Photo Restoration

I really enjoy photo restoration work. The image is most often priceless to the client. My task is to take this old, abused image and bring it back to its original state as possible. While some of the resoration process relies on mathematical formulae (noise reduction, contrast, etc.), it is an art to “fill in the blanks” created by stains, dirt, rips, creases and fading. Since the subject is most often a loved one of the client, every choice I make has to remain true to the information in the photograph. It is a constraint that makes it an almost sacred duty to bringing the image back to life.

The image above is from a client who only has two pictures of her mother. It is a small wallet photo damaged by time and handling (left). I was able to return to her a print quality 6×4″ (right).


New Illustration: The Lovecraftian Squares

Here is my Halloween T-Shirt entry for 2014. I went for a vintage-inspired look constrained by a limited color palette and number of shape building blocks would be a challenge, especially for monsters that are typically a morass of body parts and horror.

View on Redbubble

View on Behance


New Illustration: Zu in the Moon

Our cat had what was most likely a brain tumor and had to be put to sleep yesterday. She fought hard against the betrayal of her body, but there was little to be done other than cease her suffering. She had given us as much love as she possibly could.

View on Behance


WordPress Security Tips

Website security is probably not something most people think about until they are hacked or are bombarded daily by comments written by automated programs (bots). But it is something you should consider. Here are a few easy things you can do to help harden your site from being an easy target.

Make Sure Your Computer is Clean

You may be inadvertently handing your keys to ne’er-do-wells just by logging in if your computer has been infected by malware, spyware or a virus.

Your computer may already have a basic virus detection and removal program, but using an additional program like Kaspersky (paid), Avast (free) or AVG (free) gives you better protection.

To counter spyware infections we suggest using Spybot. To hunt down malware we suggest Malwarebytes.

Use a Strong Password

“Password” is the worst password to have. Don’t use it.

Here are some ways to make a better password:

  • Use the “Schneier Scheme – Take a favorite sentence or phrase and reduce it down to a acronymic password.

    For Example:

    “Children of the Night, what music they make” can become CotN1ght,wMtM

    “‘Cause this is thriller, thriller night And no one’s gonna save you from the beast about to strike” can be made into CtiT4ri11er,Tn&no1Gs@veuftBatS

  • The alternative is to create a password composed of unmemorable alphanumeric characters (one random password generator can be found here). Because it is essentially gibberish you might want to use a password manager like LastPass to remember these kinds of passwords. Some other Password Managers are reviewed here.

Keep WordPress, Your Theme and Plugins Updated

My LinkedIn feed recently had a post by a friend of a friend who recently updated his 5-year-old version of WordPress. Don’t be that guy. Most updates contain bug fixes that will prevent people from exploiting your site. The same for your theme and plugins. Remember to back up your database and files before updating anything to ensure if something does go wrong, you can set it right.

Want to Get Really Serious?

If you want to take the extra step and further fortify your site against potential attackers, Tiki2 is happy to offer security services for your WordPress site. We cannot guarantee 100% security for your site — it would be impossible and anyone who claims otherwise is a liar. We can fortify your site with proven, sensible methods to make it more trouble than it is worth to hack your website. The process takes between one and three hours depending on the complexity and current state of your site. Give us a call at 512.554.8712 or contact us to see what we can do for you and your site.


7 Easy Tips to Become LinkedIn Like a Pro

Self-promotion is perhaps one of the hardest things you have to do for your career or business. Thankfully, platforms like LinkedIn take a bit of the sting out of the process by creating an online reposity of your curriculum vitae that you can edit and modify while being exposed to a network of other professionals. Below are 7 easy things you can do to make sure you look like the professional that you know you are.

  1. Profile PhotoWhen trying to link up with clients, employers, potential business partners, providing them a face to link to your name fulfills a basic human social need. Save the photos of your cat/dog/child for your Facebook page. If you were using your company logo, the proper place for that is on your LinkedIn company page. Take a recent photo of yourself wearing attire suitable for your industry. Below are some good tips on making a great impression with an attractive headshot.

    (ADDENDUM: I do want to add that those in creative industries can dispense with the photograph and instead use a self-portrait as a way of showing off your talent.)

  2. Provide Detailed, Accurate Information – When filling out your profile, be detailed as possible about your position and education to give people a clear idea of your skills and accomplishments. At the same time, be honest. It might be advantageous in the short term to embellish how awesome you are, but it will catch up to you.  Here is a quick guide to writing job descriptions.
  3. Custom URL – You’re a name not a number. By default LinkedIn assigns a long code as your profile URL. You can change that by clicking (from your profile page) “Edit” then “Edit Public Profile Settings.” In the left column there will be a link to “Customize your public profile URL.”
  4. Set Your Profile to Public – Social media is about putting yourself out there and being found. LinkedIn is no different. Your LinkedIn profile is indexed by search engines as well. You can make this change (from your profile page) by clicking “Edit” then “Edit Public Profile Settings.” Select the radio button in the left column that says “Make my public profile visible to everyone.”
  5. Play the Connection Game – Connect with past clients, employers, peers in your industry, people you’ve worked with, even that boss from hell. They may know someone who may need your product/service or want to employ you. The game is to collect as many professional links relevant to your profession as possible — it’s not a popularity contest. Also, don’t get spammy resending invites if someone doesn’t add you to their network.
  6. Ask for Recommendations – Recommendations are testimonials that back up your skills and experience. Recs from your family and friends don’t count, so ask clients and employers to say a kind word. People are more apt to give you a recommendation if you give them one first.
  7. Update your Profile and Status Frequently – LinkedIn broadcasts changes in your profile to everyone you are linked to. This keeps you fresh in their mind and shows you are keeping current in your professional life.

Keep Marketing Communication Simple and Direct

I’ve found it’s always best to be simple and direct when writing marketing copy.  It makes your core message simple enough for anyone to understand and in does not waste their time decrypting what you’re really trying to say.  I find that when copy starts resorting to phrases like “thoughtmaster the mindshare”, “implement the paradigm through out-of-the-box mental acuity” or “Human Capital” it’s time to take a deep breath and re-think the approach. Sometimes going to UnSuck It can be helpful in identifying crazy, overly-wordy marketing speak that can baffle your audience with inflated verbage.