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Ari B.
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My latest project. :)

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Hey graphic artists and designers in my various circles,

I just wanted to do a little shout out to a very handy smartphone app I've been using that you may find helpful in your artsy endeavors.

It's called WhatTheFont. If you haven't already heard of it, it's essentially an image-recognition program that focuses on letterforms. You can upload a photo you take with your phone (iPhone or Android for now, or otherwise use the website) of letters, words, or text in general, and it separates out individual letters, matching them to the most likely fonts from an enormous database. It's a LIFESAVER if you've ever worked on an existing logo that you had to make changes to, and the "source file" the client gave you is flat or has no editable text layers. It's also great if you see a neat new font on a business awning or ad or something, and you HAVE to know what it is.

The only downside to the technology is that it doesn't do very well with "connected" letters, or letters too close together/sharing strokes/etc. Otherwise, I've had tremendous success with its recognition rate. Give it a shot, and maybe add it to your digital toolbox. As designers, anything that makes our jobs easier is a welcome breeze.

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Mind. Blown.

A quick tip for those who use Gmail filters:

You can consolidate your filters so you don't have 5+ individual ones all pointing to the same place. All you need to do is put the "|" separator (shift + \ key) between addresses (or words in any other field), and it acts as an "or" command when filing.

Example: For a family filter, "mom@whatevercom| Dad | Aunt Derpina | cousin@blahcom" would star/label/archive ALL of those.

It works for regular searches in Gmail and Google as well, but I find it most useful for filters. And if you're not using filters already, go create some (Gear icon in the upper right -> Mail settings -> Filters tab). They're very handy.

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In case you missed it, these are the awesomely geeky cupcakes I made for my birthday party this year. Click through for the accompanying blog.

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Part 1 of a rant/rumination series about the meaning of "Friends" for the Internet generation.

I see a plethora of ways to pull a G+ feed out to blogs, but is there a way to pull my blog feed to autopost to G+ yet?

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I'm not really a fan of the resulting look and style, but it's still done well and the technique itself looks like fun.

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This. So much.

If you're a fan of the old Abbott and Costello "Who's On First" routine, this will put you in your happy place.

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This is highly disappointing. I really expected better from Google on the whole, and this is making me rethink relying on so many of their services.
Will Google's 'normal names' policy kill Google+?

Did you read about +Violet Blue's weekend? The popular writer and sex educator nearly quit all Google services out of frustration with Google's "Normal Names" policy.

Google calls their policy its "Real Names" policy. I call it their "Normal Names" policy because they don't flag, police or ban names that Google considers "normal" or acceptably commonplace. For Violet Blue, in fact, the only way she could have escaped having her account suspended would have been to lie and make up a name.

Had she invented a name, say, Janet Smith, Google wouldn't have harassed her because they consider Janet Smith a "normal" name.

So Google's policy actually provides a strong incentive for people to use a fake name, and provides no incentive for people to use a real name, because if they do so and have the wrong kind of name, Google will harass.

Google's solution for Violet Blue, which was to do a mini-investigation and determine that Violet Blue is a "real" name, doesn't scale.

Google+ success and Google's "real names" policy. Google has to pick one.
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