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Preview: Authentic Boredom

Authentic Boredom





Published: 2010-03-04T07:34:26-07:00

 



Malware Attack: Update

2010-03-04T07:34:26-07:00

This site was hacked pretty severely sometime (or multiple times) in the last few weeks. I’m still ridding the server of the affected files, and still finding new ones.

I'm working hard to fix it. Thanks for the patience.




My (revised) video setup: Canon EOS 7D

2010-02-25T11:33:04-07:00

After just a couple weeks of testing, I gave up on the Canon HG10 w/35mm for shooting HD video. Not only was the quality not stellar, but it's a hack that's cumbersome and really difficult to work with.

Following an enormous amount of deliberation and questioning if so many dollar signs were really worth it, I bit the bullet and sprung for a Canon EOS 7D and some quality lenses. No mistaking, this thing shoots incredible photos and equally impressive 1080p HD video.

I still have plenty to learn about the camera and photography in general, but so far I'm really pleased with it. I took it with me to film the Colosseo being printed earlier this week, and the footage looks fantastic. (Video coming soon.)

I bought the 7D body only and skipped the lens it comes bundled with. Taking cues from Eyepatch Production's 7D tutorials and comments on forums around the web, I picked up a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM prime lens and Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM zoom lens. Suzanne already had a Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens with her Canon 40D, and that seems to do fine with the 7D for shooting macro stuff.

When filming the Colosseo, I kept the Sigma 30mm on most of the time. What's crazy is just two weeks ago I didn't even know the difference between prime and zoom lenses.

The mics I'm using right now are the RODE VideoMic, a great little shotgun-style mic, and a wired Audio Technica ATR-3350 Lavalier Condenser Mic. The ATR-3350 lavalier mic can be pretty noisy, but for $30 it's a decent start for now.

Additional links and notes about the equipment shown in these photos are available on Flickr.




My video setup: Canon HG10 with 35mm adapter

2010-02-04T09:54:07-07:00

Update: I've switched to a Canon 7D.

I've had a penchant for filmmaking ever since I was a little kid. I've never had the right equipment, though. I'm trying to finally change that, while still trying to stay within budget.

The photo above shows the setup I've been piecing together over the last few weeks. I haven't shot anything with it yet, but I'll give it a good run in a couple weeks when I film the Colosseo letterpress poster being printed. We'll see how it goes.

Two years ago this would have been a killer setup--it's similar to the setup Benjamin Reece used to shoot "Fifty People, One Question". Nowadays, a Canon 7D or similar is probably the way to go for those of us doing indie-style film stuff. Check out this fantastic video shot with a Canon 7D:

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I've had my HG10 for a while now, and I've been able to do some decent shooting with it (see "Roma Italia"). I'm not ready to make the step-up investment to a 7D just yet. So I'm doing what I can with the HG10, while making sure much of what I'm purchasing will also work with the 7D at a later date.

It's taken quite a bit of research to piece all of this together, so I'm documenting my equipment here for those of you searching for something similar:

Check back in a few weeks to see some of the video I'll shoot with it. Fingers crossed it turns out okay.




Michael Bierut on clients

2010-02-01T07:38:40-07:00

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Michael Bierut is such a down-to-earth, practical designer (and speaker) who works hard to do amazing work without the typical stigma associated with graphic designers. This practicality is clearly evident in the video above, a presentation given at CreativeMornings in New York City. And if you haven't seen Helvetica, you need to see how his commentary really helps the movie shine.

Michael's presentation on clients is one of those "should be required viewing" kind of presentations. It's fantastic.

Clients are the difference between design and art. I would go insane trying to work ... without clients.... I really need clients to provoke me as a designer to do work.

Thanks to Tina Roth Eisenberg for making this happen.




Colosseo: Available March 2010

2010-01-26T11:27:13-07:00

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Watch the full resolution video on Vimeo.

This project began 12 months ago when Suzanne and I purchased tickets to Rome. It's consumed a good portion of my working life since then. This is a sneak preview.

