My Unique iPhone Update Experience

A bit of back-story is required for my update experience was unique. And I’ll tell you now that it’s not all that exciting. However – you will definitely appreciate it if you, like me, have your iPhone away from the home office computer that you’ve got it synced with.

I have been rocking my PowerBook G4 for almost 3 years now, but fianally upgraded to a Quad Core Mac Pro about two months ago. Since then, the Mac Pro has (obviously) been my main machine.

Having two macs necessitated a subscription to .Mac, which in turn made my .Mac username the Chief Potentate of all my accounts with Apple – including iTunes. And I haven’t bought a song of iTunes using my PowerBook since I got the Mac Pro and changed everything over to my .Mac account.

On Thursday, Apple released the next big software, firmware and feature update for iPhone. However, I am currently out of town toting around my PowerBook which is not the computer I used to setup, activate and sync my iPhone with.

Also, many of the songs and videos on my iPhone are not on my PowerBook and it would be a shame to sync, and lose them for the weekend. However, I decided to go for it anyway and see what would happen.

I connected my iPhone to my PowerBook and opened iTunes. I have automatic sync turned off so nothing would start without my permission. Without manually syncing the iPhone I simply clicked on “Software Update”.

The new update – 1.1.1 – downloaded and installed itself seamlessly without ever syncing my songs, videos, photos, etc…

Now that I had access to the iTunew Wi-Fi Music Store I tried to buy a song, however my iPhone was set-up with my old iTunes username with no way to change it from iPhone’s settings.

Realizing that I probably still had that username logged in on my PowerBook I logged out and re-logged-in with my new username. Then, I only had to plug in my iPhone, let iTunes see it, eject it and wala. The username was updated on my iPhone.

I never had to sync, or authenticate, or anything. Just plug it it and let iTunes do the rest. And that, my friends, is good news for anyone who doesn’t like to wait for things.

My Unique iPhone Update Experience

Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations

Usually when Christmas is over, there is always that one gift that was the highlight. Last year, for me that gift was The 17th edition of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations.

For those unfamiliar with John Bartlett, he was a bookseller from Cambrige and in 1855 he self-published A Book of Familiar Quotations.

I use this thick, coffee-table-worthy book all the time. Most often for perusing through it and spouting our random quotes to entertain when company is visiting. But it is also quite handy for writing speeches, lectures and blog posts.

Some of my favorites to quote include Ernest Hemingway, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Licoln and Robert Louis Stevenson.

I could not tell you what my favorite quotes are because they always seems to change based upon my mood. However, I will share with you two quotes from Benjamin Franklin. I am using these in my notes for the seminar I am teaching later on today about life vision, focus and work-ethic.

Human felicity is produced not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day.


When men are employed, they are best contented; for on the days they worked they were good-natured and cheerful, and, with the consciousness of having done a good day’s work, they spent the evening jollily; but on our idle days the were mutinous and quarrelsome.

Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations

Mint: Year Two in Review

Mint: Year Two in Review

Shaun Inman’s smash hit product, Mint, is two years old and has nearly 8,000 users.

I thought Rob Goodlatte summed it up perfectly in the comments –

It’s one thing to have a lot of customers, but it’s an amazing accomplishment to have so many customers who are rabid fans of the product — like everyone I know who uses Mint.

I don’t know about you, but I love seeing “” in my referrers list. It’s like a secret handshake.

Mint: Year Two in Review

iPhone, 4GB – They’re still available

I thought for sure they would be sold out by now. But no. You can still buy a 4GB iPhone for $299.

UPDATE: Sold out.

Curious if the price drop actually slowed sales of the 4GB model. People that were budgeting $499 for a new 4GB iPhone (or $399 for a refurbbed) can now get a new 8GB model for $399, and it looks like they are. (Or else Apple had boatloads of the 4GB model and it’s taking a while to unload them.)

iPhone, 4GB – They’re still available

The Sort of Impact I Want to Make Through Design

If you are like me – and I suppose that you are or else you must find this website quite humdrum – then you probably have the desire for great impact.

And when I say great, I mean lots of people. So, in other words: You and I want to impact lots and lots of people. Right? Right.

This afternoon I was hanging out with our marketing team’s creative director. He and I were in his basement creating a physical mock-up of a press pack for my ministry. Somewhere during our two hours of small talk he mentioned an instance yesterday where a “strange bloke” (he’s from England) … (the creative director, not the bloke) came up to him (the creative director) and said, “You created the logo?! Wow! It’s amazing. It’s incredible. You’re awesome.”

