February 2008 Archives

Buckethead

By Michael Mulvey on February 29, 2008 5:19 PM

Buckethead and Claypool tear it up so much in this clip that I didn't notice all the nasty hippies:

Burn Your Bras

By Michael Mulvey on February 27, 2008 4:17 PM


Ferrari Enzo, originally uploaded by finlayedridge.

iphone_shiny.jpg

There's a reason you'll be hard-pressed to find a Ferrari with a nose cover or bra, as they're commonly called.

As useful as a bra is to protect a car's front end from oncoming debris, it also does something inversely damaging - It masks the beautiful craft and design of the car.

The same goes for all this crap people use to protect their iPhones.

Take it off people! Unless you're going rock climbing, your iPhone doesn't need all that protection. It's not the delicate flower you think it is. It can handle everyday use. I know mine can.

Putting a bra on an iPhone is the equivalent of when I was a kid and my mom made me put on a friggin' winter coat on top of my awesome Chewbacca costume.

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il magnifico

By Michael Mulvey on February 25, 2008 9:38 AM

A few weekends ago, I was wandering around my old neighborhood in the East Village, shooting photos. When I got to Thompkins Square Park, I was curious to see if there was still a free wifi hotspot in it.

I'm not sure I found the park's hotspot, but I did find a bunch of others.

I love the personalization people give their networks these days. It's like another family member.

iphone_networks.jpg

Keep it Like A Secret

By Michael Mulvey on February 22, 2008 9:36 AM

Jory has a funny post over at Analogue about how Microsoft is going to share some of its secrets.

So, what secrets ...exactly ...is Microsoft going to share with us?

Maybe the secret of how to release an operating system patch for Vista that actually causes more problems than fixes old ones?

Also on that note, I need to know the secret of getting vendors to offer downgrade programs from Vista to XP.

Or maybe Gates can explain to us the art of a botched hostile takeover of Yahoo. At this point, I think he should be more focused on stepping down this July than helping Ballmer botch Microsoft anymore.

I'd also like to hear all the secrets of the wonderful Zune.

Microsoft loves to announce things that aren't done yet. They did this last year when they announced their enormous Surface table. I got an idea! In an age of increasingly portable electronics and mobile applications, let's launch a big touchscreen table. Yeah! Now they're announcing that they're going to share secrets. Just do it.

Notice how this behavior contrasts with that of Apple. Apple has no problem letting us know that they have a lot of secrets and they have no intention of sharing them until they take the shape of a finished product. Hell, they kept teams separated within the iPhone project to ensure secrecy.

Microsoft, please keep it like a secret. I don't want to know.

*entry title taken from one of my favorite albums by Built to Spill.

Links for Today 02.21.2008

By Michael Mulvey on February 21, 2008 8:49 AM

Tip: Prevent iPhoto from opening when you plug in your iPhone - Wow. Thank you 37Signals, this has been driving me crazy as well. I haven't tried this yet, but I hope it works.

Unlike my Canon Rebel, I actually like to keep my photos on my iPhone to share and show people (I also liked keeping photos on my Treo before it too).

Blogs can kill brands - I'm not sure blogs can kill brands, but the the good ones most certainly have a lot of influence. I understand why Eric Karjaluoto gave it that title, it's much more effective than Blogs Have A Lot of Influence Over Brands.

WTF, InDesign?

By Michael Mulvey on February 20, 2008 2:05 PM

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Hey InDesign! I need you to take your CMYK ass and go over and talk to your RGB step-cousin Flash, and get some of his tools.

Specifically, the ones that space evenly vertically and horizontally.

R.I.P. Palm Treo, 2005-2008

By Michael Mulvey on February 20, 2008 9:18 AM

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Last month marked the retirement of my Palm Treo 650.

