2012 In Review

2012 came and went without a post on this site. While not uneventful, other services like Twitter or Facebook seemed to be my go to venues for keeping in touch with people. Somewhere in the early Fall I started feeling pretty rotten for neglecting this blog, and even spent a little time restyling the WordPress theme it uses (adding a bit of RWD and other cleanup), I never did get around to posting anything. I can’t say this will change in the new year, but I thought a quick update on what I’ve been doing and why I’ve been busy was in order.

2012 in Freelance Web Development

Much of 2012 was spent working with my good friends over at HyperHyper, a small shop out of Brooklyn, NY. There I helped get the fashion image archive VFiles off the ground.

Shop Freshly

As usual, the year was also filled with smaller projects, such as helping friend Michael Farley with the launch of Shop Freshly — which helps you find which farmers markets are open near you (now in NYC and San Francisco).

2012 in Technical Editing

While I didn’t author anything new this year, I did work as technical editor on three great projects that were released or continued into this past year:

HTML5 & CSS3 Visual QuickStart Guide

HTML5 & CSS3 Visual QuickStart Guide by Bruce Hyslop

The perennial classic, HTML5 & CSS3 Visual QuickStart Guide, saw it’s 7th edition released, this time helmed by author and friend Bruce Hyslop updating the great work of Elizabeth Castro.

My other love, digital photography, continued to lead me to interesting new grounds where I helped Adobe’s Geoff Scott and Jeffrey Tranberry with their new release on automating Photoshop Power, Speed & Automation with Adobe Photoshop which was released mid-year by focal press. This book was based on the corse Jeffrey and I had both been teaching on automating and scripting Photoshop at SVA’s Masters in Digital Photography Program.

Power, Speed & Automation with Adobe Photoshop

Power, Speed & Automation with Adobe Photoshop by Geoff Scott and Jeffrey Tranberry

At the same time, I also gathered up some sample JavaScript code from that course and quietly released the shoppe library for doing some basic Photoshop API manipulation over on github.

Web Standards Sherpa, a project bringing the brightest minds on the web to help review web sites and answer your questions about standards based design and best practices, also saw some more activity in twenty-twelve. In addition to the long form articles, a new Q&A venture Ask The Sherpas was launched in the fall. Look to 2013 for a more great stuff from this great team.

Feed Shirley

Submit a site for review by the Sherpas

2012 in Photography and Events

The end of 2012 saw some renewed interest in Flickr, but I’ve never stopped updating my projects there. In particular, there were a bunch more web tech events I covered, some officially and some as an attendee.

Carl Smith Keynote #FOWD

Carl Smith Keynote #FOWD w/ the Dalai Lama

Again this year, I was the official photographer for The Future of Web Design’s New York event and had a blast shooting and meeting a pile of great speakers and attendees.

What’s Next

While I’m not promising regular activity on the blog here, 2013 will see a bit more public activity from me on a few projects I’ve got in the works — look for a bit more stuff going up on github as well as some new photography projects.

Follow @placenamehere on Twitter to keep up to date on what’s going on with me in the new year or keep watching my photo stream on my Flickr account.

PhotoPlus Expo 2009 Recap

This week saw the annual PDN PhotoPlus Expo come to the Jacob Javits Center. I stopped in a couple days of the Expo to meet up with friends and walk around drooling at the gear, but wasn’t shopping for anything in particular this time around.

What I liked

Perch in a book

There are always lots of things to look at — great photos, great papers and output samples, books and promo materials for working photographers [above: moo.com’s business card and postcard service featuring a case study they did for the Perch CMS in a book made by Blurb], and lots and lots of gear from some of the biggest lenses you’ll ever see to some of the smallest. What caught my attention this year?

  • Nikon’s revamped 70-200mm f2.8 VRII lens due in stores in a few weeks is nice and smooth and responsive in the trade show floor lighting conditions. Might not make those that have the current model run out and upgrade, but the staple lens just got better
  • Sony had, among lots of nifty toys on both the still and video side, a nice lineup of speakers including Cristina Mittermeier, founder of the International League of Conservation Photographers
  • Walked in just as Joe McNalley was giving a talk at the Bogen booth. Having caught his Nikon speedlight demo in past years I was happy to hear him talk more generally about his career. Oh, and I won a copy of his book!
  • Manhandled the Olympus EP-1 again. Its a format I really want to like, and the kit with the 17mm f2.8 pancake lens is nice and compact. Focus seemed really hunty with continus focusing and face recognition on, but aside from some momentary settings issues it was solid. I just haven’t had the need to pull the trigger on one of these things yet.
  • Helicopter! Sky Shutter AeriCam was getting lots of strange looks and many, many questions about their Radio Controlled Helicopter capable of carrying a DSLR sized camera with a 360º rotating controlled mount for aerial photography.
  • Lensbaby had a booth again this year and had their new 12mm 160º fisheye at the show. Optics looked alright and a nice cheap way to get a fisheye lens if you’ve already got there system.
  • Don’t have studio space? StudioShare.org is a brand new venture that looks to take a little from the coworking movement and a little from model mayhem to marry people with available and unused studio space with professional who could use it. Definitely something to watch closely.

