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Bauer Graphics at the Wild Canyon Games!

This past weekend, Bauer Graphics attended the Wild Canyon Games at the Washington Family Ranch here in Central Oregon.  The Wild Canyon Games (WCG) is described as “the ultimate team based adventure race competition” and after this weekend the only adjective we’d add is ‘punishing’.   For three days the team at Bauer Graphics was pushed to the physical edge.   Afterwards, the only emotion we have to describe our feelings is one of gratitude.

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The 2011 Wild Canyon Games were held at a 66,000-acre facility in Central Oregon known as the Washington Family Ranch. A short 3 hour drive from Portland will get you to the town of Antelope which is where all communication to the outside world effectively ends.  For the next 30 minutes we were on loose gravel and/or dirt roads as we made our way to the entrance to the camp.   The following images show a few of the scenic overlooks and the awe-inspiring landscapes, but the actual feeling when you are there is simply indescribable.

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We signed in, received our wristbands, went to orientation and the vendor fair then spent the rest of the afternoon planning and setting our alarms for the 5am Triathlon and GeoCaching events. As we were settling into our bunks, we looked outside and saw that the night sky had exploded with stars. At 10pm, we packed up the cameras, tripod and 5 members of team Bauer Graphics and made the long journey to the top of Communication Hill (2140 ft). This hill would eventually be the last leg of our Creek2Peak journey on Sunday morning, but for now, it was doing a pretty good job of kicking our asses. The last 1/8 of a mile is nearly straight up and ends with the following view:

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There were millions of them! I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many stars in my life outside of Red Dead Redemption. After catching our breath for 30 minutes we collected our things and made our way back down ending the day just after midnight.

The next day started at 4am after our bunk house had turned into a fart-n-snore factory. I packed my bag and changed into my gear and waited for the rest of the crew to get ready. By 5:30am we were off to breakfast for and then to the check ins for our respective events. Simon, Ellen and Brendan took their places at the Triathlon while Rudy, Aaron, Derek and I walked across campus to the sports facility to prepare for the Geocaching event.

For the next five hours we would be climbing the hills of the Washington Family Ranch to elevations of nearly 4000 feet. Our team broke into two teams of two; Aaron and Derek went to the hills in the west while Rudy and I went due south to find caches in the valley. What started off as a trip down into a valley turned into Rudy and I heading towards one of the highest peaks at the camp. Word of warning to all you iPhone 4 owners, trying to use the GPS unit in the phone for GeoCaching is like trying to thread a needle while sitting in the back of a truck. Get yourself a good GPS unit before heading out and get a plan of attack ready before your trek into the wilderness so you don’t end up stuck on a devil’s backbone. By “Devil’s Backbone” I mean that we had worked our way up a ridge to a point where there was a sharp, steep grade on one side and a 1500 foot cliff on the other.

After making our way back down to safety we encountered a pretty significant problem. We’d been turned around from our original position so much that we couldn’t place where we were and how to get back to camp. While the iPhone 4′s GPS couldn’t find a broad side of a cavern-sized barn, the compass app worked like a charm and after 45 minutes of additional climbing we crested a hill and saw the ranch once more. Rudy and I, humbled by our journey, were nearly silent during the entire decent into camp. Within 30 minutes Derek and Aaron returned with several cache numbers in tow. All of team Bauer was safe, sound and accounted for.

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When we left the geocache area we ran into the rest of the team who let us know that we had done much better than expected in the Triathlon event. Ellen did a great job swimming and Simon finished the mini-marathon with a respectful time but it was Brendan’s racing ability that put us over the top. In a heat of 103 riders, Brendan had finished 10th. After the first event, Bauer Graphics stood in the top 25 of overall participants at the 2011 Wild Canyon Games.

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Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami Relief

UPDATE: Effective March 11, and continuing through the end of the month, AT&T customers will not be charged for long distance calls to Japan. Text messages sent to Japan that originate from a U.S. number are also free of charge.

Donation

Note: Donations are accepted in Japanese Yen only. ($20 is approximately 1600 yen) Your donation must be at least 100 yen, up to 50,000 yen.

