Archive for 2006

The New Version of Photoshop and <gasp!> a New Icon!

Adobe Photoshop has become an industry standard and a powerhouse application for all things graphics. There’s no such thing as a graphic designer who doesn’t know a thing or two about Photoshop. If they didn’t, they would be hard-pressed to find any job in this field in today’s market.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 beta was released to the general public last Friday. I’ve been using it all week and it’s about twice as fast as CS2 on an Intel Mac, since CS2 was running under Rosetta emulation. After switching to the Mac at work, doing anything in CS2 has been a chore. There was a slight lag after clicking on anything, and opening and saving files was maddening slow. The CS3 beta has been great–lots of new features, but I’m most happy about the speed.

Iconography

There’s been a lot of talk about the icon though. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and look at the evolution of Adobe Photoshop’s application icon:

Adobe Photoshop icon evolution

A nice, steady progression of icon design, especially when you see how the iconic “Photoshop eye” evolved. They even changed the design direction at one point from the eye to a stylized feather, but still a nice-looking icon. (I rather liked the Photoshop eye myself)

And now…I give you, the brand-new CS3 icon!

Adobe Photoshop PS3 icon

… <cricket > <cricket >

When I first saw it, I figured Adobe hadn’t finished the icon and this was simply a placeholder until it was finished. After all, it is still a beta. What got everyone’s attention was when yesterday, John Nack on the Adobe blogs posted an entry confirming that it was the final icon design.

If you read the comments on his post, some by respected designers in the field, the reception has been lukewarm. Ok, they pretty overwhelmingly hate it. It gets worse. In that blog entry, he unveiled the icons for the rest of the forthcoming Adobe applications:

Adobe icons

Ok, while I agree it’s a good idea to brand each application with it’s own color on the color-wheel, these icons just show a lack of imagination to me. Two white letters on top of a square of color…I could’ve designed these! These applications at higher resolutions/smaller sizes, are going to be indistinguishable. Ya could’ve at least kept the old CS2 icons.

Just to give you an idea of how silly the icon looks when next to any other app icon, here’s what it looks like in my dock. The ugly blue box sandwiched between better-designed icons:

The Adobe Photoshop CS3 icon in my dock

As Jason Santa Maria put it, “this is an utter design failure.”

Oh, and, Merry Christmas everyone!

Doing My Part at the Shark Tank

Going to a Sharks game is one thing. Going to a Sharks game on home ice–with the cousins–and watching them pull off a come from behind win in the final minutes of the third period is an entirely different thing altogether. I cheered and jeered the whole game and I believe that our group was an instrumental part of the Sharks’ win last Saturday. If every Sharks fan was this enthusiastic, there’s no way the Sharks can lose at home.

Thanks Daniel and Lisa for the fun birthday party/Sharks game combo!

Burning Crusade Opening Cinematic

In case you didn’t catch this when it was leaked a few days ago, or when it was officially released on the world on SpikeTV last night, here’s the opening cinematic to the Burning Crusade, the expansion to World of Warcraft. As always, Blizzard’s CG guys have outdone themselves again. These guys would be on par with Pixar if they would just do a full length movie!

Warm Fuzzies

You know what’s almost as good as the Christmas season when you’re under the age of 10? The Christmas season when you’re a parent. It’s true. This is the first Christmas when Caleb’s, I’d say, “fully” aware that there’s something special about this time of year. I only say that because I’m not so sure he remembers it all from last year (doubtful). But you psychology expert mother-in-laws, brother-in-laws, and sister-laws can correct me if I’m wrong.

Everybody, unless you have a heart of stone, fondly remembers from their childhood that can’t-hardly-wait, fuzzy feeling at the pit of your stomach every time you looked at the Christmas tree and the presents underneath. For me, around puberty, the excitement–the magic–of the Christmas season kind of started dying for me. It was still a lot of fun, but it was just one of those things that changes as you get older.

