Author Archive: Serge Jespers
“In 2013 3 million people pledged $480 million to Kickstarter projects”
- Via Kickstarter
Reading that quote made me realize that I have also backed quite a few Kickstarter projects. The first project in my Kickstarter backer history is CineSkates. I thought it was a really cool idea and a cheap way to do rolling video. The project was funded successfully and also shipped on time.
While my first experience with Kickstarter was a good one it took me a year before I backed my next Kickstarter project. Pebble caught my eye one morning when I was reading my regular blogs and I was immediately sold on it. I hadn’t wore a watch in years but this one was exactly what I wanted on my wrist. The project release slipped quite a few times and lots of people thought it was vapor-ware but they proved everyone wrong. Pebble is now a full grown product available at multiple outlets and they just announced Pebble Steel. As a backer I actually felt proud when I saw their CES announcement this week and I immediately ordered a Pebble Steel Matte Black.
Next in my Kickstarter backer history are Hand Stylus, pen-like stylus featuring the world’s smallest (4mm) retracting, rotating, replaceable tip and Chameleon, a better home screen for your Android Tablet. In all honesty… I’ve only used them for a while but it was still cool to see it come to life.
Ouya was another well publicized Kickstarter project. Just about every single tech blog wrote about it and for good reason. Ouya promised to disrupt the gaming console market but it has failed to do so. While there are a bunch of really cool games available on Ouya it still doesn’t have that one title that would make you want to get one.
Mobi-Lens was another cool project. Mobi-Lens is a “one size fits all, universal device made to fit any phones, tablets, and laptops to enhance your mobile photography.”. The idea was really simple. They put a wide angle/macro lens and a fisheye lens in 2 clips that you just clip on your phone, tablet, or laptop.
So far my experiences with Kickstarter were all positive. The project owners were all communicating and while some releases slipped they all ended up in backer’s hands. All positive… until Instacube.
I still like the idea behind Instacube. A nice looking photo frame that displays photos from your social streams. I liked it so much that I backed the project for 3 of them. I thought it would be great to see the photos from my friends at home and in the office. The third one was going to be a gift for someone. While the project was successfully funded on Sep 21 2012 backers are still waiting for their Instacubes. Working in the tech industry I know that releases can slip but Instacube is now close to being 1 year behind schedule. That’s not even the worst part about it though. The problem is the lack of communication from the project owner and when they do communicate it’s also often contradicting something they said earlier. So here’s my number 1 lesson for new Kickstarter projects: communicate! You cannot over-communicate when you take people’s money! I’m not sure if we’ll ever see our Instacubes. I guess that’s the risk of investing.
When I first saw Lace Anchors I thought it was a clever idea. I really hate tying shoelaces and Lace Anchors solves that problem. It was also the first project I backed in 2013 almost immediately followed by Mini Micro SD Reader and Everly.
Dash Wallet 2.0 was a solution for another one of those things that really bugged me: my bulky wallet. I found their version 1 wallet a few months before they launched this Kickstarter and backing this was a no-brainer.
The Buccaneer is probably the one project I look forward to getting my hands on the most. The Buccaneer is an affordable and easy-to-use 3D printer. The combination of easy-to-use software and nice looking hardware was what got me interested in it. It’s supposed to ship next month… Fingers crossed.
Have you ever wondered why a certain USB charger or port fails to charge your device? It’s probably because it’s not providing enough power. With The Practical Meter you can see whether or not your device is getting enough power from a USB charger or port.
MagCozy is one of those ideas that really solves an annoying problem: losing your MagSafe adapter (thank you again, Apple for changing your MagSafe ports).
Ivee Sleek was one of the projects I was really looking forward to but they recently took a turn that really left a bad taste. Instead of shipping their first units to backers they opted to ship them to Staples instead making a bunch of backers really unhappy. They also said that Ivee would now ship with one of the features they promised as a stretch goal. I still think Ivee is a cool idea and I would love to get my hands on it. The last communications from the project owner have been contradicting though and I’m not sure when we’ll see them. The original ship date was October 2013. The last date backers got was January 10th but it now seems that they are still on a boat from China. Fingers crossed.
