Logo Rip Offs

March 26, 2007 at 12:41 pm | Posted in Design, General | 2 Comments

Today I was browsing through different blogs and I came upon the much talked about LogoMaid ripoff scandal. LogoMaid is a company that deals in “off the shelf” logo’s. They make (or buy logo’s) and then resell them. Unsurprisingly, their work is not very original or good, and in some cases, is a flat-out rip-off.

One has to wonder how long it is before someone get’s sued. I had a browse through LogoMaid’s “Unique Logos” section and found these gems of design:

I wonder of this designer has ever heard of which looks a lot like

Then there are these two the first one belongs to simplebits.com and the other to LogoMaid. Anyone see something dodgey?

Did xbox rip off LogoMaid? :O

Err, did someone just change the colour and remove the border?

These guys really must like Xbox : /

wait, that looks familiar?

is exactly the same as

I wonder what they were thinking? I found these pretty quickly and there were some more that I could have added but decided they were borderline…

Apperently they also ripped apple, but that got taken off the site soon after it was made public: http://flickr.com/photos/singletrack/429895395/

Where is the world going to when you think you are going to get away with stuff like that.

Pwnd. 🙂

Simple Email Workflow

March 1, 2007 at 1:33 pm | Posted in Day to Day, General, Management | Leave a comment

Email is a big part of life in any company and in some ways basic email clients like Outlook and Thunderbird (which I use) is still lacking. I read this today and thought wow, what a great idea. All of the features he mentions are things that I will use daily.

“I send and receive lots and lots of email. My life runs on email. But, I find most of the current email clients lacking a few basic (but very useful) features that I think would be easy to implement. So, my idea is for an Outlook plug-in (I pick Outlook simply because that’s the client I use) that would do the following

  1. Response Expected: Let me flag messages I send out as being “response expected”. Once a message is flagged as such, the system would monitor to see if the message actually ever got a response from the recipient. Once such a message comes in, the original message would go back in to “normal” state. If a response didn’t come in, it would show up on a list somewhere (see below)
  2. Response Required: I’d like to flag incoming messages as soon as I scan them as being “response required”. This is a mental note to myself that a given message requires some response on my part. Similar to #1, if I don’t respond within a certain time (hopefully, user configurable), the message will show up on a list of messages requiring attention.
  3. Someone Should Respond: This is similar to #1, except that I’d use it when there were multiple people on the “to” list of a message. In this case, the system would “watch” to see if someone responds to the original message (likely some other party on the “to” or “cc” list). If so, then the message is considered “handled”. If not, then it would show up on the “attention required” list.
  4. Sender Significant: I’d be able to mark any sender of a given email as being “significant” (this would be a toggle). Until I turn this flag off, all messages from this sender would show up on the “Response Required” list (or otherwise be highlighted).
  5. Delegate: This would be an extension of “response required”, except it would be an email forward to a designated recipient with an automatic “response expected” flag turned on (to make sure the person who received the delegation acknowledged).

That’s it. Ideally, each of the above could be done with a single keyboard shortcut. Something like this would likely do wonders for my email productivity (and ensure that emails get handled appropriately). I can’t tell you how many times I meant to handle an email, but then just had it slip through the cracks. Outlook supports it’s “flag” feature, but that just doesn’t cut it for me as it doesn’t go far enough.

What do you think? Is this idea dubious, or is there a need for something like this? If such a tool existed, would you use it?”

A Work In Progress

February 9, 2007 at 9:13 pm | Posted in General, Management | Leave a comment

What is the general feeling on showing clients the work while it is in progress? I pose this question specifically to the web designers/developers of the world, but I guess it applies to a number of different fields.

Where I work, we upload websites in development to the life server, to a live domain name, but under an undisclosed development folder. The reason for this is mainly because we’ve noticed in the past that even if you think your development server is set up identical to your final hosting server, something will go wrong, and at least one unforeseen bug will come up.

It also helps when clients ask to see the progress on a website. The website is already there, we don’t have to create any special user accounts on private servers, all we do is tell them the name of the subfolder and tell them to surf their browser there.

But, after my most recent client, I’m second guessing our policy to allow the client to view a website that is in the middle of construction.

I was developing a website with a customized CMS that was developed in house. I haven’t been working at this company for very long, and the company is very new, and not extremely advanced in terms of web technology used in websites. I’m trying to develop a CMS on the fly, site by site, against my wishes.

Very close to the start of the project, the client asked to see the site progress and I agreed. What followed was constant hounding from the client that the website doesn’t look anything like we agreed it to look. No matter how hard I tried to explain to the client, I couldn’t get across that I was developing the backend of the website, the framework that the website is going to be built on. When he first asked for a look at the website, I didn’t have any graphics made. I left the design to build up the frame work and configure modules that had been written for a previous site.

So I put up a very quick home page with non-functioning links, and of course, didn’t bother optimizing the CSS for multiple browsers.

What’s worse, the client kept checking, day after day, and was growing increasingly frustrated at the perceived lack of progress. While I was building an object-oriented image gallery for his website, he thought I was sitting on my behind and doing nothing. He felt like he was not getting his value for money at all, which is understandable, and his knowledge of technology, specifically web technology, was so low that he couldn’t understand that a lot of the work I was doing, he would never see.

