12 September 2010

It's like getting your own apartment...



For those of you stalking me here in Blogger, I wanna say thank you and I appreciate the ego-gratifying attention. It's kind of reassuring that somehow, somewhere out there... somebody has actually taken time to read through my rants and whatever nonsense I may have posted.

For quite sometime now, I have 'upgraded' to WordPress and have moved my blog into my own server. For whatever sick and degenerate reasons you may have, if you still want follow my nonsense you can now browse through my personal blog at Lance Sison, rockstar for hire (http://lancesison.arsnovadesigns.com).

Please do visit my new address, and do subscribe to my posts. Apparently I need subscribers to my feed to make my Ratified.org rating go up. And since you're here, might as well click that little "Like" button on my facebook widget down here. :)


19 August 2010

Are you a freelance designer? Really?



It has been a really busy month.
And my calendar won't be getting any dandier for the next few weeks. Well, not until I finally take that week off next month anyway. But then I suppose I'd still be tugging my Mac along to work on some projects while on vacation.. .lame.

But don't get me wrong; It ain't like I'm starting to despise what I do, on the contrary, I am loving it more and more. From one project to the next, my fascination resembles that of a child's toward the principles and technologies that unfold from my computer screen. I simply can't have enough of it: designing, design webinars, best practices, eBooks, eCommerce, tutorials, forums, Web 2.0, HTML 5, javascript, open source initiative, latest web trends, CMS, CSS, aspx, xml, even that f*ckin' SharePoint, anything and everything Adobe... aaargghh!

I had the rare luxury of a 15-minute coffee break which gave me time to reflect on how's everything coming along juggling time between full-time employment, personal life & extra projects. Am I still the Jedi designer that I envisioned myself as, or have I become a pawn trapped in transition between a nine-to-five and building my design empire with most of my 'me time' lost in limbo?

Call me Darth Lance. Harbinger of dark circles and eyebags.

How do designers like us know if we are already 'worthy' to be called a freelancer? Is there a rite of passage that designers must go through in order to qualify as a freelancer? I'm sure there's more to it than just getting several projects from different clients, or else, all of us are freelancers. There must be some elitist boundaries that separates freelancers from mere corporate creatives who gets ocassional ad hoc projects... What are the tell-tale signs that you are becoming a bona fide freelancer?

Well... here's my top 20 list:
  1. Your body clock is a mess, you've lost your sense of time: you only sleep when the project you're working on is either done or in-between reboots 'coz your PC (eeewww!) or Mac crashed from being overused (yes, they do that too!). And because of this you have developed a biological eyeliner that Captain Jack Sparrow would envy.
  2. You're never ever hungry whenever any Adobe program is in use, your only signal to eat is when your gut starts hurting and you had to get up because you thought you had to sh*t.
  3. You don't see (or haven't seen) in person more than half of the people you work with. They probably would be shocked to know how different you currently look like from the online profile picture that you've posted eons ago.
  4. There was a time when one of your clients accused you of cheating/hacking oDesk's webcam monitoring system, because for three consecutive days the webcam shots sent to your client by the oDesk system shows that you're wearing the exact same shirt.
  5. It's been a while since you've seen the sun and basked under it.
  6. You get your news exclusively online, not on the TV, not on the radio, not on news papers or magazines, just online.
  7. You get withdrawal syndromes when you haven't checked your email for more than five hours. All you could think about are the updates from the projects, quotation requests, approvals, and revisions that you might be missing.
  8. When you shop for clothes, you account pyjamas under 'work clothes'.
  9. There are days when your personal hygiene regimen is summed up in a serving of hand sanitizer.
  10. Your collection of pyjamas is more diverse than your office shirts.
  11. You accustomed to attending conferences, seminars, interviews, pitches and meetings in your boxers.
  12. You have a customized mouse pad. Worse, you built one from scratch.
  13. You have more than one pointing device actively connected to your computer.
  14. Your best buddy at work is that fluffy wrist support stuffed toy on your desk.
  15. You can survive for days without water, but not without caffeine-laden drinks.
  16. You try to find time, usually on a weekend (when your clients are happily enjoying their personal lives), to shave at least once a week.
  17. You pay for gym/club membership and classes which you don't have time to go to.
  18. You can't work without YouTube, an RSS reader, Facebook or Twitter running on a browser tab.
  19. Your "internet friends" know more about you than some of your actual friends.
  20. In your idle time you seek online help for internet addiction. Well... that or wikipedia.
I'm a junkie... I'm becoming a full-blown freelancer.
How about you, have you experienced any of these?

