Archive for Tools, Resources

Resolutionize The Web


14 October 2011 | Comments Off

The mysteries of pixel widths and screen resolutions have baffled Interweb designers, developers, and mere mortals for years. The simple truth is that what you see in a window may not be what others see unless you change your resolution and look again. And again. Unless! Introducing the FINE Res Tool.

This simple screen resolution tool unravels the mystery. To use it, simply enter a full URL of your choosing. Up pops that location superimposed with a draggable set of rulers  (x and y axis) configurable in center/left/and right alignment. These rulers allow you to view that site as it would be seen at different resolutions. So you can get a sense for what other eyeballs experience. A small dashboard at the bottom even gives you current stats on what resolutions most people use (hint: 1024 x 768). Best of all, it’s all done in javascript, so you’ll not need Flash to use it.

Maybe you want to check the margin padding on a site… the default image dimensions on a blog… maybe you want to communicate that you want something smaller to your web team or agency – how much smaller? Now you can see clearly where the lines are drawn, and even communicate in pixels instead of an estimated percentage – the language barrier is broken, the resolution mystery is solved. And a democratized method of measure is now available to all, from the pro developer to the savvy client.

Enjoy!

The Font Combinator


13 October 2011 | Comments Off

The days of boring type on the web are… well, they’re still here for the most part. But as evolution permits greater flexibility with typography, that’s starting to change. Before you get giddy with this newfound font power, know that you can also go terribly wrong. If you want to find out how various combinations of web safe fonts look together on a page – this nifty font combinator tool let’s you preview. Just enter some sample text, change the fonts and – Boom!*

http://font-combinator.com/

* Note that “Currently this tool only uses fonts supplied by the Google Font Directory, as well as a handful of common system fonts”. It also seems to be a little funky in Firefox – try Safari.

Dr. Brisko’s Magic Link Oil: 10/10


12 October 2011 | Comments Off

{Each week, our own resident technologist “Dr. Brisko” scours the Interwebs to find examples of the arcane and interesting. They are first shared privately in the inner FINE sanctum, where we retain some as pure trade secrets. But we switch a short list public to give you just a taste, from technology deep dives to design to the, well, unclassifiable info that just may be the cure for what ails you.}

Lights
HTML5/WebGL – FTW!

Microsoft “impartial” browser test fails the grade
The geniuses at Microsoft’s marketing department have come out with a new tool designed to assist users in determining the safest browser for them to use while surfing the web. The conclusion? Surprise! Only Internet Explorer 9 is suitable for most users’ needs.

A Fold in the Brain is Linked to Keeping Reality and Imagination Separate, Study Finds
But no definitive proof that unicorns are not real.

Photoshop “unblur” leaves audience gasping for air
Algorithms!

Giant prehistoric krakens may have sculpted self-portraits using ichthyosaur bones
Ancient cephalopod’s may have made visual art.

The data crunching power of Barack Obama
Campaign tech!

Thanks, Comcast – Now Piracy Can Reign Supreme
Do people really want to pay $60 to rent a movie online two weeks after release?

Mostly Lost
A programming story without the code.

How to bulletproof @font-face Web Fonts
It looks great, except for one thing: All of your beautiful web fonts are gone and have been replaced with… Arial.

When in doubt, call in the mimes
When you know that traffic is really bad.

Improve your eyesight with an iPhone App
Keeping my eye age a secret.

Our ISP rocks (in SF at least)
The little ISP that stood up to the government

 

Dr. Brisko’s Magic Link Oil: 10/3


5 October 2011 | Comments Off

{Each week, our own resident technologist “Dr. Brisko” scours the Interwebs to find examples of the arcane and interesting. They are first shared privately in the inner FINE sanctum, where we retain some as pure trade secrets. But we switch a short list public to give you just a taste, from technology deep dives to design to the, well, unclassifiable info that just may be the cure for what ails you.}

After the Final Curtain
A site dedicated to exploring abandoned and run down theaters.

The Typography -out Approach in the World of Browser-based Web Design
… For far too long, many of us (and I include myself in this group) have been guilty of focusing on decoration: the colours and the shapes and the textures. We’ve been neglecting the details.

