All posts by Andrew

heffe group lunch

Welcoming Lisa Harris

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A belated welcoming of our senior designer, Lisa Harris, gave us a good reason to check out the new taco stand in the neighborhood: Heffe, from the owners of Modo Mio and Paesano’s. The verdict: everything’s pretty great, from the octopus tacos, burritos, poutine, and the free bonus items we were given. Definitely worth checking out on Frankford Ave, here in Fishtown.

BAMboo Bride of Frankenstein

Halloween in Brooklyn

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The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) hosts an annual Halloween block party for kids, closing off the streets in front of the Peter Jay Sharp building in Fort Greene, Brooklyn – complete with a costume contest, games, art, and candy.

We were excited to have the opportunity this year’s poster, based around the theme of “Monster Mash.”

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The differences between WordPress.com and WordPress.org

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WordPress, as you know, is a popular, open-source content management system (CMS) that’s been around for over a decade. While it originally started as a blogging platform, it quickly grew into a robust environment capable of powering any size site, even when the blogging capabilities aren’t utilized. For example, Google Ventures, Acumen, and Justin Bieber (to pick a few from the WordPress showcase) all use the platform, as well as the majority of the sites our studio builds (and apparently ~23% of the entire internet).

But when most clients initially try to dive into or research WordPress, they find themselves here: https://wordpress.com/ which is the commercial, freemium (free to set up, but all add-ons typically cost extra) version of the platform. While it is powered by the same software, we find this commercialized side to be a bit locked-down and dumbed-down, for the sake of bringing it to the masses, in a hosted format.

On the other side of things, the open source platform that is powering the .com side, is WordPress.org. The .org side allows you to install the platform on any server space for free, and the ability to utilize any theme or plugin, instead of select, approved versions. While we feel this solution is typically more economical for most businesses, it does require some networking and HTML/CSS understanding, and some knowledge of general web development best practices. But that initial setup is worth it, to have a site for your business without additional subscriptions or fees beyond the web hosting and URL registration. (Of course, there may be fees tied to e-commerce payment processing or other third-party functionality). And while the open source side uses “.org” as its top level domain (TLD), there’s no restriction on what TLD it can be installed on (such as “.com,” “.net,” “.edu,” or otherwise).

Looking closer at WordPress.com

  • All-in-one solution for someone wanting to quickly make a website on their own, with pricing structures similar to Squarespace, Wix, or Weebly.
  • Requires zero coding knowledge to set up.
  • WordPress.com automatically handles any security risks, and prevents malicious plugins from being installed.

  • most modifications are priced a la carte, ie: removing the “.wordpress.com” from your assigned URL, or even minor alterations to the CSS, both have additional fees attached.
  • the subscription-based model means you’ll be paying to use the platform indefinitely (unless you use the stripped-down free version).

Looking closer at WordPress.org

  • No associated subscription costs
  • No limitations on theming, custom code, or plugins
  • Can be installed locally for development and testing

  • it requires a little understanding of networking and code to install initially.
  • security and maintenance are the responsibility of the site administrator (rather than the web host)
  • you do need to have existing web hosting with another company (ie: Pair Networks, InMotion, GoDaddy, BlueHost, etc).

Conclusion

We find that WordPress.org is the way to go for nearly all of our clients that utilize WordPress. Of course, WordPress isn’t necessarily the best CMS for absolutely all scenarios (versus Drupal, Joomla, or various proprietary systems such as ExpressionEngine or even Tumblr), though that’s another conversation. Happy WordPressing!

Andrew’s Top 5 Albums

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Where to begin? Like everyone, I’ve had phases of being exclusively into a band or two (like Wu-Tang Clan and Radiohead during the second half of high school in the 90s), but the time that really solidified my longer-term preferences seems to have been later in college and then around my first experiences living in New York City. While I try to give every genre a chance, the main two I’ve always steered clear of are metal (and subgenres) and mainstream country. But enough with the intro, here’s the list of my top five albums of all time. Really tough to narrow it down to this, but my studio mates won’t let me add a ton of honorable mentions to the list.

