2010

You're a Good Man, Jay Leno [Three Best Things, 1/11/10 - 1/17/10]

Two Rich Guys Arguing

Jimmy Kimmel lays into Jay Leno on Leno’s own show. Around 1:40, Kimmel dings Leno and Leno refuses to play along. You can see Kimmel’s eyes light up, as he realizes he gets to tee off on Leno for the next four minutes. Jay loses his audience, and all he can do is wait it out. I don’t watch any of these shows, so I don’t really have a dog well-trained competitor in this fight, but Leno is impossible to like at this point.

“Why would anybody ever wanna leave Baltimore? That’s what I’m askin’.”

The new trailer for Treme, the upcoming series by The Wire’s creators:

My Friend BADADO, and the New Monroe Doctrine

(1)

I used to work with a guy named Ronald.

He was the happiest guy in the world, always joking and getting away with hitting on customers and belting out island music. We nicknamed him BADADO (all caps: essential) because that’s what his songs sounded like to us. He thought that was hilarious and started calling everybody else BADADO too. Even when he was sad because he couldn’t see his kid after his ole lady left, he still greeted us by hollering “BADADOOOO!”

I remember one night it snowed as were closing the store. He’d never seen snow before and was taking pictures of everybody in the parking lot like we’d won something.

Last I recall, he was putting himself through tech school. Ronald’s from Haiti.

(2)

In the 1800s, the U.S. had a military policy called the Monroe Doctrine. Basically, the U.S. intended to protect the many smaller islands and nations in its hemisphere from European colonization. Sure, some people involved likely didn’t have the purest of intentions, but that’s beside the point — somewhere along the line, somebody realized that neighbors have to look out for the neighborhood.

Haiti’s in our neighborhood. If you live near us in Atlanta, for example, you live closer to Haiti than you do to anything past El Paso, Texas or northwest of Aspen, Colorado.

(3)

If you can text (and Lord knows you can text), then you can kick in. Text Haiti to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross relief for Haiti.

More:

Slash-and-Burned Amazon Wasteland: More Civilized Than Twitter [Three Best Things, 1/4/10 - 1/10/10]

  • Anil Dash shows how Twitter’s much-worked-up-about Suggested Users List is actually nothing of consequence: Life on the List makes it clear that even though Anil gains “100 new followers every hour” thanks to the List, almost all of these are first-and-only-time users, robots, or zombies. Nobody Has a Million Twitter Followers extends the survey beyond Anil’s site, demonstrating why the Suggested Users List should work at a zoo and stop bothering people*, as it plainly offers no value to any woman, man, child, or organization that could ever exist.
  • You didn’t see this coming, but we’re about to kind of talk about Miley Cyrus. Now. Specifically, how “Party in the USA” is more of a Jay-Z song than a Michael song, no matter what Miss Cyrus’ editor would have us believe. “We are post-racial to the extent that an incredibly elaborate set of determinations has got us to the place where a song can be at once entirely dipped in the language of hip-hop and come out of the river shining of country grammar.” Miley Cyrrrrrrrrrus.
  • You thought the Amazon was being deforested due to overexpansion and quests for riches. Of course not! We were just trying to find El Dorado all this time, which it seems, has happened. El Dorado, of course, was the legendary city whose kings took turns dumping a lot of money in a hole. Told you we found El Dorado.

* -

Wow That Was One Nerdy Week [Three Best Things 2/8/10 - 2/14/10]

Maybe now that football’s over, the internet’s jock/nerd balance has swung the unsportsy way. For whatever reason, this week’s 3BT is by far the nerdiest yet. If I knew any Star Trek quotes, I’d drop one here; you couldn’t even stop me.

Your socially awkward links:

Also, marvel at Reddit’s ridiculous list of the most useful websites. [Lost quote]. No, I promise you’ll be amazed.

Nerd Creates Herd of Himself

This nerd conducting a live screencast clicks to watch himself conducting his live screencast, and hell follows after. At the :31-second mark, the Nerd Hall of Mirrors soars into the Nerd Hall of Fame, [Monty Python quote].

The Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding Unveils New Drupal Site... by ENGINE!

We’re super proud to introduce the new web home of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, a literally world-renowned nonprofit. Tanenbaum brings together people of different faiths by guiding schools, workplaces, and medical institutions and honoring peacemakers of wartorn regions.

The list of religious and political dignitaries*, corporations**, universities***, and charities**** who support Tanenbaum — via financial support, accolades, or contributions — is completely ridiculous. I offer you mere samples of each:

*: Billy Graham, Bill Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Kofi Annan, Madeline Albright, Joe Lieberman
**: Walt Disney Company, Conde Nast, Verizon, Kraft, Prudential, Shell, Viacom
***: Oxford, Princeton, Harvard, George Mason, Fordham, Columbia
****: Carnegie Corporation, JP Morgan Chase Foundation, Merril Lynch & Co. Foundation

And many many more. Somewhere in there, there’s little old us.

Tanenbaum’s old site was static (AKA hard to update, inflexible, and hard to expand) and didn’t present the clearest picture of exactly what they do.

They wanted to distinguish their programs from each other in an obvious visual way, instead of having only one look for the entire site. Being able to update their own content at the drop of a hat was also on the shopping list.

Looking over their content management system options, they narrowed it down to Drupal, WordPress, Ruby on Rails, and Moveable Type.

Already leaning towards going open source, Tanenbaum was impressed by Drupal’s flexibility.

So (PRESTO) we created a custom Drupal build for Tanenbaum, as we’re known to do from time to time. We developed:

  • a complete E-commerce solution allowing sales, donations, and gifts
  • Google Maps and social media integration
  • different sections for each program
  • a promo ad management system
  • forums
  • a couple dozen distinct content types
  • Views/CCK-based automagical content displays
  • easy-to-create photo galleries
  • and a roped-off section offering premium content for paying members.