D90 & new 70-200mm 2.8 VRII

Above: Nikon’s new 70-200mm 2.8 on my D90 shooting one of the large prints in the Nikon booth.

Who I missed

Though the show floor was packed with people and the booths that were set up were constantly busy, the show did seem a little smaller then previous years. There were a few less gadgety vendors [GPS units, photo frames] and a few notable names missing as well. I was bummed the following weren’t there:

  • Panasonic: I would have liked to check out their micro 4/3s entry the Lumix GF-1 and compared it to the Olympus EP-1 which I did handle.
  • Adobe: MIA the week they released LR3 Beta. Apple having stopped attending and demoing Aperture a a year or two early it wasn’t a crazy idea not to show, but would have liked to see some live demos.
  • Crumpler: I hear they have some new bags soon. mmm bags.
  • [Micro] Stock Companies: Unless my subconscious blocked them from my mind they all seemed absent this year.

Now that I’m all amped on photo stuff its time to get out on a beautiful Sunday and make some photographs.

ROFLThing NYC Recap And Link Dump


It was part celebration and exploration of intenet celebrity and part an excuse to let your geek out. Most of all, ROFLThing NYC 2009 was a fun way to spend a cold, wintery Saturday . When else are you going to have the faces of “You Suck at Photoshop”, Sockington, Improv Everywhere, the Tron Guy and a bunch of hackers all in one room? Oh, and the most maligned man in the typography industry — the creator of the Comic Sans font.

I had planned to write up a big review of the event with hReview and all that jazz, but that would have been far to serious for an event like this. Instead I’ve recapped some of the panels and gathered a whole bunch of links for you to to chase and waste time on this week at work.

You Suck At Photoshop!

Troy Hitch & Matt Bledso of the You Suck At Photoshop video tutorials came on first and talked a bit about the origin of the series and some of the funny things that happened along the way. They also shared some advice to those trying to get anything to go viral — let folks join in and speculate and play off that buzz just like they did with all the “who are these guys?” speculation and the rumors of Dane Cook being behind it. Then Matt was prompted by the audience to strip and it was all uphill from there. Oh, and then there was the audience participate and real time slide-sharing which I’ll elaborate on another time because it was a fun setup [just don’t invite the 4chan guys when you do it].

Worthless Celebrity

Not just the Sockington Guy

Next up was Jason Scott, multiple time internet celebrity. Another two parter introducing the celebrity twittering cat, Sockington, and then a broader talk about internet celebrity and catching hitting that wave of obscure popularity. When it comes down to it you just have to be really nerdy about some topic and maybe you’ll catch people’s eye. But as importantly, do it for yourself and because you’re driven to do it and not because you want to become a celebrity.

Firefox Art and other useless things

Now we’re getting into the geeky tech stuff after the crowd split sessions. By Greasmonkey hacking and full on extensions we were treated to a variety of ways people are using technology not not to make things more efficient, but to instead fuck things and [by some people’s definition] make art. Among the crowd favorites was the Timemachine extension that turns every website your visit into something that looks like it was built in the 90s, complete with animated backgrounds, repeating images, and amateur typography. The evilness goes way beyond what Comic Sans could ever accomplish.

Bre Pettis on Rapid Prototyping

On the surface this may look like the least web based or social topic of the day, but in many ways it wasn’t — and as a mechanical engineering school dropout way back when this was for me one of the most interesting sessions. Bre Pettis who’s face is recognizable by how to videos across the web and the History channel covered one of his current obsessions as a ‘digital designer’ — rapid prototyping physical objects via machines built from affordable [sometimes!] parts and plans that are shared online on sites like Thingiverse. He walked the crowd through a few types of machines — from various standard CNCs to computer controlled lasercutters, 3D printers, RepRap and other extruding machines.

For a few years I’ve been reading that these machines being on the horizon, even to the extent that are are some success stories with using rapid prototyping and similar manufacturing techniques in underdeveloped parts of the world. Now it looks like us common folk can finally start to get our hands on the tools.

Vincent Connare, Type Designer


The night closed with a switch from famous internet personalities to one of the most infamous and hated tools of the computer hate — Comic Sans. He told the story of the origin of the font, and its It started as a project for use in a single software package at Microsoft and through forces beyond his control it was further distributed and bundled by MS later achieving world domination and making designers everywhere cringe. He clearly cringes at its variety of uses now, but was quite good natured about how it all turned out and has gathered a nice collection of signage and other usage from around the world.

Comic Sans, For Serious!

Thanks to the organizers and speakers for a nice event. And thanks to the sponsors for the schwag! No, seriously, they gave away cans of Brawndo [But I was afraid to take it home and give it to my plants].


For more info and news of future events check out the ROFLCon site or see all my ROFLThing NY photos on Flickr.