Pebble E-Paper Watch

A while back the Pebble made a splash in the tech world. I was impressed by it and its capabilities. I set the link aside to further investigate later. Every once in a while I’d see it tweeted about or mentioned on a tech site and then earlier this week I finally sat down and watched all the video and read through all the descriptions. I then decided I had to have one.

A little background… Not long ago my first generation iPod nano was replaced (via recall) with a current generation nano. I thought it was really cool and immediately got a watchband case for it. I wore it around a few days and while it looked cool it wasn’t practical. I had to keep turning on the screen to see the time and why would I use it for music when I’m already carrying around my iPhone? I stopped wearing it. I wondered why it couldn’t communicate with my iPhone, why caller ID and emails couldn’t be transmitted to my wrist. The technology is all there, it’s just not implemented. Enter the Pebble.

This isn’t the first watch to link to your phone with bluetooth but it’s the most well thought out one I’ve seen. It looks nice, it has loads of customization and it works with both iOS and Android. Out of the box it will have many useful features like music controls and caller ID. There’s going to be an online store for additional apps to download to your watch via your phone. They’re making it easy for developers to access their SDK and by including both iOS and Android devices, I think lots of developers will hop on board.

The Pebble seems like the watch I’ve been waiting for. A few days ago I made the decision to pledge support on Pebble’s Kickstarter page. I was about to plop down the cash for my “pre-order” (They ship in September by the way) but realized if I got 5 friends together we could each save a bit of money and have our choice of colors. I started campaigning among my circle of friends and had just about everyone ready to go. Yesterday I found out they are all sold out. EVERY level of support is gone. I’m really upset with myself for not acting sooner. I’m still really looking forward to the Pebble and I hope it’s extremely successful. I’m not looking forward to paying full retail (estimated to be $150+) because I missed out on the Kickstarter project. I guess” you snooze you lose” really holds true here.

Anniversary of my Great Swiss Adventure

At this time a year ago I was packed and on my way to the adventure of a lifetime. I was taking my first overseas trip to join my fiance and start a three-month long internship at ICON Worldwide. I can’t believe it’s already been a year. It also happened to be Mother’s Day and my family came over to Kalamazoo to send me off (and thankfully drive me to a shuttle bus in Indiana headed for O’Hare).

I remember being slightly sick and extremely busy the couple of weeks beforehand. I was trying to finish up projects and pack and prepare frantically before my May 8 deadline. But it was here now and all that stood in the way of Switzerland was two planes and a train.

I finally finished the longest leg of the trip to Amsterdam and by that point had lost all sense of what time it was or even what day it was. From Schiphol I took a comparatively tiny flight over to Zurich (apparently I missed that check-in) and then nervously hopped a train to St. Gallen. I say nervously because I was so tired and very worried I was going to get on the wrong train.

The whole experience in Switzerland was surreal. I sometimes think it was all an elaborate dream, especially when I look back at pictures of the beautiful mountains and surroundings. I’m going to make another post that goes into details about some of my experiences in Europe and at the internship but for now, enjoy these scenes of Switzerland.

World’s Longest Invoice

I’ve been a frequent freelancer since high school (so about a decade, I’m starting to feel old). For many designers and developers this is their only form of work. It’s a stressful endeavor and there are lots of pitfalls to be had. One of the worst is not getting paid. For some reason or another you’ll come across a client who doesn’t want to pay for the services you’ve provided. Perhaps they aren’t completely satisfied with your work or they don’t think it’s worth what you billed them. I’ve had clients who just disappear or change management midway through a project. It’s always good practice to get a contract before starting work (unfortunately many of us learn this the hard way) but even with a contract it’s hard to make an unwilling client pay.

Enter The World’s Longest Client List. Basically it’s a call to all freelancers who have ever been burned on a job. They encourage you to add up everything you’ve ever been cheated out of by non-paying clients and add it to their list. While it’s not going to get you those lost wages, the movement is getting a fair bit of media. It’s drawing attention to a serious problem and hopefully that will help going forward.

Freelancing is a tough gig with no real stability or job security. If you’re a client, do the right thing and pay your bills. You wouldn’t stiff your plumber, why would you do that to your designer? If you’re a designer, do all that you can to protect yourself. Get a simple contract signed by both parties BEFORE work starts. I like to have them pay a deposit (usually 30–50% is good) upfront. That way even if they disappear or never pay the final invoice, I’m not entirely screwed. You can also try refusing to hand over the final files or project until they’ve paid in full. If you have the contract you’ll be able to take them to court if necessary. Sometimes just the threat of getting a lawyer involved will be enough to make them pay up.

Good luck to all of you freelancers out there and if you have been screwed, be sure to add your lost wages to The World’s Longest Client List.