Sign up to be notified by email when it's available:




The Authentic Jobs Twenty Ten promotion

2010-01-08T07:42:11-07:00

We just kicked off our Twenty Ten promotion over at Authentic Jobs. In short, post a listing and save 20%, and 10% of your purchase will be donated to Charity:Water to help provide clean drinking water around the world.

Alternatively, you may donate to our campaign without purchasing a listing.

Use promo code MOLLTEN when posting your listing. Offer ends January 22.




Do what works best for you, not them

2010-01-06T09:27:06-07:00

Of the many things we do well as creative professionals, we often forget to think for ourselves, relying on thought leaders to determine what works for us and what doesn't.

Paramount in this failure to think for one's self is the fact that these thought leaders often struggle to encourage others to explore new thinking without belittling their methods--or worse, ostracizing them--in the process.

Whether or not the title of thought leader can be applied to myself, I'm just as guilty as anyone else. In "20 tips for better conference speaking", I offer this short-sighted observation:

There is absolutely no reason in the world you should use anything other than Keynote. Period.

Admittedly, I still struggle to see why anyone would prefer to use something other than Keynote. But the phrasing of this observation with its absolute terms leaves little desire for anyone not already convinced about Keynote to explore my preferred method.

The simple fact is this: You, and only you, can determine what works best for you. Regardless of how biased or objectively the advice is phrased, you would be unwise to not consider alternate methods and ideas throughout your entire career. You would be even more unwise to be swayed by every new compelling or forceful argument that comes along merely because it was spoken by someone notable.

Mac vs. PC, Photoshop vs. Fireworks, print vs. web, GTD vs. to-dos on a sticky note, 4-hour workweeks vs. 40 hours, XHTML vs. HTML5... the list is endless.

Rest assured a "better" tool, a "better" process, a "better" way will always come along. However, what will remain unchanged is the need for you to know what works best for your personal, project, and client needs--and to adapt when it really is a better way.




Notable recent job listings

2009-12-23T10:18:55-07:00

Consider this the Merry Christmas edition. I've combed through the listings on Authentic Jobs and have hand-selected several listings below. Best wishes if you're looking for work over the holidays or thinking about changing employment. GOOD is such a misnomer for a website with GREAT content and design. GOOD is looking for a Lead Web/Interaction Designer in the Los Angeles area. This is a killer opportunity to work with an incredible team, led by the venerable Greg Storey (West Coast team). Happy Cog West is looking for a fantastic Lead Project Manager. "You should live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and you will ideally work out of our digs in Emeryville." Work from anywhere as a Ruby on Rails Developer at Indie Labs LLC, proprietors of the ever-awesome Big Cartel. I'd not heard of Flavors.me prior to their job listing. Their app (currently in private beta) allows you to create an elegant website aggregated from things like Twitter, Flickr, etc. (Watch the video.) They're looking for a Python / Django Expert in the New York or San Francisco areas who's interested in equity in the company and 100% medical/dental/vision coverage. Superkix, a sister company to Flavors.me, is a search engine for "authentic sneakers" (nice adjective choice). They need a Ruby / Rails Expert. Same equity and healthy benefits as their sister site. ZURB creates some pretty impressive web stuff. They need a Designer in their Campbell, California offices. Beyond (love the logo) needs a Web Developer to join their studio "set in resplendent surroundings" in Maidenhead, UK. You'll be working with LAMP and existing frameworks such as Expression Engine, Codeigniter, and Drupal. Hallmark Channel needs an experienced Senior Print Designer who will collaborate with the Vice President of Video/Web and Print on a variety of print projects. Scrapblog's Flex-based online photo scrapbooking and printing app is stellar. I had the privilege of using the beta way back when, and they've continuously improved it. They need an Interaction Designer whose design and markup (XHTML/CSS/MXML) skills are as mad their "foosball and/or hackysack skillz." If you've got a penchant for horses, you've probably already heard of SmartPak, "the unquestioned leader in daily dose packaging of equine drugs and nutritional products." They're seeking a .Net Developer in the Plymouth, Massachusetts area. I've done work for several colleges, so I know it's not an easy challenge but it's certainly a rewarding one. Texas A&M University needs a Web Developer to help develop and maintain the architecture, look and feel, and general elements of the site. How's this for a job title? Cloud Configuration and Infrastructure Engineer needed at Geodelic Systems, Inc., a "high-energy Santa Monica based startup company working on a groundbreaking location aware iPhone App." I've not heard of Patch before, but it looks like it's the 2010 replacement to local newspapers. They need a Front-end Developer with "expert and up-to-date XHTML/Javascript/CSS coding skills" in the New York City area. This looks like a good early-career position at a non-profit in Washington, DC. The American Institutes for Research is looking for a Web Production Associate. User Interface Engineer needed at Facebook. I probably needn't say more. [...]



