Photoshop is for Everyone

Photoshop is for Everyone

Theverge »

My dad has used Photoshop since 1.0. Twenty-odd years ago, he was a forward-thinking graphic-design upstart unafraid to use a computer instead of an X-ACTO knife. It turns out he made the right bet. These days, Photoshop is the only way to do his job. There’s no X-ACTO fallback, and no viable “modern” alternative for this generation’s upstarts. And yet, today my dad feels like a hostage.

“I love and hate Adobe,” he said when we first discussed this piece. See, Adobe doesn’t build Photoshop for my dad. Adobe just builds Photoshop, and Photoshop is an insane mess. Every couple years brings a new version, costing hundreds of dollars, chock full of new features he doesn’t need, and lacking the improvements he wants. Later, he downgraded his original sentiment: “I hate Adobe.”

This is a fairly lengthy ready, well, I mean it takes some time. But I loved reading it so much. It’s funny, I have a love hate relationship with Photoshop as well. It is integral to so much that I do and I have not been able to find a replacement for it. I cannot do those things which I often need to do with any other tool (yes, I’ve tried Pixelmator, it just doesn’t live up. And no, I will not use Gimp thank you very much, it’s a far worse mess than Photoshop). So I love Photoshop because I can do awesome things with it.

But Photoshop also has a steep learning curve, and even though I’ve been using it for years, I still probably only know how to use about 10% or less of it’s capabilities. I hear that even folks who work on Photoshop, who should know it intimately, don’t know how to use all of it’s functions and stuff. That’s just bad. Poor design, poorly thought through.

And it costs WAY more than it should. WAY more.

Kaylee Marie, Child of the Covenant

Kaylee Marie, Child of the Covenant

It is with great joy that I introduce to you our fourth little one, our second daughter, Kaylee Marie, child of the covenant.

  • ‎20” long
  • 7 lbs, 1 oz
  • Dark hair
  • Brown eyes
  • Cute as a button

She was not too thrilled when it was time to be weighed and measured, mommy was much more cuddly.

Sometimes it’s just hard to find good help and you have to be your own photographer.

The first bath also proved a bit traumatic, but somehow she made it through.

Our wonderful midwife and nurse. We could not imagine having anyone else.

Our newest addition:

Completely Remove index.php

Completely Remove index.php

I am always on a quest to have specific aspects of the sites I build, both mine and the sites I build for others, behave in exactly the way I want. Sometimes I get obsessive over seemingly meaningless and small details. For a very long time I have been obsessed with URL control. I want my URLs to work in a specific way. For instance, on this site I want the year and the month to be in the permalink URLs. I like having that data in the URL when I glance at it. 1 Thankfully, though not common, ExpressionEngine does have the means for me to create a way for this to work. 2

Another aspect of the URL I like to control is to remove index.php from the URLs. You see, everything in ExpressionEngine runs through the index.php file. Without any server side modifications, a typical ExpressionEngine URL looks like this:

Index.php is the door through which the entire front end of an ExpressionEngine site must go. Everything is called through index.php.

I don’t like it. I don’t want it. It makes my URLs look ugly, it’s unfriendly and uncouth. No one cares that ExpressionEngine uses PHP to work. It’s an unnecessary and irritating part of the URL. Thankfully, as with all CMSes of this type, we can remove the index.php from the URL by rewriting the URL. We do this on typical LAMP servers with htaccess. So in my typical .htaccess file, I have this:

## remove index.php
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /index.php/$1 [L]

Okay, so what is that? The first two lines are rewrite conditions. If the filename in the URL requested is not a file (!-f) and if it is not a folder/directory (!-d), then we apply the rewrite rule to transparently run the URL through index.php. So the URL demo from above can now be:

No index.php needed or required and the URL looks much more pretty. This is a standard way of doing things. You can find a tutorial on this in 5 seconds flat on a Google search. But there is a problem with this method that I had not considered until I read this article by Kevin Thompson:

While there are a number of known solutions for removing index.php from ExpressionEngine URLs, few developers realize that although URLs now resolve without index.php, the previous URLs including index.php also still exist.

Right, I had never considered that for a second. I want to fix that right away. I do not like, and Google does not like (in terms of SEO) duplicate URLs for content. If your content is available at two distinct URLs it hurts your SEO and not only that but it’s confusing and irritating. I want the content to be available at one URL and one only. But with my htaccess rule, both URLs would work to get to the content. Omitting index.php was only an option, not a hard fact.

Thankfully it only takes two lines added to my .htaccess file:

## Redirect requests that use index.php
    RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^GET.*index\.php [NC]
    RewriteRule (.*?)index\.php/*(.*) /$1$2 [R=301,L]

The condition is that if index.php is in the URL, rewrite the URL without and send a 301 code (permanent redirect). So for example, previously this URL would work to get to this article:

But now, if you try that, it redirects to the URL without index.php in it. It’s simple, but much to my chagrin, it’s something I never thought of before. I’m glad it’s fixed now!

  1. Do you know how many people actually care about the URL? Hint, it’s not very many, only a geeky (nerdy?) few like me. 

  2. Notice I did not say ExpressionEngine has this feature because I had to jump through a few hoops with the Channel Entries tag to make it work. I’m not doing anything hacky or undocumented, but it’s a little weird and not really the way it was intended to work. 

HTML9 Responsive Boilerstrap JS

HTML9 Responsive Boilerstrap JS

Html9responsiveboilerstrapjs »

Oh, your head hasn’t exploded yet? This should do it.

