Peter Kang’s Blog

Regurgitating Stuff from Posterous

Mini Trip to Portland, OR

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During our short stay, Melanie and I tried to fit in as many activities as possible. Our first stop the morning after we arrived was Silver Falls State Park, about a 40-minute drive outside of Portland. We took a very pleasant 3-mile hike among the moss-covered trees and got to see some pretty waterfalls. Some were impressive and others were pretty puny.

We made our way back to Portland where we enjoyed fried oysters, a salad, and a roast beef sandwich with $5 happy hour cocktails at Clyde Common. It’s a very nice spot right next to the Ace Hotel, and I found out that the bar manager there is Jeffrey Morgenthaler, whose mixology blog I like to read from time to time.  

The rest of the day included a visit to the International Rose Test Garden (I had gone there back in 2009, but it was in January, when no roses were in bloom), a brief nap on grass, and a visit to Powell’s City of Books, a super huge bookstore with lots of character.

Dinner was enjoyed at Biwa, a Japanese izakaya joint, where we came across deep-fried kimchi (it was ok) and some tasty meat skewers. The ramen was pretty good there too, and I really liked their crab fried rice.

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We ended the night at a sports bar called Spirit of ’77. It was completely empty on Thursday night, so we had the basketball hoops all to ourselves and played at least a dozen 45-second score-as-many-as-you-can contests.

The next day, we started the morning off with some kolaches (a sweet soft bun filled with savory or sweet filling) from Happy Sparrow Cafe. I really liked the one filled with scrambled eggs, cheese, and ham.

Mel and I split up for a few hours as I went off to meet with a couple different digital agencies while she went to check out Multnomah Falls. We met up again at Coava Roastery and Coffee Bar, a gorgeous cafe inside of a bamboo woodwork shop that serves up some very fine coffee. 

The afternoon was spent on a leisurely bike ride around the city. After 13+ miles, we worked up enough of an appetite and made our way to Beast, where we had reservations for a 6-course meal.

Beast was a pretty cool experience. The restaurant only seats 25 people and has two seatings per night. It’s $68/person for the dinner prix fixe and an additional $35/person for the wine pairing. Lucky for me and Mel, they allowed us to split our wine pairing between the two of us (just smaller pours) and spared us from getting too crunked (especially as we had to drive back). The food overall was pretty good although not all dishes were that interesting or memorable. But we had a nice time and would recommend the experience.

We went to bed really early that night, but the eating picked up right away the next day with a huge brunch at Tasty & Sons, where they take on a tapas serve-as-dishes-are-ready approach, but the portions were huge and we probably ordered two more dishes than we needed to. But everything tasted superb and it was definitely worth the 1-hour wait.

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We tried to walk off the heavy brunch with a stroll through the Portland Saturday Market. I was actually pretty disappointed by the collection of vendors there and it seemed like some vendors didn’t do all that well in selling their art pieces or handmade clothes. The real winner, I thought, were the people who ran the market and charged these vendors the fees for setting up shop. 

Tired and looking to escape the rain, Mel and I went back to Powell’s City of Books where I tried to read as much of Y the Last Man as possible. It’s a graphic novel from a few years back about the last man left on Earth after a mysterious plague wipes out all the males, humans and animals, off the planet. It’s got the elements that would hook any guy in (scantily-clad babes, some nudity, lots of bloody action), but the story itself is compelling enough to make you want to finish the thing as quickly as possible. You can download the first issue for free right here.

For dinner we hit up Rogue Distillery & Public House for some grub and a sampling of Rogue Beers. I really loved the homey setup and was impressed by how diverse Rogue was as a business, with their restaurant properties, beer distribution, and also a wide range of spirits (their single malt was pretty nice). After a short visit to BridgePort BrewPub, we made one last stop: a parking lot filled with different food carts. We enjoyed a fried Whiffie pie filled with coconut cream and I got myself a few tacos. We couldn’t have asked for a better ending.

We woke up at 4:45AM the next morning and by afternoon, we were back in Brooklyn. Portland, good stuff.

 

 

 

Written by peterkang

October 7, 2011 at 12:55 pm

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The Barrel Wallboard

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Wallboard_pic1

We recently gave our wallboard a facelift and added in some new features to better serve our need for at-a-glance information.

