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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    The story of Easter is the story of God’s wonderful window of divine surprise. One of my favorite quotes of the holiday season.

    Yes, it is a maze. A while back, I created a series of holiday “maze” cards like this one and this one. They were sent only to family and friends along with a personalized greeting (removed). I’ve been asked by some readers not to share the solution of my mazes until after they have had a go at it. Apparently, even catching a glimpse can reveal too much so if you really need help, post a comment and I’ll send you the solution.

    Dreidel! Dreidel! Dreidel!

    I made this maze originally as a holiday card back in 2002. Many of my puzzles are based on some bit of tradition, history, or trivia, so for Hanukkah I picked one of the most recognizable symbols of the holiday: the dreidel!

    Every year I forget the exact rules of the dreidel game so I’m recording them here for the sake of my failing memory as well as for my gentile readers.

    A dreidel (sevivon in Hebrew which means “to turn”) is a four-sided top with a Hebrew letter on each side. The letters are: נ (Nun), ג (Gimmel), ה (Hay) and ש (Shin), which stand for the phrase Nes Gadol Haya Sham which means “A great miracle happened there” (there being Israel).

    Any number of people can play. At the beginning of the game each player is given an equal number of Hanukkah gelt (usually chocolate coins wrapped in gold tin foil but anything can be used).

    At the beginning of each round, every player puts one piece into the center pot. They then take turns spinning the dreidel, with the following meanings assigned to each of the Hebrew letters:

    • Nun or “nichts” which means “nothing” in Yiddish. If the dreidel lands with a nun facing up the spinner does nothing.
    • Gimmel or “ganz” which is means “everything.” If the dreidel lands with the gimmel facing up the spinner gets everything in the pot.
    • Hey or “halb” which means “half”. If the dreidel lands with a hey facing up the spinner gets half of the pot.
    • Shin or “shtel” which means “put in.” If the dreidel lands with a shin facing up the player adds a game piece to the pot.

    If a player runs out of gelt they are out.

    Happy Hanukkah!

    Happy Halloween 2011

    Anytime you’re looking for inspiration, the immensely talented artists that inhabit deviantART never fail to deliver. This piece is called Samantha and the Anatomy of Halloween by Grelin Machin from Montreal.

    Happy Halloween!

    For our Stamford BNI (Business Network International) Visitor’s Day I created two email blasts that were sent separately over the preceding two weeks.


    I used MailChimp to manage our list of invitees (collected from our membership over the year) and to send/track the email blasts themselves. With a highly targeted list like this one, we expect a high open rate but for August a 58% is not bad.

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    Shortly after we launched the CONNECT Computer website, we were asked to design, write, and manage a monthly newsletter for ongoing client communications as well as provide useful insight into the IT industry for those who opt-in (via website, email blasts, and social media channels). After some A-B testing, this design layout below proved to be the most engaging for CONNECT’s subscribers. Each newsletter would have a different “theme” such as Security Issue, Support Issue, or Breathe Deep Issue (below). On average, we see 18% to 24% click throughs to full stories residing on the website (industry average for IT is only 15%).

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