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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    If you’ve been a fan of  mobile app startup Aviary then you already know that their popular Flash-based photo and audio tools, collectively called The Advanced Suite, have closed down (repost below of CEO and Co-Founder Avi Muchnick’s good-bye). From what I can gather, the company will focus serving up their photo editing SDK to third-party web and mobile app developers. Judging the from the outcry, the company should do the same with their audio editing tool Myna.

    As per this blog post from July, we have officially closed the advanced suite of Flash tools (previously located at in order to focus on our new company direction powering the photo experience in 3rd party apps. While we hoped that everyone would have taken the time to retrieve their files since our notice, we recognize that the message may not have been seen by everyone.

    Therefore, if you were not able to retrieve all of your files to date, please contact us at from the email address associated with your account to help retrieve your files. Do this quickly. Please note that after September 30th, 2012, we cannot guarantee that your files will still be available for us to retrieve.

    While the tools will remain offline, we may continue to explore new homes in whole or in part, for specific elements of the suite. If interested in discussing, please contact us at with the subject line “Interested in Advanced Suite.”

    I would like to make a few recommendations for alternate tools to try:

    • Advanced Photo Editing (layer based) – GIMP
    • Vector Editing – Inkscape
    • Image Markup – Skitch
    • Audio Editing & Music Creation – GarageBand or Audacity
    • Node-based image editing (like Peacock) – watch this blog for more information…

    I have a number of thank yous to make, but I’ll leave out names because there are so many and I don’t want to risk leaving anyone out:

    Thank you to the Aviary staff who worked on the advanced suite, some still with the team and some not. You are some of the most ridiculously talented people I have ever met and I can honestly say you have set the professional bar higher for me for having gotten the opportunity to work with you.

    Thank you to our wonderful moderation volunteers – our Aviators are amazing people who brought out the creativity in thousands of people, expecting nothing in return. I’ll miss reading the Bird Bath newsletter.

    Thank you to those of you who wrote tutorials, especially those of you who wrote and published 2 books on the advanced suite.  How cool was it to go into a Barnes & Noble, and see it in print!

    Thank you to the dozens of press outlets who covered the advanced suite. The tools would have gotten nowhere without you.

    Thank you to those of you who gave awards to the advanced suite. We have the trophies adorning our coffee table in the office and we’ll never forget the excitement when we won them.

    Thank you to our investors, who helped us turn an idea into a reality and continue to back our vision of democratizing creativity in our current direction.

    Thank you to our advisers who gave us guidance along the way in shaping the advanced suite.

    Thank you to my co-founders, who made the advanced suite their driving mission in life while we worked on it.

    Thank you to our families, who selflessly continue to put up with our long hours. Welcome to the 3 babies who joined our families while we worked on the advanced suite.

    And most importantly, thank you to the millions of users who gave the advanced suite a try, especially those of you who made it your primary form of editing tools and for whom I know today represents a real loss.

    I love all of you and hope we can continue making creative expression accessible for everyone in the world, going forward.

    Best, Avi Muchnick

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    eBay’s Minimalist Logo Redesign


    It is hard to believe it but eBay is turning 17.

    To help celebrate, the company is introducing a new logo design.

    A minimalist design… simple Univers Extended font type and fast-food color scheme (popular with companies in the 90s), not a radical departure but better than the old one. Settle down there e-b-a-y and act your age.

    The new logo will roll out to the website and advertising in October but eBay has produced a niffy one page website using HTML5 (clever parallax scrolling effect).

    Now if they did something about their main website. Ugh.

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    2012 Inc. 5000

    Inc’s 2012 list of the top 5000 fastest growing companies in the US  is now online. The top 3 spots go to:

    United Payments – a financial service company that provides traditional and next-generation payment processing services to merchants, did $59.9 million in revenue, a 23,646% growth in 3 years.

    Astrum Solar – a solar provider to homeowners and small businesses, did $26.9 million in revenue, growing 23,577% in 3 years.

    Edge Solutions - an IT provider of storage, server, and networking services (which includes data center management and cloud computing), did $21.8 million in revenue, growing 21,036% in 3 years.

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    BrowserShots is a free browser emulator that generates screenshots of your website under hundreds of browser versions in a matter of minutes (faster if you’re willing to pay $29.95 a month for priority processing).

    So, if you need to know how your website design renders under an ancient release of Internet Explorer or the latest Iceweasel for Linux, BrowserShots is your saving grace, especially with BrowserPool defunct and BrowserCam closing down its service on February 1, 2013.

    If you’re looking for something more comprehensive for website testing, Cross Browser Testing is a paid service that lets you specify live testing combinations of browsers, operating systems, platforms, and plugins. Pricing is based on number of users as well as minutes per month.

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