Yet another developer/designer post. This one has a fairly buzz-wordy title but the reality is that while the internets may be over-saturated with this kind of thing, so far none of the ones I’ve found work well for me – so I just made my own. Details on GitHub …
Back in 2011 I thought I would start creating quarterly (?) posts that contained a list of the coolest, most-interesting stuff I’d come across in the past few months as a sort of time capsule reference. But since my last (and only) time capsule post was in 2011 I guess this might turn into a yearly thing! In any case … here is my list of some of my favorite things I discovered and enjoyed in 2011:
Time Capsule 20110905
- Doing workouts over my lunch break:
This was an awesome suggestion Holly had early in the year and has been a huge boost to my dedication/motivation with fitness. It also freed up more of my evenings to do other stuff!
I’m on bag 3 (or 4) of this stuff – which means I’ve been drinking it for my breakfast for 5+ months now. It is no doubt the healthiest meal of my day and aside from the manufacturer fussing a tad w/the flavor I still love it and look forward to it every day.
Bear Grylls (link):
This dude is my new hero. Firstly I know there is some controversy about him being a fake, or not hardcore enough – but after watching 4 of the 7 seasons of his “Man vs. Wild” show on the Discovery channel and reading about his climb of Mt. Everest at age 23 I have no doubt at all that he is the real deal and a true stand up guy. And honestly after watching some of the other survival shows, I have to say Bear’s has the best mix of education, adventure and entertainment. Love you, Bear!
- Sublime Text 2 (link):
I’ve always thought people who geeked out about their favorite code editors were a bit odd … but I now have to join that club because this app truly does make code editing fun and I am super ga-ga over it. Too many cool things about it to mention but here’s a good starting point if you’re curious.
Chrome DevTools Autosave (link):
This thing blew my mind. Chrome’s Developer tools are already great out of the box but with this addon/setup things you tinker with can be saved in real-time which, once you get hang of it, can start saving a ton of dev time! Definitely one of top favorite things I found/started using this year.
Github Gists (link):
I’m still fairly new to Github but I discovered Github “Gists” earlier this year and can now say I have finally found the best (IMHO) place to store, manage, share and discover code snippets. I’ve already got 20 some snippets of my own the integration with Sublime Text 2 is insanely awesome. Oh and it’s free.
Alfred App (link):
This is a relatively new thing on my list but so far I really like using it … just another way to use the mouse a bit less which is always good!
Online/social code editors:
Sites like jsbin and jsfiddle are super cool and have often come in quite handy!
I know there are other tools out there like this but in a pinch this site is great for html, js or css optimization/error checking.
I recently stumbled onto dribbble.com … a site sometimes referred to as “Twitter for Designers” but instead of simply broadcasting random chatter like Twitter does, Dribbble is used by designers around the world to post their latest work with other designers – a very cool concept! Unfortunately, the site is somewhat exclusive in that you can’t just register and join – you have to be invited by a member who deems you worthy either by a random invite giveaway, or because you’ve found some other way to stand out from the rest of people wanting an invite.
Anyhow – as soon as I saw some of the artwork on the site I knew I wanted to be a member – not because I think my stuff is as good or better – just because I’d love to share and exchange ideas with such a talented group of designers around the world.
Some invite giveaways simply ask for your name/email and draw your name out of a hat, others require you to submit a small piece of artwork. This graphic here is the first (of many?) graphics I’ve done for such a contest (link here). Graphic was made with Adobe Flash Professional and a dash of Photoshop.
Sure would be nice if I won an invite with this – but some folks wait months/years from what I can tell. Here’s hoping!…
I do a fairly good job saving bookmarks with Delicious every time I find something online I find interesting, helpful etc – but I thought it might be helpful (for myself) to occasionally create a post that mentions the latest few things I’ve come across in some kind of “time capsule” format so I can look back and see some kind of history/archival of these things outside my bookmarks. As usual, few disclaimers up front:
- For this first post it’s hard for me to not go back 6-12 months to mention things I think are much more impressive – but I’m going to resist that urge and just post things from here on out (starting with last week).
