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 The structure was originally made for shipbuilding so the ceilings with many skylights are a gillion feet high.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 ·
In the last week this game has saved my sanity. First as a late night distraction from stressing out over giving a presentation. Then as a distraction from being stuck in a plane for two hours before takeoff while the airport bumbled every step of de-icing and refueling while I was was seated a row in front of three strangers who had a particularly loud getting to know you conversation they never intended to last for hours but nobody seemed able to break. And last while I shivered through the cold I came home with. I could chart how bad my cold was based on my ability or inability to solve the puzzles. During day three I was apparently a zombie because when I was unable to solve level 2-2, a level I had done twice previously, I actually moaned “Uuuuhhhhnnng” out loud. While I was alone in the house.
Where’s My Water is a physics puzzler that involves coaxing a stream of water through pipes so that a frustrated alligator name Swampy can take a shower. The levels get more difficult, but never frustratingly so, and each section introduces a new aspect (steam! poison!). To make it more complicated each level has three rubber duckies that you can collect. Each section has a set of hidden items you can unearth, which in turn unlock a set of bonus levels containing more ducks. The game clearly displays the duck levels, it’s a completist’s dream come true. The game is Disney made and family friendly to the point that I almost skipped over trying it. I downloaded a few games that were reviewed as being similar but they barely held my interest or were quickly raised to not-worth-it levels of frustration. It has been a while since I found a game I like this much.
$.99 in the iTunes appstore or the Android Market, both offer free lite versions to test out. There are recently released additional levels for Cranky’s Story, at least for the appstore version, you can purchase in-app. (The update also finally takes down the Christmas theme my game had.)
· comments  · 01-27-2012 · categories:technology ·
SEO for Non-dicks – Matt Legend Gemmell.
How to Save Your iPhone 4S’ Crappy Battery. I swear my brand new iPhone 4S has worse battery power than my three year old iPhone 3G. Sorta wish I’d gone for the iPhone 4 instead.
Tiny Tiger app : All & Sundry. Recommendation for an app for kids that is made right here in Seattle!
swissmiss | unroll.me. From Swissmiss: “an email unsubscribe engine that crawls through your inbox and pulls up a list of your subscriptions allowing you to choose which one to keep and which ones to unsubscribe from.” But, it doesn’t work for Google App hosted email accounts.
Great camera buying guide, at Kottke.
The internet’s Go Daddy issues at Kottke.
· comments  · 01-9-2012 · categories:links · technology ·
It’s long past due for a listing of the podcasts that fill my dish washing/laundry folding/email answering middle spaces. Here is my current list:
- Bullseye with Jesse Thorn This was up until this week called The Sound of Young America and it’s expanded to a include more segments and I love it. And I hope my Sound of Young America membership card is not completely worthless. Also, hugs to Ask Metafilter for being a sponsor.
- APM’s The Dinner Party (nee The Dinner Party Download, which I cannot stop calling it) It’s snappy, it’s witty, it’s done by Marketplace alums, and it always includes a cocktail recipe linked to a history lesson. Awesome.
- Slate’s Culture Gabfest A group of culture journalists discuss what went on in the past week. I deeply appreciate the Endorsements segment that they end the show with. It reminds me of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour.
- NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour A group of culture journalists discuss what went on in the past week. I deeply appreciate the What’s Making Me Happy segment that they end the show with. It reminds me of
NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour, I mean, Slate’s Culture Gabfest.
- The Moth Podcast True stories told both by people who are performers and those that aren’t. Always compelling.
- TED Talks These are short and very informative and though it’s really difficult to make it sound not terribly dry if you haven’t already listened (and I know you have, dear reader), it’s not.
- WTF with Marc Maron Interviews with comedians who are willing to open up and talk about the business and life and it’s fascinating.
- The Tobolowsky Files That character actor that you know from that thing has quite the way with storytelling.
- This American Life True story, the first time I hear This American Life on my car’s radio I sat in a parking lot for a very long time listening until the end just so I could find out what I was listening to. That was in 1998. I was crushed when Ira Glass got married.
- Nerdist I am smooth-baby-skin-new to this and the first one I chose to listen to (David Tenant, obviously) completely charmed me with Chris’ utter delight to be where he was talking to who he was talking to.
What podcasts do you love?
