Monday, April 30, 2012

Become More Awesome

Why Play Games When You Can Play at Being More Awesome?

Visit the site to practice your typing skills.

This Guy Gets It

Monday, April 16, 2012

Book Recommendation

I recently enjoyed reading David Ogilvy’s book Confession of an Advertising Man

The thing I appreciate the most about Ogilvy’s writing is his honesty.  I should temper that statement by acknowledging that at the time of the publication of the book Ogilvy was the head of a massive advertising agency, which most likely means that he is coloring the truth to give him any advantage he possibly can in terms of securing new clients and retaining those he already has.  My guess is that his account of just how close some of the personal relationships he describes with important people and all manner of statistics he presents are hyberbole.  However, I do appreciate his honesty when it comes to admitting that he has no idea what makes a good television ad, how to write folksy and some of the other limitations of his capabilities.  

Ogilvy does include one excellent example of the type of folksy / down home ad copy he claims not to be able to write:
Carnation Milk, finest in the land 
Here I sit with a can in my hand 
No tits to pull, no hay to pitch 
Just poke a hole in the son of a bitch.
Note: I don't have my copy of the book right here in front of me so I'm paraphrasing the four lines above from memory and therefore may be off in terms of punctuation and the exact wording used in the original.

The other thing  Ogilvy points out is that women respond to images of babies in advertisements.  This was a revelation to me.  I had previously written about some of my short comings in terms of understanding what women perceive and respond to here.  Amazingly, women really do respond to being shown images of babies.  Since reading this book I’ve witnessed two incidents in which women have let out verbal exclamations without any prompting when shown images of babies.  I’m sure it would have taken me years to come to this realization had I not read Ogilvy’s book.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Why Did I Not Know About this Before?

Bugs in Your Drink

Next time you think about buying anything red to drink it might be wise to check the label to see if either the term "carmine" because it could refer to a red dye produced by grinding up insects and including their bodies in the food or drink.  The cochineal is an insect that was recently revealed to be one of the ingredients in the Starbucks strawberry frappuccino.

Lead on Your Lips

After finding that there is a significant amount of lead in lipsticks, the FDA moved slowly to do any further investigation into the matter.  You can find more information about what the FDA has done in terms of investigating the amount of lead in lipstick here.

Fire on Your Ice

According to Adam during an episode of Mythbusters, one can set fire to an ice cube by spraying it with hairspray or some other flammable substance.  I might have to try this some time just to say I once set fire to ice.  I suppose I am aware of the fact that there are a whole host of household products that are extremely flammable but I don't think it ever would have occurred to me to combine them with ice.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Adventures in Both the Digital Realm and Real Life

Design Resource

Type Connection is a site that seems to be making its way around the innertubes these days because it tries to walk the tightrope between the banality of in-depth knowledge of typefaces and entertainment.  I managed to spend about two minutes on the site before a strong wind started shaking the tightrope and I sprinted to the end.

If you're into trying the Type Connection experience for yourself, you can visit their site here.  Or, if you're the up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, select, start type, you can skip the game and go here to download the "specimen_xxx.jpg" files that appear to have some value for future design projects.  I suggest you snag copies of these images soon before they turn off directory browsing. Here is an example of these images:
Looks Like A Good Addition to Your Graphic Design Resources Folder

Recently Overheard Conversation

A guy in a coffee shop pulled himself away from his MacBook to interact with a guy and a girl sitting at a nearby table when he heard them mention brands of computers.  "If you don’t want a Mac, get yourself an Alienware laptop" the Mac user said.  "That’s like telling a homeless person to go buy a house" came the reply immediately from the girl.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Gadget Arrived

Wireless Keyboard and Track Pad Combo

Twenty-two months ago, in June of 2010, I made a note to myself indicating that I would like to buy a wireless keyboard that has a built-in track pad so that I could control a computer connected to a TV monitor from the couch.  Now it's here!
It's Bigger IRL

In the past, I tried using a wireless keyboard and mouse that come as two separate pieces, which does not cut it for me.  Using a wireless mouse from the couch would require me to have a book or something else that is both large enough to move a mouse around on and rigid enough to be able to set down on a soft couch and remain flat.  The problem with this is that the mouse inevitably moves around, which is a pain when you're trying to watch a movie and even the tiniest movement of the mouse causes the controls on the screen to pop up and distract from the story being told.  Counting the keyboard, now you have three things that all take up real estate which could otherwise be used for sitting or lounging as the couch was intended.  Finally, the last wireless keyboard I tried to use was not able to communicate with the computer unless I held it the bottom of it directly at the receiver on my computer, which is less than ideal for typing.

The ideal solution in my mind is to have one unit that has a full-sized keyboard with the same kind of track pad that you find on every laptop computer attached.  That way moving the device won't tell your computer to hold everything because you moved the mouse, you're not going to lose it between the couch cushions and you can use it to manipulate your computer a lot more effectively from the couch by just using a wireless mouse.

Aside from the benefit of being able to hook up my computer to my TV to watch internet based video, it's also nice to see how well, or how poorly (I'm looking at your Bing with your images that don't scale up on a large monitor) websites look when viewed on a large monitor.  Being able to pause a movie when the mood strikes to band out a bit of typing is also a really nice feature.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Design Inspired by Fighter Jets

Finally, a commercially available automobile will come equipped with a heads up operating display (HUD).  The 2013 Acadia Denali from GM, an SUV that starts at $44,600 will offer a HUD that shows the driver the engine RPM, speed and what gear the car is currently in.

