Thursday, April 10, 2014

18 Bizarre Things People Have Actually Spotted at the Gym

We understand people wanting to listen to their own music at the gym, but using an iPad to do so just seems like overkill, or at least in the "looking ridiculous" department. Unfortunately (or fortunately), that is just one of the many bizarre things that people have actually spotted at the gym while working out. Continue reading to see more.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

10 Unintentional Coincidences That Show Copy + Paste in Real-Life

Ever come across someone who just so happened to wear the same exact outfit as you? If not, here are some strange and unintentional examples that show CTRL + C -> CTRL + V working in real-life. We have the Wal-Mart electronics department browsers to the subway sleeping twins and plaid-wearing restaurant goers. Click here to view the first image in this week's funny work pictures gallery. Continue reading for a viral video of a French bulldog puppy that just doesn't want to go to bed.

EA Bar: A Gun-Equipped Restauraunt in Japan That Lets Guests Shoot Away Stress

Called the EA Bar, this unique themed restaurant in Tokyo, Japan is marketed exclusively to airsoft lovers. It comes complete with its own airsoft shooting range, various airsoft guns fashioned after their real-life counterparts, and plenty of food as well as cocktails. Some of the specialty drinks include, a chocolate liquor called Glock 18c, a SPAS12 with absinthe, and a vodka-based Thomson. Continue reading for a video and more information.

20 Clever Gadgets, Inventions That Aim to Make Your Life Easier

Ok, so a Darth Vader toaster won't exactly make your life easier, but for Star Wars fanatics who've always wanted to see the Sith Lord's face burned into their toast, this is just the gadget for you. It's a real product and will be released in July for a mere $45. Continue reading for 20 more clever gadgets and inventions that aim to make your life easier.

5 Interesting Facts About Bitcoin That May Surprise You

Did you know that the largest purchase with the cryptocurrency to date was payment for a villa in Bali using Bitcoin worth over US$500,000 at the time, on March 20, 2014? Or, that there are currently over 12-million bitcoins in circulation with an approximate creation rate of 25-bitcoins every ten minutes. The total supply is capped at the arbitrary limit of 21 million, and every four years the creation rate is halved. This means new bitcoins will continue to be released for more than a hundred years. Continue reading for more interesting facts.

5. Satoshi Nakamoto

Bitcoin was first mentioned in a 2008 paper published under the name Satoshi Nakamoto. In early 2009, the first open source client (or wallet software), called Bitcoin-Qt, was released and the first bitcoins were issued. Shortly after, a feature in the software was exploited and large numbers of bitcoins were created, due, in large part, because Bitcoin-Qt was the only software that facilitated bitcoin transactions and mining. Since then, the bitcoin open-source software has been maintained and enhanced by a group of core developers and other contributors.

4. $4-million Pizza

The first real-world Bitcoin transaction took place on May 21, 2010 when Laszlo Hanyecz, a programmer living in Florida, transferred 10,000 bitcoin (BTC) to a volunteer in England, who then spent about $25 to order Hanyecz some Papa John's. Hanyecz then uploaded the image above as proof that the transaction had been successfully completed. Today, those pizzas would be worth $4-million or more.

3. FBI Owns Largest Bitcoin Wallet

In September 2013, the FBI shut down the infamous Silk Road online drug marketplace, and seized Bitcoins Belonging to the Dread Pirate Roberts - the operator of the illicit online marketplace, who they say is an American man named Ross Ulbricht. The department now controls over 144,000 Bitcoins that reside at a bitcoin address that consolidates much of the seized Silk Road Bitcoins. Those 144,000 bitcoins are worth more than $100 million.

2. The Great Heist

The world's largest bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, collapsed into bankruptcy earlier this year - and the disappearance of $460 million, reportedly stolen by hackers, and another $27.4 million missing from its bank accounts - came as little surprise to people who had knowledge of the Tokyo-based company's inner workings. reports that "CEO and majority stake holder, Mark Karpeles, a man who was more of a computer coder than a chief executive and yet was sometimes distracted even from his technical duties when they were most needed."

1. James Howells

James Howells missing hard drive contains 7,500 bitcoins. It sat in a drawer for years and he'd forgotten that it contained bitcoins, which he obtained in 2009 for almost nothing, when he threw it out. A few years ago Mr Howells, who works in IT, had dismantled his computer after spilling a drink on it.

How to Make Your Website Mobile Friendly with Responsive Design

Responsive Web Design is the latest in a long line of terms that have really caught on and, depending on who you ask, either signals a complete shift in the way that we work, or describes some cool new techniques to consider when designing and building websites.  I tend to fall into the first group to such an extent that I believe a year from now, what we are now calling "Responsive Web Design (RWD)" will simply be called “Web Design.” 

