Thoughts

Tap Tap Tap

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

If you were fortunate enough to receive one of the many gifts that were part of the financial boost to Apple over the holiday season, you might be interested in these 10 quick tips from Tap Tap Tap.

10 useful iPhone tips & tricks

I was lucky enough to find a touch under my Christmas tree, and since then it has become quite a valuable tool. This is actually my first iPod and, not surprisingly, I don’t really use it as a media player. For me, the touch is more like one of those so-called netbooks. I check my email, read the news, post to Twitter, and so on. And in those rare instances when I don’t have Internet access, I catch up on my classics by reading them on Stanza, or any of the various educational PDFs I have found across the Internet on Files Lite.

Essentially, those spare minutes in the day formerly spent waiting now add up to whole novels read, new coding languages learned, faster email response, happier clients, and in the end, a more in control me.

And of course it isn’t all work with no play, some of the more fun apps on my iPod touch:
Urbanspoon
Spore (Link is to the free version, this is the only app I have purchased so far, but Tetris and i Love Katamari are looking so tempting.)
Topple
JellyCar
Google Earth
iHandy Level (It is often quite enjoyable to help friends confirm the un-levelness of their living quarters.)

Overall, I have enjoyed the iPod touch in far more ways than I ever expected, and well, sometimes I forget that it plays music too.

Web Design from the State Perspective

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

An interesting assessment of web design over the past through years via the lens of US state web sites:

US State Tourism Web Site Design: Two Years On

My beloved home state of Maryland did have perhaps the most shameful before:

Maryaland's website before

Maryaland's website before

Maryland's Website After

Maryland's Website After

I recall seeing similar visual and functional upgrades across various sites back home, perhaps my favorite being: www.marylandstatefair.com. Before this update it was quite a mess, and very difficult to use. Now visitors to the site can submit entries to the fair online, which is quite useful for college students attending school out of state. But perhaps my favorite feature, that despite all the glittery imagery, you can still read the whole site with images disabled, a vital element since parts of Maryland still lack a high speed Internet provider.

Begining Web Designer Resources

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

I am often asked how I learned the skills needed for website design when my background is in print.  The very basics of HTML using Tables and Flash I learned at my alma mater, Marietta College.  Everything else I discovered and learned through the web, with a few books.

Helpful online sources of information on web design/coding:

Web Design from Scratch.com

Opera Web Standards Curriculum

Google’s SEO Starter Guide

Tizag.com – PHP

More advanced information:

A List Apart

Nettuts.com

456 Berea Street

Books I have found useful:

CSS Mastery

Rockstar WordPress Designer

In general, my best advice when learning to develop websites, just Google it, you will end up seeing some inspiring sites, finding some interesting mentors and finding a host of resources at your fingertips.

Free Fonts and Squirrels

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

I am always looking for a good resource of well made, commercial-use avaialble fonts.  And it seems that I have found just what I have been dreaming of:

fontsquirrel.com

Some of these I already had found in my adventures on the Internet, but now they are all in one place.  If you are looking for some to try out, but don’t want to shuffle through the 300+ collection, I suggest the following:

Anivers – A nice sans with some flair
MEgalopolis-Extra – A good chunky face with some special character alternates
Birra – Another thick retro face, with some quirky appeal

Sculpture at New Depths

Sunday, September 21st, 2008
An underwater sculpture by Jason de Caires Taylor

An underwater sculpture by Jason de Caires Taylor

Part apocalyptic view of future, part anthropological look at the past, Jason de Caires Taylor has developed a quite haunting gallery of work on the sea floor. It evolves over time not how the artist intends it, but rather via the caprice of nature.

underwatersculpture.com

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