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Mug

Ruby Home Automation for Canine Happiness

Published By Corey on Feb.13.2010 at 9:30AM

A problem presents itself...

Part of the wonderful part of working from home is being able to spend lots of time with our 2 Boston Terriers Molly and Daisy. However, my office is in the upper floor of the house I have to keep tabs on when they might need to go outside to "make potty".

They're smart enough to go to the door, scratch it and wait but occasionally (usually when over-focused on some piece of code) I forget and they're forced to make use or the floor in the washroom.

In the spring and fall months I would end up just leaving the door to the backyard open for them to come and go as they please. In the summer the hydro bill skyrockets with AC usage not to mention the mosquitoes and other unwelcomed bugs that find their way inside. In the winter the furnace has a tough time keeping up not to mention the wasted energy.

Envisioning a solution

I started thinking of how a video camera of some kind would enable me to watch them from a secondary screen like my iPhone but wait second all these new home security cameras come with motion notification, why couldn't I just tap into that?

The puzzle pieces

A Linksys WVC54GC Wireless-G Camera for $55 at Canada Computers
FFMpeg installed via DarwinPorts:sudo port install ffmpeg +gpl +postproc +lame +theora +faac +faad +x264 +a52 +xvid
ImageMagick installed via DarwinPorts:sudo port install ImageMagick
Growl, why bother with emails when I can have a slick notification popup on any number of computers
A 70 line ruby script to glue it all together.

How does it all work?

Framegrabbing the stream with FFmpeg

The first piece is just connecting to the video stream (SOURCE variable) and framegrabbing every couple of seconds (INTERVAL variable). A simple ffmpeg command will do this and keep the frames numbered
ffmpeg -i http://172.16.187.5/img/mjpeg.cgi -y -ss 2 -an -sameq -f image2 -r 1/2 frames/%07d.jpg
Note the rate is in FPS so we want 0.5 fps or 2 seconds per frame.I use IO.popen to start a child process that will exit when the script quits. The only issue is for some reason occasionally the ffmpeg process dies off. I'm still trying to figure out why this happens....

Watch for new frames

The directory_watcher gem does has a simple event interface for new files. We can even tell it to poll at the same rate we expect frame grabs to come in. When a new frame shows up we run the comparison routine to see if anything has changed.

Compare the frames

This was the hardest part. I did some heavy googling I couldn't really find much in the way of motion detection algorithms, but after looking at the ImageMagick documentation I stumbled upon compare and everything came together. As much as some cool highlighting or rectangles of change would be great i really just need to know if the image changed enough to suspect the dog might be at the door. I can look at the image to verify if it is a false positive


Frame 001: Nothing going on

Frame 002: Nothing to see here, move along people
We can compare the last and current frames to see whats changed. Since the stream is using lossy jpgs there will be differences on almost every pixel each frame if we do a straight up comparison with
compare -fuzz 0% -metric AE ha_001.jpg ha_002.jpg ha_comp_fuzz0.jpg
==> 68047

68047 of the 76800 pixels changed according to compare, that is 88.6% of the image!

I'm guessing red is bad...
The real changes look very negligible if we enable some fuzz
compare -fuzz 10% -metric AE ha_001.jpg ha_002.jpg ha_comp_fuzz10.jpg
=> 233

Here we have 233 pixels of change meaning only 0.3% of the image changed. I find that 10% fuzz works well enough, in high daylight conditions 5% wasn't enough because just the motion of the clouds caused the lighting in the room to change quickly.

With fuzz the changes are minimal

What happens when a dog is in the frame?


Frame 002: The emptiness

Frame 003: Hello puppy!
When we use the compare utility against a frame with a dog in it we have plenty of difference even with fuzz:
compare -fuzz 10% -metric AE ha_002.jpg ha_003.jpg ha_comp_event.jpg
=> 20189

In this case we see a fairly large change in the image (26%) so its time to notify me.

We can clearly see an event has occured

Notifying when there is an event

Sending a growl notification when the image changes is pretty simple, we just use the growl event and attach the current frame to the notification so I can see it. The growl gem has a simple syntax and handles all the dirty work. I use the Music Video style for the notification so the image is as large as possible and make the notification sticky so if I'm not looking at the screen the instant it happens it stays around.

