Launched Christian Webers new site
Fri, Nov 07 2014
Great work by christian.
For this new site, I developed a brand new CMS which has a lot of potentials. A very intuitive and flexible way to track and organize huge amounts of information. Using a NoSQL database which makes many of the advanced features possible. Very exciting stuff.
The importance of a maintenance agreement
Thu, Jun 01 2017
So, unfortunately, I've lost a client of 9 years over a $150 dollar dispute. After hours on the phone frustration and a bad experience on both ends of the agreement, I had to let them go. This all could have been avoided with a simple and affordable maintenance agreement to allow us to be proactive in discovering and updating code to keep up with changes in technology.
Camp Site Media
Thu, Mar 28 2019
Revlon Suncandy Nail Polish vs. SunCandy
Sat, Jan 17 2015
So I googled "suncandy" the other day. To my surprise, Revlon has created a nail polish with the same name, and a similar logo to my masthead / logotype. I've definitely inspired someone working for Revlon...
I've owned suncandy.com and run the SunCandy phot blog for nearly 15 years. --> Suncandy on the wayback machine 2001
In that time I've been working in the creative profession and worked with a few fashion and beauty brands.
Here's my best guess either someone I've worked with in the past, had some type of position at Revlon and used my logo as the springboard for the nail polish logo. Or... the designer googled "suncandy" saw my work, and made it cuties wootsie for the nail polish.
Either way fuck Revlon Suncandy nail polish.
If you want to get your nails d_id use super black.
Christian Weber 2016 site refresh with Topiary JSON Templating
Wed, Oct 26 2016
Recently just finished a refresh of the index of Christian Weber. The newest iteration of the site uses Topiary, a brand new templating system that I've been developing that works with our information management system Tree & Field.
Topiary is an extremely lightweight, flexible, mobile first & SEO friendly one-page web application that runs off local JSON objects published by Tree & Field. It was extremely enjoyable to work with vs. the previous version of the system & compared to other bloated front end CMS framework combos that are popular these days.
I'm currently working on one other site using this new system and hope to polish it up in the coming year.
It's been a long time...
Wed, Dec 23 2015
New updates are in the works.
I've been busy with several side projects as well as architecting & programming an iOS app for people with a heavy NDA... Too many time-consuming activities.
Parsec API: Separating UI from the application code base
Sun, Apr 21 2019
There is so much talk of frameworks & development strategies, but quite often we forget the why because we are so focused on the how. One simple rule that saves so much wasted time & headache is this simple rule: Separate the Data from the Design.
Separating the data from the Design was somewhat popular a few years ago when Model -> View -> Controller was en vogue. Somehow that's been lost in the recent popular methodologies. In fact, it's gone so far in the opposite direction that many developers are advocating the end of global CSS or only using code generated inline styles... Ridiculous.
Recently I was asked to update an interface on a project built with Microsoft proprietary closed source code, no could be made without the current developers project files, which I had no access too. Basically an impossible project. So instead of wasting my time I informed the client of the problem and proposed a solution that would let the current development team continue in their area of expertise while making the interface updates more flexible.
Below is a quick brief of the strategy I proposed.
Search, Ricky Truth. The Algolia API
Mon, Jul 11 2016
As part of an ongoing Holistic self-promotion, I had a chance to integrate the Algolia search engine into my website. "Search, Ricky Truth" is the call to action for a campaign of print and e-mail outreach pieces combined with an SEO effort I am currently working on. In addition to the campaign, I thought a site search engine and search navigation on the site would tie the _idea together.
I researched several possibilities Google Custom Search Engine, Elasticsearch, Solr, and Algolia. Google Custom Search has no free version and the UI/UX for the service (and the majority of Google's projects) is incredibly unintuitive and frustrating. I've had some previous experience with Solar the installation process and setup are too time-consuming for this project and its indexing and crawling can be very resource intensive. That left Elasticsearch and Algolia I choose Algolia because I liked the format of the documentation much better and the Github single sign-on made signing up for the service a single click. Easy.
I experienced a small speedbump in the learning curve when I started working with ranking and display. For some reason when I wanted to filter the search with "facetFilters" no results would return until I added an arbitrary value to the "Attributes to highlight" section of settings, weird. The only other negative experience I had with the API was that it requires to add, edit, and delete API calls to originate from HTTPS. That meant I had to install an SSL certificate on my local server just to test out those calls. That nearly made me ditch the service; that's incredibly un-userfriendly for someone researching a service. I went through the extra effort and installed a local SSL, but it left a bad taste in my mouth.
