Category Archives: Tutorials


So, whenever you’re about to save a file, or rather, whenever a system dialog box comes up, hold down the Apple key, and it’ll show you the key command for the options, so you never need to have your hands leave the keyboard again.

Just for those people who don’t like the mouse, but still like the Apple.

Apple Crack, the FAQ

I figured I’ve talked so much about Apple Crack, and that there’s a great lack of information concerning exactly how to play, and so I’d like to take a stab at some instructions .

Apple Crack is Your Friend
Apple Crack is a homebrew variant of the popular party game “Apples to Apples,” published by Out Of The Box Publishing. At its core, it is a game of word association, but even though that description makes it sound like only kindergarteners would play it, it can be an uproaringly good time. Particularly when drinking is involved.

This game is for 3 – 15 people, but a decent-sized group is around 5 – 7.

For set up, you’ll need:

  • Two different decks of 3″x5″ index cards, in two separate colors. For our games, we used white and yellow index cards.
  • One pen per person, preferrably all of the same kind.
  • Did I mention alcohol?

Everyone draws five blank yellow cards. For player one’s turn, she picks up a white card and writes an adjective or topic on it, like “Things I would do for a cookie” or even simply “Awesome,” and then they state the card and show it to everyone else. Everyone except for player one writes an answer for the prompt on a yellow card and turns it in face down, like “Man with 12 hula hoops” or “I can’t believe it’s not butter.” Once everyone’s finished writing in an answer, player one shuffles the cards and starts reading them aloud. Then she picks one card as the “best” answer to her white card, and the owner of the winning yellow card gets to hold on to the white card and keep it as a point. Save all the cards in a pile elsewhere, you’ll use them later, and draw more yellow cards to keep five cards in your hand. Rinse, and repeat. Usually, the game ends when one person reaches 7 cards in their white pile, but oftentimes, we’ll just see who’s got the most once we’re all too tired to play anymore.

Once your group has played through the game a few times, you’ll have amassed a large collection of white and yellow cards, and you have essentially made a deck to play with from here on out. And so, we usually have on hand a whole bunch of blank cards, for whoever feels the need to add to the deck. I typically draw four filled yellow cards and one blank one to make my hand.

And so, that begins my ongoing coverage of Apple Crack here. In future weeks, I’m thinking of blogging about the different cards we’ve written in (edited for content, of course) and variants of the game. I’m also considering writing up a Wikipedia article on Apple Crack.

If you have anything you’d like to add or revise about my instructions, let me know in the comments.


I use bloglines, which is an online feed aggregator, and I check it pretty regularly. It’s great, because it collects the latest posts from blogs, news services, and weather sites and brings them to me. That means I don’t have to spend hours navigating from one site to the next, wondering whether anyone I know has updated their sites. It’s all there. I can see everything.

Well, here’s the rub: every site that can be indexed by bloglines needs to publish an RSS (or atom) feed. Basically, it’s a file that has every post in it, without any formatting information, and organized in such a way that it is machine-readable. If you’re using Blogger, Word Press, Movable Type, or other similar blogging services, it’s something that your service automatically sets up and provides, though I remember that I had to manually activate it back when I was still using Blogger.

The point is I know a fair number of sites I wish published feeds and don’t. Commercially, Barney’s Blog, which is a blog about the fictional character Barney Stinson, played by Neil Patrick Harris (of Doogie Howser, M.D. fame) and easily the most interesting character on television’s best and funniest sitcom, How I Met Your Mother. It’s a great read, with tons of very in-character references to things that happened on the show, week by week.

In terms of friends of mine, I hate to single people out, but here goes anyway: Ellen can’t really have an RSS feed published, because she doesn’t use a blogging engine and does all her blogging by hand, which is still pretty awesome. And Sarah, you’ve got a great blog, but I miss out on a lot of your updates sometimes. I think you should check your Blogger settings for publishing a feed, it should be in there…

So, yeah. That’s my plea. Please appease!

Fighting Spam on the Homefront

Frequent reader Andrea asked in a comment recently why there are comments on this blog that make no sense… Well, I suppose if you’re not running a blog on your own website (meaning, if you’re using Blogger, LiveJournal, Xanga, or whatever), you probably don’t often run into yet another scourge of the internet: blog spam.

Blog spam and email spam are essentially the same problem. Some malicious program out there figured out your address, and how to automatically send you links they hope you’ll click on. They typically do this by spouting either grandiose claims (“You are the rightful heir to an instant-microwaveable girl-on-girl viagra fortune off the coast of Idaho. SEND US MONEY!”) or complete gibberish (“Your copy of Windows XP is completely safe to use.”).

Luckily, my installation of WordPress came with a great spam-management application, called Akismet. At the time of this writing, Akismet has caught 6,032 spam comments. Sometimes, though, spam gets through. I try to deal with it as soon as possible, but I am but one man.

So, hope that answered your question. Good heavens, I… need… a martini.

There is another?!??!!

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, this isn’t the only blog I post to. That’s right, dear friends, my blog-love is shared with another.

Now, don’t be mad. It’s strictly business. Strictly business.

At BIG Images, we’ve started rolling out this monthly e-mail newsletter, which links to blog posts on the BIG Images website. I just started a series of articles about effectively designing for large format posters and banners and the like.

Oh, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t shared this with you yet, but it’s pretty cool: A few months ago, I designed a logo for Banner-Works, and Jon wrote up a little something-something about it.

The perfect gift for someone hard to shop for…

How to catch a fart in a jar:

  1. Eat a fantastic dinner of anything that will bring up pleasant memories from your backside.
  2. Make a bath.
  3. Get a jar and hold it upside down.
  4. Fart.
  5. Capture fart bubble in jar.
  6. Repeat until satisfied.
  7. Affix lid to jar while still upside down and underwater.
  8. Label appropriately.
  9. Give to Jim for his birthday.

I figured this out during the vacation in Pacific Grove, whilst taking a bath. Capturing bubbles in cups is super fun. And you can be assured, this is a gift that can keep on giving!

Warning: Do not give to that special someone, for ANY occasion.

How to dispose of those pesky flies.

Have you ever wondered the best way to kill a fly? I mean, they buzz around all day. Swatting them seems to not quite work. Sometimes the air currents you create by slapping at them actually push them out of the way.

Well, at the end of my first year of college, I learned a very useful skill from one of the many denizens at the mansion.

What you should do is, first, sight your target. Make sure it has landed, resting on a flat surface.

Second, prepare your killing implement, the only one you’d have if you were stranded in a South American jungle with 18 hungry panthers: your bare hands. Hold them about six inches apart, directly perpendicular to and about three inches from the surface your victim is resting on.

Third, and finally, clap. Clap like your life depends on it, because although they’ll tell you that flies are completely harmless, both you and I know the truth. If everything worked out, the fly, disturbed by the sudden motion, should fly RIGHT INTO YOUR CLAPPING HANDS. You are, in fact, taking advantage of one very important piece of fly anatomy: they can only take off vertically. Know your enemy, and then strike with utter ruthlessness.

One clap should be sufficient, though. Don’t get too carried away. You don’t want to be the one to incite a war with it’s species. Also, make sure you’re not killing any flies that are ambassadors. They tend to frown on such behavior. And finally, don’t act like a goof. Seriously.

With this method, I’ve had about an 85% success rate, once I figured out timing and distance. Hope it helps!