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  • Cracks R Wack


    Prologue
    I don't come from a high tech heritage. My parents grew up in the south in a time where picking cotton and tobacco was an after school activity and the bathroom was outside the house. They both worked really hard so that my siblings and I could grow up with more than they did. 

    Years ago when I was getting ready for my first year of college I remember nervously informing them that I was going to need an apple computer for my graphic design coursework. We were a Gateway family. I knew that Macs were expensive and that sacrifices were already being made to cover tuition. I highlighted the fact that the paperwork noted that it wouldn't be needed immediately. I distinctly recall the conviction my dad felt over this, his attitude was classic - "if those other kids are going to have laptops when they arrive, my kid is going to have one too"  (I also recall the sheepish phone call we made from my dorm room, asking Apple Support where the floppy disk drive was - "I'm sorry miss, we haven't had those on our computers for years") Thankfulness and pride mingled with guilt over this purchase but one thing was for sure, this was a highly valued treasure and I was going to treat it accordingly. 

    Of course I fell in love with the thing and my mother would joke and chastise me for falling asleep in the bed with it and carrying it along with me everywhere I went. Since that time I've become the proud owner of two desktops, another laptop, multiple ipods, an ipad, and even AppleTV. It's safe to say I'm a convert. With all this Apple integrated into my life you'd think by now I'd have a go-to plan of action for repairs, they're glorious machines but like anything, as soon as the warranty expires things can be counted on to go wrong. I've had glowing Genius Bar experiences (no extra charge?!) and fairly foul ones (you don't have to be so mean and judgy!) so I'm always looking for quality service at a reasonable cost. When it comes to cracked screens on ipads, ipods, iphones & macbooks that is exactly what crackedmacscreen.com provides.


    Review
    In life there are sounds that incite delight - childrens laughter, the first sound of the ice cream truck around the corner, the joyful alarm of a slot machine win. There are also sounds that incite dismay, babies incessant cries on an airplane, the 30th time the ice cream truck plays the same song outside your window, the sound of a date ringing your doorbell early just as you step out of the shower - you get the picture. Last week I heard a sound most dismaying as i tried to close the lid of my macbook pro on top of a clip-on earring. It was a visceral sound and I felt it the way I imagine one hears a bone break. Looking down I saw it, something like a bullet hole at the base of my screen with a tiny crack rising upwards...I'd gone and done it now.

    As a member of the google generation it was the most natural response to find out how I could get this fixed. My first query - how much will this cost - the first answer I found $950. Oh dear... As a from-home worker I can't afford to be without my machine but $950 is steep. In continued search I found lower cost estimates but most require me to ship my machine and that requires trust. How can I trust someone I don't know? Yelp to the rescue! I found my hairdresser and dermatologist on yelp so i figured it might prove helpful here and boy it did. Crackedmacscreen.com literally had a page full of positive reviews and their price for the repair was $350! If there had been only one or two glowing reviews, I might've assumed they came from this guys aunt and mom or something, but reading them painted this company as believably legit. So much so that I didn't really feel any concern about whose hands my machine was going into, I was only concerned about how quickly I could get it in them.

    A day after filling out the form on their website I was sitting across the table from Trevor, the CrackedMacScreen guy. He was early for the appointment, texted me when he arrived, had his car with the sign on it in the parking lot so I knew he was there, and had a t-shirt with his company name on it. First impression - professional.  We'd arranged to meet at Starbucks in Alexandria since I live south of their DC-VA- MD service area, and even with my spiritual gift for getting lost I managed to make it without any hiccups. 

    As he got to work right away I was quickly impressed. This guy was warm, not at all the detached tech type that I was used to/expecting. He didn't seem to mind or be distracted by my million questions (What's that for? How'd you get started doing this? Do you eventually want to have a store where people come to you?) He shared anecdotes and stories and showed pictures from his repair earlier this week at the Pardon the Interruption and Around the Horn studio. We talked about his graphic design related adventures for his upcoming wedding, and he even gave a gracious response to the inevitable bystander who walked up to curiously insert himself into the conversation. "So I have a hot gun at home, does that mean I could do this too?" I thought the mans tone was condescending but Trevor responded very nicely saying something like "possibly". My first thought was, would you walk up to a police officer and ask a question like that, "So I've got a gun at home, does that mean I can do your job too."  

    The funny thing is though that he wasn't all that far off. According to Trevor he started this company to raise money for a trip to London to try and become a professional soccer player. Back then he was Trevor the Tutor who needed another stream of income, so after repairing a macbook that he'd bought off of craigslist for $600 he started making more repairs until it took way off and four years later it's his full time job. His brother has even moved to DC to join the business, I'd call that a smashing success!