We need to call it responsive now because it represents a big enough evolutionary leap to require us to define specific techniques that we could use to accomplish it, but the more we do responsive sites, the more it sinks in that there's really no reason to not make a website responsive.

That said, here are a few important terms that may help to clarify what I’m talking about when I say “responsive.”

Adaptive Web Design uses a pre-defined set of layout sizes based on screen size. You can make informed decisions based on your site analytics that tell you which devices people are using when they visit your site, and then targeting those devices.  There will likely be some device detection going on here as well, and some amount of server-side changes depending on the device.

Responsive Web Design on the other hand, is comprised of three things: a fluid grid, flexible images, and media queries (CSS rules that kick in at certain viewport widths, or based on other properties of the device viewport).

Finally, “responsive” (little "r") is a less strict way of describing this new world of design thinking, along with some of the techniques used to accomplish them.  RWD has a real definition forwarded by Ethan Marcotte, this "little r" version is more a feeling; a sensibility; an ethos.

"Today, anything that’s fixed and unresponsive isn’t web design, it’s something else. If you don’t embrace the inherent fluidity of the web, you’re not a web designer, you’re something else."
-Jeffrey Zeldman

What Set’s Responsive Apart from Adaptive?
A site should work on any screen size you can throw at it. It's not about the specific device being used, it's about the size of the screen.  The web is responsive by nature.  It's always been responsive, and it is through our own design decisions and coding practices that we have built sites that were not responsive but were, rather, trying to mimic the print world with which we were more familiar. 

Being successful with RWD means accepting that you can't control everything.  It's a change in philosophy as much as it is a change in design and coding practices.  It's about UX folks, Designers, Front End Developers, Tech Leads, Software Engineers, all of us, understanding how web pages behave and using that to our advantage when planning and designing the experiences we ultimately build for our target audiences.

RWD is less about the techniques and more about the process
Those of us that are doing RWD recognize that it's not something that just happens after the site has been planned and designed, and is now ready to be built.  It involves a sea change in the entire process we follow from the first workshop with clients, to pushing the new site out the door onto the big scary Internet.  Check out Jared Spool and Jason Grigsby talking about how RWD has impacted their design process.

What if you can’t pull up stakes and do an entire RWD process from soup to nuts? What if you just redesigned your organization’s website last year and you really need it to work better on handheld devices now, but can’t redesign the whole site for another year or two? 

A “Responsive Retrofit” can be a viable option depending on the site.  It is entirely possible that you do not need to completely redesign your site or go through an entire separate creative process. By not creating wireframes or designs and, instead, simply starting with the HTML and CSS that you have now, we add responsive CSS and can, in many cases, make the layouts work better on smaller screens. Results may vary and you may be limited in how much of the site you can make responsive.  The important thing is to be able to evaluate the site up front and have a clear idea of how responsive it can be made, and what tradeoffs there may be.

Be forewarned: In a true responsive design you have plans that minimize the amount of markup, CSS, JS, and images that you deliver to devices.  The retrofit approach very commonly increases the number of files delivered to the device and the overall “weight” of the page, and should only be considered if your site already performs well in terms of speed.

Here are six key things to look for when evaluating an existing static website for a retrofit:
  • How well was the site coded?  Is there nice clean HTML and few (if any) tables?
  • Is the order of blocks already correct for what you want to accomplish in a layout where everything will stack in a single column?
  • Are there classes and IDs for you to leverage without the need for overly complex CSS selectors?
  • Does the site contain consistently sized images that will all work well at 300-400 pixels wide (small images don’t size up well, huge images are, well, huge)?
  • Are all your page layouts consistent and few?  Too much variety will make for more work.
  • Is the navigation simple, and does getting to deep content not *require* the use of navigation?  If so, do your mobile users need access to that content?
Of all of these things, the hardest nut to crack is almost certainly going to be your navigation. This is especially if you have a really deep architecture.  But generally, if you like the answers to those six questions, your site may very well be a candidate for a retrofit.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Your story about money

Money isn't real. It's a method of exchange, a unit we exchange for something we actually need or value. It has worth because we agree it has worth, because we agree what it can be exchanged for.
But there's something far more powerful going on here.
We don't actually agree, because each person's valuation of money is based on the stories we tell ourselves about it.
Our bank balance is merely a number, bits represented on a screen, but it's also a signal and symptom. We tell ourselves a story about how we got that money, what it says about us, what we're going to do with it and how other people judge us. We tell ourselves a story about how that might grow, and more vividly, how that money might disappear or shrink or be taken away.
And those stories, those very powerful unstated stories, impact the narrative of just about everything else we do.
So yes, there's money. But before there's money, there's a story. It turns out that once you change the story, the money changes too.