06 August 2010

Gmail + Rich Text & HTML Sigs - Finally...


It's about damn time!

I have just found out that Gmail has just recently announced that they are finally natively supporting this feature (Click here to read the post @ the official Gmail Blog). I have been waiting for this feature for the longest time (well... not longer than the time I've waited for Starcraft 2, but still... for somebody with no patience at all... ) and finally it is natively supported with no more extra tweaks nor extra plug-ins nor any of those retarded workarounds just to show some bling on your GMail signature.

For those of you who are totally clueless on what I am ranting about. You suck. It's either you've been in jail for the last decade or you're an utter web-functionality dunce. Whatever the case may be, I am magnanimously gonna teach you how to easily set it up in five easy steps. So that you'll have a taste of how being 'techy' feels like:

  1. Login to your GMail account.
  2. On the upper-right corner, click on the 'Settings' link.
  3. Scroll down to the 'Signature' settings part and edit away using GMail's rich-text editing toolbar.



  4. After pimping up your signature, scroll down even further and click on the 'Save Changes' button
  5. Start appreciating your lovely new email signature

Now for those who still don't get it, I suggest you google about the damn topic and educate yourself a bit. Or just follow this link to GMail's official blog:
http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2010/07/rich-text-signatures.html

20 July 2010

Home is Where the Phone is - Mozilla Creative Collective Design Challenge


The coolest open-source browser on the planet is running a contest!
Mozilla Creative Collective's design challenge:
Create an iPhone skin design for Firefox Home!

The goal of this challenge is to create a design that may be made into official Mozilla iPhone skins. The top 5 designs will be highlighted on the Creative Collective homepage, blogs and may have the chance to be featured on the Mozilla website as official merchandise. The winning design will also have extra special recognition with the Champion of the Collective badge.
Think about a design that encompasses themes such as:
  • Get up and go. Easily pick up where you left off with Firefox.
  • Home sweet home. Access your favorite parts of the Web anytime and anywhere.
  • Don’t start from scratch. Enjoy the convenience of leveraging your Firefox browsing history.
  • Comforts of your web. Your private data is protected and always with you.

Winning entry gets the "Champion of the Collective" Badge = Which is equivalent to bragging rights + additional bling for your portfolio + your mark in the open-source community
Submission of entries ends on August 15, 2010 (11:59:59 GMT -7 hrs)
To find out more about the details of the design challenge, please visit its official web page or type/paste this URL in your browser http://creative.mozilla.org/challenges/6

16 July 2010

Mobile/Digital Castration + Some annoying old dude with PMS


Be Warned: 3G iPhone + OS4 = something short of anal rape.

I still remember those days when an "upgrade" is supposed to make your life easier... happier.
Then a few days ago, after I popped in my iPhone to my Mac so I could sync Mudvayne and 30 seconds to Mars' new albums, I get a message that "a new version of the iPhone's OS is available". Of course, who could resist anything new that Apple made.

Little did I know that pressing that 'Update' button was synonymous to pulling the trigger to the digital-shotgun that's pointed at my techy-balls...

And to add insult to injury, before I could update my iPhone to OS4 I had to update my iTunes to version 9-point-somethingy first. Which at first I thought was okay because my stuff are getting 'upgraded', 'till it started downloading. The whole iTunes update took a quick two minutes and A LIFETIME to complete. Which made me wonder if I should change the usual time I check my emails and not do it at 2 in the morning.

After all the bells and whistles have been installed, I finally got the chance to try out the ultra-hyped iPhone OS4.... at 4:30am. But since I'm only left with two and a half hours of sleep before my weekday alarm goes off. I blissfully go to sleep like a child before Christmas day, knowing that I get to open a present and play with my new toy the next day.

Or so I thought. After upgrading my 3G iPhone to the OS4 every damn thing about it was so laggy, it felt like the application icons are about to fall off from the touch screen during the previously-uber-cool transitional animations whenever I fondle (yes you read that right, fondle, you perv) things on the screen.