I didn’t expect that joy to come back again. This time around, it’s not so much for myself, but being able to help make that “Christmas magic” happen for my little one. Caleb’s pretty excited about all the Christmas stuff going on right now. If you look at the recent pictures on TimChes.com, you can see that we spent all of last weekend breaking out the Christmas decor, making Christmas cookies, visiting Santa, cutting down our Christmas tree and hanging the lights and ornaments on it. I come home from work the other day and Caleb already knows who’s present is who’s. He knows he’ll get to open them “on Christmas.” Though we kinda just stayed at home most of the time, it was one of the most fun weekends for me, spending time with Chesney and Caleb and doing stuff together.

The Christmas festivities continue when Chesney brings Caleb to downtown Santa Cruz, where it will be snowing! With all the fun, Christmas stuff going on, I have to make sure to tear him away from the presents and cookies, and remind him of the meaning of Christmas each year.

It’s good times right now being a dad, and I’m making sure to capture every potentially embarrassing moment of Caleb’s life to show off later. I can’t wait until Caleb’s old enough to be in those hilarious cute Christmas musicals at church and at school.

Back in the Rat Race

First Days at FileMaker
A collection of hats from places I’ve worked.

Well, it’s been a while, but after a nice little vacation in Mexico, I started my first week at FileMaker. It’s always tough driving to work on a regular Monday, but this time was espeically hard after a vacation. The thrill of starting a new job made it easier though. Coming from McAfee’s large operation, it’s kind of nice to see that FileMaker’s website and web team is smaller. Each of us has more responsibility, and as far as I can tell, the web team enjoys working with each other, and they just click.

I will be taking Photoshop mockup designs from the web designer and coding them into the web standard xhtml and css, which I love so much. I will also be responsible for going through the website and fixing bugs and making sure that it adheres to the style guide. As with any first week on the job, it’s been a whirlwind of names, places, user accounts, procedures, and other things I’m supposed to remember, but everyone has been great, and I couldn’t ask for a better web team!

Though its no Googleplex, the Apple main campus is pretty impressive in its own right, with a cafeteria that’s so good and so cheap, it makes me wish I worked at the main building! It’s also just inspiring to be walking around the place whose people are responsible for my favorite computer products. It put an Apple fanboi like myself in the state of awe.

Being an Apple employee definitely has its perks! I don’t think I’ve ever been with a company that does so much for their employees. Besides the discount on Apple products, there’s discounts all over the place on non-Apple products and services, free stuff, top-notch fitness centers, and last but not least–beer every Friday! And I love my Macbook Pro work machine! Oh, and since Apple did so well during the last fiscal year, Steve went ahead and gave everybody the week of Thanksgiving as paid-time off. So after working for a week I have a week off already!

I’m loving it so far, and I’m excited to be a part of such a great team and solid company.

Gaming Madness

On another note, the cousins and I were at the new Best Buy in Vallejo yesterday afternoon and saw some crazies lined up in front for the Nintendo Wii launching at midnight that night. There were 3 of them. I wondered if I drove over there at 11:59, I would probably be 10th in line, walk in, grab my Wii (haha) and get out of there with having to sit in front of a Best Buy all day. Or even go the next day, walk in and buy the thing. Nintendo was smarter and there won’t be a horrible shortage like there was for the Xbox 360 or the PS3 launch last week, where each store only got 8 units and people were literally killing each other for them. Dave thinks they’re crazy too.

Leave of Absence

I said a sad goodbye to all my friends at McAfee Friday afternoon. It’s been a long, fun year, and I’ll miss seeing those guys every day.

I’ll be off the online grid for a good week and a half, so no new posts or pictures for a while. Chesney, Caleb, and I will be cruisin’ in the Mexican Riviera for 8 days–a nice vacation before starting the job at FileMaker. I’ll get online a few times from now until I get back, but I’ll try to control myself… So long everyone, I’ll be back in the middle of Novmeber!

Lots of pictures from our trip!

Caleb’s Room

I was checking in on Caleb late one night and his room was so impressive I turned on the lights and took this picture (make sure to move the mouse over the photo to see the notes).

