Category: iPad

Pinterest iOS bookmarklet workaround

Pinterest iOS bookmarklet workaround

Ages ago, I was annoyed by how irritatingly hard it was to pin images to Pinterest on my iPhone. I was essentially pissed that iOS 8 extensions didn’t yet exist. I hacked together my own bookmark link that was a combo of Marco Arment’s Instapaper bookmarklet-adding instructions of yore (something like this), plus whatever code the native “Pin It” bookmarklet generated.

The URL code for my mobile bookmarklet is:

javascript:void((function(d)%7Be=d.createElement('script');e.setAttribute('type','text/javascript');e.setAttribute('charset','UTF-8');e.setAttribute('src','//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinmarklet.js?r='+Math.random()*99999999);d.body.appendChild(e);%7D(document)));

This code works better than most native “Pin It” buttons on most retailer websites, in my experience. It lets you pick any image on the page instead of forcing just one. I never did bother trying to figure out how to strip stupid retailer default text, but my hope/expectation was that retailers would get less shitty about this over time with increased Pinterest fluency. Ha ha.

I’m only posting this now because I’ve found that so far, Pinterest’s new iOS 8 extension is a bunch of janky bullshit. Here’s hoping that changes soon, but blogging it out there just in case! Let’s all cross our extra 6 Plus long fingers that Pinterest cleans things up before you actually wind up getting frustrated enough to implement this solution. :)

The Internet ROCKS.

The Internet ROCKS.

I swear, I don’t know what I’d do if we’d never come up with this whole interconnected awesomeness thing.

I re-launched my business earlier this year, which involved picking a new business name. It was incredibly hard to come up with a name I liked that was also what my business needed, and I was so much better at it when I had help from lots of Twitter and ADN friends. People were so generous and pragmatic and willing to share their expertise. Plus, I found a couple great blogs with loads of helpful naming advice. I wasn’t able to shell out for those experts like I hoped to, but they were still incredibly supportive of me, and I know I’d go to them if I had to name a more grown-up company with a proper budget in the future. I learned so much about this entire naming field that I didn’t even know existed when I named my thing this time around. Which is clear, because that name and URL sucked, and they’re much better now. :)

IMG_3978Since the big rename and relaunch, I’ve predictably had many woes getting the technical details of my new website together, not to mention the graphical stuff that just totally loses me. My husband Grant has been my biggest helper in the graphics department, but the amazing Berklee has been a close second. He’s been ever so generous with his time and energy, throwing business card ideas and mockups at me faster than I can download the files. This was the final design*, in case you were wondering, although I plan to change the “consultant” terminology to something that better encapsulates what I actually do. (“Coach” is the closest I’ve got right now.)

Bryan Redeagle of Capsule DX offered to help me with web stuff, and he was so appalled by some of the shoddy code in my former theme that he just full-on wrote me a new one, all custom from scratch and designed to fix exactly the stuff that was frustrating me. He never charged me a penny, because we worked out a special deal, but mostly because he’s fucking awesome and he honestly just wanted to help (and wanted code to shine like all perfectionist programmers do). I can’t thank him enough, or recommend his work loudly enough. I’ve never gotten this level of service out of anyone I’ve hired for any project, except for the amazingly affordable florist at our otherwise overpriced wedding. Most of you who know me know that praise does not come from me unless it is sincerely deserved.

Marie of Code it Pretty has also been a very generous donor of her time and expertise. She already generously writes a blog that just helps people figure out frustrating web crap, and she’s so cool about chiming in when I have something tricky to solve. And oh, remember when I wanted to make that app? Well, it’s still in the works; I’ve had to kind of put it aside in favor of earning money via my main business. But Marie is weighing in about user experience and will probably help with an Android port someday.

Martin and Doug and some other generous folks all piped up wanting to assist me, which is fan-freaking-tastic and also incredibly generous. (Oh, and I never would have gotten in touch with them if it weren’t for Rob Rix by way of The Modern Scientist, who connected things via Twitter, and whom I met via Keith Bradnam whom I originally connected to because of some Marco or some 5by5 thing.) Oh, and I’m totally going to connect with Brandon Wright to make completely different apps down the road, because we just find each other awesome to work with and he reached out to me because of Quit.