Conclusion

Lower heating bills, dogs that aren't nervous about having accidents in the house, damn thats not bad for an hours work. Writing this blog article probably took about as much time as putting the solution together once I found ImageMagick's awesome compare tool. If you have any questions or comments just drop me a note on Twitter!

The best idea Tim Hortons never had

Published By Ryan on Oct.28.2009 at 4:50PM

coffee

Battle of the Coffee giants

Starbucks and Tim Hortons are both trying to help the environment one cup at a time.

Last Earth day, Starbucks gave a free cup of Pike's Place Blend to anyone who came along with their own mug. Every day after that you could save 10 cents by doing the same thing

starbucks

Starbucks Earth Day promo

Tim Hortons quickly started advertising the same deal for reusable mugs, even though they had been offering the 10 cent discount for quite some time.

green

Timmie's promo

Tim Hortons has taken their enviro-concious business plan and expanded, here, there, and everywhere in an attempt to beat out Starbucks.

Not only is Timmie's offering a discount for bringing your own mug, but they are using ceramic mugs in the store again when you tell them you are staying.

They have also started composting the coffee grounds in various regions (not Ontario) across the country.

Most recently, Tim Hortons sealed off all of their garbage cans and installed new recycling centers. This is great, but there are two problems I see with this: A) Most people take their purchase 'To Go' and take their trash with them anyway. B) They did not implement this at the drive-thru; the one place I am most likely to toss out my old coffee cup.

I'm not trying to argue which coffee giant is better for the environment. I know Starbucks is constantly adding to their enviro-street-cred too. They are currently striving to have a 30% post-consumer content in all of their paper products, they recycle the burlap bags the beans come in, and they are running all kinds of conservation initiatives.

Both of these companies are trying to take one of the most wasteful and destructive products Canadians buy (the disposable coffee) and cause less harm... and I have a suggestion for Tim Hortons to win the battle

No matter how many cups of Pike's Place that Starbucks gives away, you can win Tim Hortons... all you have to do is this:

mug

An eco-friendly version of Roll Up The Rim... plus you still save 10 cents!

ObjectiveResource iPhone Model Generators

Published By Corey on Aug.15.2009 at 12:58PM

We've fallen in love with ObjectiveResource but were surprised with all the ruby meta-programming goodness it didn't include a generator to get you rolling.

So we wrote one! Feel free to fork and adapt the gist as you need

Seeing the error of our ways

Published By Ryan on May.11.2009 at 3:37PM

I recently put a page on our site for our clients to report errors after their site goes live. It might seem unprofessional to release a product that has errors, but the reality is that it is nearly impossible to produce a web site that doesn't have a minor imperfection or two.

Building a website is like building a car; both need to work, both take time and planning to get them off the assembly line, and both are required to meet certain requirements and standards.

The difference is that if a website was a car, it might never make it out of the plant. The list of requirements would be so challenging that it might never succeed.

Website Car equivalent
Compatibility with Windows, Mac, or Linux A steering wheel on the left or right side for North America and Europe
Needs to work properly in Internet Explorer 6 through 8, Firefox 2 and 3, Safari, Opera, Camino, and countless other browsers. Able to fuel up using petrol, diesel, electricity, hydrogen, biodiesel, ethanlol, propane, solar power, or waste.
Every computer has its own settings and defaults. Users have different security features and personal settings for their browsers. Need to automatically adjust the mirrors, seat, steering wheel, radio station, and climate control for each driver as they sat down in the car
Needs to comply with HTML, CSS, and accessibility standards and pass their validation tests Needs to pass international safety laws and be deemed roadworthy

This may seem like a near impossible feat, and on top of it all the product needs to look good and work well. Can you imagine building a car with that kind of functionality that looks good and drives smoothly?

Search FAIL

Published By Ryan on May.05.2009 at 12:00PM

Search Fail

Future Shop's search results. FAIL.

I was recently searching on the Future Shop web site to compare prices on a Home Theatre stereo system, the Sony DAV-HDX975WF, and got the results pictured above when I used the search box on their home page.

For the record, Future Shop does sell this system and to find it using search you must remove the dash from the model name. That aside, the search did not find the results I was looking for. I decided to try the search again, this time without the dash — but wait!

Where is the search? On the home page of the site it sits where the "Shop by department" dropdown menu is. So where is it?

The Search Results tell me to "Please try your search again" but there is no search box to try again with; what gives?