Enter Amount in JP¥

* Donations will go to the Japanese Red Cross Society and will be used to support to those affected by the earthquake in Japan

A massive 8.9/9.0 magnitude earthquake hit the Pacific Ocean nearby Northeastern Japan at around 2:46pm on March 11 (JST) causing damage with blackouts, fire and tsunami. On this page we are providing the information regarding the disaster and damage with realtime updates.

The large earthquake triggered a tsunami warning for countries all around the Pacific ocean.

Local Japan Emergency dials:
171 + 1 + line phone number to leave a message
171 + 2 + line phone number to listen to the message

Phone numbers to consult about missing persons: (Japanese language)
Iwate: 0120-801-471
Miyagi: 022-221-2000
Fukushima: 0120-510-186 / 090-8424-4207 / 090-8424-4208

You can also access Person Finder here: http://goo.gl/sagas

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Proud sponsors of the ++Good Games podcast

This month Bauer Graphics has made an investment in the future of video games by sponsoring the ++Good Games podcast on iTunes, podOmatic and Mevio.

Over the course of 2010-2011 the team at ++Good has talked with developers and individuals that are actively pushing the craft of video games forward including Tim Schafer and Lee Petty of Double Fine Studios, Localization Specialist Thomas Lipschultz from XSeed Games as well as voice actors like Liam O’Brien and Kat Steel who have graciously joined the program.

The ++Good Games podcast has been celebrating the best games, the best developers and the greatest experiences this industry has to offer and has worked tirelessly to share what has made the games industry so exceptional these past 40 years.

We at Bauer Graphics are proud to have the opportunity to support a program that moves an imaginative industry forward and we are glad that we could help them level up.

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Gender Disparities in the Design Field

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Walk into any design classroom, at any college in America, and you’ll see a comfortable mix of male and female students. Turn your attention to the front of the classroom, or down the hall to the faculty and staff offices, and that wonderful gender balance starts to skew. Travel outside the campus, and there’s really no balance at all.

But why? If there are design classrooms across the country with a 50/50 blend of men and women — and in many classrooms, there are more females than males — then why doesn’t the design field represent the same ratio? Why does creative employment still showcase a male-dominated presence? What happens to these passionate and educated females? Certainly, there must be more to it than child-bearing — or is there? Is a more gender-balanced field really all that important? Why, or why not?

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Gender disparities in the design field is a controversial as well as a complex topic. Image credit: Choichun Leung

These questions and many others accompanied me to a design and technology conference this past fall. Minnebar, an annual Twin Cities conference that celebrates vision, niche technology and collective wisdom, provided the perfect platform for such inquiries. I hosted a session aptly named “The Equal Sign” to pitch the dilemma of the field not representing the classroom. I played the role of discussion facilitator, and was eager to see where the conversation would go. What I hadn’t realized, was that I wasn’t the only one perplexed by this phenomenon.

First, the Stats

According to Findings From A List Apart Survey 2009, a poll created by and for Web designers, 82.6% of Web designers are male. Ironically, 66.5% of the same respondents stated there is “definitely not” a gender bias in the design field. Web design is just one segment of the design world, but the statistic is nonetheless chilling.

My audience for the session? Predominantly female. It seems the topic itself is more intriguing for women than men. What these women had to say was sobering. One mentioned that it’s foolish to expect a male-dominated field to be able to design interfaces that appeal to how women want to interact with technology. In other words, young girls put off as consumers of technology aren’t likely to desire to create in that arena.

Another common theme during the discussion was that of heroes. So few female designers exist, and of them, few are known superstars in the industry. Of these, even less are known by individuals outside of the industry. Lack of visible female heroes results in lack of female interest. But there are countless male role models in the field; why can’t they be heroes for young girls with computers? The same reason why I’d rather aspire to be Run DMC, than Mariah Carey.

Second, the Perceptions

In the book Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing, two researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that “research shows that both males and females believe that males are better than females at computing” (Clarke, 1992; Spertus, 1991). This finding is nearly 20 years old, but this mindset could easily have been held by the parents of today’s college students. Going to college can be hard, but pursuing a degree with little support from mom and dad makes it even harder.