    Overall, my screen was repaired in about a half hour, it was a painless, even pleasant process. I paid him via credit card and he even waited for me to find my misplaced keys to walk out. (It wasn't until this point that he stood up - of course I say "geez you're tall", you can't miss the 6'6 man in the room)  

    Conclusion

    In conclusion - I highly highly highly recommend these guys. Five Stars. A Plus. Gold Standard. Best of the DMV.  The service they provide is outstanding. The customer service and level of professionalism is top notch. Their website is legitimate and effective, seriously the FAQs are inspired, like they got inside the consumers head or something. My computer looks brand new and is working like nothing ever happened. They've also got a magnificent deal where if I break my screen again they'll fix it for 50% off (Yes, apparently this happens, and No you can't apply the 50% off to another one of your devices) 

    I am always going to recommend quality service, but the great thing about this experience wasn't just the high quality of service he provided to my computer, it was the high quality of service he provided to me as a customer.  Throughout the process there was a genuineness that is hard to find in this big box microwave minded society. I went to best buy last week and the sales lady treated me in such a dismissive way that I still haven't opened the thing I bought because I want to return it and buy it from someplace else. That's the impact of person to person service, and that's one of many things that crackedmacscreen.com gets just right.

    Whether you're an individual like me with one device that needs repair, or a school or company with multiple items to mend, crackedmacscreen can come to you and quickly get the job done. This is one service I hope I won't have to use again, but if I do I won't hesitate to call.

    Don't Just Take My Word For It - More Reviews
    Yelp Reviews - Google Places Reviews

    Check Out CrackedMacScreen on Facebook and Twitter!

  • Something Borrowed

    Traditionally the only things I associate with renting are dvds from redbox and cars from airport parking lots, so when I heard about the online sensation renttherunway I wasn't sure what to make of it. I felt a bit reticent at the thought of sharing a closet, no matter how fabulous the contents, with an ocean of unknown women who happened to share my dress size. However the logic behind the concept is incredibly sound. Any woman who has had to dress for a big event knows the stress & excitement associated with the prep, but often thing like weddings, proms, and pageants lead to the purchase of an expensive dress that you wear one glorious time and then pack away in a puffy bag banished to the back of the closet. Especially in the age of the instant upload, self conscious socialites are more aware than ever of what they wear, and apps make it easy for the world to see everything from everywhere. What better way to keep your closet and your timeline fresh than renting expensive attire for special occasions at a fraction of the price and shipping them back to sender once you're done!

    Six months ago I got the save the date for the wedding of my wonderful ex-work-wife in the mail and I made a note to myself that if I didnt find a date by the time the event came around I'd at least spring for a great dress. Once October rolled around and I'd RSVP'd with my little brother as my plus one I figured it was about time to find that dress. A couple of Asos orders later I still wasn't satisfied with any of my prospects so I hopped online to give RTR a spin.

    As i perused their collection, any hesitance I had over sharing with strangers quickly melted away as I clicked to my heart's content, building a list of favorites to choose from. The process is outlined on their website as consisting of three easy steps. Love, Wear, and Return. The love part was simple and I quickly narrowed down a short list of styles for the big day.


    PHASE 1: LOVE

    First Round # 1 Pick: Yigal Azrouel Playing With Fire Dress
    My mother always tells me that I wear too much black and I've found that really bright colors tend to complement my darker complexion so I went in looking for something bright and I found it with this one. (I also have a strong propensity towards perspiration so when wearing light and bright items I'm always looking for room around the armpits to minimize the chance of sweat circles - I'm just sayin...) At first glance, this brilliantly cut style in a fantastic color seemed to have all that I was looking for. The one big danger though in online shopping is that things are often not what they seem and nothing ever looks like it does on the model. The doubt associated with this fact could have easily been the end of the journey right there, but those brilliant minds saw me coming and as a member you can scroll down to see insightful reviews and pictures from previous renters of all shapes and sizes.

    This isn't just a practical feature of the process but one of the best parts of the experience. Nothing can beat the certainty of trying a dress on yourself in the mirror, but if you are shopping online, it adds a dimension to the experience to be able to see the product on a variety of real women.

    When you rent a video or a car there's a level of distance between the person and the product and no real connection to the previous renters, but with clothes there's a level of intimacy. At first that closeness and sharing sketched me out, but it's because of that very fact that each product creates a bit of community among shoppers and there's an inherent trust built because you're not hearing about the product from someone paid to sell it to you but from someone sharing their actual experience, good or bad to help inform and improve your own.

    In the case of this Playing With Fire Dress, seeing the images of previous renters revealed that the dress might have a bit more va va and voom than I was looking for, as the neckline plunged and the back stood out strong, so I decided to go back to my favorites and shoot for second choice.

    First Round #2 Pick: Chic Yellow Rose Bodice Dress There's a reason this dress is on the top rated list. That color is absolutely impossible to ignore and the pictures in the review panel truly make it seem like it can do no wrong - short women, tall women, women of every shade and size raved about this number. It seemed as though my search was through, but when I returned to the site the week before the wedding I learned a hard lesson as all the upcoming dates were shrouded in grey, meaning I'd been beaten to the punch by a mile. If you want to step out in this show stopping sheath you'd better make your reservation months in advance!






