Tag Archives | Technology

Thesis Tutorial: Deleting Preferences and Resurrecting Them Again

thesis-binary

I have been working within WordPress for a few years and with Thesis since the start of 2009.

Recently I upgraded my version of Thesis to the latest ‘stable’ release, verison 1.5. I had been running version 1.4.2 just fine and had been playing around with some of the beta versions too. However, somewhere along the way things got a bit “mucked up.” My teasers were not showing on my website. Continue Reading →

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Being around lots of brainpower.AKA “The Force”

braininskull

This past weekend I had the fortunate experience of travelling to the San Francisco Bay Area. I was helping my wife drive her Equestrian team to a horse show at Stanford University. We left Ojai on a Friday afternoon and returned late Sunday night. So overall we had 12 hours of driving in 3 days time.

We brought our kids with us and since my wife was busy coaching her team, I was the ‘decider.’ I got to decide what the 3 boys and I did on our weekend. I smartly consulted with friends who we were able to spend some time with during our visit. We asked them if they knew of any kid activites in the area since we don’t really know the lay-of-the-land. From what offerings were available I decided to take the kids to the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose and to The Tech and what a Saturday it was-busy, busy, busy.

The one thing I noticed while in the bay area was being around brainpower. It’s no secret that there is an abundance of brainpower in that part of the country. It is arguably the tech “mecca” of the world. It could be the largest concentration of technology companies on the planet. I haven’t done the research and would be curious if anyone knows the hard fact and could point me to it. The fact that I am tucked away in the end of a wonderfully beautiful valley far from the trappings of the concrete jungle does contribute to my isolation from like minded people. It was interesting being around so many technologists. I couldn’t tell you if one person or another worked in the technology industry, but I am a betting man. I bet that I could have shot a spitball into the crowd and hit someone who does work in the industry.

It was like living a scene out of Star Wars. I was in the strong presence of The Force. I could sense it. I could feel it and knowing that was cool.

ps. I know now that I am truly a nerd.

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iPhone 3G, Will it Blend?

iPhone 3G

There is no denying that the announcement this week at Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference, or WWDC, about the new iPhone 3G lived up to most everyones expectations. It has a great set of new features, including my want of built-in GPS, and now has the architecture open for developers to start creating some great new and interesting applications for the iPhone. The phone is slimmer and also has larger memory capacity. All of this advancement and the most impressive part of the announcement to me was the price point, $199. That is really incredible.

Last year when the first generation iPhone came out I held back because I figured that the second generation would deliver better features and performance at less cost. This has come to pass so my credentials as a swami have just gone up.

The only question left for me is Will It Blend? Yes, will the new iPhone 3G blend? Like its predecessor the iPhone-you can see what happened below-the new iPhone 3G may blend even better. Hopefully Blendtec will give it a go.

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The Time of Your Life

Image from “A Bugs Life” by Pixar

I have been reminded this week that I am in the time of my life. A few things brought this on.

  1. My wife is away for the week and I am taking care of our 3 boys solo
  2. I am spending more time with my kids (which is great!)
  3. I am working everyday in and on my business for a bit (not as much as usual for the above reason)
  4. I am being present around  my kids and reflecting on that
  5. And boys will be boys (and how!)

I was driving with the boys from an appointment this afternoon. As is typical I was getting questions from the older two at random intervals while they were all watching a DVD (Ah yes, modern technology in cars—where was that when I was a kid. All we had was MadLibs). The movie happened to be “Bugs Life“—one of the many genius movies created @ Pixar. The questions were about “Do grasshoppers have wings?” and the like.

The movie happened to be at the end and the Randy Newman song “The Time Of Your Life” was playing in the background as I was driving home. The chorus says. “It’s the time of your life, so live it well.” The mountains were off in the distance with the sun setting. The golden hills were rolling by and it was just one of those moments when you realize “this is it!” This is the time of my life. It was really cool to be that present to it.

Even though I get lost in the moments of ‘stress’ and the rat race day-to-day, being present to my kids and their questions and comments, the scenery passing by outside, and then the song was the icing on the cake.

It is the time of your life, so live it well.

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Working Globally

Earth

I have been working globally lately. Everyone has read about the “global economy” and how “outsourcing” is going to be the wake-up call to many a worker. But not everyone has felt direct impact from “outsourcing” or taken part in working the “global economy.” I too was part of that crowd until the past few weeks (or maybe I am just a bumpkin).

I have been busy as of late. The last quarter of 2007 for my business has been the busiest ever. To help with the work flow I have been using the talents of freelance designers, production artists, and programmers. One of the latter is a programmer from Poland (who shall remain nameless to protect his identity) who has made an impact on me and my business. Up until today I only communicated with him by email and instant message.

I have worked and collaborated with many people over my years and this being my first foray into working with someone almost on the other side of the world (he is 10 hours ahead of me) I was curious how it would turn out. I have been more than pleasantly surprised. His work ethic is outstanding, his work is great, he has initiative, he is honest, and his turnaround is very fast. I have been impressed to say the least. Now I know to not be so naive to think that every worker who is not state-side has these traits. There are lazy people everywhere.

What I have come to find is that there are great people to work with across the globe and current technology makes this not only possible, but an easy and efficient way to get things done.

