Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bieber is my use-case

After bringing up Justin Bieber about 30 times in a single meeting, I decided to make this tshirt for fun.

YouTube certainly is a very, very "Special" place to be a designer. :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Your followers are people too.

I have a high tolerance for information. 

I receive, on average, hundreds (if not thousands) of emails each work day. I respond to probably ~100. I read the tweets of over 200 people. I read the Buzz updates of ~150 of my co workers (I don't use Buzz form my personal account, more on that later). Every day, I consume hundreds of Facebook status updates, Reader items, news articles, IMs ... well, you get the idea.

Working on Google Reader for 3 years really sharpened my consumption skills and made me seek out the most efficient interfaces, or better ways of consuming applications online that have sub-par consumption interfaces.

I consume so much information on a daily basis, I've become an expert sifter. If some bit of information doesn't interest me, I skim it and move on. No emotional response whatsoever.

I'm capable of sifting, sorting and attending or ignoring nearly every type of information in nearly every interface except one.

Twitter status updates.

I'm trying to figure out why I get so worked up when I see updates that I can't stand, but can't un-follow and can't un-see. I get really worked up about certain types of tweeters and I somehow can't bring myself to un-follow. Many times, because it could potentially cause a meatspace conflict if it's discovered by the other party.

Enter Brizzly's mute feature (thank the dear lord).

I don't know what my deal is this week, but I've muted 6 people in the last 6 days. Seeing these status updates actually impacts the quality of my life, and for some reason I cannot skim them with the unemotional robot precision that I'm used to with other information types (one day I "read" nearly 6,000 reader items).

I've identified the following tweeting-types that I've decided I no longer have tolerance for (If your twitter stream contains more than 15% of any of these types, you've been muted). Don't get me wrong, I've been known to violate each one of these every now and then, but my mute criteria is any one of the following types as an overwhelming majority of a single stream.

"Sensitive Introspection"
Artificially saccharine, introspective, meandering thoughts about the sky or the clouds, or a plastic bag floating on the wind. This is what journals are for, people. Write it down and keep it to yourself. It's called "INtrospection" for a reason.

"Trolling for attention"
"WOAH I'M WORKING ON SOMETHING SUPER SECRET THAT WILL MAKE YOU WET YOUR PANTS AND OMGWTF BBQ DON'T YOU WISH YOU WERE ME HOLY SHIT!" No, I'm sorry... No one liked it in grade school when someone said "I know something really important, but I can't tell you." Get a grip.

"Ultimate banality" 
I barely manage SMS to my boyfriend (whom I live with) that I'm on my way home. I DEFINITELY don't care that you are on your way home, or you are still at work at 10pm, or that you just ate some hummus. Please find a way to jazz it up, or just flat out make something up. Otherwise, you might find this page useful.

"24 hour complaint machine" 
There are some people I know who are just lovely to be around and have a drink with, but their Twitter presence makes me want to stab my own eyes out. Really? Is everything in your life shit? Or you just want to make my life shit too? I don't mind a little complaining in a twitter stream, but if every single tweet is a complaint it's super annoying. Your tweets are stressing me out and shortening my life. Give it a rest.

"Welcome to my corporate cult"
The culty work tweets are just creepy. It's OK to like your job. It's OK to love your job. But tweeting creepy and intimate things about how amazing your office is, or the work is, or your coworkers are constantly and how life changing it is, and how everyone should be like you and where you are now ... it's not awesome. Fondle your corporate schwag in the privacy of your own home.

"Travel Rants"
This is the WORST when people are going on vacation to some tropical island, and just non-stop BITCHING about delays, middle seats, no airplane wi-fi, etc. BY THE WAY: when you get to your destination, you'll be on a tropical island with fish tacos and margaritas and I'll be at my desk moving pixels around a screen. A video dedicated to everyone in this group.

"Workout/Running announcements" 
Did you just get back from a 37 mile run? A triathlon, you say? Oh, I was TOTALLY wondering how your new running shoes were working out. Phew, thank god that you made it on time to yoga, I was worried for a minute. Wait.... NO ONE CARES.

So there you go. I guess this is only relevant if you care who is consuming your stream. But I imagine most people's lives on the receiving end of these tweets would be much improved with a little less of the above.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thinking of Getting a Puppy? Stuff to get BEFORE day 1.

A colleague of mine is bringing her beautiful new Golden retriever puppy home in a month's time. I've been thinking about that, after being with Emmie Lou for 3 months now. I thought, what would I have wanted to know beforehand? What would I have purchased in advance?

