Archives for April 2012

April 28, 2012 - Comments Off on Tire Pressure Widget

Tire Pressure Widget

On my Bike Tinker blog, I have a Google Doc for calculating optimal tire pressure.  This is the web widget I designed to replace that. It is much easier to use, and I won't have to maintain it at all.

Tire Pressure widget is so much more manageable than the Google Doc

It gets a fair amount of traffic, and people often delete or damage the functions. Some people add features, like "trailers," or "kg/bar" conversions, which is cool, but managing the document is tedious, and usability could be better. If usability was optimal, then people wouldn't break it, right?

The next step will be a mobile app that allows for saving multiple bikes. Maybe it can talk to Cyclemeter to show performance changes at different pressures...

April 27, 2012 - Comments Off on Smithsonian Coins Website

Smithsonian Coins Website

I designed this Legendary Coins and Currency site for Mediatrope in the Fall of 2005. It was very cool to work with the people at the Smithsonian - any time I wasn't certain of how something would work, and did the design equivalent of hand waving, they'd ask about exactly that. Smart clients are almost as good as smart co-workers.

There was a lot going on on this (mostly Flash) design - home page, collections page, coin page, coin INSPECTION page, and a game educational activity. Plus the HTML and printable pages. The timeframe was insane, and was the second time I'd worked 24 hours straight for someone. I also designed the stylized logo/site name.

I did get disc after disc (remember getting stuff on discs?) of high-res coin art which was pretty cool. Beautiful stuff, and interesting stories. That shell on "Legends of the Human Spirit" was scrip issued by a motel owner in 1933 whose name was Charles Williamson. Possibly a long-lost great uncle? I like to think so.

coin page

This is the overview page. If I were to redo this site, I would change the  layout of this page to differentiate it from the coin pages.

And... you can look at the coins (or shell) up close.

See? Charles V. Williamson.

April 22, 2012 - Comments Off on Find a Font online

Find a Font online

What the Font vs What Font Is

I've been using What the Font for several years to find fonts for graphics my clients send me. "We have a logo, but it's a tiny jpeg." I rebuild (vectorize) clients' logos pretty regularly, since even resizing for the web can make them blurry.

Today I downloaded some iPhone and Android template PSDs, and saw a new "font finder" website at Curious, I tested it with a pair of jpegs I used last week to find a font. I'm sticking to

Font-finding Tests

1. JPG one:

What The Font: Pre-loaded the correlating letters, lots of errors and split-images (drag them over each other to combine). Showed five fonts*, none of which were correct. Fail, but I didn't have to work too hard to know it had failed - see below.

What Font Is: Failed to load image. Repeatedly. Fail.

2. JPG two (inverted for clarity):

What The Font: Pre-loaded the matching characters, 90% correct. Showed me 5 fonts, with the correct one first. The next four were all the same font with different names. Win.

What Font Is: Didn't pre-load correlating letters; lots of split images. Showed 100 fonts, none of which were correct, starting with "Duck Duck No. 2" and "Cooper Black." Cooper Black, I tell you! Hard Fail.


WhattheFont processed both my images, gave me short lists, and found the font.
WhatFontIs only processed one image, gave me a giant list of bad matches, did not find the font.

What The Font has a funny name. "What the FONT?!
has an anti-grammatical name that would work if it was on an Italian TLD (ie: "")

* WhatTheFont allows linkable results. Useful for blog posts, and presenting options to clients. Links EXPIRE quickly.
What Font Is
has no linkability, But I can save the list of 100 wrong fonts to my account, if I had one... No thanks.


April 21, 2012 - Comments Off on iPad Bike Bag

iPad Bike Bag

The bag I want to make. by BikeTinker
The bag I want to make., a photo by BikeTinker on Flickr.

My concept for a bicycle handlebar bag that can mount an iPad in the lid for maps, cue sheets, phone calls and videography (the right-angle camera periscope is the interesting idea here).

You'll see these. It's such a good idea (I think), that someone's making a prototype right now. I should cancel my meeting tomorrow and do it myself...

I drew this with Sketchbook Pro, my new favorite toy.

April 19, 2012 - Comments Off on pufferbellies


I love it when you give a client a design and they make it NICER. Erin at Pufferbellies Toy Store is a great photographer, and makes her own slides for the homepage. I like checking in on her site, because the homepage looks GOOD.

April 16, 2012 - Comments Off on Toyota Landcruiser sketch

Toyota Landcruiser sketch

Title by BikeTinker

Working out an idea for a Backcountry Tour company logo.

Sketchbook Pro is pretty cool, and I like the Targus stylus I bought to replace the Griffin. I didn't like the short barrel of the Griffin, and it only lasted three days with an 11 year old playing Fruit Ninja before the tip tore badly.

April 13, 2012 - Comments Off on MFG DB Status List

MFG DB Status List

The company I work for provides a SAAS e-commerce web system to the toy industry.

This is my initial mock-up of the "thick" view of a tool to show our members and manufacturing partners the status of every toy brand in our Import Database*. There will be a "thin" view, with one row per manufacturer, and an "Open" view as well, that shows all manufacturer-provided info.

The "Request" button helps us prioritize the processing, there are hooks for direct marketing from manufacturers to retailers, and a link to the relationship-building product we have in development.

Upload date, most recent year of release, request button


*We pre-process toy data so our members can Import the products into their sites with a click. We are building a tool to clearly show which lines are up-to-date, and allow our subscribers to "Request" an update to a line. With the number of manufacturers, and the volume of data we get, we prioritize on what our members need. The lines with the most requests go into the processing queue first.

April 4, 2012 - Comments Off on 35mm film in a 120 camera (sprocket holes)

35mm film in a 120 camera (sprocket holes)

I used to make "sprocket hole" photos, by running 35mm film through a 120 camera. I invented it, but you see it everywhere now. If you can prove you made one of these images before 1992, I'll give you a framed picture of Angelina in Edinburgh. Anyway, this is the method I used, and may use again. The impetus was the usual, "poverty begets invention" story: my 35mm camera broke right after I bought 100 feet of 35mm film. I had no money, a lot of film, and a 120 Ciroflex camera I'd bought at the Sausalito Flea Market for $12. "I bet I can use this stuff to make some photographs... otherwise, I fail the class."

sprocketparts by BikeTinkersprocketparts, a photo by BikeTinker on Flickr.

Cut down the 120 film spool right at each ‘window.’ Slice the 35mm spool at the ‘step.’ Everything fits perfectly, to let you put two 35mm spools into a 120 camera. One empty, one full.

sprocketrolls by BikeTinkerThe whole operation can be done with a pocket knife. It’s like the Civil War all over again, but with fewer maggots, and more sprocket-hole pictures.


sprocketrolls, a photo by BikeTinker on Flickr.

April 1, 2012 - Comments Off on Anaïs Mitchell at the Wildwood Hotel

Anaïs Mitchell at the Wildwood Hotel

This was so good. My friend Peter did the artwork for Anais' Hadestown album. Here she is playing down the road from me, at a cool and funky venue. I got to chat with Anaïs about Peter, and bought the new album. It was a moving and elegant show, in front of about 40 people at the Wildwood Hotel.

I love how people would quiet down and listen as Anaïs got into each song. This is Neil Young's "For the Turnstiles," and "Goodnight Irene," the encore songs. The Nex and the vintage Zeiss lens did a good job with the low light.

Katie at the Wildwood offers a room for a night or two, in exchange for a set in the bar. Coming through Portland? Want a day off from the road? Give her a call.