Archive for December 2005

iPod Giveaway #7: Design a Steve Jobs Movie Poster

Original photo by Norbert Ivanek.Ok, so it’s the day after Christmas and you didn’t get that iPod you wanted. Now’s your opportunity to take matters into your own hands and win one.

The theme of the final Mike Industries iPod Creativity Competition of 2005 is to design a movie poster featuring Steve Jobs. Like all competitions before it, the rules here are loose. Just feature the man we all know and love in a cinematic role, keep your image exactly 418 pixels wide, and insert your entry inline in the comments of this post. Please also give photo credit when appropriate.

There’s a decent chance The Steve will actually see this blog entry so please keep it clean and respectful. Anything overtly offensive will be removed.

This competition will remain open for exactly two weeks and will end at midnight, Sunday, January 8th. The winner will receive a 1GB iPod Shuffle from me, and so will Mike B., the genius who suggested this particular contest.

Remember to keep your images exactly 418 pixels wide (any height is fine) and under about 50k or so in file size. Insert your image into the comments below using code like so:

<img src="http://yoururl.jpg" />

Full Height Tables

Just a quick brushup on how to create 100% height tables in XHTML.

iPod Giveaway #7: Reader's Choice

Mike Industries Poll

What should be the theme of the final Mike Industries iPod Creativity Competition of the year?


First off, apologies for the lack of iPod creativity competitions around here for the last two months. I’ve been a bit busy. I didn’t want to close the year without one final competition though, so tonight I thumbed through all 400 contest suggestions and have come up with a list of six I’d like to do.

Since I can’t seem to decide on one, I’m putting the final six up for a one-day vote. The idea which receives the most votes will be the theme for this final iPod giveaway of 2005… and as always, the person who thought up the theme will win one Shuffle and the person who wins the competition will take home the other.

The Finalists

Steve Jobs Movie Poster

Design a movie poster featuring Steve Jobs and post it as a 418×418 image on this site.

Best Lyric

Post the best one sentence lyric from a song.

iPod Envy

Take a picture of yourself in an urban setting with another object, pretending that it is an iPod.

Best Cover Song

Post a link to the best cover ever performed. That is, one band singing the music of another.

Name That Tune

I post one note of a song and continue to reveal more notes until someone guesses it.

iKu

Best haiku remotely related to iPods wins.

Honorable Mention

This suggestion cannot be voted for but it is my favorite idea of the bunch. “Toban” writes in submission #378:

“Have people send digital video files of themselves eating a food product which is visibly expired. For example, a displayed expiry date on a container of cottage cheese, or mold on, well anything. The most extreme entry wins an ipod. What would you eat for a Free Ipod?”

I love the internet.

Please vote to the right. The polls close at midnight on Wednesday.

UX Magazine

A beautiful looking new online magazine by Sirs Demetriadis, Schleifer, and Mann

December Randoms

Some thoughts from December:

  • Head on over to Mark Wubben’s site and get involved with sIFR 3. Mark will be handling primary sIFR 3 development, but I’ll remain involved as spiritual advisor. Also, check out Faruk’s new FACE CSS technique. I haven’t used it but it looks eyebrow-raising.
  • If you use a Mac and do any amount of CSS design, you must check out XyleScope. I used it early on in its beta life, but upon downloading version 1.1.5, I can say that it’s one of the best pieces of web development/design software around. Inline, on-the-fly CSS editing. Ahhhhhhh.
  • Intuit has apparently started mailing unsolicited CDs of TurboTax to people. I just got mine this week. You just enter a code when you install it and your card gets charged. Although this is obviously a bit wasteful from an environmental standpoint, it’s a pretty effective sales tactic. I now have a physical CD in my possession, I know I’m going to need it, so there is a 100% chance I will end up using it. I might even do my taxes early now. Hooray for unsolicited CDs in the mail!
  • Mike Industries hit a new personal record on Wednesday with 70,000 page views thanks to this slashdotting of sIFR by “Commander Taco”. Honestly, I didn’t even want to read the thread because I figured that Flash plus Slashdot would equal total lunacy, but I have to hand it to the Slashdot community… it was pretty even-handed. Any moronic remarks were generally met with reason and RTFAs.
  • The great Nokia N70 experiment has failed. I’m sticking with my Treo for now. I just can’t deal with keys made for hobbits.
  • I went to a concert in Seattle this weekend and The Wrens were the last band to play. They were okay, but they did do something on stage I had never seen before. The singer picked up his cell phone between songs, dialed a number, and then sat down on stage. The rest of the band then began into a song and the rhythm guitarist held his own cell phone up to the pickup on his electric guitar. Then, the singer sang through his own phone, over to the guitarist’s phone, in through the guitar pickup, and out the speakers. Pretty interesting.
  • Woohoo! Danni won Survivor. How many times has Hefner called already?
  • Firefox 1.5 continues to puzzle me. Aside from some unexplainable bugs related to its new handling of the overflow property, I just found out that it spits out errors when encountering the underscore hack. The underscore hack is probably my all-time favorite CSS hack and I much prefer it to the valid-but-much-more-verbose “* HTML hack”. I’m pretty sure the W3C specs say to ignore any CSS properties that the browser doesn’t understand, but instead, Firefox 1.5 reports errors. Ugh.

Seeking Newsvine Engineer

Are you an Apache-loving’ fool who also dabbles in Linux, PHP, Java, or C++? Do you also live in Seattle? If so, we’d be interested in talking to you about possibly joining the Newsvine team as a Product Engineer. Newsvine is a five person news startup near downtown Seattle funded by Second Avenue Partners and in operation since the summer. We are about to launch to the public and are specifically looking for someone who doesn’t mind monitoring servers, databases, and other system resources 24/7 while also helping out with engineering tasks on a pretty regular basis.

The Newsvine headquarters are located right along beautiful Myrtle Edwards Park near downtown Seattle, and we have a big barbecue on the deck which we use to cook up various fine meats.

For more information on Newsvine, please check out my original articles here and here.

If this job sounds interesting to you and you possess the skills below, please send an e-mail to jobs at newsvine dot com (which will go directly to me) and we’ll see if there might be a good match:

  • Experience with Apache
  • Experience with Linux/Unix
  • Experience with PHP (or other server side scripting language)
  • Interest and capability in managing and monitoring a high-load production web site
  • Understanding of object oriented concepts – preferably with Java or C++
  • Ability to work quickly and efficiently
  • Basic understanding of relational databases

Nokia E70 Lust

A few months ago, I made a concerted effort to eliminate all RSS feeds from my news aggregator which met at least one of the following conditions: 1) Signal-to-noise ratio was under 25%, 2) Feed was updated more than 10 times a day, or 3) A good percentage of the items were re-blogged from other sources.

Two of the first sites to walk the plank were unfortunately both Gizmodo and Engadget. While I’ve enjoyed both sites immensely over the past couple of years, they both match all three criteria above, and since eliminating them from my blogroll, I’ve been able to keep my “RSS lint” down to reasonable levels.

This week though, I may have paid the price for being out of touch with the gadget rumor mill. Thanks to Om and his damn persuasive writing style (not to mention Jason), I ordered a Nokia N70 phone over the interweb. I’ve been using a Treo 600 for the past two years and although I still love it, I’ve just had a new-phone-itch for the past couple of months and reading about the N70 was enough to get me to finally scratch it.

It seems like a whale of a phone, and although I’ve never liked Nokia’s interfaces in the past, this one looks pretty nice. For all the high-tech features on the N70, the kicker that got me to actually purchase it was a fairly low-tech one: an FM radio. FM radios in Seattle are a lot more useful than in most other cities because we are home to KEXP, the world’s greatest commercial-free radio station. Being able to listen to commercial-free live music on my phone is a huge plus.

The only huge downside of the N70 to me is the lack of a QWERTY keyboard. I’ve gotten so used to the Treo’s keyboard that it’s going to be hard to use T9 again.