That being said Algolia is still excellent service and one I would recommend.
Serverless, emphasis on the less, and by less I mean more.
Mon, Apr 29 2019
Serverless, it's the hot new topic in web publishing technology. So where did the servers go & what is it?
Well, the servers really didn't go anywhere. There are still servers! In fact, there are more servers than ever. The main thing to understand is that Serverless is really just an application interface layer on top of many networked server resources that you can use as needed. You no longer have to maintain or configure any hardware and the network resources can scale instantly as your application or site grows, both of which are actually great. So to be clear there are still servers they are just hiding them from you behind another layer of technology.
There are some very cool things about Serverless & the hosting company netlify offers most of them. Firstly, forget FTP. You now can deploy directly from your git repo. Deploying from git is great for developing, staging & rollbacks. It's also strangely satisfying. It's awesome for node sites, Static sites & front end heavy sites. Netlify has server-like configuration options, built-in authentication, automatic integration with Amazon Lambda, free easy https & great personal customer service. If you want to get your feet wet with serverless I highly recommend netlify.
So what's stopping you from moving all your projects to Serverless tomorrow? Well, there are a few drawbacks. One, no e-mail. You need a separate account to host your e-mail. Also, With the exception of NodeJs, you have no access to traditional backend programming languages that execute on the server. If the browser doesn't support it won't execute sorry... hence the name serverless. Do you need to use PHP, Go Python, Java, ASP, Cold Fusion? They will not run on your new serverless product. So what's a ninja supposed to do? Well, you are not S.O.L. they have it all planned out for you.
You can pay for and run your backend functionality on another service and use it via an API. Amazon has rolled out its Lambda service and it's integrated directly into netlify. Lambda! What a catchy name I'll say it three times. Lambda Lambda Lambda. Reminds me of Revenge of the Nerds for some reason... ok I'm on a tangent... back to serverless.
So really serverless is a form of technology compartmentalization & interdependence. It's complicating the backend process & opening up new points of failure for critical parts of your application that you have no control over. And each time you use a function it could incur a cost which is honestly a big pain in the ass. Should you worry? Well... not right now. Amazon at least, for the time being, is incredibly reliable and for most applications the cost is negligible. However, It's something to watch out for in the near future. There could come a time when you have few other alternatives to deploy your Serverless functions, the cost could skyrocket and the API calls could be less reliable... effectively driving anyone not "in the club" out of business.
Fri, Mar 29 2019
After a last-minute site update before a weekend trade show, Zadara asked me to make some custom components for their cloud storage product. It was one of those projects where they gave me an excel spreadsheet with a bunch of formulas and said: "figure it out." After some back & forth they came out fantastic.
Unfortunately, they hired multiple other developers to take over the site & went in a new direction.
Par for the course really.
Here are the components on netlify (awesome service by the way)
Dead Celebz MVP e-commerce
Fri, Aug 12 2016
I recently had a chance to work with the Shopify Java-script API to refresh Dead Celebz website. The goal put up an e-commerce site as quickly as possible and as cheaply as possible. The Shopify API is incredibly powerful for quickly putting up a cart and check out experience. I was impressed at how easy it came together. Although the lite version of the plan is missing some major features especially in shipping calculation, it's a great way to get up and moving with a minimum viable product.
New Coke, Coke Classic & The Pepsi Challenge
Sat, Apr 13 2019
I've been thinking about over-reactions lately, mostly due to the current trends in media & politics. It reminded me of a famous over-reaction in branding that happened in the '80s. Coca-Cola's reaction to the "Pepsi Challenge" advertising campaign.
In 1983 Pepsi launched an ingenious advertising campaign called the "Pepsi Challenge" where average people would take a sip of two different colas in a blind taste test then give their honest reaction about which cola taste better.
Pepsi won in a landslide and in the court of public opinion Coke was in trouble of losing its status as the Americas favorite soft drink. The advertisers at coke thought they had to do something. The Executives reaction was unprecedented, they decided to change the secret formula of Coca-Cola to compete with Pepsi in the taste test. The Numbers don't lie & the blind taste tests from both companies proved Pepsi taste better.
Coke updated its branding and formula to prevent Pepsi from taking over the market share as the taste of a new generation.Coke succeeded. Or so they thought.
