Last year I took part in a Bing Focus Group with a bunch of bloggers, which was a really interesting experience. We were invited to visit with Bing in one of the Microsoft buildings (as far as I remember they have fancy coffee machines and great views) and asked us about how we used search engines as bloggers as well as in our everyday lives, all with an eye towards how they could make Bing better. A large part of the conversation that day was how much Pinterest is a tool we as bloggers use and have come to rely on. As part of this concern Bing has added a Pin to Pinterest option right inside the Bing image search and they’ve also added a few handy search filtering options.
Great thing #1: There is no bookmarklet to install. Bing has the Pin It button right there on the image search result page. Easy as can be.
Great thing #2: For image searches Bing includes a set of filtering tabs at the top. I can look up Dalek dresses (I’m headed to a comicon next week so what to wear has been on my mind) and with one click I can sort out dresses that are red, then brown, then white. (Look at this one! Also, shout out to Seattle’s Emerald City Comicon where that photo was taken.) You can also narrow your image search by image size, vertical or horizontal layout and how people appear in the photo. Very handy.
Tip: If you are looking for something on a specific website you simply add “site:sitename.com” in your search options. So, say you were looking for Easter eggs on this here website you’d put “Easter eggs site:notmartha.org” (like so) in as your search. From there you can narrow down by color, size, etc. I find this particularly useful for when I’m shopping. Does Nordstrom have any yellow cardigans I’d like? Why, yes they do.
Great thing #3: Bing automatically links the image you’ve pinned back to the original, high quality image source. Proper attribution is a good thing and this makes it easy. When you’re in the early stages of research you can quickly Pin a bunch of images right through Bing and know that the link to the page you will want to find later on is there.
The Bing image search Pin to Pinterst option allows me to quickly gather images for inspiration and reliably keep the sources straight. Meaning I can be efficient and a little bit lazy at the same time. So darn useful.
This post was sponsored by Bing, all thoughts are my own.
· comments  · 04-22-2013 · categories:technology ·
· comments  · 04-2-2013 · categories:links · technology ·
How can I most efficiently “spring clean” my laptop? | Ask MetaFilter.
Designing For The Modern Web. Via Swiss Miss.
Cool Tools – Linx. “This inexpensive construction kit uses simple plastic hubs to connect grocery store drinking straws. You can assemble quite large — and featherweight — structures in crystalline and geodesic designs.” This will make a great present and activity for our niece and nephews next time we visit.
3D printed cookie rollers | Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. I’ve seen plenty of 3D printed cookie cutters but I’m falling in love with the rollers here. Love the comparison between creating ancient things with modern tools.
· comments  · 02-20-2013 · categories:links · technology ·
I have a post up at Babble Voices about my recommendations for Seven iPhone Games to Keep You Occupied During a Long Flight. I picked both old and new games soley based on which ones I make sure are on my phone before I leave, these are my faves. Go take a look.
There were a few other games that I wanted to note but didn’t quite make cut for being airplane-ready, here they are:
This is the latest popular time waster. I didn’t include it because I have a love hate relationship with it, the levels become frustratingly pretty quickly and I do a lot of low-key rage quitting. But it always lures me back.
- Babylonian Twins
This is a platformer where you play twins who each have different skills. You can switch between them them to help each of the reach the end of a level. The game has an interesting history, it was originally created for the Amiga but never released but word of it spread from those few who played a demo and it became something of a legend. The game for iPhone has new graphics. I’m normally not a fan of platformers but I find each level combines plenty of exploration and puzzle solving. (Free lite version to try out.)
- Rolando & Rolando 2
Adorable graphics and great sound. I didn’t include these games in my list because the controls use the accelerometer and needing to turn and twitch your iPhone isn’t so convenient when squeezed into an airplane. I’m not sure if these have been updated for the Retina display.
- Cross Fingers
A game where you move wooden blocks inside a level. The sounds are nice and crisp and the visuals are pleasing. The game seems simple but can become challenging. I didn’t include this one because some levels require you to use your fingers in a way that will make it look like you’re playing a mini-Twister so it’s not perfect for airplanes. (Free lite version available to try out.)
- Flow Free
I compared one of the games on my recommendation list to Flow, which is better known. I had played Flow before and it didn’t hold my interest for long but revisited it when I was writing this as well as because I heard it recommended on an episode of Slate’s Culture Gabfest. And of course I am now obsessively working my way through it. I find it sort of works on my brain in the same way that knitting does. (Free levels, can buy more.)
- Pocket Frogs
This is a free game where you raise and breed frogs. It’s like a low-key tamagotchi. I play with this in spurts but love coming back to visit my frogs. There are a few ongoing frog goals that give in-game rewards to keep you working after you’ve bred yourself a library of frogs. I didn’t include this because some of the higher level frogs can take days to grow so it won’t help you out on a long flight. (Free, freemium.)
· comments  · 01-28-2013 · categories:technology ·
· comments  · 01-21-2013 · categories:links · technology ·
swissmiss | Minimal WordPress Themes. Great list.
#1reasonwhy | Slog. This went down while I was visiting family and I mostly missed it other than seeing the hastag in Twitter. Here is what was going on.
