Holiday Gift Guide to Men (Part One)

I you are struggling for ideas of what to give a guy for the holidays, have no fear, I have just the solution for you. Introducing my Holiday Gift Guide to Men. While I can’t guarantee a gift will be great for all men, I can at least give you suggestions that will aid your search. Most gifts are reasonably priced and are on my list or are items I currently own. Happy shopping and let the fun begin. Over the next few days and weeks, I will place one or more items in a post for ideas. Hope these help!


Syma S107Syma S107 RF Helicopter

This was a great present to myself earlier this year that is fun for almost the whole family! I do not recommend this for children under 6 or with anyone that may have a pet that is a bit scared of noise and things that hover, but still lots of indoor fun!

Price: $30

Scosche reVIVE II Dual USB Car Charger for iPad

On the road with your iPad and you have no way to charge it other than the wall socket? Now you can plug in and charge your you iPad, iPhone or any other device that uses USB to charge and you can truly be mobile! All you need is your cord and this and you are all set. One great feature is that you can charge two devices at one time!

Price: $15

Gerber Paraframe II Camping Knife

Have a camper or outdoors-man in your life? This knife is strong and sturdy and yet compact enough for a backpack. The serrated blade also aids in cutting . . . err. sawing through some of the tougher materials like climbing rope and wood. Please note this is not safe at the airport and will most likely get you some unpleasant looks and meetings with people that have little humor in their jobs.

Price: $25


Model Airport that Amazes

I found this video online about a replica model of Hamburg, Germany’s airport. This display is part of the Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg display which features the world’s longest model railroad setup, a cruise ship port, space shuttle launch and this model airport just to name a few things. The airport features 15,000 figures, 6,000 trees, 4,500 cars, 40,000 miniature LED lights and up to 45 planes that taxi to and from runways after takeoff and landing which uses a pole system under the runways to simulate the action of flight. Should I ever get the chance to travel to Europe and in particular, Hamburg, Germany, this will be on my list of stops to make.

Navigate Photoshop from your iOS Device

Today I downloaded the Adobe Nav app for my Apple iPad and was like a little boy in a candy store once again. Even though my coworker said that this app must have been designed by a guy due to its resemblance to a remote control, it has already proven useful for me on several occasions.

As a designer that works in Adobe Photoshop constantly, I am always looking for faster and more convenient ways to improve my workflow. This app allows me to customize and then use my most often used tools from the toolbar, switch viewing modes and look through, as well as activate different documents that are in the background. Yes, one can argue that a true Photoshop pro should know all the shortcuts, but the clear and colorful interface becomes your shortcuts. It is like having a second; or in my case third monitor that is a touch screen. The Adobe Nav app is $1.99 which is a fair price, but I feel it should just come as free since you need to have bought Photoshop CS 5 or newer which is already a chunk of change in itself. Aside from all the customization, the app program works using WiFi which is connected to your version 12.0.4 or newer Photoshop.

Adobe Nav app for Photoshop and iOS devices

My wish for this app would be that it allows you to use it for the other Adobe applications such as Illustrator and InDesign where once again, a toolbar is used very regularly as part of the design process. It seems like a natural idea to me, but who am I but a user?

Adobe also came out with several other mobile apps that sync with Photoshop in one way or another. These apps are Adobe Eazel and Adobe Color Lava. Eazel allows you to paint on the iPad and then once finished, send it to Photoshop for more work, while the Color Lava is a color mixing tool that integrates into Photoshop’s color pallets. It also allows you to mix colors much like a painter does and then save your colors in groups like Adobe Kuler does on the desktop. Once again, Adobe charges for these tools as well, which I again think should be free as they almost need to interface with Photoshop to be useful. My one wish is that they would come out with an Adobe Bridge file browser for the iPad.

Get more information on Adobe Nav here.

Mobile apps overview information here

the PEN story

Found this great viral video about the new micro four thirds Olympus PEN E-P1 DSLR on YouTube today. It was done all in stop motion style animation using the old and new PEN. Very creative and fun. What I love most is how it uses the photos as a time machine taking you back to when the original PEN camera was out (back in the black and white film days). Enjoy!

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more about “the PEN story“, posted with vodpod

adobe updates

Today Adobe released updates to their Lightroom product (2.4) and Adobe Camera Raw (5.4). This included camera raw support for the Canon T1i (500D). This is usually a quarterly update that is made to support new hardware that has been released. Apple updated their camera raw support about two weeks ago for the same camera as well as some others. This finally means I will be able to shoot raw without worries.

Updates are available here.


Cars have become predictable lately. Whether boxy or sporty, most car designs are the same under the hood with some differences on the outside to give it a different look from the next. BMW has a concept car that is like no other. The skin is fabric, and can change when the conditions require it to. To me, it almost takes on the look of a living being. The good news is no dents or scratches, but I would hate for the skin to get a run in it. Any way you look at it, the GINA is a work of art and a thing of beauty.

share your drobo on the network!