Dude, even my ergonomics are improving, not as much as I’d like but still some. Fellow standing desk enthusiasts, from Lex Friedman to Kelly Guimont have chimed in about footwear and other tips for making my home work setup more reasonable, and Twitter-whining about various aspects of it has often produced helpful results. The most helpful thing of all, though, was a visit to the Fully showroom in Portland. I urge you to set up an appointment if you’re near there. Either way, some of the best recommendations  and price quotes I’ve gotten were from them, and of course I discovered them online.

Oh, and you know how I suck at being new to Mac? Well, of course loads of people have helped me out with that. Heck, Paul Holbrook sent me a PayPal contribution towards buying the damn thing because he could tell how badly I needed to switch, and Michael Clifford straight up bought me a license for Moom because he knew it would solve my problems. Oh, and the fantastic Jean MacDonald reached out, helped me get settled with some fantastic software, and has generally been insanely helpful and fun. So all those folks and everyone else I’ve mentioned and then some have just been so full of great links, tips, and advice. Let’s see, what other resources have I fallen in love with online, thanks to Internet connections? Mixergy. Marie Forleo. Heck, even Jenna Marbles inspires me. Laura Roeder. So many more I’m forgetting. But I never would have found any of those sources on my own!

And how did I forge most of these connections? Why, by listening to shows on 5by5 and communicating with that network’s general audience. A huge chunk of my most interesting Twitter following also grew out of me baiting Marco Arment into retweeting something useful or funny or silly or random I posted, and then following every single person who favorited or retweeted whatever that thing was. And you know what? That strategy has put me in touch with some of the coolest Internet pals I’ve met to date. I’ve had great conversations with many a jackal, and I’m also launching a podcast soon with Kai Davis and Chris Zaborowski.

And, of course, Quit. Most people who are bothering to read this know that I’ve called in to that show a good number of times, and that I’ve finally taken my online dating coaching business full time thanks in large part to the nudges I’ve received from Dan Benjamin, and to the inspiration that a number of shows on his network have provided. I continue to seek ways to make it more sustainable thanks to his relentlessly business-minded approach. And, of course, his shows inspired me, but so do the connections I’ve made from listening to them and appearing on them. I even got one (just one so far, but still) paying client who heard me first on Quit! Altogether, the social aspects of the Internet and of 5by5 in particular have skyrocketed my own success and happiness and ability to easily and quickly find affordable and effective solutions to at least 75% of my tech problems on this earth.

Lastly, I made many of these connections happen because of my own output, lest you think it’s ALL just Internet magick [sic]. I made them because I was open to socializing with people and learning new things. I was willing to put myself out there even when exhaustion or shyness or House of Cards would rather prevail. I followed up on leads, wrote things down, Skyped/FaceTimed/GooglePlusHung my little heart out, learned a bunch of new stuff, flared up my tendinitis, lost sleep, called 5by5 and waited on hold for hours, checked my email/DMs/etc., read, wrote, retweeted, subscribed, shook hands, followed back, spent money, and generally put myself out there and followed up on shit. But that effort has been so incredibly rewarding, and SO much easier than it would have been without all this great Internet infrastructure.

So to my friends and family members who don’t get why the Internet is so important to me and why I sometimes can’t stop checking my iPhone, well, you’ll probably never read this anyway so never fucking mind. But the Internet rocks. :)

 

 

 

*Special Business Card Footnote: Futura on the front, since I know .05 people are going to ask, and a weirdly condensed Franklin Gothic Medium on the back logo. Vistaprint; wouldn’t use ’em again; saving up for proper letterpressing but first things first financially, thanks Dan. Going with a press guy in Chicago who can paint the edges red too because OMG sexy. Curt Stevens of Lithocraft if you need ANYTHING printed in Seattle; tell him I sent you. Avoid Allegra Graphics in Greenwood no matter how good a deal you thin you’re getting; you’re welcome.

