t expecting too much as far as sound quality, but I have to say that, even with my lowered expectations, I was still pretty disappointed. I’m not a true audiophile so I can’t throw out any awesome jargon, but in layman’s terms the bass is really weak and the output is generally thin. In that sense, they truly are a faithful recreation of the Apple earbuds, which also delivered a fail boat full of bad sound quality. ZING!
In addition to the poor bass response, the speakers are very much unshielded, and pick up the glorious byproduct of our wireless lives: GSM buzz. Best to keep these speakers away from your phone, son.
I found the cords to be sufficiently long (both plug into the battery pack); the audio cable is 41” and the USB cable is 42”.
Overall, I’d classify these speakers as a great novelty item, but not really suited for any kind of serious music listening. I was hoping to replace my Altec Lansing desktop speakers (which are “attractive” in a Windows XP sort of way), but I don’t think the 500XLs are going to be able to provide the level of deep, rich sound necessary to properly deliver the sounds of carnage as I play Team Fortress 2. Not that I’m terribly disappointed; after all, these speakers really are about novelty. I’d definitely consider them a chuckle-worthy gift for fans of Apple and/or design.
500XLs run about $40.]]>
And they arrived today!]]>