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Steve Jobs on Taste & Culture

The most refreshing, candid interview of Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview, two years before he would go on to retake control of Apple. I love everything about him, his crazy manic obsession over details, the pursuit of perfection, everything. I believe some of his spirit was sprinkled over a few of us cynics in San Francisco, at least that's my hope. ;-P

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I Love Yorkies

First of all, I love Pixel my two-pound Yorkie more than anything in the world. I now also love Daisy, the newest member of the family. Here is the precious baby girl. 

yorkie-puppy

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Design & Advertising

Creativity can solve anything.

As I sit here watching Art & Copy for the umpteenth time, I can't help but use the film's message to evaluate the design world that surrounds me. The (ahem) "buzzwords" user experience, customer experience and service experience design are fiery hot in the creative industry and rightfully so. Long are the days when customers had to adapt to our ideals; these disciplines are key elements of any successful project, product or service. However, on a personal note, I keep sensing that there's a big fat line splitting advertising artists and user-experience designers. I'm just going to call it like it is: UX (and UI designers by extension) are kinda viewed as more technical whilst the rest of the artists and designers have more of the passion for bringing big ideas to life and connecting with an audience. Creative passion moves people. It can never be automated. Who knows? Maybe one day UX design is taken over by some automated software. Bootstrap UI already allows you to build prototypes with minimal effort. Maybe UX designers are simply gathering the data points into frameworks that will be used to automate all of those processes in the future. Anything is possible.

So the question still stands...where am I in relation to all of this? While being immersed in UX processes is enlightening and stimulating because I seriously enjoy solving problems, creating customer solutions, being a customer's advocate, and making someone's experience better and memorable in a positive way, there's still something missing at the end of the day in many of the projects Where do iconic phrases (Think Different) come to live? Where do iconic images, "copy & space" and that electrifying, titillating moment come to play? Well, it's in UI design to a degree; it's just very, very subtle. Subtle is not where I want my work to end. That's why I can't help but incorporate advertising campaign thinking into my work, particularly when branding, or when storytelling or when pitching new work.

I want to be part of that big idea, that memorable thing, whatever form it should take. It's probably because I was born with that creative spark and I want to make a mark, won't be satisfied with anything less than extraordinary.

Re: Art & Copy, I give it 5-stars on Netflix and recommend it to every artist who's starving for the right medium to pour over their creative brilliance. It'll hold you up until you're in the right place doing what you love with folks who love it just like you. Good luck to us all! Risk it all, never give up and never settle for less.

Peace out! ;-P

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"Stay classy, San Diego." "Thanks for stopping by San Diego."

"Stay classy, San Diego." "Thanks for stopping by San Diego."

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. You can't help but laugh as the flood of hilarious one-liners rush back to your mind. This is one of my favorite all-time movies. I have an Anchorman quote for pretty much any situation in life. I've even considered designing an app called (W.W.R.B.D.) What Would Ron Burgundy Do? It's that great at pointing out all that is wrong with sexist men in the workplace.

Veronica Corningstone: "For Channel 4 News, I'm Veronica Corningstone. Thanks for stopping by San Diego".

At the same time, I'm reminded of Burgundy's "macho", sexist idiosyncrasies that are still very much alive in our day and time, particularly the tech space. It may be the year 2013 and yet women are still underpaid when compared to their male counterparts. Is it fair? Absolutely not. One thing is for sure, we can't give up, no matter how difficult or ingrained sexist attitudes may appear to be, we cannot not try. I have a resilient spirit and fervor for fairness, independent of gender, and will stand up even if I'm the only one doing so in the room. :)

 

Diet sodas altering your brain

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Diet sodas altering your brain

If you thought diet sodas were keeping your weight down, think again. Oh, wait, you may not really be able to do that either. Diet products confusing and rewiring your brain's reward centers.

This study from the journal Physiology & Behavior is yet another example of how lifestyle choices can alter your brain—negatively or positively.