Back to Mac after fifteen years

Back to Mac after fifteen years

I finally purchased a 13″ retina MacBook Pro for my birthday/business/a desperately needed upgrade. I’m mostly happy to be back to Mac for the first time since I was a teenager, but I’m still struggling with more than a few aspects of this transition.

I’ve become a bit of an Apple nerd without a Mac after Grant gave me a first-gen iPhone in 2007, and later introduced me to the 5by5 network and its current and former hosts right around the time Back to Work was starting. So I feel like I was well prepared for this move back to Mac in some ways, but also had my expectations built up unreasonably high by the Cult of Mac in other ways.

The whole concept that “things just work [better]” on Mac is what convinced me I needed to switch over, but Mac isn’t as flawless as I had dreamed up in my fairyland of operating system dreams. These are just some musings from a not-very-power-user who pays attention to the little details.

Cons:

Safari: Man, Safari is buggy. I thought the default browser would be all seamless and gorgeous, but it’s all sad and weird. Plus, perhaps I’ve whined about this excessively already on my social networks, but the lack of favicons in the bookmarks bars is a difficult adjustment for me. I cram a LOT in there and use the visual favicon indicator as a stand-in site name. This is a snippet of the first THIRD of my bookmarks bar, for example:

I like icons in this case.
I also just love the customization that browsers like Chrome allows. I don’t know if Safari even supports extensions/add-ons/whatever, but I haven’t even bothered trying. Chrome is my go-to even on this new machine.

Hardware woes: My hardware is finicky, and I think I can safely say it’s my new rMBP’s fault, and not a PEBKAC thing. (I’m full of self-doubt about anything I deem an issue, but Grant’s 15″ work MacBook Pro helps us isolate Virginia Issues vs. Real Issues, and it turns out all this is real.) My Thunderbolt ports are wonky with HDMI display; I had to switch to HDMI-only to make things work properly. My external Logitech wireless keyboard regularly fails to correctly transmit my typing, even with fresh batteries and at the same physical distance as my old Dell laptop. It misses huge swaths of letters or just takes a full ten seconds to respond sometimes, which is maddening. And I don’t always realize it happened, because I type easily 100 WPM, so sometimes my email address gets entered like this:

 

This is supposed to read gentlesouls @ my full name dot com
This is supposed to read gentlesouls @ my full name dot com shut up yes I buy grandma footwear sometimes what of it

And my special Evoluent mouse was a bitch to set up with outdated custom drivers. My Logitech wireless mice don’t have the same sensitivity as I’d like, no matter how much I futz with the settings. And the trackpad system settings, while awesome with gestures, contained a few options that were so new to me I inadvertently set them up in a way that made it damn near impossible to use that mouse. That last one is my own fault, but it was interesting how the settings allowed me to fall into a fail-hole. (A Genius pointed this one out to me and I felt like a real ass that I’d actually taken the thing in thinking my trackpad was broken.)

Screen woes: External monitors are weird with this thing. It is MADDENING that I can’t have any program full-screen-ified on either display without the other display turning to 100% Useless Linen. What the fuck is that!? An Apple employee told me on the DL that that’s a bug Apple has no urgency about fixing. This is insanity-making to me; I love having the smaller screen full-screened on something visual. As of right now, I manually futz with the window size to accomplish this, but it’s a lot of extra mousing which is rough for me ergonomically, and it seems like it should be one of those things that “just works,” you know? The good news is that sites with embedded video tend to allow THAT component to full-screenify just fine. And then their video looks terrible on my awesome screen, haha. Lastly, I got really comfortable with the way I could snap and lock in Windows 7, and I miss that but I’m too cheap to pay for Moom or the other recommendations I’ve gotten about that sort of thing. I’ll get there, though! I also find the retina/non retina transition a little awkward, but less so now that I’m using straight-up HDMI and not Thunderbolt for my display.

