Tag Philadelphia

So Long And Thanks For All The (Swedish) Fish

I moved to Philadelphia twelve years ago, after spending two years in Northern California. Originally from Long Island I missed the higher energy, 24-hour culture that I grown accustomed to. At the same time I didn’t really want to deal with the hassles of living in NYC or LI. So when I was thinking of returning to the East Coast I was thinking either Boston or DC. Philadelphia wasn’t even a thought.

That was until I visited a few friends from college that lived there. They lived on a tree-lined street in Society Hill, a mostly residential section which was within walking distance of downtown. Even though there was so much to do within only a few blocks their apartment wasn’t the size of a closet nor did they have to make a deal with the devil to afford it. Another big plus was Philly was closer to my friends and family in New York then either of my original options. So when we made the big move back East, Philadelphia became my new home.

After twelve years I still love this town. I love walking its streets, its abundance of BYOB restaurants, and its lack of pretense, Philly just is. Over the years Philly has grown and keeps getting better. At the same time I’ve gotten the chance to go from being the first non-founding employee at an Internet start-up to leading the design for a Fortune 100 company’s premier online property. All the while getting to work with some brilliant people and some that I’m proud to still call friends. For all Philly has to offer, it is the people I’ve shared my time with there that made it such a great experience and so hard to leave.

I’ll miss my Thursday night outings to North Bowl where win or lose we always had a good time. The trips to Blue (the best option PA had to offer for boarding) despite the broken elbow. Late nights in Chinatown watching campy B-movies and killing zombies. An endless supply of Swedish fish. Nights full of Jager Bombs with razor fish. Watching Malachi and Sophie wrestle and run free along Forbidden Drive. Long discussions on fonts, code, technology and all their possibilities (outside of work). Dart the Halls. Annual bike races. The list goes on and on…

Thanks. Philly you’ll be missed.

- – - – -
More of my photos from around Philly

Refresh Philly: May 2009 Recap

Once again, May’s Refresh had 100+ people in attendance. This month we had “punch and pie,” but I doubt that was the reason for the numbers. Hoping they were there for this month’s speakers, Kellie Carter and Dave Cooksey spoke about user-centered design, it’s history and method.  Followed by Allen Frank, the CIO of Philadelphia, talking about Philly’s digital future.

Allen is on a mission to work out a plan for using the funds from Obama’s Broadband Stimulus Package to improve Philadelphia’s technical offerings. He started his talk by telling us about his background which suggests he “gets it.” Then covered some of the complexities that make up Philly’s technical challenges.

  • Listed as number 27 of 30 most wired cities
  • High percentage of low income households
  • Only 37% have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Percent of college graduates even fewer
  • Initial Wireless Philly project fell apart due to service partner failure

He also covered some of the goals:

  • Increased citizen access to Internet and city services via the Internet
  • Enhanced public safety
  • Aid youth and education (Philly net)
  • Connect patients/students to schools and hospitals
  • Create more Jobs (versus jobs) via a tech based growth sector
  • Add a WI-MAX network to expand public accessibility

The best part was that all these facts and figures were leading up to a request for our input. Not that I have the solution myself, but as a group the ideas were flowing. Some of that energy continued online at the Refresh Philly forums.  Even better, June’s Refresh is going to be a big brainstorming event.  Ideally putting to use some of the methods of rapid prototyping as explained by Todd Warfel of Message First, whom spoke at March’s Refresh event.

Links:
March Refresh
May Refresh
June Refresh
Refresh Philly forums
Todd Warfel

Refresh Philly: March 2009

Refresh Philly - March 2009Refresh Philly, in it’s third installment, will feature talks from Luke Crawford of Muxtape and Todd Warfel of Message First.  There will also be some information regarding some upcoming *camps that will be running this Spring in Philly.

Luke Crawford, Muxtape:
Muxtape has relaunched after a short hiatus due to issues with record companies.  The core idea behind Muxtape is still to allow users tocreate their own mixes using the music available from their site. Find out what Luke has to say on these changes and where they’re going.

Todd Warfel, Message First:
Todd will be talking about Sketching and Rapid Iterative Design.  He’s from a Philly based design firm with a focus on data driven design, web standards and prototyping.

—————————————————————————-

RSVP is required to gain access to the Comcast Center. RSVP on Facebook or email refresh[at] refreshphilly[dot]org

Presentations begin at 6:30pm.  Please bring a snack or beverage!

For more details visit RefreshPhilly.org

Philly at night

I recently picked up a new tripod.  It’s been a while since I really made use of one.  Broke my last one a few years back while at Avenue A | Razorfish (now just Razorfish) shooting items for our interactive holiday card.  So excited to give it a spin Alex and I braved the freezing cold and headed over to the Art Museum.  Here are some of the results:

Spiders Abstraction - by Robert Francis

Refresh Philly: Part Deux: recap

Dare I say it, the sequel was better then the original. Once again there was a solid turn out and enthusiasm abound.  This week’s speakers were engaging with talk about MiND TV‘s future of “public” television using 5 minute videos.  While the Indy Hall Labs crew talked about how developers and designers can work together for a more successful project.  The kids at Indy Hall Labs also showed off their latest offering, Multiplex, a visual browser for your archive of DVD’s ripped with their Ripper app.