Goodbye McAfee, Hello FileMaker

Yup, it’s that time of year again: time to change jobs. Well, not really, but it was about this time last year that I left CityTeam for McAfee. Next month I will be starting a brand-new job as “Web Producer” at FileMaker, an Apple company.

Goodbye McAfee, Hello FileMaker

At FileMaker, I’ll get the more casual work environment of a smaller company, but at the same time have the benefits and perks of a huge company like Apple (…like Apple employee discounts!) Sounds like a winning combination to me. I’ve already met some of the people on the web team I will be working with, and it looks like I’ll feel right at home. They have some cool, new things planned for the FileMaker website, and I’m excited to be part of it.
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Egad! Internet Explorer 7!

Internet Explorer, the browser that has over 80% of today’s browser market share, has finally been updated to version 7. It’s an optional download, at least for now, but just because of the fact that it’s the browser that ships with Windows Vista, it will undoubtedly be the browser that the majority of people will be using in the near future.

The big thing for people in my line of work is that IE 7 has made many improvements in the way that it renders web standards websites. It’s far from perfect, but what I’m hoping is that there won’t be as many differences in the way a website looks in IE from all other browsers. As I’ve said before, I can design and code a page to look perfectly in Firefox, and it will look more or less the same in all other modern browsers. Then I look at the same website in 5-year-old IE 6, and I spend the next several hours making exceptions and hacks in code to get it to look the same.

For those of you who still are using IE 6, IE 7 has some nice upgrades for you like tabs and a built-in RSS feed reader. Most importantly, it’s more secure. I’ve taken it for a spin in Windows Vista, and it seems pretty nice.

IE 7 requires a legit copy of Windows XP, and restart of your system during the install. You might want to wait a while for all the bugs to be worked out of it before trying it on your system. …or, you could just use FireFox or Opera. Safe browsing everyone–keep your Windows security updates current, and try to avoid using IE 6.

October Randoms

My poor neglected blog. Seeing Mac’s post this morning inspired me to write an entry in here again. Heck, even Lem has written 2 posts on his blog since I’ve blogged last, which is pretty sad. A few things have happened since then:

  • I turned 27, and had two parties where I got some really nice gifts–thanks everyone!
  • Daniel and Lisa, after the longest courtship ever, finally got married. It’s been a long time since my own wedding, but theirs reminded me a lot about ours. Both were outdoors, both had two pastors, both even had Mac playing the piano. The cousins are dropping like flies: Phoebe is getting married in a couple weeks, and David, next October. I love these two upcoming weddings because since Lem’s the photographer for both, it gives me a chance to pretend to be a professional photographer, too.
  • McAfee’s president was canned, and the CEO stepped down. Morale, I would say, around here is hit a new low. Funny thing is, our stock has actually risen since the news broke yesterday.
  • My last season of playing hockey with Mac ended last night. We won our last game 3-2 and made 3rd place. Mac’s moving back to the East Bay and won’t be driving an hour and a half just to play a game of hockey. It was a fun two seasons.

There, a blog entry. Done.

Just Around the Corner

This time it really came out of nowhere. While I was on vacation, my impending big day crept up on me. Yes, next week I will be turning 27. Buy me things.

Paintball, Hooters, San Fran, and Palm Springs

Just a general update on what’s been going on. I was on a roll there with the blog updates, but it’s been a while since the last one.

Bachelor Parties can be Fun

There was drinking, shooting, girls, and even computer games. Simply put, it was the greatest bachelor party ever.

Ok, it wasn’t as bad as that sounds. The shooting just paintballing, and the girls were scantily-clad waitresses at Hooters. If you haven’t gone and seen the pictures on timches.com from Daniel and Lisa’s Bachelor / Bachelorette party, check it out now. Just like Dave observed with his pictures from Hooters, we’ve gotten a lot of views on this album and the most comments ever on any album ever in the history of timches.

Cousin and Friends at Paintball
It’s allright girls, you can drool.

