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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    My nephew is a very talented artist out in Bozeman, Montana, and he just launched his new photo blog (with a little help). Living in Big Sky Country, Jason has some breathtaking shots of the scenery (not to mention skateboarders defying gravity).

    In case you haven’t heard Google will acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion to (in part) compete with Apple, which owns roughly 65% of profits among the top smartphone vendors (as of this writing). Not only does this move give Google complete control over every aspect of the end-user experience (i.e. hardware, software, and service) but perhaps more importantly the deal will also give a much needed infusion to Google’s patent portfolio (something both Apple and Microsoft have been actively blocking Google from doing). The deal is subject to regulatory approval but it is expected to close in late 2011 or early 2012. Read the full press release.

    This one is for the typographer inside every Web designer. Since the inception of the Web, designers have toiled with the lack of font options for their online creations. Typically, if you wanted to make sure your non-graphical text rendered smoothly and consistently across all browsers across all platforms, you stuck to the handful of system fonts made available on both the Mac and PC (e.g. Arial, Verdana, New Times Roman).

    Sometime in 2005, Mike Davidson and Mark Wubben invented sIFR (Scalable Inman Flash Replacement), a clever little “applet” that used JavaScript and Adobe Flash to dynamically replace text elements on HTML pages with Flash equivalents (based on text-to-flash replacement technique by Shaun Inman, hence, the name).  sIFR was not suitable for body text and required a call to the Flash player for each rendering which could slow page-load times. Other non-Flash variations emerged such as FLIR (Facelift Image Replacement) which replaces text with dynamically generated images (using server-side scripting language PHP) and Cufón which uses JavaScript and vector graphics to write fonts from an XML font file (e.g. TTF, OTF, PFB). But these too had their shortcomings.

    Then in 2010, the Google Font Directory emerged from Google Labs, leveraging the “power of the cloud” to provide high-quality Web fonts anywhere regardless of the browser or device (you can read the announcement on the official Google Code blog). Google has made adding these fonts to your Web pages incredibly easy for even the non-technical, using CSS3 and the Google Font API. Just select a font and follow the steps for copying and pasting the code into your Web pages. All the fonts are open-source so there are no copyright worries.

    Location-based promotions have been around for years and it is no surprise that behemoth social network Facebook would make this technology an integral part of their platform. And brands like Coca-Cola have been taking full advantage of this in smart and engaging ways. The Recycling King campaign created by Israeli ad agency Publicis E-Dologic encourages people to “think green” by having them upload pictures of themselves recycling.

    Coca-Cola registered over 10,000 recycling bins on Facebook Places and then challenged users to vie for the title of Recycling King by checking in to the most bins. Whether or not you feel revealing your whereabouts to virtual strangers raises huge privacy concerns (and Coca-Cola just duped thousands of Israelis to volunteer their purchasing habits), the campaign has proven to be quite successful; with over 26,000 pictures uploaded and more than 250,000 checkins. If you’re a marketer or an environmentalist, it is something to think about.

    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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