Why isn't this easier? Does Future Shop want me to go to another store? Do they not like me so much that they want to frustrate me on purpose? Are they hoping that I will click back to the home page and notice some fabulous sale before I search again? What is the reason for this?

In my opinion, the site fails for search. If my search does not yield any results, or simply no results that satisfy my needs, there should be an obvious and immediate way for me to try again.

The rules of the web are simple: For every additional click someone makes trying to find the content they want, it brings them one step closer to giving up and going somewhere else to get what they need.

Future Shop, if you're reading this, please reconsider your search. I'm sure that I am not the only one who gets frustrated with your site.

iPhone App Wireframe Template

Published By Ryan on Mar.24.2009 at 1:54PM

iPhone app Template sample

Template for sketching out your next great iPhone or iPod touch app

After completing iBracket for the iTunes App Store, we thought it would be great if we had a notebook for sketching out ideas in meetings, at lunch, or where ever else we were... so we made one!

There are 2 versions available, one in landscape (as seen above) and one in portrait. Grab one or grab both to help develop your own apps. Each version includes 3 pages, page 1 has a vertical screen and a notes column, page 2 has a horizontal screen and a notes column. The final page has a 3 screen layout, great for drafting a design where you have a few ideas going in parallel until you merge them down into a final concept. All the pages have lots of white space for scribbling and comments.

Feel free to share this with anyone and everyone, just please link to this page. Please do not redistribute this under another name or on another site.

If you would like to make comments or suggestions please tweet me

UPDATE

New iPhone 4 and iPad templates are available for purchase! Our logo has been removed so you can use them as your own.

Best Sports Weekend Ever.

Published By Corey on Feb.03.2009 at 8:00PM

Wow! What an amazing weekend in sports. Easily the best I can recall.

Georges St. Pierre defends his title in spectacular fashion at UFC 94

GSP continued to show he improves with every fight and solidified himself at or near the top of the pound for pound list.

Additionally Lyoto Machida produces a highlight reel knockout in the last second of the first round. The rest of the event was full of high energy bouts but with all the decisions the two main fights definitely saved the event

Nadal survives back to back epic 5 set matches to win the Australian Open

In the process he shuts Federer out of his record tying 14th open title. Poor Federer was a wreck after the defeat, breaking down trying to give a speech, very emotional stuff.

If you didn't watch the matches I highly recommend you find them. 50 years from now the Nadal-Federer rivalry will likely stand as one of the best across all sports.

Steelers and Cardinals produce an awesome SuperBowl

Poor Cardinals, a back and forth rollercoaster of hope and despair. With the final nail in the coffin from Santonio Holmes amazing performance on the winning drive.

I usually attend superbowl games to enjoy food and friendship but this game had my attention as soon as Harrison produced the longest play in superbowl history.

Plus checkout the awesome Twitter visualization of the game

iBracket comes out

Ok, so maybe not on the same caliber as the other big achievements of the weekend, but Full of Design and ES Group are proud to announce the first application for March Madness on the iPhone. iBracket is free until February 15th.

The productivity of an all nighter

Published By Corey on Jan.20.2009 at 4:18AM

I've lost count of how many all nighters I have done since becoming entrenched with software development in 2002. I would peg the number somewhere around 40.

One thing is for certain though, nothing beats the productivity you can achieve when all possible distractions (both self inflicted and beyond your control) are removed.

Today turned into an all nighter when some major server moves were impacted by some missing libraries. Being resourceful when everyone has gone to sleep and you can't seek their counsel is a major confidence builder. On top of it I knocked off 15 items from my TODO list that I thought would remain nagging well into next week!

Well that about sums it up, felt like far too long since I posted to the blog. Maybe I'll edit this post tomorrow morning, after a huge sleep, and put some charts or insights in!

  you don't get nothing from sleep but a dream.
    --Don King

AWOL

Published By Ryan on Jan.16.2009 at 12:24PM

First off:

We're sorry the posts haven't been forthcoming lately.

Secondly:

We have an excuse, albeit a poor one. Work, life, and the holidays simply got the best of us.

We didn't forget about the blog… in fact we have a few posts ready and waiting to post, so stay close and we'll get them online pronto.

For those of you wondering what we were keeping busy with over the last little while, let's just say i'm sure a post or two about iPhone apps will appear in near future.

