The Work of James Jean

Image © James Jean. All rights reserved.

I recently came across the work of James Jean, a professional illustrator in Los Angeles. His work is really wonderful. He’s mastered a variety of styles. I really like his stuff.

You can see Jean’s work here, and here.

Death and Taxes

2007 federal discretionary budget graph

This is a story I ran over at my other blog, A Green Idea. I thought it important enough to mention here too.

Jess Bachman, A freelance designer in Burlington, Vermont, has built this awesome representational graph of the federal discretionary budget. He calls it, Death and Taxes. It represents the amount of money that is spent at the discretion of our elected representatives in Congress. Basically, our federal income taxes.

The circles on the graph are relative in size to the amount of money being spent. They can give you a good visual representation of where our priorities currently lie.

For instance… even though the United states is the largest contributor to global warming, the circle for Clean Air and Global Climate Change is relatively tiny. I had a hard time finding it.

There are several ways to get your hands on the chart. An interactive version is available on the site. There are jpegs in several sizes and cut-away views also available for download… go to the about section, and scroll to the bottom. You can also buy a 24″x36″ poster of it for $24.

For just $10, you can arrange to have a poster, and a personalized note, sent to any Senator and Congressperson. Don’t know your representative’s name? You should, but don’t feel to bad, I didn’t either. Luckily, the site gives us a list to choose from for every state. [LINK]

I’m not normally one to preach to people about writing to their government officials, but if you don’t like what you see on this chart… you need to tell them, and soon. After all, this is YOUR money.

My hat goes off to Jess Bachman for creating this… nice job!

found via BoingBoing

A Blast from the Web’s Past


In 1997, Macromedia Flash was in it’s infancy. Almost no one was doing anything really cool with it. Notice I said, almost. There was one site that was head and shoulders above anything, anyone had ever done. It was a site that would raise the bar for web designers everywhere. It would inspire an entire generation of Flash users. It was arguably the first great Flash site ever made.

Do you remember the site? It was called Gabocorp.

By today’s standards, Gabocorp wouldn’t look all that impressive. But at the time, it totally blew our minds. Designers everywhere huddled around their computers in awe and amazement. They had never seen anything like it on the internet.

If you’ve never seen Gabocorp, or you just want to relive that 1997 moment, you’re in luck. The FWA has managed to track down a semi-functional copy of that original site, and put it back online.

Found via Airtight Interactive

Dance, Monkeys, Dance

The movie was made by Marcus Lindgren, a fifteen year old in Sweden. I don’t have any other information about Marcus, but I think he did a great job.

The voice over is actually a great spoken word piece by Ernie Cline. In addition to being named after the Sesame Street Character, Ernie is “a poet, screenwriter, and spoken word internet meme master.” You can hear more from him on his site, and you can buy his spoken word album here. I really like Ernie’s site. He’s definitely from my generation.

found via Steve Garfield’s Mom

Workaround for iTunes 7 Album Artwork ‘Bug’

iTunes 7 Album Artwork

This morning I read this article over at the Mac Dev Center about how iTunes 7 handles album artwork. The Author, Scot Hacker, discovered a new folder inside the iTunes folder, called ‘Album Artwork’.

There has been some confusion on what this folder is for, and I’ve been participating in the discussion. Here’s what we’ve discovered… In iTunes 7, if you manually paste artwork into the info box for a song / album, iTunes embeds the artwork into the song files, just like it always has. However, if you use the new ‘get artwork’ feature in iTunes 7, the artwork is NOT embedded into the song file. Instead, it’s stored in this new folder as an .itc file. We’ve also theorized that the new artwork folder acts as a cache for coverflow, but that’s another story.

Unfortunately, this new ‘feature’ makes your music a whole lot less portable. If you move music, that has iTunes downloaded artwork, to another machine, the artwork won’t come with it.

Fortunately, there is a workaround:

1. Allow iTunes to download the artwork.
2. Open the get info box for the song and copy the artwork.
3. Delete the artwork for the song.
4. Re-paste the artwork back into the song.

iTunes will now embed the artwork just like it has in the past. It’s a bit of a hassle, but at least we can still use the new download artwork feature.

I’m really hoping that Apple considers this a bug, and will fix it in 7.0.1. But, it’s entirely possible that they are just moving to this kind of structure, and at some point none of the artwork will be embedded.

UPDATE: A similar item showed up over at Look throught the comments for various scripts and apps that people have made to do this automatically.

The Work of Ray Ceasar

The work of Ray Ceasar
Images © Ray Ceasar. All rights reserved.

I recently came across the work of Ray Ceasar. He does beautifully rendered, highly detailed 3D images, often in a style that mimics traditional painting. Much of the detail can’t really be seen in the full views, but you can click on the images to zoom in on many of his pieces.

I really like Ray’s work a lot. If you visit his site, don’t forget to stop by his Bio page, where he confesses to being born a dog… and he has family photos to prove it.

Toggle views on iPod Status Bar

iPod Status Bar

The new iPod status bar, part of iTunes 7, can show you more information than meets the eye. I totally discovered this by accident, but if you click on the bar graph, it will toggle between three sets of information, showing space used, number of items, and total playing time.

I haven’t quite figured out what’s in the “Other” category. I have noticed that it goes up and down dramatically depending on the other media. Meaning, if you have less Audio, Video, or Photos… the Other category will go down as well.

Where’s My iPod Search?

iPod Search

Apple has had one long-standing tradition, that I really wish they would stop. Historically speaking, when they introduce new iPod features, they withhold those features for new iPods only.

Unfortunately, yesterday’s announcement was no exception. Apple introduced a great new search function for the iPod. Even though this should be a simple software update for existing iPods, Apple refuses to let us have it. They were more than happy to give us an iPod update to make our existing iPods compatible with iTunes 7, and the new store, so we would continue to buy their music… but if we want the new features, we have to shell out the cash for a new iPod.

I could kind of understand this if they came out with a totally new iPod, but other than a brighter screen, the current 5G iPod is pretty much the same as my 5G iPod. Apple didn’t even bother to change the version number. If they are both 5G, why don’t I have the new features?

C’mon Apple, do you really think anyone is going to buy a new iPod just to get the search function? Why are you withholding these features? Just give them to us already!