On Wednesday the 4th December at 12:11am, Jen, Addison and I welcomed our new baby into the world. Welcome, Nyah.
On Wednesday the 4th December at 12:11am, Jen, Addison and I welcomed our new baby into the world. Welcome, Nyah.
3 months have passed since I last wrote something. Even for me that’s a long time. To be truthful I fell out of love with writing, I needed a break.
I’m back, with the company of Sentinel from Hoefler &Frere-Jones. I’ve been dabbling with their cloud fonts for a little while now on another project. When I decided I needed to shake things up a bit here, they were my go to service. You see, I needed to strip everything away and get back to what made me want to write in the first place. A clean-slate for sharing thoughts, ideas and knowledge.
So that’s what I did. I’ve looked into using some barebones WordPress themes which I could style up myself before, they lasted all of two minutes. However, this time, I came across James Young’s Barebones project (both his barebones HTML and WP projects are with a look at). It was the most stripped back yet ready to go barebones project I’ve seen and this weekend, in between breaks to build towers and read books with my 2year old I tinkered.
Tinkering is good, even when something isn’t going the way you want it to, you know that you’ll get it eventually. Tinkering is an on-going thing, it’s never over and neither will this place I call home. There’s more to come and more to share.
Today is my last day at Obox Themes.
Almost exactly one year to the day of joining, I’m stepping back in to the rank and file of freelance designers.
The past year has been full of enjoyment and growth. Alongside the small team at Obox, we’ve been busy getting things done and shipping products.
Where from here? I’m looking to work with some great people on interesting/challenging design projects for web and mobile (iOS).
If you’d like to work together, shoot me an email, I’d love to hear from you.
A little while ago I designed a blogging theme for Obox Themes called ‘Personal‘. Designed for writers, journalists and bloggers it removed all the clutter to focus on your content. It was gladly received by Obox’s customers and just yesterday the theme also launched on the WordPress.com platform.
A proud moment as WordPress.com users also seem to like it.
Google Webfonts are free and with ‘free’ you expect something to suck a bit. As I found out and details in this article, some of the webfonts available suck but not all as there are some good Google Webfonts.
When we’re creating WordPress themes at Obox, we must be able to design and create a theme that anyone can use. We have an inbuilt typography manager which enables users to manage which webfonts they’re using and then they can add their own custom fonts if they wish.
Webfonts services like Fontdeck, Typekit and the new Hoefler and Frere-Jones webfont services are great but a lot of the time, people would like a goood free webfont.
We won’t ask any customer at Obox to purchase our themes and then ask them to subscribe to a paid webfont service, that’s a bit harsh, neither can we bundle fonts into our theme packages unless they’re free with all-rights-removed.
For us, at the moment, Google webfonts is the only way to go to bring a bit of ‘difference’ to the typography in our themes.
Roll back a few months and I was a hater, I hated the restriction that was imposed by a less than healthy font service with regards to choices.
When I came to designing our latest theme, I wanted to do something different, so I started a search which inspired this post.
I felt restricted because at first view, I found a font then looked at the family and it was non-existant. I’d never be able to use a font in a theme with one weight nor can I use a font which looks dreadful at smaller or larger sizes.
With Google webfonts you only get ‘some’ of the family in most cases but if you look hard enough you’ll find fonts with pretty full families that you can use.
So here started the in-depth search for some fonts to use in the new theme design. Here are some that I found that you could use too;
With the ‘in font’ being Proxima Nova and maybe Gotham since H&FJ’s webfont service has started I looked endlessly for a good sans-serif Google font that was similar to Proxima Nova. There aren’t but one does come close. Monsterrat is a bit more plump than both of those fonts and only comes in two weights but with careful use you can use it easily in your designs.
I’ve not been a massive user of slab-serif’s for a while now but I used to use Arvo as my default slab-serif Google font for previous designs. We also had a theme using Arvo at Obox at one point.
The fonts I’ve chosen above clearly don’t have full families as they were chosen on purpose to be feature fonts and the main body content font was a fully family font. However you’ll also notice that from all the Google Webfonts I didn’t find many that I could use right there and then.
If you’re using Typekit or another webfont service but are in need of a Google webfont, look deep there are others out there as I found just yesterday after finding this link ‘Better Google Fonts‘.
I wish I’d found that link before I started my search.
For some reason when I was younger my English skills and hand-writing weren’t as good as they should have been, or at least I was led to believe that was the case. In the early years of Middle School I had an English Teacher called Mrs Hall. She was known for being fairly strict but I quite liked her no-nonsense approach to teaching.
I didn’t like the way she used to force a pen in to my right hand when I’ve always been left-handed. By force I mean quite literally, I was ‘stupid’ for being left-handed. I was told that my English skills were so bad that I would never amount to anything. I wasn’t the only one in the class who was treated that way, there was a small group of us who would be talked down to because of the way we were.