Twitter for Business

Published By Ryan on Sep.26.2008 at 8:00AM

Twitter Fail Whale

Twitter Fail Whale

According to Twitter it promotes itself as:

...a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?

But, a smart business can use Twitter for so much more. Here are a few ways to try out Twitter with your business

Exclusive deals

Give your customers a reason to add you to their list with Twitter-only deals, specials, and sales

Create transparency

Share company news, projects, and extra insight into your business and your customers will feel more engaged and involved.

Give important updates

Provide customers with holiday closures/hours, in-store events, website upgrade notices, and more!

Find new clients

Go to search.twitter.com and search for something like "Find a web designer" to find people who need your services.

Provide customer service

Create a Twitter presence to tackle problems, resolve issues, answer questions, and arrange service.

Listen to your customers.

Follow every single one of your Followers because those are your customers and they are sharing everything about their demographic with you.

Full of Design uses Twitter. Corey and myself both update our homepage via our Twitter accounts, and that's just the beginning. We're slowly, but surely, building our community and we hope to see you in our twitterfeed soon.

Design Instability

Published By Ryan on Sep.05.2008 at 8:00AM

What an (e-)Waste!

Photo by bdunnette

Every summer I manage to car camping with family and friends a couple of times. This summer was no exception.

When we head north we pack enough magazines to fuel a campfire in the event that wood has disappeared from the face of the earth. We've never had to resort to burning our periodicals, but I often manage to read a couple of them from front to back.

This trip was no exception.

The interesting thing was that Popular Mechanics and Wired both had interviews with designers (Saul Griffith and Philippe Starck, respectively) discussing design sustainability.

Both Starck and Griffith maintained the same opinion: in order to reduce the waste we produce we need to design better. Better design leads to products being kept longer, which leads to less trash, which, ultimately leads to a smaller carbon footprint.

Griffith referenced the ultimate example of this idea:

The Harley-Davidson culture in [the United States] potentially has an ethos more matched to the world's problems, because they love and polish and repair and keep that motorcycle in perfect shape.

The problem with this concept is technology.

Moore's Law (technology doubles in speed, and drops in cost by half every 18 months) creates a harsh reality for technology in design. How do you design for something that is constantly improving?

Both Starck and Griffith made note of this idea

Take the computer: It was the size of a room, then a briefcase. Now it's a credit card. You cannot dematerialize a chair completely, because you must continue to sit on it. —Starck
We have failed so far to conceive of electronic devices that we want to keep for 25 years and that are capable of lasting that long. —Griffith

The answer is certainly not a clear one. Companies have stepped up to the plate and started applying the same ethos that these designers hold true to their hearts.

iPhone

Apple's iphone is a beautiful little piece of technology. Courtesy of apple.ca

Apple constantly creates products that not only function well in today's technology market, but they take the time to make sure that the product looks good on your shelf, desk, or in your hand.

Their computers hold value for years. My 4 year old laptop was still worth a third of what I paid for it new. PC computers simply don't hold that kind of value. Is it Apple's attention to design that helps keep the value so strong?

Dell's new Media Computer

Dell's new Desktop Studio Hybrid courtesy of Dell.ca

Other companies have started to apply beautiful design to their computers. Dell recently announced a new media computer that has had designers around the world buzzing about the great look of Dell's new computer.

While great design certainly makes the decision to toss the old out for something newer and better a little more difficult, it still doesn't solve the dilemma that the guts inside the beautiful package don't hold water to the new tech emerging on a seemingly daily basis.

Mac Pro's inside's

An example of modular technology courtesy of apple.ca

Most computers are modular; you can upgrade memory, storage, video cards, etc. but eventually even this method of replacement reaches a saturation point and leaves us desiring a new computer

When we solve the problem of tech overload we'll truly have a great design.

Follow Through

Published By Ryan on Aug.08.2008 at 8:00AM

thesource01

www.thesource.ca on July 19, 2008

While shopping online a couple of weeks back, I saw this splash page for The Source.

thesource02

Dude, Where's the contest?

When I entered the site I couldn't find anything to allow me to enter the contest, or for that matter, anything that mentioned the contest

The link for the contest finally showed up several days later. Yes, I did keep going back to check. I had to; it's a perverse web designer need.