There is also an unspoken expectation that women are very creative and make great print designers, but aren’t wired to splice the intricacies of new and constantly changing software and platforms — as noted in a Fadtastic.net article written by designer Matt Davies. The field generally represents the occurrence of women holding positions in print, illustration and photography, with noticeable scarcity in more technology-dependent roles such as Web design, animation, game design and programming.

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Google used to return the correction “Did You Mean: He Invented” for the search “she invented”. It generated a lot of buzz throughout the Web.

Third, the Conditioning

Conditioning is perhaps the most obvious and potentially controversial (but definitely the most changing) of all the reasons why there aren’t more women designers. Video games and scrapbooks are cliché, but a telling, cultural phenomena. Traditionally, young boys have been fascinated with video games. The constant newness of the technological capacities; the integration with other male stigmas, such as television and computers; and certainly the intense competitive nature of the games, whether against a friend or the software itself, have all catered to masculine characteristics.

Scrapbooking, on the other hand — often a self-involved, self-rewarding, aesthetic, process-oriented affair — has appealed to feminine sensibilities. Great; but what do video games and scrapbooking have to do with gender gaps in creative fields?

Everything. And, it’s changing. In the Newsweek article “’Where’s My Crazy Hot Guy?’ A Female Designer On Women and Videogames,” award-winning female game designer Brenda Brathwaite confessed, “There was a time literally, within this decade, when I knew every single female game designer out there. Personally….” Video games, or more specifically, the video game format, have found their way into almost every media component of our lives.

Log in to Facebook, and in no time you’ll end up fielding requests from friends to play “Farmville.” Shop your favorite store online, and you may be prompted to click a link and dress a sophisticated cartoon character to help you with your purchasing decisions. Save some time at the grocery store by going through the self-checkout line, and you’re confronted with the all too familiar series of buttons, colors and graphics to ease your way through the credit card swipe and out the door.

Video gaming isn’t just something engaged in by teenage football players. It’s a format that is relevant to men and women, boys and girls, and this inclusion of the female population is invariably causing more females to ask themselves how it all works, and how they can be a contributing factor.

Fourth, the Status Quo

All things design — video games, Web design and graphic arts — can bring two genders together and create acceptance and encouragement, which fosters the potential to level the creative employment playing field. You must ask yourself, “Is this a good thing?” There are numerous reasons why more women are needed, and need representation; but is the “female designer dilemma” really all that bad? If a city of people stormed the doors of their school district demanding more male kindergarten teachers, they might be mercilessly scoffed at.

Similarly, few are tooting the horn for more female firefighters, or male nurses. Our culture has built functioning gender-based roles, and has birthed young boys and girls excited to fill them. Why fix it if it ain’t broke? If gender balance is achieved in the creative industry, will it be adding new jobs for females, or replacing jobs that males had? If the latter is the case, what will happen to these men? My audience at Minnebar had blank faces, and empty responses, when I asked them.

All of this matters for one reason: I don’t want to face my female students every day with the thought that more than half of them won’t ever be designers, and of the few that do, what exactly do they have to look forward to? They will have to deal with their peers, employers, clients and families being both impressed and confused when their sisters, friends and coworkers create designs that aren’t “girly” and “cute.”

Lisa Firke, a woman embodying that rare combination of female and Web designer, commented on Zeldman.com: “I’m sure it’s not a coincidence that 90% of my clients are women. Perhaps taking women seriously as designers goes hand-in-hand with taking women seriously as Web consumers.”

Sources

Fisher, A. and Margolis, J. (2002). Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing. Cambridge, MA. MIT Press.

Editor’s Note

This post is an article from our series of “opinion columns,” in which we give people in the Web design community a platform to raise their voices and present their opinion on something they feel strongly about to the community. Please note that the content in this series is not in any way influenced by the Smashing Magazine’s Editorial team. If you want to publish your article in this series, please send us your thoughts and we’ll get back to you.

— Vitaly Friedman, Editor in Chief of Smashing Magazine

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Little Big Planet 2 – The future of entertainment

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75+ Truly Useful Tutorials & Resources for Designers

Smashing Aps does it again! By ‘does it again’ we mean that they have compiled an incredible list of resources to help designers. Click the link below to access their collection of 75+ Truly Useful Tutorials & Colorful Resources For Designers.