This phone, combined with my Treo 600 before it, lasted me for over 3 years - and it did it's job very well. Its top selling point for me was the Hot Sync ability. The fact that if I ever lost or broke my phone, I could just sync my new phone with my computer and all my contacts would be back. In fact, the information on my Treo(s) was actually legacy information from my Samsung SPH-300 (Palm OS) and my Palm Vx before it. So you can see, syncing is very important for me. The idea of having to re-enter info into a phone annoys me to no end.

In January of 2007, I was almost ready to renew my contract with Cingular and get a new Treo 680 - but then Apple dropped the iPhone and that changed the whole game.

Suddenly the Treo looked dated. Ok, fine, most mobile phones still look dated, but before the iPhone, the Treo had no foil, nothing innovative and modern to contrast its dated operating system. Looking at the Palm Treo now next to the iPhone is like looking at the original 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System next to a Playstation 3.

...and like the NES, I still love my Treo, but it's day has passed. I might occasionally pick it up to look nostalgically at the antiquated OS.

...or to play Dope Wars.

Links for Today 02.19.2008

By Michael Mulvey on February 19, 2008 9:21 AM

Toshiba drops HD DVD, has no Blu-ray plans - It's about time. This is one time where the better technology has won a format war.

Links for Today 02.15.2008

By Michael Mulvey on February 15, 2008 4:39 PM

I started out the day thinking I didn't have anything I wanted to post. Now its just the opposite.

Keepin' it Tween
Flash is Not a Stepping Stone! (thanks Len) - I'm one of these people who has started to feel like I wasn't keeping up enough with the technical side of flash (even though I'm not a developer). Hearing this from one of the top guys in Flash (and who was hired by Adobe last year) is reassuring.

I think the bottom line is, does your Flash site work? Is it bug free? Does it run quickly?

Happily Never After?
Flash on iPhone Political Calculus - Gruber brings up some great points on why we might not see Flash on the IPhone. I have some friends who disagree.

There's a lot of grey lines in technology these days. Not every company is strictly software or strictly hardware. Apple is a great example. Technically they are a hardware company - since that is where their money comes from, but if you take away their amazing software - you've just got a pretty shell.

Quicktime is an integral part of Apple, especially with online video becoming increasingly popular and as Gruber notes, I don't see Apple ceding control of video to Flash.

For me, it comes down to the fact that if Flash never got implemented on my iPhone - I don't think it would phase me in the least. I'm saying this as someone who has made a career from Flash. I've been asking myself what would Flash look like on the iPhone? What would sites look like?

With Apple releasing the SDK for iPhone development later this month, there won't be any need for Flex applications as developers will have access to core aspects of the operating system (pardon my lack of a correct technical lexicon).

Projects

By Michael Mulvey on February 15, 2008 2:26 PM

I'm not sure who Alex English is, but I'm really digging the hockey-masked busts.

hockey_masks.jpg

A Lot

By Michael Mulvey on February 15, 2008 10:14 AM

I can't think of much to say right now.

I can say there's a lot of great things happening where I work, go check out the Schematic blog - InsideTheBox.

Be Careful What You Say

By Michael Mulvey on February 14, 2008 4:26 PM

Apple haters love to screw themselves with outrageous predictions and claims.

This clip makes me smile, I believe it was shot in '07, right around the time Apple either announced the iPhone or launched it, I'm not quite sure:

Most expensive phone ever in the marketplace? Ha! I know people who paid more for their Razr's when they first came out. Hell, I paid over $300 for my Nokia 8290 back in the day when it was a "hot" phone.

Bush League Flowers

By Michael Mulvey on February 14, 2008 1:09 PM

I don't like talking shit about companies, but when they mess up too many times, I have to say something.

For the second year in a row, ProFlowers has dropped the ball and has not delivered my order on time. In this case, when I got the email telling me my order had shipped, I noticed that it had been delivered to FT Worth, TX instead of Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Not good ProFlowers. You just lost a customer.

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The Sacred Space of the Logo

By Michael Mulvey on February 14, 2008 9:47 AM

Mashable.com has an article on the various websites that have changed their logos to a Valentine's day theme.

