The World Trade Center dot com

The phone over at Artsy Geek Designs rang today.  It was a surprise to me because our office line (which I get through Comcast) is often unavailable when I need it.  I’m always surprised when it’s working. (Btw, I hate Comcast–did you know?)

The nice fellow on the other end had some questions about our web development, and I was, of course, happy to fill him in.  They’re looking for someone who can recreate the look and feel of, the site devoted to the new World Trade Center.

While we spoke I checked out the site. I noted the clean lines, simple navigation, and it’s true–the front page movie was inspiring.  Look what they’re going to do to Ground Zero! It will be gorgeous again!

The movie uses Flash.  These people want Flash.

I have a love-hate relationship with Flash.  I first fell in love with web design when I got my hands on the first version of Flash in 1995.  I created some god awful stuff with it, and had a damn good time doing it. Continue Reading

So you want to be a blogger?

I received an email from a friend of mine with an extremely unique point of view on the world.  I’ve been encouraging him to get a blog for awhile.  All through our college days, he collected followers to the point where people joked he should start his own religion.  A born blogger!  He asked me some tough questions about blogging.

(1)I noticed you have advertisements on your site but they are for non-tacky items.  Can you select what kind of ads go on your site?

The ads that I have on are for services or products that I actually use.  I’m signed up as an affiliate and should someone make a purchase, I make a commission.  I have made $0. So, yes, I chose them, and made the effort to add them to my site.
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Help me entertain you!

I spent kind of a lot of time analyzing my Google Analytics last night. As you can see from the graph above, the number of visitors has skyrocketed ever since May of last year. That was when I released the Diary Project, where I share my journal entries exactly 18 years after they happened, and is also when I started paying attention to my blog almost every day.

On my best day, I had 89 visitors!  Maybe in 2011, we’ll see a day with a 100!

I am honored that you are here today, and that perhaps you have visited in the past. Over the past year, I’ve had 4,621 visits and 2,336 unique visitors.  Those can’t all be my mom! Continue Reading

Lushes in Love Looks Great in IE

I’ve written before about the struggles web designers face when designing for multiple browsers, and most specifically IE.

When designing the website for Lushes in Love, I set out to use all the amazing features available to those browsers that implement CSS3, but aimed to provide a viewing experience that degraded gracefully when viewed in Internet Explorer and older versions of other browsers.

I wanted the blog to remind the viewer of neon lights and classy bars. Continue Reading

New Year's Resolution: Change my Passwords.

I made just one New Year Resolution, though I accompanied it with a long list of my 2011 priorities and the vow to get through them all:

Change all my passwords.  Twice.  And make them secure.

They say that you should change your passwords every six months.  Changing my passwords always feels like such a drag.  You took the time to learn the first one, and now you have to go and learn a new one all over again?  And with the ridiculous number of accounts that you can have all over the internet–such a drag!! Continue Reading

I'm annoyed by my blog. Really annoyed.

I spent some time today editing photos from our trip last weekend to Greenville, California, and was excited to post about them.

I included in the post a little plug for this WordPress plug-in called Shashin that allows me to insert Picasa web albums in posts I write.  I’ve used it in a blog post here or there to quickly add a bunch of photos.

The software that you run on your computer that goes with Picasa web albums (also called Picasa) allows you to easily look through and edit the photos on your computer.  My favorite part is how it allows me to upload my photos to the web in one click. You can set an album of photos to be viewable by invitation, everyone or no one. Continue Reading

televisions, browsers and changing technology

I haven’t upgraded my television. It works fine and my environmental nature winces whenever I consider trading up for a modern, wide-screen version.

Ever since the digital switch I’ve noticed that my shows are cropped badly. The Daily Show is obviously not framed correctly–I regularly miss meaningful gestures of John Stewart’s left hand. We straight up miss jokes on American Dad and the Family Guy because they occur in that region of the show that only wide-screened TVs include.

The other day, I noticed that we were even missing out on part of Jeopardy. In some shots, two out of three of the contestants were practically cut in half! Continue Reading

How many twitters are too many twitters?

I started out with one twitter account: @jennifer_heller. I think I’ve had it for a little over two years and it’s only within the past year that I’ve started enjoying using it at all. I’ve heard others share a similar experience: it takes some time, but it’s addictive as hell once you get into it. I can attest to that, but as someone balancing many competing priorities, it’s hard to prioritize reading hundreds of tweets a day. Especially since I’ve steadily added other twitter accounts to my list.

When I launched Van Gogh My Pet in the second half of 2009, I added a second twitter account: @vangoghmypet. This one, I thought, would concentrate on my pet and art related thoughts and would attract a different variety of people than @jennifer_heller. It seems to work; @vangoghmypet is on 42 pet and art related lists and my followers have steadily grown.

This graph of Van Gogh My Pet tweets verses website visits suggest that the tweets have very little if not nothing to do with increasing visits.

When I decided to brand my design and communications work as Artsy Geek Designs, it was a natural progression to add another twitter: @artsygeekdesign. Here I would tweet about my geeky subjects–web design, coding, communications. And maybe some art. Hey, @artsygeekdesign and @vangoghmypet can overlap a little right?? A further reason for separating @artsygeekdesign from @jennifer_heller is that I fully intend to expand and work with others in this business. They should be able to tweet from the business too!

I made the decision a few weeks ago to consolidate all my blogging here at Believe me, I do not miss maintaining a blog at Van Gogh My Pet, and I can say with 100% certainty that I am not sorry I didn’t add yet another blog on at Artsy Geek Designs.

This January, Will and I are launching Lushes in Love, our new blog devoted to our endless love and appreciation for cocktails. You can check out the design–I put it up over the weekend, but we have yet to move in. I’ve already signed us up for a twitter: @lushesinlove and tweeted something like five high quality tweets. Thankfully, Will will also have to help with the @lushesinlove tweeting, but this addition marks my fourth twitter!

Who wants to follow a long-ass stream of nothing but links? Do you??

And all of a sudden I’m asking myself…to what end? Sure I like Twitter okay, but I don’t looooove it the way I love knitting, web design and painting. I love people, but most of the time I feel like Twitter is just filled with robots endlessly sending their links out hoping for clicks. Sometimes I worry that to the other twitter users, I’m just another four Twitter accounts doing the same thing. Indeed a quick googling found this post that proposes that robots do better on Twitter than humans!

Perhaps it would be best to take a cue from my decision to simplify my blogging and simplify my twitter? One twitter, four subjects… perhaps that would make me a more interesting person to follow in general?

Perhaps I should embrace the robotic future of twitter and create automated twitter robots for all four… That just isn’t my style though. I believe in sincere, honest communication. When I notice that someone I follow is being a twitter-bot, I immediately unfollow.

So what to do? Nothing? Consolidate? Automate?

Oh, the problems associated with living a life on the internet. I’d appreciate any sound advice please!!

(This post could also be titled “How many Facebook pages are too many Facebook pages?”)

Value of Experience

I spent yesterday updating Van Gogh My Pet for the holiday season.

Van Gogh My Pet was the first website I used the awesome Thesis theme for WordPress as the basis for the design.

Back then, the reason I chose Thesis was because it allowed the customizations that I make to the theme to be stored in only two files in just one directory.  This makes my design invincible to updates to the theme and WordPress. Continue Reading