Archive for the ‘blog’ Category

Love for Japan

Draw a heart, preorder a letterpress poster, help Japan’s disaster relief effort.

Submissions due by March 31st.

Love for Japan heart

Pirate Devil Duckie

Back when I was a sports racer everyday, I spotted this little guy and snatched him up, thinking I’d send him along to Ze. (Secretly, I wanted to come up with an awesome PIRATE DEVIL DUCKIE! power move, but I let that dream fall by the wayside.)

He still sits at my desk.

Relive 2006 as Ze goes through old episodes and shares a peek behind The Show.

pirate devil duckie!

Chartwell: typeface for making charts

Chartwell gives you super-clean charts via ligatures in a typeface, plus the license supports @font-face (but ligature support is iffy in most browsers). $15/ea for Pies, Bars and Lines; $40 for the complete set.

Chartwell Lines

Chartwell: “Chartwell is a family that explores the use of OpenType to interpret and visualize data. The font format is highly portable and can be used in most applications that support ligatures. The data also remains editable allowing for easy updates.”

via kottke.

Numbers Two and Three

Book No. 3 from A Book Apart is now available—The Elements of Content Strategy by Erin Kissane.

This means I can finally order Book No. 2, CSS3 for Web Designers by Dan Cederholm. (Because I’m (occasionally) a cheap bastard, I’ve been waiting until today to save a few bucks on shipping.)

The Elements of Content Strategy

CSS3 for Web Designers on an iPad

Must-haves for any web-person’s library. (Alongside HTML5 for Web Designers, of course.)

How’s about a book subscription plan, Zeldman? My credit card is all warmed-up and ready.

Suddenly I’m inspired to build

QuaDror from Dror on Vimeo.

The form is constructed of four identical L-shaped pieces, in which the angles are all the same, that operates with a kind of yin/yang action through a unique corner hinge. That allows it to open up for its full expression, or fold flat. It’s always parallel to the ground and identical from all four sides.


pop-up building


sound diffusing, structural walls for highways


building a wall


i’d live here

or just replace the old sawhorses holding up your makeshift desk

via Dror’s Folding Concrete Block Could Change How We Build

New Launch: Wantist

Wantist screenshot

Brittany and I (re)launched Wantist a few days ago, and I’m finally getting around to writing something here about it. The last week or so has been a whirlwind; coding, designing, hustlin’.

Our about page says it best:

Wantist is a hand-picked collection of goods, sorted and organized to help you give a great gift.

We made Wantist for everyone who draws a blank when it comes time to give a gift. You want to give something unexpected, something personal, when all of a sudden it’s like you barely know the person and your brain has perfect recall of the Snuggie and nothing else. Your usual next steps: browse the same old stores or get your google on and hope to find the needle in the haystack.

Instead, we wanted an application that was as insightful as a great salesperson. You say “I’m looking for something quirky for someone artistic,” and there you go—hand-picked quirky gifts for your artistic friend.

I hope you’ll check Wantist out, see if it helps you be a better gift-giver. I’d love to know what you think.

(We set up a GetSatisfaction page for feedback, ideas, and customer support.)

Berlin, day one

Fair warning: I’m traveling in Europe for a couple of weeks and am posting some thoughts at the end of the day. Disjointed and random will be my MO—it’s not a high enough priority to form into stories fit for public consumption, I apologize. I hope to post once a day. You may want to unsubscribe.

Surprised by how much not being able to understand what is being said around me is disorienting. It keeps firing some competitive impulse to try and learn the language, completely, tonight. (Makes me much more concerned for France since I can conjure at least some German comprehension, whereas I don’t grasp any French.)

The difference between common, colloquial German and what is in the phrase books can be miles apart. Sorry, kilometers.

Lots of döner joints to try. Yummy.

Forget the Portland/Austin comparison, I’d take Portland/Berlin. So many people in coffeeshops on the sidewalk, enjoying 3pm on a Wednesday. Every block has new hole-in-the-wall or three to explore. (I need to work up a spot of courage on that one.)

Repeat after me:
Es tut mir leid. (I’m sorry.)
Ich spreche wenig Deutsch. (I speak little German.)
Sprechen Sie English?

5th floor walk-up flats are good times. My elevator has made me soft.

Graffiti is everywhere, lots of it visually arresting. (Shown is the firehouse.)

graffiti at the firehouse

Cadence & Slang, a small book about interaction design

Cadence & Slang achieved its funding goal 2 days ago, and is now available for preorder, with a release date of late 2010.

Based on the initial outline (pdf), I pledged to the project. (It might’ve had something to do with me itching to fund something for the first time on Kickstarter, but only a teeny tiny bit.)

Help support independent makers; if interaction design is your thing, consider preordering a copy for yourself. Or if you know somebody who would be interested, please send them to the C&S site.

Looking to hire a Rails teacher

An intensive round of 1-on-1 instruction

I’m looking for somebody to help me take my development skills up a notch. Portland, OR-based preferred, but finding the right situation for a successful outcome is most important to me.

I’ve got a number of holes in my knowledge (I have ideas of what I don’t know) and it’s too time-intensive to fill them on my own. While DIY-for-life is what my heart says, my brain is overruling with a demand that I speed things up and fill in the gaps with just the best knowledge, pronto.

Ideally, you

  • are an excellent communicator
  • are patient
  • develop on a Mac using TextMate
  • practice BDD using Shoulda (I’m somewhat open to change but Shoulda syntax clicks for me much better than Cucumber/RSpec)
  • won’t stick to a predefined “course”; I might not get something you’ll assume is obvious, I might be past whatever you assumed you’d be teaching that moment. I’d love somebody that can read cues and is flexible enough to fit what they’re teaching to me.
  • (I’m repeating the last one in a different way ’cause it’s so important); initiative is awesome. See the gaps before I can define them and fill them in. Don’t plan on running me through Depot from AWDwR and calling it a day.

My best-case scenario is one where we start off by examining my current codebase together. I’ve gone through and documented all the things I think I’m doing less-than-ideal but am unsure of how to appropriately refactor. (I’m sure there are other issues as well.) Hopefully from there you’ll be able to craft a customized curriculum that fills in the gap between what I’m doing and where I’m trying to go.

Code review + consulting

On top of a round of instruction, I’m looking for somebody that can provide code review services and consulting, both on an as-needed basis. (We’ll hash out a scenario that works for both of us.)

Moving forward

I’m open both to individuals as well as companies. Email me (jacob@ this domain) and let’s work something out. I’m looking to get started ASAP.

A great deal or a rip-off: Which is it?

Dear Condé Nast,

Are you trying to rip me off? You’re definitely confusing me.

I just got this in the mail:


but I can’t figure out if I’d be paying $12/year for both subscriptions, or $12/yr for each subscription I order (myself + any gifts).

As a preferred subscriber (it says so in big bold slab serif!), I’d like to think I’d get a better deal than say, what they offer to everybody else on their own site:


Or on Amazon:


instead of paying $2 more. I don’t want Wired to go the way of the dodo, but come on. Let’s not take advantage.

I spoke with a nice lady over at 1-800-SO-WIRED, who had absolutely no clue. She wasn’t exactly making an above-and-beyond effort to help me find the answer either, but I wasn’t expecting her to. (<self-promotion>Low expectations are a problem we’re aiming to tackle with Wantist.</self-promotion>)

Anybody know the answer?