So I ordered this thing for about $500 (which is probably too much) and it should arrive next week.

No sooner do I check the status of my delivery last night that I now find out about the Nokia E70, due in the first quarter of 2006. Oh my god! Look at this thing:

Not only does it have almost every feature of the N70, but it’s smaller, flips open to reveal a QWERTY keyboard, has 352×416 resolution, integrated WiFi with VOIP, built-in push email support, spoken Caller ID, and a million other features as well.

So I think with this N70 purchase, I have officially broken my own buyer’s remorse record. It’s supposed to arrive on the 14th and today is the 10th, so that’s negative four days. Oh well, at least the N70 gives me one thing the E70 doesn’t: an FM radio for KEXP.

Tattered Fly: Nice Design

Good sIFR, great design.

Afterglow

Home of Icon Designer & Illustrator Cian Walsh

Dear Comcast and/or Motorola and/or Microsoft

Dear Comcast and/or Motorola and/or Microsoft,

Last night, my college played Gonzaga in one of the biggest college basketball games of the year. I had dinner plans so I set your DVR up to record the game.

Being that this was a sporting event, I set the option to end the recording 30 minutes late, just in case the game took longer than the allotted two hours.

I got home, watched a crazy basketball game, and was preparing for the final four minutes when the recording stopped. The two hour mark had been reached.

And so thanks to your aforementioned worthless device, I missed a last second victory by my Washington Huskies. Oh, and 60 Minutes mysteriously didn’t get recorded last night either.

Get your damned device working already. It’s about to go out my window.

Shared
Humanity's deep future:

A group of researchers at the Future of Humanity Institute talk about where our race may be going and how artificial intelligence could save or kill us all.

Steve Jobs speaks about the future at the International Design Conference in 1983:

31 years later, it’s safe to say this is one of the most prescient speeches about technology ever delivered. Jobs covers wireless networking, tablets, Google StreetView, Siri, and the App Store (among other things) many years before their proliferation. A fantastic listen.

How to travel around the world for a year:

Great advice for when you finally find the time.

LiveSurface:

A fantastic app for prototyping your design work onto real world objects like billboards, book covers, and coffee cups. This seems like just as great of a tool for people learning design as it does for experts.

50 problems in 50 days:

One man’s attempt to solve 50 problems in 50 days using only great design. Some good startup ideas in here…

How to Do Philosophy:

If you’ve ever suspected that most classical philosophy is a colossal waste of time, Paul Graham tells you why you’re probably right.

TIME: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us:

Stephen Brill follows the money to uncover the pinnacle of corruption that is the U.S. Health Care system. A must-read article if there ever was one.

DIY Dot Org:

A beautifully designed site full of fun and challenging DIY projects. I could spend months on here.

The Steve Jobs Video Archive:

A collection of over 250 Steve Jobs videos in biographical order

Self-portraits from an artist under the influence of 48 different psychoactive drug combos.

Water Wigs are pretty amazing.

David Pogue proposes to his girlfriend by creating a fake movie trailer about them and then getting a theater to play it before a real movie. Beautiful and totally awesome.

Jonah Peretti's letter to BuzzFeed’s employees:

If you’re wondering what a excellent blueprint for a modern media company looks like, look no further than Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti’s latest email to his employees. In it, Peretti explains a lot of his company’s virtues, the most important being a relentless focus on always providing what’s best for the user. Vox Media (operators of The Verge) is the only other company I can think of which approaches this level of reform and execution.

The Covers Project:

I love this so much: a cross-referenceable database of cover songs, searchable by song or artist. Slowed down, acoustic covers — no matter the song — are so enjoyable to me that I wish it was a requirement to play one at every show. If you like them as much as I do, make sure to check out M. Ward’s Let’s Dance or Sun Kil Moon’s entire album of Modest Mouse covers.

“More and more people in this country no longer make or do anything tangible; if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary. I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.”
- Tim Kreider’s denunciation of the cult of busyness is excellent. (via jimray)