    First Round #3 Pick: Nicole Miller Perfect Lady Dress
    This dress managed to be none of what I was looking for and still everything I wanted to wear. The color was what caught my attention as it wasn't an obvious choice and it didn't shout but still made my cursor stop and click, plus the length and fit were equal parts appropriate and attractive. We seemed to be a match made in a happy place, especially when it came to the price, but ALAS again that price is probably part of what did me in, because this dress is also in high demand, certainly unavailable in my relatively short time turnaround.

    Lesson Learned from Round 1
    Don't Procrastinate!!!

    It's the worst to find what you love and then realize its right out of your reach so if you decide to rent, make sure you do so well enough in advance to secure your favorites.

    After that discouraging first round, I hit the mall to see if I could find something to buy and call it a day. The Perfect Lady dress had me still seeing green and this strapless wonder from BCBG almost overtook the competition, but with a price tag just under $200 in a Final Sale location, I decided to leave it on the rack and give RTR one more shot. Having recieved a birthday coupon in the mail I was encouraged to go back and see if anything amazing had been hiding the first time around.



    Second Round #1 Pick: Rachel Roy Listen Up Dress
    Even though the description of this dress implied it was office chic, there was something about the richness of the color and fabric that made me think it would be perfect for a wedding. The high wattage nature of a darker color was intruiging to me. I felt like I was taking quite a risk since there were no pictures attached to any of the listed reviews and everyone mentioned that it ran quite large but the color was mesmorizing so I decided to take the leap. Knowing that I typically wear a size 6 and all the reviews mentioned it running large I ordered it in a 4 with a 2 as my backup size. A couple days after placing my order (Ordered on Oct 1, email came Oct 4, Event was Oct 6) I got an email expressing regret over the fact that my primary size 4 was unavailable - GASP - my first thought was there's no way I'd fit into a size 2 but hey why not let them send it and see.




    Second Round #2 Pick: Milly Like Honey Dress
    This was one of the first dresses I'd marked as a favorite when I originally joined the site because when you pair all that sparkle with a big black bow, you just look like you're ready to party. It's likely better suited to be a new years eve dress than a wedding guest dress, but it was just so undeniably attractive that I decided to order a 6 as a back up to my back up and call it a day.





    Phase 2: WEAR

    My items arrived on time in super cute packaging which is always a plus.

    #1 Pick

    The color was AMAZING! Someone had mentioned that it had a bit of shimmer in a previous review and while I didnt quite see it, I wasn't missing anything. It was just the best blue a girl could hope for, true cobalt. I did notice there was still a sales tag on the dress and i wasnt sure if I was supposed to remove it or not, the material is thin enough that if I wore it someone behind me could've seen the shape of the sales tag and assumed I was running my own department store wear-and-return hustle and I certainly didnt want to look like "that girl".

    As I wrapped it around me for the first time, the reality of the reviews was made real. This dress runs LARGE. I'm a size 6 and I had to tie this size 2 tight!! Even then, the top area was prone to unfortunate lapses of coverage. As my brother was trying to take pictures to send to my sister, more than one was obscured by the flash of unintentional bra and he was quick to cast his vote against this frock. He, his girlfriend via text, and my sister via skype all agreed that the color was phenomenal but the possibility of giving the other guests a show to go along with their dinner just wasnt worth the risk.

    On account of the color alone I still want to give this dress high praise. If it was a dress I owned I might've been bolder and attempted to pin it. I didn't realize until just now that they included fashion tape in the box maybe for issues just like this, but caution prevailed in this case and this piece did not come out on top. If you do rent this dress I would caution you to be careful with what you touch because I did notice that it's not a very forgiving type of material when it comes to showing fingerprints, and with all the adjusting of the bust area needed in my case, paws were all over the place.

    #2 Pick

    As soon as I pulled this one out of the bag my brother was like "whoa". Its a gold dress with enough sequins to cover multiple costumes for dancing with the stars, yet it still managed to come off classy. Well, on the hanger that is. After placing my order I'd shown my mother this option on the site and she remarked that it looked "awfully short". In one of those, my-mom-is-likely-right-but-I'm-not-about-to-show-it moments I simply remarked "we'll see".

    Well see we did and if I bent over the wrong way we'd see say and saw all at once. I think that this dress would have been on the money if I was about 2-3 inches shorter, but a this length standing I was quite worried how it would look when seated. In spite of all that concern I was still leaning toward this dress as the winner and even went out to get some pantyhose which helped mitigate the whole "legs legs legs = short dress" factor.

    On the day of the wedding it was looking like the short gold dress had won. So it was time to shop around for accessories. I made a pitstop at DSW and found an adorable metallic clutch with a bow that I thought would make a great match and a Nine West tablet case that had the who sequined madness thing going on so i bought both and figured I'd return the unused option. It turned out the tabet case matched the dress exactly which was great news since I never can fit enough in tiny special event purses anyway.

    Things seemed set but my worries lingered when I considered the high chance of my conservative insides wobbling with discomfort once I sat down for the ceremony and my hemline hit the mile high mark on my thigh. 

