Google Voice Widget testing fun!

Remember when you actually talked to people with a phone? That was cool. You could ask a person a question, and get their actual answer RIGHT THEN. Of course, this is only if the call is clear enough for you to hear them, and stays connected.

That brings me to this great feature of Google Voice. HTML Call Widgets. From anyplace you can embed HTML, you can allow your reader to initiate a call. You can decide whether the call goes to a phone or straight into voice mail.

When you click Call Me, it will ask you for your phone number, and if you would like to keep it private. I don’t need your number, so be sure to click that button. Then Google will call your number. As soon as you answer, it will connect you to my number. One of the great things about this is that you we can call each other without ever revealing our numbers AT ALL. I could schedule a call in pirate internet radio show and allow people to call me without ever giving them a number to call. It would be pretty easy to remove the Call Me button from a web page when I didn’t want people to have access to it.

I think there a many ways this could be a great engagement tool, and even a fun toy. Strange internet scavenger hunt ideas are flying through my mind.

Are you willing to give it a try? This simply plays my message for you, and asks you to leave a message. If you are brave, hit the button, make the call, and leave me a question or comment. Be brave, try it! I want to hear how this works.

Thanks for your help!

If you are on a mobile device, you may not see the image that should be here. That’s a drag.

A Gear in Illustrator

Yes, I’m a moron who doesn’t use Illustrator much anymore.

There have been several times where I needed a simple gear or series of gears for something and it was always a pain in the ass. It was never a massive part of the project, just a small additional element, meaning I never really put any time into figuring out how to do it. I usually would find a free vector gear, or autotrace a jpg and clean it up. One time I even used to pen to make one with an image template.

I finally put a few (very few) minutes of thought on it and came up with this approach, which works just fine for what I’ve needed. After I take it into Cinema4D or something similar, it can get super funky, but this is where I need it for now, and a lot faster than it used to take me.

GearsTutorial

The real learning lesson? Take a few minutes to figure out how to do things right in the beginning and you will save a ton of time in the long run.

One step at a time

Every journey begins with a single step, and this year is no different. To start my journey off on the right foot, I took my first run of the year today. Not a big one, and I was dragging DogFrog most of the way, but I did it. We will learn and grow together, like rats, or cockroaches.

A New Adventure Begins

If you look back a few posts, you’d see that I was between jobs. I say was between because I have just accepted a position at a company that I am very very excited about. I have been hired as the Director of Marketing for Heller Consulting, a great company that helps non-profits do their caring work faster, better, and more effectively (and with less redundancy). There will be a bunch of new challenges, and new ways to apply all the work that I have been doing for the last 20 years or so, with an added bonus of lots of room for new ideas and creative solutions to interesting problems. Get ready for the brainstorms!

Like I typed already, I am very excited. I have been groomed by fate to be perfect for this position, and am looking forward to it like a frog looks forward to maggot transformation season. I do not have a long sticky tongue, but I’ll be able to make up for that. All I wished for this holiday season was a job, so now I’m set. I plan to spread my good luck around to as many as I can this season, and continue for the rest of the year. See you soon!

Playing with Video Tracking

Bop Skizzum going old school with the jams.

Hope you enjoy. I needed a video up to test the tracking with MediaGauge from Epic Playground. :)

Mom’s Fridge

No matter what drawing, sketch, sculpture, or piece of trash I’d give my mom, she would always gush over it saying how wonderful it was, and she would put it up on the fridge for everyone who came to the house to see. We didn’t really have much company, so this was a pretty safe approach. Now that I live 2000 miles away, she’s not as dedicated to the cause.

I was cleaning up my in-house office space the other night and found some sketchbooks. Nothing amazing, but some fun stuff. I’m using this post as my fridge. Just some stuff to remind me of moments of creating. Feel free to ignore me.

Zombie: This guy shows up every so often. He’ll get a comic strip one day.

Vulture: Sometimes vulture, sometimes turtle. He’s a cutie.

Skull: Not as cute. I wasn’t in the best frame of mind this night.

Angry Pooh: But I wasn’t nearly as mad as Pooh. He was PISSED!

Rabbit: Rabbit went on a 2 week bender and came back all “I need money for rent…” Back to rehab, fuzz tail. I have a work in progress animation about him on Easter Sunday. Bad, bad, rabbit.

