You are currently browsing thearchives for December, 2008.

Movie Review: Valkyrie

Posted on Monday, December 29th, 2008 at 10:40 pm

After having watched several movies on the big screen, I am glad to say Valkyrie was a decent addition to the list. I went into the theater with minimal knowledge of what this film would be about, but I was quick to realize that it was a visual depiction of a Hilter assassination attempt - something you don't see too often.

Historically, it is known that there were roughly 40 attempts to take Hitler's life, unsuccessfully. This movie reinforces the fact that not all of Germany was on Hitler's side, which is good since most World War II movies express otherwise. Note: This is NOT an action film! Don't expect crazy battle scenes and explosions.

I have never seen a movie of this sort, but I can say that it was executed pretty decently. One event lead to another, so, boring moments were  seldom. This is movie is definitely for those who are curious about how it all went down, broken down into pieces.

Score: 8 out of 10

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Posted In: Film & TV, Reviews

Movie Review: Helvetica

Posted on Sunday, December 28th, 2008 at 9:10 pm

I finally managed to watch Helvetica today, over a year after its release. Being a designer who has a certain appreciation for typography, I should've seen it earlier. To put it simply, this film is a visual history lesson, showcasing where and how the it originated, and a plethora of designers who love and despise Helvetica.

I didn't quite know what to make of this film until it ended. At some points, you were lead to love the typeface, while other moments you were lead to put the boredom of Helvetica aside and experiment with other glorious expressive typefaces. Personally, I have often found myself using Helvetica throughout my designs simply because it looked very good, but I also most certainly use various other fonts as well.

One thing that this film will reveal to you is how often Helvetica is used everywhere and for everything. There are countless companies out there using some variation of the font as their logo, and signage systems that use it like no tomorrow. Funny thing is, you may have not even realized it.

There are excellent arguments from both the lovers and the haters of this font, so you will definitely have a lot to think about when you begin working on your next project. One problem with this film, is that it's not so exciting. After all, there are no explosions or amazing twists in the story line, so the average person may find it boring. There were times when I had to pause for a few minutes and continue afterwards to give my mind a stretch. Don't expect this to make you a better designer, haha.

Score: 6 out of 10

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Posted In: Design & Code, Film & TV

Creating a New Year’s Resolution List

Posted on Sunday, December 28th, 2008 at 12:01 pm

We are 3 days away from the year 2009, and we can only look back at all the things we've accomplished throughout the year, and smile. 2008 was the first year I made a resolution list, and it worked our quite well. I had about 35 items on my list and I managed to complete half of them. I would this is a pretty good amount, considering that some items were harder to accomplish.

Why a list? Lists are important because they serve as reminders to get things done. Now, a New Year's resolution list may not be any different from a regular list of things to do, but it is definitely more long term. Working on a list helps you prioritize important tasks - this way, you have an idea of what you will be up against throughout the new year.

Lists are meant to be changed. They say, "expect the unexpected." Everyone knows that throughout the year, things may happen that will require you to make some changes. Don't be turned off by this. Instead, plan fluidly so that changes to your "plan" can be made easily.

Tonight, I will start working on my New Year's Resolution list. There will be 2 columns on this list; primary items, and secondary items. Depending on who you are, something like "lose weight" will either be primary or secondary, while "get new furniture" may be more of a primary item. Question of the day: What are some of your resolutions?

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Posted In: Productivity

Movie Review: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Posted on Saturday, December 27th, 2008 at 4:08 am

If you're looking for a deep and engaging movie to watch on the weekend, this is it. As the title of the film states, "curious" is definitely a primary feeling that swept me throughout the showing.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. If you have seen the trailer, you have a pretty good idea of what the film is about, but the execution of it all is astounding! I have not read the short story, but I have a feeling that this movie is just as good as the story itself.

The acting is wonderful, the storyline and the level of detail althoughout the movie is something to be desired by other movies. Having a run time just a few minutes short of 3 hours might be annoying for people who need to go often, but a couple of minutes away from the screen won't do you any harm.

This movie had me wondering, hoping, and thinking every minute of it. The concept of this film isn't something you see too often (in this form, at least), but the fact that it is based on a work of written fiction may have something to do with it. I highly recommend this film.

Score: 9 out of 10

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Posted In: Film & TV, Reviews

Design Tip of the Day 01: Visit the book store!

Posted on Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 at 2:36 am

If you are an aspiring designer of any kind, you should know that a book store is one of the most valuable sources of inspiration, ideas, and knowledge. Of course, depending on your location, it may be hard to come by a shop with a good collection of design publications.

