Be Good Not Bad by Brian Warren

Recent pages from the journal

1 October 2007

How to Make (and Can) Plum Jam 

Anna’s been writing some how-to articles lately on her crafty efforts around the house. This one has delicious results to which I can attest. She’s also been taking some amazing photos. Cool stuff!

30 September 2007

Been Gone

Howdy folks. Yep, I’ve been gone from here for awhile. All for good reason. The wifer and I took a nice long trip to the East Coast to unwind a bit. We enjoyed a lovely time in Long Island hanging with my dad, his wife and their (honestly too adorable for his own good) puppy. We saw some great sites, relaxed with the family, and I enjoyed amazing wine and beer while in Empire State.

As if vacationing wasn’t enough, we took a vacation from the vacation and headed over to Boston for six days. There we got to do some nice touristy things while chilling in a bed and breakfast on Beacon Hill. Anna was amazing, hoofing it all over town while over five months pregnant. While in Boston, we had a splendid evening with some of my Boston bretheren, Misters Cedarholm, Marcotte, Sims, and Smith. (In doing so I got lots of dirt on Ethan, so if he starts defaming me, just remember I have pictures.) All joking aside, Boston’s a great town. It was all very charming, and my friends there make it enticing. Now if only they had good weather more than six weeks out of the year…

Brooklyn Bridge

While in New York, we didn’t stay on Long Island the entire time. In fact, we did head into the city for an entire day. We did a nice blend of both the touristy and the non-touristy. We capped off that day at a dinner with Ms. Danzico and the Misters Santa Maria, Murray and Morrison.

We’ve been back for over a week, but I’ve just been busy as a dog (What a terrible simile, by the way. Most dogs I’ve known are pretty lazy). Going out of town is both relatively easy and extremely difficult when you work for yourself. There’s so much project planning to be done so that you don’t end up needing to work while you’re gone (I did work for about an hour one day in the two weeks we were gone). And now that I’m back, it turns out there’s still much to be done. I’m thankful for understanding clients and some amazing fellow freelancers that I work with who make taking vacations possible.

More vacation photos can be found in this flickr set.

Back to work!

13 September 2007

Web Design and Marketing Solutions

Book Review Pic

About a year ago Kevin Potts contacted me about a book he was writing for Friends of Ed about web design for businesses, asking if I’d be the technical reviewer. Many months and edits later, the book is now out, on the shelves. Woo! The complete title is Web Design and Marketing Solutions for Business Websites.

This book isn’t just about web design. It’s also not just about marketing or technology or usability. It’s pretty much the complete package. I recommend this book to anybody wanting a thorough (400 pages!) introduction to corporate web design. I may not hand this to someone looking for books with nice concise titles. Yikes. But alas, I was just the technical editor, and they didn’t consult me on the title anyway.

Seriously though, there’s a ton of good stuff here. After reading this you will definitely be the resident expert on corporate web design. If you’re already a web design ninja, I’d still recommend scanning the chapter headings to see if there’s some stuff there that you need to get a handle on or need brushing up.

Many years ago, I had kind of fallen into the job of web guru for a non-profit organization. I didn’t know it at the time, but I did not know what I was doing. This would have been the perfect book for me. We weren’t a “business” selling a “product”, but nearly all the same principles of site development still apply, and this would have been a very enlightening book at the time.

I’m not sure I really need to sell you on this. If you need a book like this, you probably already know, if you don’t need it, then you probably didn’t make it this far. So, check out the book if you like (That’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy a thousand copies of it, or anything else, after clicking on that link, you’ll make me “rich”. )

Mucho thanks to Kevin for bringing me on, and thanks to Apress/Friends of Ed for publishing the book.

22 August 2007

My Summer Mix Tape

Kong

This is just a bit of an experiment in making a mix tape for you. I got inspired by Keith’s mix tape that he made. Maybe this will be a meme or something. Or not. Either way. I hope you enjoy it. Please let me know if you do.

My Summer Mix Tape [32mb / aac]

I’ve put together a playlist below. I definitely encourage you to buy the music if you like it. I put some iTunes/emusic links in there (the iTunes ones are affiliate links, so I stand to make a good nickel or two if you buy them. Woo!)