Form over function in physical design: Maybe I’m crazy, but I actually find the latch-notch to open the screen incredibly awkward. I basically always have to do it two-handed, which is surprisingly inconvenient, and I often wind up greasing up the screen right around the FaceTime cam when I’m opening it, which of course is annoying. I miss the feeling of something that snaps shut and kinda springs open.

Green star of sadnessI also find that, not only am I short the number of USB ports I need, but they’re all way too close together when you have everything plugged in at once as I usually do. I had to buy an external USB hub, and when Grant got me this adorable Kikerland one, it didn’t work because the ports are just barely too close to one another so I can only use it with either no Ethernet to Thunderbolt adapter and charger, or no HDMI display. Just annoying given that these things were spaced out differently on my Dell. I foresee more annoyance with, say, certain USB memory drives and whatnot. I’m always annoyed when an admittedly pretty chassis gets in the way of actually making the  stuff inside more useful. (Side note; I don’t think I’ll ever start pronouncing “chassis” correctly.)

Software weirdness: I find it SO awkward to mount an application to the Application whatever on the whatsit. What the fuck kind of user experience is that? It’s also weird as hell to give permissions to different levels of developers.

Some of the Apple programs make me crazy, too. I hate how the menus in visual-tasked programs like Preview are text instead of visual, so it takes me nine years to find the way to highlight an element of a screenshot with a rectangle. (YES, annotate makes sense. But so does selecting a rectangle-shaped box like I’m used to, haha.) And this one is iTunes specific, but I see Mike Monteiro is as pissed as I am here:

 

 
I don’t understand why I can’t delete selected files by pressing delete or backspace, and why there’s no command-plus-key listed when I right click them with my admittedly non-Mac mouse. Such keyboard shortcuts are displayed for other types of activities. Why the heck wouldn’t there be a shortcut for such a crucial activity, and why wouldn’t it be listed? I finally looked it up and figured out it was CMD+backspace, which I’m sure I’m capitalizing and punctuating like a noob.* But why make me blind from that option in the righty-clicky menu that’s probably called something else on Mac? Is this one of those instances of Mac trying to make things better for me? I take a LOT of screenshots that I subsequently delete, so I don’t appreciate being forced to use the less ergo-friendly mouse-select-drag option or to look up how the fuck to perform a simple operation, which I also don’t appreciate now requiring two keys instead of one.

In fact, I’m annoyed that multiple things now require a multiple-key combo to work. PC keyboards have a Print Screen button; how great would it be if that still worked on Mac? And cropping a screenshot in Preview requires a splat K. (Shut up; you know what I mean.) And so help me god, I miss the Clear Desktop option SO MUCH. All I’ve figured out is Option-Command-H while in Chrome, then manually minimizing Chrome. I know I’m doing it wrong; I know. But you see what I mean about missing a one-clicky path? I guess those weren’t so much obvious as habit for me, but the work of setting up new habits makes me sad. I also find it super fiddly how much futzing I have to do to mimic basic behavior like tabbing through fields, etc. from a PC.

I also find it super weird how photos work. I love importing my iOS photos via iPhoto, but then those don’t show up in any kind of browsable path when I want to upload them to a blog post, for example. I can only access them by dragging and dropping them from iPhoto to a drag-and-drop-friendly upload option. It just seems weird. Again, I’m sure there’s some trick I don’t yet know, but why wouldn’t I be able to get to them via a standard file-browsing path? Why make everything so difficult?

And Finder. Ah, Finder. When I search for files, it does show me all these fucking developer files by default. WHY would I want that enabled by default? If you assumed I was too dumb a user to be allowed to delete things, do I really want crap from some JSON library or whatever? Just a strange thing to me. (I usually use an alternative to Finder, based on helpful recommendations from people like you, but still.)

I also found it insanely confusing to set up network connections within our home. Grant had to do it for me, and I still have to enter a password (?) every time I want to get shit off my PC laptop. It’s also weird how you have to manually turn on and off Wi-Fi. In 2013. WHY are we not yet at the point where the assumption is that if I have an Ethernet cable plugged in, you should use that, and you should just switch to Wi-Fi when that’s the only option? I swear my computer back in like 2004 managed that decision making well, and yet the new shit gets all confused by various options. Not a problem exclusive to Mac, but still!