Paintballing was a blast. I think the hours I put into all those WWII first-person shooter computer games paid off. As it did with my brothers and cousins. We were using real-world tactics like suppressing-fire, flanking, and spotting. Of course, we still got our butts kicked by the paintball pros who had guns that had 10 times the firing rate and 100 times the accuracy, but at least we looked cool (see the picture at right).

It hurt when you got hit, but it’s all part of the game and it adds to the fear factor. Even a slight fear of getting pegged by a paintball is a nice motivation to duck and use cover. Dave posted pictures of his battle-scars today. I hit Dave in the head during one round, but I guess it didn’t leave a mark. ‘Guess he has a thick head.

More on the day from Dave and Dee.

Geeks in San Francisco

The Future of Web Apps in San Francisco
Zombies.

I had the chance to attend one day of “The Future of Web Apps” Summit put on by Carson Worshops at the Palace of Fine Arts yesterday. My buddy Daniel drove all the way up from LA for this little pow-wow. It was my first web conference, and I have to say, it’s nice to get together with fellow web designer geeks, network, and learn something new within our trade. It’s kinda like church–you get together and fellowship with people you have something in common with.

There were some well-known (in the web community) speakers there: Kevin Rose, founder of digg.com, Jeff Veen of Google, Steve Olechowski, Mike Davidson, and others. And it was fun to be packed in an auditorium with that many fellow web nerds, in a sea of laptops. I haven’t been in college in 5 years, but I imagine this is what classrooms look like now (back in my day, we used an ancient device called a “pen” to take notes). Also, I just noticed that the web professionals community is sorely lacking in ladies. The line for the men’s room was long.

Fun in the Sun

Allright, at least I got a blog entry out the door before my week-long vacation in Palm Springs for some uncomfortable 100+ degree weather! Be back in a week.

New 24″ iMac

When you buy Apple, you pray that they don’t release a new model for a lower price the next month and make you feel like a dufus. My iMac lasted quite a while, but now there’s a truly gigantic, yet still elegant and slim 24″ incher. Best thing about buying a new Mac: Photobooth and being able to take pictures like these

Hurricane Katrina’s Anniversary

In case you haven’t heard, it has been a year since Hurricane Katrina struck. Here in California, on the other side of the country, it’s easy to forget that some of the people that were affected are still dealing with the damage done a year ago.

Last September, about a month after Katrina hit, and one week after Rita, I was able to go to the Gulf Coast area. I was then working at CityTeam Ministries, and they sent me, along with two other members of the marketing team, to document the work that CityTeam was doing. While being a photographer on assignment was exciting, it was also unexpectedly draining both physically and emotionally. I met people whose lives were literally taken away in the Hurricane –their homes, belongings, even family members. I was able to get the “real” story firsthand from the people themselves, and not just what the media was telling us.

During that week-long experience, I kept a blog and continually sent photos back to CityTeam in San Jose. Here are the Katrina Relief Pictures that I took while I was in Baton Rouge, LA, New Orleans, LA, Waveland, MS (“ground zero” for Hurricane Katrina), and Bay St. Louis, MS.

When I got back, I was able to share my photos with not just CityTeam and their donors, but to my own church personally, and this year, we sent our own team last month!

If you still desire to donate, or if you ever donate towards the relief effort of a disaster such as this one, I urge you to not knee-jerkingly donate to the Red Cross. At least consider the options. Do your homework and donate to a church team, or faith-based non-profit. They were the ones who were really making the difference. They were right there with the locals, cleaning up, distributing food, and more importantly caring for them and creating relationships. I didn’t meet a local resident who had anything nice to say about the Red Cross or FEMA (both of which I rarely saw when I was there), but loved the small church groups and faith-based non-profits who came in and helped out in whatever way they could. Your donation, I guarantee you, will go a lot farther.

Anyway, just some thoughts on the subject. Keep the people in the Gulf Coast area in your prayers.

I also put up the video that I made using the pictures that I took. It’s 30 MB, but it has Jars of Clay song on it, so it’s worth downloading.