Author Archives: James

Keep It Simple Tip Calculator

SplashJust as its name implies, this is a simple tip calculator.  Enter a bill amount and select a percentage and the tip and total are calculated for you.  If you like to round your total, there is an option to adjust the tip so that the total is rounded up.

Your settings are stored so if you always tip with the same percentage, you only need to enter the new bill amount each time and the work is done.  Again, it’s simple!

US Time Zones

ustimezonesUS Time Zones (for iOS and Windows Phone) is a simple conversion tool made to help you quickly convert between time zones in the Continental United States. It was purposefully kept simple to help those, such as our developer, who can’t remember to add or subtract one or two hours when converting times. It currently only covers the four time zones in the Continental United States, namely: Pacific Time, Mountain Time, Central Time and Eastern Time.

Internet of Things (IoT)

internet-of-thingsInternet buzzwords are a dime a dozen with seemingly new ones coming out every day. I’m seeing Internet of Things (IoT) all over Twitter and as with so many of the new buzzwords, it hasn’t been properly defined and means different things to different people.

Mostly I see people referring to every object you own somehow being connected to the internet.  Others limit the items to gadgets and electronics.  I’m reminded of when “the cloud” was growing in popularity and just like with IoT, if you asked 100 people what it meant you would get 100 different answers.

Dress-up for Halloween at the Office

halloween-costume-Office I’ve gone back-and-forth this year on whether to wear a costume to work for Halloween or not.  On the one hand, I enjoy dressing up and my employer is very lenient with such things–but on the other, I will probably be the only one in my entire building in a costume (I would so be the guy featured in this cartoon!).


Business Cartoons for Presentations

the-key-to-successful-businessI love to start off presentations with an attention grabbing cartoon like this one.  Even though it pretty much state’s the obvious, it’s enough to draw the audience in so that I can share the message that I have.

Depending on the length of the presentation, I might even squeeze a few more in to give the audience a break from time-to-time.  It’s important the cartoon not be so complex as to distract the listeners. A single panel, black and white cartoon is usually sufficient with a one or two sentence caption.

I also use these cartoons as an opportunity to take a break.  A clever cartoon provides a segue from topic to topic giving me a chance to shift gears before starting-in on the next topic.

I haven’t done much in the way of social media, but I believe cartoons work the same way as with presentations. They can serve as visual separators between large groups of text.

Where do you find cartoons?

There are so many cartoon websites on the internet today–just google “Business Cartoons” to see for yourself.  The quality of cartoons doesn’t differ as much as the style and relevance.  The pricing is probably the characteristic that stands out the most to me.  There are three or four cartoon sites that stand out from the rest in terms of quality, selection and style, but the pricing on all of them leave a lot to be desired.  If they offer prices at all, they attempt to bind the buyer as to how they can use the cartoons and how many times they can use them–or worse, how long they can use the cartoon before licensing it.

I recommend Designer Hipster Cartoons because the cartoons, at the time of this post, are only $5 each, and can be used however you want as long as you don’t sell them.  I can download a full-sized cartoon, try it out and then pay five bucks if I use it.

How Twilight : Eclipse Should Have Ended

So I just watch Eclipse last night and I have to say that it really didn’t sit well with me. So much so that I felt the need to write how it should have been, because I just can’t reasonably suspend disbelief when a 100 year-old vampire doesn’t get just a little perturbed when his fiancé passionately kisses a roid-raging werewolf boy. So the following is how the scene from the movie should have gone after Edward allowed Jacob to warm Bella with his “Hot Body” in the tent and Jacob is walking away upset after learning of Bella and Edward’s engagement:

“So Bella, what do I have worth living for, huh?” Jacob gazed intently into Bella’s eyes pleading with her to drop the charade and admit her feelings for him. Steam simmered off of his shirtless, ripped body blurring the scenic snowy mountain backdrop.

Bella wanted so badly to say the right words; to confess that indeed she did love Jacob, but that she had already made her choice and was not going to change her mind.

She stood, as usual in intense and delicate situations such as these; dumb, gazing blankly back at Jacob as if the processes required to form an intelligent expression were overly burdened. She couldn’t help but think Jacob would be so overcome with grief that he would take no thought of his own safety during the battle; this might be the last time she would ever see him.

“Kiss me!” She blurted out, possibly more shocked herself than Jacob was to hear it.


“I want you to kiss me,” she repeated moving closer to him. I’m so glad Edward can’t read my mind, she thought as she moved forward reaching for his muscular body.

Jacob knew this was his one chance to make Bella realize her feelings for him and what all he could offer that a vampire could not. He mustn’t hold back, and he wouldn’t. With his advance he felt as though all of his feelings were being manifest; the firm embrace and gentle but passionate kiss. Everything disappeared: the battle, the jealous vampire lover just a few feet away reading his thoughts, the snow covered mountain and beautiful, majestic view. This was it, and it must be enough!

His werewolf senses were quick to detect the vampire standing close by in the snow laden conifers. As much as he wanted to lose himself and continue with the kiss he now had to protect himself and Bella from whatever might come. He gently broke free from her embrace and stood facing Edward.

