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Notes from An Event Apart Boston 2012 I had a great time at An Event Apart Boston, 2012. Ill post some photos soon. The conference avoided deep dives into code in favor of showing WHY you would do reactive design. As Eric Meyer said "My...

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Judging the CT Student Innovation Exposition (E-Commerce)... Want to know what the next 10 years will look like? Ask a high school student. Their creativity isnt limited by their knowledge of what we currently call technological limitations. They have a vision of...

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The Value of Feeling Appreciated as an Employee in... Whether you’re a new employee or the vice president of the company, everyone wants to feel valued, even appreciated, in the workplace. Not only does it improve morale and make the workplace a more pleasant...

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The difference between classic and motion tweens in... Here it is: If you're used to doing things "the cs3 way" then you can continue to do so with the classic tween tool. It works the same way as you remember, using key frames as normal, but you cannot...

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PHP: If (equal to AND not equal) - eliminate form spam... Just learned a great function of PHP thats already made my forms a lot better. A while back I wrote an article about eliminating form spam without captchas by using css to hide a text input box for bots...

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Conundrum of Life: Solved – Morning vs Night

Category : Humor, Social

Happy Memorial Day; my thoughts on that aside.

I figured out a wondrous thing tonight while I was driving home from Springfield this morning: The best way to determine the morning/night status is to look at the street lights. If they are still on – it’s still night. Once they turn off (about 5:33am this morning in case you were interested) then, and only then, is it considered morning by civilized people.

The normal argument would say 12:01am; but that’s only if you want to be a dick about it – of course you’re not wrong, but practically speaking I’d say that I left the party at around 5:20 last night and got home at about 6 o’clock this morning.

Fear and Loathing in Tibet

Category : Humor

hunter-dala395-4picsi-thumb.jpg

I stumbled on this on The Village Voice. I think it goes without saying that this is worth reposting.

I hope you enjoy it.

The Search for a New Blog Title

Category : Around The Office, Humor

I think Im in the market to change the name of the blog to something more fitting, something that abstractly includes: design, web, technology, plus a subset of society, politics, and tattoo finds. What is that something? I dont know, and maybe you do.

Suggestions so far include:

“Done in two weeks”
“Noted”
“Ill get right on it!”
“The Blog at the End of the Internet”
“The Tea Party” <– My favorite so far
“We’re All Mad Here”

Ding Dong Bush is Gone

Category : Humor, Politics

I almost didn’t think I’d live to see the day when this buffoon would finally be leaving office. I wont lament on this too long. Many other people have written at length on these topics. If you find one of interest, please do a search for it and see what comes up. Some much of this information is readily available. In fact the most diabolical scheemes are written about in the wide open to help gauge if the public is ready for such a thing. If we dont react, then it must be OK .

In the last 8 years, in no specific order, we have had to put up with a (non-elected) president who’s record should reflect:

  • The outright theft of the oval office, not once but twice, via voter disenfranchisement, purge logs, ballot stuffing, and the wonders of electronic voting. (search for Diebold)
  • The destruction and blundered rebuilding of New Orleans
  • The on going nationalization of corporate losses and the privatization of their profits.
  • Ignoring prominent economic advisers advocating for a sound monetary policy (search for Peter Schiff). Instead mr. Bush has spent 11.8 trillion dollars. He has spent more money in his two terms than all other presidents before him combind.
  • New highs in defficit spending
  • No Child Left Behind – a complete rebuilding of Americas education system done without teacher input, ensuring higher test scores because of higher drop out rates and a through a through understanding of textbooks and standardize tests, not actually understanding the world or how to process it.
  • Suspension of Habitus Corpus
  • Suspension of Posse Comitatus
  • Abu Ghraib
  • Sensory Deprivation and Water Boarding
  • Extraordinary Rendition
  • The Patriot Act
  • The Patriot Act II
  • The Real ID Act
  • The Military Tribunals Act
  • Hundred of signing statements that contradict or nully the bill they are attached do
  • Thousands of Executive Orders restricting liberty
  • Guantanamo Bay Cuba
  • Unparalleled surveillance – via CCTV, NSA, FBI, DHS, ICE – all of which use the older TALON and Echelon databases along with new NSA databases
  • Retroactive Immunity for telecom companies who assisted the government in their spy operations that were so legal they needed RETROACTIVE IMMUNITY FOR IT!

Contunue Reading

I Hate IE6 t-shirts

Category : Humor, Technology

While I was working an article for flash SEO I found a site devoted to hating IE 6. Aside from buying a shirt instantly I thought I might also share this joke with you people. I know in a small room with the right people the mention of a site devoted to nothing else but the pleasures of hating ie6 would generate thunderous laughter. Outside of that room, lots of people will look at you wearing your “I Hate IE 6″ gear and be very confused.

