Recent writing

Prose, obsessed upon for far too long. Judge kindly.

08 September 23rd, 2010

Designing Facebook Places

Out of all the different directions a design could go. The best one is the one that gets finished and ships.”

Dan Cederholm

And that’s really what it’s all about, beyond the pixel pushing and product arguments: getting something in the hands of consumers makes all what we do worth it. The saying “Done is better than perfect” is common around halls of Facebook, and it’s one I’m sure makes some designers cringe a bit. I know I did when I first heard it, but after working at Facebook for nearly a year and a half ...

08 May 22nd, 2010

AirVideo Menubar Icon

If you haven’t tried AirVideo yet I highly recommend it. It’s a dead simple way to stream video content right to your iPad or iPhone. I installed it and was blown away with how easy it was.

05 January 18th, 2010

A New Canvas

Fever pitch would best describe the current rumor and excitement level going on right now about the new Apple Tablet/Slate/flat-thing-a-ma-bob that’s set to be announced on January 27th. I’m excited about it sure, a touch skeptical that it’ll be a huge game changer, but a big part of me really hopes it is.

18 November 4th, 2009

Unfounded Anger

In the design community there often seems to be this need, or this want to immediately critique a design. Critique might be too kind of a word, it’s more of a hate on a design. To immediately call something out as terrible, wrong, ridiculous, stupid or just plain dumb. In offices I’ve worked in I often hear people immediately yell out that something is “clowntown” or laugh about how terrible a design is or how horrendous a drop shadow might be.

15 October 1st, 2009

Application Keyboard Shortcuts for Mail.app

I like to archive mail instead of deleting it. Gmail brought this into vogue a few years back and with their unlimited storage it’s almost silly to delete anything but a few spam messages and the most mundane emails. The problem is I also like to use Mail.app as my email client. So in order for me to archive email I’ve had to drag every message into Gmail’s All Mail folder.

07 September 28th, 2009

Get busy living, or get busy dying”

When I hear people tell me:

What camera should I get to take better pictures?”

Or:

How do people find the time to write?”

Or my personal favorite:

If I only had the time…”

It drives me crazy. These are all just essentially excuses for the same problem. Just do it already.

01 September 20th, 2009

Outliers

Last week I attended a day of the UX Week conference and was lucky enough to listen to a talk from Bernhard Seefeld and Elizabeth Windram from the Google Maps team. During their talk they mentioned something that perked my interest. It didn’t sound like the same old, same old when I hear people talk about user experience.

They design for the power user.

11 September 14th, 2009

Go big or go home

Welcome to a bigger, clearer, and a fresh new design of T Incorporated. My friend Mike Davidson likes to call this T Incorporated bad vision edition. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but with this redesign I pushed myself to really go big and bring the content forward. I wanted to stop hiding behind all of the meta data of my old design and push to have my work front and center. With my first iteration of T Incorporated a few years back, I was so excited to show all of the various information about the data I was ...

34 April 29th, 2009

Going, going, back, back to Cali, Cali

It’s with some sadness and a whole lot of excitement that I’m announcing I’ll be leaving Blue Flavor and going to work at Facebook as a Product Designer. I’m sad to be leaving a great group of friends and co-workers, but excited for the opportunity to work for such an smart, talented group of people working on such a well known and widely distributed product.

Everyone I met both during the interview process had a palpable passion for the product that was both humbling and inspiring. One thing is clear, people love working at Facebook and ...

03 April 22nd, 2009

Level & Tap

I love photography and I love it printed.

Originally, I started Level & Tap as a fun way to sell a few of my prints online, but shortly after I launched it I realized I couldn’t post enough photos to have people keep coming back to the site. There’s only so many of my photos I felt would look good printed, and I wanted to keep the quality of the site high.

30 February 10th, 2009

Polaroid Breakfast

For those of you who missed it last year, a few of us are getting together at Katzs Deli for the 2nd annual Polaroid Breakfast. Last year I wasn’t able to make it do to an airport security snafu but this year, unless the weather or security have it out for me again, I plan to be there.

We’ll be talking about all things Polaroid, from the recently announced The Impossible Project to what filters you might be using or where you’ve still been able to find some film. It should be a good times had by ...

02 January 15th, 2009

More ideas, more problems

In the past few years I’ve grown increasingly frustrated with the “idea people”. People who are constantly coming up with new ideas, or the concept that the more ideas you have the better off you’ll be. Their view is that the better ideas are the new ones. Three old ideas were alright, but this new, great, special idea is the real ticket. That’s bullshit.