Study Abstract

Artificially sweetened beverage consumption has been linked to obesity, and it has been hypothesized that considerable exposure to nonnutritive sweeteners may be associated with impaired energy regulation. The reward system plays an integral role in modulating energy intake, but little is known about whether habitual use of artificial sweetener (i.e., diet soda consumption) may be related to altered reward processing of sweet taste in the brain. To investigate this, we examined fMRI response after a 12-hour fast to sucrose (a nutritive sweetener) and saccharin (a nonnutritive sweetener) during hedonic evaluation in young adult diet soda drinkers and non-diet soda drinkers. Diet soda drinkers demonstrated greater activation to sweet taste in the dopaminergic midbrain (including ventral tegmental area) and right amygdala. Saccharin elicited a greater response in the right orbitofrontal cortex (Brodmann Area 47) relative to sucrose in non-diet soda drinkers. There was no difference in fMRI response to the nutritive or nonnutritive sweetener for diet soda drinkers. Within the diet soda drinkers, fMRI activation of the right caudate head in response to saccharin was negatively associated with the amount of diet sodas consumed per week; individuals who consumed a greater number of diet sodas had reduced caudate head activation. These findings suggest that there are alterations in reward processing of sweet taste in individuals who regularly consume diet soda, and this is associated with the degree of consumption. These findings may provide some insight into the link between diet soda consumption and obesity.

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Have we forgotten the elderly?

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Have we forgotten the elderly?

A few days ago I stopped at the pharmacy in the middle of busy downtown San Francisco and this elderly woman caught my eye. Actually, she tugged at my heart. I'm not a sentimentalist but something about the way her back curved forward and the visual aids she was using along with her straining eyes just touched my heart. I felt empathy and this instant wish to make her life a bit less hard still overwhelms me.

The image of the elderly woman stuck with me the rest of the day (and week, to be perfectly honest). Coming from a user-centered design world, I wondered: have we forgotten the elderly in our race to create the next best coolest app, service, etc.? This, old age, is where each one of us is heading; that's an undeniable and unchangeable course. And so I can't help but feel a responsibility to think of those who may not have a voice among us in tech. How can I make her life better? How do the elderly fit in the challenging and ever-changing world of technology? What if we were tasked with creating an apparatus that serviced them and their needs? Wouldn't we all like someone to think about our abilities and limitations when we get old?

My mind is still racing with altruistic ideas which I'd like to see implemented in some form or another sooner than later. I'm hopeful that I'm not the only one.

Design Challenge

Design Challenge

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Apple turns down NFC on iPhone5

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Apple turns down NFC on iPhone5

Apple has done it again. The hungry consumers just can't get enough of their Apple a day. Welcome the iPhone 5. (Crazy, their first batch is already sold out on the first day of pre-ordering.) It looks beautiful, as expected, so I'm going to jump right into what really caught my eye.

What's NFC?

This is what struck my curiosity: Apple did not embed NFC chips into the new iPhone 5. What's NFC? Near field communication (NFC) is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other or bringing them into close proximity. NFC traces its roots back to RFID. RFID allows a reader to send radio waves to a passive electronic tag for identification, authentication and tracking. It's important to note that this form of communication also works when one of the devices is not powered.

What does this mean for consumers?

By having these chips in our smartphones, you'd be able to pay by waving your phone at the checkout register. This chip is connected to an app that is connected to your bank account and credit card. Innocent enough. No harm done, as long as your phone is charged and working. But if you think about it, doesn't it feel like we'd be moving even further away from coins and dollars and even plastic debit/credit cards?

In an interview, Apple Senior VP Phil Schiller said that Passbook alone does what most customers want and works without existing merchant payment systems. "It’s not clear that NFC is the solution to any current problem", Schiller said.

A Huffington Post article says in part: "Anyone hoping NFC would be a reality soon is disappointed," said Sanjay Sakhrani, an analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. "Many in the industry were hoping inclusion in the iPhone would be a springboard for more adoption. This takes the impetus away."

So if NFC isn't solving any particular problem, you have to wonder why the push for implementation? Why is there an ever-growing NFC Forum? What about Isis, the mobile payment system? Who is C-Sam? Who is Gemalto? For the sake of time, I'm going to focus on Isis and its connections.

ISIS-a future monopoly?

