Archived Articles

I have retired this blog but wanted to leave the articles up for posterity. You can still comment on them, if you'd like.

Graphic Nav Bars Using One Image Only

October 9th, 2007

Remember when, for a five-section graphic nav bar we would have 15 images … five images for the Off state, five images for the Hover state, and five images for the On state? And then we cleverly had just five images – one for each section – in which we combined the Off, Hover, and On states? Well lately I’ve been taking this trend to it’s logical conclusion … one image for everything. That’s right, for everything.

screen shot of nav bar using one image

Using background positioning in CSS, this is actually pretty easy to accomplish. Now you only have one image to create, and it has the extra bonus of taking care of any pesky little IE flicker problems. Here’s how to do it …

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Video Classifieds – What You See Is What You Get

September 21st, 2007

I recently had a really great experience doing some design / xhtml / css tweaking for a great up and coming web application – iMoondo.

iMoondo home page

This job was simply a pleasure from start to finish. Andrej Masiar was just so fun and easy to work with … one of those clients you want to stay on the phone chatting with after your done talking about work stuff. Andrej has some key characteristics that make up a great client that I’m going to keep in mind when trying to replicate that type of client. They are:

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Easily Track Time Across Multiple Projects

September 7th, 2007

If you freelance then you’ve many times guesstimated the time you’ve spent on projects. You’ve often had a nagging suspicion that you’ve either overcharged a client or cheated yourself. Recently I’ve discovered a little web app that has put an end to those issues for me.

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Have You Seen Love Letters?

June 14th, 2007

A few months ago I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Annie Potts (think Ghostbusters and Toy Story) and my friend James Taylor perform in the critically acclaimed A. R. Gurney play Love Letters in my home town of Walnut Creek, California. My super-awesome and oldest friend in the world, Selma Al-Faqih, was the director. I had never seen the play before and was completely enthralled!

This summer Annie, James, and Selma are bringing Love Letters to Washington, D.C. and I am very pleased to have done the promotional website for that performance at the Landsburgh Theatre. If you have a chance to go, I highly recommend it.

screen shot of Love Letters website

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Introducing NicoleKidd.com ~ Riveting, Handmade Jewelry Creations

June 4th, 2007

Well, it’s been a while, but I’m back. I’m totally back. Working at Deluxe Digital Media kept me very busy (too busy for blogging anyway), but I have now returned to running Sheriar Designs. The crew at DDM is great, and I’m certainly going to miss them, but while there I learned something very important … that I am really an entrepreneur at heart, and that being an employee – even with a fantastic company – is not ultimately what works for me.

While at DDM I got to work on several great projects, one of them is the new site for Nicole Kidd, an amazing jewelry designer based here in the Bay Area. Bringing her vision for her site to life was a very fulfilling creative experience.

screen shot of NicoleKidd.com

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Kindness – in the Blogosphere and in Our Own Lives

March 16th, 2007

Recently, as you may have read, I hurt someone’s feelings. Unlike other times when this kind of thing might happen and then get shrugged off, I had the distinct displeasure of reading all about it the next day – bringing my thoughtless behavior into sharp focus. I was horrified, and I felt that the only way to begin to make things right was to apologize, even though that would broadcast my mistake to the entire community that I had just spent several days networking with and trying to make a good impression on.

This experience really got me thinking deeply – first about the difference between blogging about something and just talking about something with your friends, then to the responsibilities of being kind in the way that you write about your experiences that involve others, then on to questioning the very nature of being critical as opposed to kind in our interactions with others, and finally to my own shortcomings as a human being. It’s been a rough personal ride, mostly accompanied by that heavy pit-of-the-stomach shame feeling, which is absolutely a wretched way to feel. And yet I feel that something good will come from it, namely what usually follows any period of pain and/or shame … personal growth. And then I thought that it just might be worth sharing some of these thoughts with whoever cares to listen.

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An Apology to Jeff Croft from the Drunken Wretch That Was Me Last Night

March 13th, 2007

Dear Jeff,

I couldn’t be more mortified when I woke up this morning (in hangover agony mind you) and read your post A response to one especially harsh critic of our SXSW panel. That horrible woman was me, and I apologize deeply, and publicly, for making you feel badly.

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Very Curious About This Bootstrap Network Thing

March 12th, 2007

Yesterday I met this cool guy named Bijoy. He was an immediately obviously intelligent, well-spoken, and interesting person. I liked him right away. Pretty early into the brief conversation, though, he told me that I was the type of person who could never be happy having a boss. Not too much later he told me that I was an evangelist. Huh? He meant that I was one of three types of people, as he has defined in his book The Human Fabric. These three types are Mavens, Relaters, and Evangelists. When asked what how these types were defined I was told that mavens are all about knowledge, Relaters are all about relationships, and Evangelists are action driven. I told him that I’d like to think I was a bit of all three and he gave me a knowing wink and simply said, “everyone does.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I have an inherent difficulty with those that think they can classify me as any “type” of person – especially upon first meeting me. I am a deeply reflective person and I feel that I am the one best equipped to realize my own nature.

So I felt a bit conflicted – I liked Bijoy and clearly he was quite interesting and charming, yet I didn’t appreciate being immediately classified. I went back to my hotel and did some research on him and found that my confusion only deepened. Clearly there were lots of folks who believe that Bijoy has this gift of “seeing” people quickly and clearly. He had written what appeared to be an interesting book, and he had started a network of entrepreneurs, the Bootstrap Network, that was flourishing here in Austin with splinter groups popping up around the world.

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My Life May Have Just Been Changed

March 12th, 2007

I just attended the most impactful presentation I have seen here at SxSW. It was called The 4-Hour Workweek: Secrets of Doing More with Less in a Digital World and it’s description read, “Is your team mired in the goo and muck of old-school thinking? Are your designers and developers divided on their approach and about to throw in the towel? Are you dying to move from a stale world to a more agile, innovative approach? This panel features formerly stuck experts as well as those who have helped clients get out of the muck. Success in today’s web environment means merging design and development thinking to move to a 2.0 world and beyond.”

I almost didn’t go to this today because it was the first panel of the morning, I was tired, and I couldn’t really tell from the description whether it would be interesting or now. Well, the description was misleading. The lone presenter, Tim Ferriss, was a charismatic, dynamic, power-horse of amazing advice. Honestly, right now, my mind is a bit blown. I am filled with manic energy while I frantically try to process how my entire view of running a business and living a life may very well have just been dramatically altered.

Here are my notes from this radical presentation:

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Some Panels are Cooler than Others

March 11th, 2007

It was an up and down day at SxSW today. After the disappointing first panel of the day I was really feeling discouraged about the quality of presentations here. Luckily the next presentation renewed my faith in the conference.

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