Archive for the 'Apple' Category


Make your own Obamicon:

Your image in a style inspired by Shepard Fairey’s iconic poster. Regardless of your candidate of choice in the 2008 election, here’s your chance to sound-off.

From the folks at Paste, via Sean.

Design Loves a Depression

Vermelha Chair

This past weekend, The New York Times Week in Review argues in a story headlined Design Loves a Depression that the recent economic slowdown will force designers to eschew novelty and the impractical, and focus more on the “intelligent reworking of current conditions”:

Design tends to thrive in hard times. In the scarcity of the 1940s, Charles and Ray Eames produced furniture and other products of enduring appeal from cheap materials like plastic, resin and plywood, and Italian design flowered in the aftermath of World War II.

Will today’s designers rise to the occasion? “What designers do really well is work within constraints, work with what they have,” said Paola Antonelli, senior curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art. “This might be the time when designers can really do their job, and do it in a humanistic spirit.”

Related: Designing Through the Recession, by designer Michael Bierut

UPDATE: Murray Moss takes the WIR to task in a piece today on Design Observer:

Design loves a depression? I can assure you that design, along with painting, sculpture, photography, music, dance, fashion, the culinary arts, architecture, and theatre, loves a depression no more than it loves a war, a flood, or a plague. Michael Cannell’s article is regressive and mean-spirited, and it demands a response.

…quite a provoking discussion.

Image courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Economix & Green Inc. Blog Headers

The Times is in the process of beefing up its business coverage online, adding new verticals on the economy and green energy. As part of that roll out, we launched two blogs last week, and I was tasked with the header designs and illustration assignments.

I really enjoy the little bits of art direction that I get to do at the Times. It’s fun to search for the illustrators, work with them on concepts and sketches, and in the end they do all of the work.


Economix Blog header
Illustration by Headcase Design

Economix is written by David Leonhardt and Catherine Rampell, and will focus on both the global economy and the personal decisions readers make everyday.

The illustration was done by Paul Kepple’s team at Headcase Design, with art direction and design by myself.

Continue reading ‘Economix & Green Inc. Blog Headers’

I’m writing this from the new WordPress iPhone app. It’s a pretty light, straight-forward interface. It allows saving posts locally on the iPhone before publishing or saving drafts to the server, enabling offline drafting.

There is even rudimentary photo support – but you can’t really control the placement or sizing of the image – it is merely appended to the end of the message. You don’t even see the image markup until it is published or saved as a draft on the server.

But even then, the limitations of the iPhone become clear – there is no copy/paste, and the classes that determine how WordPress displays uploaded images is unneccessarily complicated. (They should simplify that.)

So, though this is a pretty nice app, I’m not sure how useful it will be without more formatting options and copy/paste. For instance, I can’t even provide a link to it’s app store page. Also, why doesn’t the iPhone have characters luke curly quotes and em/en dashes?

UPDATE (from my Mac): Here is the link to the app.

Speed up syncing from your Mac to MobileMe

Speed up syncing from your Mac to MobileMe » MobileMe isn’t exactly “pushing” so much as “syncing every 15 minutes” – Ars Technica points to a way of speeding this up.

Two essential iPhoto Plugins

There are two iPhoto plugins that I couldn’t live without – FlickrExport, and Keyword Manager.


If you like photos, Flickr, and OS X, and don’t know about FlickrExport, then shame on you. It’s a nice little plugin that will let you easily export photos from iPhoto to Flickr. It converts your assigned iPhoto keywords to Flickr tags, enables you to add titles and descriptions, and choose to either add the photos to a new set, an existing set, or none at all – all within the dialog window.

The one rub is that it is made by an independent developer, Fraser Speirs, who has to feed his family – so, he charges about $25. A nominal price for something that has saved me hundreds of hours, and enriched my Flickr experience.

Continue reading ‘Two essential iPhoto Plugins’

Leopard Upgrade

I finally managed to upgrade to Leopard (OS X 10.5), and overall it seems like a nice update. Time Machine is still doing its initial backup, but I can’t help getting a little excited by its superfluous animations… I know that I’m supposed to hate it, but who could fault Apple for making something so horribly boring, like backups, and inject a little fun? Web ClipOne interesting little tidbit that I discovered, is that iPhone web apps make very nice Dashboard widgets. In about 10 seconds, I created a Web Clip in Safari of‘s iPhone app. It provides a lot more information than the standard OS X Weather widget, and it looks nice.

Keep in mind that not all iPhone apps will work well for this – PocketTweets, for instance, will only load in Mobile Safari. And, because of the higher screen resolution on the iPhone, some apps’ font sizes might be too large to be of much use in the Dashboard. But, I think that this example illustrates nicely the power and simplicity of Web Clips in Leopard.

My only real gripes thus far are the translucent menu bar, and that Camino’s bookmarks bar looks like a franken-monster. I can’t seem to find a cure for this yet, but it’s not jarring enough to make me go back to Safari.