    With that in mind I hit the mall one last time, really intending to just hit the nail salon but stopping by MaxStudio (my favorite favorite favorite store) for a quick last minute option. I didn't expect to see anything I hadnt seen before since I'm such a frequent flyer there, but I was pleasantly suprised by this ruffled dress in just the right color green. After a quick changing room consult with my sister I finally said a real yes to a dress!! 

    Its a bit difficult to see in this changing room shot, but the dress was a bit unforgiving of my lady lumps and bumps in my midsection, but I'd picked up some saucy looking shapewear from bcbg on my original trip and it actualy did smooth things out. I'm not going to lie though, from the picture on the package I thought these had extra padding for a little boost in the back if you know what I mean, but it turns out they were pretty much like spanx with less intensity.

    Ever since my mom made me sit down and watch an episode of Dr. Oz talking about shapewear sqeezing your intestines I've been wary of it, but in this case, it came in handy. A word to the wise though be careful with you shapewear selections though, once I got to the reception and started standing and sitting a lot, my dress would work its way up and my shapewear would show, not in a good way, so always beware the length of your undergarments.

    All in all, the wedding was amazing!!! Every aspect of the celebration was simply elegant, beautiful, genuine, and perfectly fitting the bride and groom. I felt so blessed to share the day with their family and friends and happy to have a brother who put up with all my antics before and during the blessed event.

    Phase 3: RETURN
    This was the simplest step of all!  I returned it yesterday which was a holiday (and my birthday!) I don't think it wil get shipped until today but I followed the instructions and put the dresses in the supplied envelope which was already labeled and ready to go. 

    The hangtag said "Use ALL envelopes" which made me a bit worried since I only had one but I went ahead and slipped them in, sealed it up, and dropped in in the mail before the clock struck 12.

    I will admit that oddly enough I've never used on of these blue mail boxes before so I stood there for a moment pulling on all the wrong things before I bent down and saw the handle. Then I stood there wondering if I'd put it in the wrong one because the package said priority, the other bin said express and I put it in a bin that said didnt say anything special. Hopefully the lady watching me struggle from her minivan in the parking lot got her good laugh in for the day :)

    Conclusions
    Since I didnt actually wear any of my rentals to the wedding, my renttherunway experience was a failure of sorts. However, I learned a lot from it and have mixed feelings about whether I'll do it again. If you ask me when I'm away from the computer I'll tend to say No, unless I'm in NY and I can stop by the showroom and try dresses on first. But if you catch me with my laptop in my hands and dresses on my screen I just might not be able to resist rolling the dice again because a dress in the mail is so much more than just a dress in the mail, its a box that promises you in the very least, an experience.

  • Money Is The Mother Of Invention

    Was it Plato that said "necessity is the mother of an invention"? I'd say the desire to make some money might be more accurate these days. For most of my life the word inventor brought to mind slinkys, stoplights, cotton gins and the Wright Brothers, but with the power of the interweb we all now have a shot at the title. The great minds behind Quirky.com pride themselves on changing the way the world thinks about product development with their socially based business model built on collaborative creativity. Bringing two new consumer products to market each week, they are constantly giving  residents of "main street" the chance to turn ideas into inventions and with luck provide a share of the profit to all involved.

    I stumbled onto Quirky.com back in 2009 in the midst of a "how-can-I-make-money-online-without-working-myself-to-death-or-breaking-the-law" phase. I spent more hours than I care to admit clicking through  we-pay-you-pennies-to-read-these emails, coming up with url & company name ideas on namethis.com and yes (OhForShame) participating in crowdsourced graphic design contests where I prostituted my profession in hopes of possible payment. (I'll give you a moment to judge me on my nospec violation )

    I was immediately impressed with the model of influence that Quirky operated around and loved the fact that contributions were welcome at every stage of product development allowing even fairly passive participants the chance to earn influence just by providing their personal opinion and common sense feedback. As I watched my activity on the site turn to profits I was wary about filling out the tax form required to cash out my balance because I wasn't sure how legit the business was so I figured I'd wait them out and see if the company was in it for the long haul.  Three years later I cashed my first check and with the big name partners investing in Quirkified products I'm willing to say they look like a solid bet to me.

    One of the biggest benefits of being an interactive inventor in partnership with a site like this is that they cut out much of the restrictive legwork that traditional inventors had to endure.  Instead of being responsible for garnering financial support, generating detailed technical drawings, filing patents, creating prototypes and conducting rounds of tests and polling, one simply fills out the online form to present a viable idea in a manner that captures the support of the community. As the submitter, you are given the chance to outline the problem observed and share how your product would solve it. You can supply whatever information and graphics desired to make your case and see how the community responds.

    As a seasoned member of the site I've made my contributions mostly by voting for ideas to be considered for development, and voting for submitted product names and taglines. This week though I finally got around to giving invention a shot with a couple of ideas of my own. Some shameless self promotion is about to happen in 5-4-3-2-1.

    Feel free to check out these "Ideations!" I'm new to the role of submitter and really exited about the implications.

    1st Ideation Ever!

