The Woman Behind Apple’s Icons

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Brandon Griggs of CNN wrote a great article about the woman behind Apple’s icons.

I certainly did not know her name but thanks to Griggs I now know her work which still influences how we interact with our computers today.

She is Susan Kare, and she designed fonts and icons for Apple’s original Macintosh, including the little trash can for discarding files and the computer with a smiling face. In that way, Kare helped people such as Steve Jobs pioneer the transition from controlling computers via text to the icon-based interfaces now common on touchscreen devices.

Kare had a fine-arts background when a friend recruited her to join Apple in 1982. For the Mac, Kare designed the first font whose letters were spaced proportionally – in other words, accounting for the varying width of ”i” and “m” instead of just fitting letters into identical blocks regardless of size, which left gaps in between. As a graphic artist I am pleased about that but never knew who was behind what seems to be a simple idea unless you are obsessed with typography like I am.

Because an application for designing icons on Macintosh screens hadn’t been coded yet, Kare went to an art-supply store and bought a sketchbook so she could begin playing around with ideas. In those pages she created the casual prototypes of a new, radically user-friendly face of computing — each square of graph paper representing a pixel on the screen.”
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After leaving Apple Kare designed icons and products for Microsoft’s Windows, New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Facebook’s Gifts program, which encouraged users to send each other virtual birthday cakes, flowers and other amorphous treats.

After years of semi-obscurity, Kare has been getting some renewed attention lately. She just published an art book of 80 of her favorite icons created between 1983 and 2011. Her work with Apple is also cited in Walter Isaacson’s new biography of Steve Jobs, currently the top-selling nonfiction book in the country.
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“She and Jobs hit it off because they shared an instinct for simplicity along with a desire to make the Mac whimsical,” Isaacson wrote.

In keeping with his rep as a perfectionist micromanager, Jobs stopped by to check on Kare’s work almost every day. When she first named her Mac fonts after stops on the Main Line commuter train in her native Philadelphia, Jobs encouraged her to think bigger.

“They ought to be world-class cities!” he complained, according to the book, Kare’s fonts were soon renamed after such cultural capitals as San Francisco, London and Venice.

New Reality Show on Bravo Offers “Real” Tips for Job Hunting.

There is a new reality show on Bravo TV called the Headhuntress. While most reality shows are watched for pure entertainment or perhaps I should say watched out of morbid curiosity this show actually offers some sound job hunting advice, especially during these tough economic times.
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Here are ten tips that the Headhuntress recommends on her website.

1. Your resume is your calling card. Trim It Down, Tone It Up, Get It In Shape.

The Headhuntress says: Your resume is not your life story. It is a tool to get you the interview. If something isn’t absolutely essential to the role you are applying for, take it off of your resume. Adjust your points to fit the position you are applying for. Grab the requirements and experience directly from the job description and use strong verbs “created”, “managed”, “produced” etc. to prove you’ve got exactly the chops they are looking for.

2. Make an appointment with yourself.

The Headhuntress says: Even a perfect resume isn’t any good if it never gets seen. Make an appointment with yourself to send out at least two resumes every day. I know what you are thinking. Some days you won’t feel like it. But it will become a habit over time if you keep at it. And I promise you will be motivated when you see your phone ringing off the hook.

3. Go Google yourself. Seriously.

The Headhuntress says: If you haven’t done a search on yourself in the last 30 days to see what comes up, prepare for an ambush. I guarantee the person sitting across the interview table knows all about that Facebook status you posted at 2am last Saturday. If you can help it, keep your personal business off of the internet. And don’t leave anything to chance — manage your online rep like it’s your job. (Because it is.)

4. Have a great elevator pitch.

The Headhuntress says: An elevator pitch is the 30 second personal pitch that tells someone who you are and what kind of position you are looking for. Polish this pitch so you can recite it anytime, anywhere. You never know when you may need it. We use this approach everyday in advertising.

5. Dress the part.

The Headhuntress says: If you’ve got an interview, do yourself a favor and don’t screw it up by “going sexy” unless that is expressly required for the position. (Here’s a hint: it’s not.) Dress for the job you WANT. They’ll develop their impression of you within minutes of you walking in, so DON’T give them any opportunity to write you off before you’ve finished your 30 second elevator pitch.

