The Pebble Smartwatch Look

Despite being one of the largest Kickstarters to date, I've never browsed around on the Pebble Smartwatch site. Surprisingly, they have a very strong pixel art vibe going on! I love the Our Story pieces and it's a nice compliment to their display restrictions.

It's a tricky place to be - because they certainly don't want to look like a cheap device but they've managed to inject a good bit of personality into their brand. The next few years should be very interesting for them.

Dhani Harrison & Friends

I should probably dive more into his catalog of personal works but, thus far, my familiarity Dhani Harrison is almost entirely of him covering songs by his father, George Harrison. That tradition continues with this Conan performance of "Let It Down"*. Dhani's voice has an eerie similiartiy to his father's (understandably - see also: the Lennon boys) but he does an incredible job of staying faithful to the original material; horns, backup singers, lotsa guitars and doesn't mess with the vibe of the song one bit.

There's more from Conan's weeklong tribute to George Harrison that you can watch here.

* Bonus: the guitarist is a familiar face.

Famo.us

After reading through this Quora inquiry about the benefits and downsides of Famo.us javascript I'm incredibly intrigued. The promises the tech makes - fast animation engine, very low latency, no backend - sound familiar but really get more interesting once you read into the details of how those things are accomplished. They really do seem to be taking a fresh approach to making Javascript faster and making building apps easier.

Quilt Bot vs Pixelsorter

What happens when one automated, image generating Twitter bot tweets at another automated, image generating Twitter bot? Well, when its Quilt Bot to Pixelsorter, it results in an endless loop of manipulated, glitched out madness. These kinds of "conversations" are probably rampant on Twitter but this is the first of its kind, to me, with image volleying. Hopefully whomever is behind both the bots is tweaking their algorithms to help make this loop grow and change into something even more intriguing than it already is.

Jakub Rozalski

I'm a sucker for a solid retro-future / alternate history visualization and Jakub Rozalski has them in spades. His concept art seems to mix Renaissance simplicity with Mech Warrior - and yet it still feels quite classy. There's a lot of potential album art just waiting to be mined and used for the right pairing.

via

Groundislava

"Girl Behind the Glass" is a track from Groundislava's new album Frozen Throne but it also doubles as the backdrop for an interactive piece from the We Did It collective. Even if you're not into the music the interactive piece is a nice throwback to 80's neon overload visuals - complete with Power Glove-y first person cursor. It's a strange, glitchy, rainbow fever dream - and that's a combination of words meant as a compliment.

via Brian.

Friday Videos - Sept 26th, 2014

I'm headed into a weekend of travel and celebration with friends at the wedding of one my best friends. I can't wait to celebrate such a great occasion in his life.

But enough personal celebrations, here's your playlist! Need more? Enjoy this lovable oaf, this terrifying view or this bit of insight into a classic. Oh, and don't miss this gem.

Have a great weekend.

The First Thing Your Website Should Say

Rather enjoyed this Robert Williams piece on The first thing your website should say as it contains some obvious but often overlooked insight many startups could do to heed the advice of:
So many websites start by telling you about their great solution. Whatever the app, service, or product they all claim theirs is the easiest and best to use. Usually, they make these sweeping statements in big bold letters. It's always the first thing you read on a page. ...

It's sorta like a comedian going on stage and just delivering punchlines without the setup. It wouldn't make sense and it wouldn't be funny. Also, it wouldn't be very hard to be a stand-up comedian. There's no skill in delivering a punchline. Anyone who can speak can do that.
It's a problem that you see all the time - state the solution before the problem is established. I highly suggest reading the rest of the piece and taking it to heart.

via Daniel

Manual For iPhone

Manual is a high class, iOS, app for turning your powerful iPhone camera into a dSLR. Meaning, it takes all those automated focus and white level smartness and puts the control in your hands. Assuming you're comfortable with a manual camera, it seems like a nice option for doing it your own way.

Bonus, the intro video is quite amusing. Just the right amount of flippant absurdity. The outtakes aren't bad either.

NYCTA Graphics Standards Manual

I can't stop thinking about this NYCTA Graphics Standards Manual Kickstarter Project. The story behind the manual is quite a feat:
If you found yourself in the New York City subway in the 1960s, you were probably lost.

Signs didn't help you find your way, standards didn't exist, even handmade lettering was common. Mass confusion was the status quo.

In 1970, the Standards Manual changed everything.
Designers Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda created a graphic system that unified the entire subway system and is still, by and large, in place today. The KS project is reprinting the entire manual in its entirety.

I'm a bit torn on spending a decent chunk of money on an inspirational coffee table book but also quite compelled by the idea of a such a noted, albeit under recognized, piece of graphic design history.