· comments  · 01-4-2012 · categories:technology ·
· comments  · 11-17-2011 · categories:links · technology ·
swissmiss | Sugru Hacking Putty. Used to reinforce iPhone cables where they most often split. This is exactly what I thought of when I first learned about Sugru!
swissmiss | Codecademy. Coding for beginners.
Go ahead, make a circle. « Door Sixteen. A Photoshop Tutorial on how to put an image inside a circle.
SEO for Non-dicks – Matt Legend Gemmell. Via Matt.
What lens for low-light food photography? | Ask MetaFilter.
oh meaghan: a new outfit. Some great sources for a blog facelift.
This Is Not How You Should Handle E-Book Corrections | Slog. “Whispersync™ giveth, and Whispersync™ taketh away.” I bought Reamde on my Kindle for iPhone so I’ve been following this story, turns out the missing content is likely just small corrections.
· comments  · 10-3-2011 · categories:links · technology ·
swissmiss | Make Photoshop Faster.
Does this LED sound funny to you? – Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. All about the candle flicker LED.
Nordstrom Mobile POS at GirlHacker’s Random Log. Oh dear, this could lead to a dangerous amount of spontaneous purchasing.
TIGSource » Recent Good Knytt Stories #3. I’m so very glad levels are still being made, Knytt Stories remains one of my all time favorite games.
I buy macs, despite the premium, but my macbook pro just died and fcpx may signal the end of needing a mac to edit video. Should I not buy a mac? | Ask MetaFilter. Our house has been primarily PC but recently Scott bought a Macbook for the video editing that came with it. I’ll be interested to see if that changes. Right now we’re happy being a mixed house.
swissmiss | Don’t Fear The Internet. Basics for non-web designers.
‘Machinarium’ Heading To iPad Next Month | Touch Arcade. It’s from the makers of Samarost. Few things make me wish I had an iPad, this is one.
· comments  · 08-5-2011 · categories:links · technology ·
To celebrate their collaboration with Project Runway for season 9 HP invited me to take on a few of the episode challenges, at least in digital sketch form. I’m a huge fan of the show and have watched every single season so I was super happy to be part of this partnership. The lovely people at HP sent me a TouchSmart computer to use for the virtual creations. Project Runway very well might be my version of watching professional sports so this whole thing is sort of overwhelming.
Quick background: I entered college to study costume design where I learned that I really wasn’t that good at it. After college I stumbled into building websites and discovered that being able to pay rent is awfully nice. Somewhere in there I started this site and these days pretty much only use Photoshop to resize the pictures of stuff I’ve made out of meat. Scott, on the other hand, studied actual graphic design before being hired away to work on the web. He continues to design album covers and band posters for his various awesome music projects. He knows how to use Illustrator and send things to fancy print shops.
Which is why when Scott declared he would like to also play along with the Project Runway challenges that I began to feel a bit intimidated. He is so much better at this stuff than I am.
The set up: In the first episode of this season the Project Runway contestants were woken up early, told to grab a sheet off their bed and hustled out of their apartments still in their pajamas. They headed (actually, walked through the streets of New York!) to the workroom where they discovered that their first challenge was to create an outfit from the pajamas they were wearing and the sheet they were carrying. (Is this your new worst nightmare? Because it’s way up there among mine.) Happily for everybody involved they were given scrubs to change in to. They were also given the option of using fabric dyes. Also, scrubs look really comfy.
At this point I paused Tivo and Scott and I agreed we’d have to incorporate what we were wearing at that very moment in to our designs. We were wearing very boring stuff. I had on a white jersey tank top and loose fitting black jersey workout pants from Old Navy (meaning, really, pajama pants). Scott was wearing a black t-shirt and jeans. I wish I’d been wearing something lacy or at least patterned. (Did you see what the winner did using his boxer shorts?)
I also gave myself the rule that once I got started sketching something I wouldn’t be able to back down. It only seemed fair. This might have been folly on my part.
Here is my design:
Here is how I fantasize, in the style of the Project Project Runway girls, that this would have gone down: I took apart my white tank top at the seams and dyed half fuchsia and the other half a bright green. Both turned out more neon than I intended but I forged ahead. I turned them into a tight fitting top using the black jersey from my pants to create a collar, center stripe and hem. At this point Tim Gunn came around and showed a lot of concern when I admitted I hadn’t thought about what I was going to do for the bottom piece. I freaked out. Since everybody else appeared to be making smaller garments I decided to make a long flowy skirt and dyed bits of my sheet black, pink and green. Tragically the sheet color didn’t match jersey very well so I decided to keep the sheet fabric as far away from the top as possible. I constructed a skirt with vertical black stripes and blocks of color at the bottom.
