This site showcases the (mostly) digital work of Andrew DiFiore from both Virtual Arts Studios and answerYES Interactive as well as random thoughts and experimental projects too volatile to be contained anywhere else.

 
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    Cool Tool of the Month: iPad Peek

    This month’s Cool Tool goes to iPad Peek. Though not a true iPad emulator and therefore not that meaningful for developers, it is still a nice tool for designers to see how their work may appear inside the iPad viewing area. Clicking the iPad border will rotate it between portrait and landscape.

    iPad Peek uses jQuery and CSS3 so be sure you’re running a relatively new browser. Don’t get too excited if you see your Adobe Flash movies playing, the iPad still does not support Flash.

    iPad Peek was created by software engineer Pavol Rusnak (@pavolrusnak) who has made the source code available for download on GitHub.

    In the past I’ve recommended the poor man’s online reputation manager was to use Google Alerts with Social Mention. Google today expanded Alerts with a new feature to your Dashboard called Me on the Web (located right under the Account info). This works much like Alerts where you can be notified about “mentions” on a weekly, daily, or real-time but the really nice touch is that you now have an easier way to remove unwanted information about yourself from Google Search. Learn more reading this post by Google’s Product Manager Andreas Tuerk.

    Another Google Doodle Tribute

    This time the tribute is in celebration of Les Paul’s 96th birthday. By now you are at least aware that Google regularly changes it’s logo into a doodle that denotes some occasion like a holiday, birthday, or anniversary. Many are obvious choices but some celebrate pop culture icons like last year’s Pac-Man, which was actually a playable mini-game. Google’s Les Paul logo doodle (which is barely recognizable as a logo at all) is clearly an attempt to out do the Pac-Man doodle and I would say they have achieved that. The logo is not only playable but recordable, spawning a host of musical “prodigies” to capture their creations on YouTube.

    According to Google designer Alexander Chen, the doodle was made with a combination of JavaScript, HTML5 Canvas (to draw the guitar strings), CSS, Flash (for sound) and tools like the Google Font API, goo.gl and App Engine.

    In case you were curious, Google has collected all their logo doodles in one place for your convenience.

    Facebook announced the completion of the Photo Tagging Auto-Suggestion feature two days ago and it immediately prompted public outcry over privacy issues (perhaps Google had something to do with this… the two online rivals haven’t exactly been playing nice lately). I don’t want to spend too much time on this as I’m sure the subject will get plenty of coverage but it would seem the real privacy issue is with the friends that upload (and tag) a photo of you.

    The world has gone digital. Does anyone print photos anymore? In 2010 the last photo lab in the world stopped taking new rolls of Kodachrome film (sorry, Paul Simon). Gee, I hope my Facebook account will still be around long after I’m gone so my great-great-grandchildren can see what I looked like. Without any clear answer how to keep our binary memories safe forever, digital preservationists suggest having multiple copies in multiple places. Ouch! Sounds like I’m gonna need an organizational coach. I wonder if the Sumerians contemplated this dilemma 5,000 years ago.

    Photo uploads are one of the most popular features on Facebook and according to Mark Zuckerberg, members add over 100 millions tags to their photos everyday (roughly 2.5 billion photos are uploaded every month). Facebook using facial recognition to auto-tag photos simply saves time. Chances are your pretty mug is already in somebody’s online photo album… photo tagging just makes it easier for you to know where. In fact, when you’re tagged in a photo, Facebook sends you an email (or an on-site notification) letting you know a friend has uploaded a photo of you, giving you the opportunity to ask that friend to remove the photo or at least limit its visibility.

    If you’re really uncomfortable having photos of yourself tagged, here is a step-by-step guide on how to disable the Facebook facial recognition feature.

    Cool Tool of the Month: Favicon.cc

    The tiny icon that appears left of the web address on your browser is commonly known as a favicon (name so after Microsoft introduced the convention in 1999 with their release of IE 5) but it is also known as the bookmark icon and website icon. If you are really interested, you can read all about the favicon’s long history and its basic implementation on Wikipedia.

    The favicon was standardized in HTML4 by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and is now supported across all modern browsers and mobile devices. If you don’t create a your own favicon then most systems will use a generic favicon or generate one from the source page. But as web designers and site owners, we want to preserve our brand every way possible so taking a moment to create a custom favicon is just good practice.

    There are lots of tools for creating the .ico file format but when you need something free, simple, and fast then Favicon.cc can’t be beat. Typically, I upload the 16×16 .png version of my icon and let Favicon.cc generate the .ico version. Favicon.cc handles transparency and variable sizes. You can also create an favicon from scratch one pixel at a time.