The moral of the story is to Always have the content on the next page when you advertise through a link. Don't hide it, and definitely don't forget it completely.

Bigger than Google?

Published By Ryan on Jul.11.2008 at 8:00AM

Gimme your review ... please!

 

Last weekend I ended up sitting poolside with a family friend to discuss his website. My friend, Don, and his wife Melody own a wonderful little bed and breakfast, Silken Dreams, in Niagara–on–the–lake and Don has been thinking about updating his site.

During our conversation he mentioned that his B&B is #4 on Trip Advisor. Don said that was his main source of referrals for the business. I was quite impressed by the ranking and asked how he achieved such success (after all, to be fourth in city famous for its B&B's was quite a feat). He said it all came down to good food, clean rooms, and great hosts.

I got thinking about how you take a great ranking and make it greater. Most companies concern themselves about their Google ranking, but nearly every industry has it's own ranking site. Don's B&B has Trip Advisor, Restaurants have Chowhound, even web designers have sites like BodyModified.

I'm not saying Google doesn't matter, but more time needs to be put into concerning ourselves with the sites that focus on our industry.

The solution to improve Don's Trip Advisor ranking was quite simple: Soon Don will have a computer set up for his guests to use when they visit so that they can look up local events, winery tour info, and so forth. When they start up the web browser they will see the Trip Advisor site as their start page.

Not only is this an extremely passive way to remind guests to share their comments on the site, but it also gives them the opportunity to leave a fresh review of Silken Dreams before their memories start to go stale with time.

Improving your ranking, and adding more feedback about your company on another site will ultimately help your Google ranking as well. Two birds with one stone!

So how do you improve the ranking for your business?

Perhaps a line at the end of your invoice suggesting they comment at the site relevant to your industry? Or a postcard in the mail after you finish a project with a client to say "Thank you ... and by the way, could you put in a good word for me at this site"?

Who says you have to rely on your customers? I'm not advocating fake comments on Trip Advisor, but visiting the site to make sure your business profile is listed and accurate is definitely a good start.

Add your great new blog post to Digg. Submit your new site to website showcases and galleries. Heck, toss an ad onto craigslist. Every little bit will ultimately help.

Be honest. The web can be a vicious place and if you are caught lying or cheating the repercussions could be extremely harmful to your business.

Digital Assumptions

Published By Ryan on Jun.27.2008 at 8:00AM

I recently moved into a new home with my wife Jamie. Over the past month every spare moment has gone into fixing and upgrading our house.

Recently the repairs have slowed down. They haven't slowed down because the list of chores has dwindled, they've come to a crawl because of a lack of resources. Two repairs are haunting me: a missing grommet from a septic pump, and a broken shower door.

The fix for both projects is quite simple; I need a grommet for the pump, and a clip for the door. The problem is that these items don't seem to exist in the real world.

The Pump

Stagnant water stench was escaping out of the pump resevoir and I needed a plug to fill the hole from which it eminated. After measuring the opening (with nose plugged) I determined the size was 2 inches in diameter.

The next step was to find the appropriate plug. I hit Home Depot, Lowes, Rona, and even Canadian Tire. None of these store had what I needed.

I finally looked up Myers, the name on the pump basin. After searching the products online, I was no closer to solving my problem, so I called the 800 number listed. I was transferred to someone's voicemail

Shortly after I hung up, I was called back by a very helpful employee named Peter. He suggested that I email him some pictures of the pump and he'd try to identify it and determine what part I needed and where I could get it.

As he made this recommendation, he paused and asked whether I owned a digital camera to perform this task. I do, so he continued talking and gave me his email address.

pump

This is the photo I sent to customer service using my digital camera and email, thanks to technology.

The Shower

The story here is basically the same. I tried all the same stores and could not find the part I needed, so I went online and found the manufacturer, Maax. The customer support agent on the other end of the line made the same suggestion to take photos and email them. When he paused to assess my digital life he asked whether I had the internet so I could email. He assumed I must have a digital camera.

Conclusion

I am currently waiting for the shower clip to arrive by mail from Maax. They sent it free of charge. The grommet is supposedly on order through a Myers reseller in the city. I'm not holding my breath; they didn't seem to keen at the counter to help me.