Pressy was another well publicized and well funded project. Again such a simple idea: Add a physical button to the headphone plug on your Android phone and use it to perform common tasks. Should be shipping in March.
Nota is another stylus with an “ultrafine” tip. When I backed the project there were no others like it on the market or even announced but that’s a different story today. Still looking forward to give it a shot but I think they may be too late to the market. Supposedly shipping this month.
Zendure is probably the fastest shipping product I backed on Kickstarter. The project was funded in October and I received mine in December. Zendure found out that it’s not really easy to ship to different countries (as did Pebble). There are so many variables to take into account (eg. weather, different shipping companies, customs, …).
Besides fooling around with code and gadgets I also enjoy photography and my two most recent Kickstarters pledges will help me with that. Michron is an easy-to-use app and hardware “dongle” to do timelapse photography. I’ll have to wait until March to take this out for some shooting but it promises to make this a lot easier. Air Strap is a lightweight, breathable camera strap from the makers of the ProDot. There’s still time to back this one but you have to be fast.
So far I’ve only pledged 2 projects that failed to raise enough money and all in all my Kickstarter experience has been a pleasant one. So far I’ve backed about $1900 worth of projects with the highest pledge being $397 (for The Buccaneer). I plan on continuing to back interesting projects so if you find something cool do let me know. I’d also love to hear your Kickstarter stories!
Oh… Happy New Year!
I was working on a social visualization for Adobe’s booth at the HOW Design Live conference when I noticed some of the amazingly cool work people create with Adobe Ideas. I thought it was really inspiring to see what people can do with nothing more than a tablet and just their fingers (or a stylus). To showcase some of the Adobe Ideas artwork that people post on Twitter I created a gallery that displays these.
Just point your browser to http://ideasgallery.sjespers.com/ and sit back. Please note that you’ll need a modern browser to display the gallery.
I’m also using this as a screensaver. I found an OSX screensaver that displays an HTML page. Pretty cool stuff. Maybe I should wrap this up in an installer or something. Let me know what you think
You’ve probably read this about a hundred times already today but just in case you missed it: Creative Cloud has been updated!
Before I joined Adobe (can’t believe it’s been more than 6 years already) I was a freelance multi-media do-it-all. I did everything from DVD authoring to video & audio editing to 3D animations to Flash development to interactive museum installation and more. Creative Cloud is like a dream come true for me. For one low monthly price you get every creative app Adobe makes. Even if you’re currently not a do-it-all having access to all those apps gives you the opportunity to get your feet wet and learn something new. Creative Cloud even offers you online tutorials that will help get you started in no time.
So what are my favorite features of Creative Cloud?
1. All the new Edge Tools & Services
I spend a lot of time with web standards these days and our new Edge tools & services are a blessing. Edge Code is constantly open on my desktop. I love how easy it is to quickly look up a CSS class, make changes and immediately see the result in your browser and on connected devices using Edge Inspect. Edge Animate makes it easy to do animations with web standards and with motion paths, templates, and more this update is the best yet! The star of the Edge Tools & Services is really Edge Reflow. While Reflow is still in preview it already is the best tool out there that will help you create beautiful and responsive designs for the web. More about the Edge Tools & Services on http://html.adobe.com/edge/
2. Cinema 4D Lite
Cinema 4D Lite is now included in your Creative Cloud membership and has a direct pipeline to After Effects. I love playing around with After Effects & 3D and this makes it so much easier.
3. Refine Edge in After Effects
This has to be magic. I’m going to have to track down the person who built this ‘cause I think it may be voodoo magic. The Rotobrush was already an amazing tool but now with the addition of the Refine Edge tool you can create great looking masks in no time.
4. Shake Reduction in Photoshop CC
More magic…! It was previewed (and a big hit) at MAX 2011 and now it’s available for all Creative Cloud members.
5. Creative Cloud
You know what… I really can’t pick 5 favorites. There is so much cool stuff in the new versions of our creative apps and I wouldn’t do them justice by only picking a handful of favorites. Adobe TV has a whole bunch of videos that will show you all the new goodies in the new Creative Cloud apps but the best way to experience them is to try them. More info on creative.adobe.com!
