Wooden Clock: Tibet!

Ever since I created my Wooden Clock for iPad app I wanted to update it to have the option of letting users pick from an assortment of different clock types for some variety once in a while. Well after over 2 years and many early weekend mornings I finally got around to doing that and the update just went live in the App Store.

wooden-clock-settings-201502The new skin – the first of hopefully more to come in the future – is the “Tibet” clock. I’ve been fond of Tibet for quite some time … probably in large part due to the film “Seven Years in Tibet” and my eternal fascination with Mount Everest – so I figured that theme would be as good as any to start out with.

The App Store database isn’t entirely updated yet so here’s the details of the new version in case it doesn’t appear in the App Store yet:

A brand-new clock has been added … the “Tibet” clock!

The new Tibet clock was hand-carved, assembled and painted in the majestic foothills of Mount Everest near the city of Lhasa. Ok … actually it was all done in Photoshop and a text editor in a dark office .. but that’s almost as inspiring right?! In any case I hope everyone enjoys the new clock!

Seven_Years_in_Tibet_coverFirst – in standard fashion I have to insert a disclaimer here that while I am calling this the new “Tibet” clock, I in no way am implying that I am capable of producing authentic, Tibetan artwork nor is the clock I’ve constructed anything anyone who actually lives in Tibet would recognize or find attractive at all. This is simply my humble attempt at creating a visual homage to Tibet … as well as a geek from the US suburbs is capable of anyway.

I did do some research on Tibetan furniture and artwork before starting. As one might imagine a large part of Tibetan culture and artwork is based on the Buddhist religion – but for various reasons I steered clear of that route and went with a more general, flowery and colorful approach instead. But even with that generic approach, I do hope the final product gives that classic Tibetan vibe … the bright yellows and reds against a bright blue (mountain) sky. On a technical note – the flowers and leaves on the clock were painted with the Procreate app on my iPad and the rest of the clock was created using Photoshop.

While I was packaging things up I went ahead and updated the app icon a bit too. I’m not in love w/the new version but like it much more than the last one I used.

New Icon

Old Icon

The update with the new Tibet clock went live on the App Store today so users will get it the next time they update. If anyone has ideas or suggestions on new clocks I could add in the future swing by the Facebook page and post it!

Oh yeah – here’s the short app preview in included in this update – it shows the new clock in action!

MARWAV (alpha)

The multiple aspect ratio web app viewer (MARWAV).

Here’s a mobile/web app testing tool I threw together (out of necessity) over the past week to help with getting an app at work working in many different device screen sizes … without having to ALT-TAB a million times a day between different Chrome windows.  Please chime in if anyone has seen something else like this out there that is more formal/polished – I’d gladly abandon this and use something else if it exists.




A Logo and a Legend

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!

Job Change #4

As some of you know by now, today was my last day at what was my full time job for the past 2 years. I won’t get into details or company names here but suffice it to say that I felt it was time to re-align my career with a job that A.) utilized more of my talents and B.) involved work that I could (at least sometimes) be passionate about. I realize that’s a pretty tall (picky) order to make in the current times we live in (just having a job is hard enough for many people). Honestly that mentality is a large reason why I stayed there for 2 years. I figured I’d shut up and be thankful to have a job, and find a way to make it work over time. Unfortunately that approach didn’t pan out and my family can attest to the fact that cramming that square peg in the circle for 2 years took it’s toll on me/us. For the record – a few of the key things that motivated me to get up and do something about it were the books “Delivering Happiness“, “Rework” and of course my recent finding of Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford address.

Anyhow – this will be the 4th time I’ve “changed” jobs now since my 1st job out of college. I know that’s pretty common these days but I still think it’s weird. I wish life was like it was when my grandfather was working – where you got a job and worked it for 30+ years and then you retired happily ever after (more or less).  I really want to find a job I can stay at for the long haul so I don’t end up moving through 20 jobs with nothing to show for it by the time I retire. Naturally I’m hoping my next job (starting in a week) will be just that.

In any case – with this latest job change I’m setting a new rule for myself which is that I will always try to make sure my job is something I’m proud and passionate about – and that I won’t hesitate to change jobs again if that stops being the case. Easier to say than do of course  – here’s hoping I can stick to it.

PS: Special thanks to my long-time friend/colleague Marc who gave me this parting gift – as well as the developers who gave me a very warm send-off. I plan on staying in touch w/all you guys.

Jobs on Jobs

I posted this on Facebook a week or so ago but since I’m guessing most people likely didn’t have time to watch it I thought I’d write out my favorite quote from the speech here:

“For the past 33 years i’ve looked in the mirror and asked myself, if today was the last day of my life would I want to do what I’m about to do today – and whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row I know I have to change something.

…and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work – and the only way to do great work is to love what you do.

…You’ve got to find what you love. If you haven’t found it yet keep looking – and don’t settle.”

Easy words for a billionaire… I know. For most folks, myself included, running your life by these kind of idealistic terms is too risky. But once in a while moments come when it is possible.