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Bill Watterson’s Kenyon College Commencement

Bill Watterson has always been a tremendous source of “warm fuzzies” for us here at BG. His philosophy and values are an inspiration and there isn’t a day that goes by where we don’t think of our old friends Calvin and Hobbes

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Because of this, and our looming networking event coming up this April, we thought that re-posting Bill Watterson’s Kenyon College Commencement from May 20, 1990 was in order. It is our sincerest wish that his speech is as invigorating, engaging and exciting to you as it has been for us these last two decades:

Bill Watterson’s Kenyon College Commencement
May 20, 1990

I have a recurring dream about Kenyon. In it, I’m walking to the post office on the way to my first class at the start of the school year. Suddenly it occurs to me that I don’t have my schedule memorized, and I’m not sure which classes I’m taking, or where exactly I’m supposed to be going.

As I walk up the steps to the post office, I realize I don’t have my box key, and in fact, I can’t remember what my box number is. I’m certain that everyone I know has written me a letter, but I can’t get them. I get more flustered and annoyed by the minute. I head back to Middle Path, racking my brains and asking myself, “How many more years until I graduate? …Wait, didn’t I graduate already?? How old AM I?” Then I wake up.

Experience is food for the brain. And four years at Kenyon is a rich meal. I suppose it should be no surprise that your brains will probably burp up Kenyon for a long time. And I think the reason I keep having the dream is because its central image is a metaphor for a good part of life: that is, not knowing where you’re going or what you’re doing.

I graduated exactly ten years ago. That doesn’t give me a great deal of experience to speak from, but I’m emboldened by the fact that I can’t remember a bit of MY commencement, and I trust that in half an hour, you won’t remember of yours either.

In the middle of my sophomore year at Kenyon, I decided to paint a copy of Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” from the Sistine Chapel on the ceiling of my dorm room. By standing on a chair, I could reach the ceiling, and I taped off a section, made a grid, and started to copy the picture from my art history book.

Working with your arm over your head is hard work, so a few of my more ingenious friends rigged up a scaffold for me by stacking two chairs on my bed, and laying the table from the hall lounge across the chairs and over to the top of my closet. By climbing up onto my bed and up the chairs, I could hoist myself onto the table, and lie in relative comfort two feet under my painting. My roommate would then hand up my paints, and I could work for several hours at a stretch.

The picture took me months to do, and in fact, I didn’t finish the work until very near the end of the school year. I wasn’t much of a painter then, but what the work lacked in color sense and technical flourish, it gained in the incongruity of having a High Renaissance masterpiece in a college dorm that had the unmistakable odor of old beer cans and older laundry.

The painting lent an air of cosmic grandeur to my room, and it seemed to put life into a larger perspective. Those boring, flowery English poets didn’t seem quite so important, when right above my head God was transmitting the spark of life to man.

My friends and I liked the finished painting so much in fact, that we decided I should ask permission to do it. As you might expect, the housing director was curious to know why I wanted to paint this elaborate picture on my ceiling a few weeks before school let out. Well, you don’t get to be a sophomore at Kenyon without learning how to fabricate ideas you never had, but I guess it was obvious that my idea was being proposed retroactively. It ended up that I was allowed to paint the picture, so long as I painted over it and returned the ceiling to normal at the end of the year. And that’s what I did.

Despite the futility of the whole episode, my fondest memories of college are times like these, where things were done out of some inexplicable inner imperative, rather than because the work was demanded. Clearly, I never spent as much time or work on any authorized art project, or any poli sci paper, as I spent on this one act of vandalism.

It’s surprising how hard we’ll work when the work is done just for ourselves. And with all due respect to John Stuart Mill, maybe utilitarianism is overrated. If I’ve learned one thing from being a cartoonist, it’s how important playing is to creativity and happiness. My job is essentially to come up with 365 ideas a year.

If you ever want to find out just how uninteresting you really are, get a job where the quality and frequency of your thoughts determine your livelihood. I’ve found that the only way I can keep writing every day, year after year, is to let my mind wander into new territories. To do that, I’ve had to cultivate a kind of mental playfulness.