They probably use IE and dont even know it…

Keyboard Fight Club

Category : Humor

You have undoubtedly heard reports of kids acting out Fight Club and beating themselves up in backyard/underground wrestling or fighting competitions. Bum fights comes to mind as probably the most successful of these endeavors. The video below is pure comedy and stress relief. There is nothing to the winner, but a new keyboard and bragging rights.

When working for apple, you have a lot to brag about already, but if you’re the keyboard Fight Club Champ, you dont need to brag, the story has already spread far and wide among people who need to know.

WARNING: You have to be proud of your nerd heritage for this to be seen as anything but a tragic waste of time, keyboards, and technology. Having said that – I enjoy this video immensely – far more than say… working on a certain php template I started earlier today.

Hope you enjoy it as well. I promise Im working on some real articles. This blog is not turning into a repository of videos I find enjoyable.

Im having an aweful time embedding the flash video here. For some reason the code keeps breaking my whole template. I really need to recode this site, but thats a topic for me to resume in the next year. In the meanwhile, have a look see at this fine display of nerd athletisicm: http://www.pwnordie.com/videos/dcf360c3ba/g4-investigates-tech-fight-clubs-keyboard-fight-from-g4.

Best Campaign Trailer of 2008

Category : Humor

This might be the best campaign video from the 2008 campaign. How can you say “no” to Harry? Between this and the vet who did not vet and the udated waasup video, I’m looking forward to the spoofs from 2012 already. (If there is one.)

Working on Sharepoint Back at Fathom as a Subcontractor

Category : Around The Office, Humor, Technology

So I’m back to work at Fathom as a subcontractor reskinning a sharepoint interface. The css file is a massive 5400+ lines. Its written in several styles of short hand and thats just the core.css file. Then there is the IE style sheet which is chuck full of IE only fixes and hacks. Its mostly trial and error getting the right selector; without the search feature in FF dev bar this would be impossible.

All told I think I’ll spend about 2 hours designing the interface and 10 hours putting it into the css file. That was the original estimate, but I think we’re going to end up more about 12 by the time its all said and done. Guess We’ll know later. I’m off to tattoo.

The Economy and… The Lingerie Football League

Category : Humor, Politics

A few people have asked me what I think of the bail out and the economic fallout we’re living with at the moment. I don’t pretend to know everything, but what I do know isn’t encouraging. Gold has been forecast by Peter Schiff to hit $5000 an oz. This is a huge appreciation in metals. Or is it?

The inverse of this would be to look at the deflation of the American Dollar, which is like .02 cents from the 1917 dollar. Had we stayed on the gold standard we might be getting paid $500 a week, but a barrel of oil would be $3.50 a barrel. If you want t know more about the economic crisis I’d suggest watching a little video. Its only 10 minutes and will do a fair bit to explain the current crisis.

I find it hard to talk about economics and not have it end on a somber tone. To help alleviate that I have included another video, this one of the lingerie bowl. For those of you who don’t know, the lingerie bowl puts 7 girls made up of more plastic than the pads protecting the guys and wearing little more than shoulder pads playing football. Watch the friggen video already.

22 Horrible Habits of Clients

Category : Humor

I found this on YouTheDesigner. Oh so true.
I laughed at some; cried at others.
Thought it would be interesting for others to read and add to.

1. Wanting Great Designs for Cheap Prices

Because everyone seems to have Photoshop and know a designer nowadays, many clients tend to have a bad idea of what design is worth. While it can be ok to have low prices when you are starting out, when you are confident enough and your work is good enough you should come up with prices that make it worth your time.

Many clients also try to outsource their projects to India and other places where designers work for rock bottom prices, but you need to stick behind your work and hold out for those clients who know what you are worth. Let them know why you are the best choice!

2. Asking you to Design on Spec

This is when clients want to see a finished design before they pay. You should avoid doing this as much as possible, but in times of desperation it could be he only option. Be confident though and let clients choose you based on your portfolio and not on spec. Be especially careful of designing on spec for people on classifieds and forums because it’s a common scam in places like those where they really are not clients, but designers themselves looking to steal your work and use it for their own projects.

3. Slow Payments

Some clients are notorious for paying slowly or not at all. The way I combat this is to ALWAYS require a down payment before I begin work. For smaller project I usually ask for all the money upfront and I never send the final files until I receive the last payments.

4. Not Planning out the Project Upfront

I find it extremely important to plan out a project as much as possible before starting work. Even if they have a tight deadline make it clear the project must be fully planned out before you begin. After all meetings and discussions are done write up an estimate listing all of the details of the project and your prices and terms.

5. Not Giving you all the Copy and Images Needed up Front

This is probably one of the most common bad habits of clients. I try to stress several times that I require all copy and images before I begin and this usually gets them to give it to me on time. Although don’t be surprised if you end up having to design using dummy text and make annoying adjustments later to fit the actual copy.

