EasyInvite 1.4 has Shipped!

The new release of EasyInvite will be coming in the first week of June, 2014.
The new release of EasyInvite will be coming in the first week of June, 2014.

In the first week of June, I launched  version 1.4 of EasyInvite.com. This release has a lot of improvements based on feedback from users and direct user testing. One of the things we’ve designed for in this release is a fluid dynamic between importing and editing guests. A new import system and bulk selection tools should really help users get their guests managed quickly.  We put together a basic screencast on the new features here: EasyInvite 1.4 New Features. 

Event planning has a lot of change over time and our improvements should help get the interface out of the way of what users actually want to do.

And after all, that should be the goal of a good experience: enable the user to do what they need to do.

Nominated in the 2014 Master’s Cup

I was pleased to be nominated this past weekend for two images in the 2014 Photography Master’s Cup. The Master’s Cup is an international, juried exhibition of color photography. Tens of thousands of images are submitted annually and, from those, a selection of nominations are made for final consideration. I was nominated in the categories of abstract and still life. The image I’m most pleased with is this one.

Nominated in the 2014 Masters Cup.
Nominated in the 2014 Masters Cup.

Quickstack Battery Holder Design Selected for Expert Review!

Exciting news on industrial design and product development efforts: the community on Quirky selected the battery holder (see previous post here) for expert review, putting it in the 90%+ percentile of product concepts on the website.

The post on Quirky can be found here – we now will have to wait as much as a month to find out if the Quirky team is interested in supporting the product’s mass market development. Only a few products ever actually make it into production but as it stands, the battery holder’s already threaded a narrow needle.

The front side of the AA battery holder.
The front side of the AA battery holder.

Rapid Prototyping: Battery Holders!

I’m fortunate to get to play with technology at home and at work. Part of product development includes prototyping objects. 3D printing is especially cool because the prototype itself can be sold, particularly if it has obvious utility. I was scrounging around my house, looking for a few AA batteries, and frustrated that my off-the-shelf battery holder from Amazon only held a few of each type. The Amazon holder limited me to buying a product that didn’t serve my needs and forced me to buy more to hold a reasonable number of batteries. Not to mention that it was quite ugly.  I realized I could solve this issue right at home. I sketched up a few concepts until I realized one that worked.

A concept sketch for the 3D printed battery holder
A concept sketch for the 3D printed battery holder

It’s amazing to me how fast I can work with the entire prototyping chain in my office – my home office! The entire development cycle, from concept to product, took about 24 hours. The finished “home” product was a AA version in white and green.

The front side of the AA battery holder.
The front side of the AA battery holder.
The back side of the AA battery holder.
The back side of the AA battery holder.

I eventually posted it here on Etsy.com where we got a few sales. We developed two more common sizes (AAA and C) and put those up on Etsy as well. We also published the project here at Quirky.com. While it’s certainly viable as a product straight from the 3D printer, we think it’s also a pretty good candidate for mass market. Scaling a product like this can be expensive so Quirky represents a really great opportunity to get direct consumer feedback as a prototype and, if selected, scale with an experienced partner.

The design iterations happened in a really user-centered way. We realized quickly that a holder alone was nice (if it was attractive and held a fair bit) but the ability to choose which types of batteries – and how many! – was even more important. We altered it to be easily stackable and improved the wall mount design. For the 3D printed version, we bind the whole thing together with high heat glue (which is almost as hot as PLA or ABS in 3D and creates a great bond).

The whole project was a good reminder that development doesn’t have to be expensive, long, or complicated and that our better ideas come from a source of environmental inspiration.

Selected for an Award in 2013 International Black and White Competition

I was twice nominated this year in the 2013 black and white Spider Awards, in the abstract category, and won an honorable mention for “Cracks.” This is my second and third nomination by the Spider Awards and my first win. See below for the press release, which contains a lot of pertinent details. I’m pretty excited, to be honest. It’s really an honor to be recognized for one’s work.

2013 Spider Award Winner
2013 Spider Award Winner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS HONORS PHOTOGRAPHER ADONIRAM SIDES FROM U.S.A.

LONDON (20 October 2013) – Professional photographer Adoniram Sides of the U.S.A. was presented with the 8th Annual Black and White Spider Awards Honorable Mention in the category of Abstract at a prestigious Nomination & Winners PhotoShow. The live online ceremony webcast Saturday, October 19, 2013 was attended by photography fans in 75 countries who logged on to see the climax of the industry’s most important event for black and white photography.

