Armadillo Studios Inc.

Bumptop Launches To the World

In exciting industry related news, local Calgary product Anad Agarwala and his team of developers have released the much anticipated desktop application “Bumptop”:http://www.bumptop.com to the world.

Buzz about Bumptop has been building for over a year now, since Anad’s infamous presentation at the “2008 TED conference”:http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/anand_agarawala_demos_his_bumptop_desktop.html. And because of a longstanding relationship with Anad (via our glory days at the University of Calgary); Armadillo Studios has been honored to be a long time beta tester of Bumptop.

It is because of this relationship with Anand and the Bumptop team, that we are pleased to announce that we have been featured on the main Bumptop site.

As far as desktop applications go, Bumptop truly is a ground breaking device. One that will revolution how you view your Windows Desktop and how you utilize it in your daily work environment. We encourage all of our clients and friends to “download Bumptop”:http://bumptop.com/download.php play with the application’s incredible organizational properties and see how it can improve your work flow.

Congratulations is in order to Anad and his team. Armadillo Studios wishes you the best of luck with your endeavor.

SXSW09: Pictures and Diagrams in Thoughts – Monday Wrap-up

Monday’s panels took on a very visual tint.

Opening the day was the arrival of the Texas Sun and a panel called “Shift Happens: Moving from Pictures to Words”:http://www.sxsw.com/interactive/talks/panels?action=show&id=IAP0900080. The panel featured some of the core brains behind the great “CommonCraft”:http://www.commoncraft.com/ explanation videos and “VizTalk”:http://www.vizthink.com/blog/ , two companies that are transforming how we explain complex issues and concepts by utilizing our basic need for visualization.

The entire talk resided around how corporations can utilize simple drawings and images to covey the complexity of ideas. Whether it is a brainstorming session on a company vision or to define a complex set of corporate strategies, the companies featured in this panel are aligning themselves with corporate companies to produce visual elements that make it easier for their customers or employees to understand.

A great example of this concept from the work that “Sunni Brown”:http://sunnibrown.com/ is doing via VizTalk. I’ve embedded a couple pieces of her work to give an example.

!http://sunnibrown.com/wp-content/themes/sunni/images/vois-thumbnail-sketch-1-440×338.jpg!

!http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_D3qn1sofjqM/SPUqX4lAnxI/AAAAAAAAATo/xqNuVrvG-D8/s400/Virtuous+and+Vicious+Cycles.JPG!

The second panel of note was the final panel of the day called “Color Angels: It’s Not Just Black & White”:http://www.sxsw.com/interactive/talks/panels?action=show&id=IAP0900201 featuring three of the top Women Designers in the world. Of note was “Veerle”:http://veerle.duoh.com/blog/about/ one of the most brilliant designers in the industry and an inspiration to Armadillo Studios.

This panel discussed the use of Color in Web Design to help usability, resolve culture color difference and to enhance a corporation’s branding. The discussion touched upon ideas regarding the cultural differences in colour recognition and techniques to allow color blind users to read your web site.

As a designer these colour issues are sometimes forgotten. An example that was given was the difference in color layouts for a Chinese Wedding web site where Red means fortune, while the color white tends to represent death. Which is counter intuitive to North American tradition. Then the panel wrapped up by examining some case studies in colour design and the latest trends in the industry.

And with that the third day of panels was closed. With the sun shinning and the annual “Big British Meet-up”:http://sxsw.com/interactive/parties_and_lounges and the “NXNW”:http://raincitystudios.com/taxonomy/term/477 SXSW really kicked off.

SXSW09: Core Conversation Sunday – Blogging And It’s Future

Sunday morning was a bit of a white wash and continued the tradition of picking panels that were _not the talk of the day_. Including walking to, but not into the “Is Spec Design Evil?”:http://blog.wired.com/business/2009/03/is-crowdsourcin.html and then opting for a bit more downtime.

To combat the losing streak it was decided that attending some “core conversations on blogging”:http://sxsw.com/interactive/talks/core_conversations would be the perfect ailment for the panel woes.

Core Conversations are round table discussions with experts on a variety of topics. The ones chosen for Saturday were “Is the Personal Blog Dead?”:http://www.sxsw.com/interactive/talks/core_conversations?action=show&id=IAP0900456 and “Blogging Skills and Beyond”:http://www.sxsw.com/interactive/talks/core_conversations?action=show&id=IAP0901320. Both were intriguing in regards to the development of a online Personal brand and the evolution of the blog. But the main synopsis of both panels was that *the concept of a Personal Blog has transformed from a daily log of your life into an element of a selection of applications that creates an online personal brand*.

With “growing presence of Twitter”:https://www.armadillostudios.ca/twitter-for-the-calgary-market/, facebook and other online Social Media applications, the blog has changed in the past three years. The entity it was before has now died. Rather now professionals should be utilizing their blogs in conjunction with other applications for networking and to promote their own professional personal brand.

The Blog should be an entity to promote your services and your knowledge in a long format, while professionals should utilize Twitter, LinkedIn and Flickr to connect with people and drive them to the respiratory of your thoughts and ideas which is located on your professional blog.

As a company that specializes in developing personal branding in conjunction with customized blogs, these two sessions where an inspirational take on what has been considered a fading element of the online persona. It was great to see some optimism and some brilliant points.

SXSW09: Saturday Wrap-Up

Saturday’s adventure in SXSW started off with two interesting talks, well it actually started with a trip to “Taco Shack down the street”:http://www.tacoshack.com/subframes/locations.html for breakfast tacos.

