My good friend Alan Dennis just shared this with me and I had to share.
I have this very simple idea. Use an iPhone’s location abilities to automatically control your Nest thermostat to increase your comfort and save on heating and cooling. It would work like this. Tell your Nest your address and let the iPhone app create a double ring virtual fence. As you drove through this fence (twice) in either direction, the app would signal your thermostat with an update.
If you are traveling away, the thermostat could turn on or confirm the “Away” mode. If you are heading toward you address, the app could turn on the heat or cooling to increase your comfort when you arrive. The virtual fence would grow or contract based on the weather and time of day. Additionally, the user could be alerted that the app wanted to signal the thermostat, making it simple to cancel the update if it was not needed.
Here is a simple representation of the idea.
Here is to hoping Nest adds this feature to their app, credits me with an original idea (only slightly kidding here, and most importantly, fixes the Nest so I can put one back in my house!
Last night I zipped over to my local Target to pick up an iPad Mini. I was excited. I have been doing some design work that is targeted toward a smaller screen and have had using a Kindle Fire to emulate the screen size. I love the overall size of the Fire. It is light, fits in my pocket and hand(s) but does not feel cramped. I expected the iPad would be even better. And I was right. Read more
The microwave has been my tormentor for years now.
I hate it.
I always seem to use it wrong. I get unintended outcomes. Cold food. Overcooked cheese. Coffee that burns my face.
This means that my wife has to help this “user” more often than not, and good-naturedly resets the 35 minutes that I have entered to warm something up back to the 35 seconds it really needed. Its not that I can not operate a microwave… it’s that I despise the UI. Out of frustration and apathy I mash the keys and hope it turns on. Lazy? Perhaps. Wrong? NO! A microwave is supposed to be a simple, easy to use device. It gives you a simple and quick way to get… hot soup. Except over the years, microwaves have added more and more useless features … too many in my opinion. Read more
Years ago I began exploring the world of design, the internet, code and consulting. I quickly realized that it was the perfect combination for me. Enough challenges in the right and left brain to keep me engaged. Enough interaction with people to stave off the dreaded hermit status. And enough change to always keep me on my toes… after graduating, reality set in and I had to get another job to support my consulting habit. I became an in-house designer and spent about ten years balancing in-house against consulting/freelance/contract work. When people asked, I told them, I like the stability of in-house, and the excitement of consulting. And I did.
In April, 2011 I took on a new role with Cynergy Systems. Writing this now, seven months into this new adventure, I am happy to report that I have found a place with the benefits of both worlds. And more. Thanks to the people, from the other designers, to the developers, to the leadership I have noticed ,in myself, new excitement for my work. A resurrection of skills that I had left safely alone since college. And abilities I did not know I had. In other words GROWTH! Glorious growth.
I have talked about growth with my boss and my mentor here. My take is this. Growth is sometimes scary. It can be painful. And it can seem slow. But the truth is, if you are not scared, struggling or feeling some pain you are comfortable. And comfortable is ok… if you are chilling on a sofa relaxing. But its a pretty bad place to live if you are being challenged on both hemispheres of your brain, because you are rehashing old thoughts. Is a rotten way to feel when the world you are trying to contribute to is changing faster and faster every quarter. And comfortable is, to me, the most dangerous place a designer can ever live. That is when it hit me. This is Awesome. I am uncomfortable, a little scared, and the feeling pain. And instead of growth on my own, like I did a decade ago, I’m now growing, but with all of my past experience to judge it against, and at a place that will support me, push me and believe in me to make things I did not know could happen possible.
A strange mix of things that I really find useful. It would be impossible for me to qualify everything on this list and a massive number of things will be left off (not missed, I just decided to limit this to 10 items. I would be extremely curious to see your list.
Generally, I am not fantastic at budgeting or saving or tracking every single purchase. Mint’s a great, free tool to help you do all that. But wait, there is more. It also makes it easy to set goals, get warnings that something is not right (like if a credit card is changing rates or I’m being charged beyond limits you set) and it makes tracking things for tax season so much simpler.
Shaun Inman’s HaveAMint is a great alternative to Google Analytics. Its simple, clean and quick. I feel like I can get the pulse of my site in real time and be gone.
Great site to see new branding, logos and the best part is the writing. I love that there is thoughtful commentary and input from readers.
Now that TweetDeck has found its way onto my iPod, home and work Macs, and into Chrome as an app, I rarely go a day without it on or being checked. (Note, when I use the iPad, I really like the Twitter app better)
Fast. Super fast. Did I mention fast? Oh yeah, its fast. And I likes me some fast.
I’ve mentioned my love of CSSEdit before. I hope that there is a new version coming soon, or at least an update
I would miss it. A lot. But, lately the periods of time that it runs smoothly (as in not crashing or doing something weird where I have to kill it) has not been stellar.
Its small, fast, always ready to work. Plus I have customized my mouse buttons to increase speed.
- Netflix (the streaming part)
This is just a super service. Oh, and I love that it works on everything. And, if you’ve not watched the new season of The IT Crowd, you should. Its a treat so far.
I actually pay for hosting, which includes email. I still like Gmail much better.
If and when these top ten list makers break or I am working on a computer that I can’t use them, I really notice.
This morning I awoke to see that my friend and fellow designer Nick (of Pulp and Pixels and TechSmith) had released his Columnal CSS grid system. This impressive bit of code allows you to go all the way from a healthy 1140px wide page with multi-columns all the way to something that looks and works great on your iPhone.
The Columnal CSS grid system is a “remix” of a couple others with some custom code thrown in. The elastic grid system is borrowed from cssgrid.net, while some code inspiration (and the idea for subcolumns) are taken from 960.gs.
I know that I will be borrowing this from Nick for my next project where I need a responsive web design.
I have been thinking about an app for meal planning for a couple weeks. I was watching/helping my wife plan a trip to the store and it dawned on me that planning meals should be easier. We generally know what we want, but at the end of a day filled with work, chasing kids and everything else, we tend to go for whatever we can think of. Often its the same rotation of tacos, pizza and ummmmm… We struggle to keep the menu interesting AND affordable.This weekend I figured I would start designing the idea. I am looking for a developer(s) that wants to program this idea! If you are interested in the idea. Let me know. Read more
One of my counterparts at TechSmith has just posted this amazing blog article about something that he has figured out about CSS3 + multiple background images AND Internet Explorer. This is the first time I have seen anyone doing this. This is why I love working at TechSmith, I am constantly learning. Check out Derick’s idea CSS3 Multiple backgrounds in non-supportive browsers.
If you are looking for a way to create a color palette that looks great and has enough color choices to satisfy your design needs, check out this tutorial. Its easy, quick and once you do it once, you can use it to quickly make your color palettes for other projects.