Oh, and when I set up my Ethernet connection, it was surprisingly non-simple. I had to get an Apple employee to walk me through several confusing, in-depth network settings changes that were necessary to use the Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet adapter successfully, which seemed weird since again, Apple shit should “just work.” Thankfully, he solved the issue, but it was definitely a software thing and not a network thing, which just seemed strange and needlessly complex. Ethernet is definitely not dead and definitely not just for power users in my mind. I also really would’ve appreciated just having a damn Ethernet port instead of having to buy a $30 thingy, but oh well. :)

What the fuck messages and restarts: Mostly, this machine is rad. But sometimes, when a program goes into Deep Failure Mode, no amount of force-quitting will actually make it quit. Sometimes that program is iTunes, and it won’t stop screaming Katy Perry in a Starbucks all of a fucking sudden, and the software-tied mute button doesn’t work, and the thing won’t quit, and the machine won’t shut down, and I have to manually press the fucking power button in 2013 and look like an ass (and yes I know I should’ve had the headphones plugged in but so help me god sometimes I’m That Person, OK? And I’m sorry. But I miss the hardware-tied mute button on my 1999 laptop that worked as fast as my reflexes did, rather than as fast as my locked-up OS did.) I’m sure I fucked up the closing parenthesis with closing punctuation rule there, but you get the idea.

Oh, and sometimes I get messages like this for no goddamn intelligible reason at all, usually from iTunes but sometimes from other things:

 

What. This is worse than every Windows error message ever. There's not even a KB article I can reference, you know?
What. This is worse than every Windows error message ever. OK not really, but still. What?

Yeah, and sometimes I also get updates like this, which I SWEAR the Cult of Mac promised would happen like never! To be fair, they’re rarer than the non-updatey kind, but still!

restart_bitch
Surprisingly weird ports: The USB, HDMI, and Thunderbolt ports made out of metal feel really low quality whenever I’m plugging things in or removing them. I suppose, being used to slightly flexible plastic-encased ports, they just feel scratchy or like I’m damaging them, or they don’t perfectly fit even the first-party cables I plug in and out. I don’t yet have a dock (I’m kinda holding out for an Apple display in the new skinny iMac chassis, fingers crossed for retina though I know it’s unlikely) so I plug things in and remove them a LOT. Obviously the Mag whatever charger is amazing and fuck you for making it different than the one we use to charge my husband’s 2011ish MBP, but everything USB and Thunderbolt feels… off. Low quality. In a way that really surprises me given the rest of the thing’s admittedly superior quality and design, you know?

Spinny cursor of death: That still exists! I kinda miss when it was black and white, though. I’m surprised how often it has crashed, and how it behaves when it does—usually when this thing triggers there’s no amount of force quitting that can solve it, and I have to shut the damn machine off with the power button which freaks me out because SSD. I guess I expected less crashitude but what do I know? Not much about what causes that. So, oh well, at least for now. Windows crashes weren’t vastly less or more frequent, but I feel like they required a full reboot less often. I don’t exactly have great data on this, though. :)

EXPENSIVE software: Holy fuck am I broke. I’ve spent more on software for my new Mac since March 15th than I have in the entire past fifteen years of PC usage, if you don’t count MMO subscriptions. I appreciate the cool development community, but damn. At this rate I’m going to have to stop, like, drinking fancy-ass Seattle cocktails when we go out. (Hahahahaha good one, Self.)

Pros:

RETINAAAA: Oh my GOD the retina screen. It’s just mind-blowing. Everything is so crisp and clear and delightful. This screeeeen. I don’t even mind how I can see how much of the Internet uses crap fonts and images, and how janky most favicons look when they haven’t received The Gruber Treatment. I don’t care. It’s glorious. I use it for reading more than I expected because of the screen, though I expect to iPad read more once I get a retina Mini. C’mon, guys, don’t hold out on me.

