Ben Dunkle’s Blog

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Oct 12th
2014

Sexism and iconography

A lot of icons I design involve representing a human.
Often, it makes sense to draw a circle above a box, like a head above a body.
But what if this is perceived as a male icon? Are comments like “it’s too masculine, can we make it look more like a woman” valid?
Consider:
icon
Is this a male or female user? Does it matter?

Aug 29th
2014

Narrow focus

Responsive design means narrowing your viewport to see if you can still understand the content.

 

May 28th
2014

Nancy the swimmer

So Nan has decided she doesn’t want to swim. Well, she’s always complained about going to swim team but I finally caved and stopped bringing her. I guess that makes me a bad parent. I just got sick of fighting with her, dragging her out the door with a grocery bag of wet towels, suits, goggles, and caps, any of which was likely to be missing and therefore a culprit for another crisis at the pool.

I get it; I hated it too. Somehow I kept going, though. Do I regret it? Probably not. It led to my success as a lifeguard, all those years making easy money sitting around. I try to dangle that carrot in front of her, telling her she’ll never have the easy life I did, that waiting tables and bagging groceries is for chumps. She doesn’t really care though. At least now.

May 17th
2014

Game idea

This is so simple, and doable

  • You control a node
  • You can move that node around in a fixed 2d space
  • If you collide with another node, you fight by clicking as fast as you can
  • If you click faster than that node, you grow
  • Clickrate is modified by your size
  • The bigger you are, the slower you have to click to win the fight
  • goal: destroy/absorb every other node
Nov 14th
2013

Hard to get into new music

There’s so much great music out there, but I can’t really find any. Problem is, the times in my life when I really discovered music were when I had a little peer pressure –  high school, college, working in an office – and the people around me would play stuff, make me listen to stuff, that at first sounded like dirt but after a few listens and seeing how enthusiastic the proponents were, I’d get into it and start listening on my own. Nowadays, there’s no impetus to listen to a new song more than once, even if someone suggests it on Facebook or Spotify. I need a music pusher.

Oct 16th
2013

The good old days of 25¢ video games

Once upon a time I was an arcade junkie. I would dump quarter upon quarter trying to understand the inner workings of the most beautiful machines I knew of, these arcade consoles. But I never had enough money.
My cousin Paul dinardo, apparently, did, as he pwned the high-score in tempest (the greatest video game ever) in Virginia Beach, circa 1980. He was also an amazing athlete, like the rest of the DiNardos.

Oct 16th
2013

Life

For me, life is seeing. Drawing is regurgitation.

Sep 26th
2013

Chubby design

You heard it here first, folks. The next big thing in cutting-edge design is hereby being dubbed “chubby” design.
What is chubby?
Bursting at the seams
Easy/inviting to touch/rub
The opposite of all this hyperthin helvetica apple rolled out with ios 7
Get the first unapologetic chubby design today – the chubbies icon font: https://github.com/field2/chubbies

Sep 24th
2013

Eli playing tuba

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Sep 21st
2013

Easy BBQ Chicken

Ingredients:

1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces, or whatever bone-in chicken you have laying around

1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

———-

Start the grill.

Dump the bottle of sauce in a pot. Fill the bottle with water, shake it up, pour into the pot.

When it’s boiling, add the chicken. Cook for 20-25 minutes or sostirring occasionally,  until the chicken starts to fall of the bone a little.

Throw the chicken on the cooler side of the grill, if you can do indirect heat, otherwise make sure the grill is on low. You don’t want it to stick.

Brush some of the sauce on the chicken and cover. Wait a bit, brush more sauce on, wash, rinse, repeat until there’s like 1/4 of the original sauce left in the pot, and the chicken has some nice chariness/crispiness to it.

Throw the chicken back in the pot to coat w/the sauce and serve.

Sep 20th
2013

Intellectual property

So I think our DMA grads could be better suited to pursue IP law than any other program’s grads in the country.

Sep 9th
2013

Typehunting

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A couple cool type stuffies I got at a yard sale.

 

Sep 7th
2013

Filmo

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Sep 5th
2013

On WordPress as a career skill

WordPress is quickly becoming an essential skill for people in a wide variety of industries. Therefore, it’s imperative that educational institutions prepare graduates to manage, maintain, develop and design WordPress powered sites, blogs and apps. Soon we’ll see WP listed as a requirement on as many job listings as MS-Office, and students should confidently be including WordPress on their resumes.

