Be Good Not Bad by Brian Warren

Recent pages from the journal

25 March 2008

Dept. of Currency: Penny Dreadful 

Gruber links to a story mentioning that the US penny not only costs more than a penny to produce but it’s worth has declined substantially.

Gruber says he’s “been throwing pennies away for years”, and while I agree with Garrett that saving change is preferable, I’ve been advocating for years that we should just do away with the penny all together.  Just 50 years ago a penny had more worth than today’s quarter.

Let’s ditch the penny, get a dollar coin (we can even put Lincoln on it), and round all our transactions to the nearest .05. It’s not uncommon for economies to adopt this practice. Why not us?

23 March 2008

Happy as a Cog

Cog Graphic

In just a few days this blog will celebrate it’s fourth birthday. How fun! No need to send gifts or cards. Just raise your glass in the direction of Colorado.

Here’s something else to celebrate too. A few months ago, I joined up with Happy Cog Studios as a Strategic Partner. What an honor! Back before I even started my blog, I read Designing with Web Standards, Happy Cog founder Jeffrey Zeldman’s book about the proper way to make websites. It was then that I thought, “Hey, I should really get into making websites the proper way.” My first real exercise in doing that was starting up my blog. (See how we’re coming full circle here?)

So far working with Happy Cog has been a really wonderful experience. I enjoy working with a group of people who are so talented and also have people dedicated to tasks that I normally only can do part-time, such as project management and client relations. Being a “Strategic Partner” with Happy Cog means I get to work with them a lot on projects; however, I’m still doing lots of work with Be Good Not Bad and Method Arts, too.

I feel so thankful to be where I am right now. A new baby at home, a successful business that I’ve grown from scratch, and supportive wife who is helping out with the work part-time. Fun stuff!

You can see my profile on Happy Cog’s site here: About Brian Warren.

5 March 2008

Mopey at SXSWi 2008

SXSW Interactive

It’s that special time of year, when everybody is packing up to head out to SXSW. This will be my third time going down to Austin for this geekfest, and it should be a really good time. I have the honor of co-hosting a Core Conversation with the dashing Mark Bixby this year. We’re really excited about the topic and it already seems like we have a nice crowd of rad people joining us for it.

The topic is Specialization vs. Doing it All. Can a designer/developer do it all, and be good at it all? If not, what does that mean and how does specializing impact:

  • a project.
  • your business plan.
  • client expectations.
  • competitive edge.
  • marketability.
  • your creative and personal satisfaction.

We’ll share our personal stories about what things have been like for us in this realm, as well as some lessons and ideas about collabortion. However, the key to Core Conversations is that they’re round-table discussions, which means it will be as good as the people who show up, so we’re counting on you!

There are so many panels, parties, etc. to attend, and it’s hard to juggle all the stuff and figure out what to go to. I highly recommend sched.org as a tool to do just that. It’s pretty fantastic.

All in all, I’m only semi-excited this year, as I have this cute little baby at home that I have to leave behind for five days (my usual mood regarding SXSW is utter giddiness). So if you see me moping around, introduce yourself and cheer me up. Seriously. Every year I meet more and more very cool people, so I hope if you happen to see me, please come introduce yourself.

22 February 2008

Bridget & Brian Warren 

My good buddy, and local design ninja, Derek Balmer out of the blue decided to do an awesome illustration of Bridget and I, based off a photo that was taken just hours after she was born. As a reminder, you can follow Bridget’s adventures on her website, BridgetWarren.com. Thanks Derek!

11 February 2008

Pixish 

An entire site based on spec work. They say they’re “[c]onnecting image makers with buyers.” But what they’re really doing is creating micro-contests where a bunch of people do a bunch of work and a select few get paid for it. Awesome! Anything that tries to recruit people by using the words “make a name for yourself” makes me irky. There are plenty of ways to make a name for yourself without devaluing an industry at the same time. My advice: Run away.

14 January 2008

A Natural in Congress

  • Me: I ordered a baby monitor and Call of Duty 4 today.
  • Greg Storey: lol.
  • Greg Storey: I like your priorities.
  • Me: It’s an easier sell when I buy video games and baby stuff in the same purchase.
  • Me: Next: a onesie and Orange Box.
  • Greg Storey: You’ll be a natural in Congress.

