How I keep organized…

As a graphic artist it’s vital to keep as organized as possible. So I thought I would share with you the tools I use to keep my design life organized.

First and foremost, all of the apps I choose to use have both mobile and desktop apps, because using one app for to dos on your phone and a completely different app for to dos on your desktop is just stupid to me. Let’s get started…


 

To Do List : Wunderlist

I cannot tell express how utterly lost I would be without my list of tasks. For this I use an app called Wunderlist. This app, despite being a sell-out to Microsoft, is about the best you can get right now. There are some better solutions down the road, but for now I use this app and try to forget it’s owned by Microsoft now. Wunderlist has a beautiful user interface and great features. It has a silky smooth sync between your iOS/Android devices and your desktop/laptop. You can add notes within tasks, assign the to dos to various categories and if you go Pro then you can share your tasks with others in your workgroup. Right now I give Wunderlist a 5 out 5 stars. I’m sure Microsoft will find some way to destroy this beautiful app, but for now it’s a great tool.

You can check Wunderlist out at their web site: wunderlist.com

 


Project Tracking : MeisterTask

So about six months ago I was using MeisterTask to keep track of my projects, but then kinda fell away from it because I got tired of having to access it via my web browser. Well now, thank goodness, they came out with a Mac app and I have resumed using this awesome tool to keep track of my projects, the various pieces/parts of the projects, what’s planned, what’s in progress and what has been finished. The user interface is rock solid gorgeous and simple. They have an app for iPhone and iPad which are beautifully kept in sync with your web and/or desktop app. They should have Android and Windows apps coming soon (currently in beta). I give this app 5 out of 5 stars. The only thing that kinda bugs me, and believe me it’s a small thing but big enough to bug me, is I can’t add my own beautiful background photos – I’m stuck using what they provide. Other than that it’s awesome. By the way, there is a free version and a Pro version – so if you need more power and such, you can go Pro.

You can check out MeisterTask at their web site: meistertask.com


 

Team Communication : Slack

Okay so you are keeping track of your tasks, keeping track of your projects, but there’s another big big facet of getting work done and that is communicating with your team. For that there is just nothing better than Slack.  As Lead Designer of my company, Omnilert, I rely big time on being able to communicate with my boss, the guy writing the code for our apps and other members of our team. Without this component in my day to day work, I would be on the phone half the time and emailing large images and design work. That’s so 20th century. So thank goodness for Slack. I can send comps, mockups, wireframes, videos of prototypes and most important of all – can have discussions and conversations with my team. I give Slack 5 out of 5 stars for awesomeness.

You can check out Slack at their web site: slack.com


 

Important Dates : Fantastical 2

So I have been a big fan of this app since it first reared it’s hot little head about two years ago. Fantastical is an awesome calendar app which integrates with Wunderlist for putting tasks on the calendar, allows you to use real wording when making appointments. So instead of going through all the steps of putting in a date and time and name of the event, you just type naturally: “Meeting with Steve next Tuesday at 9:30am”. The app graduated into a full fledged Mac app last year and it just owns with a rock solid user interface and experience. The iPhone and iPad apps are also top notch awesome! I give Fantastical…can you guess? That’s right, 5 out of 5 stars! Because I don’t use apps that aren’t 5 star awesomeness.

You can check out Fantastical at their web site: flexibits.com


 

So there you go, now you know the tools I use EVERY DAY to get my job done and make sure I am on top of what I need to do. A huge thanks to these app developers for busting their buns to make incredible software that is, to quote the immortal Steve Jobs, “insanely great.”

-IRPB

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New Name, Same Awesomeness

So for the past several years my blog has gone by the name of “This so called life” and as we are in a new year and I have lofty new ideas popping into my cranium, I decided to rename this blog to “I R Polar Bear” – which ties into my new web site with the same name. The content isn’t going to change – just the name!

With that said, please feel free to drop by and visit my new web site which is basically all about me and the talents God has blessed me with. You can get there by clicking this link.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go roll around in the two feet of snow we got from Snowmageddon 2016.

PS. Oh yeah, and I changed the design of the blog to match the new web site design.  🙂

 

You can blame me…

Everyone who knows me, knows that I’m a polar bear. They know how much I love snow. Well for the past three years or so we haven’t had any snow to speak of and every winter I would pray repeatedly for a significant snowfall, as in a foot or more.

Well God answered my prayers this year, as we are now preparing for the onslaught of what could be one of the most historic blizzards of all time: Winter Storm Jonas. Here, where I live, we’re looking at getting up to 30-inches of snow. People will be affected all the way as far south as North Carolina all the way up to Boston. So if you’re wondering how in the world this monster storm spawned, it’s all my fault. I used every ounce of my winter magic power to bring it about. I think I might have overdone it a bit.

So yes, if you hate snow and you’re going to be hit by this thing I have created, you can blame me. I think next time, I might use a little less magic.

But I’ll tell you one thing…it’s going to be GLORIOUS!

 

The Bleeding Cold

We are having some of the coldest weather of the season right now and I felt inspired by it, and wrote this…

THE BLEEDING COLD
by Kevin F.J. Harris

There she stands before me,
tendrils of an icy chill flowing,
icy tears fill my eyes, I cannot see,
but I feel the touch of my lover.

Layers of garments she doth ignore,
as if I were naked like the day of my birth,
for her icy embrace I do so implore,
for she is all that I love and all that I want.

I smile and laugh as I feel that icy embrace,
oh it’s been too long since I felt such bliss,
I wrap my arms around her, she touches my face,
I freeze, this penetrating cold is my Heaven.

There is nary a shiver, no chattering teeth,
I make love to my beloved winter with a passionate kiss,
rejoicing and freezing my senses seethe,
cover me with snow, ice and sleet, it vexes me none.

The cold bleeds through me,
rushes into my veins, into my blood,
it freezes my plasma, like a frozen, salty sea,
she flows through me, turning every cell into ice.

Tendrils of frost seep into every atom,
she is now united with me and I with her,
sweet beloved winter, you encompass every stratum,
I love you with my heart, my body, my soul.

And as the light fades from my eyes,
I am submerged in the water of her life,
the cold water, transforming into snow and ice,
I find peace and my maladies now fade, in her embrace.

I feel her tender kiss, her frosty touch,
she wraps herself around, taking me in frozen arms,
I have waited months, dealing with heat and such,
now to feel her arctic touch, her loving hold on me.

I love you Winter, I tell you I love you so,
while others cower from you, I run headlong to you,
that frozen embrace they will never know,
I feel joy and pleasure when you are with me,
and utter sorrow when in Spring you are forced to go,
through summers torment, hate and spite,
when you return again, the suffering fades,
my lover has returned for me to behold,
and I am at peace, filled with happiness and joy,
to once more feel that love, to feel the cold.

2016 marks 40th anniversary of first composition

In 1976, when I was eleven years old, I expressed interest in composition to my piano teacher. But she wasn’t interested in nurturing that interest. Regardless, I had been taking piano lessons for four years and I felt I could use the skills I had to construct a piece of music. I did this and my piano teacher was impressed, yet still refused to teach me composition. I quit taking piano lessons and stopped playing. I would resume when I was 27 when I began learning composition from a friend. The rest is history.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of this simple piece of music written by eleven year old me, I have exported the piece using Garritan Personal Orchestra’s Steinway Grand Piano digital sample. You can hear it in the video below, along with some nostalgic photos of me from around the time when this work was composed.

Enjoy!