The wisdom of craftsmanship

Portrait of Bezalel by James Tissot
Portrait of Bezalel by James Tissot

I came across this interesting piece of Scripture while reading the Bible this morning:

1  AND THE Lord said to Moses,2  See, I have called by name Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.3  And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and ability, in understanding and intelligence, and in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship,4  To devise skillful works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in bronze,5  And in cutting of stones for setting, and in carving of wood, to work in all kinds of craftsmanship. Exodus 31:1-5

God filled this guy, Bezalel, with his Spirit and gave him the wisdom and skill to be a master craftsman. I wonder if he had any of these skills beforehand, or if it was a light-from-the-sky experience where he just got a huge download of awesome and suddenly he”knew kung-fu”. Or maybe it just means that God guided and nurtured him throughout his life to gain the right skills so that at the right time he would be ready for God’s purpose. Either way, I love seeing the connection between God’s Spirit and creative craftsmanship.

To all the creative pros out there, may God fill us all with His Spirit in such a way.

Google+ will improve your social media experience, even if you don’t use it.

Google+ a better social media user experience

The Question

My friend at Good Web Work asked the question,”To what problem is Google+ a solution?”. I started to write a comment on his post, but after the scroll bar popped up on the comment form realized this was blog post material .

I have no idea what I’m talking about

I haven’t used Google+ yet so take this opinion as one from an outsider looking in. I have watched videos, played with demos and read reviews. My first impression: The design looks nice; a clean minimalist interface with an ample use of white space. The overall impression I get is an easy to navigate, light and responsive website. Three cheers for Google for finally letting their designers do their jobs.

You gotta problem?

What problem does Google+ solve? Well, that depends on your definition of a problem. Did the world think Myspace was a big problem before Facebook came out. Probably not, since most users had not experienced anything better. After Myspace users got a taste of simplicity from Facebook’s early interface, the contrast was almost offensive. Now Google+ seems to be positioning themselves as the cleaner, friendlier interface of the social networks.

Competing for the best user experience

I can come up with a few problems Google+ at least attempts to solve. What about the problems of inferior user experience and lack of healthy competition?

The Problems Google+ May Help Solve:

  1. Inferior User Experience – Facebook is great, but there’s plenty of room for enhancements. Google+ Circles, Huddles, and Hangouts appear to be new take on common social media functionality. Circles are supposedly a big improvement on Facebook “Lists”.  Allowing you to group friends more easily and filter what you see and what others see gives more control to the user and hopefully improves the user’s experience. You also have the ability to “Follow”, in the Twitter sense, someone you aren’t “Friends” with, in the Facebook sense. The best of the both worlds perhaps.
  2. Lack of Healthy Competition – Facebook has exploded in the last several years with no one coming close to competing with them as a full social platform. Google can and will compete for users. This will cause Facebook to improve their service in response, only giving users more options and better social media experiences.

Everybody Wins

For most people the current Facebook interface is familiar, so they wouldn’t consider it a problem. The mere fact that Google is launching a very serious social media platform designed from the ground up with the user in mind will benefit all users of social media even if they aren’t using Google+. They are raising the bar and their competitors will have to jump higher.

Yes, according to Neil Postman‘s definition of a problem, a newer/better social network from Google may not solve any of the world’s biggest problems.

It may only help us communicate more efficiently.

What do you think?

How to fix the Netflix DRM Error N8151 in Google Chrome for Mac

Quick Summary:

* Try watching after each step. You may not need to go all the way through the process to fix the problem.

  1. Delete the PlayReady folder (This step fixed my problem)
  2. Uninstall & Reinstall Silverlight
  3. Create a new user
  4. Contact Apple
  5. Check Browser’s Rosetta settings
  6. Check for corrupt fonts
How to fix the Netflix DRM Error N8151 in Google Chrome for Mac
Error screen for the Netflix DRM Error N8151 in Google Chrome for Mac

The Troubleshooting Process

This process was recommended by Microsoft Technical Support.

  1. Delete PlayReady folder

    1. Quit all browsers
    2. Browse to Mac HDLibraryApplication SupportMicrosoftPlayReady and delete the PlayReady folder
    3. Restart browser (Safari or Firefox)
    4. Test Netflix again
  2. Uninstall Silverlight

    1. Open you Mac HD
    2. Go to Library
    3. Go to Internet Plug-ins
    4. Drag Silverlight.plugin to the Trash
    5. Go you to you Home Folder
    6. Open the Library folder
    7. Open the Preferences folder
    8. Look for the com.microsoft.silverlight.plist file and move it to the trash
    9. Look for the com.microsoft.SilverlightPlugin.loader.plist file and move it to the trash
    10. Check your Trash to make sure there is nothing you want to keep then empty your Trash
    11. Restart your Mac
  3. Install Silverlight

    To manually install Silverlight please follow the steps outlined below:

    (Note: when completing these steps make sure you have quit our of all running Applications and that they have not just been minimized to the Dock)

    1. Launch your web browser (FireFox/Safari) and visit Silverlight.net/GetStarted
    2. On the lower right side of the screen you will see Install Silverlight, Choose Silverlight Mac Runtime and allow this to download to your desktop. If the installation automatically launches quit out of it and complete the following steps.
    3. Mount the Silverlight image that is on your desktop
    4. Ctrl+Click Silverlight.pkg
    5. Choose “Show Package Contents”
    6. Open Contents
    7. Copy Archive.pax.gz to Desktop
    8. Ctrl+Click the Archive.pax.gz file that appears on the Desktop
    9. Choose “Open With”, BOMArchiveHelper.app or “Archive Utility”.
    10. This should extract a folder to the desktop called Library
    11. Open this folder
    12. Open the Internet Plug-ins folder
    13. Copy Silverlight.plugin to Hard Drive: Library: Internet Plug-ins.
    14. Restart your Mac
    15. Visit Silverlight.net and go to Showcase, if you can view this page without being prompted to install Silverlight then it has installed successfully.
  4. Create a new user

    If this is unsuccessful there might an issue with your user account preventing Silverlight from working correctly. What we would like to do is test a new Mac user. To create a new Mac user:

    1. Go to System Preferences
    2. Go to Account
    3. Choose the Plus sing in the lower left corner to open the new account window, enter Test for the user name, leave the password blank
    4. Put check mark in Allow User to Administer this computer
    5. Choose Create Account
    6. Now logout out of your original account and login to the Test account
    7. Once in the Test Account visit Silverlight.net and go to Showcase, if you can view this page without being prompted to install Silverlight then it has installed successful
    8. Visit NetFlix to make sure that you are able to access their content.
  5. Contact Apple

    If Silverlight works with the new Mac user you will need to contact Apple and have them decide why the original user will no longer allow Silverlight to work.

  6. Check Browser’s Rosetta settings

    If this fails another suggestion we can make it to check to see if the browser is running with Rosetta enabled. To verify this please follow the following steps. (NOTE: you must quit the browser to follow these steps)

    1. Open your Mac HD
    2. Go to Applications
    3. Locate browser
    4. Ctrl+Click on the Icon and choose Get Info
    5. Under General Make sure the box that says Run using Rosetta is not checked
    6. Launch browser and attempt to launch content on NetFlix
  7. Check for corrupt fonts

    If this fails then there might an issue with corrupt fonts within your
    operating system that is not allowing Silverlight to load when attempting to access NetFlix content because NetFlix uses DRM formatted content and corrupt fonts can prevent this type of content from loading.

    The next step will be to manually install the Arial and Verdana fonts to do so please complete the following:

    1. Go to the Hard Drive
    2. Then Applications
    3. Then Font Book
    4. Choose the Verdana font, and go to File, and Export Fonts. Name the folder Verdana.
    5. Then choose the Arial font, and go to File, and Export Fonts, and name the folder Ariel.
    6. Go to the desktop, and look for these two folders.
    7. Go inside each of these folder, then another folder with the name of the font. You will see multiple folders in here. You will need to go inside each of these folders, and copy all fonts located here to HD>Library>Fonts
    8. Restart the computer.
    9. Attempt to view Netflix content.