(The bloke may have been from the south.)

As we both laughed about how odd that guy was there was this mutual understanding that he didn’t care who knew he had designed the ministry’s logo. And it was somewhere between the Exacto knife and the double sided tape that I realized I had crossed a line as a designer.

A line where numbers fade and depth matters. My ambitions as a designer have now changed, and I want a different kind of impact.

To me, designing something which thousands or millions may see is not nearly as great of a challenge and honor as designing something that one person will be deeply impacted by.

Oddly enough there is one piece of material that comes immediately to mind when I think of impact through design.

What’s odd isn’t that only one item comes to mind, it’s that the item is a piece of junk mail. I usually shred about 4 credit card offers a day so this piece came in the mail like a reuben sandwich after 8 years of tuna melts.

The thought, and energy (and money) that went into this particular piece of junk mail is astounding. It’s one of only two pieces of junk mail I have ever kept. (How many pieces of junk mail have you kept? Probably zero.)

It is an ad from Domtar advertising their Cougar paper.

Cougar Paper

Cougar Paper

Cougar Paper

With this folder, Domtar is stressing the importance of brand/identity. If you print on their paper your stuff will be sweet. They’ve included 6 examples of companies that printed their identity on the Cougar line of paper.

Cougar Paper

What sticks out to me even more than the layout of this 6 panel folder is the company featured in the 3rd panel from the right: OrangeSeed Design.

The OrangeSeed Panel

What is so impactful about OrangeSeed’s printed identity is the creativity and thought they put into each item. Their stationary is fun, professional and makes the client trust their ability to pull off great work. But that’s not all.

I have to admit that one of the most powerful elements to OrangeSeed’s identity is the paper it’s printed on.

A design brief pocket folder, letterhead, 3 postcards and a business card.

The pocket folder has a spot for letters, samples, proposals, and more; as well as plenty of white space for notes. It’s well thought out and is printed on 130 lb. paper. The letterhead is printed on 80 lb.

Upclose of the Postcards

They have also designed printed custom postcards to mail to clients. These also are printed on 130 lb. paper.

Very few words are needed to convey importance and even reverence to the recipient.

Postcards and business card

Their business card is also printed on 130 lb. card stock.

It is amazing to me a company’s printed identity can make such an impact.

I find that I would much rather design a great piece of work that really touches even just a small handful of people – something that inspires them to greatness and beauty – much more so than being able to point out to all my friends that – “Hey! I made that Budweiser Bill Board.”

The Sort of Impact I Want to Make Through Design

The Dan Pitts Interview

Dan Pitts – like many of us – works a 9 to 5 and does freelance on the side. He’s a great guy and does some equally great work. His freelance gig flys under the name of e210 Design.

One thing I love about Dan is his passion towards design. On his bio he says, “Design is more than making something that looks great or sells, it’s a way to encourage and serve the client.”

There are many designers out there whom are creating with no purpose or passion behind their work. Dan on the other hand is really seeking to enhance his own art, and bring something quality and worthwhile to the design community.

I had the chance to ask him some questions about the work he does and (of course) the Mac he does it on. Enjoy.