  1. Of Montreal - Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games (iTunes / emusic)
  2. Neutral Milk Hotel - Song Against Sex (iTunes / emusic)
  3. Panda Bear - Ponytail (iTunes / emusic)
  4. Cowboy Junkies - Sweet Jane (iTunes)
  5. David Bazan’s Black Cloud - Let Down (free from Stereogum [Update: Ok, Stereogum is “out of licenses”, so I leave you with this iTunes Link of David Bazan, as Pedro the Lion, doing the same song in a 2004 tour.] )
  6. Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci - Mow the Lawn (iTunes)
  7. Faces - Ooh La La (iTunes)
  8. Britta Phillips and Dean Wareham - Indian Summer (emusic)
  9. Death By Panda - In the Summer (free, with lots of other goodies on his site)

20 August 2007

SXSW Panel : Finding a Niche vs. Doing it All

sxsw-2008.jpg

Back when working on the web first became a viable profession, designers had to do everything from branding to programming. It was a do-it-all type of job that definitely attracted a certain kind of mindset to the profession. Things have changed a bit since then, and people are often more specialized, doing a few things really well and finding others to partner with to do the rest.

Over the past year or so I’ve kind of done some ad-hoc interviewing of my colleagues finding out where they are on this spectrum between doing everything and finding a niche. Last year at SXSW I was encouraged by a few of my mates to participate in a panel along these lines, so I put together a panel submission. It will be a good discussion on doing it all vs. finding a niche.

I’ve spoken with and gotten a “yes” from the following brilliant minds to be on this prestigious pane: Mark Bixby, Scott Boms, Kevin Tamura, and Veerle Pieters. So if the topic alone wasn’t enough to get you to vote, seeing all these folks together might be.

Like last year, SXSW is crowdsourcing their panel picking, letting people vote for their favorites. This attracted a lot of heat last year, but I’ve been assured that the voting is only one component of their decision making for the 2008 panel lineup. Nonetheless, I’d absolutely appreciate your vote for my panel. Even if you’re not planning on attending SXSW, and just want to voice your opinion, I imagine your vote still counts.

13 August 2007

Helvetica DVD Deluxe limited edition 

Includes mini posters, buttons, a color still print from the film, and a sample of actual helvetica lead type. Purr….. Did I mention my birthday is this month?

12 August 2007

The New York Times on Clearview 

A slideshow about Clearview, a new typeface that is just plain better for road signs than the original E-Modified typeface that we’ve grown up with. Check out all the examples and comparisions. It’s really fascinating stuff, even for the hobbyist type nut. Note at the end the standardisaton that is proposed for how signs are laid out. I can’t wait to start seeing Clearview on our signs around here. Associated NYTimes article: The Road to Clarity.

10 August 2007

10MPH

10mph.jpg

Three years or so ago I mentioned on my blog about a few guys who were riding a Segway across the country and making a film about it. Last night I got to go to a screening of that film here in Denver. It was a really great film.

These guys spent 100 days traveling across the country, from Seattle to Boston, riding at just 10 miles per hour. They met a ton of really interesting people along the way, often staying at their houses, cooking on their grills and helping in the kitchen. It seemed like the Segway helped them make fast friends, in that people would pull over their cars to meet them and find out what the heck they were doing. However, in their travels it was obvious that this wasn’t a story about a Segway. It was about people. It’s about doing your own thing and taking life as slow as you can.

A good example is that Kansas was one of their favorite states. I know I wouldn’t have predicted this, as more often than not, I’m trying to get through Kansas to somewhere else. I stay on I70 and for the most part am bored. You can’t travel on I70 and go 10 miles per hour, so the filmmakers took it slow on smaller roads and had a blast. They met great people and saw some wonderful things. One time I was driving through Kansas and our car broke down. We spent the better part of a week waiting to get it fixed and were forced to walk around the town of Hays, talking to people and seeing the sites. We had a great time, despite my being sick and our bank accounts dwindling as we got a new engine.

After the screening, the filmmakers and some of us filmgoers went to Forest Room 5 for drinks and to play with the Segway. (Sidenote: I ran out of gas for the first time in my life when scootering the mile-and-a-half from the movie to Forest Room 5.) We had a good time chatting talking about life and goofing around on the segway. I appreciate what these guys do, both in the filmmaking sense and in that they encourage people to get out, slow down and to do your own thing.

They’re also on Netflix and Amazon. Check out their site at 10MPH.com.

7 August 2007

Grillin! 

Grillin'Anna’s so sweet. She bought me a “new” grill for my birthday. What a woman! She snagged it off Craigslist for $60. Not too shabby, especially when you consider that you gotta spend a couple hundred to get something decent new.