05

“Doolittle” by Pixies (1989)

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I definitely wasn’t aware of the album when it came out, but discovering it maybe a decade later–its quite a powerhouse of an album, a clear stand-out in the Pixies catalog. “Hey” and “Wave of Mutilation” are just genius, and many more songs are top notch as well. I really enjoy the surf rock influence with their classic albums. In terms of the one they released last year or something, ick, skip it. Let’s pretend it didn’t happen.

04

“Uncle Tony’s Coloring Book” by Blockhead (2007)

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Blockhead, if you’re not familiar with him, is the producer behind a lot of early Aesop Rock, essentially a really talented beatmaker born and raised in New York City, clearly in the post DJ-Shadow camp of melancholy hip-hop-influenced electronica. Hmm, even saying “electronica” sounds dated now. His first two albums were amazing, but with Uncle Tony’s Coloring Book, he really starts to get comfortable in his skin. I’ve heard it may have been around this time where he started to switch his production techniques from more analogue to a more layered, digital workflow (with Ableton Live), and every track just immediately gets richer and fuller. His ability to make endless tracks that live entirely within this feeling of almost “disappointments of yesteryear” has made this album (and his others) staples for me, perfect music to work to, to listen to while on a train, late at night, etc.

03

“The Virgin Suicides” by Air (2000)

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Once upon a time I was about to enter grad school for film criticism. I ended up pursuing my first true love, graphic design, instead, but several films have continued to haunt me over the years. This one, “Virgin Suicides,” directed by Sofia Coppola, helped me realize that while I thought I was responding primarily to films’ visuals, framing, mise-en-scéne, etc, that in fact I was responding more to their music. “Virgin Suicides” is one of my favorite films of all time because it brilliantly uses voiceover, montages, and an incredibly creepy score (by the French duo, Air) to convey a dark tragedy set in the Midwest a few decades back. In terms of the score as an album, Air took a few liberties with the voiceover (slowing the pitch), essentially providing an opportunity to re-experience the film with a quick listen of any given track. The only other electronic band I’ve heard remotely approach some of the tracks on this album (in terms of an invented, brooding nostalgia) has been Daft Punk (but you have to overlook their more mainstream club hits).

02

“Colette No.7” by Various Artists (2005)

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Several years back, the creative director I worked for at my first position in New York City had another creative director in the company bring him back the latest compilation from a boutique in Paris that I had never heard of–a store called Colette. He had me listen to this double album (albeit, I tend to only listen to the first disc, as it has more variety than the second), and I was blown away. I hadn’t ever heard such a playful variety of dance-y almost-neo-disco electronic music. It caused me to seek out old Italian minimal synth stuff called “minimo,” I found the fascinating album, “Frrrrridgidaire” by Le Groupe X, plus explored Kraftwerk that everyone had always mentioned. But Colette had done all the work ­– they had been doing it for possibly 6 years (or at least 6 compilations) prior, and still curate music today. A few years back I had the opportunity to visit the store in Paris, and it surpassed my expectations, between having a Vice/Turntable Labs/Rough Trade level of music selections and street wear on the first floor, essentially haute couture on the second, and then a photography exhibit was happening on the third. But back to this album. It certainly was an influential time for me, but this album stands higher for me than the others I was also introduced to at the time (including “Donuts” by J.Dilla, and “Is This It” by The Strokes).

01

“Florida” by Diplo (2004)

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I know Diplo is now associated with mega parties, neo-raves, dubstep, producing the best tracks that MIA put out, being on Mastercard commercials, forming Major Lazer, and ridiculous pre-Miley twerking videos, however, this is before all of that. This album is complete perfection to me – from the nods to crickets and wildlife that comprise the diverse flora & fauna of the state of Florida to the soul and tribal rhythms that seemingly come from even deeper south than Florida or the US. In typical post-DJ Shadow fashion, it stays quite dark throughout, a disillusionment not unlike film noir, where even if the sun is out in a scene, you know there’s still a dark underbelly that cannot be ignored. Admittedly I was disappointed when I only found out earlier this year that the epic “Summer’s Gonna Hurt You” was heavily sampled (and yes, perhaps I was the last to know), but it doesn’t take away from the fact that this album may always give me chills.