    Inspired by my nephew Little Mr. Handsome Face himself this idea grew out of my daily skype sessions with my sister where I watched her continually picking up his pacifier as he'd casually knock it off his booster seat tray again and again and again. The more we talked about it the more a quirky submission made sense. I suggested she submit the idea but she wasn't a certifiable kool aid drinker yet so I found a coupon code (which worked) to mitigate the $10 risk and gave submitting a shot. Now that the project is live we're really excited about it's development (check out her blog post over at LifeOutLoudest)


    A High Chair Tray Caddy Attachment to catch toys and pacifiers before they hit the ground


    Second Ideation!
    Flexible Clip Rings to hold anything hanging on your shower head exactly in place

  • Covering Kelly

    With a summertime hit song and a flurry of jet-setting press, the indomitable Kelly Rowland was the original August/Sept VIBE covergirl prior to Amy WineHouse's untimely passing.  It took a while for Kelly's cover to hit my local newsstands but the moment i saw it online I thought, "YES!!...It's about time for her to really shine!" (Honestly I thought "man I really really hate that i can see the top of that wig" but the desire to see her soar soon followed.) As the image began to circulate, the conversation turned quickly to whether her nakedness was in good taste, some labeled it as hot and others as not. I'll admit there are some akward elements to the pose, but we all know sex sells and naked chicks have been successfully covering magazines for decades.

    Ms Kelly has never been afraid to be revealing, and the "bare it all" theme follows the gorgeous album art (peek behind the scenes) brought to you by the man Mr Derek Blanks himself. After a little research, the fact that Ms. Kelly, with her international notoriety, great skin, and starlet status hasn't graced more mainstream magazines in a solo capacity was what really shocked me.

    This particular piece instantly brought to mind the Iconic 1993 Janet Jackson Rolling Stone cover shot by Patrick Demarchelier as well as the 2006 13th Anniversary Juice issue which also featured Ms Jackson who is obviously no stranger to the topless trend. 

    As Kelly Covers multiplied I kept buying magazines I'd never heard of and remixing them in my mind (less red lipstick here, more left to the imagination there...) until I decided to challenge myself to ReCovering the Vibe and see what came out.  The result?

    My equivalent of fan fiction, a couple of covers motivated by the Queen of the summer as we step into fall. (I'm not the first to DIY a Kelly Cover, check out whudat.com, they had eyes for Kelly on the cover of vibe back in 2007)

    Not Enough for you?  Here's a bit of a Kelly Cover Retrospective

    Looking forward, I'm in love with what Ebony's been doing lately and would be thrilled to see her beneath their striking new masthead. I was just thinking that she'd never done a solo Essence when I saw that she is on the cover of the latest special Hot Hair Issue, so be sure to check that out. If you've made it this far and you're still craving Kelly check out the links below

    http://www.kellyrowland.com/

    https://twitter.com/KELLYROWLAND

    http://kellyrowlandweb.com/

    http://www.iheartmygirlfriends.com/

  • Friday List-o-Links 03.11.11

    Video & Photography
     


    20+ Useful Digital Photography Tutorials, Techniques and Effects via Designmodo
    Collection of photography tutorials and techniques
    that will hopefully help make your photo stand out from the crowd.



    Video Inspiration via Abduzeedo
    Video Inspiration
    is a weekly(ish) post where they either feature a specific artist or show a sort of "best of" list of videos they’ve discovered during the week.

  • Friday List-o-Links 03.11.11

    Multimedia
     

    How do you feel about you-centric media? 
    I still get creeped out by personalized ads, but I like the idea
    of services that filter all the noise so I can quickly get the news I can use...

     

    The Pretty Cool: Stuff for you


    Flipboard
    Flipboard was Apple’s 2010 iPad App of the Year. According to SPD, it’s a fun way to browse and interact on your iPad with digital content and social media like Facebook and Twitter in a visually driven magazine like format.



    Zite
    According to Mashable, it’s a free app that is constantly learning what you like
    to read on the iPad and creating a magazine finely tailored to your needs. Oh, and it looks lovely.



    LinkedIn Today
    TechCrunch liveblogged the announcement of this “social news product for professionals”. Web based news plugged in to your networks, tuned to your desires.

     

    The Kinda Creepy: Stuff about you


    Time Article
    How Companies Now Know Everything About You



    Google Buzz
    It’s been blasted for posing a privacy risk to kids and adults, but we’re talking about google here so of course its “a nuclear bomb whose fallout will permanently alter the social media landscape” (in a good way).



    Facebook Places
    Things like this are exactly why my mother won’t get on facebook.  My take is, if you don’t like it you can turn it off.

  • Friday List-o-Links 03.11.11

    Design
     

    Magazine Redesigns! 
    SPD.org exclaimed that it must be redesign season with all the buzz over the new Newsweek and the rollout of the new Ebony!


    Ebony Magazine
    Ebony Magazine revealed what  it's calling its first cover-to-cover redesign since its introduction in 1945



    A New Newsweek
    EIC Tina Brown unveiled her first cover on This Week with Christiane Amanpour. Oddly enough it took me four stores to find one, Take a look!  Some love it some hate it, some criticize it for not being new enough.  I remember when the now old new newsweek hit the newsstands, it also incited strong reactions.  I’m currently reviewing my copy in context of the last redesign and the way things were 5 years ago, and the magazine’s history in general so there will likely be more to come on this one.



