13 July, 2012

Making Money Music

One of the many reasons I love my Mac: Apple Script.

I put together a simple script to remind me every other Friday that I should invoice my clients. Here's what I did:

  1. Create a calendar appointment that recurs every other Friday, since I invoice my clients bi-weekly.
  2. Create an Apple script that will play a specific playlist in iTunes, as well as open a browser window to my invoicing system (Freshbooks - which I love, btw).
  3. Set the calendar appointment to run the Apple script.

Cool, right?

Here's the script I wrote:

tell application "iTunes"
   set this_playlist to playlist "Make Money"
   play this_playlist
end tell
property theURL : ""
tell application "Firefox"
   open location "https://colorandcode.freshbooks.com/menu.php?CB431CBcm91dGU9aW52b2ljZV9saXN0LnZpZXdGQjc0NTAz"

I created a "Make Money" playlist by searching my iTunes library for any songs with the word "money" in them. Not surprisingly, many of the tracks are hip-hop or rap, but there are a handful of oldies and other genres as well. Here is the playlist:

This Making Money reminder is by far one of my favorite productivity hacks. It ensures that I stay on top of invoicing, and it's much nicer on the ears than an alarm clock.

Do you have any "money" motivational tracks in your music library?

21 May, 2012

Facebook's Stinky Ad Creation Process

Facebook is notorious for making changes to their (recently IPO'ed) platform, without much user input. I understand that users don't necessarily have the future of the platform in mind, but I don't understand how facebook could neglect the needs of its advertisers so blatantly.

Their main competitor, Google AdWords, has built in some support offerings (e.g. Google Engage, which my ad agency is a part of) and extensive documentation around their platform. Although much younger, if Facebook plans to get more $ out of its advertiser platform, I would think it should offer some type of support or, at the very least, a quality service.

Here's the story. I went to create an ad today for an event that Rachman and I are hosting this Saturday. I'm not new to Facebook ads by any means - in fact we have been running ads for this very event for the past several weeks, but wanted to test some new targeting and images.

Challenge #1: Can't create an ad for an event in the Firefox browser.


Until recently, something was broken in all browsers except - gasp - Internet Explorer!? that prevented ads for events from even being created. Event ads are unique in that they allow a user to click to RSVP right within the ad. Facebook gets some points for having a direct event advertisement platform that ties in nicely with the millions of users that manage their social calendars with Facebook. However, as an advertiser, if I can't create my ad - how are you going to get my money from advertising? Silly silly.

Second point: generally speaking, Facebook support for all major browsers seems to be inconsistent. Any [good] web designer knows to test in all the major browsers. I have three of them installed on my Mac, and more virtually. This allows me to test client projects on many browsers before "launch." It also allowed me to create my event ad today... go figure.

Perpetually Loading - Facebook Ad Creation in Firefox

Challenge #2: Facebook ad provides a mere 110 x 80 pixels of space for an image.


Google AdWords are generally text-only, so I guess I'm happy Facebook allows an image at all. Plus, I figure it's a nice exercise, to design within such small real estate. But when I go to upload my nicely-designed ad and the text is all blurry, it's a little concerning. I want to make sure the users can actually read what I'm advertising. So I search the small database of Facebook answers and come across this nice little entry: https://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=103816146375741

Challenge #3: Only 5kb for an image? What are we, in 1999 again?


I'll just optimize the image using pre-millenium standards... severe compression, limiting colors, saving as GIF. This work was necessary back in the day when people had dial-up modems and used AOL... but I'll do it, if it will make my tiny text easier to read.

Challenge #4: No matter what I do, the red-on-black text is still blurry.


I change the text to blue. It doesn't look nearly as cool as my original version, and is now quite different from the original branding I had intended. Red text is much sexier. No, really, from a psychological perspective - it is. It signifies energy, movement, excitement, and life. Exactly what we're trying to convey.

Not fine.

Facebook, if you're going to allow images in your ads, please let us visually-inclinded advertisers create "eye-catching," attractive images that will increase click-through rates and get us more event attendees!

End of rant.

06 April, 2012

My Contribution to a Documentary about my Favorite Pinup Model

I am so excited to be a part of the Bettie Page Reveals All documentary about my favorite pinup legend! She is the often-imitated icon whose life was complicated and controversial, and who unintentionally helped inspire the feminist revolution of the 1960s after her mysterious disappearance into seclusion in 1957. Before she passed away in 2008, she spilled the full story in her own words through a series of interviews with Academy-Award nominated filmmaker Mark Mori, who is now directing and producing the documentary.

It's not like me to be star-struck but Bettie is one of only two exceptions. So when I saw a posting on a Bettie Page newsletter asking for Photoshop experts to work on her film, you can imagine my response. I am honored to help out with such an exciting project and all of the images I have been working on only serve to make me more excited to see the final film, which premiered at the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender yesterday.

I made this video while I was working on one of her photos as a "teaser."

Of course, it is a real tease; you can barely see any of Bettie except for a tiny thumbnail on the right at the end... but hey, that's fitting with her personality, too! I can assure you the full shot is just lovely.

03 February, 2012

Oops, I Guest Posted Again

Around midnight last night, I finally finished a guest blog post on my former university professor's site, "Business School Presenting." It had been in the works and on my to-do list for a very long time, so I'm both excited and relieved to finally have it posted on Dr. Ridgley's site, whose URL makes me laugh.

Go on over to http://www.ihatepresentations.com/?p=2845 to read my article about some very basic personal branding steps.

If you're still here, I just want to make a quick point about blogging in general -- and how it's not easy to find time to write quality content and balance all of your other real-life, big-girl responsibilities, especially when you're not getting "paid" for it, but it's rewarding in its own rights, as both an exercise and a sort of time capsule -- and then maybe sometime today I will finally go to bed.

Yes, it is noon and I have been awake, with no caffeine, for at least 24 hours. One conference call to go and then I'm setting myself free for the evening and quite possibly the rest of the weekend.


02 January, 2012

Season's Greetings or, My Obligatory Year-In-Review

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year! I would like to share this e-Card with you which I [snail] mailed to all of my clients, before I indulge in a bit of self-reflection.

I am writing this post while on the road with my MacBook Air and a mobile hotspot, somewhere between Daytona Beach Shores, FL and Charlotte, NC. Actually, to be more exact, we are on Route 26 West near Columbia, SC. I spent New Year's Eve with my boyfriend in downtown Orlando, FL and in a few days, we will return to central NJ, all the while listening to audiobooks like Einstein's biography and "7 Habits of Highly Effective People."

Looking back over the year, I've made many changes in 2011 which have allowed me to mobilize my work, explore new parts of the country, and learn what it takes to be an entrepreneur. I am proud to have done my first Bikram yoga class in Chicago, IL, nearly completed a 30-day Bikram yoga challenge, collaborated with fellow bloggers, worked with talented photographers, interviewed a top international dance music producer, established and nurtured several key partnerships, and hired contractors including voice-over talent, a User Interface designer, and PHP developers for some "pet projects" which I expect to be launched next year. I can't believe how much I've grown this year, and I look forward enthusiastically to 2012 in which I will set even more lofty goals for myself and strive to reach them.

If you're still reading at this point -- and I'm honored that you are -- I WISH YOU A FANTASTIC 2012!!!

Till the next post,


Follow this blog - it's easier than stalking and less creepy