Archive for May, 2007

Surface: The New Old Way of Interaction

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

The freshly unveiled project Microsoft Surface just might redefine the way we use computers. Surface takes the good old real-life method of interacting with everyday objects and puts that on screen. It’s basically a coffee table with a 30″ flatscreen as the tabletop, controlled by a multi-touch sensor. No more need for a mouse or keyboard, everything appears to be very intuitive and allows multiple simultaneous users at once. A few of these features will also be found in the upcoming Apple iPhone, and movie-goers will undoubtedly be reminded of the movie Minority Report. If Microsoft stays on schedule, we’ll be seeing the first of these babies out in the wild around the end of this year. Might take a while to reach your living room, though, unless you have $10000 to spare. Prices are expected to go down significantly in the following 5 years.

Another very similar approach can be found in the research of Perceptive Pixel, Inc. Check out the following video for some really awesome computer interaction.

Grade Your Website: 31 Free Online Tests

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Magnifying GlassAviva has put together a great collection of online tools to check your website. The 31 tools are grouped into code validation, accessibility, speed tests, browser simulators and search engine optimization (SEO). You’ll also find keyword analyzers and link checkers among the bunch. These tools are all very useful to ensure you are making the best out of your website, and as such I can highly recommend them.

Looking To Buy A Good Digital Camera?

Saturday, May 26th, 2007

Digital CameraIf you’re thinking about buying a digital camera, but you have no idea where to start looking, or if you have a general idea but you’d like to get some second opinions, look no further. Digital Photography Review has everything you need to make an informed decision. Detailed reviews, a tool to directly compare cameras, and a multitude of ratings and written experiences by photographers will shed the marketing skin off and let you know which cameras are really worth their price tags. To round it off, Digital Photography Review gives you sample galleries of unedited shots in full resolution, so you can see exactly what you’ll be getting. Long-time favorite of mine.

FlickrAnd if that’s not enough for you, you should check out a relatively new feature that Flickr has been offering for a while but most people are unaware of. Camera Finder lets you filter photos by camera model, and presents you with charts about the most popular cameras around.

I think both links are great resources to help you with your purchase. The only thing that’s missing is the possibility to actually try the cameras, but they’re an excellent starting point before you head off to the store. Happy shopping!

Adobe Live 2007 in Review / Impressions

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

Adobe LiveWell, 2 days of the Adobe Live 2007 conference are now over and I’m absolutely exhausted. Hey Adobe, next time get a place with some air conditioning! Complaints aside, the event had some good highlights that I’d like to get into.

CS3 Presentations and Insightful Lectures
CS3 Presentations and Insightful LecturesA majority of the event was — naturally — about the new CS3 applications. Most of the features presented can be seen on the Adobe site (or summarized here), although it was good to see the tools used in context. Apart from product presentations, some non-Adobe-centric lectures were held by award winning designers such as Erik Spiekermann, Robin Preston, and Uli Staiger, where they talked about design theories in general and showed off their portfolios, along with interesting walk-throughs of some of their work (breaking down their illustrations into Photoshop layers, techniques and all). My personal favorites were the After Effects lectures where some friendly folks showed the project files of some commercial TV spots. A lot of the material they used was surprisingly basic, just massively adjusted in AE and Photoshop… makes you feel like you can just go out with a consumer videocam and make the next VW clip. I’m sure Adobe welcomes that train of thought. ;)

The Evangelist
Jason LevineIf you ever get the chance to see Adobe evangelist Jason Levine present: do it. The guy’s highly entertaining, and an evangelist in the true sense of the word, constantly spreading his arms high into the skies and proclaiming he’s “healed the audio, my dear friends. Isn’t it amazing?”. I’m sure John Nack could fill us in with some fun anecdotes on Jason. *nudge*

Apple’s Omnipresence
Apple Training Apple was clearly a large sponsor of the event, and while their logo wasn’t present in the flyers and presentations along with the others, they had their donated 8-core Mac Pros all over the place: it still came down to seeing Apple logos everywhere. They also had a moderated hands-on training area with 24″ iMacs, some 40 of them I think… such a lovely sight.

Gadget Fun
Space Navigator 3D There were a handful of partner companies displaying their products, such as, of course, Wacom. Everytime I play with that Cintiq, it gets more and more attractive. My personal favorite gadget was the 3Dconnexion SpaceNavigator. This little thing works alongside your mouse and keyboard and offers a very intuitive way to navigate applications such as Photoshop. Its real strength, however, lies in 3D work, where you can easily maneuver through 3D space. I know this must sound like an ad, but I genuinely enjoyed working with it, and with its low price tag I’m considering getting one.