Sep 2nd
2013

facebook icons

Hey FaceBook, fill in the status icon: photo

Aug 1st
2013

Thoughts on WordCamp San Francisco 2013

Have to say this was my best WC yet. First the bad:

  • I left my phone on the beach the first day. Thankfully someone found it and called my hotel, but I spent the whole evening trekking it across SF getting it back.
  • I wanted soo bad to take SouthWestern up on a delay for travel voucher, but just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Next time!
  • I forgot my business cards.
  • I forgot my laptop power cord.
  • I brought shorts.
  • I totally screwed up my travel plans by not extending my stay through Sunday, and thus missing out on contributor day. What is wrong with me? This was by far the biggest screw-up of the trip.

Now the good:

A few thoughts:

  • It was really well organized.
  • The amount of love for and pride in people’s connection with WP was everywhere. It’s just amazing to see a piece of technology have such a strong connection with the people who use it.
  • The sponsors were almost all hosting companies. Not that I have anything against it, but I would like to see more premium plugins sponsoring. Gravity Forms, iThemes, you heard me!
  • The Mosser Hotel is a great little place to stay, and half the price of anything around. Yeah, you have to share a bath and toilet with your floor, but c’mon people, stop being so pampered!
  • Matt Mullenweg is truly an amazing speaker. The challenge of putting a year’s worth of full-throttle development of one of the fastest growing technologies on the planet into a one hour presentation must be daunting. But he pulls it off every time. It’s fun to try and read into some of the stuff he says.

Maybe the most loaded topic was on WordPress as an app framework. WP as a foundation to build on is a controversial topic, and faces a ton of skepticism and criticism. WordPress will outgrow itself, it’s getting too big, it’s losing touch with the simplicity of just writing, etc. are all sentiments that seem to be all the rage these days, but it’s hard to go to one of these giant WordCamps and not feel confident that the WP world will always remain a truly user-focused, community-driven, open source, and free.

 

Jun 5th
2013

Posts to facebook and twitter

I’m researching plugins that will auto-post to FB and Twitter accounts. Most plugins force you to create facebook “apps” to do the FB thing, a process that I despise. This one is called “social”, and it apparently doesn’t require an app.  I’ll report my findings at the next Buffalo WordPress Users meetup tomorrow evening. If you haven’t joined the meetup group yet, what are you waiting for? It’s free! http://www.meetup.com/Buffalo-Wordpress/

Jun 5th
2013

Dirty Shrimp Risotto Recipe

Made this last night, easy and quick, mmm. This is a great way to cook shrimp as it’s hard to overcook them, and they absorb all the flavors of the rice. I call it “Dirty” rice because this batch ended up with a nice grey-brown color, but YMMV…

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag frozen, EZ-Peel shrimp, 24-30 count (preferable western hemisphere like Belize)
  • 1 cup rice (I used Jasmine, anything should work)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 1 peeled carrot
  • 1/2 peeled red onion
  • 3-4 cloves peeled garlic
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper
  •  2 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp.  caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp. oil of your choice

Rinse the shrimp briefly under cold water and allow to thaw. The bag says run continuously under cold water until thaw. Great advice;  way to conserve water. When they’re ready, peel off and chuck the skins.

Dice the veggies into small pieces.

Mortar/pestle the spices into a coarse mixture.

Heat up the oil in a heavy pot on medium-low heat. Let the oil get really hot, then throw in the veggies. Stir them until they caramelize.

Pour in white wine to de-glaze. Add rice and continue stirring until wine is absorbed and stuff starts to sizzle again.

Pour the chicken broth slowly, a little at a time, stirring continuously, over a 15-18 minute period. Test the rice occasionally, it should get tender yet firm, creamy and maybe a little crunchy.

Turn heat on low, toss in the shrimp, and cover for 5 minutes.

Serves 4.

May 29th
2013

The Paper Lady

the-paper-lady

May 17th
2013

Need to design a tutorial framework

There is a huge need for something that would make it easy to design tutorials. As I see it, a tutorial is a step by step document leading the viewer toward completion of a goal, whether it be the design of a graphic, a game, some code, or any process realting to graphic and web design.

The system I envision would present the author with a series of nodes that could be text, image, or video. Text would be written instructions/links, Image would be drag and drop or upload from computer, Video would be screen capture-either a selected window or the entire screen.

The tool would allow authors to create tutorials as needed, store them, present them, password-protect them, even sell them.

The biggest issue with tutorials is that they are difficult to make and wildly inconsistent-two tutorials on the same subject can contain a completely different structure. This tool would  make it easy and establish a framework for tutorials.

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