    A Typography Lesson
    What is typography? - a nice lesson by from the Vancouver film school
    (Thanks Joe!)

  • From the Adobe Max Archives

    Adobe MAX took place in October of last year so I'm months behind but no less excited about the mind blowing amount of material covered.  My big news is that you can experience some of the excitement on demand by  visiting MAX online (http://2010.max.adobe.com/online/) and  browsing the session content to your hearts content.  As it's been a few months I'm sure there's fresher content available about all of these topics, but the combination of such a vast amount of material and the user friendly interface make this a great starting point in discovering just about anything Adobe. I jumped on the design track and wanted to spotlight a presentation that jumped out at me.

    Designing Documents for Tablet Devices using InDesign CS5 
    (http://bit.ly/glUksK)
    With the announcement of the iPad2 this week i found this especially relevant.   This presentation covers how you can build magazines for tablet devices, shares insight on social network integration, displays creative ideas currently employed by publications, breaks down the anatomy of an application, and so much more. One thing I really like this presentation is the perspective which gives you a front row seat to the user experience while you learn about what's possible with the technology.  

  • Friday List-o-Links 03.04.11

    Happy Friday!

    Design

    How Hot is Hot Pink Exactly?
    Translate words into colors using HP's On-line Color Thesaurus
    If you find that lexical color really lights your fire check out this presentation by HP Principal Scientist Nathan Moroney.




    Penny Stamps Series (MI)
    Betsy Damon at the University of Michigan
    A Distinguished Speaker Series that presents public lectures by creative thinkers across a broad spectrum of fields to benefit the University of Michigan School of Art & Design students as well as the surrounding communities. Admission is free and open to the public.

    (Thanks Rhonda!)


    HOW Chicago
    With more than 35 sessions and 30+ expert speakers, the HOW Design Conference (June 24-27) offers everything you need to boost ning and soaking up all the creative energy.Register by the Early Bird deadline of April 1 to save $100!

    (Thanks Baum!)

    Multimedia

    Find Out What That Squiggle Means
    You can search by characteristics of a symbol, or by words to find symbols that have a certain meaning.  You can also roll the dice and see what you get.


    Using WebGL to Remix Reality
    According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebGL), WebGL is a Web-based Graphics Library. It extends the capability of the JavaScript programming language to allow it to generate interactive 3D graphics within any compatible web browser. WebGL is a context of the canvas HTML element that provides a 3D computer graphics API without the use of plug-ins.[2] The specification was released as version 1.0 on March 3, 2011.

    The Royal Wedding Website
    I'm not gonna lie...I was expecting more. It's quite functional but its more the knot than style me pretty. IMHO 

    Video & Photography 


    Interview with Nikolas Konstantin
    Nikolas Konstantin is not only a photographer, but also the founder of IDEAS Magazine, a recently awarded inspirational platform on the web. He took some minutes to talk with abduzeedo.com about the power of photography, his projects and how we all can discover our visual intelligence.

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  • Last Weeks Links

    This list went out via email but never went live so...Happy Friday!

    Design

    Pretty Cool Mercedes Ad
    A neat sketch based design contrasting the Left & Right Brain
    (Thanks Todd!)


    Five and a Half Habits of Highly Effective Designers
    A Smashing Magazine Article 
    Number 1: They Know When to Quit
    Number 2: They Redesign Processes
    Number 3: - I’m not going to give it all away


    Restaurant Redesigns
    Has anyone been to Ruby Tuesday lately?  I remember when Pentagram put their hands on their graphics a couple year ago and they got all visually rejuvenated but I went by a couple weeks ago and was impressed by how they’ve redesigned the entire restaurant experience. I appreciate how well the website supports the effort.  That was what I thought of when I came across the news that Long John Silver’s is giving it a try.  I don’t think their previous branding is very old, but  I admire the effort to class it up, we’ll see if it works.  

    Multimedia
     
    Gawker Redesign 
    The New Gawker has been getting a big thumbs down on it’s latest rollout.  The Masses have spokenn and they’re not feeling it. 

    Gawker Redesign Does Not Exactly Thrill the Internet

    Gawker’s Gulp Moment: Big Redesign Is Driving People Away)


    Government Websites
    I encountered the DOJ website this week and thought wow...that’s nice.  We’ve come along way America.