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At first, I was inclined to credit (or blame) Google for establishing the precedent of changing your company logo for different occasions and events.

...but I thought about it again I realized this wasn't true. Does anyone remember Paul Rand's playful freestyle-mixup of the IBM logo?

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Not every designer is Paul Rand, so if you decide to start experimenting with your logo, be careful. You can up with something beautifully unexpected or you can end up with a train wreck.

God Save Me One of These Shirts

By Michael Mulvey on February 12, 2008 8:57 AM

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T-Shirt - God Save Stan Lee (via Tcritic)

Smoke & Panels

By Michael Mulvey on February 11, 2008 9:34 AM

There's a post over at Engadget about Sony Ericsson's new XPERIA X1 mobile phone. It features a 'panel interface'. There's a commercial showing the phone in action - if you can call it that.

All we're able to see is these 'panels' - which bring to mind the window effect of Exposé on OS X - except, I have no idea why this is effective or how it improves productivity on the XPERIA X1.

Here's the commercial:

Now this phone could very well be a winner and have an easy to use interface, but we have no idea from the video. Update: I skimmed through the comments of the Engadget post and found a link to another equally useless video from a mobile show in Barcelona. The guy showing the phone won't even interact with it, he hits one button on it and spends the rest of the the time pointing at the phone. Bullshit.

If you're going to make a video highlighting how innovative your product is, why don't you show it actually doing something innovative instead of just using smoke and mirrors?

Like how you say? Like this:

Vary Good

By Michael Mulvey on February 8, 2008 2:40 PM

VaryWell

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Free Tip of the Day

By Michael Mulvey on February 8, 2008 8:45 AM

My drink, the café au lait.

I think of it as a poor man's latte.

If you go to a good coffee shop (Not Starbucks), they'll have strong coffee, and once they drop in that steamed milk, you're really not that far away from a latte anyway.

...and you're saving yourself at least a dollar.

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Actionscript & Concepts

By Michael Mulvey on February 7, 2008 1:54 PM

Great site and work by Code and Theory. A pretty versatile group - they do Flash, backend, video game interfaces, kiosks. Excellent. (via a Brightcove newsletter)

screenshot: Code and Theory

Places

By Michael Mulvey on February 7, 2008 1:39 PM

Bryan has posted some fresh photos, go check em out.

*note: each thumbnail on the homepage represents an entire collection of images.

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Some People Prefer Analog

By Michael Mulvey on February 7, 2008 9:00 AM

I have a client that has never seen the website I designed for her.

I launched the site 6 years ago.

Correction - She saw it once when I burned her a CD-ROM of it so she could view it on her laptop.

She doesn't have Internet at her business or home but understands (now more than ever) the value of an informative web prescence. Over the years she has invested money in CitySearch and has become fanatical about her keywords and description. Street traffic in her neighborhood in Manhattan has dropped significantly over the years, being replaced by digital street traffic on Google.

This past weekend I shot some new images for her website.

Along with the image updates, she also wanted to review all the pages so she can edit the copy.

She asked that I send her printouts via postal mail.

Wow.

It's so archane, but I actually got a little excited folding up the printouts, sealing them in their envelope and dropping them in the mail.

It was a combination of feeling like I was getting punk'd and being involved in some weird art experiment.

SilverLoad

By Michael Mulvey on February 6, 2008 8:56 AM

I installed the Silverlight plug-in on my computer at work. I knew that Microsoft had created an inferior, derivative product to Adobe Flash, but I went with the thinking of the Godfather - keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Well, I've seen it and interacted with it, and the company I work for is doing their best to make lemonade of the lemon that is Silverlight.

Silverlight isn't worthy of being an enemy.

Or competitor.

It's third-rate. Bush league. Meh.

I've been using Flash for 9 years, and over those 9 years Macromedia ...and then Adobe, have continued to make more and more improvements to it. You're telling me that I should consider a new program that is in many respects equivalent to Flash 3?

