14 November 2008

Five Sharp - a design studio that steals

Well it's turned up that a member of a design forum i frequent - QBN - has had some of their folio stolen and used by a design studio called Five Sharp (www.fivesharp.com). The weird thing is that the designer has never worked there and in fact never even heard of them.

This brings into obvious question the ethics of such a design studio as well as what other work of theirs is stolen? Is anything in their portfolio actually theirs?

To many people this may seem not so important but in a field where the difference between getting and not getting work is guided by the folio (as well as budget obviously) it becomes a very real issue to any working designer. It also begs the question 'will i as a client actually get a result i expect?' as the folio dictates the kind of work you can expect from a studio and guides where you might spend your budget.

Now this may not be the company's fault. It may be a single person there has passed off work they have stolen as their own to flesh out a folio or get a job and then this piece of work has been used by the company as a marketing element (a fairly standard practice in my experience). For this reason the designer has been in touch with the company and will hopefully get a good result.

If any other graphic designers stumble across the path of this blog entry and discover some of their own stolen work please drop a note and let us know!

Below is a screenshot of the stolen work on the Five Sharp website:

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20 October 2008

Adobe - Get fucked (in lieu of a clever title)

just thought i'd share.

i pre-ordered CS4 (design premium) upgrade as well as the After Effects CS4 upgrade. i did this to save $200 on the CS4 upgrade price. the discount was simply for CS4 preorder, it had nothing to do with After Effects.

When After Effects was released on the 15th my business credit card was almost full so i received an email telling me that the After Effects order couldn't be completed and had been cancelled. fine. i logged on and bought it with the newly filled up credit card.

turns out the CS4 upgrade was also cancelled, without any notice to me. the email didn't mention it but did list the items cancelled as After Effects CS4.

now it seems that because the order was cancelled i can't have the pre-order and have to simply buy it at the full price.
why is this the only online transaction in the last 4 years that hasn't asked for payment by a different source instead of simply cancelling. and why was it cancelled without actually telling me? because if i do actually want the upgrade i have to pay the full amount anyway and have no other option except not buy. obviously $200 isn't a huge amount to them but is to me. also, $200 x however many people this happened to adds up.

after a long phone call to their help desk i now know i am less than the chewing gum stuck under their cleaner's shoe. the woman on the phone was fine but the company policy is 'eat shit scumbag' as far as i can work out. the catch-22 being that i can't have a pre-order price when it's already been released. stupid me.

here's a small amount of evidence that any company without competition can become very unfriendly and pricks towards their market. who said a monopoly was a bad idea?

just thought i'd share a real story about a company i have actually stood up for in the past. fuckers.

quotes for the day:
“I think it's wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly.”
- Steven Wright

01 July 2008

old news but fuck-it

Not being one for knowing when the point has not just been made, but beaten, drugged and buried but the CIA in some 3rd world nation, i thought i'd share some older nuggets of joy i'm listening to again.

Son Of A Bush - PE

NWO - Ministry

David Cross - The Week Football Stopped

quote for the day:
People would say to me, 'Bill, you vote for Clinton, he's gonna raise your taxes. A vote for Clinton is a vote for higher taxes.' See, I have news for you, folks -- the reason I didn't vote for George Bush is because George Bush (along with Ronald Reagan) presided over an administration whose policies towards South America included genocide. So the reason I didn't vote for him is because he's a mass murderer. I'll pay that extra nickel on a liter of petrol just knowing that little brown kids aren't being clubbed to death like baby seals in Honduras so Pepsi can put a plant down there."
- Bill Hicks (1961-1994)

26 June 2008

Letting You

The sky is painted black
The smoke pours out the stack
One hand upon your heart
One hand behind your back
You train us how to act
You keep the fear intact
The imminent attack
Everything is right on track

And we are letting you get away
We are letting you get away with it

Upon our plates to feed
The dying left to bleed
How much we really need
Your politics of greed
The cancer takes ahold
The wolf is in the fold
Our destiny's been sold
We do just what we're told

And we are letting you get away
We are letting you get away with it

Your armies filled with hate
Believing your charade
Begin to suffocate
For us it's far too late

And we are letting you get away
We are letting you get away with it

- Nine Inch Nails

quote for the day:
"A functioning police state needs no police. "
- William S. Burroughs (1914-1997)

"Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media."
- Noam Chomsky

"If we choose, we can live in a world of comforting illusion."
- Noam Chomsky

"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth."
- Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

"So long as the deceit ran along quiet and monotonous, all of us let ourselves be deceived, abetting it unawares or maybe through cowardice..."
- William Faulkner (1897-1962)

17 June 2008

1300flowers, a flower delivery company

Alrighty. A while ago (read: February. Valentines Day to be precise) I wrote a blog entry in anger towards 1300 flowers - the Australian company that delivers flowers via online and phone bookings. I won't go into this problem, but I wasn't happy. Without any other voice to raise I vented through my blog. Let's face it, I'm the only one who would read this badly written collection of half-assed rubbish so it was more a cry of the impotent than anything else.