    Whitehouse.gov: Looking Back at 12 Years of the US President's Web Presence



    The Colour Clock

    An experimental project that represents the current time as a hexadecimal clour...neat 

    Video & Photography
    A Different Kind of Collage
    Swiss artist Corinne Vionnet creates art for her series "Photo Opportunities" by overlaying hundreds of tourist photos (she finds them online) on top of one another. What she ends are these beautiful, shimmering things—Boing Boing calls them "metaportraits"—that are as recognizable as they are eerie. They look almost like oil paintings



    KL International Photoawards 2011

    KL International Photoawards 2011 is an annual Contemporary Photographic Portraits competition, open to all photographers. Entrants are able to submit work to two categories, Open Portrait Individual and Themed Portrait Story.  For 2011, we have teamed up with Anti-Slavery International to offer a Themed Story Category with the concept of ‘Interculturalism’ (20% of all entry fees will be donated to Anti-Slavery International to fund their awareness programs across the world). The top three winners from each category will receive USD$3,000, USD$1,500 and USD$750 respectively plus a specially designed trophy and Pacsafe products.  Closes March 20


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  • Friday List-o-Links 02.18.11

    Design

    35 Awesome Typographic Portraits
    A stunning collection of typographic portraits
    (Thanks Joe!)


    Top 40 Video Game Covers of All Time
    Something old, Something new, Something cool.  Often overlooked art.
    (Thanks Neil!)


    AIGA Detroit – The Social: My worst day as a creative
    We all have that awful story about our jobs… that story that is so wild it sounds made up, that story that was horrible but is hilarious given a second look. The story that we all tell at parties when people throw down the statement “you’re a creative?!? That must be the best job ever!"  AIGA Detroit is giving you the chance to put that story to good use at the My Worst Day as a Creative storytelling event. Interested participants will put their names in a hat for the opportunity to tell a 5-minute script-free story, entertain others, and win prizes. Don’t feel like telling a story? That’s OK. Come to enjoy the festivities, Thursday Feb 24 at Dino’s Lounge in Ferndale.


    AIGA Baltimore – Lecture Series: Deanna Kuhlmann Leavitt
    What is the best solution? Not the easy answer! Seek & Find is a way of working that is inquisitive and playful, disciplined and rigorous. Whether working in print, new media or the built environment, Kuhlmann Leavitt, Inc. asks how volume and scale, materials and objects, color, type, imagery and text can be used in an original and meaningful way to create experiences that inform and delight.


    AIGA DC – The Non Book Book Club
    Join us for the second installment of the Non-Book | Book Club on Tuesday, February 22, hosted by AIGA Fellow Antonio Alcalá. Antonio will be sharing several rare and unusual books from the notable Studio A library. Antonio will also share his experience on publication design for museums.


    Multimedia
     

    iPad Stats & Trends Report
    In just under a year on sale, upwards of 14.8 million ipads have been sold around the world.  That demands some attention.  A fairly succinct report discussing statistics, trends, and conclusions about the future of this trend-setting tool.
    (Thanks Stewart!)


    Type Testing Tools
    The first time I saw live type tested before my eyes was while shopping for fonts on veer.com  Now that practice is pretty standard, seen here with more controls.  These tools apply the concept to development and take that try-before-you-buy approach to a whole new level.
    Typetester.org
    Flipping Typical
    Font Tester


    20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web
    What’s a cookie? How do I protect myself on the web? And most importantly: What happens if a truck runs over my laptop?  For things you’ve always wanted to know about the web but were afraid to ask, read on. 

    Video & Photography

    Photoshop Puppet Warp
    There are some things I don’t need to see to believe, and then there’s puppet warp.  A tool that apparently can curl your elephants trunk and put a smile on a strangers face...check it out
    Introducing Puppet Warp
    No Stupid Questions with Colin Smith – Puppet Warp Spotlight
    Use Puppet Warp to Tweak your Images


    To The Cloud...Kinda
    The Puppet Warp change-a-face thing made me think of this “To The Cloud” Commercial which has continually made me suspicious about its validity.  Apparently the commercial is misleading, (see- the cloud is a lie) but not in the way I thought.  Microsoft is using the commercial to indirectly reference  a feature called Photo Fuse in Windows Live Photo Gallery.  Seeing more is helpful but I’m going to have to do it before I’m convinced it works.  Have any of you put it to the test?
    Photo Gallery: Using Photo Fuse


    Other

    Watch What You Tweet
    An accidental tweet about “getting slizzerd” leads to donations to the red cross

     

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  • Friday List-o-Links

    Design
     

    What Developers & Designers Don’t Get About Eachother
    According to Todd, this is the Best Presentation Ever...I have to say – it is kind of awesome.
    (Thanks Todd!)


    Inspirational Infographic of the Perfect Drink
    In light of last weeks’s you can do anything with vodka post, check out this awesome set of bartender infographics.  
    (Thanks Brian!)

     

    Image-based Infographic
    It’s not complicated. It’s awesome.


    Multimedia

     

    Dribble Dribble Swish!
    Dribbble is show and tell for creatives. Designers, developers and other creatives share shots—small screenshots of the designs and applications they are working on.  Everyone can sign up as a spectator to find and follow creatives, save favorite projects, and express interest in participating by becoming a prospect.  Once you get drafted you can upload work, respond with follow ups of your own, join play offs, tag, comment, and facilitate discussion over your own shots.  I love the active sports metaphor, I’m breaking into a sit down sweat just thinking about the possibilities....this brings back memories of layer tennis.

    What I want to get some feedback about is Swish.  I ran across it this week and I haven’t gotten to try it yet.  I love the idea that we as an audience can take control of our user experience, I’m just not new to the language it takes to get it done.  That does nothing to damper my excitement though!