  • SHAWN BLANC: Hey Dan. Tell me about what you do that your bio page doesn’t say.
  • DANN PITTS: Currently I’m working a full time job that I have had for 9 years now. At my 9-5 we focus on catalogs and gift books with some book covers. After my first son was born I found that my creativity (and my wallet) needed a boost so I went out to find some different kinds of work. So for the past four years I’ve built up a network of clients and other designers and have gotten to the point where I have steady work coming in. I am limited to how much and what kind of work I can do since I usually have to work at night. I have chosen to focus on book cover and web design. I’ve found that variety really brings a joy to designing and a boost to creativity.
  • SHAWN: When you first stepped into freelance design work on the side what was the biggest challenge you faced?
  • DAN: The quick answer is finding work. The details of that answer is that I had to set up a website portfolio that I could point people to. Problem was I didn’t have much work (and no book covers) to post. At the time I didn’t put anything from my 9-5 on there and all I had were a couple logo’s I had done for friends and a website I had worked on for our church. So I had to create my website (which has been the hardest client I’ve worked for) and then create these covers that were going to show what I could do. I kept running into a wall where I felt they just weren’t good enough or could be improved but eventually I just had to get the site posted and some covers up to start the process. Looking back they were pretty weak but you have to start somewhere. Thankfully for me the first batch of emails I sent out looking for work produced a client I really enjoy working for and they have sent me many projects so now I can post actual work.
  • SHAWN: Why Book Covers?
  • DAN: First, I was already doing it at my 9-5 job so I had some experience in it. Second, from a business standpoint it’s really a great niche, if you can get in with a publisher and they like your stuff they will probably give you repeat work. Most important for me is that it’s a single piece of art and it’s goal is to catch your attention and lead you into the book. So each book is a new challenge with new solutions and is inspired by the work someone else has done so it kind of has that team aspect to it. I also like the finality of being able to see a project that is printed (as opposed to the web work I do).
  • SHAWN: Why Web Design?
  • DAN: Well web design is obviously the future, if the future isn’t here already. The ability to communicate information on the web is so amazing, I wonder if we don’t take it for granted already (and I’m still amazed when I run across companies that don’t have a site or they have a bad one and it’s not a priority for them). It’s relatively inexpensive and can be so current you can do things you could never do with print; podcasts, video podcasts, pdf documents you can download, it’s all so amazing.Then to think that the only thing that changes between the fortune 500 company and a church website or a small business of 4 employees is the content, that makes the design that much more important. I’m comparing it to print where a major company might print something out on a huge press run with high weight, glossy paper, special inks, embossed and a church is making black and white copies in there office. Not with the web, each site is viewed on the same computer with the same browser.
  • SHAWN: If web design is the future, what do you think that will mean for print?
  • DAN: Well there are people with a lot more experience and knowledge that I would look to for that answer but here’s my take.I’ve seen it effect some areas of print already. My 9-5 job, one of their main clients is a catalog company and the web has effected their business dramatically. I don’t know if print will ever go away but I think it will serve more and more as a way to lead people to websites. Print can never keep up with the web when it comes to current content, but there is something to be said for the ability to hand someone a business card rather than sending an email.

    For books, I have a hard time imagining the day when a 200-400 page book is sold in an electronic format and tens of thousands of people buy it. I know some of the reference books I have worked on come with a cd that has the information in pdf format also but that is an extra aid, not the main product. Even writing this though I have that feeling that if I see this in 15 years I will look back and laugh.

    Who knows, I guess that’s why I try and have my feet in both.

  • SHAWN: That’s a great answer. I think the concept of using print to point to web is excellent. This allows for more focus on design with printed material, allowing the content to be primarily web-based.Changing topics a little bit. Let’s talk about your workflow. For starters what does your Mac setup consist of?
  • DAN: Right now I’m nearing the end of a good run with my G4 20 inch imac, 160gb hard drive with 1gig memory. I’m in need of upgrading the programs and computer but here’s a screenshot of what I’m using now.
  • A Screenshot of Dan Pitts' Workstation.
  • SHAWN: What other Apple gear have you used?
  • DAN: I remember my dad getting one of the first macintosh computers for christmas when I was younger. In high school that’s all I used and in college being a fine arts major I didn’t have to use the computer a whole lot so I always found the mac lab, just happened to pick the right profession I guess.I started freelancing on the first generation imac, went to a G3 powerbook with a seperate monitor (the 21 inch apple crt’s which weighed about 200 pounds). Then got a hand me down G4 titanium powerbook from my dad before the imac. The imac has been with me the longest.
  • SHAWN: I have always loved the titanium PowerBooks. I remember when they first came out. That was actually my first time in an Apple store. They will always be a classic to me.So when you do a freelance project for print, like a book cover, what does your workflow look like?
  • DAN: Right now it’s usually make client calls on my way home from work. Then after being a father and husband for a while I start working around 9 or 10.I’ll start by sketching out stuff on paper and trying to ask, what problem am I trying to solve. Then I’ll look at websites or books, try to gather information, scans or images I might want to use, nice fonts, anything. Then if possible I like to let that kind of soak in and have a direction before I start working on the computer. Usually that direction will then move into other ideas but I found that if I don’t have a place to start and focus I can go anywhere and waste a lot of time on ideas that don’t work.

    An important part of my workflow seems to be the time that elapses between sending the first round out and then getting the corrections back. I like having that time to detach from the project and come back with fresh eyes, and usually the art director will narrow it down to what comp they want to work on. I have to refine and keep polishing it. I hope time and experience will change that a bit and I can provide great stuff first round, but I have a ways to go still.

