Somebody pull his head out of his arse already.

Will Zuck’s arrogance ever see an end? Facebook claims that their new messaging system will render e-mails and phone numbers obsolete. How are they planning to achieve this exactly? I don’t know. Maybe someday phone numbers or e-mails as we know it will become useless. But it surely won’t be because of Facebook. Not that over 90% of phone user in the world are not Facebook users. Or that the Facebook account itself relies on one having an external e-mail address to begin with.

Origin of Numbers

Have you ever wondered how Arabic numbers as we know it have come to take its current shape and form? I have taken few minutes to create this simple graph that outlines the evolution of Hindu-Arabic numerals glyphs.

Notice that 1, 2, and 3 started as mere count of an object – a stick.
Number 4 probably meant a quadrant or dividing something into four.
Seven looks like it’s always been seven as we know it.

Samsung Galaxy Tab

Samsung releases a product that has potential and actually could be useful, something that Apple’s iPad never was. The Samsung Galaxy Pad is smaller than the too-big-to-be-portable-iPad. It packs lot of features that puts iPad to extreme shame. In comparison to the iPad, the Samsung Galaxy Pad provides consumers what they want from the get go rather than purposely holding back features for later releases in attempt to secure future sales – a strategy obviously apparent in Apple’s recent products.

Silly example from Apple website

Apple is usually sensible especially when it comes to their website design and usability. But I noticed something on Apple’s site that sort of insulted my intelligence. This happened when I was browsing their site for a new Macbook Pro. Once you drill down to the product detail you will see an image of the Macbook Pro on the right hand side. Below it are three links that let’s you view the three different sizes that MacBook Pro comes in; 13″, 15″, and 17″.

Continue reading “Silly example from Apple website”

The iPhone Cover-Up

The new iPhone 4, like generations before it, is a beautifully styled object. It appears cunningly simple at first but the amount of attention given to detail and design of each piece that make up the exterior is truly admirable. The texture, the curve, the sheen and the bevel of each button and pieces are styled and carved to make this one of the most strikingly elegant industrial design in recent years. Continue reading “The iPhone Cover-Up”

Understanding your clients

Hardest thing about being a designer is not the designing itself, it’s understanding clients. We all have dealt with indecisive clients who don’t seem to know what they want and change their mind all the time. There are times when approvals or design sign-offs seem to have no effect at all. Most designers don’t have a clue why certain clients act this way and conclude that clients are insane. Continue reading “Understanding your clients”

Color correcting digital photos using Photoshop

No one and no camera’s auto AE program gets perfect exposure every time. In the film days, photographers were able to compensate for this imperfection in the development lab. During the film developing and print process, dodging, burning, and exposure duration can be used in combination to tweak the print. In digital, we don’t have development process. So it’s perfectly okay not to feel guilty using Photoshop to color correct your photos. Everyone, even pros use some digital manipulation (even when they don’t admit to it). Continue reading “Color correcting digital photos using Photoshop”

Dyson Ball Marketing

This is a clip from one of the TV ads for Dyson Ball vacuum cleaner. You can see a lazy person vacuuming around everything; toys, dog bowl, dining room chair, etc to show you how the Dyson Ball handles curves. In reality, however, it’d be much easier if you moved those things before vacuuming.

In a way, this is brilliant marketing. It shows you how an advertising campaign can skew or distort how we look at things. Advertisers make sure you see only what they want you to see. Most people will pick up and move the dog bowl before attempting to vacuum the floor even if they were using the Dyson Ball. But when commercials like this catch you off guard, people don’t see it that way. They just see the coolness of the Ball in action.

Free for only $5!

While I was searching for a new hosting company I came across this Hostgator’s web hosting offers. Take a look at the three options. If you look closely and compare the Baby Plan (middle) with the Business Plan (third option), you’ll notice that the Business Plan has everything that the Baby Plan has plus couple more features that are included for free. But look at the price. The Business Plan costs 5 dollars more per month than the Baby Plan. Free is good right? Yes, but not so when you have to pay $5 for it.

This reminded me of ‘power of free’ from Dan Ariely‘s book, Predictably Irrational.

How I fixed my Samsung LCD TV

Everyone now can be an expert in anything with the help of the internet. Here’s how I DIY’d my Samsung LCD TV and saved $300 – $400.
The LN series Samsung LCD TV never really powers up instantly even when new. But the time it takes to power up the TV took longer and longer (as long as 10 minutes in some cases). The LED light on the power button would flash with clicking sound. This will eventually lead to your TV not powering up at all. Mind you, the TV is less than 2 years old. Turns out that this is a known problem with most Samsung LCD TVs with model number starting with “LN” and slew of other models as well. Continue reading “How I fixed my Samsung LCD TV”

Scarface School Play

People who came up with this should hang themselves.

You don’t have to be a model citizen to see this is totally inappropriate. Replacing swear words with “motherfudgers” doesn’t make it any safer for kids. What’s a swear word? Is it merely a collection of alphabets that make up a word? Is it not a swear as long as it’s misspelled or pronounced differently? No. swear words are contextual expression of hate. Exact pronunciation and spelling of it is irrelevant because they’re merely a representation of the emotion behind it. When someone swears at one in foreign language, it’s the emotion that gets the point across not the word itself. Think about how some people use the word “fuck”. It can be used to express anger but it also can be used to express amazement in a positive context.

