Friday, February 23, 2007
T2 is well underway. I'm going to be a bit conservative about posting screenshots of new features until I am ready to release it, but I wanted to show a timeline with a gradient fill in the background.
Besides gradients, T2 will also allow a transparent background which will be cool for exporting timelines as PDF. The transparent background will allow the chart to be composited with other media. For example, a timeline could be composited over a video for a documentary or used over an interesting background in a Keynote presentation.
It is a small upgrade from a technical perspective, but should allow users a lot more flexibility.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
I worked on my new calling cards some more Tuesday night. I was able to pick up the paper that I wanted from the craft store, but they were out of the stamping ink I wanted, so I went ahead and make a few dozen cards with the inks that we already had on hand.
The black and bright orange scheme is actually kind of rock and roll in a color-your-converse-shoes-with-sharpies kind of way.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
The upcoming Apple WWDC Conference inspired me to create a Bee Docs' Shirt. Last year, the conference was mostly a sea of humanity wearing black shirts and jeans.
However, the Apple employees had brightly colored shirts that they wore every day. Aaron Hillegass wore his hat most days so he was easy to spot in a crowd, Allan Obgaard wore his Textmate shirt most days, and the Delicious Monster crew were easy to spot in their brown shirts they wore each day.
Other than that, there were like 3,000 people wearing black shirts. I remember the guys I listed above because they were different. This time, I want to be easy to identify and remember too, so I designed the orange shirt with my bee logo you see above.
In the old days, I used to make band shirts by creating a custom silk screen and printing the shirts in my parents' basement. These days, you can just design and order a t-shirt from Zazzle and have it in a few days. It is more expensive for large quantities, but it is great when you want something quick and you only want a few.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
For a while, I have wanted "business cards" that are more casual than business cards. It seems that most of the people that I want to give cards to are folks that are a friend-of-a-friend folks that I meet in coffee shops, or family, or people I happen to line up next to at conferences.
These people don't care about my job title or my fax number! Nor do very many people in my corner of the world correspond via snail mail. What I want is a card that expresses something about the way I approach life, reminds folks of my name, and sends them to my blog if they want to find out more about me or my company. More "calling card" than "business card."
On a few separate occasions over the past weeks, colleages have said that I take an artisan approach to business. I like this and have been embracing my inner artisan, looking for ways to be non-corporate while focusing on quality and detail.
For the cards, I have decided to try rubber stamping them. I love the look of hand screen-printed posters and letterpress cards. I thought I might be able to get a similar look at a cheaper price using stamps.
I started by designing a layout in Apple's Keynote (my favorite quick-layout tool) and then refined the design in Adobe Illustrator. I wanted a design that could be different for every card, so it has two pieces, the bee from my logo and a block with my name and blog address.
I ordered rubber stamp versions of the design elements from Simon's Stamps. You can upload a high-resolution black and white image to their site and they'll send you a stamp in a few days. Pretty cool, and inexpensive too. The two stamps cost under $30 including shipping.
Currently I am working out the paper and color options. I bought a bunch of different single sheets from a neighborhood craft store as well as a few different colors of stamp pads. I haven't found the perfect combo yet, but I am getting close. Some of the papers that I like don't work well with the ink, the yellow is too light and the blue was a syrupy texture that didn't show enough detail to easily read the URL. Based on my experiments, I am going to go back to the store this evening and buy another round of supplies.
I'll post updates as I move toward the ultimate calling card!
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
We decided to do a special one day sale in collaboration with MacZOT today.
Today only, you can buy Timeline at a 40% discount for 24 dollars! If you have been on the fence about purchasing a license, or know a friend or co-worker who should own a copy of Bee Docs' Timeline, head on over to MacZOT and grab your copy. This is the biggest discount we have ever offered to the public, and is only being offered today.
Please note that we also have a steep discount available every day for teachers and students (even cheaper than MacZOT). To receive the education discount, just send me an e-mail and let me know where you study and what your favorite subject is and I'll send you back a discount code.
With T2 around the corner and deep discounts in the air, this is the perfect time to get on board the Bee Docs' Timeline bus!
Monday, February 05, 2007
The following "thought of the day" is by Michael Dougherty (co-founder of Redfin among other things). Michael is perched in an office down the hall from me and we often share hallway conversation about the way the business works, and what products would be fun to bring to market, etc... He sent me the following in an e-mail this week, posted here with his permission:
Something that just occurred to me: the very term "user interface" subtly betrays the behind-the-scenes bias of most of us who use it. It conveys our unstated belief that the real heart of a software product is its technical machinery - the algorithms, architecture, storage, hardware - and not the person for whom it is built.
Software architects obsess about technical engineering design. Building architects, on the other hand, obsess primarily about creating functional, beautiful spaces for human beings. In fact they obsess about many things that they won't actually build: the site context, the light, the way the space should make its occupants feel. Technical design comes second.
Saying "user interface" is like saying "stage left" - it reveals the gulf between us and our users. As designers & creators of software, we should get off the stage and take our seat where we belong - down in the audience.
Maybe we should call it "the machine interface".
Thursday, February 01, 2007
I'm pleased to announce that January 2007 was our all time best sales month for Bee Docs' Timeline. The record was previously held by our launch month back in March 2005! The number of licenses sold surpassed our launch month by a large margin. I'm not sure why... we didn't launch any new ad campaigns or anything, but the timing is great.
Thanks to everyone who either bought a copy or told someone about Timeline!
In other news, I have been plugging away at the code for T2, the second major version of Bee Docs' Timeline. I had been doing design and prototype work for the last several months of 2006, and on January 1st, I began working on the T2 project itself (this is a "from scratch" rewrite).
There is still much work to be done, but basic event drawing and editing, parallel event rows, collision detection, notes, drag and drop event images, and Timeline 1.0 document support are complete. I should be able to release a beta to existing customers around the time that Apple ships Leopard (T2 will be for Leopard only).
I've also been brainstorming and thinking about what is next after T2. I contacted the lead engineer on the Simile Timeline project who was supportive about having us integrate their AJAX timeline charts into Bee Documents' products, so who knows what the future will bring... Something for web perhaps???