I have been busy the past few weeks working on three major projects at the same time. I did find time to do some discovering, and here are some of the interesting things I found:
Oh nos! It like, snowed, in the south!!!!! I was fortunate enough to, for the first time in my life, see real, true, powder snow here in Mississippi. Back home in New Orleans, they got mostly ice and slush, but it was enough to shut that city down. Alabama and Georgia also had sum interesting consequences of a wee bit of snow… Anywho, yes, to northerners, we southerners are hysterical. The pure joy we exude at the slightest snowflake, followed by the abject horror of any accumulation and the realization that we have no idea how to drive in this stuff, is pretty funny. But we know how to deal with 100 degree/100% humidity, tropical storms, and hurricanes, and giant flying roaches (you set them on fire, or just scream until your daddy kills them with his shoe…), so stick that in your pipe and smoke it!
I was able to take some groovy shots of this amazing fluffy water, and I found some macro shots of snowflakes that are flipping amazing.
NOTE: Snow spelled Sneaux is a Louisiana thang, we add eaux in whenever we can, cuz that’s how we roll. Geaux Saints!
In-Browser Visual Editors
Froont is an in-browser web prototyping tool that allows you to drag and drop elements onto the screen to visually design responsive websites. It goes from free to $49 a month, with no in-between plan. As someone who already pays $50 a month for Creative Cloud, I would be hesitant to shell out that much for what this program does. The best feature of Froont is the immediate responsive feedback-you can instantly see what your design will look like in several common breakpoints. Though to be fair, you can do this is Dreamweaver as well, and you can even create your own breakpoints in Dreamweaver. You can also preview multiple Typekit fonts in your design, which was my favorite part of this service. Once you are done designing, you can export the project. Here is where they lose me-you get their code. As a web designer that can actually code HTML and css, letting a program do that for me makes me feel, well, icky. I want to choose what frameworks I want, what snippets I want, and I want to decide exactly what to name my classes.
I do see value in the free version for quickly prototyping a general idea, which you can then move into a code editor and actually build yourself. The paid version has value for those sad “web designers” who can’t code worth a dang, or for developers who are terrified of css and have found themselves forced to design a site. Overall, an interesting service that has plenty of time to mature and find its place in the web designer’s arsenal.
The other in-browser editor I checked out this week was Jetstrap, which is built specifically for the Bootstrap framework (which happens to be the one I prefer and use, for now…).
Jetstrap is different from Froont in that it is less about prototyping a fully designed site and more about prototyping what the different Bootstrap elements look like. So after you drag all those elements on the page, what you end up with is a completely generic Bootstrap design. For me, I would find this useful only so I can quickly get a feel for a Bootstrap element to determine if it serves my purpose. Jetstrap also has no free version, it has a demo version , and then three pricing tiers, starting at $16 a month to $99 a month. I really find these pricing models a bit ridiculous. Web designers already have code editors they have paid handsomely for. Having to pay what could be a grand a year for a prototyping tool is nuts. For either of these tools, if they had a $5 a month plan then I think they would get more traction.
Photography Groovies and Thingies
Super-Charge Your iPhone
This is so cool-the Ladibird iPhone Portrait Camera. It is a case for your iPhone 5 that connects to the camera and it adds a prime lens AND a big ole CMOS sensor! This is kinda a big deal, because it isn’t just adding another dinky lens on top of the iPhone lens, it is literally a camera that uses your iPhone to store and process the photos. The lens is a 50mm f1.8 prime-that’s the ideal portrait lens, and it is fast, much faster than the iPhone’s built in lens. A lens like this gives you beautiful bokeh and is great for taking pictures of life that you see right before your eyes. 50mm is also considered the “journalist’s” lens because they prefer to travel with small cameras with a fixed 50 lens to capture everyday life. The sensor in this thing is 7.5x as big as the one in the phone-that’s a huge difference!!! Bigger sensor = better pictures. This baby is not in production yet but is ramping up for release later this year. It won’t be cheap-it will most likely sell for over $300-but that’s a lot cheaper than my Leica DLux6 that I bring with me everywhere (heck, I’m still gonna bring that baby everywhere…).
New Toys from Nikon
I am a Nikonian. I started off with a D50, then got a D5100, then a used D200, and now I have the D7100. I love me some Nikons. Announced at CES 2014, the D3300 has a lot of the same goodies as my D7100, but is much cheaper. It is the next evolution of the D3000, which I recommended to a friend. This is an entry-level DSLR and they take excellent photos. I found them a bit too small in the hnad for me, but maybe that’s because I have big man hands, but anyway… The D3300 also comes in red… Nikon also announced a new full frame 35mm f1.8 lens. I have the cropped 35mm f1.8 and it is one of my most favorite lenses. These things are soo freaking sharp!
Nikon also announced the upcoming D4S-a camera I will never be able to afford to buy. If I had a ton of money, I would get the Nikon Df, just cuz it’s so retro groovy looking.
Sigma Makes Lenses Sexy
The new lenses from Sigma are hot looking. They just announced a 50mm f1.4 Art lens. Fast lenses really make a difference. The slower lenses impact spontaneity and make it hard to shoot critters. The Sigma lens I want is the 18-35mm f1.8 Art lens. That’s the lens you want for landscapes and shooting buildings on vacation.
New Old Stock: http://nos.twnsnd.co/
Copyright-restriction-free vintage photos. I’m not quite sure how I would use them in my projects, but they sure are interesting to look at.
Hugs and Pugs People!