I intercepted this video from a Twitter conversation between two Baltimore friends. It’s a hilarious and fun music video for Martin Brooks’ song “Golden Tree.” After watching it, I’m now dying to go home to rural Pennsylvania and ride my bike past all the cornfields. I haven’t tried riding no handed since I was a kid, but I imagine I could add a moves to the list.
If you have any web work in your portfolio, I’m sure you’ve come across this scenario at least once: You need to update all of your images not because the content changed, but because the browser in the screenshot is out-dated. No one wants Netscape Communicator in their 2011 portfolio shots—maybe just me because NC is the bomb-diggity. You can easily avoid this situation by making the window chrome browser-agnostic. I first noticed this trick on Dan Mall’s website. Dan is so baller, he even uses a device-agnostic shell for his mobile work.
Today, my buddy Chris Jennings at Disqus tweeted this gem by Orman Clark of Premium Pixels. It’s a PSD of browser-agnostic window chrome that can be used for displaying your web work—perfect. It’s simple, easy, and subtle enough that it keeps the focus on your work.
Since we’re on the topic of capturing web work, I should also make you aware of Paparazzi, a terrific little OSX app that can save an entire web page as a PNG, PDF, or TIFF. It can also crop or scale a page to a given set of dimensions. Paparazzi combined with Premium Pixel’s PSD makes the perfect duo. I made the dizzying screenshot above using them and it was easy as pie. Now someone just needs to write an app that automatically adds the chrome to the screenshot.
Andy Mangold was originally my intern at a small design studio in Baltimore. Ever since, he’s been one of my closest friends. Now, he’s living the dream, running a studio with his best friends, aptly named Friends of The Web. Today, they launched Quiption, an iOS app that lets you take a photo, place designer type on top, and send it as a postcard, all from your iPhone.
I’ve been beta testing it for a few weeks now and it’s honestly one of the smoothest and cleanest apps on my 3GS. Most apps tend to crawl these days, but Quiption flies, all the while looking good. Friends of The Web partnered with Sincerely to make the shoot+print+ship process effortless. For less than the cost of a store-bought postcard, I was able to send one with my own photo to my parents in under a minute. Money. I can’t wait to see where Quiption goes from here.
The way in which developers can accept payments is always on my mind. It’s mainly out of pure curiosity because the thought of charging for apps brings with it a terrifying amount of responsibility—much more than my 9-2am slot for side projects can handle. Nevertheless, I keep my eyes open for services that might help.
Enter Stripe, a new service that “makes it easy to start accepting credit cards on the web today.” And they’re not kidding—you can get started before even seeing a sign up screen. Stripe supports one-time payments, subscriptions, you name it. It also handles customer and credit card storage using a dead-simple API that “gets out of your way.” I love it. So much that I’m dying to find a reason to use it. Check it out and give her a whirl.
I’ve been experimenting with Rails lately, casually developing a color-centric web app in the after hours. I often brainstorm with my friend and fellow super-burrito-lover, Jungho, and he pointed me to this color tool he swears by, 0to255. I can’t believe I didn’t know about this earlier! I consistently find myself in Apple’s sub-par color picker, sliding the brightness up and down to find highlights and shadows, but I never feel confident in its results. Most of the time, the color picker adapts its hue to normalize the brightness when I return to readjust it. 0to255 addresses all of my qualms, providing a white-to-black fade of any color, with a dead-simple click-to-copy interaction. I also love that its URLs use the hex values (0to255.com/007998 is my jam). A tip of the hat to Shaun Chapman for developing and designing such a killer web app. We can never have too many makers out there.
After speaking at Flash and The City this past June, I had a hard time finding an accurate and easy-to-use service for hosting my slides. I tried SlideShare and Scribd, but both butchered the embedded fonts. I just recently discovered Speaker Deck while checking out the slides from Zach Holman’s How Github Uses Github to Build Github talk. After receiving an invite and trying it out for myself, I must say I love this service. It processed my slides verbatim and did so with such simplicity, which is their main selling point. So far, my only gripe is that it only supports PDFs, no Keynote yet, but I’m sure that’s on the backlog. Speaker Deck is out of private beta as of today, so sign up and check it out for yourself.
I realized today that I rarely post any of the inspirational talks I come across. I’ve seen Robert Hodgin speak before and it’s always a jaw-dropping experience. I have no idea how he consistently knocks out these amazing projects, many of which are just for fun. His work always makes me want to stop everything and just experiment. I hope you get the same kickstart I did from watching his FITC talk.
Lately, I’ve been dipping my toes in the Rails pool. It’s been a bit overwhelming, to say the least, but I’m making some headway. To get the hang of things, I decided to create a dead simple app—no more than half dozen lines.
Since switching to Linode, I noticed a display of the uptime in the admin. Curious, I investigated a bit and found that you can retrieve a UNIX machine’s uptime with a single Bash call,
uptime. It returns something like this:
23:12 up 14:04, 5 users, load averages: 1.25 1.40 1.63. Sure, I could break this apart with regex and calculate the uptime myself, but there’s an easier way.
Linux has a separate file located at
/proc/uptime that returns two values: uptime in seconds and idle time in seconds. With this, I could determine the number of uptime days no problem. I’ve always loved those accident signs found in factories, so I combined the two and came up with this web app.
If This Then That makes me so excited for the future of the web because it is the future of the web. IFTTT uses the common programming conditional to tie two services together. In the example above, it polls Instagram for new photos by me, then automatically saves them to my Dropbox account. You can currently pick from 35 different “channels,” which include web services like Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr, as well as tools like Date/Time, Phone, and SMS.
I’m in love with the concept because the possibilities are both endless and up to the user. We no longer need to wait for one service to add support for another. We also no longer need a different middleman service for every combination—it’s all in one. So far, IFTTT supports most of the main services, but I’m anxiously awaiting the integration of others, like Gimmebar and maybe even custom URL triggers.
IFTTT is still young, but it has so much promise. Try it out and let me know what you think. I have a really good feeling about this one.