ISIS is a joint venture between AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless in the mobile payment space, announced on 16 November 2010. The system is based on NFC. Their aim? Build a national mobile payments network. As NFCWorld announced back in 2010: the new service aims to ultimately eliminate "the need for consumers to carry cash, credit and debit cards, reward cards, coupons, tickets and transit passes."

Guess who were the first two partners: Barclaycard U.S., a unit of Barclays Plc (the British multinational banking and financial services company) and Discover Financial Services. Who is the CEO? Former GE executive Michael J. Abbott is now the CEO. Reuters reports that the venture's first partners will include American Express, JPMorgan Chase and Capital One Financial.

“This network will provide greater value than simply a payment network,” said Abbott. “Just think of the cost and efficiency savings for the merchants.”

He declined to comment on how carriers will profit from transactions.

“This is where the market is moving,” said Amer Sajed, CEO of Barclaycard U.S., in an interview. “We’ll have tremendous access to scale with three of the largest telcos in the country.”

Followed by Apple's announcement that iPhone5 would not support NFC, Reuters reports today (9/14/12) that Isis has delayed launch for a second time. The scheduled launch date was set for Sept. 21st, 2012. I'm pretty sure they're not happy with Apple. The problem with this is who is behind the push. They're the big players, the ones who can change policies if need be. Here's an interesting example of how deep some connections go:

People associated with the GE board are Katharine Graham, owner of the Washington Post; Robert McNamara, former secretary of defense; Harold Brown, another former defense secretary; Cyrus Vance, Carter's secretary of state; and Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve. These and other board members sit on the boards of major U.S. corporations like Quaker Oats, Goodyear Tire and Rubber, J. P. Morgan, and Citicorp. These are all people who could potentially have great impact on what occurs in the U.S.

My two cents: After a quick dive into who makes up this effort, what their goals are and who's controlling it from behind the scenes, I'm thrilled that Apple is opting for alternative, more transparent options. I should have the option to not have that chip (that allows tracking even if my phone is off) and i shouldn't be forced to change into a new currency system or to stop using a non-electronic form of payment. Soon enough noone will accept cash. These are just my opinions, mainly in the form of questions and connections my subconscious makes. Shifting the way people use and think of currency...Definitely something that makes me go hmm.

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80's Throwback Playlist for Sore Design Ears

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80's Throwback Playlist for Sore Design Ears

First of all, Rdio is awesome! Move over spotify. Seriously. Rdio rocks with minimal user effort. I ditched spotify because it just didn't deliver on the amount of effort it required of me. Now that we got that straight, try it out and why not do it in an 80's throwback fashion. :D

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A Bold Stand Against SOPA & PIPA

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A Bold Stand Against SOPA & PIPA

Exciting times, wouldn't you say? I'm talking history books in the making! I've followed the blazing hot topics #StopSOPA and all related #SOPA and #PIPA tweets since midnight EST and it's been building up such incredible momentum. The more I read about these two Acts, the more intrigued I've become which means I start digging and researching even more.

So, before I pass out in front of my laptop, here are a couple of take-aways that caught my attention so far:

Who among the tech giants has taken a stand?

The Bold: Craigslist

craigslist-stop-SOPA-PIPA

craigslist-stop-SOPA-PIPA

The Bolder: Wikipedia

wikipedia-stop-SOPA-PIPA

wikipedia-stop-SOPA-PIPA

The Modest: Google

google_stopSOPA-PIPA

google_stopSOPA-PIPA

The Witty: Wired.com

wired-stop-SOPA-PIPA-1

wired-stop-SOPA-PIPA-1

wired-stop-SOPA-PIPA-2

wired-stop-SOPA-PIPA-2

And which haven't taken a stand?

The sad chirp, chirp: TWITTER

full_logo_blue

full_logo_blue

(Trying to figure out a way to stop feeding that blue bird, but it's almost impossible).

What's worse is Twitter CEO Dick Costolo's response, calling Wikipedia's plans to pull the plug on its website "foolish" and "silly". Read the article: http://gu.com/p/34ma3/tw

Others trying to stay below the radar?