Give some serious consideration to backing it.

Soderbergh's Raiders of the Lost Ark

In case you missed it, Steven Soderbergh took it upon himself to create a version of Raiders of the Lost Ark as a "staging study" of the film as a whole. You can see plenty more examples of these kinds of investigations here but Soderbergh's is particular interesting because (A) It's a black and white version, (B) It's got The Social Network soundtrack underneath it - giving it a particularly odd new vibe on the whole and (C) it's Steven Soderbergh and rarely do you see notable directors posting bootleg versions of popular films on Vimeo. Watch it while you can.

Pictura

A Flickr image search plugin for Photoshop sounds like one of the most obvious and "how does this not exist already?" things I've encountered in awhile. I tend to lean more on Illustrator these days but I can think of any number of occasions where this would be incredibly useful.

Dimensions

There's a level of pixel pushing that can be extremely aggravating as a developer. Being told to literally move a pixel one or two pixels in a particular direction seems asinine until you realize that somehow that difference actually ends up mattering with the final product. This Dimensions extension easily lets you view the distance between elements - so when you feel the need to be really sure that something is off by a pixel or two,

Serial (from This American Life)

The folks at This American Life have started their first offshoot series. Serial will be an ongoing series, much like TAL, but instead of new stories every week they will focus on one story per season and follow the characters and plot developments throughout. You know, kinda like TV. This provides a huge opportunity to hear a lot more from the people involved in any particular saga and it sounds promising to me. Hopefully they even take a little hint from Love + Radio and just let those involved speak for awhile, uninterrupted.

Whatever it ends up being, I'm happy to see such an institution like TAL finally embracing a bit of technology.

Linda Tirado on Poverty

Over the weekend I poured over this piece from Linda Tirado. The 32-year old wrote a long forum post about Why People In Poverty Make Terrible Decisions - like eating fast food or consistently smoking, despite knowing the dangers. It is a long piece that covers a lot of ground but it never strays into a tone of animosity or chiding - it's merely explanatory as to just how hard it is to be in poverty.

The general assumption of the poor is that they're lazy or intentionally not working too hard to get themselves out of their situation but, truth be told, you can work incredibly hard and make no movement upward. Tirado's piece is fantastic top to bottom. It gives perspective that you probably thought you had but never had the specifics to go along with it.

Terry Gilliam on Hollywood

This great Terry Gilliam interview covers a lot of ground - from his departure from the Hollywood system, to his influence in new filmmakers, his Just Ahead of the Curve "flops", his plans for the failed Don Quixote movie and plenty of insight on his new film The Zero Theorem (the final film in his "Orwellian triptych").

I've always really enjoyed Gilliam's very articulate ability to express his opinion on things, even if they aren't always the most optimistic and this article is full of truths about himself and his view on the movie world.

Friday Videos - Sept 19th, 2014

According to this tweet we're heavily into Fall weather here in NYC. The city seems to have abandoned Summer at the drop of a hat and it's full force Fall now. So that's the weather report here in New York City. Here's some videos. If you need more - check out this doggie or google "The Beautiful Pizza" just for fun.

Have a great weekend.

Vintage Visualizations

Occasionally I hit up Brooklyn Brainery for a class or two on something interesting (Cults 101, Personal Rights vs Police) and am always intrigued by the beautiful, vintage, data visualizations they have adorning their walls. A few years ago they launched a digital repository of the Census Bureau creations but now they've gone one step further and made them available for purchase over at Vintage Visualizations. If you know a data nerd, or a history nerd, or (ideally) both - there is no better gift.

I'm really smitten with configurations like the Most Populous City Ranking and the Occupations by Race and Nationality charts.

iOS 8 Vector UI

Given that the iPhone 6 is officially released today it just seems appropriate to steer your eye towards this iOS8 Vector UI collection - an illustrator file of interface elements to help make mocking up apps feel accurate and natural. I'm sure there are better / more efficient tools out there for this sort of thing than just dragging out of an Illustrator file but it gets the job done and has a low barrier for entry. There's also a nice bit of insight to go along with the vector tools. Times are changing when it comes to screen resolutions but you gotta learn to roll with it.

Semi-related: here's a massive dump of presentation templates. So once you've got that design you can show it off in a fancy way.

615 To Fame Release

If you haven't taken the time to listen to Steelism's full-length 615 to Fame, please stop what you're doing and do so now.
It's nice to hear the diversity that such an undertaking can accomplish. Bonus: if you get the vinyl there's some illustrative work on the back from Rachel Briggs that will surely please the eyes.