Conversation #2702

Us, still sleeping. Stavros walks in. Son: Μπαμπά, που είναι το κινητό σου; Me: Βρε Σταύρο, με το κινητό ξύπνησες στο νου σου σήμερα; Son: Όχι, μπαμπά. Με τον Timone ξύπνησα!...

Conversation #2704

Driving to Σέτα, we drive by a parked Fiat Punto. Wife: Σταύρο, τι αυτοκίνητο είναι αυτό; Son: Fiat είναι μαμά! Wife: Μπράβο Ντάντο! Fiat είναι! Punto! Son: Βρε μαμά, εκεί...
Metro

Metro

Here it is in all its glory. phoat.com’s theme inspired by Microsoft’s Metro UI.
Consolidation

Consolidation

Reading my previous post again helped me solidify what I really want to do from here on in. My goal now is to take my design skills to the next level but to also create a complete (as complete as I can make it that is) reference for myself. So over the next few weeks I will be consolidating everything I read into a single massive index of design knowledge. You can take a peek over at the Web Design Codex. As always, I welcome questions, comments, praise and flames. Hopefully I wont confuse the hell outta myself and not learn...
Reboot

Reboot

The title says it all, however, this is not a reboot of the design of this site, but a reboot of my skills as a web designer. You see, I’ve been designing sites for a very long time and I dabbled in all the newest trends as the technology of the interwebs evolved. My knowledge is incomplete, however. The missing bits and pieces prevent me from completing the puzzle so I’m taking a step back. My goal right now is the fill in the gaps in my knowledge of web design so that I can become better at what I ultimately want to do… create beautiful websites! Problem is, I don’t really know what those missing pieces are or where to find them so I’m going back to basics. This site (or part of it… I haven’t decided yet) will be dedicated to my (re)education in designing for the web and will serve as a future reference for me and hopefully some other poor schmo in my shoes. Now the seven of you reading this might say, “There are plenty of online resources already… why reinvent the wheel?” Short answer? Because I have to if I’m going to learn anything. You see, information on the web is scattered. There is no one place to get all your info from. I’ve read hundreds of articles and posts on dozens of sites about everything from why it’s important to add the appropriate doctype to an html document to adding the latest CSS3 eyecandy to a block of text. Most of those articles were good. Some of them were great. But all...
Resolution11

Resolution11

Yes… it’s that time again. Time I make a list of all the things I want to do/change in my life by the end of the year. These are my official obligatory New Year’s Resolutions for 2011 (a few days late, I know). Here goes… Quit Smoking Believe it or not, I started smoking almost 2 years ago. Times were tough. My store was closing. No excuse, really. I mean, I’m 35 years old now. WTF was I thinking? This nasty habit has been a drain on my health and my pocket for a while now so I think it’s time to stop Make some freaking money! Kinda self-explanatory really. I have no money and I need to make some. Lots have changed in the last year. I got married… expecting a baby in May. Not really living on my own. My actions affect others now, not only me. Need to make something better of myself for the sake of my (new) family. Finish designing this damn site already! I get bored easily so I start new designs even before I finish previous ones. This time… I will actually finish a design that I start on this blog. Can’t really think of any more now, but I will update this list and stuff comes to...
Inbox

Inbox

As promised the last time I discussed GTD, I’m going to describe my various inboxes that I’ve defined for my system and how I use them to boost my productivity. For the seven of you still with me, let me refresh your memories. My defined inboxes are: Things (iPhone application) Moleskine Microsoft Outlook inbox Balance (iPhone application) Google Chrome bookmarks Voice Memos (iPhone application) Post-it notes Paper tray (for letters and bills) File folders Of all of these, my Moleskine is probably the most flexible, so  I’ll discuss that first. First thing I must say about Moleskine notebooks is that I ♥ them! I go for the hardcover with blank pages because it allows me to draw and take notes all over the page without being restricted by lines or grids. Of all my inboxes, my Moleskine is the most flexible (I just said that, no?). With pen in hand, I just empty my mind right on to the page, without worrying about structure or form. The main purpose of the Moleskine in my implementation is the get the thoughts out of my mind as easily as possible. It also lets me write or draw directly in the margins, so that I can enhance my lists or flesh out ideas more. Important stuff gets a highlight, so that I can find the tasks that need immediate attention easily. At the end of each day, around five-ish, I start a new page, with a to-do list of the next day’s work that is due. When I complete a task, I cross it off the list and give myself a well...
bandwagon