In the new blind taste test, the "New Coke" was beating Pepsi at its own game. However sales were telling a different story, Cokes traditional customers were not buying New Coke. What happened?What happened was a huge over-reaction by Coca-Cola. While in taste tests a sip of Pepsi beat a sip of coke. Pepsi only won because a sip of Pepsi was sweeter than coke. In the long term most people still preferred an entire Can of Coke more than an entire Can of Pepsi.
Pepsi's marketing strategy shook up the executives at Coke and disrupted their confidence in a product that had been enjoyed for decades. Coke brought back the original formula a few years later as Coke classic and eventually phased out New Coke altogether.
Today Coke Classic the original formula still has the Lion's share of the soft drink market.
Wed, Mar 27 2019
Just for fun, I left up a generic payment slider on the home page.
Feel free to pay me whenever you want!
Suncandy periodic blog and images
Thu, Jan 15 2015
SunCandy was a photo blog I maintained for 12 years. A picture a day from 2001 until the end of the Mayan calendar and the end of the world in 2012. In many ways my world did end around that time. And now I'm dealing with the frustrating new existence. However life goes on completely changed and superficially unchanged.
I'm in the process of rebuilding SunCandy as a blog and news site.
The Ionic Framework for cross-platform mobile applications.
Fri, Jan 08 2016
I've had the opportunity to try out the ionic framework on my last mobile project. Having had experience using Apache Cordova, as well as Adobes version of Cordova PhoneGap I was skeptical about Ionics performance claims. Previous hybrid Cordova projects I have worked on have always had a few nanoseconds of sluggishness which is frustrating. As I'm coming close to the goal line on my current project, I have no problems saying I'm very impressed with the performance of this framework. Ionic delivers native UI performance, which is fantastic.
Ionic is a Cordova-based framework, & works with most Cordova CLI plugins. What's special about Ionic is its integration with Angularjs, it's optimized to use hardware acceleration and perform minimal DOM manipulations. The Angular integration gives it that snap and native user experience that is sometimes lacking in Hybrid mobile applications.
Ionic get's you half way there overnight...
Before making the decision to use Ionic, I started this project out by creating a screen by screen wire-frame using Adobe Illustrator. After screen and interaction approval, I was able to browse through the Ionic docs and with a few minor adjustments in the wire-frame, Ionics pre-built components met 95% of the UI requirements. Ionic get's you half way there overnight, which helps get momentum going at the beginning of the project. Then it was on to the not so exciting multiple client revisions, new feature requests, and the obligatory IOS upgrade during the middle of the project. Overall it was a great experience using the framework & and gave me much more confidence in the viability of Cordova-based hybrid apps.
Another one bites the dust.
Wed, Jul 24 2019
Just lost another website to the free labor of an intern mixed with the cheap monthly price of SquareSpace or Wix or one of those other low rent web tools. The internet is becoming a trailer park, not much you can do about it. I understand the value of those services for small business but agencies and large companies are being short-sighted by relying on those tools. You really can't make a living doing websites anymore. Oh well. The agencies and production companies will have there turn as well as they become displaced by crowdsourcing and subscriptions services. We are just at the beginning of what seems to be a major displacement industry-wide.
Adios Campsite. Thanks for the memories.
Storm Interiors Refresh, Topiary & Custom Admin
Tue, Jan 03 2017
Just completed a clean & simple refresh of Storm Interiors using our new front end angular templating system Topiary. The back-end is powered by a streamlined version of tree & field using flat file JSON publishing and customized UI for the storm site.
The last days of top level domains & custom sites
Fri, Sep 21 2018
I've lost two long term clients to DIY web building systems. Christian Weber a 20-year relationship was lost to WIX. And Storm Interiors a 10 Year relationship was lost to Square space. These were both clients who needed expertise in UX, someone with an understanding of the aesthetics of luxury and someone they could pick up the phone and talk to when they needed support, maintenance or updates.
Their new sites are cheap looking & buggy in my opinion. And they are stuck in the frameworks of the site builders. But that is the trend in the industry now. Good luck to them. C'est la vie.
Why I'm not on Instagram
Fri, Jan 23 2015
I don't like instagram for two reasons. The first and most important, all the images are squares. L7. I realize the instagram format is a Polaro_id metaphor and the images are meant to mimic that classic format. The square format limits all the compositional variations that can be had from cropping.
The Second, I spent 12 years making my own personal photo blog.
So I have a biased opinion.