Yahoo! and Microsoft

This is particularly interesting seeing that Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang resigned less than a day ago. Wonder if it has anything to do with Yahoo & Microsoft (wishy washy) position on SOPA/PIPA and big money and greed making room (stocks went up after his resignation). Hmm...

The corporations lobbying for SOPA know exactly what they want: control of online information for profit (greed or control) according to The Guardian:

Because they don't dare make an honest argument. If they were saying what they believe, it would go roughly this way: "The internet threatens our longstanding control of information and communications, and that is simply unacceptable. Therefore, it is essential to curb the utility of the internet for everyone else."

This short but powerful article blew my mind with possibilities of a very likely reality we may soon experience:

Developers and hackers have rebelled against the legislation with various tactics, including future-proofing

browser extensions that bypass (thus far non-existent) SOPA blocks

. The latest ammunition provided by devs is a

Chrome extension

called No SOPA. Its function is simple: to notify you when you’re browsing a site of a SOPA supporter.

..........

For more info:

https://www.google.com/landing/takeaction/

http://bit.ly/znATaJ

http://www.BlackoutSOPA.org/

http://bit.ly/Afy90M

#StopSOPA #SOPA #PIPA

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Getting Out of the Norm

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Getting Out of the Norm

I'm realistic. Life is too short and time flies...not the best combination. This always leads me to ponder over how I'm using that precious little time slot we call a lifetime.  I believe it's important to regularly scrutinize how the things we're involved in measure up in the big picture. This is one of those videos that forces me to take a few minutes to free the mind and question everything... and all of a sudden, nothing is impossible.

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Design Thinking

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Design Thinking

I appreciate this term because it makes creativity sound a bit more official. It starts to convey the value of what we as creatives do everyday. And it does so by attempting to break down and dissect the thinking process.  In the least, my hope is that the creative mind (or talent) is valued as an essential part of any solid business strategy and relocates innovation back into its proper place of dwelling, into the creative thinking space. This type of creative thinking or design thinking is not the artsy-fartsy sort (oh yeah, I said it).  The type of design thinking I'm referring to is the one with a user-centered focus, which essentially means it's the one guided by empathy, because empathy is at the heart (core) of innovation conceived through user-centered methodologies.  There are thousands of combos for every artist, but I believe these are three invaluable pieces that make up a strong design thinking foundation...

Empathy + Creativity + Logic with a cup of Intuition, Boldness, Ingenuity, Vision, and The Inborn Creative Spark or Muse...

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Get Creative with your Bio!

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Get Creative with your Bio!

The boring ol' resume is out. Creative bio is in! If you're a creative, shouldn't the presentation of your professional experience show it? That's what I thought and still, for some reason, we forget to do so when it comes to the presentation of our professional experience.  We fall back to the same ol' Word "resumes". Well, with that motivation, I've organized my work history into a bio-style timeline. It's much more engaging and allows for your personality to come through the narration. This is the backbone to the structure of my "book". Check out Phase I of the timeline. Hope it inspires your efforts!

 

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Shopping for Glasses

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Shopping for Glasses

It's been that time for quite some time now, time to shop for prescription glasses. I've known the style but finally found the perfect ones today. These are really kewl and trendy.  Four eyes but with style! :-P 20110724-032011.jpg

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My Tiny Pixel Baby

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My Tiny Pixel Baby

Pixel - My tiny Yorkshire puppy

Pixel - My tiny Yorkshire puppy

Welcome to Pixel's world. He's my tiny baby, full of spunk, attitude and so much love! Pixel is a micro Yorkshire Terrier; he's 4 years old and weighs a hefty 2.2 lbs. I've been his lucky momma since he was just a few ounces and so very fragile. He came to work with me for the first two years of his life so needless to say he has the best office manners and awesome interpersonal skills.

I've got the most comprehensive collection of Pixel pictures, so I'll be posting them as time permits. :D

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Testing using iphone Wordpress app

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Testing using iphone Wordpress app

Omg! I think this is actually working! I should've reached out to my hosting company so much sooner! They rock! Responded within four minutes and now the Wordpress app for iPhone actually works for the first time! Me so happy! :)

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