New job writing for Wpdesigner.com

I resigned this position because I’ve decided to finish school this summer if possible. That means, unfortunately, that I won’t have the time or resources to devote to writing tutorials. Bummer!

I just got a new job writing tutorials for wpdesigner.com, and I’m excited! Small Potato writes the best tutorials on WordPress blog theming, so I’m glad to be a part of his growing WP theme development site.

I’m not really a coder, so it’s a good experience for me to learn a bit more about PHP, XHTML, CSS and all of those other mind-boggling acronyms. (Did you know that PHP stands for “PHP Hypertext Pre-processor”? THE ACRONYM IS PART OF THE NAME THAT IS ACRONYM’D!!!!!)

What I hope to bring to the table is more of a designer’s viewpoint, and also a bit of humor. The humor part will come as I get more into things, but rest assured, that’s to come.

Also, I was just put in charge of design for the tech/geek culture blog that I write for at geek-vs-life.com. I’ve been a putz and haven’t gotten a chance to do anything for it yet, but big plans are in the works.

Digital Lithography

I just found out about lithograph prints recently, and apparently I’ve been doing what is the equivalent in digital terms. I shoot Raw with my Pentax, and manipulate the exposures in Adobe Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw.

What I was trying to achieve was a high contrast, grainy look to my images. What I discovered is that by increasing the saturation of the blue channel and tweaking the contrast to the max I got the results I was looking for.

Most of a digital camera’s noise comes from the blue channel, so I figured that pumping it up and de-saturating the photo as a whole would increase the noise until it took on a grainy look. It worked like a charm, so I’ve been having fun with that technique for about two years now.

So I just found out that there was a group on Flickr dedicated to lith prints. I’m so excited! It’s like meeting long lost brothers who see the world through the same eyes as me. To celebrate, I’ve decided to share some of my .XMP settings and example photos to show what’s possible using this very cool technique.

Here’s the .XMP file. Make sure to right click or ctrl-click “Save As:” to save the file.
Digital Lith .XMP file

Here are some examples:

Apple, the iPhone, culture and style. Bring it on!

As the impending iPhone release looms over the world, it’s good to reflect upon Apple’s place in the world. Specifically, I’m speaking about their impact upon style and culture.

Can we imagine a world without iPods? That world existed, it can be confirmed. People had mp3 players previous to the iPod. But did anybody care? Not really. Was the mp3 player the stylistic commodity that it is today? Hardly. They were big, they were ugly. Then came along the sleek, and ever increasingly smaller iPod, and the whole world now owns mp3 players.

The iPod made the market, and it made the market cool.

Think about Apple’s website. Did you know that Apple was the first company to allow you to order your own customized computer from their website? Can you imagine a world where you couldn’t order exactly what you wanted from a computer maker’s site?

Their advertising campaigns are on a whole ‘nother level. Do you remember the last Microsoft ad campaign?

Neither do I.

But I can easily recall Apple ads. Remember when the original iMac came out? How about the “Think Different” campaign? My roomate, who uses a PC, has his own iPod dance in mockery of the highly graphic and memorable iPod commercials. Needless do we need to remind you about the ubiquitous Mac vs PC commercials.

So that brings us to the iPhone.

And you’re dang right I want to get one.

But I’m a Mac nerd to begin with. How about my friend Nathan who absolutely hates Macs?

“Man, I hate Macs, but that iPhone looks sweet.”

The dumb thing hasn’t even come out yet, and people are already proclaiming it the greatest phone ever. Can we imagine a world without iPhones? That world exists, it can be confirmed. But it’s hard to imagine that world come July/August.

So what does all of this mean? It’s all about culture and style. Apple has it. Microsoft doesn’t. Plain und Simple. The funny thing is, is that it has always been that way. Steve Jobs mentioned it a long time ago:

Steve Jobs Interview

It’s only now that the entire playing field of the world of computers has leveled out that people are starting to notice or care.

The needs of most computer users haven’t changed much in the past 5 or so years. Processor speeds have leveled out. Graphics needs, outside of extreme gamers, has leveled out. People just don’t need that much more performance to be happy.

What they need now is style and culture. And living in this culture-less era, this cesspool of regurgitated ideas and half-baked schemes, I for one thank Apple for at least having the nerve to do something different. You might not like Apple for whatever valid reason you may have, but you’ve got to respect them for at least trying.

WordPress Theming Tutorials

I can’t describe how helpful the tutorials at wpdesigner.com have been. Absolutely fabulous. If you’re interested in a basic lesson in PHP and CSS coding for theming your own blog, this is THE PLACE to check it out.