Archives for December 2008

December 30, 2008 - Comments Off on Support OneWebDay on

Support OneWebDay on is a citizen-driven effort to identify the best ideas to effect the change the Obama Administration has promised. Anyone can go to and submit a policy idea, discuss with others and vote on the best ideas from around the country.

OneWebDay, the Earth Day of the internet, has submitted a proposal to make OneWebDay a national day. Please review their full proposal below, and, if you support it, vote for it at

The idea behind OneWebDay is to focus attention on a key Internet value (universal access and digital literacy in 2009), focus attention on local Internet concerns (connectivity, censorship, individual skills) and create a global constituency that cares about protecting and defending the Internet. OneWebDay is like an Earth Day for the Internet, celebrated every September 22 since 2006! We are building an organization that works like the Web: an open platform that supports collaboration on annual projects that educate and activate a broad range of communities about issues that are important for the Internet's future.

In recognition of President-elect Obama's deep understanding of the power of the Internet and his stated pledge to bring "true broadband to every community in America," we hope that the new Administration will recognize OneWebDay and partner with us in 2009 to organize a week of national (and global) service to bring more access and skills to communities that are still left behind in the new digital world.

Tomorrow is the deadline! Please take action and vote at now!

Published by: jeffreybarke in Non-Profits, The Programming Mechanism

December 11, 2008 - Comments Off on New York Times – How Helvetica Took Over the Subways

New York Times – How Helvetica Took Over the Subways

As a curious designer and New Yorker, I've always wondered why Helvetica is the font of choice for signage in the New York City subway system. Jennifer Lee of The New York Times wrote an excellent article about this subject over the weekend, entitled How Helvetica Took Over the Subways.

Published by: davefletcher in The Design Mechanism
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December 4, 2008 - Comments Off on Church Enlists Beelzebub for Branding Campaign

Church Enlists Beelzebub for Branding Campaign

StopGoodTV logo“Old Scratch” recently sold his likeness and bottomless soul to the Catholic Archdioses of Brooklyn. Starring in a new campaign for a New York religious cable service: The Prayer Channel – and devilishly re-branded into a hipster acronym: NET (New Evangelism Television) – the “Horned One” appears to be home-bent on luring average TV viewers into watching New Evangelism Television by using an age-old psychological trick typically used to fool children into drinking medicine or finishing their yucky plate of brussel sprouts...Make subject do the opposite of what they would normally do by presenting a conflicting argument to do it in the first place.

However, by creating a groovy skateboard-friendly icon of “Natas“ (his real name has been cleverly disguised at his request...), and using a doofus poseur in a red costume with horns, I wonder who the campaign is targeting... Christians, the last time I checked, really, REALLY hate the red guy with the pitchfork – so why the agency that masterminded the campaign (LA-based Cesario Migliozzi) would use the likeness of the fiendish Baphomet on t-shirts, buttons and other merchandise to get people to actually watch Christian television programming is odd, to say the least. To a designer, this horned fella looks damned cool and not off-putting in the least – and to the kiddies, this icon is more appealing than Joe Camel squatting in a vat of gummy bears and drizzled with candy juice.

Considering that the majority of television today involves either reality shows with mindless plots, or general pointlessness already, I don't know if the ads are going to convert many non-religious folks to New Evangelism Television that weren't freaked out by the appearance of anything deftly armed with head horns, fangs or a pointed tail already.

In fact, something tells me that “Say-Ten” Himself (his real name once again cleverly disguised at his request), may have pulled the ol' switcheroo on the Catholic Church, by knowingly testing this campaign on us foolish mortals ahead of his real plot to unveil the Anti-Christ in the form of a really cool snowboard graphic. The only thing effectively and deliberately lame about the entire campaign is a knockoff on Burger King’s often imitated Subservient Chicken campaign – featuring a impatient, benevolently horned and mustachioed Lord of Darkness appearing to answer questions typed by his minions. After feverishly typing “Who’s your daddy?” repeatedly, all the hellfire I could squeeze out of this Crimson Putz were mindless, unrelated responses about “not going” to an unrelated Web site, and something about “His Evilness” knowing my IP address...

In the end, it seems that the only thing obvious about the campaign is that it firmly confirms my suspicion that the end of world will not come from a leaping fiend from Hades, but instead will likely be perpetrated by the ad agencies in and around The City of Angels...

Dave Fletcher is a Founder and Creative Director at theMechanism, a multi-disciplinary design agency with offices in New York, London and Durban, South Africa. While Dave likes to poke fun at Los Angeles, he’s been there a couple times and has only run into Satan twice ...

Published by: davefletcher in The Design Mechanism, The Thinking Mechanism
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December 3, 2008 - 6 comments

Quick guide to Apache, Subversion and SvnX on Mac OS X

theMechanism has been using Subversion for just over a month now. The following is a quick guide to installing and working with Apache, Subversion and SvnX on Mac OS X:

Apache, Subversion and SvnX on Mac OS X

Apache is the local web server (used to view and test files in the working copy), Subversion is the version control software and SvnX is a GUI-client for Subversion.