Fighter jet have had HUDs for years and I've always been surprised that, at least to the best of my knowledge, this technology has never before found its was into automobiles.

In terms of safety, I think this technology should be just as, if not more safe, than using the more traditional dials found on automobiles.  Traditional dials require you to move your eyes from the road down to the dashboard.  Using a HUD you don't have to move your eyes off the road; you look through the semi-opaque display to see the road.

Nothing says "this exciting new feature is ready to help you conquer
the road" quite like a subtle gradient from light grey to dark grey- good work GM

It's not as thrilling as a alert flashing in red when an incoming heat seeking missile is locked onto your location but it's a start at making the driving experience a bit more exciting.

You can view more information on the GM website here.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Entertainment Notes - Netflix

Statement of Purpose

I don't expect Clean Sheets and Dirty Girls to devolve into a movie review site because I don't know what it takes to write a decent movie review and the movie industry is pretty well covered.

This blog will continue to feature my notes and since I recently ditched cable TV in favor of Netflix I was bound to form some opinions on the Netflix content library.  

Notes on Netflix Offerings

In this post I'll point out some things I noticed about:
  • Daniel Tosh’s Completely Serious
  • Clerks
  • Murder in the Rue Morgue
  •  .com for Murder
If you're down with the whole Netflix thing, you might want to check out 35 minutes or so into Daniel Tosh’s Completely Serious special.  He has a bit about football, which is worth watching.

Has anyone else noticed that Dante literally comes out of the closet at the beginning of Clerks?  

53 minutes into Murder in the Rue Morgue there is a good scene in which the retired detective meets the current detective along with the retired detective’s sidekick.

With the title .com for Murder and actress Nicollette Sheridan in a starring role, how could this move fail to interest an Interent junkie and all around technophile like me?  The answer is that .com for Murder could depict people doing things that no human being could be expected to actually do in real life if presented with the fictional situations presented in this sub-par movie.  This guy basically sums up my feelings towards this movie:
Thank You Idiocracy for Saying Things 
I Would Feel Uncomfortable Saying Myself

I find it a bit disappointing to realize just how many movies are neither included in the Netflix library nor shown regularly, if ever, on cable TV.  For example, Runaway, a 1984 movie starring Tom Selleck, was never going to win best picture at the Oscars but it was a decent entry in the police action category with some science fiction elements.  To my way of thinking, the robotic spiders featured in  Runaway  are far more imaginative than the standard movie villian's henchman.  Again, I don't mean to imply that Runaway was a great movie.  It's not.  The Tomatometer currently lists it at 47%, as you can see for yourself here.  It is however a decent movie with some above average elements.  My argument is that it would be a shame if movies like Runaway become forgotten in the future while movies like .com for Murder continue to enter the consciousness of movie watchers.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Money Woes

Class Warfare is not an evil term.  Class Warfare is, to my way of thinking, an apt term to describe the actions of the wealthy and those they have bought in high government office who are right this minute actively waging war on the middle, working and lower classes.  

Sales tax is added to everything you buy in the United States.  State and city governments set the amount of these taxes so they vary from city to city.  When I was recently in Seattle, I was shocked to find that the sales tax rate was 10%.  Being from San Diego, I'm more accustomed to paying 7.75%, which to my way of thinking is already too much.  

When I recently read that George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer in Great Britain, increased the tax rate on the sale of hot take away food to 20% I became outraged from all the way across the pond.  At the same time this 20% sales tax on hot take away food goes into effect, top earners in Great Britain will actually enjoy a 5% income tax break!

David Cameron, the Prime Minister of Great Britain, has already expressed public approval for the new tax rates put forth by George Osborne.

Those Big Government Bullies

The New York Times has more details about the new tax rates in an article that can be found here.

I Didn't Win

Sadly, I didn't win the Mega Millions lottery which was up to $640 million before the winning numbers were announced on Friday.
Sad Making

I'm not sad because I didn't win so much as I am sad for everyone else who will now miss out on what would have been one of, if not the, greatest press conferences of all time.  Had I won, I would have used all $640 million to finance the purchase of 640 million lottery tickets for the next drawing.  Answering a reporter's question about what I will do with my winnings with a hearty "I'm gonna let it ride!" would have been awesome.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Rooftop Gardens Part 2/2

I’d Move In

The pictures of this house really do speak for themselves but because the search engines don’t read photos the way humans do, I’ll describe.  

I'm in love with this fantastic house because it has a garden on the roof of the first floor.  If I am interpreting these photos correctly, one could actually walk out of a door on the second floor and onto the garden.   

If that isn’t cool enough for you, there is a climbing wall instead of a ladder to access a loft area.  All we need now is a larger version so that I could enjoy it rather than it simply being for kids.   

Get Down From There Billy, It's Daddy's Turn!

This place has nice things like hard wood floors and according to the architects it's built using sustainable materials.

Since I tend to think about how I could do that myself when I see impressive looking things, my first thought when I saw this place was "I wonder if I could build that using stacked shipping containers?"  I’m fairly certain that if I tried, I would fail in a massive way.  In fact, I think I would be lucky if the property wasn’t declared a Super Fund clean up site. 

I suppose what I should be thinking when I see a place like this is how can I earn enough money from the Clean Sheets and Dirty Girls blog to afford to hire the people at Feldman Architecture to build one of these for me.

Here is a link to an article that lists more details about the property.