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A Brief Typography Primer

April 8th, 2014 - by marissa - Salt Lake City, Utah

History

This month’s internal training was a crash course in the basics of typography. The history goes back several hundred years. Although Gutenberg is often called the “father of typography,” it was actually the Chinese that first started creating woodblock printings and wooden movable type as early as 1100 A.D. However, the simplicity of the Latin alphabet allowed printing presses to be created and used quickly and efficiently; whereas the Chinese language had thousands of characters, making the typesetting process much more complex and time-intensive.

Gutenberg’s first type blocks used a typeface called Black Letter, which resembled the handwriting in books and manuscripts at the time. Type slowly evolved to more legible letter forms, like Roman and Caslon. The first sans-serif typeset was developed in 1816 by William Caslon IV. Some of the most famous fonts, Futura and Helvetica, were created in 1927 and 1957, respectively.

Modern Typography

Letter forms have anatomy that typographers can refer to when describing them. Some examples include bowl, counter, stem, tittle, and leg. There are even more terms when it comes to digital typesetting processes, including leading, kerning, point size, line length, and tracking.

Few people outside of the typesetting industry understand the difference between typography and lettering. Typography is the style and arrangement or appearance of typeset matter, whereas lettering is the art of drawing letters.

Users also need to beware of free fonts! More often than not free fonts have poor quality, poor auto kerning, a limited glyph library and formatting issues. Often, if you’re looking for a font for your business or project, it’s going to be worth it to purchase a high-quality font.

Fusion Radar: April 2, 2014

April 2nd, 2014 - by marissa - Salt Lake City, Utah

Keeping up with technology is a lot of work. Luckily, we enjoy wading through the noise just to find the gems of awesomeness sprinkled throughout. Fusion Radar is our gift to you, Current or Potential Client, so that you can enjoy all of the awesome without any of the drudgery. Unwrap it each week, and know that you’re loved by the geeks and pixel-pushers at Agency Fusion.

RoomScan

RoomScan is a new app by Locometric that can produce an accurate floor plan of any room in less than 30 seconds. Users just walk around the room, touching their phone briefly to each wall. RoomScan uses the iPhone’s sensors to create a drawing of the room, accurate within 6 inches. The app also includes the ability to add doors and windows to the generated floor plan.

RoomScan

Linux Commands

This guidebook is an extensive reference list that sorts and explains Linux commands. While it’s designed to help those who are trying to learn Linux for the first time, it’s also a great Linux refresher. The categories are fairly broad, with titles like “System,” “Hardware,” and “Network,” and each one of the commands listed links to a more detailed article about that particular command.

Linux Commands

Wolfram Language Code Gallery

We mentioned the knowledge-based Wolfram Language a few posts back. It’s been growing in both size and popularity, and now its creator has released a language code gallery with examples of what  Wolfram can do. This gallery includes a variety of projects–from mapping volcanic ash cloud advisories to making a Hipstamatic filter–that are all created using the Wolfram Language.

Wolfram Language Code Gallery

Foldscope

Foldscope is a new, economical microscope that is printed-and-folded from a single flat sheet of paper. Not only is it cheap to make (costing less than $1 in parts), but it also is quite powerful: the Foldscope provides over 2,000X magnification. Its creators, a team of Stanford University scientists, are hoping that the low cost and durability of Foldscope will help revolutionize medicine in third-world countries.

Foldscope

Serve

Serve is a small web server and rapid prototyping framework for building web apps and simple websites. This open-source, Rack-based project can use a variety of languages to create these sites, including HTML, ERB,  Markdown, and others. It builds static or dynamic sites, and has helper methods that can simplify complex logic.

Serve

PsySH

PsySH is an interactive, open source PHP REPL that combines a runtime developer console with an interactive debugger. PsySH differentiates itself from other runtime developer consoles by including features like supporting readline, listing sets of defined classes/function/constants, and showing the source code of any function available to the current environment.

PsySH

Down For Everyone or Just Me?

This is a simple but useful tool that can let you know if the problems you’re experiencing with a particular site are happening everywhere, or just on your computer. You just submit the site address, and Down For Everyone quickly generates a site report that tells you what you need to know.

Down For Everyone or Just Me?

Mailparser.io

Mailparser.io is a fast, lightweight email parser that automatically processes incoming emails, then extracts and converts their content into easy-to-handle data. You can download the parsed data as a spreadsheet, send it to your CRM, or send it via webhooks.

Mailparser.io

Slick

Slick is a great tool you can use to build just about any kind of carousel you need.

Slick

The NASA Z-2 Suit

NASA has been working on the construction of their newest spacesuit: the Z-2 Suit. And now that they have most of the technical details figured out, they want to hear your opinion on what it should look like. They’ve released 3 different designs and have asked people to vote for their favorite; the winning design will become the new look for NASA astronauts.

