Whorled View

January 29, 2009

Free Professional Paint Job

Filed under: Blogroll,humor,Sociology — lullabyman @ 6:48 am

I’m always out there thinking of the little guy and trying to help him save a little money, especially in these hard times.  Today is about how to  get your car a new paint job and getting the insurance company to pay for it for you.  It’s easily done … it’s called vandalism, and you can encourage it as simply as putting one of the following bumper stickers on your car:

“BBB: Bring Bush Back!”

“Bipartisian, schmipartisian.”

“Blagojevich for President”

“Earth schmerth.  Who needs it?”

“Yippee!  We won in Iraq!”

“I sold short on America and got rich!”

“Hope ain’t just a word … it’s a cliche’.”

“I [heart] OPEC.”

“Healthcare, NO!” (or “Heathcare” with a NOT sign)

“Impeach  Obama” (note, use only if you need an entirely new car)

“I [heart] [Hannity or Limbaugh or Coulter]”

Best of luck!  Park it down by a University, or Starbucks, or anywhere else where people generally tend to look angry or depressed and speak in condescending tones.  Soon your car will get keyed, or even better : bashed beyond recognition.  Next step: file your insurance claim along with 3 of the most expensive bids you can find.  I hope you enjoy your new free paint job.


January 7, 2009

Think your web colors are okay?

Filed under: programming,Technology — lullabyman @ 10:48 pm

Sometimes you think you have a great website design, and well … a couple tweaks from an outside opinion can make a world of difference.

Take this website for example: www.probertson.com

For demonstration purposes I hope the author hasn’t changed it (I told him it was problematic, and he said he was too busy to take 60 seconds to modify his CSS file to fix it).

The website looks great really from a formalist standpoint.  From a purely aesthetic perspective I love his rich invigorating blue background (color: #000044) .  From a functionalist standpoint I find it painful.

Fully saturated backgrounds are just plain bad despite how beautiful and invigorating they may be, unless they’re very very dark (#000027) or very very light (#FFFFE3).  Saturated colors are indeed beautiful and invigorating but when entire backgrounds are beautiful and invigorating they distract from the content.  Don’t get me wrong here.  I’m all for fully saturated colors in sidebars, icons, borders, titles, Header images, Header backgrounds, etc, but it’s hard to read content when it’s smothered in an invigorating background color.  When it comes to text backgrounds dull is good, interesting (saturated or any texture beyond barely perceptible) is bad.  Of course, there’s an exception (isn’t there always) if the text background is in a small windowed box … but never for large amounts of text … the main course of a typical website.

Add to that his gray text color … and again it looks attractive but after reading his content for a minute (and he has great content) well … I want to claw my eyes out.

A couple tweaks in Paint Shop Pro and this is what I get:

attractive vs. professional and freindly

attractive vs. professional and friendly

Which image is more aesthetically pleasing is a matter of opinion.  I think most web designers would agree however that interesting backgrounds (color-wise or texture wise), while attractive, give websites an amateur look and feel.  You’ll never see professional websites where content competes with the background it overlays.  That”s why the version on the right intuitively looks more professional to most people.  That’s not to say professional websites have to look boring (take the americanexpress website – both attractive and professional and one of the best looking websites in existence imho) … but if you want to add pizazz, don’t do it with a distracting text background for large amounts of text (again -small text-boxes are an exception becuase there is less text to focus on, whereas when there is a lot of text to focus on the reader must be able to have no underlaying distractions).

If you don’t know how to tweak colors like this or don’t have the tools, and don’t know how to change the colors on your website either don’t fret.  Irfanview is a free program that allows you to easily tweak the colors of an image.  Print-screen your website (you probably have a key that says PrtScr), paste the contents into irfanview (start  Irfanview and then click CTRL-V) and then click Shift-G to tweak the colors.  When you get the image the colors you like save it and send the image to your website designer (or your neighborhood geek) and they’ll match or help you match the new colors.

January 2, 2009

New Years Resolution tickler.

Filed under: Communications,Health,Lifestyles,Miscellaneous,Sociology,Technology — lullabyman @ 10:40 pm

How do you keep a goal forefront in your mind so you’re always motivated to work on it?  I’ve tried all kinds of things in the past … as I’m sure most people have.  Quotes and reminders seem great, but they eventually seem to become lost in the noise and get ignored.  I also don’t like parading my goals around for everyone to see – goals are personal.  The idea should rather be to keep goals where they’re most visible to the goal-setter and not to everyone else … and to make it move, shake, or shimmy around and continually remind the goal-setter of the vision that motivates them.

So this last year I came up with something that does that.  It’s a little program that scrolls through a list of text and images that motivate me to achieve my goals.  It automatically boots up and sits on top of all other programs in the top of my computer where the title-bar usually goes (it can also be dragged around my desktop).  It also flashes at various times of the day to remind me to work on certain things.  It also gauges how much time I  have left in the day (starts out green, turns peach).  Below is a screenshot.

If anyone else is interested let me know.  I’ve been thinking about making a version where the content can be added on the fly (currently I have to recompile it with each change).

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