Mobile Version of (Work In Progress)

Illustrator Dani Jones has posted a great litlte tutorial with instructions on how to optimize your portfolio website for the iPhone. Her article really got me thinking. As more and more people are surfing the web with their smart phones, it seems innevitable that sooner or later a potential client is going to try viewing my website on a tiny 3-inch screen.

I’m a gadget geek so the prospect excites me and terrifies me at the same time. Art buyers can view my work on their phones–how cool is that? But there’s a problem. My website is several years old and when I tried browsing it on my iPhone the experience was more than a little klunky. In fact, it stunk. I’d be very surprised if a busy art-director-on-the-go would spend much time pinching and panning and opening new windows to try and navigate my site with his/her mobile device. More than likely they would just move on to the next prospect.

Granted not very many of my potential cleints are browsing for talent on their smart phones. But it seems likely to me that a few of them are. I do most of my advertising via email blasts so it seems at least plausible, if not probable, that a busy art buyer somewhere might read my latest email and then click through to my site while riding the subway or grabbing a bagel at the coffee shop. When they do I want to make it as easy as possible for them to get excited about my work. The last thing I want is for my website to get in the way.

I’ve been meaning to completely redesign my website for years but the task is so overwhelming I keep putting it off. Thanks to Dani’s tutorial, creating a simple iPhone version of my website seemed much more manageable. So I spent a few hours this evening banging one out. It’s still a rough draft and needs a little visual kick, but it’s a huuuuuuge improvement over what my old website looks like with an iPhone.


Now I’d like to ask you, my blog readers, for a little help. If you have a smartphone, would you please take a minute to visit and let me know what you think? If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch you should be automatically redirected to the mobile version of my site (the one with the aqua-colored background). I’m not sure what happens if you have a Blackberry, a Pre, or some other non-iPhone device, but if that’s you please leave a comment below and let me know what happens. I’d be very grateful.

If the redirecting doesn’t work, you can visit the mobile version directly at

Also, since this is a “first draft” of the mobile site I’d love to hear any comments/suggestions on how I could make it better. Is the solid color background too plain? Does it need something extra? I pretty much borrowed Dani’s general layout and just tweaked it but will eventually do more to make it my own. Any feedback you can give me (positive or negative) would be very much appreciated.

This and That

Happy New Year everyone! Here’s a few misc. items of interest I’ve stumbled upon recently. If you follow me on Twitter you’ve likely seen them all already, but since many of you don’t here they are:

8 Ways Twitter can help grow your freelance business. I used to dismiss Twitter as a massive waste of time used primarily by members of the Cult of the Self-Absorbed. I’ve done a total 180. In fact, I’m now ready to admit publicly that I’m addicted to Twitter, checking it several times a day. I primarily follow other artists on Twitter making it a sort of virtual water cooler where I can hang out and chat with other freelancers like me. For me Twitter is a fun middle ground between Facebook and blogging. This article sums up some of the many benefits of Twitter.

I Yam What I Yam (But Not For Long). It appears the character of Popeye is about to lose his legal spinach: the rights to the character are about to expire. As I understand it, the various comic strips and cartoons in which Popeye has appeared are still fully protected by copyright but Popeye himself is about to enter into the public domain. That would mean that anyone will be able to legally do anything they want with Popeye. He could shill products, be printed on t-shirts, even endorse a presidential candidate, and no one would have to pay Popeye’s owners a dime for the privilege. I would never underestimate the power of a team of high-priced lawyers to somehow stop this from happening, but things are moving in that direction.

Facebook vs. Twittter: Which sends more traffic to your website? Facebook and Twitter can both be leveredged to point potential clients your way, but Facebook appears to be the clear winner between the two. At leaset according to this article, which also lists some helpful tips for making the most of your exposure on both.

Bristol Paper, Canvas, iPhone. Artist Stef Kardos has been using his iPhone to create sketches and paintings (thanks to a nifty piece of software called Brushes). It’s pretty amazing stuff.

Favorite iPhone Apps (and most are free)

One week ago today Apple opened the iTunes App Store, officially allowing third-party developers to write software for the iPhone. So far over 500 apps and games have been posted for download. Most are inexpensively priced (around $5-$10 each), and a large number of them are free. During the first weekend over ten million apps were downloaded by iPhone users.

