Posts Tagged ‘LinkedIn’

Are my sites up?

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

Perhaps I have a little too much faith in the webhosts that I have used, but never have I feared that my site might be down. I came across a site that puts the question “Are my sites up?” out of mind, however, I didn’t really see a use for it until working with a friend’s site which has been having some issues.

This service with quite an obvious name, Are My Sites Up?, provides users with a quick answer to that very question.

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Slow Loading

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

I’ve been helping a friend of mine in the redesign of his web presence, well, less on the design end and more with development.  Today he came to me with a grave issue, his site was slower than molasses.  In the vast world of the Internet, nothing is worse than a slow loading website.

Both my site and his new site are powered by WordPress, so I instantly checked mine to see if it was an overall WordPress issue. When it wasn’t, I immediately blamed his hosting provider, but thought better of it once I checked a static page on his site.  I then recalled that we were using some javascript to make his portfolio section nicer, but that shouldn’t have slowed the admin section as well.  Just to be safe, I removed it.  Nothing happened, so I set it up just so it would be served up on the portfolio page, not all sections of the site.

So to resolve this issue, I set off to my trusty Google search.  The majority of talk on the web about slow WordPress mentioned version 2.6 and/or faulty plugins.  Since both our sites are above 2.6, I deactivated all plugins, but nothing happened.  Now, I was just puzzled.

Then I remembered that I had added some code to my site’s htaccess file to optimize loading using GZIP compression.  Following the instructions on BetterExplained, I brought the load time down from 19.74 seconds to 2.9 seconds. This little trick should work for speeding up your site’s load time in all modern browsers.

Other resources for checking and increasing site speed:

Pingdom.com’s speed test

Yahoo’s Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Web Site

Yahoo’s YSlow add-on for Firebug in Firefox

Vladimir Prelovac’s WordPress Optimization Bible

Important Consideration: When ever troubleshooting any issues with a site’s speed check out the host’s official status, for example DreamHost’s status page or HostGator’s Twitter. Make sure to keep your own service’s status handy, it can be invaluable!

Atlantic City Boardwalk Featured

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

My photo “Atlantic City Boardwalk” posted on Flickr is now featured on the photoblog Photos from the Edge of New Jersey.  Go check the site out if you enjoy ocean side images, especially those from the shores of New Jersey.

It is rather neat to see my work make its way around the web. Now this makes me curious as to where else my work may be shown.

Fool’s Paradise

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

April Fools Day has been around for quite along time, with a reference in the Canterbury Tales written around 1400.  However, it seems that the birth of the Internet rejuvenated the practice of distributing misleading information all in the name of humor.

I have only been up for a few hours, but I already have stumbled upon (but I don’t actually use StumbleUpon) several hoaxes, and some I wish were true -

  1. IE 8.1 to support Firefox add ons from Smashing Magazine
  2. Verizon’s New Look on Brand New
  3. 2012′s Olympic Typeface announced on CR Blog
  4. Gmail’s Autopilot
  5. Warner Bros to purchase site where pirated media is offered
  6. Guardian to switch to publish only via Twitter
  7. The Banning of Helvetica in Europe on Dirty Mouse
  8. Purpose of Conficker Worm Uncovered on The Web Standards Project
  9. New US Dollar Symbol on Typophile
  10. Upside-down YouTube

Clearly today is not a day for the gullible to be online. Check back, as I am sure the hoaxes will continue.

Update: TechCrunch is doing a way better job at collecting these.

How Film Can Hurt Design

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

Over the weekend, I went out and enjoyed the rare treat of a night at the cinema. “I Love You, Man” with Paul Rudd and Jason Segal provided a decent level of amusement with a bevy of awkward moments now common to American comedies.

Unfortunately, the film also contained on of my greatest pet peeves: misrepresentation of the graphic design profession. The entertainment media loves to perpetrate myths and falsehoods about a variety of professions, as I am sure any student of science will point out the host of fallacies within the latest disaster pic. However, I find that creative media professionals pop up in more than our fair share of television shows and films.

Often the creative career of the character just acts as background and affects the plot in a limited manner. “I Love You, Man” does not fall into this category, and as such the following does contain spoilers for those of you who have not seen the movie. This particular graphics related transgression impacts the design profession at the very crux of frequent problems, client provided files.

In one scene, Segal’s character photographed the groom-to-be Rudd using an iPhone. How is that for product placement? Now here is where things get tricky, the phone’s 2 megapixel images are then used to produce crisp and clean billboards. This may seem like a small issue, but frequently I receive similar quality images from clients who believe this acceptable for print use. Perhaps next time I object to using such small shots I’ll hear that they saw it can be done in a movie.

But as professionals how to we resolve this issue? Clearly the answer is open communication with clients to educate them about the needs involved with the production of their work. Sometimes, all I need to provide is a gentle reminder that 300 dpi is best, and that, no, it does not work if you simply change the resolution setting in your image editing software.

Any thoughts on other creatives in film that portray a false image of the profession?

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