We’re not really taught how to recreate constructively. We need to do more than find diversions; we need to restore and expand ourselves. Our idea of relaxing is all too often to plop down in front of the television set and let its pandering idiocy liquefy our brains. Shutting off the thought process is not rejuvenating; the mind is like a car battery-it recharges by running.

You may be surprised to find how quickly daily routine and the demands of “just getting by” absorb your waking hours. You may be surprised matters of habit rather than thought and inquiry. You may be surprised to find how quickly you start to see your life in terms of other people’s expectations rather than issues. You may be surprised to find out how quickly reading a good book sounds like a luxury.

At school, new ideas are thrust at you every day. Out in the world, you’ll have to find the inner motivation to search for new ideas on your own. With any luck at all, you’ll never need to take an idea and squeeze a punchline out of it, but as bright, creative people, you’ll be called upon to generate ideas and solutions all your lives. Letting your mind play is the best way to solve problems.

For me, it’s been liberating to put myself in the mind of a fictitious six year-old each day, and rediscover my own curiosity. I’ve been amazed at how one ideas leads to others if I allow my mind to play and wander. I know a lot about dinosaurs now, and the information has helped me out of quite a few deadlines.

A playful mind is inquisitive, and learning is fun. If you indulge your natural curiosity and retain a sense of fun in new experience, I think you’ll find it functions as a sort of shock absorber for the bumpy road ahead.

So, what’s it like in the real world? Well, the food is better, but beyond that, I don’t recommend it.

I don’t look back on my first few years out of school with much affection, and if I could have talked to you six months ago, I’d have encouraged you all to flunk some classes and postpone this moment as long as possible. But now it’s too late.

Unfortunately, that was all the advice I really had. When I was sitting where you are, I was one of the lucky few who had a cushy job waiting for me. I’d drawn political cartoons for the Collegian for four years, and the Cincinnati Post had hired me as an editorial cartoonist. All my friends were either dreading the infamous first year of law school, or despondent about their chances of convincing anyone that a history degree had any real application outside of academia.

Boy, was I smug.

As it turned out, my editor instantly regretted his decision to hire me. By the end of the summer, I’d been given notice; by the beginning of winter, I was in an unemployment line; and by the end of my first year away from Kenyon, I was broke and living with my parents again. You can imagine how upset my dad was when he learned that Kenyon doesn’t give refunds.

Watching my career explode on the lauchpad caused some soul searching. I eventually admitted that I didn’t have what it takes to be a good political cartoonist, that is, an interest in politics, and I returned to my first love, comic strips.

For years I got nothing but rejection letters, and I was forced to accept a real job.

A REAL job is a job you hate. I designed car ads and grocery ads in the windowless basement of a convenience store, and I hated every single minute of the 4-1/2 million minutes I worked there. My fellow prisoners at work were basically concerned about how to punch the time clock at the perfect second where they would earn another 20 cents without doing any work for it.

It was incredible: after every break, the entire staff would stand around in the garage where the time clock was, and wait for that last click. And after my used car needed the head gasket replaced twice, I waited in the garage too.

It’s funny how at Kenyon, you take for granted that the people around you think about more than the last episode of Dynasty. I guess that’s what it means to be in an ivory tower.

Anyway, after a few months at this job, I was starved for some life of the mind that, during my lunch break, I used to read those poli sci books that I’d somehow never quite finished when I was here. Some of those books were actually kind of interesting. It was a rude shock to see just how empty and robotic life can be when you don’t care about what you’re doing, and the only reason you’re there is to pay the bills.

Thoreau said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” That’s one of those dumb cocktail quotations that will strike fear in your heart as you get older. Actually, I was leading a life of loud desperation.

When it seemed I would be writing about “Midnite Madness Sale-abrations” for the rest of my life, a friend used to console me that cream always rises to the top. I used to think, so do people who throw themselves into the sea.

I tell you all this because it’s worth recognizing that there is no such thing as an overnight success. You will do well to cultivate the resources in yourself that bring you happiness outside of success or failure. The truth is, most of us discover where we are headed when we arrive. At that time, we turn around and say, yes, this is obviously where I was going all along. It’s a good idea to try to enjoy the scenery on the detours, because you’ll probably take a few.