  • SHAWN: So if you work a 9-5, and do freelance work starting around 9 or 10, how much sleep do you normally get?
  • DAN: Sleep? Usually if work is moderately busy I’ll get 5 hours a night. If it’s really busy maybe around 4. I’m not one of those guys that can pull an all nighter (not even when I was in college).At a certain point my eyes just stop working and I have found that I’m not really productive anyways. No matter how much Mountain Dew I drink. I could handle it better when we just had our son but now I have twin girls (a year and a half old) and it’s been much harder. Every now and then I need to go to bed at 10:30.
  • SHAWN: I bet that’s something we can all relate to.
The Dan Pitts Interview

Why I have an un-activated iPhone sitting on my desk

My un-activated iPHone just hanging out.

On June 29th, I – like thousands of others – went to the Apple store. I didn’t wait in line though because I knew I wouldn’t be buying the highly anticipated gadget of the year. Since the Apple store was open until Midnight that day, a friend and I went down later after the crowd was gone.

After a couple minutes hands on with the display phone I was blown away. Even though I walked out of the store holding two 8GB models I didn’t buy one for myself. Those two phones flopped on eBay, and I took them back a week later.

Why I didn’t buy an iPhone on June 29th

  1. I have never bought a first generation product before. Doesn’t matter if it’s a car, phone, computer, etc. The first gens are always twice as buggy as the second. I would rather be a late adopter and a headache-free, long-term enjoyer. (Is enjoyer even a word?)

  2. On June 29th I still had 84 days left with my current (non-AT&T) service provider. The $599 iPhone price tag coupled with a $175 cancelation fee was too much.

However … by September 4th I had overcome both obstacles mentioned above.

After a conversation with Sean I realized that all the quirks and issues are software related – not hardware. Thus my main concerns about the first generation iPhone were relieved.

Secondly, I was able to pick up a few side jobs that would pay me enough to get a 4GB refurbished phone. (A note to married guys: Never buy an expensive gadget without your wife’s concent. If you do she’ll be mad instead of jealous. Thanks to the side jobs, my wife happily let me budget money for an iPhone.)

So there I was on September 4th – sitting in front of my monitor looking at the Apple Store’s refurbished iPhone page trying to make decision.

If I bought a refurbished 4GB iPhone then, I was sure to get one. What I wasn’t sure about was how things would look in 24 hours.

The next day Apple was going to make an announcement. I was afraid Steve would bust out the 2nd generation iPhone and then hide all the 1st gens and keep the same price tag, thus forcing me to continue using my Samsung hunk of junk until the 2nd Generation iPhone showed up on the refurbished page.

After mulling it over a bit I decided to wait and see what would happen at the press conference the next morning.

September 5th was my June 29th

Conveniently I was at home during the keynote furiously refreshing Engaget just like the rest of you.

As soon Steve made the price drop announcement I was out the door and on my way down town. I walked in and bought a brand new 8GB model.

Why I have an un-activated iPhone sitting on my desk

I still have one more week before I can freely port my current number to AT&T. And yes, I could run the Jailbreak hack to mock-activate my iPhone, (and believe me, I thought about it) but that’s not the way it was intended to be set up.

My iPhone is un-tampered-with for the same reason I don’t read articles in NetNewsWire. And the same reason I drink pop out of the can and am always the best dressed at weddings:

I want the full experience. Nothing less.

Why I have an un-activated iPhone sitting on my desk

Jason Kottke and his 68 cents

Jason Kottke and his 68 cents

Meg shrugs and says, “you should post that to your blog.”

I get that comment all the time from friends, family, and sometimes even people I don’t know.

For some reason it bugs me just a little bit. Are they suggesting that I blog something because they want to read about it later, because they think it would be interesting to the general public, or because they wish they had their own blog, but they don’t and so they are trying to live through mine?

Also, have you ever noticed that it’s a little awkward when that comment is made in the presence of folks that don’t know about your blog? “Oh, you have a blog? That’s cool. What is it?”

Jason Kottke and his 68 cents

Art is Worthless Without Admirers

Art is Worthless Without Admirers

Cameron Hunt –

I hate Internet Explorer with a burning passion just as much the next web designer, but I think discriminating users based on browser choice is downright rude. Who am I to question them? They’re spending irreplaceable time viewing my art, accommodating users should be my first priority.

I know some guys that just don’t have the time to tweak their site for every version of IE, and others that don’t even have a reason to.

So although Cameron makes a great point I think there is an even deeper issue he is alluding to: Humility.

Acting like a high and lofty blogger, designer, whatever will not get you very far even if you are talented. It is vital to have an attitude of esteeming others. Especially within the design community where we are in need of one another for inspiration and motivation.

Art is Worthless Without Admirers