Lawman: This guy shows up all the time. He’s got a swagger and style all his own.

ManHead: A jaw built for chewing.

Stagecoach: Must have been feeling a bit Western this night. Or was I feeling Country? Either way, now the lawman has a way home.

Machine: If the stage coach isn’t good enough, how about something a little more gritty?

Man: A bit more optical.

Woman: Behind every man is a good woman. Or a screaming banshee cackling like a hyena.

Capone: A man and his lady for the evening.

Happy: This one just makes me happy. A girl and her teddy.

Bath: Ever feel like the world is a blasting shower of acid torrenting down on you in a deluge of burn? I remember this night.

Dresser: Whew, glad that shower is over.

Entrance: This is the entrance to BgxLabs. It’s a massive underground complex originally called Area 13, and right under Table Mesa. Nike accidentally outed it’s existence when they tried to build their headquarters there.

Eye: I’m watching you. Always watching.

You wouldn’t believe the things I see. Or maybe you would! We should talk more. Leave a comment.

 

Testing a contact form

I’m testing out how this contact for works. I like to test things to see how they actually work, instead of how they are supposed to work.

If you would like to submit some info, please do. I like it.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your Organization

Between Jobs

Yes. My job at my company was “dissolved” over the summer. That was the actual phrase that I was told. Like an Alka-Seltzer in a warm Sprite, I was dissolved. I can handle that. I’ve been laid off before. Several times actually.

My first time (you always remember your first time) was when Montgomery Ward Credit was purchased by GE Capital back in 1990 or so. I worked in the Montgomery Ward credit office as the guy who would decide if you could get that credit extension to buy a new washing machine on your MW credit card. Yes, that was me. When the cashier would call on the special direct line credit hot line phone, they would get me, a 20 year old college student who could work a computer and frequently showed up to work sober. When GE came in, they made some changes including eliminating any sense of humor, which meant me. Oh well. I was moving to the beach in 2 months anyway.

Then there was Bullwhackers’ Casinos. I’m not supposed to tell you this, but if you ever went to one of those events where there was a bull mascot for Bullwhackers’ named Lucky, there was a good chance it was me. I was the Art Director, but I always go the extra mile or 6, and had a blast putting on the bull costume and playing up the role for everyone around. Thankfully, I did not have to be in the suit when we were at the Boulder Air Show on a 120 degree blacktop tarmac. I get to be Lucky (TO BE Lucky, not get lucky) when we gave $1,000,000 to a woman in Aurora when the Broncos won the Super Bowl the first time. That was a night in a bull suit to remember. But eventually they had to cut the art department to “save money” and let me go, so I went. They hired me back a few years later when they found out how much ad agencies cost.

Next up was the post-Sprint-non-merger WorldCom collapse. Yep, first round layoff, I was. As we went down the crapper, I was making websites and videos saying how cool it was to be working for such a great, forward thinking, trend setting company. Considering Enron, maybe they were trendsetting. WORLDCOM: Leading the world in fail.

Blah blah blah who the hell cares? Let bygones be bygones. The point is now I am “between jobs” again. (got any freelance needs? www.giesemedia.com) I can’t quite figure out why if I’m “between jobs” I’m so freaking busy. Every day, I wake up, apply for jobs, hope for freelance opportunities, run to phone interviews, do anything I can do to make some cash, fill out reams of paperwork for unemployment, spend a few hours on the phone with unemployment people, not to mention cook, clean, pick up dog crap, and all the other things that I can’t afford to pay anyone to do anymore. It’s freaking exhausting with no apparent payoff in sight. Much like parenting.

As I look for jobs these days, I’ve found an entirely new perspective on the super amazing start-up community here in the Denver-Boulder area. I love start-ups, the amazing work, the cutting edge tech, the energy, and the excitement, but I can’t feed my family with company equity. I swear, I would love to work with you for the next 2 years for free until the company takes off, we get huge investment and we can all retire, but I’m not sure my family can avoid eating for that long. Or living in a building. We had a family meeting and voted, and we all want to live INSIDE a building. A safe building. Sorry. I feel like a wimp for saying it, but I like to eat. And live in a building.

So as I am “between jobs”, it seems that every day I am constantly running between my thousands of other tasks which are now my jobs. It’s yet another great learning opportunity to figure out new skills in time management, cooking, and situation juggling. As I figure it out, I’m be sure to share.