Before we can use Apache, Subversion and SvnX, we need to check:

  1. Is Apache running?
  2. Is Subversion installed?
  3. Is SvnX installed?


To test Apache, fire up the browser of your choice and enter http://localhost/ into the address bar. If you do not see an "Unable to connect," "Can’t connect to server," or "Error! Connection closed by remote server" screen, Apache is running.

If it is not running, open System Preferences. Under "Internet & Network," choose "Sharing." Make sure "Web Sharing" is checked ("Personal Web Sharing" in Tiger).

Mac OS X Internet & Network Sharing window screen grab

Note that localhost is pointed at /Library/WebServer/Documents/.


To see if Subversion is installed, launch Terminal (Applications | Utilities | Terminal). At the prompt, type:

svn --version

Some information on the version and build should appear. If not, Subversion is not installed.

Mac OS X Terminal screen grab showing results of running svn --version.

If Subversion is not installed, download and install the latest version from


To see if SvnX is installed, check for in the Applications directory.

If it is not there, download and install the latest version from

Working with Subversion via SvnX

Standard Subversion workflow:

  1. Check out a working copy
  2. Make edits to the working copy
  3. Commit the edits to the repository

Checking out a repository

Screen grab of SvnX's Repositories window.

Launch SvnX and set the focus on the "Repositories" window.

Click the "+" button to add a repository.

  • Change the name to something descriptive.
  • Enter the path to the repository.
  • If required, enter your user name and password for the repository.

Once a repository has been added, it will appear in the top half of SvnX's Repositories window. Double-click on the repository to open it:

An open repository in SvnX.

Click the "svn checkout" button at the top of the window and navigate to a directory below /Library/WebServer/Documents. Click the open button and SvnX will download the repository to your local machine.

Close the current window and the SvnX "Repositories" window.

The Working Copy

Set the focus on the SvnX "Working Copies" window. Note that SvnX has added a working copy after check out. Change the name to match the descriptive name in the previous step.

Screen grab of the SvnX Working Copies window.

Double-click on the working copy in the top half of the "Working Copies" window. The main thing to be aware of here is the "Update" button. Click this to refresh your local working copy with any changes made to the repository by any other team member.

In Finder, navigate to the working copy, open index.html in your favorite HTML editor, make some small change and save index.html.

Switch back to the active working copy window and click the "Refresh" button at the top of the window. You’ll see that index.html is added with a "M" (modified).

Screen grab of an open working copy in SvnX.

If you're happy with the change and have previewed it to make sure everything is working, press the "Commit" button on the right side of the screen.

Add a meaningful commit message and press commit.

Version control principles

  1. Update often!
    1. Keep your working copy up-to-date by updating often.
  2. Commit early and often!
    1. Early and often means make atomic changes. Change one thing, test and then commit with comments.
  3. Never commit broken code!
  4. Jeffrey Barke is senior developer and information architect at theMechanism, a multimedia firm with offices in New York, London and Durban, South Africa.

    Published by: jeffreybarke in The Programming Mechanism
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December 2, 2008 - Comments Off on NY Web Standards Meetup—Small Web Team Collaboration with Subversion

NY Web Standards Meetup—Small Web Team Collaboration with Subversion

The New York Web Standards Meetup Group will meet this Thursday (4 December 2008) at theMechanism at 7:00 pm.

Scott Trudeau (Apartment Therapy Media) will demo using Subversion, MAMP/XAMPP, TortoiseSVN and SvnX and show some tricks for managing dev/staging/production versions.

4 December 2008 . 7:00 pm
440 9th Avenue 8th Floor
New York, NY 10001 [map]

RSVP now!

Please contact us if you'd like to present at the March or April 2009 meetup.

Published by: jeffreybarke in The Programming Mechanism
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December 2, 2008 - 4 comments

NY Web Standards Meetup—Introduction to Kicking Ass with jQuery

Audio from last month's Introduction to Kicking Ass with jQuery presentation to the New York Web Standards Meetup by Scott Trudeau (Apartment Therapy Media). Thanks to everyone who attended!

Listen to this event

Part 1 of 3:

Part 2 of 3:

Part 3 of 3:

Published by: jeffreybarke in The Programming Mechanism
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December 1, 2008 - Comments Off on Adhesive 3.4.0 now available

Adhesive 3.4.0 now available

Adhesive 3.4.0 has been released! This latest version of the WordPress "sticky" post plugin is compatible with WordPress 2.6.5 and no longer breaks WordPress's native paging functionality.

Jeffrey Barke is senior developer and information architect at theMechanism, a multimedia firm with offices in New York, London and Durban, South Africa.

Published by: jeffreybarke in The Programming Mechanism
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