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.