I pay a visit to my local Barnes & Noble store every week, spending a minimum of 1 hour on reading, learning, and broadening my creative outlook. There are magazines for Web Designers and Developers, Advanced Photoshop Users, and Photographers, all of which contain tutorials, interviews, tips, and so forth.

One may think "why visit a book store when I can browse the entire internet for creative inspiration?" Well, to put it simply, there is a lot of garbage out there on the internet. When you're reading trusted publications that have been in the business for years, you're more likely to gain valuable knowledge.

Helpful links: (continue reading...)

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Posted In: Design & Code, Productivity, Tips & Tutorials

Macworld 2009 Wishlist, without Steve Jobs!

Posted on Friday, December 19th, 2008 at 7:52 am

By now, most of you have probably heard about the rumors of Steve Jobs preparing his retirement. Although we may never know whether or not this is true, it is clearly evident that changes are occuring.

So many famous moments have been recorded into the history books at these events throughout the years, primarily the iPhone. I wonder if Apple is going to do something HUGE for their last and final Macworld appearance, or if it will be a quiet departure.

Continue after the jump for the list:

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Posted In: In the News, Technology

Social Tip of the Day: Agree with the drunk!

Posted on Thursday, December 18th, 2008 at 4:26 am

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you are dealing with a high or drunk person, keep one thing in mind: Agree to whatever he says, and try to walk away from the situation!

The last thing you want is getting into some kind of trouble by upsetting the irrational man, who can possibily be a danger to you, others, and himself. On the other note, try to refrain from being that person people may want to avoid as well. I don't believe there's any excuse to hurt your body in such way to experience temporary pleasure (if that's what you want to call it).

Question: Have you ever been in a dangerous/uncomfortable situation involving an intoxicated person?

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Posted In: In the News

Movie Review: The Day the Earth Stood Still

Posted on Saturday, December 13th, 2008 at 1:28 pm

The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)I cannot say I enjoyed this movie as much as I hoped. Usually, I like movies that people tend to not favor, but I felt that barely any effort was put into the making of this film.

For a good portion of the beginning, you don't really know what's going on, and it's all mostly mystery. The lack of a story line made it difficult for me to stay interested. In other words, it got boring. The message I believe this film wanted to deliver was good, but it wasn't carried out successfully. This message was "we are slowly bringing this planet to an end - if we don't change our ways, the planet will change for us in a way we won't like."

There was an abundant amount of special effects to go along with the cliche choreography, which wasn't that great. After having watched movies like Iron Man, Transformers, and War of the Worlds, it just feels it was subpar in terms of the story, and special effects. I honestly did not know what to make of the acting, some moments were good, most were...ehh. I haven't seen the original 1951 version, but I am sure it will be interesting once I do, haha.

Score: 3 out of 10

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Posted In: Film & TV, Reviews

As economy struggles, companies turning to more efficient technologies

Posted on Wednesday, December 10th, 2008 at 7:38 am

When companies use efficient technology to operate their business, less people are needed to get the job done. Yes, I am referring to the recent technical specialist layoffs from Netflix due to the simplicity of Microsoft's Silverlight video player. Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to easy to use technology, but what's next?

Good design, maybe? I think so. I firmly believe that good design is a major part of what makes something a pleasure to use. Whether it's software or some kind of a device, companies will invest in producing better products to reduce support funding. Now, this isn't exactly the best thing for the job market as it will reduce the amount of jobs for support specialists, but competition will surely be on the rise.

It's too early to determine the exact direction companies will take, but it would be great to see an increase in the design & development departments, working to create better products. We will hopefully see a rise in the quality of products now that mass production does not work as well as it did yesterday. Things will eventually start to pick up again when confidence levels stabilize.

All I can say to the people running these businesses is this: Create, innovate, care, and pay attention!

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Posted In: General Stuff, In the News, Technology

Good design causes interest in customers

Posted on Tuesday, December 9th, 2008 at 3:42 pm

Starbucks Gold CardI recently read an article over at discussing how good design provokes customer interest. It stated the idea that customers generally buy things because of the essence, and whether or not it will cause interest in you from others. This idea was sparked by his recent purchase of the Starbucks Gold card simply because it looked good. Here's a quote from the article:

"A want can be things from cars, computers, clothes, or shoes. But why do we buy these things? First off, we ask ourselves, “are we going to enjoy this?” Then secondly, we ask ourselves subconsciously if it will cause the kind of interest we are seeking from other people."

After reading the article (fairly quick read), here's what I had to say: (continue reading...)

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Posted In: Design & Code, General Stuff