Beauty: The industrial design is phenomenal. Everything looks and feels more attractive, despite my whining about the pseudo-latch and ports above. I can’t believe how sexy that aluminum is, especially after my cheap Dell laptop from 2007 that had a broken Ethernet card slot and a cracking, creaking hinge on one side. The elegance of opening and closing and using and touching the thing is amazing. And I love the matte black whatever of the hinge in the back. I could do with less bezel, but oh my God shut up Virginia you are so privileged.

Ergonomics: The built-in keyboard is a lot less ergo-unfriendly than I expected given my crazy tennis elbow. I think the switches on these keys are kinder to me. It still hurts to use for long periods of time, since the basic position of a flat rectangular keyboard plus trackpad is all wrong for me, but I’m broken so that’s unsurprising. And I normally find trackpads WAY rough on my tennis elbow, but this one is better (though still sometimes painful because I tend to overuse it). I’m surprised at how OK I’ve become with the freaky-ass new scrolling direction, too.

Gestures: The gestures on the trackpad are amazing! And so useful! I haven’t even bound anything special yet, but the default ones are fantastic and intuitive and I just love them. The pinching to zoom in and out ROCKS and I discovered it so naturally.

Messages: I know everyone whines about Messages on Mac, but I love itso far. Because my tennis elbow is oh so severe, anything I can do on a Big Keyboard instead of an iOS screen is helpful ergonomically, and I tend to message a lot with my husband. This makes that way easier. I also have terrible phone behavior and I appreciate not having to pay attention to that brick when I’m on The Big Screen computing. There have been a few weird glitches where messages seemed to disappear, or temporarily failed to be transmitted properly, but for the most part I’m a huge fan of having them on my actual computer.

SSD OMG: That hard drive! So fast! So quiet! AND DID I MENTION SO FAST!? SSD FTW 4EVA. BFF. I love it so much. (I paid to upgrade to 512GB, in case you were wondering.)

Sync City: I’m still figuring out how exactly to make everything play nice, and certain things don’t sync the way I want, but for the most part everything does sync across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. And when it works, it ROCKS. I love using Photo Stream; I love having text snippets theoretically sync in TextExpander (haven’t actually made that work yet, but I will); I love OmniFocus syncing even though I still don’t fully grasp how to get the most out of that damn software; I love more than anything that simple, boring-ass Notes syncs so I can edit and clear out items on a Big Keyboard and have them show up all edited on my phone when I’m on the go. Love Reminders syncing too. And Tweetbot, although it seems a little wonky and I wish it synced drafts across platforms. But still. Having a Mac opens my eyes to more of the benefits of being in the Apple ecosystem with my other devices.

iPhoto imports: I really love iPhoto. The way it snags stuff off my devices, sorts it, and deletes it is so much more helpful than the janky experience of attempting to do this with no helpful software on my PC. It’s by no means a perfect program, but I just appreciate something clearing off my phone of all those large photo and video files so I can keep track of everything while maintaining room for music on the go. Simple, but I really value it.

General love: And obviously, the thing just runs. The battery life is nice, the extra cable thingy they include is nice, the initial setup wasn’t horrible (I set it up as a new machine), and the memory kicks ass so it can handle the gabillion tabs I have open and programs I have running at any given moment. I love the thing and am glad I bought it, despite the whinings above. I guess I just expected the Pro column to be longer and the Con column to be shorter, you know? Still learning, though, so this will hopefully change over time. I’d love to hear your thoughts if you think I’m failing to grasp a certain set of helpful tips or software suites or what have you! Anything to get me over the New User hurdle is greatly appreciated. :)

 

 

*Also, fuck autocorrect for frequently changing “noob” to “boob” and having Marco Arment call me out about it on Twitter. Dammit. Not used to a global autocorrect yet! Mostly more helpful than harmful, but that learning curve suuuucks when suddenly every device I own is prone to Damn You, Autocorrect-isms!

More defense of email

More defense of email

This is the neighbor's cat, trying desperately to escape my loving care. This cat would totally text me important stuff.