6. Get to know the Spin Cycle.

The Headhuntress says: Do you have some professional dirty laundry? Don’t hide it. Whether you have worked in the adult entertainment industry or were fired for a personal Tweet… Address these things before they find out about it so you can spin it to your advantage. What should you keep to yourself? Physical or mental illnesses, as long as it the situation is resolved and won’t affect performance, is none of their business and beside the point.
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7. Get to work… on building your network.

The Headhuntress says: It is true that amazing jobs can be won through the standard application process. But it can also be about who you know. 75% of people find a job through someone they know. Pay attention to building an outstanding reputation not only with potential employers, but also with EVERYONE you work with now or have ever met…(what, you didn’t guess that your workout buddy’s uncle was a hiring manager at Facebook?) Start combing your “Happy Holidays” list – I guarantee that you know someone who could be the magic link in your career.

8. You’ve got the technology, use it.

The Headhuntress says: You know that smart phone in your pocket? It is a lethal weapon against other job-seekers competing for the positions you want. Speed and response are some of the most powerful tools recruiters (and YOU) have for scouting career opportunities. Emails, Job listing feeds, Linked In, even job alerts on Twitter…there is no excuse not to use them. Employers are posting jobs online and assessing applicants often within hours. Get online and get ready!

9. Follow up, but make it appropriate.

The Headhuntress says: Follow up after a conversation or an interview but don’t become a nuisance or they will rename you “Crazy – Don’t Answer” on their caller ID. You do want to stay on their radar, but be careful not to be too persistent. It shows them you are selfish and don’t respect their time. The casual follow up is good form. Turning into a stalker is not.

10. Excuse Me? Drop the excuses.

The Headhuntress says: I hear the same excuses all the time: “I CAN’T get a job because the market is so hard,” Excuses are great…if you want to have exactly the situation you currently have. But you know what? I just placed someone in your dream role. The jobs are OUT THERE if you are willing to work for them. “I can’t” may be doing a great job protecting your ego, but ignoring the hard truth about what YOU are doing wrong will prevent you from having the career that will change your whole life.

What did Bill Murray say at the end of “Lost in Translation”?

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I just watched “Lost in Translation” again last night probably for the 25th time.

It’s rare that you find a movie that sticks with you long after you’ve seen it for the first time. “Lost in Translation” was like that for me, for some reason. Maybe it stems from a time in my life where I was living and working in Tokyo and spent many days and nights at the very Park Hyatt this was filmed. Usually meeting with Western colleagues to de-cipher and untangle the day’s events and interchanges with my Japanese colleagues.

It had great appeal to me, despite the nature of being very much on my own there. I could relate to Murray’s character and the Japanese scenarios were almost too realistic making me cringe at points.

Perhaps that’s why “Lost in Translation” had the impact it did. Bill Murray, who plays Bob Harris, is in a strange country and cannot sleep, and he meets Charlotte, played wonderfully by Scarlett Johansson, who is also in the same situation, but almost totally alone as her new husband has other things to do.

They connect with each other out of their need to be with something familiar. Being in Japan with no English spoken, these two naturally relate and spend a lot of time together over the next few days, trying to hold onto this amazing thing they’ve found amidst their loneliness.

The movie did a superb job of bringing the audience into the emotions going on inside these two. You actually can almost feel what they are going through and how they long to just “be “ with each other.

And that brings us to the end of the movie. Bob has to leave, the filming is done on his TV commercial, and it’s time to go home and that means leaving Charlotte behind. But that’s the end really, they had no future, they were both married and their time was up. You felt their pain in ending the short relationship, but what other choice was there?

So Bob gets into his limo and is taken away, while Charlotte heads out onto the streets, back to wandering aimlessly like she did before, alone and out of place in this strange country.

But Bob stops, goes back and finds her walking in Shinjuku near the Hyatt…I know that exact street

They look at each other for a moment, and then they just hold each other. He whispers something to her, which makes her cry, makes her smile. They kiss, and she continues walking down the sidewalk, tears flowing, but a new look of happiness on her face. Bob gets into the limo and is gone.