A Whole Lotta Nothing: Listening to podcasts piecemeal: huffduffer & Instacast.
How to See If Your Photos Are Being Used On Another Site | Kevin & Amanda. Via Shutterbean.
The 12 Best Family-Friendly PC Video Games | Babble.
Cool Tools – Sonos. “Audio over the internet isn’t new, but it really is barely tolerable if it’s not coming out of good speakers with power behind them.” I listen to a lot of podcasts and streaming radio and my Jambox is great so far but I’m looking at more options.
The Video Games Women Make | MetaFilter. Great information here.
Trend alert: small internet publications. Links to great things that are going on.
24 ways: Colour Accessibility. Designing for the color blind.
· comments  · 12-19-2012 · categories:links · technology ·
venomous porridge – App.net isn’t just a country club. From a diagram: “I put these things in a triangle so you’d pay attention.”
Turn Ho-Hum Color into WOW! with Photoshop. How to use LAB, and how to save it as an Action. One of the most useful Photoshop tutorials I’ve seen in years.
Cool Tools – Presentation Zen. From Kevin Kelly: “Among the many guides offering design advice, this one is the best. Watch some of the most popular TED talks online (including mine) and you’ll see this advice in action.”
5 Blog Photography Tips | Say Yes to Hoboken. Good tips for those just starting out.
Super Matrix Wall by Hyundai, so very very Portal 2. I love the reactions from the kids watching, via Waxy.
· comments  · 09-11-2012 · categories:links · technology ·
Earlier today all the bloggers and designers that teamed up for the HP Designer Matchup Challenge got to reveal the results of what our readers (that’s you!) helped guide us. graypants studio created this amazing neon light made by using neon gas inside of bottles. It combines reuse and looking at a familiar thing in a new way. I didn’t get the change to photograph the lamp in the dark due to some floor to ceiling windows with an incredible view, more on that later. The neon glides down the sides of the bottle and pools at the bottom, it is something to behold:
I’ll be back to talk more about the trip and unexpectedly finding myself about three feet away from Tim Gunn with lots of cameras pointed our direction.
· comments  · 09-7-2012 · categories:events · technology ·
I’m so excited, next week I’ll be in New York for Fashion Week and graypants and I will get to show you the result of what you’ve helped shape by voting in the first two posts (thanks!). Here are a few peeks:
Quick note, I’m typing this on the Ultrabook that HP sent me. Why a laptop? I still use the TouchSmart that they sent me as part of last year’s challenge as my everyday desktop machine so I asked really nicely and they sent me this laptop instead. Thanks HP! I mean, the TouchSmart is a great computer but my house is small and I didn’t have room for two of them. I wish I did though, a giant touch screen would come in extremely handy in the kitchen. That is, if you could protect the screen from olive oil smears. You could do that, right?
These pictures were all taken by Jon over at graypants. Thanks Jon!
And next week, the big reveal.
· comments  · 08-31-2012 · categories:events · technology ·
· comments  · 08-23-2012 · categories:links · technology ·
Huge thanks to all the people who voted in our first round of deciding factors in the HP Designer Matchup Challenge. The winner, by such a narrow margin, was the Amber Ale. (I highly approve of drinking good beer.)
The fine people at graypants, my partners in
crime design for this challenge, took the result and created these sketches that may hint at what we have in mind, depending of course on the outcome of the second round of voting (below).
These were created on the HP TouchSmart PC and Photoshop CS6 that was provided. The TouchSmart is shown below among the stacks of carboard in the graypants studio, which is amazing. I didn’t really capture how big it is. The structure was originally made for shipbuilding so the ceilings with many skylights are a gillion feet high.
The blue machine in the background is one of their laser cutters and I got to watch it in action. That was pretty darn cool.
Also the chair you see below (and on the screen which is showing the graypants website because I’m sneaky like that) is made by graypants and it’s really comfortable (as in, I wondered if I could talk them into selling me two of them before I left that day). It’s one of their slice cafe + dining chairs and they can made three of them out of one sheet of plywood. It also has a low-VOC finish (I am a fan of low-VOC). Cheers for the intersection of design and sustainability.
I have more photographs of the graypants studio (including my attempts to capture just how big the really big globe lamp that hangs over their workspace is) right over here.
And now it’s time for another round of voting to get us on our way to a final product. Posting will be open until Friday at 5pm my time (Seattle):
Thanks everybody, we’ll be back with a little sneak peek of the final product before HP sends us off to New York to unveil it at Fashion Week.
While we’re waiting go vote for the week two options for the other teams that are taking part in the challenge: AphroChic, Fashionable Florals, Design Milk, down to five looks, Curbly, Outdoor/Garden from Reclaimed/Repurposed/Upcycled materials and Design Crush, necklace designs. I cannot wait to see all the final designs!
· comments  · 08-22-2012 · categories:events · technology ·
· comments  · 07-10-2012 · categories:links · technology ·
· comments  · 06-12-2012 · categories:links · technology ·
· comments  · 05-18-2012 · categories:links · technology ·
· comments  · 02-2-2012 · categories:links · technology ·