3.5 Inches
This is an example of one of those design decisions that you don’t usually notice until you see someone doing it wrong.

16 Pixels
For Body Copy. Anything Less Is A Costly Mistake

Rooftop QR codes aim to infiltrate Google Maps
Next step, bald heads with tattoos.

The end of Cow Clicker
The Life-Changing $20 Rightward-Facing Cow

A HTML5 clock
That is all.

How two scammers built an empire selling sketchy software
Using fear and questionable morals to exploit users and get rich.

TweetBoard
Track your Tweet score, see what a loser you really are (coming from mr. 499,699).

Adobe acquries Typekit
The web font arena gets serious.

Adobe acquires PhoneGap
I am sure we can fit Flash in their somewhere!

Dr. Brisko’s Magic Link Oil: 9/26


26 September 2011 | Comments Off

{Each week, our own resident technologist “Dr. Brisko” scours the Interwebs to find examples of the arcane and interesting. They are first shared privately in the inner FINE sanctum, where we retain some as pure trade secrets. But we switch a short list public to give you just a taste, from technology deep dives to design to the, well, unclassifiable info that just may be the cure for what ails you.}

Minimum Viable Personality
WHEN CHOOSE PRODUCT, HUMANS ONLY CARE ABOUT DOES WORK, AND IS INTERESTING.

Browser Market Pollution: IE[x] is the new IE6
Extrapolating this, if they maintain the same policy, IE17 be released in 2019, before IE8, 9 and 10 finally die. So in a few years from now, you’ll be supporting one version of Chrome, one version of Firefox, one of Opera, (probably) one of Safari, and ten versions of IE.

List of Company Name Etymologies
Coleco – began as the Connecticut Leather Company. And other strange but true company name stories.

SlideShare Ditches Flash for HTML5
… This is a milestone. 5 years ago, it was impossible to build something like SlideShare or Youtube without Flash. But the web has finally caught up.

Zynga’s profits down 95%
It’s like a FarmVille dustbowl.

Google launches ultimate jobs killer
Scan your way through the grocery store with your phone, no cashier needed.

Facebook’s makeover is a little bit scary
From Forbes, yes THAT Forbes! Over-sharing uber alles.

SpeakerDeck – Now Open to the Public
Speaker Deck is the best way to share presentations online. Simply upload your slides as a PDF, and we’ll turn them into a beautiful online experience. View them on SpeakerDeck.com, or share them on any website with an embed code.

The Elements
Cool HTML 5 site for the periodic table of elements… really.

Geek love:
In an uncertain economy, women choose brains over brawn

 

Dr. Brisko’s Magic Link Oil: 9/19


20 September 2011 | Comments Off

{Each week, our own resident technologist “Dr. Brisko” scours the Interwebs to find examples of the arcane and interesting. They are first shared privately in the inner FINE sanctum, where we retain some as pure trade secrets. But we switch a short list public to give you just a taste, from technology deep dives to design to the, well, unclassifiable info that just may be the cure for what ails you.}

I, Interface
Applying Asimov’s three laws of robotics to UX.

The Ruins of Dead Social Networks
A requiem for BBSes, the forerunner to today’s social networks.

Samuel L. Ipsum
[BEEEP!]ING PLACEHOLDER TEXT! In keeping with the expletive theme, for those who want to generate some saucier placeholder content.

SEO for Non-[BEEP!]s
With this great quote “Good SEO is a by-product of not being a [Beep!]” We’ve edited this NSFW title, but if you’ll click through you’ll read about practices worthy of an expletive.

List of Changes in the Star Wars Re-releases
Han shot first!

The Great Lie – Lorem Ipsum
Content shot first!

Portland ranks 11th in list of world major bike-friendly cities
… “The smallest city to make the Top 20 list is Portland. We are aware that it doesn’t technically fit into the major cities category, but we were curious to see how the USA’s top cycling city would fare… Besides, we’ll never hear the end of it from Portlanders if we leave them out…”

PointPoint
A Plugin For Pointing To Things

Not sharing is caring
Facebook’s terrible plan to get us to share everything we do on the Web.