I thought to myself "maybe it's just a temporary thing, and my phone is just getting used to the new OS", who the f*ck am I kidding. I went on for days and days of painful multi-tasking, which was flawless prior to the 'upgrade', with my iPhone. I can't 'enjoyably listen to music and use anything that requires Internet access, and worse, if somebody calls me when I'm forcefully doing these tasks, the iPhone now gets to decide which of its functionalities it would allow me to use.

Don't get me started with iBooks... personally I feel they should change the name of the damn app to "iCrash, really, iDo." Having all these new 'perks' to play with for the last few days made me yearn for my last mobile affair with the Motorola SLVR. I really loved everything about that phone. Because of the glitches I was dealing with, in the span of six dragging days, my iPhone quickly turned into an "iAm gonna f*cking trade you for a Motorola DROID X if this doesn't improve in the next two days" experience.

So there I was yesterday, nearly a year into being a MAC-getarian (completely forsaking anything that only runs on PC engine), reluctant on giving up on my iPhone. Spent my lunchtime looking for answers online. Apparently there are sh*tloads of 'fixes' that people have done to address the lagginess. Not being completely sold to the idea of Jail-breaking my phone nor restoring the OS back to 3-point-somethingy, I picked the more subtle approach to my dilemma:

Perform a “hard reset.” Hold down the sleep/wake and home buttons simultaneously for roughly 15-20 seconds, until the screen powers off then an Apple logo appears, which signifies a reboot. Some users have (oddly enough) reported that performing two hard resets resolves the slowness issue.

Which I got from an article at appletoolbox.com

Yay, now that resolved two issues out of I don't know how many: OS4's lagginess and the miserable battery consumption. It ain't as great as it was before but I could live with it. I still haven't tried if my iCrash err.. iBooks is working properly now, I've decided to check it out only on a need-to-know basis. As long as I still don't have a need to use the damn app, I'll be completely oblivious to whatever misery iBooks might potentially give me.

I wish apple had at least included a message or an obvious link to these fixes along with the download page:

"This new update might sodomize the otherwise productive setup of your iPhone, but don't worry, some other dudes totally not connected with apple in any way has found out how to unofficially fix the mess we just did. Click here to know more about the things they know which we couldn't figure out. Thank you for downloading iPhone OS4."


On a completely different story (which doesn't deserve its own entry on my blog):
That guy with the white army-hair and specs running the western food stall at Fusionpolis is the epitome of Bad-Service-Assholicism. He asks the person queueing in front of me "Blek pepah soson numbahnaynne?" (Black pepper sauce on number nine?) in a very distinct Chinese intonation/inflection. Of course the guy in front of me wouldn't understand (I didn't) and just gave the old man the 'Four Ws and a question mark' (What, Where, Why, When?) look. Angrily, the old man raised his voice and repeated what he said in a very rude "I'm-gonna-talk-slow-and-loud-like-this-because-I-think-you're-retarded" way. And the funny thing is that he's talking to another Chinese guy. I mean WTH??! right?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not that fast to judge other people (okay... I actually am, but that's beside the point). I actually thought that it could be an isolated case. But alas! Another guy behind me ordered the same thing (what's up with chicken chops today?), and he got the same award-winning TLC. So much for service with a smile. Tsk tsk.

28 June 2010

F is for Fail - Brent Barson


This is a totally awesome display of creativity. I saw this vid from the PGDA fb wall, I've probably watched this for more than 15 times but I still can't get over how painfully detailed it is. Enjoy.


F is for FAIL from Brent Barson on Vimeo.
F is for Fail is a short film about the creative process, and the failure we always encounter, but usually overcome. Told using the alphabet, each letter informs us of the state of the protagonist's creativity/state of mind. Each letter has two words associated with it (except A and Z); sometimes the positive word overpowers the negative word, and vice-versa.

Typographic footage was converted and exported one frame at a time. No AE filters or effects!

Creative direction, design, and animation by Brent Barson.

Music by Micah Dahl Anderson. Oscar-caliber acting by Jon Troutman.

25 June 2010

Sweeeeeeeeet!!!








Last Friday of every month + kick-ass company who sponsors happy hour
= Coolness

I could really get used to this. Freaking awesome.

Compulsively blogged from my iPhone.