We all know that many big tech figures hate email. Merlin, Dan, and Marco have all been pretty vocal about this, and I totally get it—they’re media figures in a way I’m not so they get flooded in a way I don’t. But I still maintain that email is the best medium for oh so many tasks if you’re a Regular Person like I am (at least for now, heh). But I’m clearly still swimming upstream; even my non-tech contact points prefer non-email communication. And sometimes, that drives me insane.

There are multiple families on my block who have cats and travel a lot. My husband and I have sort of become the go-to kitty sitters, but as the neighbors get more and more close to us friendship-wise, they’re more prone to just texting us their vacation dates and just dropping off a key whenever. This really, really doesn’t work for me. Like, those cats are gonna fucking starve doesn’t work for me.

When I receive a piece of information that absolutely requires a follow-up action on my part, I really want that to come to me over a medium that allows for robust customization. I want to star/flag/mark that shit unread, and I want to forward it to my husband so he knows too, and I want to have it potentially integrate with my calendar via that iPhone linked text event thingy (shit, now I’ve lost my technical audience. Sorry. You know what I mean.) so I can make sure that the necessary reminders and alarms happen so I will break my routine to see that your pets are cared for.

This is important. This is not fleeting. This needs to be delivered to me in a way that doesn’t disappear from my home screen if I answer a phone call. This needs to be “processed” in the Getting Things Done sense of the word. I care about your cats enough to be kind of a pain in the ass about this. But three separate households of older-than-me, less-technical-than-me neighbors all texted this request, and only followed up via email when I prodded them to. And even then they sort of maybe needed reminding to email, or an explanation why that medium was necessary.

Now, I can’t demand that level of communications catering in any social setting; I can only demand it when someone is asking a favor of me. I feel like in that context, it’s fine for me to dictate the parameters necessary for them to get that favor done. But I ALWAYS prefer an actual email if the subject isn’t something fleeting or immediate, and you know what? Bonus points if your email is old-school enough to contain a signature with things like your cell and even your land line in it. I still find value in that convention, and I hope it doesn’t go the way of Facebook because I really hate so much about this new communication era. (OK, I mostly just hate how the stupid graphical smileys Facebook inserts will never stop screwing with line height. Fine. There you have it.)

 

Neighbors, I love you. If you somehow happen to read this, I’m not like mad about you! I’m mad about the way communication is shifting in our entire culture to a way that I’m clearly not good at catching up with. Your cats are fantastic. Please feed ours in early June. I trust this blog post will be sufficient notice of this request JUST KIDDING OMG THAT’S A JOKE LOVE YOU GUYS. <3

I suck at Photoshop

I suck at Photoshop

I’m trying to learn to become more independent in graphic design. I’m not remotely trained in any way. I’ve got an increasingly defined sense of design, although I’m just as susceptible to trends as the next blogger who suddenly decided that rounded corners were over yesterday. I finally got a copy of CS6 of my very own, but with no training or experience whatsoever, I of course suck at using it. And I’m constantly paralyzed by that. And since Grant is the one who’s been doing most of my image editing up until like right now, he’s the only one with access to the .psd versions of anything at all.

Beyond sucking at the actual tools, and not having assets, I’m just kind of clueless and/or thoughtless about the actual content I want to create. Sometimes I build things dumb or ugly just to not have to rebuild an entire other thing, you know? I understand this to be a common problem in software development; it certainly was in the game companies I’ve worked at. No one eeeeever designs the UI to be big enough for German terms, for example! Take that sidebar, to the left. The text “my day job” is not an effective or eye-catching way to link out to what I actually do in my online dating consulting business. This is a really, really important part of my identity; I’m trying to do it full time after leaving Big Tech and it’s scary and I’m broke and I’d like to generate more traffic and more paying clients. So you’d think I’d want to really make that stand out, right? But my stupid, stubborn sense of aesthetics dictates that everything in that sidebar (custom built by Grant, and tweaked with some help from John Hardman) should be the exact same height/font size and roughly the same width. So instead of rebuilding the sidebar to allow for some different copy, or reworking it so that all of the link-images were larger and could contain more text, I just came up with “my day job” placeholder and asked Grant to tweak it into place and now it’s stupid and doesn’t tell you to please go hire me for the fascinating weird thing I actually charge money for. Sure, you can get there if you’re curious enough to click, but I don’t trust you! :)