Since then I have recently been contacted by the company in regards to the previous blog posting, as it's ranking in Google's searching was very high and was creating negative publicity. Hard to imagine my poorly written, metaphoric fists-thrown-at-the-gods would actually achieve anything.

Anyways, the company contacted me very pleasantly. They have said that the company was new then and undergoing growing pains. The problems have been addressed and they are working diligently to fix these and further issues. All very politely and professionally. They didn't even ask for the offending blog entry to be removed. So I have removed said blog entry. Completely of my own volition and unprovoked or pressed. No payment, bribe or similar passed anywhere.

In my ranting and subsequent self-back slapping I have of course ignored the fact that thousands of people were and are very happy with 1300 flowers. They have made many a person happy. For this reason and the fact that I own a small business and have no doubt left a trail of semi-unhappy clients from time to time I felt it necessary to remove the entry from public consumption.

However, I have created this new blog entry as a reminder that even a complete nobody can effect some small amount of publicity, good or bad, and that people shouldn't be ignored out of laziness or arrogance. It must also be asked that if I hadn't created a blog entry that got some modicum of attention, would I have been contacted? Has anyone else who doesn't own a blog been similarly contacted? It's a valid question I think.

I'll also say I'm pleased to see that a small public voice can be heard and actually (well, hopefully) change some things for the better. Not that my blog will do that, but that the possibility of negative fallout from any other public web-based forum will. The modern carrot on a stick if you will. Like many religions, business runs on the threat as much as the thought.

I wish nothing but the best for the company and hope anyone who uses their services has a great experience.

quote for the day:
"I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters."
- Frank Lloyd Wright (1868-1959)

04 June 2008

The Rapture. The event, not the band.

I love seeing the opportunities people use to cash in. Anything is fair game and usually it's an obvious and ugly ploy but occasionally you see one that just makes you smile. A cynical, sarcastic smile, but a smile none the less. I just stumbled upon one such beauty.

You've Been Left Behind
This here is a website tailored to Christians who are sitting around, waiting for the express elevator to God (the Christian one, not one of the many others which may or may not be the a. same dude or b. a figment of an average imagination) called The Rapture. Basically Jesus (the son of the aforementioned God, not a south american citizen) returns, other mixed spirits (left-overs of the dead, not alcohol) hang-out and all true-believers (read: God-Fearing Christians) are beamed to God (whether Scotty has anything to do with the beaming or not has yet to be confirmed or denied, although now he's on the other side there's a good chance he'll be involved).

So the website basically allows Christians to store emails and documents for their heathen friends which will be supplied to these poor lost souls 6 days after the main event. Of course we may all have more pressing things to do, like dodge floating-burning skulls (see: Doom) than check emails. The awesome catch is that you pay a yearly membership fee which will apparently 'drop proportionally to the number of subscribers'. Awesome.

My question is that if the 'Christians' that set-up the site are, as i think they would be, reaming fellow-believers out of cold hard cash will they still be allowed boarding-passes to the main event or will they be left behind to run tech-support for their site?

quote for the day:
"Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile."
- Kurt Vonnegut (1922 - 2007)

08 May 2008


Anyone out there scratching their heads at the base irony that is the Beijing Olympics 2008? Over the years sports people have been hauled over the coals (figuratively) for debasing the image of the games whereas the games are to be held in a country that quite literally does the same for who knows why? Traffic infringement? I realise it's an overworked point but it's still there.

But then to add to this iRony™ is the fact that most of the people out there protesting the Chinese infractions to basic human interaction (or Tibet. maybe both) then go home and use one of the many new household items they got cheap in the last few years thanks to parallel importing and China. In the words of Stephen Colbert "thank you China, our happy meals are made possible by you…" (2006 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner).

We wont even mention the yellow cake we seem self-interest bound to export to anyone out there yearning for enriched uranium. With a sticker on the side of the barrel marked "not for weapons".

"…Why does everyone run toward a blood curdling scream?" mumbled the Senior Wrangler. "It is contrary to all sense…"
- Terry Pratchett

"Humor brings insight and tolerance. Irony brings a deeper and less friendly understanding"
- Agnes Repplier (1855 - 1950)

"The supreme irony of life is that hardly anyone gets out of it alive"
- Robert A. Heinlein (1807 - 1988)