Erik Spiekermann (and the Second Life Scandal)
Erik SpiekermannI had the pleasure of meeting Erik Spiekermann before he held his lecture. He was standing around in front of the Adobe stand looking somewhat lost so I approached him and we had a little chat. When I asked him about the Second Life Meta Font ordeal, he didn’t give me much information for legal reasons, but I know that there were some legal (and expensive) repercussions for Linden Labs. As every year, Spiekermann’s lecture was a blast and had nearly everyone in the room in tears. Gotta give it to the man, he’s funny and brings it to the point.

Adobe Live Blog
Adobe Live BlogIf you’d like some more information on the event, check out the official Adobe Live Blog, which was possible thanks to the hard work of fellow blogger Dirk Metzmacher of the Photoshop-Weblog. Most of it’s in German, but you can see some general impressions of the event in this video.

Friendly greetings go out to fellow bloggers Kai of, with whom I spent the better half of the event running from lecture to lecture, as well as Bigod and Dirk, who I met during the two days.

Adobe Live 2007 photos are shot by Jan Metzmacher / © 2007 Adobe Systems Inc.

Adobe Live 2007 in Cologne

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

Adobe Live 2007
Hi everyone, just a heads-up that I will be at Adobe Live 2007 in Cologne, Germany. It’s running tomorrow and Thursday, and I’ll be there the full two days, so if any of you happen to be there as well and would like to meet up, just let me know in the comments. I’d be glad to hear from you!

Erik Spiekermann (creator of FF Meta, I reported the SecondLife incident) will be holding a lecture, along with an array of other well-known designers, Photoshop gurus and photographers, so I’m going to take along as much as I can. I’m quite excited to go, and I hope to provide you with some coverage on the event.

So, let me know if you’ll be there!

Step-By-Step Logo

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

Step-By-Step LogoChuck Green walks us through the creation of a logo for a helicopter transport company, step-by-step, from the beginning concept phase right through to the final product. He explains why he chose certain motifs, how he developed them and which revisions he had to undertake. Also, don’t forget to check out this overview (PDF), where he shows a lot of his interim versions. Very informative, and a cool way to see how other designers work.

Beautiful Business Card Design Gallery

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

Business CardsIf you’re looking for some inspiration for your next business cards, this photoset by dailypoetics has it all. The set is quite large, currently featuring 583 “little works of art”, as they put it. I always enjoy well crafted business cards; they offer quite a bit of creative freedom, leave a lasting impression and are great to collect.

Spoonfork – Online Flash Magazine

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

Spoonfork - Online Flash Magazine
First off, sorry to my English speaking readers, as the following recommendation is a German site, but I had to give it a mention.

Spoonfork, a project by my ex-classmate Bashar Farhat and editor Katja Neumann, is a highly creative flash magazine. Spoonfork is all about lifestyle: music, fashion, designers, modern furniture and more. What sets it apart from other lifestyle sites is that it’s built up like a real magazine and every page is put together with a lot of care for details, offering various methods of interaction, minigames, audio, downloads, prizes, and things you wouldn’t normally expect from an online mag. With their bimonthly schedule, I know Bashar and Katja spend many long nights creating refreshingly new concepts for Spoonfork’s pages. And the hard work is worth it: it’s just so much fun flipping through the pages, discovering all the little gimmicks they’ve hidden.
A little tip: flip through to the back cover, they’ve added a little surprise this issue.

Spoonfork has recently won a bronze “Lead Award 2007” and they’re nominated for the Grimme Online Award right now. So, if you have a little time, go check out Spoonfork, it’s worth it! Also, if you have a little more time perhaps you could help them out by voting for them. Gook luck to Spoonfork from position: absolute.

Freelance Fun

Friday, May 11th, 2007

Hey everyone, it’s Friday, and to wrap up the week, here are some good laughs courtesy of FreelanceSwitch!

Top Ten Signs You May Be Charging Too Little
They offer some compelling signs that you just might be charging a weeeee bit below your value. Here’s a definite sign:

Number 7:
New clients are always asking what “the catch” is.

Top 10 Reasons you should quit your job today and become a freelancer
Of course, as faithful freelancers, they make their case on why it’s better to be a freelancer:

Number 5:
Only farmers should wake up that early

12 Breeds of Client and How to Work with Them
And here’s a really, really, really good article that wanders between hilarious and seriously helpful: 12 Breeds of Client and How to Work with Them. I’ve worked with numerous breeds and can say they’ve really hit the nail on the head.

The Get-a- Good-Deal Client

Well then, have a great weekend! I for one will be meeting up with a friend and playing around with that new HD video camera and, you guessed it, After Effects.

200+ Free Tutorial Videos on Adobe Design Center

Thursday, May 10th, 2007

Adobe is offering over 200 short tutorial videos surrounding their new CS3 Suite. A lot of these can be applied to previous product versions, so dig in! On a side note, the content can also be accessed from within BridgeHome in your CS3 applications, as John Nack points out.

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