Rocket no launch
Fri, Aug 25 2017
Almost launched a new website for rocketcom.com after a long drug out process and a tedious search for content the project was canceled just before launch. The in house team took over and finished up. Looks like they put it up. As always design by committee screwed up a lot of the layout and functionality. But 86% of what I did is there.
Quick Pitch Deck Etihad
Mon, Apr 15 2019
Put together this deck from campsite a while ago. 24 hour turn around. Just trying to keep the lights on really. I'm not involved in the project beyond the pitch deck.
Might as well be Chinese. 18 x 24 Prints available
Tue, Apr 17 2018
Wed, Mar 27 2019
A project I was recently working on came to an abrupt & rather unexpected end.
So, I finally have a little free time to rebuild some of the systems I lost when my ex-server partner shut down the server I was publishing on with no warning. I've just finished the first build of a pretty cool NoSQL news application that can create, edit & coordinate multiple articles across a suite of websites and publish them via API. A mini version of Medium with a real working API basically.
Introducing Tree & Field
Thu, Jul 05 2018
User Experience, User Interface, Rapid Application Prototyping, Custom Coded Solutions.Focusing on Delivering progressive web applications for FinTech, Blockchain, Medical Technology & AR/VR.
GIA 4C's Mobile Content Management System
Thu, Jul 07 2016
Problem: The inherited code base of the GIA 4C's App Suite was developed in a way that created a huge bottleneck during deployment. All the content was either hand coded or lived in a local The Suite Consisted of two Applications Consumer & Retailer with two localizations English and Chinese on Two Mobile Platforms iOS and Android and to make it more interesting the Android flavor of the Application was deployed on both Google Play and Amazon. This meant that any content update would require 16 different App deployments. Device testing for layout discrepancies over a range of devices, operating systems, os versions and screen sizes a very frustrating time consuming and monotonous task. Now Factor in my team dealing with a client facing agency, dealing with the bureaucracy and departmental compartmentalization of a large corporation like GIA and you can imagine the frustration, waste, and inefficiency making a small update to the Application would be.
Requirements: First, we needed to be able to update the application without redeploying. The CMS needed to be user-friendly and accessible to someone with no technical experience, a copywriter, or a social media consultant. All the image text and video content had to be updatable and work offline in the application. Last but not least, Making an update to the application needed to go through a staging and review and approval process before being pushed live to the user-base.
Solution: The solution required an application update as well as the development of the CMS. We proposed A user-friendly CMS UI powered by a NoSQL database; the apps localization was done using local JSON objects so using a NoSQL database streamlined the process of storage and retrieval cutting out the translation from another database and code base to JSON. Another major obstacle was devising a way that GIA could internally review and approve the updates before they were pushed to the user base. We proposed creating a white list of internal Device _ids. Devices on this white list had an additional screen that could be used to toggle between staging and live data. On Launch and at periodic intervals the app would call home to the CMS checking a time stamp to see if approved updates were ready. If Approved updates were found, the Device would prompt the user to enter an update screen where new content could be downloaded to the device. This process allowed the app to work offline with the new content.
Wed, Apr 18 2018
Introducing Alpha Kong. Guerrilla Marketing. Reputation Management & Targeted Solutions.
The Brand Ricky Truth
Wed, Apr 10 2019
I created a personal brand in 2003 called Ricky Truth to market my Creative & Development services. This was my third Brand, after endogenous & orange voodoo.
I choose the strategy of a personal brand because the previous Boutique Agency Brands were not working for me. "Truth" is a variation of my actual name Truhls... added an extra T dropped the L-S. simple.
The axes came from the old story of George Washington chopping down the Cherry Tree at Mount Vernon. I can never tell a lie. Ironically this story was marketing to begin with and was completely fabricated by an itinerant minister and bookseller named Mason Locke Weems.
I pride myself on my straight forwardness all though especially these days it's not the best policy as everyone in the industry is a
liar, excuse me "player."
Recently I've been getting a lot of confusion about this Brand. Not sure why... I'm very open about what it is and what it is used for. It served me well for a long time in my career.
So just to be clear. Ricky Truth is not my birth name. No, I am not a scientologist, actor or performer of any kind. Just someone that created a brand in order to better market my services.