I still haven’t drawn the strip as long as it took me to get the job. To endure five years of rejection to get a job requires either a faith in oneself that borders on delusion, or a love of the work. I loved the work.

Drawing comic strips for five years without pay drove home the point that the fun of cartooning wasn’t in the money; it was in the work. This turned out to be an important realization when my break finally came.

Like many people, I found that what I was chasing wasn’t what I caught. I’ve wanted to be a cartoonist since I was old enough to read cartoons, and I never really thought about cartoons as being a business. It never occurred to me that a comic strip I created would be at the mercy of a bloodsucking corporate parasite called a syndicate, and that I’d be faced with countless ethical decisions masquerading as simple business decisions.

To make a business decision, you don’t need much philosophy; all you need is greed, and maybe a little knowledge of how the game works.

As my comic strip became popular, the pressure to capitalize on that popularity increased to the point where I was spending almost as much time screaming at executives as drawing. Cartoon merchandising is a $12 billion dollar a year industry and the syndicate understandably wanted a piece of that pie. But the more I though about what they wanted to do with my creation, the more inconsistent it seemed with the reasons I draw cartoons.

Selling out is usually more a matter of buying in. Sell out, and you’re really buying into someone else’s system of values, rules and rewards.

The so-called “opportunity” I faced would have meant giving up my individual voice for that of a money-grubbing corporation. It would have meant my purpose in writing was to sell things, not say things. My pride in craft would be sacrificed to the efficiency of mass production and the work of assistants. Authorship would become committee decision. Creativity would become work for pay. Art would turn into commerce. In short, money was supposed to supply all the meaning I’d need.

What the syndicate wanted to do, in other words, was turn my comic strip into everything calculated, empty and robotic that I hated about my old job. They would turn my characters into television hucksters and T-shirt sloganeers and deprive me of characters that actually expressed my own thoughts.

On those terms, I found the offer easy to refuse. Unfortunately, the syndicate also found my refusal easy to refuse, and we’ve been fighting for over three years now. Such is American business, I guess, where the desire for obscene profit mutes any discussion of conscience.

You will find your own ethical dilemmas in all parts of your lives, both personal and professional. We all have different desires and needs, but if we don’t discover what we want from ourselves and what we stand for, we will live passively and unfulfilled. Sooner or later, we are all asked to compromise ourselves and the things we care about. We define ourselves by our actions. With each decision, we tell ourselves and the world who we are. Think about what you want out of this life, and recognize that there are many kinds of success.

Many of you will be going on to law school, business school, medical school, or other graduate work, and you can expect the kind of starting salary that, with luck, will allow you to pay off your own tuition debts within your own lifetime.

But having an enviable career is one thing, and being a happy person is another.

Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential-as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.

You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.

To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.

Reading those turgid philosophers here in these remote stone buildings may not get you a job, but if those books have forced you to ask yourself questions about what makes life truthful, purposeful, meaningful, and redeeming, you have the Swiss Army Knife of mental tools, and it’s going to come in handy all the time.

I think you’ll find that Kenyon touched a deep part of you. These have been formative years. Chances are, at least of your roommates has taught you everything ugly about human nature you ever wanted to know.

With luck, you’ve also had a class that transmitted a spark of insight or interest you’d never had before. Cultivate that interest, and you may find a deeper meaning in your life that feeds your soul and spirit. Your preparation for the real world is not in the answers you’ve learned, but in the questions you’ve learned how to ask yourself.

Graduating from Kenyon, I suspect you’ll find yourselves quite well prepared indeed.

I wish you all fulfillment and happiness. Congratulations on your achievement.

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16 Useful Web Apps You Need to Bookmark

This original article from Maximum PC covered 30 apps that were essential. We currently use 10 of their suggestions so we thought about cutting down their list from 30 suggestions over six pages* into a condensed 16 item list:

ScreenToaster
Allows you to capture a video of what you are doing on your computer. Use it to make tutorials, make instructional videos, or just to build presentations and video podcasts.

OpenTable

We like to take our clients out for all of the wonderful work they provide us. We use OpenTable to quickly and easily make reservations online. OpenTable can also suggest nearby times, or other similar restaurants with open seats.