At the end of the day, I wonder how I might have completed this task 10 years ago. I know I could have done it, but I don't remember how. Now the process is to immediately go online to search google for the company listed on the product, do you own search through the catalogue for the item in question, and then read pdf manuals, etc. until you solve the problem. At worst, the email, phone, and physical address of the company is there for you to get direct assistance.

You don't need any skill as a raconteur to help customer support visualize the part, you simply need a digital camera and their email address. The whole process takes under an hour, and it seems nearly impossible to fail in your quest.

All this said, it's odd that doing this for 2 different items lead me to 2 different assumptions about what is standard. 1 man assumed I should have email; the other, a digital camera. They were both right, but what is the right assumption?

Building a better storefront

Published By Ryan on Jun.13.2008 at 8:00AM

When you're selling electronics you should give the customer all the details possible. Apple makes sure that you can clearly see what ports are available on their computers.

When storage on the web costs mere pennies why wouldn't you put as much information online as possible? It makes no sense for your customers to struggle for the information they need when making decisions about what product or service is right for them. Give them enough information to help them make an informed decision when buying from your store

There are all sorts of things you can include in your store. Obviously, not everything listed here will be applicable to your site, but there is almost always room for improvement within your site

Product Images

  • Show the product from several angles
  • Show the product in use
  • Show every colour or pattern available
  • Provide a 360 degree panorama of your product
  • Provide a video of the product's functionality
  • Offer enlarged views
  • Show close-up photos to highlight the details

Lingerie retailer, Victoria's Secret provides customers with swatches for all available colours. Close-ups of each fabric swatch shows the textures of the fabric as well

Describe the Product

  • Have a professional copywriter create a short description about the product
  • Tell the customer how it works
  • List the product's features for easy consumption
  • Provide manufacturing information (ie: Organic, Made in Canada)
  • Give dimensions or sizing information
  • Put product manuals online

Warehouse superstore Costco puts details easily in the customer's hand. A well-written description, bulleted features, shipping and warranty info is easily located within the page.

There's no sales Rep sitting with them

  • Ensure that the price and shipping details are easily found
  • If it's on sale, let the customer know what it did cost
  • Show stock quantities online and in-store
  • Make the return policy and warranty information convenient
  • Keep the checkout simple and secure

Future Shop, a Canadian electronics retailer, shows the customer stock availability at up to 4 bricks and mortar locations as well as their online sales stock.

Give them MORE!

  • Provide customer reviews. Even a bad review might help you improve your product
  • Show the customer accessory options for the product
  • If the product isn't made by you, provide a link to the manufacturer's product page
  • Show your customer what others have bought along with the item in question

Not only does Amazon show their customers what other people have bought along with the item in question, but they also provide countless product reviews written by other customers

The Home, Work, Fun triangle

Published By Corey on Jun.06.2008 at 8:28AM

The Home Work Fun triangle, (henceforth called HWF) describes my method of keeping the major dimensions of life in balance. In this post I'll talk about the major players in my triangle and go over some basics in HWF self evaluation

When Ryan and I chose the name Full of Design it wasn't just about beautiful graphics and feature rich software. It was just as much about designing our lives to be full of the things we strive for. I want the opportunity to fill my live with my family, travel and squash, but to achieve that I'm 100% aware that work is going to play a big part. I've been trying to consciously live by keeping my HWF in check.

We're all responsible for letting the triangle become unbalanced once in a while. Overcommitment of your energy and time to one dimension causes another to suffer. In most cases an over investment towards the Work vertex brings about problems on the home front.

My repeat offender is sometimes there will be a project that grabs my interest so much it makes me put everything else on a back burner (or off the stove altogether). After a couple of days or weeks it becomes painfully apparent that Home and Fun are suffering and I tone down on the Work focus.

Home

Home is where I unwind with my wonderful wife Kandy and Full of Energy Mischevious Molly Martella. This is listed first because it is the most important dimension and also the first to get out of whack. What happens when you over or under commit to Home?


The brewing storm. If you don't let this happen you'll be a lot better off. Trust me.


The altruistic mate. When family emergencies pop up you know everything else becomes secondary, but in day to day life are you giving yourself enough freedoms?.