In the middle of sewing long seams I was called in to give a workroom interview where I shakily admitted to the cameras that I was worried about my idea but it was too late to start over. I was only half finished sewing the skirt just as the end of the night was called. On the way out I contemplated scrapping the skirt altogether and making a mini out of my remaining fabric instead. (Seriously, in real life I went to bed that night giving some real thought to just drawing a different skirt and wondering how much fabric I might have left over if this were, you know, reality.)
It would have looked something like this:
But the next morning I decided I just didn’t have time and that the mini skirt would be, how to say this? Too Pretty Woman? I had to go with what I had. I spent some precious last minutes uselessly fretting towards the cameras and nearly forgot about accessories. I dramatically grabbed a pair of strappy heels for my model as she was leaving the room.
Here is Scott’s design:
Scott created a fitted shell from part of the sheet he had dyed gray and appliqued strips of the black t-shirt to create asymmetrical stripes. He dyed the rest of the sheet a melon color, it turned out a bit more muted than he intended but decided to work with it. Lastly he deconstructed his jeans to turn into a cropped jacket with short sleeves. Scott remained fairly calm in the work room and when Tim Gunn came around he had everything ready to show, the jacket wasn’t finished but it was pinned to the form so Tim could see the outfit emerging. Scott worked quietly and the cameramen were unable to even get a shot of him that could later be edited into something that could be interpreted as “looking disdainfully at other people’s work”. During his workroom interview the producers weren’t able to get him to criticize anybody else so none of the footage was used. He worked carefully and had enough time to fit the pants well and finish the seams in the denim nicely. He decided to only accessorize with shoes.
Judging was swift. (We’re still in fantasy mode here, just in case you started reading somewhere in the middle.) I was in the bottom three, Scott was in the top three. My vision and taste level were questioned, I tried to explain that I had run out of time but was reminded that being decisive is part of the competition.
Heidi didn’t absolutely hate the top, Nina had that expression she gets, Michael Kors generously pointed out that I had at least attempted something sweeping, Nina Ricci said something vaguely complementary but ultimately unswaying. I barely managed to stay on until next week and groveled to the judges. I later showed an insincere amount of concern for the loser before Tim Gunn had to come and tell them it was time to leave. Whew. Scott didn’t win but showed pleasant surprise that his first outfit for Project Runway was so well received and heartily congratulated the winner.
Scott also sent me this, his first idea that he feared might be taking the challenge a bit too literally:
[Read more →]
· comments  · 08-3-2011 · categories:technology ·
· comments  · 07-11-2011 · categories:links · technology ·
When Scott and I moved from Ohio to California we had the types of mobile phones that only make calls, remember those? While exploring our new state we would go to places that were amazing (the Golden Gate Bridge, Yosemite, the beach right there on the real actual ocean) and call our parents and say “guess where we are!” It seems like we blinked and here we are with phones that take photos and send email and so many ways of sharing our experiences with photos and video online.
I was thinking about this the other day when Posterous got in touch to talk about about their Posterous Groups and privacy. They want to let us know that Posterous is an easy way you can share thoughts, photos, video and documents just with the people on your list. So Scott and I decided to take a mini summer vacation to try it out.
We went for a one-day road trip. These are all photos we sent to our family Posterous Group (meaning each time we sent a photo it landed in the email of our family members almost right away) and which would be completely private except for the fact that, well, I’m showing them to you here. Below is what we learned on our trip:
East of Seattle are a few places that make for a nice day trip without it being too long of a car ride, which is especially nice if you have kids in the car or, like me, get car sick pretty easily. First on our list was Snoqualmie Falls. We drove up to the just-redone park where you can get some great views of the falls. On the day we visited the water was rushing harder than we’d ever seen it before and the wind was picking up the mist and covering those of us on the viewing platforms.
Since the photos only go to your Posterous Group you don’t have to worry about sending a slightly unflattering or just plain boring photo to a list or site where more people than you’d really like can see them. You mom loves you and wants to see your pretty face no matter what. (I was so cold and my hair was getting very wet in photo above. Hi Mom!)
