Designing my death

This time last year I was busy squir­rel­ing away on a degree in Design Com­mu­ni­ca­tion and found myself hav­ing to “design my own death”. This even­tu­al­ly took shape as a series of illus­tra­tions which end­ed in this album cov­er type illus­tra­tion. In order to tie this all togeth­er I wrote a short descrip­tion of how I came about my demise.

My Death

I reached into the dark depths of the cold water and pulled out the soft tan burlap sack, which had been thrown into the lake by two young men in white shirts rid­ing as-new old-fash­ioned black bicy­cles. The large text in west­ern serif font read­ing “Sat­u­rate before using” at the rim of the bag only added to my fear of dan­ger. Jack­son Browne’s first album was called Jack­son Browne the let­ter­ing on the radi­a­tor bag was a mis­in­ter­pre­ta­tion by the pub­lic and remained a joke between the singer and pho­tog­ra­ph­er Jim Mar­shall, who on a trip to Joshua tree with Stephen Stills and Joni Mitchell; who sat in the back seat of the black Lin­coln Cos­mopoli­tan with sui­cide doors pen­ning “Big Yel­low Taxi”, had com­plete­ly failed in their pey­ote rid­den haze to get any use­ful pho­tographs for the album cov­er.

Inspiration Photography

Clouds over the Foyle Derry City


Corrupt Fonts in Microsoft Word on OS X

For awhile now I have been suf­fer­ing from a bad case of microsoft­ness. Every­time I launch an Office app I have been get­ting end­less cor­rupt font errors, which pre­vent the app from open­ing cor­rect­ly. Not sur­pris­ing­ly no oth­er pro­grams are effect­ed it’s just an office prob­lem. I have tried switch­ing to NeoOf­fice and the oth­er con­tenders but Office is by far the best tool for the job.


Took a few search­es and prob­lems but I found the solu­tion here in an arti­cle by Beth Rosen­gard. After read­ing the arti­cle I down­loaded Lino­type which fixed the prob­lem right away no prob­lems no fus and no major trau­ma.


Good advice from Anil Dash

I talk to a lot of con­sul­tants, free­lancers, and small busi­ness­es who do web work, and I used to be a free­lancer myself, so some­times I get asked for advice on how to price one’s goods and ser­vices.

I think I came up with my best sug­ges­tion today, and it involves only two sim­ple steps:

  1. Slap the client in face.
  2. Tell the client your hourly rate.

If the per­son looked more shocked, hor­ri­fied, offend­ed, hurt, sad­dened, or wound­ed by the slap in the face, then you are still pric­ing your­self too low.

Your mileage my vary, this is not to be con­strued as legal advice, eye-pok­ing may be sub­sti­tut­ed for slap­ping in some states.


Understanding the Need for Multiples

No mat­ter how hard you try and pre­vent it life always gets in the way of mak­ing your own art, in fact it feels so long since I have paint­ed that I am almost ashamed to call it art. I look for­ward threw my to-do lists in my account and I can see the halo of paint­ing time ahead. I have enough expe­ri­ence to know that find­ing the time to paint is much eas­i­er then fig­ur­ing out what it is I want to paint.

I am not sure I will ever be the type of artist who will want to explore the land of mul­ti­ples. I don’t envy the artist who decides to sit and paint twen­ty can­vas­es of sun­flow­ers. I tried it when I did a series of clouds paint­ings, and still feel the first three were the strongest. The oth­er ten were an exer­cise in con­fir­ma­tion of that feel­ing. Whether I am paint­ing or design­ing dig­i­tal­ly, so much time has gone into the thought process before the work has begun that the oth­er iter­a­tions of the work have already been explored.

The excep­tion to this is draw­ing, I can sit and sketch the same per­son for hours and then go off and do a100 sketch­es based on what I have learned. I won­der if there is some­thing I am miss­ing about work­ing in col­or that makes me have a dif­fer­ent frame of mind.


My iMac G5 And The Big Switcheru.

After a week of sit­ting in the win­dow wait­ing for the TNT deliv­ery van and hum­ming ACDC, my arrived. Now I had to of of the and them on as I think that is a bit geeky, but I have to tell you the open­ing cer­e­mo­ny was great fun it all took about a minute and I was plugged in and ready to go. Set up was a breeze and I was able to mount my dead as a tar­get disk and res­cue my files. Relief!

I have to say to any­one who is think­ing about mov­ing from a to a or even just get­ting an Mac to com­pli­ment your com­ple­ment of com­put­er parts. Do it! you will not be dis­ap­point­ed. Get­ting used to takes very lit­tle time and you will very quick­ly find your­self won­der­ing why does not imple­ment the same uni­fied menu sys­tem. The is very cool to play with and you will prob­a­bly do the same thing as me, make it as small as pos­si­ble and turn off mag­ni­fi­ca­tion, until a PC using friend comes by and you want to show off.

The heav­i­ly flout­ed is more use­ful then I thought it would be but I only use post-its and to do lists. As it sits my iMac has 512mb of ram, which is what it came with and it is not enough to real­ly take advan­tage of dash­board as it’s hog. I will be order­ing anoth­er gig asap. For most uses it’s a won­der­ful­ly qui­et machine but as soon as it gets under a lit­tle bit of strain the fans kick off and it gets loud­er but still nowhere near a reg­u­lar PC.

I am in love with , I know it’s avail­able for but I had nev­er played with it. Music is fun again and rip­ping CDs is sooo easy. Being able to switch from to and is great and did I men­tion easy. It is when lis­ten­ing to music or watch­ing a DVD that you realise how good the sound is on an iMac.


Search Engine Optimization for Dummies

There is a real­ly good SEO piece over at The Blog Her­ald which I found via one of my reg­u­lar reads . Since switch­ing from a flash for­mat to a blog for­mat for this web­site I have been get­ting more and more inter­est­ed in this top­ic as I have seen a vast increase in the amount of Google juice I get. Rather then write my ver­sion of what oth­ers have already said I thought I would try and pool togeth­er dif­fer­ent sources that have been of great help to me along the way.

A vis­it to the is very reveal­ing when looked at in this con­text it is not a mea­sure of google rank but it is a quick way to look at what top sites are doing. It becomes quick­ly appar­ent is that there is no one-way to skin this cat and the only thing that these sites have in com­mon is they have great con­tent. I am too new at this blog­ging thing to even pre­tend that I know any­thing about great con­tent so I can’t help there, but there are some things we have con­trol over which can great­ly improve our web­sites per­for­mance.

Understanding What Search Engines See

Google does­n’t see nice styling and does not take a look images when decid­ing what your site is about, it sees your doc­u­ments con­tent in the con­text of its struc­ture. So what gives a site its struc­ture and how does it help your blog? Struc­ture comes from HTML and each of the ele­ments gives its con­tent mean­ing. Use head­ing tags for head­ings, para­graph tags for para­graphs, link tags for links etc, Google under­stands this and uses this struc­ture to make deci­sions about your con­tent. Prob­lems only arise when you start to do things wrong. If you use a strong tag for a head­ing Google pre­sumes your know what you are doing and reads it as bold text rather then an impor­tant part of the page struc­ture. So what are some of the impor­tant ele­ments to keep con­trol of?