bandwagon

The graphics design blogoshpere has gotten stupid lately. There is this trend now (and people are actually making money from doing this) to link to other sites that offer design resources and tutorials. I’m sick of going to design blogs and seeing lists of posts with titles like, “10 Very Useful Photoshop Tutorials” or, “Amazing Digital Paintings to Inspire You” or, “60+ Totally Free Rusted Metal Textures for Designers.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for pointing out great posts on other blogs, but it seems that there are only like three sites that actually create original content. The rest just point to those sites. There are very talented people contributing some great resources to the design community and do so for free. Is it really fair that these talented people do all the hard work while others just throw up a few links on their site and make money off of adverts? Sure, give me a link to a great site or resource that you find, but don’t ONLY do that. That’s what search engines are for… Update 13/09/2009 @ 22:32 – Looks like I’m not the only one what feels this way. The CSS Guy over at Ask the CSS Guy wrote (a pretty funny) post about the same thing called, “59+ Amazing (and jaw-dropping) web design-related lists with titles that will rip your face off, blow your mama’s mind, and make you cry under the crushing pain of their inspiration.” Good...
multitask

multitask

Craig Buckler over at Sitepoint.com wrote an interesting article about how people that multitask are actually less productive than those that don’t. According to his article, a study conducted over at Stanford University showed that people that multitask have limited attention spans and are easily distracted. People that do not multitask, on the other hand, seemed to score better on the test conducted at Stanford. I can see why this might be true. Given my own experience, I often find myself distracted from the tasks that I’m doing only to discover hours later that I’ve been off an a tangent. But I don’t think that the tests reflect what goes on in the workplace. The test measured memory and how well subjects could recall the information that they’ve seen. Non-multitaskers did better because they could focus only on the specific information they were showed, while multitaskers tried to absorb everything they saw. In reality, in the workplace for example, any multitasker worth the water he’s composed of, would have a system in place that would help him organize and track all the information he encounters. The point, I’m trying to make is that effective multitasking doesn’t rely on memory, it relys on how to deal with information at the appropriate time. So while the study is interesting and has some valid points, I don’t think that it reflects any real world scenarios. In the movie, Memento, Leonard couldn’t create any new memories and yet still managed to find his wife’s killer all because of the system he used to organize information (I know it’s just a movie, but I...
Done

Done

So David Allen has kinda sorta changed how people increase their productivity. His Getting Things Done method is said to have revolutionized the way people, well… get things done. Despite GTD’s raging success, it has been met with some critisism, however, the most prominent of which is that GTD is too inflexible and impracticle to be implemented easily. While I agree, I think that GTD is not meant to be followed evangelistically. Rather, GTD should be thought of as a set of guidelines that should be implemented so that it fits into the way you work. Even David Allen has said that he falls off the GTD bandwagon every once in a while. The point of this post, however, isn’t to defend or slam the GTD system. It is to give the seven of you reading this my take on David Allen’s methods and how I’ve implemented them into my daily workflow. So, GTD’s major priciple (and the reason why I believe it works) is that you must empty your mind of all tasks by recording them externally. This external device must be something reliable so that information is not lost (and so that your subconcious knows that it wont be). This way, instead of remembering what you need to do, you can focus more on getting those tasks done. Allen suggests that the simple act of “unloading” your mind is enough to relieve most of the stress that hinders actual productivity. The unconcious mind is therefore free of anxiety so that the concious mind can focus on completing tasks. The first step to implementing GTD is to identify where...

framework

When I first encountered CSS Frameworks, I was a little intrigued, but dismissed the whole notion because it looked overly complicated and the whole code structure was (at first) very difficult for me to grasp. Add that to the fact that the general concept of designing using a grid for some reason escaped me, and you can see why I rejected the whole idea. But bordom being what it is, I decided to one day do some experiments to see what all the commotion was about (by now, CSS Frameworks were gaining in popularity and many people used them). All I can say from the experience is that I was impressed! I tried a few frameworks out, among them Blueprint CSS, YUI Grids CSS, and YAML. The one that stuck with me, however was 960.gs. I was never before able to create basic layouts so rapidly. Adhering to the grid made everything look balanced and nicer, it seemed, and I was soon churning out designs left and right. It was a while before I realized, that using a framework imposed certain limits on how I created my websites. As I became more adept at web design and was aware of semantic naming conventions, it’s obvious that a framework cannot allow you to have HTML that actually has any meaning. Well, I guess you could add extra classes to add that semantic meaning that’s missing from frameworks, but that just adds more to your code. You might as well add inline CSS styles to your HTML because essentially, that’s what you are doing. Also the bigger downside of using frameworks is...
pilfer

pilfer

The following is a list of things that have been stolen from me since I opened pixelPLAY three years ago: A whole computer tower 6 x 2MB RAM chips More than 10 Logitech MX518 Gaming Mice (I recovered two of them) Playstation Portable Security camera (ironic isn’t it?) Epson high-def projector You’d think I’d...

