This Is Locomotion - Design, Code, and News

Archive for 2008


Flash: 99% Bad

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

This pretty much sums up exactly how we feel about flash animation. We’ve recently started getting a lot of inquiries about creating flash websites and our standpoint on this issue is that we simply do not provide these services specifically for these reasons mentioned in this article. If you are thinking of creating a website with flash as a main component we would highly recommend reading over this article before committing yourself to the technology. We do think flash has a great place for use in videos, audio, and photo slide shows but its use in the implementation of an entire website is something we strongly disagree with.

15 Email Writing Tips

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Have you ever needed to email someone – a stranger, asking them for a favor? How can one compose email such that they will be read and responded to? How do we effectively email someone who gets a lot of email?

Whether personal or business, the ability to compose efficient and effective email is super useful – both in terms of productivity and responsiveness.

We’re all busy, and we’ve all received long, ambiguous and rambling email. Ironically, most of us have also been guilty of writing such verbose email while requesting for someone else’s time.

Source: 15 Tips for Writing Effective Email

Visual Guide to Financial Crisis

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

I just came across a very detailed and explanatory visual guide to the financial crisis that more or less sums up the current situation in an easy to follow flow chart. Although it’s initially a bit visually overwhelming it really does help explain things clearly once you start reading.

Obama Campaign Design

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

This morning I read a really interesting article on the design approach for Barrack Obama’s campaign logo in the New York Times. The logo itself was designed by a small design firm in Chicago called Mode.

When we received the assignment, we immediately read both of Senator Obama’s books. We were struck by the ideas of hope, change and a new perspective on red and blue (not red and blue states, but one country). There was also a strong sense, from the start, that his campaign represented something entirely new in American politics — “a new day,” so to speak.

I must say I really liked their approach here by starting with immersing themselves in their client. By getting to know the man, Barrack Obama, they were able to really create a logo that speaks to “change.”

After reading the NYTimes article I did a little digging to see what some of their other work looked like and I must say I was a little surprised to see that they primarily seem to be a motion design company and that their website seemed quite bland for the quality of clients and work that they produce. It always strikes me when I see a piece of great design work but the creator has a really poor website. How do good companies that produce high quality work get away with having such bland looking websites? When I googled “Mode design Chicago” they didn’t even come up in the listings and if it were not for Google Maps I never would have found them. They must do 90% of their business through word of mouth because they are virtually invisible on the web.

Where the hell is Matt?

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

It’s not every day I run across a clip on YouTube like this one so I decided to share. It’s probably old news for a lot of steady YouTube fanatics but I just loved the theme and the stunning locations so much I just couldn’t avoid posting it on the Simple Station blog.

The title is “Where the hell is Matt” and it’s basically one man’s quest to dance everywhere on the entire globe. He does a pretty good job. One question though – where on earth does he get his funding!?!

Working from home?

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

The large number of small businesses in Victoria that are operated from a home office always surprises me. Hopefully this entry will help those of you who are working from home. Recently A List Apart had a great article on working from home. They asked their readers to write in the best tips and tricks for working in a home office environment and they responded with some excellent tips.

Here are your secrets—how to balance work and family, maintain energy and focus, get things done, and above all, how to remember the love.

There’s a solid 20-30 tips in the article so be sure to give it a good read if it apply’s to you. While I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the printable CEO series (I find it too much paperwork for my liking) I do find their tip on using GrandCentral catching my eye as I’ve been thinking for a while that it would be nice just to be able to give out one number to clients instead of both office and cell numbers.

A List Apart has also ran a similar article on the home work environment theme titled “Walking the line when you work from home” which is also a good read.

Enjoy!

Web Workers are Green

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

When the benefits of teleworking are discussed, one of the major points raised is that teleworking is better for the environment. One of the more obvious causes of this is that if more people work from home, lesser people drive to work, reducing petrol consumption and the emissions that result from it.

A recent survey by the US Consumer Electronics Association found that although the carbon emissions from home offices increased because of telecommuting, the saved petrol consumption more than makes up for it:

The report states that there are 3.9 million people in the U.S. who work from home at least one day a week. By avoiding an average 22-mile commute to the place of work, and taking into account the increased power use in the home, this practice saves about 840 million (U.S.) gallons of petrol, equivalent to taking two million cars off the road for a year.
Source: PC World, Telecommuting Saves Carbon Emissions

Despite these claims, there are still some skeptics. Read more at WebWorkerDaily.

So it looks like if you work from home you’re doing the environment a favor. Hooray for web workers!

Over checking email affects production

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

In a study last year, Dr Thomas Jackson of Loughborough University, England, found that it takes an average of 64 seconds to recover your train of thought after interruption by email (bit.ly/email2). So people who check their email every five minutes waste 81/2hours a week figuring out what they were doing moments before.

Source: smh.com.au/nwes/biztech

This is a stunning statistic and I can definitely see the effect that rampant email checking can have in the workplace. In our dynamic office environment I’ve been trying to keep to checking email to 3-4 times per day. I find that once in the morning, once after lunch, and once closer to the end of the day really helps keep my focus task oriented. Apparently it also saves me 8.5 hours a week just in refocusing time according to this. One of the biggest reasons I’ve ran with this approach to checking email is that it also allows me to get through email in a very rapid way by batching writing emails together at one time. Just a few bits of food for thought.

Type is Art

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

Just a quick plug here for a fun website called “Type is Art”. As a associate member of the Graphic Designers of Canada(GDC) I’ve been busy broadening my knowledge of typography as it is also the focus of the association this year – and really enjoyed the experience at this dynamic site. The Type is Art site is an interactive exploration of different components of the typographic form and really does have some very fun educational elements. If you have any interest in typography be sure to give it a look.

Introducing Ubiquity for Firefox

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Today I installed the free Firefox plugin Ubiquity and was amazed by the new concept and the possibilities it unfolds for both users and web developers alike.

Today we’re announcing the launch of Ubiquity, a Mozilla Labs experiment into connecting the Web with language in an attempt to find new user interfaces that could make it possible for everyone to do common Web tasks more quickly and easily.

While you certainly can read more about Ubiquity yourself… I was very impressed by a variety of functions that have already come in handy for me.

Contemplating a trip to Central America I have had to look at many pages which are often in spanish. It’s annoying to have to refer to babelfish or google translate constantly and I’ve often wished a translation could be done on the fly by selecting text and letting Firefox handle the rest. Enter Ubiquity.

First I go to a spanish speaking website…
screenshot_02.jpg

I highlight the text and then type “translate” into Ubiquity. I hit enter and it translates the entire text in the page itself.screenshot_03.jpg

Then lastly I select the newly translated text and pull up the screen for Ubiquity and type “email” which then automatically opens up Gmail and composes an email with the text that I have selected.
screenshot_04.jpg

All I can say is that’s just plain brilliant. You can do all kinds of things with ubiquity. You can select a phrase or word and then:

  • translate the text to english
  • google map it
  • email it
  • get a definition
  • look it up in wikipedia
  • search Google for it
  • and a whole lot more!

I can see increasingly that as web services and open API’s get more prevalent that tools like Ubiquity will become an everyday part of our browsing experience. Huge kudos to the team behind the concept!

Also here’s a good video on the concept: