Posts from the Internet category

Dusting Off Again

Again I'm returning to my blog after several years of ignoring it.

I've become convinced that we need to decentralize our social media and stop giving our data and privacy to "big tech" interests who package and sell it as they wish.

I also want to start contributing to the development of a real-world, decentralized, encrypted protocol to allow us a path forward.

I plan to write about that process here, and possibly use this blog or website to "dogfood" the concept. There are other people working on similar ideas, and I intend to start researching the best way to proceed. Let me know in the comments if you have any recommended reading or Twitter follows to pursue on this topic!

In the process of dusting off, I looked back at this website. I designed and built this site in 2011, and haven't touched it much since. Websites and web development have changed a lot since then, but the site still holds up pretty well.

I removed some items from my social sidebar, due to evolution:

  • Facebook: Of all the social media services, FB is the one that disappoints me the most. They never bothered to get their privacy and security ducks in a row before going "big league", and have shown little accountability or responsibility for correcting this situation.
  • Instagram: I just don't use it. It bothers me to know that it's owned by Facebook and all the data goes to the same place.
  • Google+: Once "required" by the "fair" Google SEO algorithm for optimal placement, this service no longer even exists.
  • YouTube: Similar to Instagram, I just don't use it and don't care for their data practices OR effect on toxic culture.

This leaves me with Twitter, LinkedIn and Github. Eventually I would like to see Twitter replaced with (or integrating) a decentralized service. Eventually I would love to never look at LinkedIn again, but I do use it professionally for recruiting, so I don't see that happening soon. And Github is far enough removed from my personal/social data that I view it as something not-quite-social-networky. More of a professional service as far as I'm concerned.

Older services I've removed in the past that I can see in my git history: Myspace, Foursquare, Flickr, Delicious, AngelList, Go back even further and you'll find MyBlogLog, Pownce, Plurk, and any number of social sites that in the past were consumed by the big players.

R.I.P., social media of the past.

It bothers me that once we move on from these services, our data disappears with them. Another great reason for decentralizing our social media - anything I publish here is mine to keep, delete or republish whenever I want. A protocol allowing me to publish and control my own content regardless of where it is owned/hosted would solve that problem.

I'm excited about this upcoming effort. It's bigger than apps, bigger than #hashtags, and presents an opportunity to correct some of the mistakes made in implementing our digital social lives.

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Return to Blog Mountain

Well hello there.

This is a little awks. I think I wandered away from this blog for a few... years.

I've been quite busy during this time, you see. I actually built the previous version of my site at a time when I had come to realize that my stint at MySpace needed to end; at the time a responsive website still seemed like absolute magic, so this was something I used to show off a little.

"Resize your browser... see that? It looks great on any device!"

I soon found a new gig with Eventup, signing on as co-founder and CTO. And, I never came back. Once you enter the startup grinder, it's very difficult to side work, even if it's my own damn site.

Moving on to another gig that was equally busy, if far less interesting, I continued to ignore the site. I am just winding down from that experience, and here we are. Still no blog lovin'.

I justify this with one thing: I would much rather be making stuff than writing about making stuff. The good news is, with a little extra time to focus on my own (non-paid) work, I have indeed created a few things that are worth writing about.

My wife has started a new site, Ultra-Luxurious, which is a west LA lifestyle/culture site. To build that I extracted the software I used to run this very blog. I have open-sourced the code for it, and you can find it here. Ultra-Luxurious runs this code "out-of-the-box", so consider that a nice little demo.

I also open-sourced my project template , which includes nice stuff such as Bourbon, Bitters, grids by Jeet, and a nice Grunt setup to compile SCSS, live-reload browsers, concatenate and minify static files, etc. The blog app plugs neatly into this template (although that is optional). Both this site and Ultra-Luxurious are based on this template.

I have more OSS projects on the way, and there will be more posts about those as I get them packaged up. For now, back to the workshop!