While you can create stunning visual effects with After Effects visual effects don’t always have to be digital. In this video they try to recreate the Start Trek teleport effect using nothing more than a bunch of Christmas lights. I think it’s spot on!
— Serge Jespers (@sjespers) February 22, 2013
That’s what I Tweeted after I saw his presentation at W3Conf last week. I’ve seen him present a
couple bunch of times now. I think I first saw him at FlashForward in San Francisco (Or was it New York? Or both?) in 2000. I remember being envious of and inspired by the type of work he was doing and felt exactly the same after last week’s session. Check it out below. (FYI: If you’ve never seen Joshua present… His language can get ehm… colorful (his own words) ).
Check out his work on joshuadavis.com.
I know that over the last couple of weeks I’ve been teasing you a bit with notes about some of the new technology Adobe is working on. PixelTone is one of those technologies.
PixelTone is a proof-of-concept program that lets users adjust images using a combination of gestures and their own voices. Adobe Research collaborated with the University of Michigan to create PixelTone, which made the news last week after a post on John Nack’s blog. Learn more about the thinking and the team behind this fascinating innovation in this blog post.
For more peeks behind the scenes at Adobe make sure you check out peek.adobe.com. Peek is a glimpse inside Adobe, at what we make and how we make it and a place to share the very best of what inspires us to build great software.
Yikes… I was just looking at my calendar and realized that MAX is only about 10 weeks away… 10 weeks! I hear screams in the office. I think I may have just freaked out a bunch of people… Including myself Internally we’ve seen a bunch of sneak peeks over the last couple of weeks. Adobe is working on some pretty amazing new things. Some of which I think is just plain voodoo magic!
So… 10 weeks. I better start coding up this new game I’m building for MAX. If you attended last year you may have seen those QR codes all over the venue. We’re going to repeat that this year but the app itself will be more of a real game. By scanning the QR codes at the venue you’ll get power ups, extra levels, etc., and of course you can win some cool prizes! More on that later!
I’ll also have to start preparing my MAX session. In this session you’ll learn how to work with Adobe Edge Tools & Services to design and create content for mobile devices. I’ll walk you through building a mobile application using the tools and services in the Edge family. In this 1 hour session we’ll go from Edge Animate, to Edge Reflow, to Edge Code, to adding PhoneGap API calls, to testing the app with Edge Inspect and finally building the application installer with PhoneGap Build. I’m really excited about this session even though I must be crazy to try and cover all of that in 1 hour but I think it’s important to show you how all these new tools can work together!
So… Have you registered for MAX yet? The conference pass includes 1 year of Creative Cloud for free! Early bird pricing ends next week! See you there!
This week is Adobe’s Tech Summit. Tech Summit is a yearly internal event where Adobe engineers from all over the world gather and show what they are working on. If what I saw today is any indication of what we’ll be showing at MAX (and I have a strong suspicion it is) I can only recommend you register today!
This morning we got a sneak peek of all the new goodies the Creative Cloud team is working on. I guarantee you’re going to love it! The Creative Cloud team is working on [redacted]. Oh… Yeah… I guess I’m not allowed to tell you just yet. What I can tell you is that it’s very obvious that the Creative Cloud team is just getting started and with the recent acquisition of Behance I’m sure you can imagine some of the work that’s going on.
The last session of the day was just pure Adobe magic… It was an hour long sneak peek session of new imaging technology. I’m sure you’ll see a lot of these demos during the sneak peeks at MAX.
And this was just day 1 of our Tech Summit. I can’t wait to see what they’ll serve us tomorrow!
So… Have you registered for Adobe MAX yet?
It’s hard to believe but After Effects is 20 years old today! To celebrate After Effects’ birthday Adobe TV just published a set of testimonial videos from users that showcase how After Effects has impacted their careers.
But that’s not all. We will actually be celebrating the next 3 months. Keep an eye on our Facebook page to access all the festivities!
One of the last things you want to read in an email on a Sunday morning is that your Wordpress install has been compromised. Sadly… That’s the exact thing that happened to me yesterday.
I’ve always been careful to update my Wordpress installation whenever a new update was available. I’ve also been very careful about which plugins and theme I use and making sure they are up to date as well but someone still found a hole somewhere and injected some malware resulting in a Google malware notification. And so it was time to do something else.
I know I haven’t been very active on my blog lately but I really want to get back into it. That said… Wordpress has been bothering me for a while now. Not only the constant security risks but also the fact that it has become really really slow. I should note that my Wordpress blog was hosted on Rackspace Cloud Sites. Before moving my blog there I had my own dedicated server. While I loved being able to install and do whatever I wanted on my server it also was a bit too time consuming. And so I moved everything to Rackspace a few years ago. Cloud Sites definitely had it’s flaws from the start but I just didn’t want to spend too much time on keeping my server up to date. Over the years I saw Cloud Sites’ “node unavailable” message more and more (The Rackspace support reps kept saying it was Wordpress’ fault) and eventually I just got fed up with it. I had originally planned on moving my Wordpress blog to an Amazon EC2 instance but that plan has now also changed.
When I took my blog offline I tweeted about my Wordpress disapointment. It was Kevin Suttle who pointed me to Octopress. Octopress (built on top of Jekyll and runs on Ruby) definitely isn’t for everyone. They call it a “blogging framework for hackers” and you should take that very literally. I got everything up and running on my Mac thanks to this post.
The biggest advantage about Octopress is that it generates static HTML pages. So no more need for a server side language or databases. In fact… My blog is now hosted on Amazon S3. So it should be blazing fast now (and probably/hopefully a lot cheaper too). It’s also secure as the actual page generation happens on my local Octopress install. Adding & editing posts is very different than in Wordpress but luckily Sublime Text understands markdown so I can now actually write my posts in Sublime Text.
It’s probably going to take a bit of getting used to but so far I really like it. I’m currently using the Slash theme but I’ll probably make something custom over the next coming weeks. I’m not sure whether or not I should try to import my old Wordpress posts. If you think I should do that then make sure you make your voice heard by posting a comment (using Disqus) on this post.
I’ve been working on this video for a while and I’m glad it’s live now. I always wanted to do a “kinetic typography” video and this was the perfect opportunity.
For more information about Brackets check out the Brackets blog.
Last month I was in Amsterdam for a few hours. At the CS6 Launch event I interviewed a couple of the speakers. I’ll be posting these videos over the next couple of days.
First up: Joshua Hirsch – Minister of Technology – Big Spaceship
Last month I was in Amsterdam for a few hours. At the CS6 Launch event I interviewed a couple of the speakers. I’ll be posting these videos over the next couple of days.
First up: Joshua Hirsch – Minister of Technology – Big Spaceship
I can describe the HTC One X in one word: A-MA-ZING!
But before I continue… A little disclaimer: I was given a free HTC One X as a member of a special HTC community program. I was under no obligation to talk about this product or company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.
Now that we got that out of the way I can finally tell you about this amazing new HTC phone. I’ve been an HTC-fan since I was given a Nexus One 2.5 years ago. I was an iPhone user before that. In all honesty… I hated it at first. I hated the UI but immediately fell in love with the hardware. It was so much better than the iPhone. A couple of months later I flashed a Sense ROM on it and was hooked from day 1. HTC’s Sense UI is their UI skin on top of Android. It makes Android much more user-friendly and a lot less geeky. It’s probably the best UI skin on the market.
I replaced my Nexus One with the Desire HD the day it came out. And later I replaced that one with the Sensation. When I moved to the US I was given a couple of phone options. An iPhone, a Motorola Atrix and a Samsung Galaxy. I don’t like Samsung’s UI layer at all. I just don’t like all the bubblegum colors. I didn’t want to go back to an iPhone and so I went for the Atrix. I hated it. I was completely lost on that phone mostly because of their UI layer. I went back to using my Sensation even though I couldn’t get 4G on it. AT&T didn’t carry the Sensation but after a bit of Googling I found that the Canadian Bell version of the Sensation had the same radio frequencies that I needed to get 4G on AT&T. It was just before MAX and so I asked my Canadian colleague Duane Nickull to bring me one.