The NASA Z-2 Suit

Fusion Radar: March 26, 2013

March 26th, 2014 - by marissa - Salt Lake City, Utah

Keeping up with technology is a lot of work. Luckily, we enjoy wading through the noise just to find the gems of awesomeness sprinkled throughout. Fusion Radar is our gift to you, Current or Potential Client, so that you can enjoy all of the awesome without any of the drudgery. Unwrap it each week, and know that you’re loved by the geeks and pixel-pushers at Agency Fusion.

Macaw

Macaw is a web design tool that allows you to “draw” your code. It’s as flexible as your standard image editors–and at $129, is much more reasonably priced than most of them. In addition to the low price point, Macaw also writes semantic HTML and succinct CSS for you while you design. This allows designers to define responsive breakpoints, resize all elements on a canvas at once, and build clickable prototypes with dynamic interactions.

Macaw

Offscreen

Offscreen.js is a lightweight jQuery plugin that can detect if an element is cut off by the sides of your screen, and adjusts its placement accordingly. More specifically, Offscreen.js adds a special class to the offscreen element, bringing it back into view so you can address the problem.

Offscreen

Madeira

Madeira is a set of powerful and simple tools that allow users to design, build, and manage their AWS cloud. It uses drag-and-drop controls to help you quickly and efficiently design your application architecture. It also enables users to configure specific resources and security group rules. Finally, users can launch their design into a real environment to see how well it works.

Madeira

Gremlins.js

Gremlins.js is a monkey testing library you can use to test the robustness of web applications. The creator states that it “unleashes a horde of undisciplined gremlins”; Gremlins.js basically throws events at your HTML, and is able to report back when something goes wrong.

Gremlins.js

Squirt

Squirt is a simple speed reading web app that shows users one word at a time, allowing them to read up to 600 wpm. (Note: the average adult reading speed is 300 wpm.) You install Squirt as a bookmarklet in your browser; then, whenever you come across something you want to speed read, click on the bookmarklet. Squirt will help you speed read your way through whatever text is currently on the page.

Squirt

NameChk

NameChk is a simple site and iOS app that lets you search for available usernames on dozens of social networks sites all at once. Simply type in your desired username or url and NameChk will review sites like Pinterest, reddit, LinkedIn, and about 80 other sites for that name’s availability.

NameChk

Why Don’t Designers Take Android Seriously?

Cennydd Bowles, a design lead at Twitter, recently wrote an article that explores why he thinks Android will be the dominant platform of the next decade. Among other reasons, Bowles cites Android’s universally accessible software that enables it to work with devices from many different companies. He also takes some time to address the issues he sees as the biggest barriers to designing for Android.

Why Don’t Designers Take Android Seriously?

Fusion Radar: March 19, 2014

March 24th, 2014 - by marissa - Salt Lake City, Utah

Keeping up with technology is a lot of work. Luckily, we enjoy wading through the noise just to find the gems of awesomeness sprinkled throughout. Fusion Radar is our gift to you, Current or Potential Client, so that you can enjoy all of the awesome without any of the drudgery. Unwrap it each week, and know that you’re loved by the geeks and pixel-pushers at Agency Fusion.

Viaduct

Viaduct is an application hosting platform which claims that it offers everything developers need from a hosting platform. Although the beta hasn’t launched yet, if Viaduct works the way its creators claim, it will have the ability to mount shared directories across all deployments, deploy any applications from any platform, and configure “enterprise-ready” databases using MySQL, Redis, and other database systems.

Viaduct

Cut&Slice Me

Cut&Slice Me is a free Photoshop plugin designers can use to export assets to different devices quickly and painlessly. Adobe Photoshop hasn’t really changed the way it exports for web since sites were table-based, so Cut&Slice Me aims to help users improve their workflow by speeding up the modern slicing process. Users name their layers appropriately, and Cut&Slice Me exports retina-display quality assets.

Cut&Slice Me

Doing

Doing is a basic CLI tool that helps users keep track of what they’re working on and what they still have left to do for a project. Users add and list “doing” and “doing later” notes in a TaskPaper-formatted text file, then can type commands like “doing last” to see what they were last working on, or “doing today” to see everything they’ve been working on since midnight of the current day.

Doing

Coder’s Bracket

Coder’s Bracket is a site dedicated to helping people simultaneously learn to code and create a college basketball bracket in just a few minutes. You can start with their code, or write your own from scratch; once you’re finished with it, Coder’s Bracket generates a March Madness bracket based on your code.

Coder’s Bracket

Hopscotch

Hopscotch is an iOS app designed to help kids learn how to code using simple, intuitive building blocks. The app enables kids to create games, animations, and other programs in a colorful interface. Kids can also program their characters to move, draw, or collide by using shaking, tilting, or verbal commands to control them.

Hopscotch

Brackets

Brackets is a slick-looking open source code editor designed specifically for web designers and front-end developers. This free code editor offers a number of useful features, including live HTML development, JS debugging with Theseus, and the ability to edit external styles and code without leaving the main document.

