You know what’s the best thing ever? Making stuff!
When I’m fired up, I’m inspired and I make stuff. When I’m sad, I make stuff and cheer up. When my daughters are fighting, I steer them towards making something, and the problems dissolve. I’m lucky beyond measure that my job is 90% “making stuff.” (I’m a front-end engineer / product guy at IFTTT. I also run PearBudget, a really simple budgeting tool that, sadly, I haven’t had time to work on for a while.)
The things listed here are all side projects of mine. Except for Monotask, I’ve built everything here solo.
There are people who email themselves notes and people who think that’s stupid. In the second camp? I can’t help you. In the first? Blipnote is for you!
It makes it crazy easy to email yourself quick notes.
There are plenty of contests for book cover designers. Curiously, there’s nothing similar for book interior design.
The Measure was a humble attempt to change that.
We held three contests, where book designers could design and then typeset a chapter from a work in the public domain. It was a lot of fun.
I’m really interested in how we can better engage in meaningful work. Or, alternately, how we can keep from getting distracted by non-meaningful work. I spent a few years working on a startup with a friend, focused on attention management. The core idea: Monotask let you turn off the distracting parts of the internet, so you could do good work.
I was super-proud of the interface I designed and built, and of the total service we built together. But in the end, we couldn’t get enough paying subscribers to justify the work that was involved in keeping it going. Ironically, Monotask became an object lesson in itself — a distraction from other work that deserved deeper attention than it was getting. So we shut Monotask down.
The Attention Management Blog
In line with my interest about attention management (see Monotask, above), The Attention Management Blog is a tumblelog I've kept going for the last several years. It’s where I list quotes, links, excerpts, and other foraged bits from the web that address focus, distraction, and doing good work.
Beautiful Buttons for Twitter Bootstrappers
A tool for making pretty buttons, intended for developers using the Twitter Bootstrap framework. Slide some sliders, copy some CSS, paste it in, and you’re good to go. Used in the development of Monotask.
A simple tool for temporary notetaking.
Know how you start a task, then get distracted by something, and when you come back to your computer you can’t remember what you were working on? This helps solve that problem.
- There is no formatting.
- Your notes will not be saved.
- Your browser tab updates dynamically, to show the contents of your page.
It’s dumb, but it works.
A jQuery typesetting plugin.
I worked for several years as a book designer. Not the outside parts, but the inside parts. How does the textblock sit on the page? What margins should we use? What typeface does this book call for? Is the leading too tight? I love book design, and type design in general.
This is a typesetting plugin that invokes the layout techniques of the classic rock poster printers at HATCH SHOW PRINT, by adjusting the type size so that the lines’ measures are all balanced. I extracted this into a jQuery plugin when I was working on Monotask.
A Ruby gem for fixing typoed e-mails.
Running a web app, I’ve seen my fair share of user accounts where someone mistyped “cmo” instead of “com”, or “gmal” instead of “gmail”. It’s a bear. This is a little library of code that fixes those typos automatically. It’s fully-tested and works well. If you’re a Ruby developer, you might want to snag it, at rubygems.org/gems/fat_fingers.
A jQuery plugin for extended, multi-layered footnotes, à la David Foster Wallace.
Back in 2005, DFW wrote a piece for The Atlantic, “Host”. To include his footnotes in a present-but-non-intrusive way, the typesetters at the magazine used color-coded callouts that visually linked the anchor text with the corresponding footnote. Parentheticals is a jQuery plugin that mimics the layout approach from DFW’s piece.
Remote work is awesome. But how can companies find the best remote workers? And where can web developers who who want to work remotely find the best jobs? REMOJōBO! It’s a remote job board for web nerds.
Update! I sold Remojōbo in mid-2013 to a great guy who has already done far more with it than I did. If you're looking for a remote job, go check it out.
OmniAuth for Sinatra
This is a template I built that lets you jumpstart a Sinatra project using the great authentication library Omniauth. It lets you get the skeleton of a web app (with user accounts, via Twitter, or GitHub, etc.) functioning inside a few minutes.
A single-serving-site search box, using jQuery. Useful for long FAQ pages. Named after a Jay-Z lyric.
A 1x1 pixel generator. More useful than you think. Less useful than a custom domain warrants.
Don’t Touch The Screen
A podcast for webnerds with kids.
This was basically a podcast where I’d talk with people who A) had a startup / web business of some sort, and B) had kids. I only got two shows in before I had to put it on the back burner. Because kids. And because startups.
I still harbor hopes of getting this going again some day.
Easy protection from ID theft.
You know how people say you should photocopy the backs of all the cards in your wallet so you know who to call when you lose them? Know how you haven’t done that yet? Wallet Garden is an easy way to do that, and to then be able to get to them from anywhere with an internet connection.
Crucial docs, close at hand.
A set of awesome and free documents you can print out, fill in, and stick in a binder. Everything from family medical records to emergency shutoff valves.
I was proud to be a part of this. When a friend had a health scare, 1,000+ friends sent him nice notes on Twitter. I just helped pull them together.