H9RBS.js (v0.0001) is a flexible, dependency-free, lightweight, device-agnostic, modular, baked-in, component framework MVC library shoelacestrap to help you kickstart your responsive CSS-based app architecture backbone kitchensink tweetybirds.

This is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in quite a while.

2. How do I install this?

Um… are you stupid or something? Just attackclone the grit repo pushmerge, then rubygem the lymphnode js shawarma module – and presto!

Ahh hahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Google Reader - The Apocalypse That Was, and Is, and Is to Come

Google Reader - The Apocalypse That Was, and Is, and Is to Come

Every once in a while I have this nagging feeling that tugs at the back of my brain and tells me that I’m an outdated, antiquated luddite akin to the types that cling stubbornly to their AOL email addresses, or insist on double spacing between sentences. The reason for this is that I seem to be one of the very few amongst my high tech peers that still use RSS. I hear the kids these days don’t use RSS and furthermore that they look down on RSS with the same disdain that I look down upon Flash, or Internet Explorer, or the already mentioned AOL. But every time I try to find a different workflow, I come up blank. RSS helps me every single day. Without RSS, it would take me much longer to post linked list items to MovieByte every single day. Without RSS, I would not be able to keep up easily with my favorite sites. So I stubbornly cling to my antiquated workflow.

I use Reeder for Mac and iPhone and I love it. Reeder though, is just a front-end for Google Reader. Google Reader provides the subscription service, checks the feeds for new items, and has a web interface that is actually just fine for use — though obviously I prefer the beautiful and easy to use interface of Reeder. Reeder, and many apps like it use undocumented Google Reader APIs to access Google Reader and use it as the platform, or the syncing back end.

Google though, has pretty much benignly abandoned Google Reader. Google has been focusing on their Google+ platform (which is still stupid and horrible), and many other things and really just doesn’t care about RSS anymore, as we got a preview of with the Feedburner apocalypse. In fact, starting Sunday, something very similar to what happened with Feedburner has happened to Google Reader. And though for now the primary issues with Feedburner cleared up, the ultimate problems still remain, and it is much the same with Google Reader.

Sarah Perez reported on TechCrunch:

Google Reader, the RSS feed-reading service Google has long since benignly abandoned, has gone completely mad, and Google has yet to acknowledge the problem even as it heads into its second day of unusability.

I logged in to Google Reader Sunday night after a nice restful Sunday to find that I had thousands of unread items. A cursory glance told me that I had already read and marked as read most of those items. I immediately declared RSS bankruptcy, marked all as read, and close Reeder. I came back thirty minutes later to find hundreds more unread RSS feeds. This continued until about 3 hours ago. The issues do seem to be cleared up, but I think the bigger problem is that I am so dependent on a service that is not being taken care of. I mean if I could pay Google to keep this service going I would, but that’s not going to happen. And there are no good alternatives. There’s Fever, which I would very much like to try, but Reeder for Mac does not support it. Reeder for iPhone does, but the bulk of my heavy lifting happens on my Mac. So I’m in a bit of a quandary and I don’t know what to do. One thing is clear though, I cannot continue to rely upon Google Reader.

Note Taking and Syncing

Note Taking and Syncing

I have, since the day the iPhone came out, and I subsequently purchased one that same day, loathed all note taking options. Obviously the first iteration of iPhone OS iOS did not have third party apps or any ability to sync notes of any kind. It had a notes app and any notes one took there were forever siloed in that app. And any notes one took in any form on a Mac were also not able to be synced to one’s iPhone. There have been various web based solutions, none of them good.

With third party apps came note taking apps. I have never been happy with any of them. I’ve tried various services and apps, like them all a little for a time, found them frustrating and moved on. For a while, I used Evernote. And to some extent I liked it. But both the Mac app and the iOS app have been through various stages of bugginess. I have had trouble with sync between the apps, sometimes, notes simply, stubbornly refused to sync at all. Additionally, I found the interface for both confusing and cluttered.

The last straw for Evernote came when the app ate a very VERY important note. I was editing the note on my phone when the app crashed. When I returned to the app, the note was gone. My computer had been left on, connected to the internet in another location so it naturally synced the lack of note and that was that. I could never get that note back. I left Evernote.

For a time I used the built in Mac and iOS notes app, which strangely, uses an IMAP mailbox on your mail server to sync. I find this to also be buggy and unreliable, but it never offered to flat out eat any of my notes and the interface is much less cluttered. But in the end, it just was not powerful enough.

I moved on to Simplenote. It’s too simple, and syncing can again be a bit of a pain.

So in frustration, about a week ago, I complained on Twitter about the state of note taking and syncing.

I received several recommendations to try Evernote again, they’ve been through a major overhaul and are rock solid now. I was skeptical, but thought it could not hurt since I was simply not happy with any note syncing solution/app in any capacity.

And I’ve been using Evernote since February 1 and I’m impressed. The interface has been seriously cleaned up, note syncing is rock solid and instantaneous (so far… knock on wood), and it is doing almost exactly what I want a note app and note syncing to do:

  • Multiple Notebooks
  • Tags
  • Nice, Lion Mail style wide screen layout on the mac, very intuitive interface on the iPhone
  • Nice, simple and clean, WYSIWYG note editing (in the past I found the WYSIWYG note editor to be very buggy, that seems to be gone)
  • A lot less cluttery feeling.

In short, if you have not used Evernote in a while due to frustrations with syncing and the interface, give it another try, it has changed much for the better and so far, this is the happiest I have ever been with note taking and syncing.