Gmail Adds IMAP Support

Via the Official Google Blog:

Gmail adds IMAP support
“Are you guys ever going to do IMAP?” Well now I can say: Yes. Yes, we are doing IMAP. In fact, we are doing it for you for free on all devices and platforms.

This is great news, especially for iPhone users, (instructions here). Now, you can keep your mail account synched between multiple computers and devices.

UPDATE: Derek makes a good point about some advanced mail settings on the iPhone – make sure to align your Drafts, Sent, and Trash folders.

iPhone 1.1.1 and 3rd Party Apps

iNdependence for iPhone
It ain’t pretty, but I used this to upgrade to the 1.1.1 firmware, and then to manually copy onto the phone. Hello 3rd-party apps!

Beware, this is a lot more complicated than the way things were, before 1.1.1.

Apple’s Web Apps Portal

Still no word on when or if Apple will officially allow 3rd-party apps – but some of these are really cool, so long as you’ve got wi-fi or AT&T EDGE. Here are my new favorites:

  • // Way better than their old mobile site, with forecasts, and maps.
  • Fandango // Set your location, and movie times are not far behind. This is also way better than their old Mobile site, (as well as MovieFone’s).
  • Tipr // It takes your check total and a specified tip percentage and generates a total that is a palindrome – so you can ensure that you’re not getting ripped off.

And, some oldies that haven’t yet made it into the directory:

A New

Today, I’m launching version 6 of, a typographical grid-based layout, with heavy use of Helvetica Neue. This site has always used a similar shade of green, so I wanted to maintain that bit of consistency with the past, while introducing something very different. I also wanted to bring together my content from twitter, flickr,, and, while keeping it distinct from the weblog content – yea, I’ve gone back on my post is a post comments.

The last major revision of this site was launched on May 1 2005, but even that was somewhat of a realignment of the previous design, which dated back to 2001. I’m a big proponent of Cameron Moll’s realign not redesign rule – so I spent the past few years tinkering away, refining the same basic layout.

Continue reading ‘A New’

Two New Free Downloads from Microsoft

Two great new free downloads from the Microsoft Mac BU this week:

Just doing their part to promote Mac & Windows cohabitation.

MTA Subway Map for iPhone

Since I bought my iPhone on June 30, I’ve been looking for an easy, high-quality method for viewing the MTA Subway map. The phone’s built-in Photo application “optimizes” all photos and images down to a dimension and resolution that doesn’t work well for images with lots of small text and details.


In search of the optimal iPhone MTA map.

What I wanted, was the ability to view a PDF, or large PNG of the system map – and to be able to zoom in and drag it around easily. Bill at outlined one such solution, which involved setting up a Yahoo! mail account, since IMAP mail accounts seemed to cache attachments locally on the iPhone. This did work for me, but I found the MTA’s PDF map sluggish when zooming or dragging around. And, I had to drill back through the Mail menus to get to my Yahoo mail account, (as I’m primarily a Gmail user).

But, before I could go out and buy a old-fashioned paper pop-up map, another solution presented itself:

Filemark Maker gets around the limitations outlined above, by writing files to a temp location on the device’s HD, by using Safari bookmarklets. Then, the files are accessible in MobileSafari. And, because the files are written to iPhone’s HD, the bookmarklets work whether you’re online or not – or whether you’re above ground or not.

Here are the MTA Subway Maps that I used to make bookmarklets using this tool:

Back-Bay Apple Store, Part II

Boston Apple Store DesignSome details are finally starting to emerge surrounding Apple’s plans for the construction of a signature Flagship retail store in the Back Bay, Boston. IfoAppleStore reports that renderings of the proposed design have leaked (see left), and that the backward-looking Back Bay Architectural Commission has serious misgivings about the 3-story modern glass structure.

This is a shame… our wonderfully acerbic alternative newspaper, The Weekly Dig, said it better than I can:

Putting aside the mental gymnastics it takes to believe that one glass building would destroy the neighborhoody feeling of a three-lane boulevard that hosts a mall, a convention center and the city’s second-tallest tower, Apple’s run-in with the BBAC raises a more immediate question: Is a cabal of frigid elitists stifling Boston’s growth while they defend some bullshit Brahmin conception of what an ex-landfill should look like?

I sympathize with those urban planners and critics who reject the strip-mall/parking-lot 20th-century method of development – God knows, Boston is as pedestrian-friendly as any city in North America, and we’re better for it. But, there are many examples of new projects designed to mimic the look of 19th-century Boston, without succeeding in preserving any sense of neighborhood cohesion. One glaring example of this is the mammoth Hotel Commonwealth, in Kenmore Square, which I’ve commented on in the past. That building has as much “old-world charm”, as a 1970s-era French Tudor style suburban tract home.

Mandarin Oriental BostonWhat I find strangest of all, is that this is a relatively small parcel of land we’re talking about. Consider that on the very same block, across the street, Mandarin Oriental is building a huge hotel, in front of the Prudential Tower/Mall, at street-level.

If one of these developments is going to change the character of the neighborhood, I’d worry more about that project.

iPod Packaging Parody

What if Microsoft re-designed Apple’s iPod packaging?