I loved the movie, and I loved the final song in it so much that I now own the “Jesus and Mary Chain” album Psychocandy that it came from.

So the big mystery for all that saw it was this: What did he say to her?

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Some wise words of comfort from an older man that allowed her to move on? That he’d see her again? That he loved her?

Well, we now know. Someone took the scene and digitally enhanced the sentence that Bill Murray whispers to Charlotte and posted the video on YouTube. Sorry the link is no longer on YouTube.

It was hard to hear, but I think they got it right.

Now, not everyone wants to know. The way it ended was perfect in my opinion, leaving it up to us to decide what he said to her. It was fitting and obviously kept people thinking about it afterwards.

So if you don’t want to know, don’t watch the video or read on after this point. But if you do, check it out below.

Here is the final line from him again, if you didn’t watch it or want to see it again:

Bob: “I have to be leaving…but I wont let that come between us, okay?”

Charlotte: “Okay.” *gasp*

This exchange seems totally fitting to me. But the real meaning behind it will always remain a mystery. Did that mean he was coming back to her? Or was he just leaving her with hope. That in having this hope, she wouldn’t be completely miserable and lonely. Her gasp at the end was like a breath of relief escaping her, so the words he said were the right ones.

I don’t know what it means. I don’t think we ever will. They are both married, so the real guy inside me wants to think that they just return to their lives, but another part of me hopes they end up together.

What do you think? Does it make a difference knowing what he said? Am I the only one who really enjoyed this film?

Stressed out? Try Tickle Therapy.

I wrote this a few year back but given the new pressures of our crazy US economy I though I should repost it.

It appears laughter is strong medicine. Really.

Did you know that when you laugh, you not only exercise almost all of the 53 facial muscles; you also spark a series of chemical reactions within the body? No one knows exactly what process takes place, but studies show definite benefits:

Levels of stress hormones, such as cortisol, are reduced. This leads to a strengthened immune system and lower blood pressure.

You mean I’m taking Norvasc every day to control my blood pressure and all I needed was a tickle?

My friend is an advocate of natural health. While I am not ready to give up the Norvasc just yet a twice-a-day tickle therapy seems to help…although using this method may drive your neighbors crazy listening to uncontrolled laughter. I am definitely less stressed out since employing tickle therapy.

Stress is also associated with damage to the protective barrier lining our blood vessels. This can cause fat and cholesterol to build-up in the arteries and could ultimately lead to a heart attack.

So laughing is even thought to help protect the heart.

Endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, are released when we laugh, producing a general sense of well being.

The conscious thought process is bypassed – it’s like taking a weight off the mind! Hmmm…Sounds a little like hemp!

The reduction of stress-related hormones has also been linked to enhanced creativity and beneficial effects on conditions as diverse as insomnia, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.

Everyone in Tokyo is so stressed out and serious…maybe they could employ a bit of “tickle” therapy! So the next time you are crammed in the subway next to some stressed out salary man…give him a little goose and see what happens.
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Look at this shot…no wonder Tokyo makes me stressed. The conductors are actually pushing the passengers into the packed train! At least they are wear clean white gloves.

Heineken TV Commercial

Tokyo was an incredible city back in the bubble years…some of the clubs and shows were incredible…this spot is like a night in Tokyo in the late 80″s early 90’s…Club Gold, Club Orange and One Eyed Jack when they had a casino. There was even a club with mermaids swimming behind the bar.

This spot looks like it was shot in the Russian restaurant in the basement called Volga. Lost in Translation was great at showing a side of the city that people think was over the top but having lived there I can tell you it was the real deal.

Tokyo is still a wild place but during the bubble it was surreal, 24/7.

Shot of Volga near Tokyo Tower
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Coca-Cola Kid

This game was created by Sega in 1994…I created the hero and villain characters for a TV commercial in Japan two years before called “Comic Hero.” Amblin Films Steven Spielberg’s company produced the TV commercial for me when I was at McCann Eirickson in Tokyo. I used all the same team from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”

I just found this on YouTube….I don’t even have a copy of the game anymore. Wow, video games have really advanced since that time!