This Is Locomotion - Design, Code, and News

Colour Profiles in Photoshop and “Save for Web”

I keep forgetting whenever I setup a new photoshop installation, which settings are in fact the best for web use. A while back I saw this terrific post on Viget Inspire about issues surrounding colour shifts in Photoshop when you use the “Save for web” menu option.

Basically it boils down to a view things:

  • View > Proof Setup > Monitor RGB
  • Make sure proof colours is enabled under the View menu
  • Save for Web & Devices > Click the little button to the right of the Preset field > Uncheck Convert to sRGB

I have left my ICC profiles setup for sRGB IEC61966-2.1 as I don’t like the idea of allowing the monitor to set the colour profile. This does differ from what they recommend in both of the articles I read, but I just feel that I can’t trust the monitor to set the colour profiles.

Here are a couple great in depth reads on the issue:

Design Love

Design Love

I recently came across this series of articles from idsgn on Design Love. The series features couples who are designers and manage to run a design firm together. I think it’s rare to see such partnerships and it’s interesting to see how working together impacts the lives of various couples. I really enjoyed how the Vignelli’s summed up how they deal with disagreements in the workplace:

Disagreements are the salt of life and a partnership grows stronger by having some of them…

Here are a few of the articles in the series:

Amsterdam and a long time between posts

dutch_heightsI’m finally getting around to updating Locomotion with a new blog article. Over the past 2 months we’ve been super busy working on our MediaCore Video CMS, and have been concentrating a large amount of our effort into building the platform out.

During this time I’ve also had the opportunity to attend a Masters Photography workshop in Florence Italy with the New York School of Visual Arts in New York. From a photography perspective the course was excellent and I really felt like it deepened my knowledge of both my camera and photographic techniques substantially. I’m definitely looking forward to taking a lot of the material I learned from this course and applying it to all kinds of various client projects; taking the time away from web design to experience a completely new medium has been both refreshing and invigorating creatively.

Once the course wrapped up I was off to the UK to continue working on MediaCore and drum up some more European clients while preparing to deliver a series of speeches at the EuroPython conference in Birmingham. I’ll have to make a separate post in the next couple of days on what I learned in prepping for those presentations, but suffice to say that I learned more about speaking in a week at EuroPython than I had during my entire time at university. Nathan and Anthony also presented and learned a lot from their presentation during the conference. They are now off on some much needed R&R for the next week. Anthony will be spending his time in the north of the UK, while Nathan is off to Paris.

At the moment I’m currently situated in Amsterdam as we pause for a week of work, and am finding that I absolutely love how the city blends 16th-17th century architecture with contemporary interiors. Transportation is good, a beautiful canal structure winds throughout the city, and watching everyone commute to work on bicycles has been pleasantly refreshing. The design scene is well established and I’ve met the teams from Sofa and SoGeo, both of which are running exceptional businesses. I’m looking forward to another few days of exploring Amsterdam, and I’m sure I’ll get a chance to post a few photos.

Everyone will be back in the office by August the 2nd, and we’ll be heartily at work cranking out the next version of MediaCore.

Tolk: A better way to translate your app

Today I came across an interesting translation app for Ruby on Rails called Tolk. Tolk is a Rails engine designed to facilitate the translators doing the dirty work of translating your application to other languages. It gives translators a slick little web interface for translating words and phrases into whatever language you are needing help translating.

I think we’ll be implementing a Tolk instance to translate MediaCore, which is our open source video cms project. We’ll provide a little review of Tolk once we get it setup and running.

tolk-web-translation

Thoughts on Flash

Recently Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs wrote an open letter discussing Apple’s stance on Flash. As you may know, Flash is not permitted to play on the iPhone, iPod, or the new iPad. Here are a few choice words on the matter from Mr. Jobs:

Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.

The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. And the 200,000 apps on Apple’s App Store proves that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games.

New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind. Source: Apple

A representative of the browser software company Opera also chimed in with a few thoughts:

“But at Opera we say that the future of the web is open web standards and Flash is not an open web standards technology. Flash does have its purposes and will have its purposes, the same as [Microsoft's] Silverlight and others, especially for dynamic content. But flash as a video container makes very little sense for CPU, WiFi battery usage etcetera – you can cook an egg on [devices] once you start running Flash on them and there’s a reason for that.” Source: TechRadar

Even Microsoft’s General Manager for the Internet Explorer, Dean Hachamovitch, had nothing positive to say about the future of Flash:

“The future of the web is HTML5. Microsoft is deeply engaged in the HTML5 process with the W3C. HTML5 will be very important in advancing rich, interactive web applications and site design. The HTML5 specification describes video support without specifying a particular video format. We think H.264 is an excellent format. In its HTML5 support, IE9 will support playback of H.264 video only.” Source: Microsoft Developers Network

Apple has thwarted Adobe’s efforts at every step of the game in bringing Flash to the iPhone platform, and Adobe is now responding by requesting an antitrust inquiry into Apple’s new policy of requiring software developers who devise applications for devices such as the iPhone and iPad to use only Apple’s programming tools.

Adobe really ought to take Jobs’ advice, see the writing on the walls, and start building HTML5 tools instead of wasting it’s time complaining.

At Simple Station we couldn’t be happier to see Flash slowly going the way of the dodo. We stand behind open standards, fast loading interfaces, and interactions that make good common sense; we will continue to recommend open-source solutions over Flash to all of our clientele.