Fast forward to February. Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Everyone knew HTC was going to announce new devices and when they did they got a lot of buzz at the show. They announced their new One series. I was lucky enough to play with one of their demo phones at their booth and knew that that was going to be my new phone. Being on AT&T I had to wait and see if AT&T was going to carry it and I’m glad they did.
Fast forward to last Friday. A package from HTC arrived at home. I felt like a kid who just got a new train set (kids still play with trains, right?). When I opened the box and took the One X out of the box I thought they pranked me and actually sent me a dummy phone. It’s that light! Points++!
This weekend I took it out for a photo walk. The 8MP camera is extremely impressive. The 4FPS burst mode is just amazing! You can actually take up to 99 photos (20 by default) by just holding the camera button. When you let go you can just select the best shot and choose whether or not you want to keep the rest of the photos. You have to see this to actually get how amazing this is. Even more amazing is that you can take photo while you’re recording 1080p video! I uploaded a few photos on Flickr.
[slickr-flickr set=72157629943852879 search=sets]
The One X’s 4.7 inch screen is also absolutely gorgeous. It’s actually the first phone I can use in direct sunlight!
The international version of the HTC One X has been available for a few weeks now but this one has LTE. This is my first LTE phone and I had no idea what to expect from it. The speed of AT&T’s LTE network here in San Francisco is amazing. In fact… The internet on my phone is now almost twice as fast as my connection at home!
Obviously I was also worried about battery life but I was also pleasantly surprised by that. I go on a lot of long walks or bike rides on the weekend and my phone used to die before I got back home. So I was pretty anxious to try out the HTC One X on last weekends urban bike ride. I got about 11 hours of battery with moderate to heavy use! I use my phone on these trips as my camera, for music, to text/Whatsapp friends, to lookup routes, … and so again a great surprise to see how well the battery copes with that.
Beats Audio is now also available for every app that outputs audio to your headphones and it really does make a difference. I recently bought a set of Bose earphones (not sure why I haven’t bought these before ‘cause they are really great) and while they already sound fantastic Beats Audio makes them even better. I can now hear frequencies I didn’t even know were there.
The HTC One X is one amazing device… but it may have one flaw. The AT&T version only comes with 16GB of internal storage (and no MicroSD slot). That’s not really a big issue but I never had to think about storage before with the 32GB MicroSD card in my Sensation. A possible solution may be HTC’s partnership with Dropbox. You get 25GB for free when you sign up for Dropbox on your HTC One X (existing accounts get upgraded). Dropbox has the ability to automatically upload any pictures you take with your phone. So in theory you can almost immediately delete the photos from your device. With Google Play Music I could just stream my music library or temporarily sync it to my device. In other words: with so many cloud services available now and with the speed of LTE the storage limitation is probably not going to be an issue at all.
The HTC One X is my new favorite device! I’ve been showing it around the office and now have a lot of jealous colleagues I give it a 5 star rating and can’t recommend it enough! This is how you do an Android device! Oh… For those wondering: AT&T’s HTC One X is available from next Sunday!
I can describe the HTC One X in one word: A-MA-ZING! But before I continue… A little disclaimer: I was given a free HTC One X as a member of a special HTC community program. I was under no obligation to talk about this product or company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the [...]
Just came across this interesting infographic put together by Intel.
Every minute 639.800 gigabytes of data get transferred globally, 240 million emails are sent, 47.000 apps are downloaded, 30 hours of video get uploaded to YouTube and 1.3 million videos will be watched on YouTube. Pretty amazing numbers…
Intel also estimated that by 2015 the number of networked devices is expected to be double the world’s population. And by the time we reach 2015, it would take five years to view all the video content crossing IP networks each second.
Just came across this interesting infographic put together by Intel. Every minute 639.800 gigabytes of data get transferred globally, 240 million emails are sent, 47.000 apps are downloaded, 30 hours of video get uploaded to YouTube and 1.3 million videos will be watched on YouTube. Pretty amazing numbers… Intel also estimated that by 2015 the number [...]
“This isn’t your father’s Farmville,”
Epic’s Mark Rein said on Kotaku. I couldn’t have said it better!