Unfolding the IKEA Effect: Why We Love the Things We Build
The IKEA Effect refers to the tendency for people to value things they have created/built themselves more than if made by someone else – in fact, nearly as much as if an expert had created the same item.

Radiolab:
An appreciation by Ira Glass

Dr. Brisko’s Magic Link Oil: 9/12


15 September 2011 | Comments Off

{Each week, our own resident technologist “Dr. Brisko” scours the Interwebs to find examples of the arcane and interesting. They are first shared privately in the inner FINE sanctum, where we retain some as pure trade secrets. But we switch a short list public to give you just a taste, from technology deep dives to design to the, well, unclassifiable info that just may be the cure for what ails you.}

How long do users stay on pages?
Quick answer, not long at all. Maybe you’re already gone by the time you finish this sentence.

Why your business needs a Chinese name
What’s in a name? If you’re in China — the world’s second largest economy — a lot. In a country where each character carries its own unique meaning, the characters used to transliterate a company’s name can make or break it.

The Mysterious Paper Sculptures of Edinburgh
One day in March, staff at the Scottish Poetry Library came across a wonderful creation, left anonymously on a table in the library. Carved from paper, mounted on a book and with a tag addressed to @byleaveswelive – the library’s Twitter account – reading …

Read the rest of this entry »

You Don’t Need SEO


11 March 2011 | Comments Off

This just in from FINE’s Traverse City Digital Marketing mavens, the artists formerly known as Big Daylight. Turns out we didn’t need to add Big Daylight to the FINE fold, because SEO is as useless as a gallon of the finest snake oil. Or not…

________

I’m writing this post in response to a number of things.

1. One of the top referring keywords for Big Daylight is, hilariously, “You Don’t Need SEO”. This is because a previous post I wrote talked about how You Don’t Need SEO Domain Names, but it ended up also positioning for “You Don’t Need SEO”.

2. A lot of people are searching on this, so obviously there is a burning need out there for people to either prove or be reassured that They Don’t Need SEO.

3. The recently published “World’s Shortest (and Probably Most Controversial) Guide to SEO” which (attempts to) condense an effective SEO strategy down to 10 words: Create something that people will want to link to. Repeat.

Read the rest of this entry »

Getting Creative Things Done: How To Fit Hard Thinking Into a Busy Schedule


1 December 2010 | Comments Off

An excellent article from Behance which covers an adjustment to the GTD system to accommodate for creativity.  This approach directly addresses the constant conflict we all face in marketing, design and development positions: how to balance the day to day tasks of your job with the more deep focus work that make up the majority of your responsibilities.

An excerpt:

Creative work, however, is a subtle affair. If your mind is not in the exact right state, it’s difficult to produce high-quality results. Because of this, details matter. This is what’s important about GCTD, not the general idea of blocking out time, but the carefully-calibrated details that accompany it: the blocks are treated like real appointments and are dedicated to only one (or, at most, two) projects in a week; absolutely zero interruptions are allowed during the blocks; and the focus is on process, not goals.

Read the full article at the99percent.com

The Creativity Crisis


13 July 2010 | Comments Off

Definitely worth a read: Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman’s Newsweek article on creativity in America.

Try and find a school that isn’t scraping up pocket change to teach art, music, or anything that isn’t math and science. All these things are important, but in the end where we’re slipping is the application toward “production of something original and useful”. Ingenuity has always been our country’s key asset. So it’s scary when you read: “For two decades, our nation’s creativity scores have been plummeting – kids’ scores worst of all.”

But it’s encouraging to read: “New research shows how to fix it.”

We’re in. If you are too, here’s what to do:

Read the article “The Creativity Crisis” here: http://www.newsweek.com/2010/07/10/the-creativity-crisis.html

Learn how to foster creativity and “Forget Brainstorming: here: http://www.newsweek.com/2010/07/12/forget-brainstorming.html

Get creative with your kids here: http://cts.vresp.com/c/?PoBronson/491a73be46/85ccdddb42/fe2de1273e

And hopefully, you all still have your award-winning FINE pencil packs from a couple years back laying around with the creative workbook to revisit…