Thinking back, I can’t remember why I had a hard time with those skills in particular. I can remember from a young age that I used to write and draw. When it came to a point in our school year where we were being taught about poetry, again, I was told that I was stupid because I would never be able to do what the rest of the class were doing.
I was made in a certain way and being shunned was not ‘my way‘. Having been given some homework to write poetry during the school holidays I wrote something which came from within. I didn’t want to show anyone at first just in case their response was the same as Mrs Hall’s.
I was spending a couple of days with my Dad during the holidays and typed up the piece of poetry I’d written on his computer and printed it out on his HP Deskjet 500 (remember those?!). He asked to see it and quickly told me to print off a copy for him.
The holidays finished, I went back to school and handed in my piece of work. I was proud of what I’d done, it was just a few lines of poetry but those words on that piece of A4 came from my heart. It was graded mediocre at best. I wasn’t heartbroken, I’d come to expect the same every time I handed in something to be marked.
Months later, I found out that the paper copy which my Dad had asked for had actually been sent by him in to a poetry competition which I knew nothing about. The competition was ran by the Daily Mail and the competition winners and runner ups would have their poetry published in a book.
My piece of poetry got through for my age category to the final and came second. My words, which apparently I was too stupid to write, came second in a national competition and were published in a book called ‘Voices on the Wind’.
I couldn’t wait to go into school and tell Mrs Hall that it had happened and show her the letter of proof. I’d expected a happy reaction, and all I got was her telling me that her prize student in the class should have been the one entering into competitions. But, you know, that’s ok as my words are in a book on a shelf somewhere. I’ve never stopped having the same reaction when people say I can’t do something, I always come back fighting and so should you.
We often forget about what the internet was like before our time. Here it is in all its glory in a news report from 1981. 2 years before I was born they talk about how it will change in the future. It changed everyones lives.
Trying to import .mov files in to iMovie doesn’t always work first time round as I’ve just found out. I was ready to start editing the Industry Conference videos, went to import the .mov files in to iMovie and they were greyed out.
I could swear I’d important .mov files in to iMovie before without any problems, so double checked with some older video I’d imported and I was right. They had worked fine. After doing some much required googling I found that most .mov files do in fact import into iMovie just fine. There are however a small few which can’t for specific reasons and Tim Johnson answered the reasons better than I could myself;
In iMovie 11 (current version) click FILE/IMPORT/MOVIES… and navigate to your .mov file. iMovie will import it.
It is important to realize that MOV is a container, not a codec. iMovie will only import codecs that it can edit. For example, iMovie cannot edit DIVX, so if your MOV file contains DIVX, iMovie will not import it. Codecs that iMovie can handle include AVCHD, h.264, Motion JPEG, Apple Animation, Apple Intermediate Codec, DV, HDV, etc.
The audio codec must also be compatible with iMovie. AAC and AIFF work well.
Further, iMovie cannot edit MOV files with extra tracks such as closed caption tracks, chapter tracks, tween tracks, manual advance tracks, and the like.
If your MOV file contains these, you can delete these tracks using Apple’s QuickTime Pro.
If the MOV file contains extra tracks, or contains a video or audio codec that iMovie cannot edit, the MOV file will be grayed out and not selectable in the import dialog box.
You can determine which codecs and tracks your MOV file contains by opening the file in QuickTime Player (or QuickTime Pro) and clicking WINDOW/INSPECTOR (or Command-I). The codec information will be listed next to the word FORMAT in the inspector.
The above explains the problems I was facing. The new videos I had to import for Industry Conference were filled with codec’s not normal within iMovie. This incurred a slight bit of panic that I’d have to have the files resent to me (about 600gb worth) I found that it wasn’t so bad.
It is easier than it may seem although it might cost you just a little bit of money to do so. There are a couple of apps that you can use to convert your .mov media which won’t import in to iMovie into .mp4 files which you can use.
Firstly there is the Bigasoft iMovie Converter for Mac which you can download a trial of and use to convert a small file to see how it works before purchasing a licence.
Secondly there is the iSkysoft Video Converter for Mac app which you can also download a trial of and use to convert a file, however, they create a watermark over the demo’d conversion.
I downloaded both demo’s and opened them up, Bigasoft was visually displeasing on the eye and looked older than iSkysoft. Quickly navigated through the conversion process on iSkysoft and converted one of the smaller videos which wouldn’t import in to iMovie hoping that no quality would be lost nor the audio out of sync. Everything was perfect.
So the way to import .mov files in to iMovie if they’re greyed out is simply convert them first with iSkysoft. They’ll convert in to .mp4 files which you can then import edit, export and upload to where you want them to be.