Readitlater
“Like TiVo for your blogroll”, Readitlater allow you to queue up articles to read later. Almost as awesome as…

Amazon Wish List
Go to any online store, and when you see something you want, click the “Add to Wish List” button in your Bookmark Toolbar. A great way to manage holiday shopping and vendor appreciation gifts ;)

ConvertCenter
This webapp does pretty much everything else when it comes to unit conversion. With hundreds of units to choose from, even the strangest conversion can be done in a flash.

Google Wave

Communicate and collaborate in real time! Google Waves are great for collaborating on articles and presentations.

PDFescape
Upload a PDF file, then easily write on it wherever you want. This allows you to easily fill out any form, even if they’re not in an editable PDF form…and IT’S FREE!!!

SpeedTest
Invaluable tool in providing a quantifiable measure of your connection speed. Speed Test shows you ping readings and download speeds.

Vuvox
Many Windows users haven’t been able to use iPhoto or MobileMe to create web collages of their photographs. Enter Vuvox. Vuvox allows users to crop and rotate their pictures and embed their collage into any webpage.

Lovely Charts
Create simple charts and diagrams in a flash and then export your diagram to JPG or PNG, with a basic account (free).

Aviary
A simplified alternative to Adobe’s Photoshop, Aviary not only allows you edit basic images but it also allows you to edit audio, vectors, and even color palettes.

YouSendIt
We use One Time Download to send/receive large files here, but if you need to send a file to somebody that’s too big for your office’s email server, look into YouSendIt. You can upload a file up to 100 MB for free (up to 2 GB with a paid account), then email a link to that file to the intended recipient.

Newsmap.jp
If you find browsing CSS readers tedious and boring, check out Newsmap’s colorful treemap. Newsmap arranges stories into squares with more important stories getting the biggest squares. bigger the square is, the more important the story.

Floorplanner
We use this app to arrange furniture, but you could design a single house with vibrant 2D and 3D models.

Pandora
Create radio stations based on their favorite artists, and generates playlists comprised of similar sounding artists. It’s the easiest way to find new artists.

Simplenote
We use it everyday! Simplenote replaces the Notes app on your iPhone and syncs to a desktop app that allows to access your notes from anywhere.

My fervent apologies to Maximum PC for not sending our readership over to read six pages of links, but hey, we’ve got things to do ;)

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BASIC and beautiful…

As my family will attest, back in the early 1980′s, I did a lot of programming in front of my monochrome Apple ][. Regrettably I did not spend much time watching Night Rider or the Dukes of Hazzard. I say ‘regrettably’ because if I HAD spent time watching those shows, I’d at least have some retro-television-references to drop comedically in conversation.

Instead, I have a working knowledge of BASIC programming…which is a lot like saying having a working knowledge of top-loading, Betamax players.

Oh well, one thing I do get to enjoy is seeing my old friends “HTAB,”"GOSUB” and “STRING$” again.

Jed’s Other Poem (Beautiful Ground) from Stewdio on Vimeo.

I have a strong desire to put on my Docksiders, crank up Axel F and finish the programming masterwork I left on my Verbatim 5.25″.

>sigh<

Good times…

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July – The month of tech failure

Last week we received an update from our personal hosting provider (not business hosting, those are on dedicated servers) stating that their servers had been “compromised” and a “number of customer accounts” were “deleted” (Editor’s note: I have put all those words in quotes as to paraphrase the email from our provider and eliminate paragraphs of tech-jargon stating the same thing).

If that weren’t enough, AT&T has just been called out by TechCrunch.com for something that we had no idea was going on.

Apparently, for the past few weeks, AT&T’s visual voicemail system has been down for many users. What does this mean? According to the article, “Thousands, or hundreds of thousands or maybe even millions of missed connections, that could be vital for personal lives, business and a host of other things.”

So, if you have called Bauer Graphics or any of its employees since the start of July and haven’t received a call back, you have your answer. Because of this unknown issue (AT&T never contacted us regarding this), we will actively take steps to change our office line service to another phone company. We will send everyone out on our contact list an email update as to what our new number will be before the end of the month.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our clients, friends and family.

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