How I discovered the Netflix DRM Error N8151

My wife and I decided to sign up for Netflix again. We cancelled several months ago, but after buying a few kids movies on iTunes, we started to miss having access to loads of toddler-taming flicks for the price of one movie purchased from Apple.

Netflix had all of our account info on file. After three clicks I was back. My Instant Queue was stocked with everything I added before canceling. I was ready to sit back and watch a show.

I heard that the recent launch of their new interface design was a debatable attempt to make the site more user-friendly. Either way, I was excited to try it for myself.

I clicked my selection and waited for it to load. Instead of opening credits, I saw this:

How to fix the Netflix DRM Error N8151 in Google Chrome for Mac
Error screen for the Netflix DRM Error N8151 in Google Chrome for Mac

Bummer. Anticlimax. I had seen this error before. During my previous Netflix subscription I had to burn a long evening on the phone with support to fix the problem. The problem was frustrating but fixable, so I wasn’t too worried.

Digital Rights, Smigital Rights

After a little googling I found the help I needed.

The error has something to do with Silverlight, a Microsoft technology Netflix uses for their video player. The details of why, how and what circumstances triggered this error do not interest me. I just want the thing to work.

Within a few minutes I found step-by-step instructions from Microsoft Silverlight Technical Support on how to address each possibility.

In my case everything was fixed after trying the first step. The movie cloud was back!

I could simply post a link to the forum where I found all the answers, but then I would have to find that forum if I ever ran into this problem again. So, I’m posting the process here to help myself and maybe others who have a similar problem.

I hope this helps others fix this problem quickly so they can get back to watching their favorite show.

Old-School Dark Color Palette: Sportomatic

Inspiration

Cruising through designspiration.net I found an old poster of a Porsche 911 “Sportomatic” at the Nurburgring in 1967.

I was drawn to the green monochrome photo and the overall color scheme. The green and orange reminded me of old video game cartridge labels.

old-game-cartridges

The Porsche poster’s dark background and muted colors are a theme I’ve been noticing a lot lately. This increased awareness started after I switched the color scheme of my code editor to a more aesthetically pleasing and much easier to read format.

Coda color scheme

The New Color Palette: Sportomatic

I decided it was time to give in to the Universe and document this theme with a new color palette. I give you, Sportomatic:

To download this color palette head over to Sportomatic’s page on ColorLovers.com. They provide every format you could possibly want. Feel free to use it on any project, personal or commercial. I’d love to hear about what you do with it and I would be glad to link to your work.

Sportomatic in use

Here is a pattern I created on ColorLovers to see the new color palette in action:

Retro pattern and color scheme

Discovering Synecdoche

I want a coke.

I’ve learned a new word: Synecdoche.

Synecdoche is a word that’s both fun to pronounce and understand. The Greek word it comes from means “simultaneous understanding”. In english it is a figure of speech expressed in several ways. Basically, a synecdoche occurs when the word for a part is used to refer to the whole and vice versa. Think of the Three Musketeers slogan, “All for one, and one for all”… sort of.

In certain parts of the southern United States, you may here the phrase, “I want a coke.” Depending on the context, the word coke in this phrase can mean any carbonated soft drink, while Coke is also a specific brand of carbonated soft drink. I could be wrong, but I think this is an example of synecdoche. More examples I came up with:

  • Everyone is doing it.
    • Literal meaning: All people are doing it.
    • Intended meaning: A large group people I know are doing it.
    • The term for the whole, Everyone, is actually referring to certain part of itself, a large group of people.
  • Do you prefer Mac or PC?
    • Literal meaning: Do you prefer Mac or Personal Computers?
    • Intended meaning: Do you prefer Mac hardware & software made by Apple, or hardware from other companies with Windows software?
    • The term for the whole, PC, is actually referring to certain part of itself, hardware from other companies with Windows software. Macs are also Personal Computers by definition, this one gets tricky.

I also found some biblical synecdoches that were enlightening. Depending on how they are translated, certain scriptures using synecdoche can have very different meanings, or at least emphasis.