Some developers out there will correct me and point out all the integration points that can be made with Silverlight. My reply to this imaginary combative developer is that presentation is essential. You have to look good.

If you look good and sound good - you're in a good position.

If you work well too? You're set.

Microsoft sees looking good and working well as two separate entities, when they should realize this equation:

working well + looking good = great design

Distillation

By Michael Mulvey on February 5, 2008 9:39 AM

So the second project I've assigned to my interactive design class at Rutgers Newark is to design a widget (like the ones on your iPhone and Dashboard).

The strategy behind the widget is to create something that would help them with their day-to-day college schedules. It's a widget and not a website, so they have to focus on one or two (maximum) functions. Widgets are all about distallation, both visually and informationally.

The widget could delivery information specific to the student, or it could be something all the students of Rutgers could use.

The students should not limit themselves to what they think is possible. They should start out like this:

Wouldn't it be great if there was a widget that let me see.... [insert functionality]

It's going to be a really fun project. I wish I had time to build a widget too. :)

That's What You Do

By Michael Mulvey on February 4, 2008 1:28 PM

I ran across (literally) this Mini ad campaign in the Union Square subway station on my way to work.

I didn't get it at first until I realized that this is what everyone does in that station stop.

Brilliant.

*This also brings to mind Ironic Sans' old Star Wars game analogy (I loved that game as a kid!).

subway photo 01.jpg

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Rounded

By Michael Mulvey on February 1, 2008 4:56 PM

One of the design directors I work with was looking for Gravur by the type boutique lineto.

We ended up getting into a discussion about some great rounded, san serif typefaces that work great on monitors.

Here are a few:
Gravur
Gravur

FS Albert
FS Albert

Vag Rounded

Vag Rounded

GE Inspira
GE Inspira

Soft!

By Michael Mulvey on February 1, 2008 4:29 PM

Yes. This is what you get when a Microsoft eats a Yahoo!

Soft!

So Microsoft is offering $44.6 billion for Yahoo! Great, good for them.

This whole deal is soft.

I mean, this whole deal is Soft!

If Microsoft has proven anything with its many acquisitions, it's that money can't buy you market dominance (licensing your product can, which is why they are where they are today).

Daring Fireball has a great little breakdown of things.

RAW RAW

By Michael Mulvey on February 1, 2008 2:59 PM

I don't many people who dig her, but M.I.A. rocks. She's weird, innovative and extremely talented, drawing on tons of musical references and genres.

Know the Ledge

By Michael Mulvey on February 1, 2008 9:45 AM

Educators have a lot of power.

I *somewhat* understood this when I started teaching at Rutgers University in the fall semester of 2007, but I didn't have that Eureka! moment until I started this spring semester for 2008.

The class I'm tag-team teaching along with Professor Brenda McManus is Interactive Design. The first project is get into teams of 2 and audit a website (from a pre-selected list we created). They have to break down the site through the scope, strategy, skeleton, and surface (based on James Jesse Garrett's Elements of Human Experience) and then make a presentation to the class on their research.

I told the students they have many options on how they can present - Powerpoint, JPGs, PDFs - whatever form they feel most comfortable with and which is most appropriate.

While keeping things open to the class I strongly recommended they all open GMail accounts. I explained that using their Google accounts allowed them to not only collaborate with each other remotely (remember how crazy college schedules can be), but it also had Google Presentation - an alternative to Microsoft Powerpoint. I told them that this was how Brenda and I collaborated when we were developing class assignments.

It was at this moment that not only realized the power of a good educator - but also how collaborative paradigms are completely changing AND how I could effectively sway students away from Microsoft products and services. I feel the need to move the students away from Microsoft products, not because I don't like Microsoft - but because Microsoft does not make well-designed software and products. Google Docs is a better alternative.

Prior to that moment I took things like Google Docs and Basecamp and all the other web-based applications for granted.

Prior to that moment I was talking the talk, but not walking much walk.

I guess I didn't know the ledge.

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