New ideas, truly original, invigorating ones are rare, ones that you can act on are even rarer and the ones that you’re willing to put the time and effort into are even ...

06 December 29th, 2008

Creating a Polaroid wall

Last week, with the snow storm in Seattle I was able to slip out to the art supply store down the street and picked up some stuff to fix my polaroid wall I put up back in May. It was quick and easy, just some plastic flashing and some spray adhesive, but after the warm summer and the weight from the Polaroids the flashing started to peel away from the wall. I’d been wanting to replace it with something else but just didn’t have the time, or any ideas on what to put up there in its place ...

September 15th, 2008

Design for Now

When I’m reading through business requirement documents, creative briefs, or high level explanations about what a site should do there’s one line this is almost always there:

“We want the design to be flexible for the future.”

It’s by far my least favorite thing to see. My beef is not that I think sites shouldn’t be flexible for the future (they should!), it’s just that the expectations surrounding this one single line vary so greatly.

August 29th, 2008

Information Architecture Deliverables: Page Description Diagrams

In the second installment of my Information Architecture Deliverables series, I’m going to talk about one of my favorite (and one of the most tricky) deliverables: the page description diagram. In case you’re not familiar, a page description diagram is a text-based list that explains the importance of content that appears on various pages of a website. Here’s a sample of what one looks like.

One of the main reasons why I love pdd’s is that they effectively remove visual design and layout-based discussions (which should be reserved for the visual design phase of the work ...

July 29th, 2008

Information Architecture Deliverables: Site/Navigation Structure

When I talk about Information Architecture, I don’t want to talk about deliverables. I want to talk about getting people on the same page about what is going to be built or designed. The gist of my job is getting “consensus” (and I don’t mean designing functionality by committee; I mean ensuring that that everyone understands what is going to be built before the development and design happens). Yes, there will always be changes, and yes, agile development can be a great thing. But without some sort of initial blueprint to guide you, the project will flounder around ...

July 15th, 2008

Categories vs. Tags

It might as well be paper or plastic. You step up to the cash register and the checker looks up and asks, “Paper or Plastic?”. If you’re like me, you start over-thinking the question. I’d like to avoid using petroleum products so I should go with paper, but those actually take more energy to produce, but I can use them for my recycling later… Meh, I should just buy some reusable bags and get it over with.

The same types of questions pop into my head when people ask if they should use tags or categories. Tags are ...

02 May 30th, 2008

Grey mix

In an attempt to keep the good weather here in Seattle to stay I’m releasing the grey mix. Inspired by Sarah’s anti-rain boots this mix is meant to be played whenever you need to bend the weather to your will and get some sunshine. We’ll see if I’m as successful as the anti-rain boots have been.

The mix is starts out with a great Radiohead cover from Damien Rice and then moves into a few older songs I’ve listened to through the years that fit perfectly with the some thick clouds and warm tea. The ...

04 May 19th, 2008

Personal publishing frameworks

After a few comments and now more than a few emails asking me for my Wordpress theme for this site I figured it was high time to explain a bit about how my site works and the concepts behind it.

The idea is a simple one, but with a bit of an over-the-top solution: I just want a personal site that incorporates (go figure) everything I do online (the vast majority of it, anyway). Since new toys pop-up all the time, I want the site to be flexible enough to deal with any new service that I might fancy down ...

07 May 9th, 2008

Apple iPhone headphone request

Since the iPod’s release people having been bitching about the headphones that have shipped with them. At first, people were stoked for the white and wore them because it was a status thing. I even remember hearing about people getting mugged because people saw the white and knew they had an iPod. Shortly after though people realized they didn’t sound that great, or they simply fell out of their ears because of their “superior” ergonomic qualities.

I understand people’s issues with them, but they’ve always worked great for me. They fit perfectly in my ears, sound ...

April 22nd, 2008

Green mix

Apparently it’s spring. You wouldn’t know it from looking out the window here in Seattle, but that’s not going to stop me from posting the Green mix. I’ll bend the weather to my will I tell you! A bit of green, a bit of spring was the theme. I can’t help but think of budding plants, green grass and if you’re here in the northwest a bit of moss still clinging to the trees.

It starts off with a little song from Simon & Garfunkel during their concert in central park and ends with a ...

