Updated ExpanDrive Store

We have updated our ExpanDrive store to include the option to purchase lifetime upgrades for any license or license pack. The price is 50% of the license cost, so if you wanted to add lifetime upgrades onto the 5-pack the price is $99.95. You will be able to see the total calculated before you check out.

We have also added and improved our payment options. After a brief hiatus, we again support payment via Amazon Payments.

This lets you check out using your existing Amazon account in addition to our PayPal and Credit Card options.

MoFo Foundation

Some lawyer friends of mine just pointed me towards a website redesign that just went live for the law firm Morrison & Foerster. If you do nothing else today, please go to their front page and click on “Imagination”. Then write me an email and tell me what these guys were thinking.

There is a detailed review at Above the Law. I actually like the graphic design more than wood-panels-and-old-money look of most law firms. But the site’s content. Oh man. Here’s a few of my favorites:

  • The “Imagination” page.
  • A page of optical illusions mislabeled as “puzzles”, and presented with out solution or explanation.
  • An integrated bookmarking / PDF export system called “MoFolder” (incase you want to save an optical illusion).
  • A directory directory of lawyers searchable by “law school”.
  • Search for lawyers by law school.

  • A “Commitment” page that claims they’re so committed that they don’t even have to explain it.

Some Foursquare Badges I’d Like to See

Don’t get me wrong, Foursquare is a fun little social network and beautifully adapted to the iPhone platform. But their points system incentivizes some activities that I think are detrimental to the environment as a whole.

So in the interests of making things more awesome, I’ve designed some Foursquare Badges intended to shame users into more appropriate behaviors:

A must-have if the Boston Top 10 is any indication.

You’re checking into the venue “Phone Booth in front of Whole Foods” from your cell phone?

Obviously, Foursquare would have to add a relationship status for this to work.

For the Mayor of your local “Starbucsk Coffee”.

Make friends with Cosmo on Foursquare and buy some shirts or mugs featuring these sweet badges.

Highway Gothic is the New Helvetica

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you know Helvetica. It powers your iPhone. It makes your Jon Shea’s underpants. It fills out your wedding registry.


But as a typeface designed for neutrality—used unironically in tax forms and corporate media for decades—Helvetica’s current rebirth as a “hip” marketing tool almost certainly has a shelf life. And with bad tv and so-so cinema leaning heavily on the typeface to establish branding, I’d say we’re already looking at the beginning of the decline.

So what’s the next trend in the world of typograhpy? Take a look up during holiday travel this season and you can’t fail to miss it: the FHWA Series fonts, and the innumerable spin-offs they’ve inspired.

Don’t believe me? How do you think satellite radio monopolist XM is reminding everyone that they’re the future of audio communication?


And if you’re looking for a light, hip web publishing platform that redefines the nature of the blog, here’s the first thing you see:


Even Southwest Airlines, one of the most obvious competitors to the Interstate Highway System, is using the typeface to let travelers know that their bags fly free:


I can’t say why highway fonts are experiencing such a marketing revival. When legibility and quick transfer of information are not a priority, the typefaces are rather homely, with their chopped ascenders and bloated x-heights giving them a stubby, pot-bellied look.

It could be the same instincts of subversion and reinvention among designers that put Hevletica back on the marquee. Or perhaps it’s an attempt to tap America’s nostalgic association of the open road with change, freedom, and adventure.

But whatever the ethos behind it, it’s clear the long-overlooked FHWA style is making a comeback in advertising. If Helvetica is the best way to say “everyone else is doing it”, Highway Gothic is the best way to say “everyone else is doing it wrong.”

Australia is Mars!


Photos of a very Martian Sydney at the Big Picture.

“Trapped, part 2: The Way Out”

Last week I linked to a story in the Boston Globe Magazine about a tragic accident during the final stages of construction of a 9.5 mile long tunnel under the ocean near Boston. Part two came out this past weekend. Part 2 tells the thrilling story of the worker’s escape from the tunnel after their air supply mysteriously goes bad. There’s also a somber lesson somewhere in there about how things can go wrong when you rush to finish things at the end of a big project.

In case you missed it, here is part 1.

Everything’s amazing – nobody’s happy

Great [old] clip with comedian Louis CK.

“Trapped Under the Sea”

Photo of Deer Island Waste Water Treatment Plant by Kingdafy

The Deer Island Waste Water Treatment Plant is the second largest sewage treatment plant in the US. It was built in the 90s as part of a $4 billion effort to clean up Boston Harbor. The treated water is pumped through a 9.5 mile long tunnel under the Atlantic ocean, and diffused away from shore through 55 vents space out over the last mile.

There’s an amazing story in the Boston Globe Magazine this weekend about the final steps in building the tunnel. After construction was completed the lighting and ventilation were taken out of the tunnel. A team then had to drive 9 miles down the unlighted, oxygen-less tunnel, and remove backup safety plugs from each of the 55 vents. It’s a terrifying lesson about how even a billion dollar project can paint itself into a corner.

PS: During Jeff’s bachelor party last weekend I made fun of him for claiming that the giant egg shaped containers on Deer Island were for water treatment, when they obviously contained some kind of pressurized gas. In fact, he was right and I was wrong. The 150 ft tall containers are sludge digesters.

Awesome MediaWiki Bug

Poor, lonely <font>. You were irritating to use, and so you were kicked out of the treehouse in favor of stylesheets by HTML 4.01. But cheer up <font>; you can still be extremely annoying! Just try a Wikipedia vanity search, with a few of your pedantic modifiers thrown in for good measure—let’s use <font face=cursive size=50>:

Not only that, <font>, but your old and even more annoying buddy <table> is back in the game, too. And when you two team up,  there’s almost no limit to the amount of carnage you can create:


This works across browsers, though there are obvious differences in how they render the horribly mangled code these querys will produce. It’s the best lesson in input santization since since Little Bobby Tables.

If you’re good, you can theoretically purpetrate some serious mayhem with this bug—and considering how widely MediaWiki is used around the web, that could be a real problem.

In reality, though, the trickery is probably limited by the abilty of your dirty, dirty inputs to generate search results; without those, it looks like most of your code modifications get cancelled.

That having been said, I endorse using this exploit only for your own personal amusement, not serious destruction. You have been warned.

Stalin’s secret weapon


The first line of text translates to “Stalin’s secret weapon.”


Kind of incredible.

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