Well, it’s been one hell of a ride through Colorado, Utah and Nevada. I made such a big deal about the beauty of New Mexico, but believe it or not it just kept getting better. Truly stunning. I remember Dad saying to me at the top of one of the 13k foot passes: “Mike, we may never experience a sight like this the rest of our lives”. I nodded in silent agreement. (more…)
If the title didn’t already clue you in, I’m starting to lose track of the days. It’s hard to remember what day of the week it is, let alone how many days we’ve been on the trail. Every day is becoming the same – wake up, breakfast, pack up, ride, gas & lunch, ride, gas, ride, motel, unpack, shower, dinner, sprawl out on bed, lights out. Rinse and repeat. And don’t get me wrong here – I’m absolutely loving it! I keep some inspiring quotes on my desktop wallpaper, and one in particular by Steve Jobs has really stuck out:
I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
These past few days are some of the only days I can remember where the answer has been an overwhelming “YES”, everyday. It feels good to be on the trail. (more…)
We are completely and utterly exhausted. I’ll get into more details later, but after a few days of rain, wrecks, and a couple 11 hour days on the saddle, we needed to hole up for a day. So from the small town of Batesville, Mississippi, I bring to you our latest update of day 4, 5 and 6!
Day 4 – Leaving Tennessee
We headed out from the Richland Inn full of a fresh “continental” cheerios breakfast and ready to ride. The weather was calling for scattered showers, but the skies looked clear and we figured we’d be alright. Yea, we were wrong. We started out with a bunch of pavement, and everywhere we rode it looked like it had just rained. Were we catching up to the rain? That’s what I was thinking when I flew through a stop sign, tried to catch a turn and nearly wiped out in some wet stones on the road. Luckily I got a foot down to save the fall, but it was enough to get me back on track and focused. Even slow speeds on pavement can be dangerous, and it’s hard not to let your mind wander on those boring roads. (more…)
Sit tight and grab a beverage, this may end up being a long post and we’ve got some great video. It’s hard to believe how much has happened in the first two days!
A lot of people knock (or even skip) TN because of too much pavement and not enough off-road riding. The state has definitely paved some of the original gravel and dirt roads, however I still wanted to ride it since it’s technically part of the trail. That said, there still was a fair amount of off-road riding that made for a fun day.
Alright, to the footage – let’s do this! (more…)
Thanks to my good friend “JT” Talmadge, getting from our hometown in PA to the trail in Jellico, TN was in air conditioned luxury. Borrowing a flat bed snowmobile trailer from our awesome local Yamaha dealership (B & B Yamaha), we mounted up the bikes and headed out early this morning. A few Cracker Barrel and Subway’s later, we arrived with bikes intact at the Days Inn in Jellico – the offical start of the Trans-America trail. (more…)
One of the most enjoyable projects I’ve worked on lately was a site that has helped myself and countless other nerds do the impossible – stay in shape! Steve Kamb is a writing maniac who has taken the ultimate plunge into what I would consider a “pro blogger”, as he now makes a living from his Nerd Fitness brand. Oh yea, and he’s also travelling the world over the course of 9 months for just over $400. Not too shabby.
So I’ve decided to keep my “Complimentary Comps” posts short and sweet. Why? Because I’m talking about companies who need a major facelift – so I’d like to avoid beating them into the ground with what they (probably) already know. I wanna instead talk about what made them so amazing that I still use them, even with an ugly website (as a designer this is harder than it may sound).
Welcome to the first “Complimentary Comps“, my design exercise offering free makeovers for sites I use and care about.
I had to choose Foxycart.com because their site initially gave me the idea for this series – or at least, I remember cementing the idea in my mind while visiting their site. I’ll admit that they might not be the best example as set out in my criteria, mainly because their site really is good – but it’s so close to being much, much better. I ended up completing two different designs for foxycart – one that that better completes their current approach, and one that rethinks their approach entirely.
As a web designer I routinely find myself using sites that are perfectly functional, but are not a pleasure to look at. Sometimes it’s simply a choice of font that drives me up the wall, or more often than not their entire brand is so outdated and hideous that I feel like whipping up a quick redesign and saying “HERE! Just take it, no really, it’s on the house!”.
Well, today I decided to start doing just that. Once a month I will be publishing a series called “Complimentary Comps” where I feature a fresh new design for a website that is in desperate need of a facelift. But with so many sites to choose from, where do I start? (more…)
A few days ago at Openmotive we explored using EE’s built-in IP to Nation module to detect a user’s country. That module is designed to output a flag or country code, and allows you to block users from certain countries. While useful, it wasn’t quite powerful enough for our needs (multiple currencies and languages). We also realized that by simply expanding on the current IP to Nation database table, we could build something much more useful.
The result is a nifty little plugin we originally launched as the “OM Country Detector”, but quickly came to our senses and renamed simply the “Country Plugin”. Check out the official blog post at Openmotive.com for more info and downloads.
After a few months of my trial with Virtual Post Mail, I think it’s about time I completed the series with part 2. A lot has changed since I signed up back in March of 2010, and I’m anxious to talk about my experiences. If you haven’t read it yet, my first post called Getting Rid of Snail Mail Part 1 will give some good background info on why I chose VirtualPostMail.com in the first place.
I’ll start out by saying this: Virtual Post Mail totally rocks, and it’s only getting better. I’ve been blown away by their customer service, their web app has never failed me (Chrome on Mac), and they’ve added some killer new features that I’ll get to in a minute. But first, I want to talk about what impressed me the most.
So far I’ve only needed to use the css3 box shadow technique on white or very light backgrounds. Recently a project required using css3 based shadows on top of images with varying backgrounds, and the lack of transparency was pretty glaring on darker images. Just before resorting to 24-bit png shadows, I remembered reading about RGBa transparency and gave it a shot. Presto! Works like a charm. Below is the setup I used for a basic black drop shadow with 50% transparency.
-moz-box-shadow: 2px 2px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.5);
-webkit-box-shadow: 2px 2px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.5);
box-shadow: 2px 2px 2px rgba(0,0,0,0.5);
It seems like every year or so I end up needing to file a change of address with the USPS – whether it be in the same city or across the country, it’s the only part of my contact info that really ever fluctuates. I’ve kept the same email since middle school, and I’ve even had the same cell phone number since my first phone about 10 years ago. Why not establish a permanent address, too?
I started running with this idea and began daydreaming about the perfect mail system – an email like interface to scan, shred, recycle and forward my physical mail to my real current address. Never file a Change of Address Form again. Genius! After sharing this idea with a few friends over breakfast, I was told “…they already have it, and it’s called Earth Mail”. However I would soon discover that this ‘Earth Mail’ might not be the perfect solution after all…