Join me live on DesignChat tonight

2009-12-10T07:51:13-07:00

Ryan McGovern, DesignChat founder, and I will be chatting live tonight, December 10, at 7:30pm 8pm CST. You can join us at mashable.com/chat.

Follow @designchat and watch a few previous chats on DesignChat's Vimeo channel.

Update: Here's the archived video from our chat.




Letterpress poster: Limited quantities for the holidays

2009-12-02T09:56:46-07:00

Update: Sold out. Enter your email address below if you'd like to be notified when additional copies are available.

If you're considering ordering one of my letterpress posters as a holiday gift, I recommend doing so soon. I have only about 40 remaining on hand, and I've already shipped a half-dozen of them this week. I won't be printing any more of this poster in 2009, as I'll be keeping Bryce's shop busy with another poster between now and the first of the year.

Happy holidays, everyone.




Easy dad project: Football/rugby uprights

2009-11-25T09:59:23-07:00

I was always throwing stuff together as a kid, like homemade go-karts, bike ramps, forts, and other stuff that substantiated my existence as a boy. Now with boys of my own, it's as if I'm remaking all that stuff again. Except it's even more fun with kids.

One of the projects we put together recently was a simple, cheap set of football/rugby uprights. In football (American), the uprights at either end of the playing field are similar to those used in rugby. Seeing how tomorrow is Thanksgiving holiday here, when amateur "turkey bowl" games will be played in neighborhoods around the country, I figured some of you might be interested in knowing how we built ours.

Here's what you'll need:

There isn't much instruction needed beyond what you see in the photo below. Just piece everything together as shown:

You don't need to glue the joints. They'll hold together just fine with friction. Also, you can easily take it apart for storage when not in use.

This kind of article is bit off-topic for me, but I know many of you web and design folk are also dads and moms with kids around the house. If you find this helpful, I'll consider posting other projects in the future, some of which are a little more complex (such as this homemade go-kart).




Taking a stand against American Apparel

2009-11-23T08:53:17-07:00

I've been doing designs for screened t-shirts on and off basically my entire career. Back in the day, Gildan and Hanes Beefy-T were popular choices for doing screened tee runs. The material was generally thick and beefy, and the fit was what you'd expect from a run-of-the-mill tee.

About four years ago American Apparel became mainstream and took the wholesale apparel industry by storm. The material was much lighter and the fit was more form-fitting. Printing a tee on American Apparel meant putting yourself on par with purchasing one from popular apparel outlets.

Unfortunately, American Apparel feels it's not enough to merely make a quality tee that fits well. In the past year or so they've substantially broadened their product line and have resorted to advertising that is suggestive at best and explicit at worst. In today's say-all, share-all socioeconomic society where a quality product virtually sells itself -- which is precisely how American Apparel sold itself back when it became mainstream -- there is no need for this, let alone the ethical reasons for which this isn't necessary.

Fortunately, I don't stand alone in refusing such advertising. Luke Sullivan's Hey Whipple, Squeeze This, a book (and title) devoted to the idea that it's possible to advertise lucratively and with integrity alike, offers the following argument. It's a formidable defense against the trite and poorly coined statement, "Sex sells."

To those who defend the campaign based on sales, I ask, would you also spit on the table to get my attention? It would work, but would you? An eloquent gentleman named Norman Berry, a British creative director at Ogilvy & Mather, put it this way:
'I'm appalled by those who [judge] advertising exclusively on the basis of sales. That isn't enough. Of course, advertising must sell. By any definition it is lousy advertising if it doesn't. But if sales are achieved with work which is in bad taste or is intellectual garbage, it shouldn't be applauded no matter how much it sells. Offensive, dull, abrasive, stupid advertising is bad for the entire industry and bad for business as a whole. It is why the public perception of advertising is going down in this country.'