People who made this video are f****g morons.

Is social media making us anti-social?

I believe technology should enrich our lives, make our everyday a bit more interesting and garnish the life we already have as humans in a society. It should not be something that enslaves us.
Look what’s happening around you. Many so called ‘social’ media is actually making people anti-social. The addiction toward technology and social media is so severe that people rarely talk or mingle in person. Continue reading “Is social media making us anti-social?”

It’s a good time to get a digital Single Lens Reflex – Nikon D90

I’ve waited long enough. Time has come for me to get a DSLR. I have ran out of excuses not to get one. I can no longer justify using film or shoot pocket cam when a job at hand demands more. While full-frames still cost more than what I want to spend most decent pro-consumer DSLRs have come down in price to a reasonable level. Objectively speaking, even the entry level DSLRs on the market today are exceptional value considering what they’re capable of. Continue reading “It’s a good time to get a digital Single Lens Reflex – Nikon D90”

Flash – How to hide layers from movie without deleting the layer

I had quite a few people ask me how they can hide a layer in Flash without actually deleting that layer. The little “X” below the eye icon hides a layer from view while you’re working on a file but doesn’t hide that layer from a published movie. What if you don’t want certain layers to be published in a movie but yet do not want to delete them in case you want it back? Many beginners simply delete the layer, test movie, and then undo the deletion if they want the layer back. While this works, it’s not very elegant nor efficient especially when you’re dealing with multiple layers. Not to mention relying on undo is very risky in Flash.

This is where the “Guide” layer comes in. The Guide feature is originally intended to hold a path on which an object should move. Since you wouldn’t want the guide to show in a movie, Flash hides any layer designated as a guide. Since you can designate any layer as a Guide layer, this in turn works perfectly in case you want to hide a layer from a published movie temporarily. Just turn the guide on to hide and turn it back off if you want to include it back in the movie! Simple and elegant.

Amazing Sand Artist

She uses sand on a lightbox. Not only she draws but the drawings transition into sequence of scenes which tell a story which in itself is in  sync with the music throughout the entire thing. Absolutely amazing!

Get to know WordPress plus real web development

I’d like to single out yet another skill-set a web designer must be aware of. It’s WordPress. The enormous popularity of the WordPress platform along with blogging and simple content management has transformed the way we build lightweight websites. It’s unlikely that a large scale site or application would be built entirely of WordPress but we see it being used in blog sections of popular websites such as The New York Times.

WordPress has become so popular, that in some circles, a web designer is known as someone who customizes and designs for WordPress. Contrary to popular belief, however, working with WordPress does not free web designers from the need to learn and gain knowledge of other existing web technologies. WordPress is like a well prepared blank canvass that a designer or a developer must enhance upon. WordPress only frees us from reinventing the wheel, but as far as improving and spicing up the wheel, we can all get creative and sky is the limit.

It’s easy being Picasso

Seriously. Picasso created art as he saw fit. No one questions Picasso. If Picasso decides a woman’s right eye should be twice as large than the other, no one dared to argue otherwise. When Picasso sees a nostril of a goat would be a good match for a woman’s face, people go crazy throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at it.

I would guess that Picasso rarely had to deal with user experience, commercial feasibility, cultural compatibility, revisions, or approvals from fifteen different people. Those things are what lowly designers like us worry about. Because um…, we’re not Picasso.

Complainers are innovators in web development

For those of us who have been developing websites since the 1990s, it’s easy to lay back and say “it won’t get any better than this” as far as front-end development and client-side technologies go. We’ve lived through the early days of web development using primitive HTML tags, rustic browsers, and all of the growing pains of web. It’s amazing how the craft has improved over the years. Stylesheets are now well supported, browsers are much smarter and compliant, not to mention numerous javascript libraries and access to developer communities. So it’s easy to think this is the pinnacle for our tools of the trade. Continue reading “Complainers are innovators in web development”

So you wanna be a Web Designer

Many, many years ago, a web designer was someone who came up with somewhat believable Photoshop renderings of what a webpage could look like. Sometime later a web designer was expected to know some HTML along with pretty good Photoshop skills. A few years later, a web designer had to have some javascript knowledge, have good HTML skills, Photoshop knowledge along with decent discipline in aesthetics. Next, a web designer became someone who knows about CSS, DHTML, XHTML, XML, XSL, JSON and AJAX along with number of scripting frameworks.

Today, a typical web designer is most likely armed with most if not all of the skills mentioned above. Also, a web designer must possess a working knowledge of various web languages and a pretty good understanding of the programming language in general not to mention the knowledge of databases. Otherwise, it’s difficult to earn any  respect or work with other web professionals. In another words, a web designers is a serious jack-of-all-trades. Prepare to be overwhelmed.

You suck at Photoshop

If you haven’t seen You suck at Photoshop tutorials, start watching now. Not only you learn quite a bit on how to use Photoshop for your everyday casual use, the guy is hillarious. It’s not all jokes and comedy. These are genuine Photoshop tutorials. And no, the guy isn’t retarded. He just talks that way and it works. Here are few of my favorite ones. Discover them all on youtube.