April 17th, 2008

The Adobe rut

A few days ago when the the Blue Flavor crew was out having lunch, we started discussing Expression Web and why there’s practically no interest in it at all. None of us have spent much time with EW’s suite of products, but there are good reasons why. The lack of interest can be boiled down to three main obstacles that anyone trying to carve out some space on Adobe Mountain will have to overcome.

1. Inertia

Learning new tools as complicated as Photoshop or Illustrator takes a whole lot of time that, technically speaking, we should not bill ...

00 April 15th, 2008

Feed adjustment

I’ve gone ahead and cleaned up and added a few new feeds to T Incorporated. There are now feeds for just about everything, and well, everything that happens on T Incorporated. You can subscribe just to the main blog posts as before, but I’ve also added a links and blog posts combined feed. I’ve also gone through and updated the older feeds for blog posts, links, photos, favorite photos as well as the stream, or everything, feed. I know it can be a bit of a wait between postings but I usually post 3-5 links each day ...

06 April 8th, 2008

Fugly five

The general consensus in the design community is that new U.S. five is ugly. The 2,500 at the United States Bureau of Engraving and Printing got together and decided to grace our good bill with a giant purple Helvetica in the corner. And then around the same time the Royal Mint shows off their sexy new coins designed by a first time, 26-year old graphic designer named Matthew Dent. For people uninitiated into the design processes this doesn’t make any sense, but for most of us in the thick of it, it’s pretty clear. Designing by ...

19 March 25th, 2008

One Mac or two?

You’re out with a group of geeks. Maybe it’s SXSW, maybe it’s at a bar after Refresh, maybe it’s a few people out enjoying a baseball game on a beautiful spring day. Okay, that’s going a bit too far, I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen geeks out enjoying a sporting event that isn’t bowling. But you’re out, and you’re talking about something blasé like domestic politics or the Israeli and Palestinian conflict, but inevitably the subject turns to Apple. You start discussing MacBook Pro specs, the new MacBook ...

March 17th, 2008

Problems, not features

Clients have proposals. They come in all sizes and shapes, from formal RFPs to an idea hastily sketched on a back of a napkin. But there is one thing they all have in common: Requirements. And each of those requirements almost always calls for a feature. Like a blog. Tagging. sIFR. Some AJAX. These days, even a site that sells toothpicks seems to need a rotating AJAX-powered image gallery.

Often times, we web pros spring into action when confronted with this dilemma. We draft estimates, outline how all these “necessary” features might fit within a client’s budget, and ...

06 March 5th, 2008

Polaroid breakfast

For all you polaroid geeks out there attending SXSW a few of us are going to be having a breakfast at Katzs Deli at 9:00 a.m. Saturday March 8th. It’s right on 6th street and has received 5 out of 5 golden eggs while been nominated for the best bargin breakfast in Austin by Mr. Breakfast. I’ve recently enacted a strict policy where I won’t eat anywhere that doesn’t receive 4+ golden eggs, so this place made the cut.

At this point it’s just a couple of us so we haven’t made ...

05 March 3rd, 2008

Yellow mix

Before everyone makes the pilgrimage down to Austin I thought I’d throw up another mix so those iPods and iPhones might have a little something new for the trek. Yellow was the next list in iTunes that ended up with enough songs to warrant a posting and it seems just about right with all of us heading down for some sun and fun. After listening to this mix I get images of bright summer days, dry grass and yellow track jackets. I’m not sure what that means, but any mix that somehow pulls off Nickel Creek, The Coup ...

00 March 2nd, 2008

Ties that bind

Antitrust laws exist mainly to “prohibit agreements or practices that restrict free trade and competition between business entities.”

So, among other things, they protect you from Company X trying to force you to buy a second product after you’ve already bought a first one. This is the main crux of what got Microsoft in trouble with Internet Explorer.

These laws, specifically the Sherman Act, are likely what’s keeping you and me from having to buy our milk from Standard Oil, which is great, but with software it can be tricky. Microsoft stepped over the line a bit for ...

07 February 21st, 2008

Orange mix

3 or 4 years ago I made a bunch of compilation cds for a girl. Sure, it was the modern “mixed tape” but I went all out. I made a complete set, based on color, red, orange, yellow, blue, green, grey and black. I even made covers and cases for them all. Enough, I was smitten. It’s been a while and I’ve managed to lose the lists through my various computer upgrades, but I’ve always wanted to make some new ones.

There’s something that appeals to me about grouping songs by color. Colors, like music are ...

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