“Faaaaabulous!” (or, My Requisite BlogHer Recap)

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Now with photos and embarrassing video! Alright, so it’s not as exciting as all that, but we did have a really good time. :)

I left San Diego Wednesday at noon on Jet Blue, who despite the bird-flipping, slide-exiting, job-quitting flight attendant’s recent escapades, is a pretty awesome airline. The seats were roomy, I could stretch out my legs completely in front of me, there was free DirecTV (so I timed my entire trip by how many 30 minute Food Network shows I watched) and the snacks were tasty items like Terra Chips instead of crappy peanuts. And the pilot got us there almost 40 minutes before he said he would, so that was nice.

I took a cab into Manhattan from the airport and proceeded to spastically tweet about how to tip the cabbie. I’m an overtipper and standard tipping here is 20% for like, everything, it seems like, so with a $50 cab ride, I was concerned about giving too much. Of course, despite the encouraging 10% recommendations from Twitter, I still overtipped.

Kathy modeling in our roomWe decided to escape the hub-bub of Blogher, we’d stay elsewhere… so we booked ourselves at Empire Hotel. We found out after we made our reservations that it’s Chuck Bass’ hotel in Gossip Girl, which was pretty funny. While the staff and management at Empire were really lovely, the place was a total Monet. It’s much better on TV.  It looks beautiful from a distance, but when you get up close, it’s much shabbier than the marketing implies. We knew it was a vintage building that had been renovated, but how long ago? There was water damage on the walls, the chairs were pretty worn, our rooms had cobwebs in the corners and the beds… oh my god, the beds. It was like sleeping in a mausoleum — hard, hard mattresses.  HARD.  We both were in pain by the end of the trip.

Oh, also? Apparently, the rooftop deck bar is the hot place to be on a Thursday night. There were lines of short skirts around the block to get upstairs.  If they offer you the 11th floor, despite the spectacular views of Lincoln Center, don’t take it. You’ll hear remixes of Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam and hooker heels on your ceiling until 3:30am (and heat rises, so the hallways were constantly like, Africa Hot, while our rooms were Meat Locker Cold).  Given that we had to be up at 8am for the conference, we sweetly called down to management — I swear! I even made him laugh — and they moved our luggage to the old people’s floor for us the next day and knocked $75 off our bill for two nights. Like I said, great management, mediocre rooms, granite mattresses.  It does have a lovely lobby bar, though.  We called it our Brokedown Palace. With lube.

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How to Be a Wanker: Lesson 1

Monday, September 28th, 2009

As you may know, we’re fairly regularly encounter people who rip off our work, be it writing or design. I think any designer worth their salt has had at least one thing stolen from them somewhere. Or they will, eventually. I used to get really super upset about it, but now I just calmly issue them an email and if I don’t get a response, I send their host a DMCA violation notice. That usually does the trick. No sense in getting all riled up about it — unless they’re actually touting themselves as professionals and attempting to get jobs based on our work. Then I absolutely won’t stand for it.

But never — never! — has anyone ever sent me an email like this. Never ever and I’m rather glad because I’d probably have some kind of rage aneurysm and collapse muttering really classy things like “I’ll cut a bitch!” or similar.

Lawrie (@indextwo on twitter) gave me permission to repost this letter he posted on Facebook. Umar can suck it.
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Categories: design

Testing! Testing! Windows Live Writer!

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

I have a client who wants to use Windows Live Writer, so I wanted to give it a go to see if it would deliver. As much as I loathe Internet Explorer, this particular Windows goodie is pretty awesome. As I type this, it looks like I’m writing it on my live blog, not within WordPress, but on my actual blog as if I could actually do that.

With this… I can!  Let’s try uploading a photo:

My Erin Rachel HibiscusHuh. This is interesting.  I’m not sure if these effects I’m seeing in Windows Live Writer will show up and my images don’t seem to be floating properly, but we’ll see what happens when I publish.

Carry on!

Ok, I’ve since published this and I must say… I’m pretty impressed. I checked out the html code within WordPress and it’s not a big hot mess. And I’m editing it right now within WordPress and it’s keeping all the effects and styling. I don’t know if i’d use this all the time ,but for clients who really need this kind of WYSIWYG type interface, this would be a lifesaver. Kudos, Windows Live Writer!

Categories: design

Just a Jump to the Left and Then a Step to the Right

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Bloggers, I need your opinion! I pose a question that is beginning to really vex me from a user experience standpoint. I’m talking about “previous/next” navigation. Riveting, I realize, but I’m looking for answers and who better to ask than bloggers themselves?

As an old school blogger who started off using MT 1.something, I’m accustomed to the front page of the blog being the most current entries, obviously, and the link for a previous or older entries/entry being displayed on the bottom right of the entries with an arrow or similar indicating “to the right”.  Like I’ve got on this blog.

Over the years, especially with the success of WordPress, I’m seeing it done in the opposite and it’s beginning to confuse me quite a bit while organizing client sites.  In my opinion, you view the most current entry, then “flip back” like a reverse book to read older entries.  And, to that end, the link by default would read something like “older entries” or “previous entries”, not next entries, which I’m seeing linked on the left with a left arrow.  This seems to be WordPress’ default setting.

Uh… this doesn’t make sense to me.  I’m not trying to be difficult… maybe that’s what the kids are doing these days. I don’t know. But if I’m looking at an individual entry, to me, the most recent entry would be “to the left” and should read “newer entry” or “next entry”.  And vice versa.  Why would I go to the right?

So, what do you think?  What makes sense to you?   What do you use on your blog?  I want to make sure the navigation makes sense to users, regardless of what I think.

Thanks for your input!

Categories: design, moxie

“Earn More Sessions By Sleeving”

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Hey, We Wrote That!

Kathy and I decided to forego SXSW this year so we could attend a conference that allows us to meet n’ mingle with our clients and other lovely people likely to be potential clients and friends… BlogHer.

We were supposed to go together, but she’ll be delivering another kidlet right during that time, so I’ll be flying solo.  I was just going to go to hang out and observe, but I’ve reconsidered and decided to throw my hat in the ring to host a panel, but not really a panel because it’s just me. A session, they call it.

I wanted to call it “When Your Blog Has That Not-So-Fresh Feeling”, but I decided at the last minute to call it “Blogging with Moxie”… you know, what with the book n’ all.  I figured I could go over topics from the book and do a lot of Q&A and maybe some on-the-spot blog critique and tip-offering, if anyone was interested.

Or I could just sit there and drink coffee if no one shows up.

I’m not stuffy, in case you hadn’t noticed, so my session won’t be either. It’s not going to be boring, it won’t be explicit insert tab A into slot B, it won’t be overhead projectors with code all over it.  It would be more intimate, more relaxed, fun, if you will.

I’m open to questions and basically… dishing.  About blogging. And all the merriment that comes with it, like the obvious design tips and some technical stuff like, what exactly does an RSS feed do? which blog platform is right for me?  where should my ads go?  But also things we’ve gleaned over our six years in this business, like how to handle blog drama, blog etiquette, choosing a topic, how to keep people enchanted with your bad self… that sort of thing.  I’m considering some kind of game or quiz and of course… prizes.  Everything is better with prizes.

If you are going to BlogHer (or even if you’re not), I’d welcome your input on my session idea. You can let BlogHer know you’d attend by visiting this link.

Categories: design, moxie