Douglas Heriot

Open

Just like Steve Jobs had a little laugh about ‘Flash’, Apple also has a go at trying to redefine ‘Open’:

OpenWhy doesn’t it say ‘Closed’, as the store isn’t actually open yet…

Whiteboard Vector Textures

I’ve created a new page with all my free design resources for download (all 2 of them!… there should be more coming sometime though). On that page, you can find some new whiteboard vector textures. I made them by slowly brushing off whiteboard marker from my whiteboard. It creates the dirty cracked look, as seen in the ‘Stock’ graphic above. There will be many more of these whiteboard ones to come (I’ve got a stack of .JPGs to process).

I hope you find them useful!

I should have done this a long time ago…

Now that I’ve disabled Comic Sans, I’ll never have to suffer through it again!
(at least not on my computer)

On your Mac, open Font Book in the Applications folder, find Comic Sans, and click the checkbox disable button down the bottom. If that isn’t satisfying enough, you may also enjoy deleting it completely. (although I think I have to say I wouldn’t recommend that.)

Updated Homepage!

I’ve finally got around to updating my home pages. Most of the little things that’ve been annoying me for a while have been fixed!

DHD 2010

One of the main changes is the background images. The last version was designed before more people had huge screens…

largeScreenFail

For this latest design I tried to make the backgrounds more tile-able (well, at least not too bad), by using large pixel-style designs. This had the added benefit of compressing the files much better. As a result, the page is now 75% smaller! (and significantly quicker to download) UPDATE: …and bandwidth usage has also reduced ~75%

Old Size Final Size

Another goal of this design was to improve the portfolio page (something I’ve been planning on doing since I first created this site). It is now a bit more organised, has some more detail, and looks nicer. I chose a darker graphic for the background so the bright images and text would stand out more.

There’s also a bunch of smaller improvements to the About and Contact pages. The ‘About Me’ copy is now much better written, and the contact page is less cluttered.

One of the things I’m not 100% happy with yet is the home page. It’s starting to fell a little cluttered, and not clear what visitors should do next. There’s no clear “Call to Action” or anything. I suppose that’s because I don’t really have one at the moment. (I’m not looking for work — too busy with study)

Overall, it’s a huge improvement that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, and I’m very happy with it!

So… what’s next?

Contact Form

Unfortunately, I’ve decided to remove the rotation on my contact form. I’ve always known that it made the text not render properly in Safari, but I never got around to doing anything about it.

RotatedContactForm

Now, my contact form is just plain old straight. (But the super fun fun button is still there!)

I’ve also had a little spam problem. Originally, I just had a field hidden via CSS, that asked not to be filled in. If someone disobeyed the instruction and filled in the field, then they must have been a stupid spam bot. This worked at first, but not anymore.

To fix this, I simply swapped around the ‘name’ attributes, so spam bots will think the hidden field is actually the subject field, and be lured into filling it in. Let’s hope this will work!

Spam

SpamHam

Thank you Akismet for that pie chart. Why does my blog get so much spam?

Why You Should Restart Your Mac (and gain bonus hard drive space!)

Macs are great. They don’t crash too much, and you don’t have to restart them too often. However, it’s still good to shut down & restart them regularly.

Ram

After doing a bunch of work in Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign, I opened up my iStat Menus Memory panel, and found that my Mac was using 2.3GB of swap files! (I’ve seen it use even more than that sometimes). My 4GB of ram isn’t enough, so it had to save some things on my hard drive as well.

This can slow down your computer, and uses up hard drive space!

Even after quitting all the  programs I had open, the swap files just stuck around.

When I restart my computer (after writing this blog post), my Mac will clean out all it’s swap files, and I’ll gain a bonus 2.3GB of hard drive space! (which means a lot, when you’re the sort of person that just keep finding ways to use it all up)

When is Good?

When Is Good just saved heaps of our time organising a dinner with some friends.

The quick survey, where people select what dates their available on, narrowed the whole month into 1 day we’re all available!

whenIsGood

(In only a couple of hours — no hundreds of emails back and forth, ‘reply-all’ing everyone!)

McFarlane Prize 2009

No, I didn’t win… but I was in the top 50!