Work

Most of us work to pay the bills, I count myself among the supremely lucky that I love what I do and don't mind pouring my heart and soul into my work. I've been employed by a company that lived by the mantra "Work Hard. Play Hard" and I totally agree with it. The rewards from Home and Fun become amplified when you finish a slice of work that just leaves you thinking "Damn, thats some good work!". Work is also the dimension that most of us let miscommunicated expectations and overcommitment play a role


The ladder climber. If you have the kind of lifestyle to hyper focus on your career without consequence go for it but work isn't all things to all people.

Fun

This area is interesting in that in a perfect world is a superset of Home and Work. But I have personal interests, primarily being squash, that doesn't mesh with my home life. Take time for yourself at least twice a week to keep the battery charged (both physically and mentally) then come home happy and go to work ready to impress.

Your commitments to fun don't have to be time consuming or cause your disappearance from the home front. I love to take a break from work and rock out on a few Guitar Hero tunes. When you've had a tough morning at work find someplace at lunch to take your mind off things. I head to Chapters and browse the car magazines, oh Bugatti Veyron, when will you be mine!


Frank the tank. Corey circa 2002. Good memories, bad planning.

Thats some Zen stuff Corey but...

how do I implement it myself? Good question, I find each dimension can be evaluated by 3 metrics.

Time

It would seem obvious that spending 0 hours in a day/week/month at home would probably upset your significant other. However, in years past I quickly run out of fingers when I try to count the number of times I've been late for dinner or had to leave early in the morning and it went miscommunicated. Keep tabs on how much time you are (or aren't) devoting to each dimension.

Effort

In my books effort comes in two forms, physical and mental, but counts to one total. I know after a long game of squash I'll be too exhausted for errands so I make sure that before I play I check the to do list and see if theres any "utohs" on it.

Mental effort is the one that I have the most trouble realistically evaluating. There will be days of work that I'll rack my brain to no end trying to solve a problem but moments after recharging at home the solution appears. I totally believe the occurrences of eureka moments is correlated to keeping HWF in check.

Fight or Flight

When you're sitting at your desk and you can't concentrate because your thinking "Crap, I forgot to ____ the ____" that is the ideal Fight or Flight evaluation point. Do you fight through the mental reminder and get some work done? Do you take flight and clear your head? Be fair to yourself and your coworkers/family/friends fight through the minor annoyances and take flight for the major deal breakers.

Go forth and balance!

Score each metric on whatever scale you like. For time I give myself 5/5 for each dimension I feel I exceeded the time demands put on me, 3 if I met them and 1 or 0 if I let someone down. For effort if any dimension pushed me to the point of mental or physical exhaustion it gets a 0. If it recharged my battery or I feel that I opened a can of whoop ass on it the 5's show up. Fight or flight I leave as a + or -. If I fought through some major discouragement I add points. If I took flight to another dimension too often (leaving work to make errands) I take points off.


Mr. Perfect. Setting high goals is great but...


Mr. Realistic sets himself reasonable goals and I'm he's happy with that

Gas prices good for business?

Published By Ryan on May.28.2008 at 8:00AM

Yesterday on the CBC's (Canadian Broadcast Corp.) Q with Jian Ghomeshi, Jian brought up the idea that this summer's gas prices could be the ultimate excuse for everything. Just blame gas.

If this theory is true, how will this affect your business?

Are your customers going to skip the trip to the mall, or your office because the cost of gas is too high? Not likely, but now might be a good time to evaluate how useful your website really is.

Does it meet your customers' needs?

Maybe it's time to bring your storefront online with an e-commerce section. Or maybe a bigger, better catalogue so people know it's worth guzzling gas for a great product

Bottom line: Technology is always changing. It's always worth reviewing your site to see if there is anything you can do to make the experience better for your customer

Full of... design

Published By Ryan on May.27.2008 at 8:09PM

Download our Full of Coffee wallpaper

When we started branding the company we had a large list of requirements for a logo.

First, we wanted a simple logo, one that could be used alongside our client's designs without taking away from the efforts we put into their site.

We ended up picking Helvetica to form our logo, love it or hate it, it is a simple and elegant typeface

A close-up of our new postcard

Second, we wanted something tongue and cheek. We decided that leaving a blank at the end of full of gave the logo that perfect quirk.

A FoD sticker on one of the company laptops

Third, we wanted a logo that had all kinds of applications. We wanted a logo that was more than just a logo. We wanted something we could carry across all of our marketing items. When we say thank you, we want to be full of thanks. If we're sending invoices we could let you know that the mail is full of bills.