So true, and so good. [via]

Camino 1.0

caminoCamino is out of beta today! Talk about a great Valentine’s Day gift.

I use Camino as my primary browser, since it renders Gmail and Google Reader much faster than Safari/Saft. It doesn’t allow for all of the extensions that Firefox features, but it’s quicker, and just feels more like an OS X application.

Here are some links today:

Apple to Build 4-story Store in the Back Bay?

Uploaded to Flickr by iPhilBostonist links to rumors that Apple will finally open a flagship store in the heart of Boston.

Looprumors reports:

Apple is poised to announce a major retail store directly across from the Prudential Center on Boylston Street in Downtown Boston. The store is said to be Apple’s most state-of-the-art store to date with 4 stories and a front made entirely of a glass. Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino is expected to announce plans for the store in the coming week.

They couldn’t have picked a better spot.

photo is of the new San Francisco store, uploaded to Flickr by iPhil

Pre-mature Upgrades

Damn… I’ve got a bunch of photos of somebody’s birthday celebration, but no way of exporting them easily to Flickr. I upgraded to iPhoto 6, before I realized that Frasier Spiers hasn’t yet made his indispensible Flickr Export plugin compatible with the new version. Oops.

So, I just made a small donation to Frasier… You should too, if you rely on this plugin as much as I do.


Martini anyone?

Happy New Year, everybody! I’m back at work today, after a (I think) deserved rest. New Year’s Eve was a bit more restrained than years past, but it was a nice cap to a great year.

My only real resolution is for us to finally cut the cord on Boston, and move to NYC. Presley finishes Grad school in September, and I need to think more seriously about my career, grad school, and the future in general.

A lot of things could happen, but that remains my #1 goal for 2006. What’s yours?

iPod nano & ROKR phone

Wow — we all expected the new iTunes phone, but who would have guessed at the iPod nano?

First, the ROKR is available from Cingular now. It’s got iTunes (100 songs), Bluetooth, and a VGA camera (sucky) — for $249.00.

But, I’m more intrigued with the iPod nano… Sure, it only comes with a max of 4GB storage, but the small size, color screen, and “wow” factor is going to make it a big hit. And, the price is right at just $249 for the 4GB, (the same as the now dead, iPod mini).

Start saving your money… even the initial accessories look neat, (if not a bit girly).


Marci was in town for a job interview at Harvard, so we took wednesday off from work, and headed for the beach in Gloucester.

not crowded
So much less crowded on weekdays…


Having just finished Tipping Point, I dug into a couple
hundred pages of Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, Blink


…and, we enjoyed a big jug of homemade Sangria.


“Tattoo”, posted by nedward

Presley’s new tattoo, done by Custom Claire, of Fat Ram’s Pumpkin Tattoo, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.

MAMP: Mac, Apache, Mysql & PHP

When I’m designing and building a website, I dread the point where I’ll have to shift from working locally, to working on the server. Once the initial layout and CSS is done, it’s time to start scripting with PHP, and pulling content in from MySQL databases — and time to fire up ye olde FTP. This constant uploading is frustrating, and gives me carpal tunnel

I’ve always known that it was possible to set up PHP & MySQL locally, as Mac OSX has the Apache web server built-in… but, that always seemed like such a hassle. After a few minutes of tinkering, I’d throw my hands up and think, wouldn’t it be helpful if someone put together an easy install package?

Well, somebody has… MAMP promises to be my salvation:

MAMP installs a local server environment in a matter of seconds on your Mac OS X computer, be it PowerBook or iMac. Like similar packages from the Windows- and Linux-world, MAMP comes free of charge.

This should speed things up considerably, and allow me to work without an internet connection… on the plane, in the park, etc.

Backups, Part III

Hurrah! Continuing the saga, I was searching through the Déjà Vu help, I stumbled upon this little nugget of information:

IMPORTANT: If you are backing up to a Windows server, you must use the ‘Connect’ button in the ‘Auto-Connect’ tab to mount the volume before you select the source and destination folders (in the ‘What’ and ‘Where’ columns). If you select the source and destination folders when the volume has been mounted by the Finder, Déj? Vu will not be able to find the destination when it auto-connects to the volume at backup time.

No kidding. I did as asked, and 30 seconds later, I’m backing up to the WinXP box in the closet. Effortless

Thanks to everyone who suggested alternate solutions — this is really the best and simplest for my needs. Yea, it’ll take forever over the Wireless “G” network, but I’ve got it scheduled for 3am, once a week. Should be okay.

Backups, Part II

My scheduled backup didn’t go so well, the other night. Apparently, Déjà Vu copied the folder structure, but couldn’t copy the files.

Obviously there is some kind of permissions issue here, but I’m wondering if this is due to the fact that I’m copying to a Windows PC… The app connects to the remote drive just fine, and I can manually copy files to it — I just can’t seem to get this to work, though.

I’ll have to do a little more research (leave a comment if you have an idea!)… or else, on to rsync.

UPDATE: Ethan suggests ChronoSync:

I tried to be a good geek. I tried to like rsync – lord knows, I tried to like rsync.