    Video & Photography
     

    Pictory.com
    Pictory is a showcase of life through true photo stories. Read about lost lovers, family dynamics, and happy places — or submit a captioned photo yourself. These amazing images wrapped in black are set in a layout that makes everything about them feel iconic.  The Design and Content complement each other handsomely!

     

    In Focus with Alan Taylor
    In Focus is The Atlantic's news photography blog. Several times a week, they post entries featuring collections of images that tell a story. Along the way, they cover a range of subjects, from breaking news and historical topics to cultural highs and lows. Sometimes, its just amazing photography, and I’m totally cool with that. Among recent posts, the image that covers the February 7th issue of Newsweek is displayed, a powerful shot of a protester standing in front of a burning barricade in Cairo.


    Other
     

    Reactive Paint
    Shi Yuan has created a way to turn normally passive things into something with a life of its own. Like this wallpaper that reacts to heat, the painting that react when you touch it, or the daily calendar that fades away during the day.  I tend to think in terms of ink more than paint but conceptually this is pretty fantastic.
    (Thanks Todd!)

  • Emotional Spell-Check

    After a particularly character building week, I found this one worth sharing.

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  • Wo wat wen were ow ?

    Due to extreme duress and age, the letter h on my laptop now requires me to apply an extra special amount of pressure when typing.  This means that the usual clack-clack-clack of work getting done now sounds more like clack-clack pause strong-clack pause for review clack-clack-clack.  This excercise usually leads me to swivel my chair and type on my desktop or sucumb to laziness and allow my words to come out misspelled wit te ope tat spell ceck will catc te mistakes.  The results tends to make me laugh, but not nearly as much as these guys did.  damn you autocorrect shares the joy of incorrect autocorrection in ways that made me laugh almost as much as when parents text.

  • Taking Home the Target

    I used to be a hermit.  And by used to I mean way back in 2010.  In 2011 I've made a new commitment to do more with my time than go to work and go to sleep. This aspiration to live a life with some sort of extracurricular element has led to my pursuit of what i like to call a "cruise ship lifestyle" with so much fun one needs an itinerary to keep track of it all.  That pursuit is how i found myself at the gun range with five members of the Christian Women's DMV Social Group... and to make things even more interesting, none of us had ever shot a gun.  A couple hours of fear and fun later (the staff as great but we were remarkably unsupervised) I left wit my target in tow. 

    I had zombies, terrorists, and silhouettes with labeled organs to shoot at and although i settled on the conventional shadow figure there was someone else I really wanted to shoot. 

    I called him the "guy from the movies" because I recognized his cartoon squint from the big & small screen.  Another shooter said she thought he looked like Ronald Reagan.  Cops' Favorite Target Thug, but Just Who Was the Guy? - a 2005 New York Times Article identifies him as Advanced Silhouette SP-83A, aka B-60, aka "The thug." 

    For years the model's identity was in question, and although the article states that it was specifically commissioned to look like "nobody" - Real-life inspiration for paper target in firearms training, ex-NYPD Lt. Jesse Oldshein, dies at 92 - a 2010 NY Daily News article cites Jesse Oldshein as the Salai to this Mona Lisa.  With that mystery solved we're left to simply wonder about the artist behind this iconic illustration.  And I'm left to consider how long it'll be before I pay The Thug another visit.


I became an artist by accident.


I spent my formative years planning to become a writer but the pursuit of pretty and the difficulty of design distracted me. When I arrived at art school I was sure I had landed in the wrong place, but my mom wouldnt let me quit - so I kept at it until I messed around and fell in love.



It was the puzzle that pulled me in.


I wasn't born with the gifted hands of an artist but i did ship from the factory with insatiable curiosity and the heart of a storyteller. What could be more magical than infusing content with the power of the perfect visual? What could be more challenging than taking an idea and turning it into something you can experience? If poetry is the best words in the best order then I believe graphic design just must be the visual equivalent. Take the message, make it beautifully useful.



I became an artist by accident.


I spent my formative years planning to become a writer but the pursuit of pretty and the difficulty of design distracted me. When I arrived at art school I was sure I had landed in the wrong place, but my mom wouldnt let me quit - so I kept at it until I messed around and fell in love.



I became an artist by accident.


I spent my formative years planning to become a writer but the pursuit of pretty and the difficulty of design distracted me. When I arrived at art school I was sure I had landed in the wrong place, but my mom wouldnt let me quit - so I kept at it until I messed around and fell in love.



I became an artist by accident.


I spent my formative years planning to become a writer but the pursuit of pretty and the difficulty of design distracted me. When I arrived at art school I was sure I had landed in the wrong place, but my mom wouldnt let me quit - so I kept at it until I messed around and fell in love.



I became an artist by accident.


I spent my formative years planning to become a writer but the pursuit of pretty and the difficulty of design distracted me. When I arrived at art school I was sure I had landed in the wrong place, but my mom wouldnt let me quit - so I kept at it until I messed around and fell in love.

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