Pulling over and restructuring all their content followed, plus some proofing along the way. Tanenbaum’s old blog was hosted at wordpress.com, so we brought that on over into the new Drupal site too, consolidating their web presence and brand into one much-improved location.

So YEP we’re happy Tanenbaum’s new Drupal site is live and firing, and now we’re on to the on on to the next one.

A List of Branding Style Guides: Corporate, Academic and Government Brand Manual/Logo Guideline Examples

We’re about to pitch the creation of a branding style guide to one of our clients. I was putting together an example list of style guides used by well-known companies, planning to include the list in our proposal. But it seemed smarter to expand it into a gigantic list and post it here, so we can reuse it — and you can benefit from it too.

First: What’s a branding style guide? It’s a document meant to ensure an organization’s members are all on the same page as far as official logos, logo usage, colors, fonts, stationery, images, and so on go. It’s good for any organization of any size to think about what messages its print and web materials convey, and then to make sure the whole team stays on message.

Second: Why look at a brand guide made for somebody else’s company? Besides our own reasons for making this list (SEE PARAGRAPH 1), you can learn a ton about branding, design, and identity by studying the materials that guide successful brands.

ONWARD.

A Short List

Just want to see five or so decent style guides, mostly made by organizations you’ve heard of?

The Long List

ABANDON ALL HOPE OF NOT SEEING BRANDING GUIDES, YE WHO KEEP READING. I went for variety and tried to limit the rest of this list just to organizations that most people have heard of. But it’s still the longest curated list of branding style guides on the entire internet… that I know of at least.

Corporate Branding Style Guides (US-based)

Subscribe to the ENGINE Blog, run by ENGINE Industries.

Corporate Branding Style Guides (Non-US-based)

Academic Branding Style Guides

Note: To keep the list from getting absurd, I left out all sorts of perfectly good style guides. But for this category alone, I had to exclude many dozens and dozens. Institutions of higher learning: you people really brand your faces off.

Government Branding Style Guides

Group/Nonprofit/Open-source/ASSORTED Branding Style Guides

Sports Branding Style Guides

Content Management System Branding Style Guides

BONUS BRANDING!!! BRANDING BONUS!!!

Subscribe to the ENGINE Blog, run by ENGINE Industries.

Point-Counterpoint Edition [Three Best Things 3/29/10 - 4/4/10]


Dispute Point Counterpoint A Word, If I May
1. iPads: How Many Should You Have Bought by Now? Gina Trapani says you should return the one you already bought and wait for the next generation. Cory Doctorow says you should buy one if you hate children. Nick Sweeney says you should buy one for your dad. John Gruber says you should buy one for each teenager who lives on your block. I’m with Dave Winer: the iPad is a really, really cool toy.
2. We Should Hate Duke Basketball Even More Than We Already Do, Shouldn’t We? Andrew Sharp lays out the case for rooting against Duke until the end of time. UNC fan Will Blythe stares into the abyss, and the Krzyzewski stares back. Spencer Hall trolls Earth by recommending we all learn to stop worrying and love Duke. Stewart Mandal gets all Atlas Shrugged on us (Coach K is Coach K). Stories need villains; college basketball needs Duke. The black hat fits, Dookies, so wear it like you stole it inherited it.
3. Manly Man of the Week? Tattooed, ‘stached long-haul truckers who like to knit sweaters in their downtime. Counterpoint? I repeat: “Tattooed, ‘stached long-haul truckers who like to knit sweaters in their downtime.

TheInformedChoice.com: Nipped, Tucked, & Ready for Its Mobile Closeup

Atlanta cosmetic surgery consultant Carol Martin had three problems:

  1. Her site’s tricky-to-use Flash navigation was as hard for search engines to read as it was for humans… and it was even worse for those on mobile devices like iPhones and iPads, obviously.
  2. She was unable to update her own site’s content without paying a webmaster to do it for her.
  3. Her Flash-intensive e-commerce section was arranged so that each product was piled into the same page, which was all of course damn near invisible to Google and mobile devices. Since she’d switched from static pages to a Flash setup, her sales had fallen.

Our solutions:

  1. Rebuild the menu navigation using jQuery to achieve better aesthetics, better functionality (it now feels like you’re tactilely moving the slider instead of just aiming and praying), better usability, and better search engine visibility. Plus it works on iPads, BlackBerrys, and other mobiles now, making the entire site accessible to users on the go.
  2. Customize WordPress for her, empowering her to update any of her own content from any computer at any time without any middle man whatsoever. We even rebuilt her old design as a custom WordPress theme.
  3. Convert Flash-based store into static pages, making each individual page capable of pulling in traffic from search engines and improving usability.

Simple as that:

California Nonprofit Using Drupal: ENGINE Contributes to New GCIR.org

Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees is a Sonoma County, California nonprofit that helps immigrants settle into new communities. After they saw themselves on our list of nonprofits using Drupal, they asked us to add some new functionality to their site, including a home page slideshow and new design elements.

More on GCIR in their own words:

GCIR seeks to influence the philanthropic field to advance the contributions and address the needs of the world’s growing and increasingly diverse immigrant and refugee populations. Our goals are to:

  • Enhance philanthropy’s awareness of issues affecting immigrants and refugees and their new communities.
  • Deepen the field’s understanding of how these issues are integral to community building in today’s dynamic social, economic, and political environment.
  • Increase philanthropic support for both broad and immigrant/refugee-focused strategies that benefit newcomer populations and strengthen the larger society.

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