Anyway. I got this new Mac recently too, and am sitting on a post about my process adjusting to Mac after fifteen years of PC. I got this idea to make an iPhone app and I’m sitting on the process of really figuring out how I want it to work and learning enough fragmented bits of how to program to understand how to formulate reasonable requests to the very kind folks who have expressed an interest in helping me make something functional. And I got a copy of Photoshop and I have no idea how to use it. Sometimes I just feel so stuck by all the things I’d like to learn more about and can’t justify taking the time to learn more about, ya know? Not that I’m always using my time well (self-subtweet to this blog post) but I feel guilting spending money and time on a Lynda course when I should be doing more things to generate Heartographer leads.

I’ll get there; don’t worry. And I’ll come up with something catchier than “my day job” eventually. Maybe you can help—what do you think I should put there to drive people to The Heartographer? (Oh, and I turned off comments à la Marco and John but I’m not coding-savvy enough to know how to hack my custom theme to turn them on for certain posts only, so I guess you’ll have to tweet/FB/App me your response. Which you were probably going to do anyway, because it’s 2013, right? (But I still get blog comments on my other blogs sometimes, and I LOVE THEM when they happen and aren’t spam or dicks. So maybe I’ll go back.)

You thought this whole rambling post was going somewhere, didn’t ya? GOTCHA!

Oh wait, I was going to post something. This is some of my incredibly unprofessional art-attempts that I’ve made in my pre-Photoshop days whenever I needed content for a blog post or an ad campaign and didn’t know diddley about image editing or computer drawing or anything like that and I just needed to GO already. I think my Shlok Crest inspired me to at least feel semi-competent at creating stupid little doodles that other people might find amusing, and it was just so much easier than trying to learn an entirely unfamiliar software program to get something simple out the door. Sometimes you just have to ship it instead of really making it great, you know? Which I hate. Anyway. Enjoy!

Questioning Kitty
I believe this is the one I used in my Facebook campaign, because I am a professional. I believe the copy was something like “Is your cat worried about you? It might be time to start dating again.” I don’t fucking know. It helped me break 100 Likes which was the douchey goal from a friend who’s a marketing consultant. Yay confused felines?
Happy Birds
This was a part of the one we used for my Stranger (local alt weekly) ad. The birds are supposed to make you jealous, I guess? I drew it with ballpoint pen on paper and Grant scanned it and futzed with it in Illustrator, I think.
Sad Bird
The sad bird represents you, single person who wants to pay me money to help you find love online. Also for the Stranger ad.
"Copy This Bird" - that's all I have in my notes
This bird was an early attempt. You can see me experimenting with avian eyebrows. I have no idea what I’m doing. Pretty sure this was in MS Paint, and I tried to make the body out of smart shapes. Bad call. You can totally tell where “circle” ends, huh?
Lovelorn Kitty
This was an earlier attempt at a kitty for the FB ad. I’m partial to him even though I’m not sure why his face is curly and his body hair is straight. Also not sure why he’s a he, nor why he lacks whiskers. Life is full of mysteries. I did this on Paper on the iPad I think, just the free pen setting.
Another Lovelorn Kitty
Another lovelorn kitty for FB attempt. Sorry for the failure to crop, but this is just gonna get slapped in here all speedy-like. He didn’t look sad or confused enough.
Concerned kitty
This cat is concerned about your love life. This is more the direction I was going in, and I like the colors, but after I did this guy I realized the dimensions were off for Facebook’s very rigid specs.

Anyway, there you have it. I have no idea what I’m doing but these were kind of fun and I didn’t have to buy anything, pay anyone, or violate copyright. Yay.