Brackets

Behind the Banner

Behind the Banner is an interactive visualization of the adtech ecosystem, produced by CMSummit, FMP, and Adobe. The visualization attempts to clearly explain one of the most complex computational systems in the world, and how it impacts our daily use of the web. It outlines different companies in the adtech ecosystem by walking viewers through the process of an ad being shown in real-time.

Behind the Banner

Cloak

Cloak is an iOS app that helps its users avoid anyone they’d rather not run into by scraping geo-location information from Instagram and Foursquare. You can flag people in your social networks, and the app will set  notifications that alert you whenever your flagged “friends” are within a certain distance of you. Their tagline is, “the antisocial network.”

Cloak

Jonathan Ive Designs Tomorrow

Time Magazine recently published the first in-depth interview ever conducted with Apple’s design chief Jonathan Ive. Although the interview doesn’t reveal much about Apple’s future plans, it does offer interesting insights on Apple’s view of the world, its policies, and Ive’s personal memories of Steve Jobs.

Jonathan Ive Designs Tomorrow

Android Wear

Google recently announced that it was developing Android Wear, a version of its OS designed specifically for wearable tech. The interface looks crisp and intuitive, and Android Wear will enable users to ask Google questions, view information and notifications, and synchronize with wearable sensors like accelerometers and heart rate monitors.

Android Wear

Fusion Radar: March 12, 2014

March 24th, 2014 - by marissa - Salt Lake City, Utah

Keeping up with technology is a lot of work. Luckily, we enjoy wading through the noise just to find the gems of awesomeness sprinkled throughout. Fusion Radar is our gift to you, Current or Potential Client, so that you can enjoy all of the awesome without any of the drudgery. Unwrap it each week, and know that you’re loved by the geeks and pixel-pushers at Agency Fusion.

Code for America

Code for America is a non-profit organization that promotes government reform via development, design, and research (all at a city level). Their site contains dozens of resources for getting involved in or informed about your city’s government; this includes everything from an app that will text you when your bus is getting close, to a site that helps users find food, heath care, housing, and employment within their zip code.

Code For America

Squarespace Logo

Squarespace, a site that provides templates and guides to help you build your own website, now offers a way to build your own logo. You type your logo’s text, then customize it with a tagline, symbols, and colors. Squarespace displays the logo on business cards, a mock website, and t-shirts to help you visualize your creation.

Squarespace Logo

Facets

Facets is an app by Hakiri that helps developers keep their code under constant supervision, without having to watch it themselves. It’s a free Gemfile.lock scanning tool that looks for vulnerabilities, and automatically reports back to the user when it finds them.

Facets

Apple CarPlay

Although it won’t be widely available, Apple is announcing CarPlay in select new cars this year. This is designed to make iPhone use safe while driving by adding a large built-in touchscreen you can use in lieu of your iPhone’s smaller screen, and by connecting your car’s knobs and controls to your iPhone.

Apple CarPlay

Placeit

Placeit is a service that enables developers and designers show off apps in-context. The team at Placeit uses your screenshots and workflows and places them in realistic settings with different devices and backgrounds.

Placeit

HUM

HUM is an app that attempts to “redefine the inbox” by turning it into a conversation tool instead of just a mailbox. Emails look more like chats and are updated in real time, keeping everyone on your team constantly in sync. HUM tells you who is active in the conversation and who is typing a response, and has powerful search and categorization tools that help keep you organized.

HUM

Truth

Truth is a new iPhone app that lets you send anonymous messages to anyone on your contact list. Instead of seeing your name and number, friends will see the Truth avatar and a code name. And in order to combat the possible abuse that could occur with anonymizing text messaging, Truth allows you to block anyone sending you messages you’d rather not receive.

Truth

Brick

Brick is a pack of reusable UI components built with x-tags, enabling users to quickly build mobile HTML5 apps. It provides you with cross-browser implementations of commonly-used UI elements, including items like calendars, slidebars, and cycleable galleries.

Brick

Zach Galifianakis vs. President Obama

Dismayed by the low numbers of health insurance applicants–particularly applicants in the 18-34 range–it looks like the White House is trying something entirely new to raise awareness of the ACA: humor. Zach Galifianakis interviewed President Barack Obama on his popular Funny Or Die webshow, Between Two Ferns. The video, which features dry sarcasm and not-so-subtle jabs from both President Obama and Zach Galifianakis, has generated hundreds of thousands of views within hours of its publication and has sent thousands of visitors to the government’s healthcare site.

Between Two Ferns

2048

2048 is a simple but addictive online game created by GitHub user Gabriele Cirulli. In it, players attempt to add numbered tiles together until they reach the number 2048. It starts with small even numbers, and when two tiles of the same number are combined, they merge into one sum. This continues until you run out of space or hit the magic number: 2048.

2048