The Refresh Philly Google group has also been active with interest in working together to aid some local townships with their web presence.  Visit Refresh online and give’em  some of your time and your opinions.

Links:
Refresh Philly
Refresh Philly on Google
MiND TV
Indy Hall Labs
Multiplex

Refresh: part deux

refresh_febTomorrow is the second official meeting of Refesh Philly. Last month there were nearly 100 people in attendance for a two talks, about tech and user experience (respectively). This months offering should be a be less heavy in the tech jargon with two talks covering: the relationship between design and development by Johnny Bilotta; and Public Television in a new age by Howard Blumenthal.

Outside the confines of the Monday meeting there has been some discussion on the Google group regarding putting the talents of Refresh members to aid local municipalities with their web presence, check it out. Refresh can also use your input on deciding between a few logo concepts. If you have anything you’d like to share with the members of Refresh, post it on the Google groups page.

For more details visit the website: refreshphilly.org
or  Twitter / Google Groups / Flickr

Details:
Refresh Philly
Monday, February 2th, 2009
Comcast Center, 45th Floor
RSVP Required – via Facebook or email (refresh [at] refreshphilly.org)

Refresh Philly Recap – Jan.09

On Monday night over eighty people showed for Refresh Philly’s inaugural meeting.  When we initially met to plan for this meeting I’m not sure any of us thought there would be such a turnout of energized people right out of the gates.  I hope that those that attended are just as enthused now as they were on Monday.

Refresh Philly - Jan09

The meet & greet was to start at 6 but people began pouring in just after 5:30 and we heard there was a bit of a line to get through security.  There is little we can do to ease the security issue, it comes with being able to host the meetings within the Comcast Center.  Still future meetings will continue to be held on the 45th floor on the first Monday’s of the month.  Something to keep in mind as February’s meeting isn’t too far off.

The first speaker, Tom Boutell, went into the technical history and benefits of Symfony, a Ruby on Rails styled framework for PHP.  If you’re unsure what some of that means you wouldn’t have been alone, a good 75% of the audience were not developers.  The second speaker(s), Phil Charron and Russ Starke of Think Browntone, talked about designing for better User Experience (UX) and how to approach the process for better results.  They gave some background on what UX is and methods for keeping UX in mind through out the project’s cycle.  They then approched the audience for ideas for Refresh to be used a demonstrations of how to implement the processes they just spoke about.  This group discussion also helped bring out some of the various interests and thoughts on how to refresh Philly. In the comming weeks the Refresh team will have their web pressence set up so the conversations can continue onlie after the meetings.

Till then check out the official recap at RefreshPhilly.org or see it for yourself at the next meeting RSVP here.

Links:
Tom Boutell
Symfony
Think Browntone
RefreshPhilly.org
RSVP here for February

Refresh Philly Begins

Refresh Philly: January Event DetailsOn Monday, January 12th is the first meeting of Refresh Philly.  It’s a group of Philadelphia area designers and developers that are coming together to with the goal of rasing Philly’s game.  So far there are over 50 people that want to see what and and where this can go.

For Monday’s meet there are two speakers:

For more details visit their website:  refreshphilly.org
or  Twitter / Google Groups / Flickr

Details:
Refresh Philly
Monday, January 12th, 2009
Comcast Center, 45th Floor
RSVP Required – via Facebook or email (refresh [at] refreshphilly.org)

Geeks Who Give is in the can

Tonight was the first GeeksWhoGive event, a food drive for Philabundance.  National Mechanics had a full house and each attendee brought at least 6 non-perishable items.  All this resulted in about 900 pounds of food collected for Philabundance.  Though the event officially ended a 9pm it won’t be the last you hear from the GeeksWhoGive.

Links:
GeeksWhoGive
Philabundance

Refresh Philly & The Geeks Who Give

This past Monday was the inaugural meeting of Refresh Philly. This first meeting was more of a brainstorming session between the twenty attendees. What came out of that meeting was a desire to promote Philadelphia.  The group would work in conjunction with many of pre-existing groups here in Philly. Meeting the first Monday of the month, with meetings featuring two speakers covering different topics. This is to promote a cross pollination of people and ideas, as well as increasing the potential audience beyond that of any particular discipline.

To find out more, check out RefreshPhilly.org or the Refresh Philly’s group on Google.  If you’re in Philly on January 12th, come join us. You’ll need to RSVP as it takes place on the 45th floor on the Comcast Center, where the view alone is worth a visit.

Another Philly based event is the GeekWhoGive Food drive and Tweetup next Tuesday (Dec 9) from 6-9pm, at National Mechanics in Old City. The food drive is collecting non-perishable food for Philabundance the areas largest food bank.  As an added incentive local food podcasters Fork You will lead a cooking demo at 7pm, along with drink specials and raffle prizes.  Cover charge is 5 non-perishable food items (welcome to bring more).  Check the site for updates and additional info.

Links:
RefreshPhilly.org
RefreshPhilly on Google
GeekWhoGive
Philabundance
Fork You