How do you manage your time in our crazy maniacal world? Do you have any tools or techniques? I could use the help.

Dream of Work

I had a dream that I was in a world where nothing worked. Everything was broken, missing, rotted away. I was incredibly frustrated to put it lightly. Every time I went to open a door the knob would fall off, or a hinge would break. Every time I went to cook the knobs would crack off. Every time I tried to ride a bike, drive a car, take the bus, or even walk down the street, screws, bolts, parts and pieces would tinkle on the ground around me. I finally collapsed in a crying heap. I can cry, I’m not ashamed. I cried a lot.

Things that are don’t work drive me crazy. Why does it exist if it doesn’t work? Things that barely work but don’t work right really burn my whistle. Either be broken, or be right. Maybe that’s a reflection of my own self-criticism, but still, do or don’t do. Yoda was the man. Or what ever the hell he was. Donkey-beaver? That must have been a wild party. Back to the point.

After I was done crying and sobbing like a little baby on the floor, finished with my tantrum, I gave up. I quit. I resigned myself to the fact that this was the way of things and that I too was a broken, worthless lump of protoplasm. Nothing here worked, that was the way of it. Deep sigh of acceptance.

Then I stood up, looked around, pick up a small, insignificant thing, and fixed it. It was small, unimportant, not a big deal, but now it was fixed. Screw you Mr. Broken World. One thing works now. It might break again tomorrow, or in 10 minutes, but right now, it works. It didn’t make any difference at all, and nothing in my dream world changed, nor did anything else in my dream world even notice that one little thing was now working properly. But it did.

I walked around my dream world, looking at things, trying to figure out what it was supposed to do, how it was supposed to work, why it didn’t. Some things were huge, massive creations out of a steam-punk nightmare that I had no clue where to even look to begin. But other things were small, manageable. So I fixed them. I started putting together a small box of implements, just things that I found useful at times. Scraps, pieces, bits that I found along the way. I was in a dream and had no job, responsibilities, or sense of space or weight, so I had quite a few bits after a while. But just what was needed and useful. Not collecting or hoarding implements, just things that were useful to me.

After a while, I noticed there were other people around. They were far away and stared at me like I was some kind of wild curiosity- something odd. Something that wasn’t quite right. But they left me alone, so it didn’t matter. I probably seemed to have the same stare towards them, too, I guess. Maybe to each of us it looked like all the others were staring.

I woke up staring. Have you ever done that? Your mind wakes up and you realize your eyes have been open for a while looking around without you? Hello, Brain, glad you could join us. There are things to see all the time, so we just went to work as we waited for you. In the body chemistry field, it’s probably the same thing as sleepwalking or wetting the bed. The parts just do what they were designed to do until everyone else catches up. After I got through a few thoughts on my eyes wetting the bed, I figured it would be safer for everyone to get some coffee going and ingested before any other human interaction could take place. Pssssshhhhhhh the water into the tank. Crulf crulf crulf the coffee into the filter.

Waiting.

Waiting.

Ah, finally. Coffee ready. I read the news on my feeds and took deep breaths. War here. Hate there. Disasters over there. Why did I ever bring a child into this? I drank in my caffeine, focused on the heat and brown. It’s you and me caffeine, us against the world. If we can just ride it out, we’ll be alright. All this will pass. I crump crump crumped through the house caffeinating myself to the proper level, and tightened up the screws on the loose doorknob to the yard. They always come loose for some reason. But they tighten up again with some help. I watched the sun rise into the yard, took a deep breath, and marched out into the day.

Kicking virginity in the Austin

NOTE: I found this draft post that I wrote the night before Aim went to the hospital in Austin. Funny to read it knowing what happens next.

This is it. My first trip to South by Southwest Interactive geekfest in Austin. Aim has been there for the last few years an she always comes back tired and energized. There is supposedly a lot going on, but I’m not calling it until I see it. Lots of friends are going to be there from all over the country, so it will be great to see them. There will also be about half the tech population of Boulder migrating to the Boulder of the South, so if I need to get bailed out of jail, we should be able to take up a collection.

There are a lot of sessions about using game mechanics outside of the pure game realm this year, which will be a blast for me. I’m going to see as much as I can on this to apply in my game class. The more references beyond my own experiences the better. Hopefully I can find some more teaching tools this weekend too.