Posterous is free (yay) and super simple to set up. It does two things, it works as a simple blogging platform to allow you to share whatever you’d like with the world, and it also allows you to set up Groups to share words, images, video and attachments with only those you’d like to while keeping it nice and private from everybody else. People in your Posterous Group can also send items to share so exchanging information or keeping in touch is as easy as possible. Examples! You need to see some examples, go here on Posterous to peek at some sites. And look! The Maker Faire Daily is a Posterous site, awesome.
The Salish Lodge is perched on the land just next to the falls (you can see it in the first photo of the falls above). There has been an inn in that spot since 1919 (the current one was was rebuilt in the 80s). Salish Lodge has an amazing brunch menu and in particular the Country Breakfast is famous for being enormous and must be attempted at least once. Brunch and then a nice stroll along the park trails to view the falls is a good start (you might need to walk back and forth through the park more than once to recover from the meal). I hear the rooms in the lodge are nice. We’ve never stayed at the lodge but we have lingered in the lobby while pretending that we’re staying there.
When you send a photo out using Posterous the email arrives in the inboxes of your group with the sendee being your own email address, so there is no confusion over who the message is coming from. Score one for making it easy on your family.
The town of Snoqualmie is a very short drive just down the road and they display old trains all along the main street, which grew up along the train tracks there. A lot of them are available for you to climb on and in, I felt like we were getting away with something. We also saw a large wedding party out to get a group photograph (the bridesmaids were wearing navy dresses with bright yellow accents, it worked surprisingly well). We also saw a couple on bicycles who were both wearing large paper crowns and totally owning the look, I liked them immediately.
The photos you send to your Posterous Group are also collected in your Posterous account, all neat and tidy and together. You don’t have to worry about sorting them or uploading them somewhere else later. I really fell for this feature, the album of the trip is ready for you right away with no extra work. Nice.
Snoqualmie also has train rides out of the Train Museum! We watched as one passed by, we were a bit jealous of those on board. Scott’s nephew and his dad would love this, so we have a reason to return.
Posterous sizes, orients, hosts and generally makes good the photos and video you send. Get your family members set up to all post to the group and this feature might also eliminate you getting emailed giant photos of your niece at her dance recital that take forever to download and are sideways when you open them. (Can you tell this happens to us? This happens to us.)
The next town over from Snoqualmie is North Bend. It’s a sweet little town surrounded by looming mountains. One is Mount Si, a popular hiking spot which we have yet to take on, I hear the view at the top is amazing. I’ll take their word on it. North Bend is also home to Twede’s Cafe, made famous by Twin Peaks. We didn’t stop and have pie, we should have had pie!
On the way back to Seattle we stopped at the historic XXX Root Beer Drive-In in Issaquah. The walls are covered with old rock-and-roll posters and souvenirs and classic car stuff, it’s really something to behold.
While we were out we sent photos with descriptions and notes using the email on my phone and the Posterous app (requires iOS 4) on Scott’s iPhone (there is an Android app as well). My iPhone is older and takes the grainy photos you’re seeing, Scott’s iPhone is shiny-new and takes nice photos. I also played with his Hipstamatic photo app that day, I like it.
Since we were on vacation we took the opportunity to order the XXX signature burger, an enormous creation that is about 10 inches across. That mug of root beer? Also enormous. We split both but didn’t finish either. Ok, maybe one of us finished their half of the burger.
It seems like every time we stop at XXX Root Beer there is a classic car show in the parking lot next door. Shiny and red!
Because the things you send to your Posterous Group only get sent out to your list (in our case family) you can show off your vacation photos immediately without letting the whole internet know something like: “Look! We’re at the Grand Canyon! And we’re obviously nowhere near home right now so go ahead and steal that giant television I posted a photo of last week!”
You can tell the people who make Posterous like you. They make it easy to share information with everybody, or just the ones that you’d like, using whichever way is most convenient for you. You can post using an app, by sending the information you’d like in an email (either from your computer or from your phone) or by using the Posterous website itself. Basically anywhere you might be. Handy. And Posterous knows just what to do with the words/photos/video you send when it gets there. I’m really impressed with the care that they put into everything.
Just so you know: This is a sponsored post from a company that I like.
· comments  · 06-27-2011 · categories:technology · travel ·
· comments  · 06-16-2011 · categories:links · technology ·