The first session dealt with “speed times and how to improve web site loading issues”:http://www.sxsw.com/interactive/talks/schedule?action=show&id=IAP0901285. While the second panel of the day “dealt with the difference between print content and how the speed of the web has lost some of the design of print technology”:http://www.sxsw.com/interactive/talks/schedule?action=show&id=IAP0900291. Neither one was a show stopper, but both provided some great ideas on how to technically improve web site loading times and some neat ideas of transposing the beauty of magazine design in to blog posts.

The Keynote by Tony Hsieh was a one of the best opening day remark sessions in recent memory.

For those unfamiliar with Tony, he is the CEO and brain trust behind “Zappos.com”:http://www.zappos.com/ a large online shoe company that has built and banked its reputation on exceptional customer service.

“Tony’s keynote was widely entertaining and enthralling”:http://www.sxsw.com/interactive/talks/schedule?action=show&id=IAP0901393. It was a great conversation on how to balance the pressures of becoming a large business and answering to the balance sheets with building a great company based on a strong principal of great company culture. It was interesting to hear about their $2,000 offer to quit during training and concepts like using “Twitter to foster an internal corporate community”:http://twitter.zappos.com/.

If your curious a graphical representation of Tony’s Talk can be found on “the main interactive site.”:http://sxsw.com/files/u5/Tony-Hsieh-at-SXSW-09-Sunni-Brown.jpg

!http://sxsw.com/files/u5/Tony-Hsieh_SXSW-09_Sunni-Brown-sm.jpg!

The final conversation of the afternoon was hosted by Jeffery Zeldman on “the transition from Freelance to an Agency”:http://www.sxsw.com/interactive/talks/schedule?action=show&id=IAP0900593. This was an inspirational session filed with great tips for companies in the middle of the transition from a small freelance agency to a big 5-10 person agency.

SXSWisEASY Experiment

And finally what would a SXSW conference be with out a bit of a Social experiment?

Well, the SXSWisEASY collective spent our free time on “Saturday launching out own little experiment.”:http://sxswiseasy.com/2009/03/what-do-you-see-at-sxsw/ we’ve handed out 8 disposable cameras to random people at SXSW and we are asking them to take five-six photos and then passing the camera on to completely random SXSW stranger. Once the camera is finished people will return them to us and we’ll post their images online for people to use.

We’re pretty excited about the idea and think we’ll have some interesting photos from people.

SXSWisEASY

For the second year in a row Armadillo Studios is proud to announce that we will be attending The “SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin Texas”:http://www.sxsw.com/interactive. In preparation for the big event we are also extremely proud to announce, through an international collaboration with “Nonimage”:http://www.nonimage.com/ and “Stalelife Inc.”:http://www.stalelife.com/ we have launched a definitive guide to absolutely everything related to the SXSW festival in Austin Texas.

You can find this definitive guide at “SXSWisEASY.com”:http://sxswiseasy.com.

Designed with simplicity in mind, *SXSWisEASY* provides straight up information for everything related to SXSW. It covers everything from “essential elements of Austin TX”:http://sxswiseasy.com/austin/dos-donts/ to the Best “Interactive Parties”:http://sxswiseasy.com/interactive/parties/ all they way to a list of the “Social Do’s and Don’t of the Film Festival”:http://sxswiseasy.com/film/essentials/.

Essentially, everything you could possible need to know to prepare you for SXSW in one easy to read spot.

As a group we have also provided a break down of the best parties and best interactive sessions at the festival. Including our own take on why it’ll be worth sitting in on the session. A guideline to help you make the most of your time down there.

So please spread the word of SXSWisEASY, send it to anyone you know heading to Austin. Even start following the “SXSWisEASY Twitter account”:http://twitter.com/SXSWisEASY for the latest updates and information.

*A big thank you goes to our friends Kurt, Joey, and Andy for getting this project rolling and letting us take part. Thanks again guys*

WordPress 2.7 Integration

As a quick note to our customers.

After testing the latest WordPress for the past month, Armadillo Studios will be upgrading all of our CMS-based web sites to latest 2.7 release.

As the CMS of choice for all of our projects, the newest version of WordPress is a far more intuitive upgrade to it’s predecessor. (To be honest, we really “thought 2.5 and 2.6 were pretty dramatic improvement over the previous versions”:http://blog.armadillostudios.ca/article/wordpress-25 )

You can watch this video from WordPress.org for a little bit of a walk through for the changes or you can skip below and read some of our initial reasons that you’ll love the new system.

* *Stronger Security Features* – The New WordPress 2.7 fixes many of the security vulnerabilities found in WordPress 2.6 or 2.5. Which is essentially a roundabout way of noting that your site will be less susceptible to being spammed.
* *A More Intuitive Interface* – 2.7 has a far more intuitive design, which allows users to edit pages and create posts with less clicks.
* *QuickView Function* – This is a new addition to the WordPress Interface and essentially allows you to toggle comments, pings and other information straight from the list of posts/page. Again this is an element of a more intuitive Interface, but it is a quicker way to edit your posts.

If you have any questions regarding this upgrade, feel free to contact us at any time. We’ll be happy to answer questions you may have.

Cardobserver.com

A couple of days ago, we notice an influx of visitors to our little corporate site and to our blog. Upon further investigation we discovered an interesting business card gallery called “Cardobserver.com”:http://cardobserver.com/.

And with a little scan of their beautifully designed site, we discover that our first run of “Armadillo Moo Cards”:http://cardobserver.com/gallery/armadillo-studios was the *featured business card for January 21st, 2009*.

It’s always neat to be recognized for our design work and we’re happy to see that our corporate branding has made a bit of an impact. We want to thank Cardobserver.com for the recognition and spreading the Armadillo brand.

If you are curious, Cardobserver.com is a recently launched web site and a fantastic gallery for those looking for corporate branding inspiration. Have a quick look and examine some of the unique ideas coming out of our industry.