Bella felt as though she had just awakened from a long and blissful nap. She had to reestablish herself in her surroundings before putting enough together to realize what was surely about to happen.

What have I done? She ached inside seeing the pain and intensity in Edward’s eyes. Jacob’s hand moved across her shoulder gently pulling her behind him. His eyebrow lowered and he flexed in anticipation of the eminent attack. But there was no attack.

“What the …,” Edward shouted as he took a few steps from under the fir trees. For being undead, his gaze seemed to be generating more heat than Jacob’s wolf body ever could. “Trust you? Isn’t that what you said Bella, huh?!”

“Edward, it’s not what you think” Bella’s voice trembled as she tried to move around Jacob, pawing at his ripped, muscular body, but he effortlessly kept her pinned behind him with a single arm.

Edward could read Jacob’s thoughts, and to the contrary, it was exactly what he thought.

“I left so that you could be with him! I went to the other side of the freakin PLANET, so that you could be with him! But you came after me and jacked-up my plans to end it all. Why?! So that you could bring me back here? Tell me to trust you, and then make me watch you snuggle up against his ‘Hot Body’ for warmth and then beg him to kiss you. What the …?!”

Edward maintained his usual expression, as if he were in the final stages of passing a kidney stone. His face crinkled and hurt, and yet cold and pale.

“Edward, he was going to kill himself—I love him, but I love you more!” Bella pleaded.

“COMFORTING!” Edward growled, staring disgustingly through Jacob and into Bella’s soul.

“She’s made her choice” Jacob declared reaffirming his position in a protective posture.

“What? No I haven’t… What?” Bella pushed away from Jacob, walking backwards and watching Edward. “Edward, I was scared of what Jacob might do. I couldn’t let him kill himself because of me.”

Edward’s expression changed. He seemed almost moved to compassion—releasing all of his aggression with her plea. But then Bella realized that what she was really seeing was Edward giving up.

Bella walked closer to Edward trying to read his thoughts. How could she explain this? How could she reassure him that he was the one she loved more? Why did she have to kiss Jacob?

In a flash Edward was gone.

Jacob opened his arms to comfort Bella, but she walked backwards away from him. Her thoughts raced and she was overcome with fear and regret. She broke down in heaves of despair. Was he gone again? She deserved nothing less. How could she kiss Jacob?

“It’s happening!” Jacob said focused on the valley below. “Bella, I have to go and help. They need me!” He wanted to stay but could not. He reluctantly turned and in an instant leapt forward changing into a wolf and was gone.

The battle was short. The new vampire army was destroyed within moments of emerging from the sea. The Volturi came and killed the only remaining new vampire, Bree, and then returned to Italy.

There wasn’t much to talk about after the battle. Edward took Bella home without a word. She didn’t know what to say, but was afraid if she didn’t say something she might not get another chance.

She was right. She made attempts to talk about what had happened but Edward didn’t respond. It was as though she wasn’t in the car at all. He arrived at her house, screeching the vehicle to a stop, never looking over at her. She made several more attempts through tears and pleas but he stared straight ahead, emotionless.

Broken, she forced herself from the car and closed the door. Gravel shot out like buck shot under Edward’s tires as he sped away into the darkness.

He went to the Cullin house and grabbed a few of his belongings. The rest of the family was still away celebrating their victory. He left on the next flight to Italy where there were several vampire women who seemed to genuinely be interested in him, and without werewolf, Jersey Shore baggage. He found one named Papia, whom he fell madly in love with and never thought about Bella again.


CSS Optimization with Google Chrome Developer Tools

After spending a little time searching for CSS Optimization solutions, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that one was bundled in Google Chrome’s Developer Tools.

I like to start web projects with boilerplates or bootstraps like Twitter’s, and then I spend hours cleaning-up the unused selectors.

Now, I just:

  1. Navigate to the site in Google Chrome
  2. Hit ‘F12′ to access the developer tools
  3. Select the Audit tab
  4. With ‘Web Page Performance’ checked, hit the ‘Run’ button
  5. A list of unused selectors FOR THAT PAGE is available.


I did run across solutions that would automatically produce a clean version of the stylesheet for you, like Mincss, but I’d much rather do it manually so that I can see what I’m removing.

New Cintiq Tablets

I just learned yesterday that Wacom is introducing a new line of Cintiq tablets.  The Companion, which is a full blown Win 8 computer that you can run Adobe Photoshop on and draw directly on it, and the Hybrid which is basically like the older Cintiq tablets, an alternate monitor that you plug into your computer and use like a drawing tablet, except that you are drawing directly on the screen.
What’s really cool about the hybrid is that when it is not plugged into your PC or MAC, it is an Android tablet that runs Android apps as well as provides limited but rich sketching functionality.  So you can sketch on it while you’re out, then come home and touch up your sketches with Photoshop by plugging it into your PC/MAC.
These will both be available in the next month or two.  The Companion is ~$2500 and the Hybrid is ~$1500.  I’m gonna start saving my pennies now!

Soccer Shirt

I’m coaching U8 soccer. The boys chose the name “The Lightning Lizards” and so I decided to draw a team logo. And then I made me a coach shirt with the logo on the front. Turned out really nice.