Letterpress Wedding Invitation Press Check

Last night Abby and I had the pleasure of doing a press check on our wedding invitations. We are having them printed at Ginger Tree Press which is a one person letterpress & design studio in Kalamazoo. It’s actually owned and operated by our friend Anna who went through the same design program as us in college. I’ve always loved letterpress and when the opportunity to do our wedding invites that way presented itself, we couldn’t say no. It’s always nice to keep things local and because we knew Anna, she invited us for a press check. After checking the color and such, we stuck around to watch some of the printing. It was extremely exciting for a couple of design nerds like us. Anna really knows her stuff so if you’re looking for letterpress, definitely check out Ginger Tree Press.

I love just about everything about letterpress. I love the look of it. I love the texture. I love how it feels in your hand. There’s something very pleasing about it. I think it’s extra special. Maybe because I know what went into it behind the scenes, but I just can’t get enough of it.

Below I have a few photos and videos of our sneak peek at the invitations. They are looking really great and I can’t wait to see the final product all trimmed out with the second color in place. I’ll be sure to post them when they’re ready.



Slice of Life (Sans-Abby Edition)

This is a cross-post of a guest spot I did over at Abby’s blog. She’s been off getting her French on and she asked me to throw something up while she’s off the grid. I decided to go with her weekly “Slice of Life” style post.

Settlers of Catan board game

Birthday Cupcakes

Munchkin Card Game

Moosejaw T-Shirt

Ru Paul Bumper Sticker

Michigan Brewing Company Mackinac Pale Ale

This was what my week without Abby looked like. It wasn’t particularly exciting but it kept me busy.

  1. Settlers of Catan: We played two games on Friday and I managed to pull of a win in both games. Later in week, I continued that streak with a third win. I’m pretty sure everyone will gang up on me next time we play.
  2. Birthday Cupcakes: At a dinner with friends we celebrated Bethanie’s birthday with some homemade chocolate cupcakes, courtesy of our friend Kristen.
  3. Munchkin: My friends discovered a new (to us) card game called Munchkin. It’s kind of ridiculous and funny. We had a good time playing a couple of games and I’m sure it will be a staple at future game nights.
  4. Moosejaw T-shirt: This little goodie arrived in the mail for Abby. Moosejaw was  kind enough to give out free t-shirts last week, unfortunately not in my size. I guess Abby gets lucky on this one.
  5. Ru Paul for president bumper sticker: I saw this in a campus parking lot. It was a nice little laugh after a long, boring meeting.
  6. Michigan Brewing Company – Mackinac Pale Ale: Lately I’ve been trying to only buy beers I haven’t tried before. This week I picked up this pale ale based on name alone. It was pretty good.

30 by 30

Inspired by an old high school friend’s blog, I’ve created a list of 30 things I’d like to do before I turn 30. I’m currently 26 so I’ve got a decent amount of time to finish these up. A few goals I’ve already accomplished but I’ve left them on the list and just crossed them out. In no particular order here’s my list:

  1. Move to a major city
  2. Start a company
  3. Be a major part of a startup
  4. Get back under 200 pounds (getting close)
  5. Get to all 50 states (I think i’m in the 30s already)
  6. Run a 5k (not necessarily in a race)
  7. Go to Europe
  8. Launch an app in an app store
  9. Blog regularly
  10. Learn to play the guitar
  11. Actively pursue speaking German
  12. Own my own power tools
  13. Write a screenplay (that is more than 5 minutes long)
  14. Brew my own beer
  15. Perform a wedding ceremony (that’s Rev. Jones to you, sir)
  16. Go on a cross-country road trip
  17. Kayak down a river
  18. See all of AFI’s top 100 movies
  19. Go to SXSW
  20. Visit Australia
  21. Take an “advanced driving” course (where you do cool stuff like slides)
  22. Get a puppy (named Pixel, not that I’ve had this planned forever or anything)
  23. Punch someone in the face (who deserves it of course)
  24. Fire a gun (at a target, at a range)
  25. Live in another country
  26. Ride in a helicopter
  27. Play tennis regularly (again)
  28. Go to Germany with my father (and visit where my Grandmother was born)
  29. Design and publish an e-book (note I didn’t say “write”)
  30. Become friends with my brother

Adventures in blogging

Over the years I’ve attempted many a blog, only to continually let them fall by the wayside. This time I’m ready for a true blogging experience. Why the change of heart? For starters I’ve been inspired by my lovely fiance’s blog and an old high school friend, Rob’s blog. I’ve also realized I’ve got a lot to say and there has to be a better way to share it. I’ll be posting about things that interest me, whether that be the latest and greatest iPhone apps or a really cool new web technology. From time to time I’ll be posting interesting design projects that I’ve come across or even things I work on myself. Here’s to my new blog and the exciting possibilities to come!