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Get What You Pay For

Craigslist post about clients who devalue design/marketing pros for cheap graphic labor.

from Craiglist "re: Graphics person able to bring my logo to life ($100)" I didn't write this, it's a reprint that someone emailed to me. It is not my purpose to bash the OP, or call them cheap or whatever. I realize that you might not have a large budget to get the type of work you need. Probably have no idea what the current rates are, and what goes into a logo package. I'm sure there's someone out there who will "bring your logo to life" for $100. That person is not me. That person isn't most designers with any real talent and skill. And this isn't just for you, Mr. do-my-logo-for-a-hundred-dollars, this is for everyone who devalues the work of good graphic designers. If only "designing" was my job, life would be so much easier. Here's why: When a potential client comes to me, basically asking the same thing you are, I tell them my price. Never less than $400. Of course, I get scoffed at, and am told any number of things including: My nephew/cousin/brother-in-law/friend, whoever, has Photoshop, and said they'd do it for $xx or free. Why should I pay so much for you to design something that I can't even touch? Well so-and-so over at logomilldotcom told me he can do it for much cheaper... the list goes on and on, and I won't bore you with it. Working designers know what I'm talking about. We deal with it every day. Now, I'm going to tell you why I would charge you $500 --at the least. When you hire me to make your logo, I not only have to come up with numerous ideas based on what you think you want, I also have to take into account where you'll be using it, and what for. I have to explain you out of many poor decisions based on your lack of understanding why your idea won't work. We LOVE it when you have a great idea, but it happens rarely. What kind of business are you in? Who are you marketing towards? What do you hope to do with the logo in the future? Is it a trendy look that will blend in and disappear? Is it too ambitious and full of unnecessary elements that take away from the message? Does it make any sense in any way? Am I taking someone else's work and digitizing it so you have a proper .eps file? Why didn't you have them do it in the first place? Was it because you got it for $50? I could spend hours rehashing the millions of questions I've come across, talking with potential clients. The last logo I did, I charged 1k. That 1k got my client almost 25 different ideas to choose from.(could've been more, ended up with the original idea -doesn't negate the hours I spent on other mock ups) It got him the proper colors that best suit his business and work well in print and on the web. It got him letterhead and business cards. It got him branding and marketing strategy. It got him the proper files so that he could send the logo out to be printed on everything he needed for his business. Ultimately, it got him more business. Now I design brochures for him and frequently update his website(that I also made)... because his business is growing, and the strategy worked. I get emails from him all the time, thanking me for everything. Why? because it was professional, and it was well thought out and it meant something. I didn't hand him a cd with a logo on it and say "good luck". That's what 100 bucks gets you. 100 dollars also ensures that no matter how bad your idea is, or how ridiculous you logo looks, the "designer" will keep their mouth shut and give you the exact crap you're asking for. Then you'll wonder why it isn't working, or why you have to keep getting it in different formats for different people. You feel robbed, and now think that, what designers do is bullshit. I can't tell you how much more than just designing, I do with my clients. I'm regularly walking them through everything. I'm dealing with teaching them how and where to use the files to accomplish their business plans. I'm always consulting them. I can be counted on for ideas and strategies to get their business seen, in a market that is flooded. If you can get all of that for $100... then you're a lucky man, and should never tell anyone about your guy -Of course, you will also in a way be putting him out of work, but that's ok, because you got your cheap logo. I will however apologize in advance if I misrepresented you in this post. More so than anything, it's what I want to tell every person who looks for low priced work. I know from years of experience and hand holding, everything that goes into designing your logo, and everything else I do in that process, is what the future of your business is hinging on. Stop thinking of designers as people who make pictures, or who do work that has no real value, because you're wrong. A good designer with any marketing savvy can take your shitty idea for a logo, and turn it into the centerpiece of your prosperous business. Great design is not stuffing 10 lbs of shit in a 5lb bag. And it's definitely not happening with $100. If you don't have the money, work out a deal, make payment, but please, stop undervaluing what we do. I swear, once you shop around and talk to some people, you'll see that if you care about the future of your business, it's money well spent.

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