The awards international Jury included captains of the industry from the Tate in London, Heffel Fine Art, FoMu Fotomuseum, FTM Advisory, Camera Work, Art Stage Singapore, Aeroplastics Contemporary, Galerie Baudoin Lebon in Paris, to Fratelli Alinari in Florence who honored Spider Fellows with 246 coveted title awards and 938 nominees in 14 categories.

“It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 9,456 entries we received this year,” said Basil O’Brien, the awards Creative Director. “Adoniram’s ‘Cracks,’ an exceptional image entered in the abstract category, represents black and white photography at its finest, and we’re pleased to present him with the title of Honorable Mention.”

BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS is the leading international award honoring excellence in black and white photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in black and white photography.

 

A Passage of Time: Exhibition at Fitchburg State University

Windswept tree in the highlands of Cape Breton.
Windswept tree in the highlands of Cape Breton.

A twenty image exhibition of my work will be showing at Fitchburg State University, on the media wall at the Conlon Arts Building. I created this portfolio of work for Fitchburg State specifically, focusing on patterns in nature that are best revealed through the passage of time. Some patterns are fleeting and captured best with unique ability of the camera to compress time into a single image. Other patterns are impossibly slow to comprehend and, in my opinion, meditative to behold.

The show will be running from October 10th to November 14th. More information can be found at the school’s cultural activities website.

EasyInvite 1.3 Released!

One of my large projects is EasyInvite.com, the web application behind Checkerboard, Ltd.’s Future of Inviting™. In this newest release we’ve added some great features. Our new spreadsheet importer is incredibly versatile. It allows the user to preview their spreadsheet data and assign attributes to that information, rather than requiring adherence to a template. New preview features and a significantly simplified interface are also big improvements. You can watch a video of the new version here: a four minute walkthrough of the new EasyInvite.

Just shipped the new version of EasyInvite.com
Just shipped the new version of EasyInvite.com

 

Rapid Prototyping: Adjustable iPad Holder and Charger

This is an iPad 2/3 holder and charge that can be adjusted for optimal viewing angles. I designed and engineered the project in C4D, which is a great blend of tools for modeling and visualization. All that is required is an off-the-shelf Apple charging cable and a FFF printer. There are five parts: a primary adjustment dial (which also serves as the drive), a worm gear that connects to the dial and actually makes the adjustments, the cover, base, and a cable guide. The cable guide helps the design aesthetically by bringing in the second color but it also allows the user to change the type of cable (Apple now has two) based on the type of iPad they use.

Future versions will include channels for the original iPad, as well as the iPad mini, and iPhones. The finished project can be found on Thingiverse, or by clicking here!

This holder and charger is an original design.
This holder and charger is an original design.
A quick snapshot of the finished, fully adjustable iPad holder and charger
A quick snapshot of the finished, fully adjustable iPad holder and charger

 

Interactive Name Plates

There is so much rapid prototyping technology readily available that sometimes it’s overwhelming how quickly we can alter “traditional” products. Here’s a project I recently completed that puts a new light on name plates. It’s a fully customizable name plate. Users can customized the color of the plate itself and the name. It’s also interactive. It has two modes of operation. The first mode is a fully lit mode. Makes the name plate light up, backlighting the name. The second mode is interactive. It automatically turns the backlighting on depending upon the light level of the room, and dynamically adjusts to its surroundings. It is a completely original design, including the circuit. The chips were custom designed and milled for this project. Most iterations took less than a day to turn out a prototype. You can buy these little guys here, at Etsy, in the Checkerlabs Store.

The name plate dynamically reacts to the lighting conditions it is in.
The name plate dynamically reacts to the lighting conditions it is in.
The front of the name plate is fully customizable.
The front of the name plate is fully customizable.
A close up of the custom name, in the "off" mode.
A close up of the custom name, in the “off” mode.
The mode switch and photo "sensor."
The mode switch and photo “sensor.”
An example of the internal armature.
An example of the internal armature.

Nominated in the 2012 Spider Awards

The Black and White Spider Awards is judged by a “panel of the world’s most recognized experts from Tate, National Geographic, Fratelli Alinari, The Art Newspaper, Bonhams of London and more” and is considered “the industry’s most authoritative and important photographic event for black and white and mono art.”

I was nominated two weeks ago in the architectural category from thousands of applicants. This image was captured beneath the Hellgate bridge in New York City in overcast, waning light. Prints available upon request, from a limited edition of 25.

This is my first juried accolade for architectural work. Human structures really  engage me when they’re in an aged or dilapidated state. I’m excited and honored to be recognized by such a distinguished panel.

Nominated in the 2012 Spider Awards: Architecture.
Nominated in the 2012 Spider Awards: Architecture.