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Jaw-dropping Photosynth demo

A remarkable display of image technology by Blaise Aguera y Arcas at TED. This video is certainly worth watching.

Strange that I just came across this today via a link from my friend Walker Cahall. The talk is a few months old.

The idea of how this image technology can impact those of us lucky enough to be online is incredible.

Please watch.

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Advertising Agencies need to wake up

Wake Up.

A blog post on NussbaumonDesign at Business Week hints that corporations may be beginning to get savvy about the future of marketing and PR on the web. Corporations are realizing they are literally wasting money. It is simply a matter of time for them to wake up and realize they are spending millions on a way of doing business that is dying a slow death and not getting very much ROI.

What do I mean?
The tools to communicate directly to customers and clients are right here on the Internet. The rise of easy, accessible web video, social networking, the blogosphere, the allure of viral marketing all provide the ability to communicate to millions of people for a much lower investment. The Internet of today is very much a do-it-yourself environment (or certainly not very much money). Think of how much bang for the buck you could get for all that Super Bowl advertising money.

A previous blog post I read and commented on at WebInkNow discussed how advertising agencies use their web sites as a form of digital ego stroking. The post goes hand in hand with Nussbaum’s above and should be a warning of things to come for agencies that are not swift to change their ways.

Here are my comments to his post:

 

Digital Ego Stroking is rampant among Ad Agencies, Architects, and Designers web sites. I own a design firm that specializes in website design and development. I can attest that a massive majority of these organizations have the logic of their own websites in reverse.

The focus of their websites should be on answering potential clients questions about their firm and what it can do for the client–giving the client substance. Not stroking their firms ego and trying to make their website look “cooler” than others.

People want content, substance, and answers from websites. They do not want animations, music, and other distractions standing in the way of what they want and need–information.

Don’t get me wrong, art and design have their place but it needs to be tempered with client objectives and goals. It is possible to design great looking websites that are information focused.

Just as the disconnect with their own websites is apparent, so too is their understanding of the power of the Internet. Granted not everyone at every agency or firm has their head in a cloud, I am not saying that. There are plenty of talented and smart people at these organizations that understand the Internet and its power. They just don’t seem to be in positions of power to make the necessary internal changes needed to cause a shift in “the way we’ve always done things around here” mentality.

What is the cause?
Perhaps its a generation gap. There is certainly some arbitrary dividing line between those that have technology integrated within their lives, and those that do not. I would say the 30 year old and under crowd is wired solid. They are using the web daily (if not hourly) for news, information, communication, and entertainment. Once you get above 30 the number tapers off unless you are involved in the worlds of technology in some way. Meaning that the older someone is, the more likely they are going to be separate from what is happening within this medium. That means knowing and understanding the power there is within the Internet. The key word in that previous sentence is understanding plain and simple.

Perhaps, are those in the upper levels of advertising agency management are just too old and out of touch?

I’m not sure, just a thought.

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Rock-em Sock-em Information

I have two pieces of conflicting information that are applicable to my business life right now. It’s time for Rock-em Sock-em Information.

Representing the blue robot is this blog post from Tim Ferris author of the 4-Hour Workweek (which incidentally is a great read and comes highly recommended). His post gives this post gives five reasons to be a jack-of-all-trades.

Representing the red robot is a small book I picked up at a conference titled Positioning Yourself: Defining Who You Want to Be by David C. Baker founder and principal of ReCourses Inc. specifically within this book there is an excerpt titled Specialization as a means of attracting clients.

The conflict comes in the form of deciding whether to keep my design firm position as a generalist, meaning designing for print and interactive media and whatever comes my way, or positioning my firm as a specialist solely in interactive media. . My background and skills are certainly in line with the ideals of being a jack-of-all-trades. I do enjoy reading and learning about a variety of things simultaneously. I agree with Tim’s blog post about “diversity of intellectual playgrounds,” and “boredom is failure.” And he makes a qualification in that last point, “over-specialization” guarantees boredom (more on this later). I love art, design and technology and have been immersed within them for the better part of 16 years. I love the intellectual stimulation that comes from the variety.

To reinforce this I went to an AIGA studio tour last night hosted by AIGASB at Studio 2050 with founder Glen Derbyshire. It was a really interesting tour. Glen spoke about the many “re-inventions” he has gone through during his career as a photographer, graphic designer and now in the role of ‘producer.’ Glen thrives on the variety of challenges that come his way. Interesting that I find myself at a point of re-invention with my business. Ah, but the conflicting information…

So now to the excerpt Specialization as a means of attracting clients by David C. Baker. David asserts that the key to attracting the best client is to position your firm the way they (the clients) want to see it. One needs to highlight the key points that are critical in the initial decision making process. Clients want to know that you specialize in what they need. But if you say “I am a plumber, an electrician, and a carpenter” and another guy says “I only do plumbing with 20 years experience” you most likely will pick the specialist. The catch is that by declaring that you are a specialist you will turn away clients and projects that could be fun to work on? Most likely, but by ‘being’ a specialist you may attract more work–more profitable work. And that is where I would like to head.

My thought about the conflict resolves itself this way. I will define my company as a specialist in interactive media. However, I will not turn away any type of traditional graphic design (i.e. ‘print’ work) should it come my way.

It appears as if neither of the robots got their heads popped off. We’ll call this a stalemate.

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