We’ve started working on a new website for the Portland Web Innovators this past week. We were previously using a Google Group, but found it rather cumbersome, and folks were missing meetings. Not good! We’ve started with a discussion forum as a foundation, but we’re already starting to add more sections to make it a really useful community space.
If you’re in Portland, and you’re interested in cutting-edge web design, applications, businesses, ideas, or just want to talk to a group of like-minded individuals, we hope you’ll stop by and check it out. We’ve got a lot of great stuff planned for the future.
Dan Webb explains why the Mac version of Google Earth ends up in Chanute, Kansas when you wait for it to settle down, and then just zoom in all the way.
The most important reason is that I was born and raised there. I grew up on a small farm, and while everyone else was out feeding the ducks and milking the cows, I was inside making electronic contraptions and eventually programming computers (which would scarcely be recognized as such today, since my first computer had only 256 bytes of memory and a dual hexadecimal LED display).
Kind of a neat story.
Design Observer has an excellent piece about a hidden message in a New York Times Book Review article. I love finding hidden messages like that!
Well, MacHeist has finished, and it looks like they “heisted” half a million dollars from the Mac community. And while I think it’s great that $200,000 ended up in charities, I see MacHeist as an exacerbation of the problem with some charities to begin with.
Very often, you read about the costs of running a charity. Sometimes you find out that incredible amounts of the money raised goes to “administrative costs,” and often it ends up being well over half the money, sometimes much higher. That means that you’re giving more money to the folks doing the fund raising than you are to the folks you’re trying to help. There has to be a better way.
But with MacHeist, charity gets somewhere around 25% of the money raised, and the developers of those ten applications, on average, get just over 1%. Meaning, developers of the applications made about 30-50 cents per copy of their software sold. And they have to support all those licensed versions of their programs out there! In fact, the support requests are pouring in right now, even as I write.
So where does that leave me, a potential buyer of one of those applications? Well, I’m quite likely to purchase a competitor, or just pass, because if I buy a program, I’m used to getting technical support. That’s just not going to happen when there’s thousands of new copies out there, and no new money to support them. And that’s too bad, because many of those programs are just excellent, and I own a few already.
I think MacHeist has done a disservice to the Mac community that it purports to serve. I think all the praise that Phill and friends have been getting is unwarranted. Am I being too harsh? He’s a smart businessperson. He’s a good marketer. But he’s no altruist.
As a teenager, I was advised by a wealthy businessman that “work is what you do during the day so that you can afford to do what you want on the weekends.” I found this to be an awfully upsetting prospect that didn’t quite settle with how I’d want to spend 40 or so hours a week.
Happy Hour is 9 to 5 has a completely different idea of the role of work, recognizing that happiness at work makes a hug effect on the rest of one’s lives – and that work happiness is important and obtainable. This must-read mini book really changes the way one thinks about life and work:
I want you to imagine waking up early on a Monday morning. Picture yourself as you turn off the alarm clock, and lie in bed for a moment before getting up…just thinking about the workweek ahead of you is making you smile and get ready to jump out of bed…You just know it’s going to be a wonderful week. You will get to do great work you can be proud of. You will get to make a difference, as you did last week and every week before that.
For myself, happiness comes from self-direction, creativity, flexibility, curiosity and continuous learning. Given this, and my role here at Needmore, I often feel this excitement about my work. But, not all the time. Without fail, when I am feeling a lack of happiness about work it is because I have gotten too busy and forgotten to allow myself ample time for learning and exploring creatively. The interesting thing is, work happiness is different for each of us and is obtainable! A big part of finding happiness at work is to discover what makes you happy and strive to place yourself where those needs are met.
Check out this brilliant ad for a bookseller, playing on one of the great weaknesses of this online world…
We’ve had some rough weather here in Portland, with no less than three severe weather advisories today. Apparently, this evening we’ll see gusts of wind up to 65 mph! Looking into those advisories, I couldn’t help but notice that State Farm has some pretty well-placed advertising here…
Apple’s new profile of W+K Tokyo Lab is a really fun and inspiring video to watch. Apple always does a good job with their Pro profile videos.
It’s all over the news today … a Velvet Underground record, discovered at a garage sale a few years ago, is for sale on eBay right now – only three hours to go! Don’t rush for your wallet, though, it’s just past $155,000.
It’s all quite the coincidence, because we just watched Velvet Underground: Under Review last night, a mostly-good documentary about the Velvets that included a discussion about this very acetate! Weird.
Man, would I love to give that record a listen. Not at that price, though.
Along with our client projects, we have a number of internal projects currently in the works, from a redesign the Needmore website to our coffee tasting site, Cuppin’, to our video show Hello! Video told, we recently counted seven current internal website projects.
Internal projects have a way of piling up as client projects take center stage. Our best strategy for getting these sites completed is focusing on one internal project at a time, but how to decide which to work on first?
Enter our new notecard organization exercise. Take out a note-card per project and write the name of each project on top. Talk about the pros and cons of each individual project. Finally, estimate the number of hours each would take to completion and then rate our project passion for each project.
The first time we attempted this exercise, we were hopeful that our passion list would correlate with the shorter time projects, but they didn’t. So, we had choice to make – choose the short projects or the passion projects.
We went with passion and created a clear list our target internal projects over the next few months. Is this list set in stone? No way! But it does give a clear direction for now and allows us to keep moving forward – and working on projects that make us happy designers!