Apple re-brands to mimic Ikea

apple_before_after__full

Today in the news I noticed that Apple has re-branded their entire product line to prominently feature the Verdana typeface.

The California-based computer and electronics company, best known for their Macintosh computers and iPods, announced today the company will be adopting Verdana as their corporate typeface. The typographic change, Apple’s first since 2001, was spotted on several of the company’s international websites Thursday morning, and will soon be visible on all new packaging and marketing materials.

The news comes only months after Swedish furniture giant IKEA similarly adopted the Verdana typeface. “Verdana is a simple, cost-effective font which works well in all media and languages,” praised IKEA spokeswoman Camilla Meiby. After IKEA’s change, designers and IKEA fans alike were initally shocked to see the company drop Futura (their corporate typeface for 50 years) for the screen optimized Verdana. However, as time passed, people began to embrace the typeface in ways like never before. Source: Idsgn.org

ipad

PS. April fools

Indie Music for Haiti

We just launched a charity project called Indie Music for Haiti, which aims to help Haiti through the power of indie music. All donations will be going to Voice of Haiti, which was founded by filmmaker/social activist James M. Felter, and Haitian-American businessman/educator Eddy Remy.

Voice of Haiti funds and promotes environmentally friendly, self-sustaining community development projects in Haiti. They are also a conduit for other organizations, individuals, experts and resources that help meet the needs of community initiatives.

The concept for Indie Music For Haiti works like this:

  • You can view videos or audio files submitted to Indie Music for Haiti. If you like a particular band, make a donation on their behalf.
  • Bands and Musicians can upload music that they wish to contribute to the project, along with specifying a charity that they wish the proceeds from their online performance to go to. If you are an artists this is a great way to get publicity for your band, while promoting a great cause.

Our friends over at Asparagus Media and ServInt threw a benefit concert in Washington DC to kick the event off last month, and we worked to take everything they filmed that night and build it into a website. The charity concert raised $10,000 for Haiti relief and we’re hoping that the website will help to further those donations.

As an interesting side note, the website is powered by our open source project, MediaCore Video CMS. The homepage automatically updates with the latest videos submitted.

Indie Music for Haiti

Indie Music for Haiti

Using Helvetireader with Fluid.app

One of my favourite applications a the moment is fluid.app, which essentially can turn any website you regularly visit into a Mac OS X application. I used to use NetNewsWire for all my RSS needs, but after spending some time with Google Reader I decided to convert.

The main selling point was the combination of using Google Reader with Byline, which is a Google Reader app for the iPhone. Since now I have a laptop, a desktop, and an iPhone one of the main issues I was having was that I wanted to be able to synchronize what I was reading. NetNewsWire didn’t cut it. The only thing that really irked me with using Google Reader was the fact I was tied to using a browser, there wasn’t an app for it (that functioned the way the web app does), and I found the default Google theme to be incredibly dull. After some quick research I discovered Fluid.app and Helvetireader.

Before (Google Reader default):
google-reader-fluid

After (Helvetireader applied):
helvetireader-fluid

In this quick tutorial I will show you how I changed Google Reader to use John Hicks’ Helvetireader and build the whole thing inside a Fluid app.

Steps:

  1. Download and install Fluid.app
  2. Open up fluid.app and fill out the information like in the photo below. Where it asks for the icon you wish to use, you can download a ultra-high-res image of the Google Reader icon. Store the image on your computer, and then add through the file dialogue.
    screenshot_04
  3. Press “create” – this will create an application for Google Reader and place it in your applications folder.
  4. Startup your new shiny Google Reader Fluid application.
  5. Now we will add the Helvetireader theme. Go up to the scripts icon in the menu bar. From the menu choose “open userscripts folder”.
  6. Download the following two files: HelvetiReader.user.js and config.xml. Or you can download the zip. Note: Helvetireader 2 is now out!
  7. Extract them to the userscript folder. If you have to overwrite the existing config.xml do so.
  8. Go to the scripts menu in your new Google Reader Fluid app and click “Manage User Scripts” and check off the option for HelvetiReader.
    helvetireader-script
  9. Go to the scripts menu and hit the “Reload all User Scripts” option and then close and restart your Google Reader Fluid app
  10. Everything should now work perfectly and you will have successfully integrated Helvetireader into Google Reader

On a side note with Helvetireader the sharing menu disappears. If you scroll to the bottom of a post and mouse over where the gear is, the menu appears. I now love the minimalism, but it did take some getting used to.

Thank-you John Hicks!

Nuit Blanche

I came across this stunning cinematic short titled “Nuit Blanche” this morning. The amourous slow-motion camera techniques, the subtle details, and the style of the piece just left me breathless. This is exactly how love at first sight should feel. Time stops. Fin.

Nuit Blanche from Spy Films on Vimeo.

The State of The Internet

Today I discovered some fascinating statics from Focus Magazine on the state of the internet today. It is interesting to see that only 7% of bloggers are aged 18-24. When I saw this statistic I began to wonder if the medium is losing popularity with the younger crowd as Facebook and Twitter have gained momentum. It would be interesting to see this infographic plotted over the last 10 years to see how these statistics have changed. Were people aged 18-24 in 2004 blogging more than they are now?

State_of_The_Internet