So I put my thoughts together in a long email, then thought I should add it here. So here is is, my trial & error (and chewed shoes, and destroyed carpets) are your gain...

The following is all the stuff I wish I had, or needed to know about pre-puppy for various reasons. Not sure why I'm thinking about this so much this morning (probably cause the Emmie is in her terrible twos), but anyhow here's what I've found incredibly useful (after tons of trial and error). 

Also, all of this stuff is cheaper (some by half as much) on amazon than it is in the pet store. If you order this all in advance, you'll save probably 30% or more. It can add up. 


We made the mistake of getting a normal carpet cleaner, but she'd keep peeing on the same spot. Turns out, you need an enzymatic cleaner like this one to make sure the odors in poop and pee don't stick around after you clean the spot. We use this on accidents on carpet as well as the wood and the recycled tile in the kitchen. 

Unfortunately, pet stores usually only carry the plastic ones. I felt bad every time I threw one of these things away. The biodegradable ones can be tossed in with the compost. 

Your puppy will likely get a parasite (or come with one) in the first few weeks you have it. You'll need to scoop poop from your yard after each deposit to keep from re-infecting the puppy if they come into contact with it. After that threat has passed, it's just easier to keep the yard free from landmines if you have this. 

Best potty training treat out there. small bits perfect for the potty training, and SUPER high value to dogs. Order these online for sure, they are 3-4x more expensive in the pet store. Downside: they smell weird. 


One of the best and most indestructible toys we have. She loves it. It's soft and fuzzy, hard and bouncy and has long strips hanging off of it that she loves. 

This is the only one of the "Stuffed dog treat toys" that we've found that will actually hold the small bits of treat in without spilling them everywhere. Stuff a few things in here, and she'll be busy for an hour. 

You might want to get one or two of these. They work best for feeding or busy time. Make some chicken and rice (all boiled and bland) and stuff it in here and freeze it. Or soak part of puppy's kibble, spoon it in here and freeze it. The frozen mush also feels good on the teeth when they are teething. When full grown teeth appear, stuff a couple chicken jerky in for 30 minutes of peace.

Squeaky, indestructible, has ribbons. She loves it. Also, has a good name so you can say "Go get flappy!" and they know which one you mean. Super annoying to humans (kinda like Fred). This is the most indestructible squeaky we have. 

She likes this for tug of war better than a rope. It's stretchy and has some crackly plastic or something inside that makes a noise. Great toy. Not totally indestructible, but it'll last for a while. No stuffing, so no mess when it inevitably gets destroyed. :) 


Most of the dog treats you see in stores are things dogs love, but they have so much fake stuff in them that dogs (puppies especially) will get sick (runny poop or vomit). These (below) are ones I've found her to love and also not make her sick. 

Simple, healthy ingredients, and perfect small shape for basic obedience and leash training. Definitely get these online, much cheaper than the pet store. 

This is the best thing we give her. It's REALLY high value and is just freeze dried chicken so we know it doesn't have processed crap in it (read: less diarrhea). These are really expensive everywhere except Costco. A 3lb bag of these there is $9.99. 

These were amazing for visitors coming, or puppy meeting strangers. Nutro is a brand I swear by, by the way. I give Emmie Nutro Natural Choice lamb kibble as well. 

This comes with 3 levels of chewing increasing in indestructibility. A good primer for puppy who knows nothing. Start with totally consumable and work your way up. 


This is one of my favorite items. Since I don't let the dog on the furniture, she's got beds at the office in the living room and bedroom. You just get one of these duvets and put your old blankets or clothes inside. No waste and easy to clean! These are better made than anything you can get in the pet store, and they are local (Berkeley)! Don't be fooled by the sizing though, the large is the size of a twin bed practically. Just go for the medium for a normal medium to big dog (I'd say up to 60lbs).

Well made, and super cute designs. I don't recommend getting these until puppy is in the Large, as you'll need one or two cheap ones that you can just give to SPCA when she grows out of them. But these are really cute. I'll probably get one for Emmie boo when she's fully grown. 

I don't actually have this yet, but I'm gonna order it. You can't really get those tiny hairs out of your car upholstery, like, ever. :)

Hope this is useful! Getting what you need online and in advance will reduce your first week stress and save money! (I wish we hadn't made our puppy decision they day she came home with us, cause I had to run all over town looking for this stuff when it was SO much cheaper online). You'll still need to get to the pet store to get tags made, though. :) 

Dog owners... what are your favorite products?