Our wallboard is a Samsung 460UX 46″ LCD display that’s mounted vertically and connected to one of our old Macbook laptops. Here’s a breakdown of what our wallboard displays:

Wallboard_breakdown

  • A rotating slideshow feeds images from our Posterous blog.
  • We found a way to feed in MTA train schedules, so the wallboard updates every few minutes to show the next uptown and downtown trains for lines near our office (great to check on our way out).
  • Our cleaning schedule, controlled on ExpressionEngine, highlights whose turn it is to make sure the office is nice and tidy before leaving.
  • We put in a nice JQuery time & weather widget.
  • We made use of the Google Calendar feed to show our next holiday and we also display meetings that take place in the conference room, upcoming events, and team member birthdays.
  • The largest component is our Harvest Co-op feed, which shows who is working on what. Green means that the timer is running. The blue status bar is an indicator we put in to help identify visually the tasks that take up the most time.

Wallboard_pic2

Written by peterkang

October 4, 2011 at 11:30 pm

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Just Launched: Choir Manager

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Visit: www.choirmanager.com

Written by peterkang

September 24, 2011 at 5:44 pm

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New Features for Launch Effect

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Less than a month after we went live with Launch Effect, our WordPress theme that lets you create viral campaigns, we’ve worked hard to release an update with some great new features.

How the Theme’s Done So Far

Since our launch on August 22nd, we’ve had over 2,200 downloads of our theme. We’ve been featured on publications such as The Next Web, Smashing Magazine (their weekly newsletter), and WPMU.org. Our favorite part has been all the wonderful examples we’ve seen over the past few weeks. Users have stretched the theme to its limits and many have made some very cool modifications.

What’s New in This Release

You can read up on the full list of updates on our changelog right here. But here are the highlights:

1) Stats are now a part of the theme settings and a page does not need to be created manually. We noticed that users were having some issues with this, so it was one of the first things we addressed. This is what the new stats page looks like (note the Launch Effect options on the side and top menu):

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2) You can modify the labels of everything, which means foreign languages are a go! We were bombarded with pleas from users wanting to use Spanish, Russian, German, etc. for areas like “Enter your email address:” so we made them all editable:

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3) You can now add a Privacy Policy or Terms & Conditions statement that can get you permission to import people’s emails to a service like MailChimp. We think this is a good stopgap solution until we add full integration with third party email service providers.

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4) You can now use Typekit and Monotype’s font.com web fonts to style the text. Simply enter the account from either service and select your fonts there to make it work.

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5) More options for the content containers! You can choose from three sizes (small, medium, large) and three positions (left, right, center). This means more flexibility for the user to position the content and to let the background image shine.

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6) We’ve added more social media options: Tumblr, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can also link to your Facebook page or Twitter profile on the homepage. And if you’re tired of all the social media icons, you can simply disable all of them.

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We’re excited that Launch Effect’s become a useful tool for people all over the world, and we plan on improving the theme even more in the coming months. Keep track of our progress by following @LaunchEffect on Twitter and take a look at our Development Roadmap.

Written by peterkang

September 21, 2011 at 1:19 am

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Eating Well During Hurricane Irene

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Written by peterkang

August 29, 2011 at 4:27 am

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Designs for Zemanta’s Outreach Section

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We recently provided designs to tech startup Zemanta for their new Outreach section. Zemanta indexes content from brands, marketers and agencies into their semantic engine. Hooked into a blogging platform such as WordPress, their proprietary NLP (natural language processing) technology analyzes the content as it is being written and makes real-time recommendations such as images and links that the blogger can easily insert into their post. Zemanta targets hyper relevant bloggers and recommends their client's content when appropriate. You can watch a demo of their neat product here.

The Outreach section is aimed at brands, marketers, and agencies that want to use Zemanta to get relevant content in front of influential bloggers as they create content. We worked off their existing brand to create easy-to-understand diagrams and icons of their technology and solution.

Visit: http://www.zemanta.com/outreach/

Written by peterkang

August 22, 2011 at 10:53 pm

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New Theme: Launch Effect

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Written by peterkang

August 22, 2011 at 10:27 pm

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