Unfortunately, this is really my only current experience in showing a client a website in progress, still being built. The client, in their limited understanding, and capacity to understand, was very unsatisfied and frustrated during the whole process, and it damaged his perception of us as a company, and set him instantly on the defensive whenever he dealt with us.

I believe, however, with a more “tech-savvy” client, that this process would be reassuring to them. I believe that if I explained what I was doing, and they tinkered around a bit with the admin section, they would see how it works before my demonstration, and be able to direct the administration of their website the way they want it.

I believe that it is important to keep in mind who you are dealing with when you are considering showing the client a website before it is finished. If the client has an honest, complete understanding that the site is not finished, will not perform as it is intended in the final product, and often doesn’t look anything like what they want it to, then there should be no objection to showing them a work in progress. However, in all seriousness, how many of those clients do web developers often get?

Project Management for Web Sites

January 31, 2007 at 4:52 pm | Posted in General, Management | Leave a comment

Developing Web sites, whether it be for Internet, intranet, or extranet purposes, one thing is certainly clear: Having the right project-management process is essential. I’m not talking about your average skill sets of being organized and knowledgeable about the project. I’m talking about the detailed thought process involved that makes professional Web developers stand out from the rest.

Whether you are an actual programmer or not doesn’t matter, but understanding programming and what is involved does. There are certain criteria for project managers who deal with the Web that differ from people who manage projects of a different nature. The best way I can summarize how to be the best manager of a project geared for the Web is to sanely have multiple personality disorder. By this I mean you really need to put yourself into many people’s shoes and be able to think like them in order to develop a Web-based project from start to finish. Solid, professional project management is more than the task of wearing many hats. It goes much deeper. Professionals need to be able to completely shift mindsets and think from several different perspectives, and that’s what makes them so successful. Let’s take a typical Web site and break down the process.

Continue Reading Project Management for Web Sites…

What Is Creativity?

January 30, 2007 at 3:26 pm | Posted in Design, General | Leave a comment

Much of the thinking done in formal education focuses on the skills of analysis, teaching students how to understand claims, follow or create a logical argument, figure out the answer, eliminate the incorrect paths, and focus on the correct one. However, there is another kind of thinking, which focuses on exploring ideas, generating possibilities, looking for many right answers rather than just one. Both of these kinds of thinking, Critical and Creative thinking are important to a successful working life, yet the latter seems to get ignored.

In an activity like problem solving, both kinds of thinking are important to us. First, we must analyze the problem; then we must generate possible solutions; next we must choose and implement the best solution; and finally we must evaluate the effectiveness of the solution. As you can see, this process reveals an alternation between the two kinds of thinking. In practice, both kinds of thinking operate together much of the time and are not really independent of each other.

What is Creativity?

An ability. A simple definition is that creativity is the ability to imagine or invent something new. However, it’s not the ability to create out of nothing, but the ability to generate new ideas by combining, changing or reapplying existing ideas. Some ideas are astonishing and brilliant, while others are just simple and good practical ideas which no one seems to have thought of yet.

Believe it or not, everyone has substantial creative ability. Look at how creative children are. In adults, creativity has too often been suppressed through education, but it is still there and can be reawakened. Often all that’s needed to be creative is to make a commitment to creativity and to take the time for it.

An attitude. Creativity is also an attitude: the ability to accept change and newness, a willingness to play with ideas and possibilities, a flexibility of outlook, the habit of enjoying the good, while looking for ways to improve it. We are socialized into accepting only a small number of permitted or normal things, like chocolate-covered strawberries, for example. A creative person would realize that there are other possibilities.

A Process. Creative people work hard and continually to improve ideas and solutions, by making gradual alterations and refinements to their works. Contrary to the mythology surrounding creativity, very, very few works of creative excellence are produced with a single stroke of brilliance or in a frenzy of rapid activity. Much closer to the real truth are the stories of companies who had to take the invention away form the inventor in order to market it because the inventor would have kept on tweaking and fiddling with it, always trying to make it better.

A creative person knows that there’s always room for improvement and knows that there’s never only one answer for a given problem.

For further reading, I suggest taking a look at Psychologist Jay Brand’s article, “Creativity Demystified”.

Original Article: dA News

A Short Intro

January 29, 2007 at 12:10 pm | Posted in General | Leave a comment

An Introspective On Web Development for Web Developers by Web Developers. It was an initiative started by Tim Gittos and Johann Schwella.

Both Tim and Johann have been working in the Web Development industry for a few years and now have decided to share their knowledge of the web, production and development with the internet community. The mission is to create a blog that will be read by, inform and inspire all the people working in the web development community. We are also looking for more contributors to help make this blog even more helpful to the community and improve our industry. If you are interested in submitting articles let as know.

A short bios on Tim:

  • Tim is a web-designer/developer and hobby artist/illustrator. He is Australian by birth, and currently lives in Perth, Western Australia. He has experience in developing in PHP/ASP/MySQL/Actionscript 2.0 and has been developing websites for 4 years.

A short bios on Johann:

  • Johann is the production manager for Shapeshift New Media. He has been working as a project manager for the last few years and has extensive knowledge on systems, systems management, time management, production schedules and production management. Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa and spent time working in London, UK. He also at various stages lived in Belguim, Scotland and the Netherlands.

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