The importance of content collection & ownership of a project
Mon, Dec 11 2017
[ Update 2019 - So, finally years later launched the Chapman Market site, moving at the speed of business. A whole different set of developers, I have nothing to do with it. Awesome. ]
So I try to avoid Wordpress, however... every once in a while I will build something in Wordpress when required. This project was strictly development with an Understrap Wordpress theme. Strange because you are using node for Wordpress just to use sass. There must be a better way to use sass on this platform. Too many plugins a real cluster fuck compared to Topiary. Put some lunch money in my pocket. Kept me indoors a few more months basically. The website has still not launched. Why? No content. No one can seem to track any of it down. I don't think they give a shit really which is the trend in the industry. No one cares. Why no ownership. Too much compartmentalization. Too many people working on one thing. Too many changes. Too many updates. There is no reason to care.
I've been working on a niche version of tree & field specifically for content collection and organization before launch. Content party. However, cash flow is low so it's stalled out. Much like this project.
Fri, Sep 21 2018
Yesterday all my e-mail and sites went down while I was at an interview in silicon valley. I later found out the person I was partnering with for over 15 years on the server had canceled the account on that exact day without any prior warning. It felt like sabotage to me. I don't have any hard evidence but for all intents and purposes, it had the same effect as sabotage. It Took several hours of work to get back up and will require many more hours of work to repair anything. It also gives the few existing clients a negative impression of the products and services I provide.
It's very disheartening that all these long term business relationships are simultaneously ending in such a negative way.
I made three tweets on @twitter & my account was suspended
Tue, Apr 16 2019
Thu, Jun 07 2018
I've updated the cantos. A selection of in progress and unfinished pieces including Product Creation, Creative Consulting projects, Custom Coded Technology & Visual Collections.
Ricky Truth website refresh
Sat, Jul 30 2016
It's been a while since I've taken any time to update my portfolio site www.rickytruth.com. The lack of updates is something akin to the cobbler having no shoes. Being too busy with other work to work on your presentation. During this refresh, I explored various Blog style layouts, One-page scrollers as well as traditional thumbnail views with a hero image. Although this site will always be a work in progress, I landed on a split screen overlay UI to present new news as well as immediately present work to the viewer. I'm satisfied with this solution.
I've also integrated a full site search using the Algolia API. Algolia is a great solution for a searchable portfolio and news. It worked so well I'm using it as my main portfolio database as well as a search navigation tool. I list some pre-selected search terms as nav links that when clicked autofill the search, drawing the user deeper into the search experience.
Lastly, I'm experimenting with a full page footer. Think of it as a reverse splash page, It's a fun UI element that can be used to display some engaging content without putting up the proverbial brick wall on the site that many users will never go beyond.
I like my coffee black, like my holes
Thu, Apr 11 2019
So the internet is full of stories about this supposed photo of a black hole, like this one from CNN This is the first photo of a black hole. Now, while I'm not an expert in radio-astronomy, I am somewhat of an expert in images & bullshit (among other things). And in my opinion, the media is serving us up a healthy helping of USDA Grade A bullshit once again.
The above image is not a "photograph" it's just a computer generated image, CGI just like they use in the movies & 3d animated films like Toy Story.
The article tells us the data used to generate this image came from the combined the power of eight networked radio telescopes around the world. And the vast amounts of data collected to create this image is enough to fill up all these hard drives. Dang.
You would think with all that data we should get some more detail, this thing reminds me of the blurry photos of Sasquatch or the Lochness monster. 😂
An algorithm was written by an MIT student to change all this data into the blurry image we see. This has nothing to do with photography or capturing light. This is a very confounded an elaborate fiction that was used to generate an image. While there is nothing wrong with doing that, trying to pass it off as a photo of a black hole is incredibly dishonest.
Unfortunately, Science & technology aided by the clickbait media has taken this left turn into the dark arts of deception instead of using the principles of science & scientific method to discover out actual reality and provide clarity & value to human life.
New Cards from Moo
Wed, Jul 20 2016
Just received my new cards from the online printer Moo, really impressed with the quality. I've tried other online printing services like this and have never been satisfied. Moo specializes in four color print, short runs, nice paper stock, and premium finishes.
I had to compromise in the design and go with a rich black instead of color, so I could avo_id the dot pattern to get the smooth Pantone print look. However, the gold foil is on par with the quality of a traditional print house. Excellent service for quick short runs that need to look great.
Fri, Jun 23 2017
Things are very quiet. All my work has come to an unexpected stop. Retainers ended suddenly. Projects canceled unexpectedly. Currently working on some long term internal projects and looking for new opportunities.