The results so far are a mixed bag. Since Apple is allowing each developer to set their own price, higher cost does not necessarily equal better features. In fact, some of the free apps are better than similar apps that other developers are charging for. There’s also inconsistency in quality. Some apps are very stable, while others are rather buggy and/or seem to crash often. The good news is that developers are allowed to post free software updates to add new features and address bugs, although there seems to be a lag of days or even weeks between the time when an update is submitted to Apple and when it finally appears in the App Store. iTunes lets users rate each app, so you can tell at a glance which apps are worth downloading.

So far I’ve downloaded about twenty apps (mostly free). I was a little hesitant at first, fearing that a poorly-written app could wreak havoc on my iPhone’s overall perfomance. While I’ve had a few apps crash here and there, overall I’m happy to report that so far my iPhone is playing well with its new roommates.

I’m not much for video games, but here’s a few of my favorite non-game apps so far:

OmniFocus ($19.99)— A souped up task manager . The price is a bit steep but its worth it.

Since the iPhone was first released users have been scratching their heads wondering why Apple doesn’t allow them to sync their to-do lists onto the iPhone. It’s been a year now and there’s still no to-do feature from Apple, so many software companies have stepped in to fill the gap. There are several to-do list applications to choose from, some with more features than others.

OmniFocus is by far the best. It allows you to not just keep track of your daily tasks, but to also group them by project and by “context” (i.e. phone calls, errands, etc.). For example, if you want to run errands, just click the “errands” list and you can see every to-do that you’ve marked as an errand. There’s also a “due soon” folder that automatically gathers together every to-do item that is due in the next couple of days, and an “overdue” folder that lists each item that is past due. So far I’ve been very impressed. I never made much use of Apple’s to-do feature in iCal, but OmniFocus is so smart and easy to use that it’s become my main method of keeping track of all my daily tasks.

Zenbe (Free) — A simple and easy way to make and share lists. You can add/edit a list on your iPhone, and instantly share it with other users who can also add to or edit the list. My wife and I use this for shopping and running errands. When one of us notices that we are low on groceries or need a household item, we simply add it to a list. Then whichever one of us goes shopping can view the list and delete the items as we buy them.

WeatherBug (Free) — A souped-up version of the iPhone’s bare-bones weather app. It gives detailed weather forecasts for up to three cities including chance of rain/snow, wind speed, heat index, humidity, and dew point. It even lets you track weather radar in your city or anywhere in the country.

SpeechCloud (Free) — Finally, a voice dialer for the iPhone! Speak a name and SpeechClould will search your address book to find the best match and bring up the contact’s phone number(s) for dialing. This one’s a little buggy. It’s not as accurate as it could be and its doesn’t always bring up every phone number, but it’s better than nothing when you are driving and don’t want to take your eyes off the road to make a call. Hopefully an improved update will be coming along soon.

Jott (Free) — A handy companion to Jott’s phone service. For those of you who don’t know, Jott is a free online service that transcribes voice notes. I use it a lot while I’m driving and wish I could stop to write down a thought or a reminder. Simply dial the toll-free number, speak into the receiver, and Jott will transcribe your message and send it to you (or someone else) as an email. Pretty slick!

SaveBenji’s (Free) — That’s Benji’s as in Benjamin’s, i.e hundred dollar bills. This is the kind of software that can save you big bucks when shopping. Search for any item by brand name, product number, or barcode, and you can instantly see how much it would cost to order it online from over 100 major retailers (i.e.,,, etc.) The cheapest price automatically floats to the top, and SaveBenji’s lets you order directly from your iPhone if you’d like. This should come in handy especially when shopping for big-ticket items such as electronics or computer equipment.

Light (Free) — Turns the iPhone screen bright white, giving you a handy pocket flashlight and/or reading light.

Ebay (Free) — Shop, watch, and track your items straight from the iPhone. A pruned-down but easy to use version of the full ebay website.

PhoneSaber (Free) — This is just silly fun. Turns your iPhone screen into a light saber and makes saber noises as you swing it through the air.

These are just a few of the hundreds of apps available for iPhone users. Yet another reason to consider getting an iPhone if you don’t already have one.

Why An iPhone Is Worth The Money

On Monday Steve Jobs announced the new line of iPhones, the iPhone 3G, which will go on sale July 11 (exactly one month from today). My wife and I have had our iPhones for almost a year now and we love them. I originally considered it a “luxury” purchase, something fun and fluffy we didn’t really need. Boy was I wrong. They are super practical. We use them all the time, so much so that it’s hard for me to imagine getting through the day without one.

Here are just a few of the ways the iPhone has come in very handy for me:Read More