- These posts may be weekly, monthly or even less frequent – no idea yet… we’ll see I guess.
- The variety of items mentioned in these posts will likely be all over the place – so if I mention “solving world hunger” next to “awesome new iPhone accessory” please don’t assume I give them both equal weight!
In any case – here’s the list of things for this time capsule:
Time Capsule 20110905
- Book (by David Allen): Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
- This is definitely the “big” item for this time capsule. Naturally it’s a bit embarassing that I’m only finding out about this just now (since it’s ~10 years old) – but I still am finding it fascinating. As late as I am to the party, I don’t feel too bad because:
- Google had the book author come do a talk in 2007
- Completely coincidentally, one of our customers at work is currently implementing this into their existing training curriculum
- And finally, most importantly, I’ve found quite a few (current) iPad/iPhone apps built around this “GTD” methodology as well!
- iPad App Omnifocus
- This is one of the more famous iPad apps (for certain groups) that falls into the productivity category. This one has the (unofficial) backing of David Allen (author of book above) so naturally I’m interested in learning and/or adopting this app into my work/life… another – time will tell item.
For all those out there who swear by the “rival” app “Things“, I’ve researched both (and personally think Things looks cooler) but from what I can tell Omnifocus has a bit more GTD engrained than Things does (they even wrote up a whitepaper about it) so I’m going w/that for now.
- iPad App: Procreate for iPad
- I’ve been using Autodesk’s Sketchbook on iPhone/iPad for a long time now but a couple weeks ago I found out about this app because it was the first (AFAIK) to include “hi res” painting at 1408×1920 – which about doubles what all other iPhone/iPad painting apps have achieved to-date. The app also has some other features I’ve wanted in Sketchbook like paint blending, and more interesting brush types. It’s a different style of painting so it’s going to take a bit to get used to it. I’ve been experimenting with this app over the past couple weeks and will (hopefully) have something to show from it soon.
- Design Resource: CSS Gradient Generator
- I’m sure there are 2 dozen similar tools out there, but I found this last week and thought it was very cool/functional and I’m sure I’ll use it again in the future.
- Design Resource: 100 free @font-face fonts
- I, like many others, am addicted to fonts so naturally I bookmarked this link as soon as I saw it. I’m not sure who actually enforces legal/illegal font usage online but apparently these are all free for online use if you’re a stickler for that kind of thing.
One of the first things I had the opportunity to work on at my “new” job (PI) was coming up with a new logo for the company. Since I’m a big fan of logos in general and given the fact that I’ve spent ~7 years of my life working at PI (ignoring the 2 year hiatus that I’m still trying to forget) you can imagine how excited I was about this project. If that weren’t enough, I was teamed up with a big shot marketing consultant (legend) named Howard Rockett. Click here to toggle his bio text – it’s an impressive read!
Howard wasn’t really assigned to the logo work though – his tasks were much higher level – all centered around helping PI zero in on positioning that reflected all the things that make the company great (values, history, uniqueness etc). However – he made himself available to me whenever I wanted to discuss sketches, concepts etc. It was very inspiring – not to mention humbling – to be able to work with him.
Here’s the final result:
Side note – one of the more inspiring moments I had working with Howard was when he finally revealed our new company tag line. He had worked on it (and other things) while I was working on the logo and when the logo and the tag line came together it was a pretty cool moment. Not only did the icon shape look like a person (head, body, arm) but it also resembled building blocks – all contributing to adding visual design to the perfectly worded company tag line: “Building the people who build your success”. He claims the building blocks aspect hadn’t struck him until after he landed on the tag line – but I think he was just being humble!
In any case – it was very cool to be a part of that process… and of course humbling to be able to participate in helping PI come up with a new logo!