The McFarlane Prize is for Excellence in Australian Web Design. It’s judged based on accessibility, usability, the design, and the code behind it all. I submitted DouglasHeriot.com when it wasn’t even finished yet (it still isn’t, but it was even less-finished than it is now), and didn’t ever expect anything to come of it.

It was 6 months ago now when I got an email:

McFarlane-URGENT

They said they were going to publish a book of the top 50, and I had 2 days to send in a few things! I sent them everything they asked for, and then didn’t hear anything back for another 0.4712 years (~6 months!) I assumed it wasn’t happening, as it was originally supposed to be ready in a fortnight, in time for the announcement of the winner.

Today, I got another email, saying that I can now get my free copy of the book!

You can see a preview on the publisher’s website. (I’m on page 42-43)

McFarlane-Book-Preview

I can’t wait to see it!

You can also buy the book for AU$89.95.

An Error

Nothing more, nothing less… just an ‘Error’

Windows-Fail

Another reason I don’t use Windows. Actually, to be fair, Mac isn’t immune to random errors either (but usually a little less random)

Bonus points — How many times can you spot the Microsoft logo?

Too Many Posts

No, I’m not talking about my blog :)

I don’t really want to unsubscribe from Smashing Magazine, but I think I have to — I don’t have enough time to read most of it anyway.

Here’s an article that I came across that pretty much sums up my opinion on posting too much:

http://writetodone.com/2009/01/17/7-reasons-posting-less-frequently-can-increase-your-blogs-popularity/

9 Unread Items In related news, my RSS reader shows a record-breaking low in unread items, after pruning back my subscription list. That feels a lot more satisfying than seeing 200 or so. (Although it’s not as bad as someone I saw with tens of thousands of unread items…)

Extending Paths in Illustrator

This is one thing that always annoyed me after switching from Freehand to Illustrator. I just couldn’t work out how to extend a path — eg. you draw an open path, then want to come back and add some more on the end. In Freehand, you would just select the end point, then use the pen tool to keep drawing as usual, but in Illustrator this would just start a new path.

Method #1 — Add Anchor Points Tool

This is a pretty bad one. My first solution was to just use the Add Anchor Points Tool to add a bunch of points just before the end, and then drag them around to where I really wanted them to go! Not fun.

Method #2 — Join

My next idea was to just make a new path, then join the 2 together. It works, but you don’t get to see the bit in the middle until the end. This is especially annoying if you want to make it curvy.

Method #3 — The Pen Tool

This is the proper way, that I eventually found by accident, and then in the help files as well. It’s like what I was originally doing in Freehand, but slightly different. Instead of using the ‘Direct Selection Tool’ (white pointer) to select the end point, you use the regular Pen Tool to select the endpoint first, then you can keep drawing like usual!

Why didn’t I think of this earlier? Am I the only one that didn’t know this already?

15th October, 1582

The 15th of October in 1582 was a very special day. For fun, try typing it into iCal on your mac. (From the View menu select “Go To Date…”, and enter in 15/10/1582). If you’re in month view, you’ll find it’ll show you September, an no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to find October of 1582! If you go to week view however, you’ll find October, but something will be wrong…

Missing Week 1582There’s 10 days missing!

I can’t really explain it all, but there’s a pretty interesting article on the Panic Blog that does it pretty well.

New Blog Theme for 2009

Well yes, it’s actually 2010 now, but it was supposed to be 2009.

Blog Theme 2009It finally matches my website! It still needs a bit of work, refining the style of the sidebar, (and maybe even adding some animation to it, like my old theme).

So much stuff has happened in the last year since I wrote a post. Sometime soon (maybe) I’ll write something about it…

Update: Oops… I forgot to update the copyright notice to 2010. To fix that, I replaced it with some PHP code to always display the current year, so I never have to remember again! echo date('Y');

Wollongong NYE 2009

Here’s my last photo for the year decade! It’s the 9:30pm fireworks at Wollongong harbour, as seen from Bulli tops, like my other steel works photo (my camera can zoom in a long way!).

Wollongong NYE

You can download a larger version:
Wollongong NYE 2009 (3.8MB)

It’s a panorama made up from a couple of 15 second exposures. The RAW files were batch processed in Photoshop, then stitched in Autostitch.