11 January 2008

Bridget

bridgemonster.jpg

On December 29th, Bridget Ruth made her big debut. Wow. Anna and I are just stunned. We love this little girl more than we’ve ever loved anything in our lives. She didn’t have to do anything to earn our love, she just showed up. If that’s not a pretty good example of a miracle, well, I’m not sure what is. It’s hard not to become just ridiculous optimists when a baby arrives. The sky seems bluer, the air fresher, the world awesome-r.

She’s definitely got me wrapped around her cute little fingers. I take tons of photos of our little girl, and my heart melts pretty much every time I look at her. I can’t believe I have a lifetime to get to know our little girl and be a key part of her life.

I think the world is going to be a better a place with Bridget in it. I know mine is.

I’ve posted a few photos so far, all here on Flickr, and a website where I’m posting links to videos and more fancy things over time, all at BridgetWarren.com.

27 December 2007

Paying for Twitterific 

Seth Dillingham posts a bit about Twitteriffic, a Twitter client I use pretty much all the time. He refers to it as making his one-man office “feel a bit like I’m working in a big room full of friends and other developers”. I couldn’t agree more.

Twitteriffic is free to use if you don’t mind Deck ads coming through the Twitter stream once an hour. Deck ads are pretty classy and unobtrusive. If you don’t want the ads to show up, buy Twitteriffic for $14.95. Sounds like a nice comprimise.

Some naughty person, eagerly anticipating coal in his stocking next year, posted a hack that strips out the ads. In response I just registered my copy. If you use Twitteriffic, I suggest you follow our lead and do the same.

24 December 2007

Apple’s Geniuses Treated Me Right

Genius Bar Logo

It had been awhile since I’d visited the Apple Store Genius Bar until, earlier this month, I had to take my laptop in for repair.

I bought my MacBook Pro over a year and a half ago in anticipation of needing a powerful laptop that could run both Mac and Windows and be a reliable computer for work. It was one of the first Macbook Pros that Apple produced. I hear a lot of people say when new models come out they are a little gun-shy and want to wait a few revisions before purchasing. I ignored that “wisdom” and bought this computer anyway, and it’s run pretty much flawlessly the entire time.

That is, until about a month ago when it started making some weird noises. The noises started fairly quietly and were intermittent, but over a period of a week or two they escalated into this: Fan Racket (mp3). Eek!

Because the noise wasn’t completely constant I broke out the microphone and recorded it. The computer is still under warranty so I knew getting it repaired was no problem, but I still wanted proof. Before I took it in for repair, I purchased a backup computer, a middle-of-the-line MacBook. I had some hard-pressing deadlines and couldn’t afford to be computer-less for a few days.

The next day, new laptop in hand, old laptop ready for repair, I walked into my appointment with the Genius Bar at the Cherry Creek Apple Store. The guy there was very impressed I had recorded the fan noise. Despite the fact that my ailing computer wasn’t making a sound at the moment, he believed me, and checked it in for repair.

Nineteen hours after dropping it off, the store calls and says, “Your computer is repaired and ready to be picked up.” Wow. The guy had told me it would be quick, but I was thinking in days, not hours (especially since this was during their Christmas season rush).

Apple gets a bit of flack about their Genius Bar. I’m sure some of it is warranted. Maybe it’s just that the press doesn’t like them calling it a “Genius” bar. The truth of the matter is that every time I’ve had to visit there over the years they’ve given me top notch support.

Everybody has something to learn from these types of experiences. Kathy Sierra talks a bit about this in a blog post that highlights the difference between the gorgeous marketing materials for products and their dull, white manuals. Why do most companies treat their potential users so much better than their actual users? I suppose we know the answer. It’s more work, it’s harder, and it’s expensive. But it obviously pays off too. From the unboxing experience and the gorgeous manuals to the free training classes and the genius bar, Apple treats their customers very well. Apple’s doing pretty well for themselves and they consistently rank #1 in customer satisfaction among computer companies.

I’m glad to have my MacBook Pro back and hope I’ve learned a bit on the way.

21 December 2007

Band Of Horses Live @ Amoeba Music 

Fantastic live show from Band of Horses. I just left this window open playing while working this morning. Lots of other treats up there too that I’ll have to dig through.