6. Not Having High Resolution Images for Print Projects

This is usually due to the fact that clients do no understand the fine points of resolution or that they just do not have any high resolution images available. Try recommend using high resolution stock photography or illustrations instead, but if they really must use those images try to keep them as small as possible. If this happens make sure you write in your contract that the images provided were of low resolution and may not reproduce well when printed.

7. Forcing you to use Poorly Designed Logos and Other Elements

Many times clients will ask you to include pre-existing logos or other design elements within the project you are working on. You will have to judge when and when not to argue this if you feel it hurts the overall design. Learning how to negotiate and inform clients on what you believe is best can be considered an art form and takes practice!

8. Can you Make that Type Bigger?

This has always been on ongoing battle between designers and clients and has become a sort of inside joke for designers. Even Paula Scher commented on the issue by naming on of her books Make It Bigger.

9. Asking for Way too Many Revisions

This one can be pretty easily avoided by establishing a set amount of revision rounds and initial concepts before starting a project. Make sure you get this in writing or at least save your emails where they agree to your specifications. This is most commonly done in the logo and identity design area of graphic design.

10. Asking for Additional Work on top of the Original Agreement

This one can be good or bad. It’s bad when they spring additional work on you and don’t want to pay more, but it’s good if your agreement outlines the pricing for additional work.

11. Never Available to Questions or to Look at Samples

Often clients can be extremely busy and working on multiple projects at once. As designers it’s important for us to be able to contact our clients to show them samples, revisions and ask important questions. This one is really up to you guys. You can either try and deal with it and get the project done or you can let the client know about the issue and try and resolve it or drop them.

12. Pinning Printing Costs on You

Many designers handle printing for clients, but I try to stay away from this. I’ve seen way too many clients try and stick designers with outrageous printing bills because of an error in the final design. I basically say I can recommend printers to you and do an initial check of the files to make sure they are print ready, but it’s up to you and your printer to do a final prepress check and make sure the files are correct, because I will not be held responsible for any printing costs whatsoever.

13. Not willing to pay for Additional Costs

This usually turns out bad if you try to spring additional costs on clients at the end of the project. Once again this problem can easily be avoided if you specify upfront what the additional costs are or might be. This can include stock photography, stock illustrations, printing costs and rush fees.

14. Canceling Projects

Whether you or a client decided to end a project you should be covered in some way. Using a contract again is a simple way to protect yourself. Simply state that if a project is canceled, you will invoice for work completed up until that point. Some designers give no refunds at all and some are happy to refund clients if they are the ones who drop the client because of issues.

15. Returning Many Months Later for Login Information

I recently had a client from over two years ago contact me in desperation because he lost certain login information. Lucky for him I keep good records and I was easily able to look up his info. I’m not sure what would have happened if I didn’t have it, but having it in my records made it an easy problem to solve.

16. Asking for Files Years Later

Similar to log in information clients often misplace files you send them. I always keep files on my computer, even from projects years ago and I make sure to back up my files on multiple external hard drives.

17. Legal Action

No one likes this one, but it does happen so be prepared. Always save emails and paperwork in case you need to present them as evidence. Also make sure you find a lawyer that can help you if something comes up. Ask family and friends if they know any good lawyers who would be willing to represent you if a problem occurs.

18. Over Controlling

Some clients are very over controlling and don’t allow for much creative freedom. When dealing with an over controlling client it’s important to let them know you are the designer without sounding to harsh or rude. Just give them your honest opinion on issues and suggest things when you can without being to pushy.

19. Lack of Research & Planning

Sometimes clients want a website or some other project done, but they have absolutely no idea what’s going on. By this I mean they have done no research or planning before hand, but still want a complicated website that’s easy to update.

This makes things extremely difficult for designers because we have to explain every last detail several times for clients. While helping clients is our job there are some clients who really need to go back to the start and do more research on what they are getting themselves into.

20. I Know Everything

Similar to over controlling clients, some clients think they know everything there is to know about design and what your job entails. They tend to tell you exactly what to do with your designs and can be very pushy. Sometimes you have to just deal with this, but as mentioned before don’t be afraid to give your input. I mean they did hire you because you are a professional designer right?

21. The Endless Tech Support Client

This is the client that will call you once the project is done to make “one more little change”. This is not a bad thing, I certainly offer some support time to all my client’s, but when this little change snowballs into what should have been considered new work then we have a problem. You can outline in your contract how much support time is included and spell out the rates if they request additional support.

22. “it doesn’t work on MY computer”

Of course it doesn’t. This is usually a sign that the person you’re working for has a large title in a small office and can’t be bothered to upgrade the computer themselves. They barely use their computer at all and making any software changes would require them “to relearn everything” and they can’t have that so instead you have to make everything compatible with IE 4 running on windows 3.1.

Bringing your own laptop is not an option either as these same people don’t trust the fact that it works on your and not on theirs. They consider it “internet trickery”.

Got a problem client I missed? Leave it as a comment and add to the list.