To this end, I can no longer support American Apparel, and I'm putting my money where my mouth is. If your screened tee is printed on American Apparel, regrettably you won't see an order from me. Likewise, the Authentic Jobs tees being given away in our "No Retweet Necessary" contest are printed on Tultex, a fairly comparable alternative with similar material and fit. I'm not 100% satisfied with Tultex as a permanent replacement, but for now it suffices. Any suggestions you have for other alternatives, please speak up -- I'd like us to find suitable alternatives together.

Should American Apparel revise its advertising, I'm happy to support them anew. Until then, hopefully some of you can stand with Norman Berry, Luke Sullivan, and me in refusing advertising that is clearly offensive, abrasive, and stupid.




Adjusting to family life with diabetes

2009-11-18T08:19:31-07:00

Last Thursday night we stopped in Albuquerque, New Mexico on our cross-country move to Florida. What was supposed to be an overnight stop has turned into a lengthy stay and a permanent change in our family's lifestyle.

One of our sons fell ill with the flu* soon after leaving Utah on Wednesday. By Thursday the flu had escalated and we found ourselves in the hospital by nightfall. On Friday the diagnosis was clear: Type 1 diabetes.

Our family knows very little about diabetes, but we're quickly becoming familiar with it. Type 1 is different from Type 2 diabetes in that it's not acquired through genetics or poor health. In fact, it's not really known where it comes from and why or how it comes about. Sometimes a virus can help manifest it, and in our case the flu may have been the catalyst.

From what I'm learning, Type 1 diabetes comes about when the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin to break down sugars in the blood and allow those sugars (glucose) to be captured and used by cells, leaving unsafe levels of glucose in the blood stream.

To balance these levels, finger pricks and insulin shots are required multiple times per day. Short of a cure or alternate method such as an insulin pump, this is a process our son will be going through daily for the rest of his life. In addition, we will need to make some changes to his (our) daily diet.

Whether it was TV personality Art Linkletter or basketball Hall of Famer John Wooden who said it -- both have been attributed -- it doesn't matter. The spirit of what was said is what matters:

Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.

We're confident our family can make the best of the way things have turned out for us. I've long believed that as parents and professionals, the most important work we'll ever do will be outside the walls of work and inside the walls of our homes. If anything, this revised lifestyle has encouraged us to place ever greater focus on our children.

We hope to be back on the road in a few days once we've completed the requisite treatment and training. I've left comments on as those of you more familiar with diabetes than we may be able to provide corrections to what I've written or additional resources.

Update: Many of you have left helpful and encouraging comments. Thank you. Suzanne and I really appreciate it.

*For the record, he was diagnosed with the H1N1 virus. This the least of our concerns, as H1N1 appears to differ little from the average flu from what we've seen in him.




The "No Retweet Necessary" Contest

2009-11-09T13:15:30-07:00

This should be my last Authentic Jobs-related post for a little while, but I've been working too hard on this contest not to mention it.

The Authentic Jobs "No Retweet Necessary" contest has an impressive bundle of prizes. You'll have the chance to win one of them not by retweeting or posting a comment or something else that provides you no benefit. You'll win by using the site in way that benefits you and only you.

When I do a formal contest such as this, I don't take it lightly. Some of the Authentic Jobs partners and I have hand-selected each of these prizes, and I hope you'll agree the prize list is substantial. It's meant to reinforce the idea that Authentic Jobs is serious about helping you find work, and we're willing to give away quality prizes if means more people benefit from using the service.

Head over to the contest page and follow the instructions to enter.




The new Authentic Jobs

2009-11-04T08:10:25-07:00

This has been a long time coming. I won't say more than that right now, but I'll hopefully say lots more in the near future.

For now, have a look at the site. More details available on the Authentic Jobs blog.

Thanks especially to those of you who gave feedback on the proposed design way back when.