Vertically Centered Text

So, as promised here is a quick web design tip that I discovered completely by accident the other day. As the title suggests, if you want to center a single line of text inside of a containing block that has a known height, all you have to do is set the line-height of the text to the height of the block. For example, if you have a header div with height 100px and want to vertically center an h1 tag inside that div, all you need to do is add the following rule to your css style sheet: h1 { line-height: 100px; } This is what it looks like in practice… Here is some text Pretty easy, right? Remember that this will only work if the text you are vertically centering does not wrap to more than one line. If it does the whole thing will break...
Identity

Identity

So… the three of you reading this must have noticed that I updated the design of my blog (finally!). Kinda simple but far from done. I’m not even going to try to support older browsers with this one. If it works, it works. If not, you’ll get a jumbled mess. You shouldn’t even be using any browser older than 6 months anyway. While thinking about the site and what kind of stuff will go on here, I figured my experience doing web stuff is kinda extensive, so I might as well add posts related to web design, graphics, etc… If not for you three, but for me as a reference in the future because I tend to forget things easily. So expect to see posts about me, about my work, and about me working. I’m sure I’ll keep you at the edge of your...
Immortality

Immortality

I was chatting with my friend the other day. The conversation started with “Whopper Virgins” (I know I’m late with this) and ended on a conversation about free will and if it actually exists. If you are religious, man is supposed to have been granted free will by God. But God is also omnipotent, so doesn’t that cancel out free will? Complicated issue to say the least, but I’m not a religious scholar to be able to argue about the intricacies and interpretations of written scripture so I’m not even going to go there. However, the scientist in me has thought about this issue for a long time now, and I’m come to one simple conclusion… THERE IS NO FREE WILL The three of you reading this will no doubt be thinking, “What the hell is he talking about?” Well, putting religion and the notion of a supreme omnipotent being to one side for the sake of argument, scientifically, it stands to reason that we as individuals would be free to choose our own destinies. However, this is scientifically impossible. Modern science has been in search of an all encompassing universal equation that will describe the universe and all the mechanics that drive it, from a molecular standpoint all the way up to a planetary level. With this complex equation, one would be able to account for with exact certainty the various properties of every single particle of the universe. It will also be able to predict what those properties will be in a future date. So how does the universal equation take away free will? Well if you can predict where every particle...
iBlog

iBlog

Well after playing with the iPhone for a month and discovering all the coolness that comes with it, I finally found a nifty little app so that I can post directly to WordPress from my phone. It’s really simple to setup and use and the landscape keyboard goes a long way to improve typing speed. Haven’t played around with all the features yet, but this little app might just me to blog more. As a matter of fact, this very post you are reading came right off my iPhone. For those of you interested you can find more info...
Finally

Finally

I purchased a new motherboard to replace my previous one due to some weird USB issue. I suspect it was software related but I got so frustrated that I decided to just update my hardware. I decided to get the Asus P5Q3 (much to the disappointment of my friend) that supports DDR3 memory, built in WiFi, two lan adapters, and a feces-load of other features. First thing that caught my attention right out of the box is how racecar-like the motherboard looks. I mean, it’s a stationary piece of hardware with no moving parts, but it looked like it could do zero to two hundred in 2 seconds flat. Second thing that impressed me is the Express Gate feature. From boot to web in 5 seconds (practically it’s a little longer but impressive none-the-less). Third thing that caught my eye (and the reason for the title of this post) was what Asus calls a Qconnector. Very simple concept really. Its a seperate module that allows you to connect all front panel and chasis cables to it which then connects (very easily) to the motherboard. It’s two-thousand-freakin-nine and they just thought to do this? One of the things I hated the most when building was connecting those microscopic little plugs. I can’t believe it took the industry this long to come up with a (simple) solution. How they haven’t standardized the plugs into one universal connector is beyond me. They (whoever ‘they’ may be) are so caught up on making us consumers buy new RAM and new CPUs every 6 months that they miss the simplest details. Ho hum… What...
Promises

Promises

Yes I know it’s almost the end of Feburary, and the typical excuse is work got the better of me, but to be honest… it did. I actually forgot that this blog existed; it’s been out of my mind for a long time. Three days ago I got fed up with everything. This has been the worst month for me as far back as I can remember.  I have never had so many things go wrong within such a short time frame in my life. I’m starting to think that there is a higher power out get me for all those bad things I did in 2008. All I can say is… I HAVE LEARNED MY LESSON! PLEASE STOP! I know that my problems are absolutely nothing compared to what other people must be going through. It makes me feel petty to complain about my problems, when there are people in Africa dying from hunger and people in the Middle East getting killed by bullets. It’s all relative I suppose. I really can’t relate to those people as I only have my experiences as a benchmark. That, however, doesn’t make me any less sensative to the pain and suffering that exists in the world. Putting it in that perspective, I suppose that I really don’t have any problems at all, but I digress. So the point of all this is, I got fed up. I made all these promises to myself when the year changed but they went out the window when they became too difficult. So I’m taking a step back. My first priority will be my health,...
Countdown

Countdown

5, 4, 2, 1… Ο δήμαρχος της Αθήνας είναι βλάκας. Oh well. Χρόνια πολλά και καλό 2009!