A few posts ago I shared with you the latest storage technology called Drobo that acts like a Raid 5 drive array without the set-up hassle. Data Robotics, Inc. the makers of Drobo have introduced an add-on to Drobo, DroboShare.

DroboShare is an interface in-between the Drobo and your network, making your Drobo a Networked Attached Storage Device (NAS). Yes you could rig the Drobo on a Windows and or MAC and share it via software, but if you turned off the machine that the Drobo was attached to you lost your connection. DroboShare attaches to your router and offers a fast Gigabit connection to all of your files!

Take a look at the new DroboShare at It is $199 ($US) not including the Drobo unit which goes for $499 ($US) sans the SATA drives.


Replicating color for printing is always a hassle in graphic design. Most design schools these days preach the wonders of Pantone, and how it is predictable on press. The reality is that unless you have a budget for 5 or more colors, Pantone is not always the best solution for color. In comes the TRUMATCH color matching system. TRUMATCH? you say… “never heard of it.” or “Yeah, I saw that name in the color swatch options of [place your favorite design program here.]

So what is TRUMATCH? It is 4-color process based on hue, saturation and brightness turned into a 3-dimensional space. Sure all color is based off of these three attributes, but TRUMATCH makes a usable and reproducible swatch system out of it. All colors are reproducible to 1% of the target color tint. This makes press-check all that much less problematic and your pieces all that much more color accurate. This is unlike Pantone’s Solid-to-Process which is not always close to the Pantone original.

TRUMATCH has given me more accuracy in the past few months than I ever thought I would have with color. It is not an answer to custom colors that Pantone can handle, but it is a great tool to start using in your color arsenal. Give it a try. Swatch books are $85 ($US) for Coated or Uncoated, and will provide you some color freedom in return!

For more information visit

RIAA says Happy New Year, now pay us!

Here is a prediction for the new year. The RIAA is going to sue more people.

This morning, I read an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about how the RIAA wants the courts to interpret the idea that making digital music files from CDs you own illegal. We all know distributing that music to others through dubbed CDs and file sharing is illegal; but did you know that the RIAA wants people like myself to pay them for making a digital copy of CDs I own (so that I may use them with MY iPod and Roku Labs Soundbridge). I still have all of the CDs in plastic bins in my basement, but in the eyes of the RIAA, I am breaking the copyright of the CDs in my basement.

Let’s face it. File sharing of copy-written work is illegal, and should not be condoned. If you do it, stop, IT IS STEALING! Instead, buy DRM Free music from iTunes, and Wal-Mart (still does not work on a MAC!). In turn, I ask the RIAA to let the majority of honest consumers who payed for thier music cds to be able to digitize them so that they may use them the way they want to for themselves. CD Players will soon be dinosaurs, like the record players and 8-track tapes of yesteryears. I understand technology has opened up new opportunities for pirating music. But if you make the music, and even movies DRM free and useable over multiple platforms, people may, I venture to say, discontinue stealing music and movies. Unfortunately, the RIAA is only trying to make a new revenue model out of old technology instead of embracing the new technology and using that as a new form of revenue.

Sad to say, but my music purchases and listening have gone way down since it became harder to listen to what I want, how I want to. That is why I listen to more podcasts and only look for DRM Free music now when shopping, because those content producers are embracing the technology. Maybe the RIAA will see the light, but somehow I doubt it!

drobo: droolworthy raid alternative

drobo drive enclosureData on a hard drive is a designers life blood. Loosing time because a drive has died and the data went with it is not an option. Even for those of us that have hundreds to thousands of dollars invested in music downloads and thousands of photos from out digital cameras, loosing that special picture because a drive died is heart-wrenching. Enter into your life: Drobo, “The world’s first storage robot.”

Let’s face it, most if all of us are not IT specialists. Most of us just want data storage solutions that are plug and play. US/Firewire hard drives are great and have enabled us to store more and more, but data redundancy is not achieved by just plugging in a new hard drive. Drobo solves that problem by automating the data redundancy with Raid 5 like design, which is very common in larger corporations. The beauty of Drobo unlike Raid 5 is that it is truly a set-it and forget-it solution. Like a Raid 5, if one drive fails, replace it and Drobo will regenerate the data that was on the lost drive!

drobolator.pngDrobo hooks-up to your MAC or PC with USB 2.0, and will take up-to 4 SATA I or II drives of any size. There is Raid Administration and it comes with a utility for monitoring your Drobo. You can use the Drobolator utility on the website to see what storage capacities you get with different drive sizes.

Remember, Drobo is just one part of your storage solution. It is important to also make multiple back-up’s of your information and store it off-site whenever possible.

Drobo costs $499 and comes with a power cord, USB 2.0 cord and the software utility. No drives are included! With the purchase of some SATA drives the total cost of the unit is at least $600-700, which is a bit pricey for the average consumer. In hopes of competition helping bring the prices down, I will wait-off on purchasing one for personal use, but for a business, this is a great scalable design.

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