Want at least $20 for free? Need to beef up some charges to earn the bonus points on a new credit card? Could you use an interest and fee-free $2,000 loan for a few weeks? With this deal from Square any of these are possible.

Square offer

Square offer

It had been almost a year, so the other day I thought I’d log in and see if anything had changed over at Square and was greeted with the above offer.
For several years I’ve had an account with Square. If I recall correctly they were the first company that offered individuals the ability to accept payments via credit cards on their smartphones. The fees are about what you would expect… 2.75% per swipe (a bit more if the card must be entered manually).
It’s easy to sign up, get a free card swiper, and open for business (or non-business… have your friends pay you back with their credit cards!)

The Square Offer

The Square Offer

Process $2,000 free for each friend you refer to Square

  1. Send your invitation link below to friends.
  2. When your friend activates a Square account through your link, they can process up to $2,000 in credit card sales for free during their first 180 days.
  3. For each friend who successfully activates a Square account, you get free processing on your next $2,000 in sales over the next 180 days.

No fees to process $2000 of charges? 2.75% of $2000 is $55. Square is willing to eat $55 to get you signed up. That’s all fine and good, but wouldn’t it be better if you could just pocket that money? I think I’ve found a way to make that happen using your own favorite credit card. The trick: charge yourself $2000 in order to get rewards points, airline miles, or whatever. Most programs are typically giving you back at least 1% of the dollars spent, so that’s like $20 for free!

So here’s the plan:

    1. Sign up for a new account by clicking through this link Yes, this is my referral link so I can get the same promotional deal.
    2. Get your free card reader
    3. Link a bank account to your Square account. Explore the site while you wait for your card reader to arrive. If you think you will use this for actual business, you can see how to create an online store, add inventory, etc.
    4. With card reader in hand, take your favorite credit card (that you don’t carry a balance on, pay off every month, and has the best rewards benefits per dollar spent) and sell yourself some ‘good karma’ or ‘foot massage’ for $2000.*,** These charges will appear on your credit card statement like any regular purchase and will benefit from the interest free ‘grace period’ that you typically have when you don’t carry a balance.

You will typically get the funds deposited into your bank account the following day. At that time you can decide whether you want to simply make a payment back to your credit card or try and do something else with this ‘fee-free’ cash advance.

Enjoy your extra 2,000 miles or 2,000 reward points and take that $2,000 to the track and bet on a sure thing (joking!)
Whatever you decide to do, don’t let that money cost you anything in interest! Pay off that card and don’t carry a balance. There are cheaper sources of money than not paying your credit card in full every month!

One more time, here’s the link to get the promotional offer from Square, which benefits me too:

*Worried about some tax issues or something? You probably don’t need to worry as long as you process less than 200 transactions and stay under $20,000 per year. According to this page, Square only sends out a 1099-K if you exceed those limits.

**Get more bang for your buck if you happen to have a new credit card with a 0% interest for some special promotional period. You could then put that $2000 in a low risk investment and maybe earn another 1-2%. Just don’t forget to pay it off before the 0% offer period ends.

After Effects Expression Tips

Here are some of the latest tricks I have been playing around with, especially useful with Particular.

Tip: Add a ‘layer for motion’ selector for your particular emitter and make your keyframing easier.

Add an Effects>Expression Controls>Layer Control to the layer and name it ‘layerForMotion’

Add these expressions to the particular emmitter properties:

In Position XY:

try {
m= effect(“layerForMotion”)(“Layer”).transform.position;
effect(“Particular”)(“Position XY”);

In Position Z:

try {
m= effect(“layerForMotion”)(“Layer”).transform.position;
effect(“Particular”)(“Position Z”);

Now just select the layer that you want to control the emmitter. Be sure to convert that layer to 3D before selecting.

Tip:Adjust the amount of particles emitted based on the velocity (speed) of the emitter.

[UPDATE – also, have it stop emitting when it stops.  No need to keyframe ‘0’ ]
This is helpful when you get thin or clumpy areas of particles when you are moving your emitter at various speeds.
Add the following expression to the Particular ‘particles/sec’ property:

//specify the where the motion for the emitter is coming from
//get the magnitude of the position change (ie speed) and combine with attribute value you set or keyframed
//omit this if you don’t what it to stop emitting when it stops moving
if (m==0){
0; //stop emitting if no change in position

Now you will get a nice even stream no matter how you zip the emitter around, and it will stop emitting when standing still so no more clusters!

Maya to AfterEffects… tips, tricks.

Can’t remember the process for succesfully getting Maya camera and locators into AfterEffects?  Here’s what I’ve written down so I won’t forget…
Maya scenes need to be transformed in order to appear in AE default space (where center is 960,540):
Scale = 100
TX  =  960
TY = -540

How Cameras relate…
Default AE 50mm camera = Maya 50mm with Z = 26.6666
Default AE 35mm camera = Maya 35mm with Z = 18.6666

So, for basic setup create a Maya 35mm camera at z = 18.666.  Layout for this view (it will match the default AE 3D setup).  When ready to export… bake animations.  Then group elements and transform group with above scale and translate settings.
Import into AE and delete the ‘group’ node which will be the parent to all the elements.  Their transforms will now be set up to match AE world with center @ 960×540 (***This assumes you want to create a 1920 x 1080 comp.  Don’t for get to set your resolution in  Maya to match this resolution!)

If it is more convenient to do the transform in AE only…

  1. Import elements.
  2. Create a null.  Set Position to 0,0,0
  3. Parent elements to null.
  4. Set null position to 960,540,0
  5. Then scale null to 10,000.
  6. Delete null.

Camera and elements will now be in AE default 3D space.


[UPDATE AGAIN — possibly ignore all this… i think I found my mistake!]

Maya 35mm camera seems to be off when brought into AE… changing angle of view of AE Camera to 66degrees (or change to film size to 36mm) and that should help slippage off-center.

Another way to calculate what the AE Camera needs to match the Maya camera is to take the Maya Camera’s ‘Camera Aperture’ X value and convert that to mm (mult by 25.4 to get millimeters).  Then use that value for AE Camera’s film size.  I think the problem is that maya has a default ‘user’ film gate that is a 1.5:1 ratio, which is going to be different then your AE 1.78 comp ratio.

The Coffee Table App – Now Available!

Just a note to say that a brand new restaurant app has been released into the wild.  This one is for another local favorite: The Coffee Table.

Enhanced for the retina display, this is the latest and greatest version of the restaurant I have developed to date.

Check it out! The Coffee Table App in the AppStore.

The Coffee Table App

Free the Meat Clock!!!

For those who might be interested I am going to give a promo code good for a free download of “Meat Clock” (the original Meat Clock for iPhone and iPod Touch) to the first 5 people who use the contact form on this site to request it.  Please, only one request per person!

This is a great opportunity to share the love if you already own Meat Clock and would like to “re-gift” it to someone special.

In the event that you request a free code and the 5 person limit has already been reached, I suggest you include in your message an interesting or juicy story that might get you some sympathy, and possibly a free code…

(boy, this iPhone development stuff is just like playing God!)

iPhone App Review Fraud Exposed!

Not your typical iPhone developer

Not your typical iPhone developer

I just read an interesting story  over at Macworld about iPhone developer ‘Molinker’ posting fraudulent 5-star reviews for its apps.  I didn’t know that they have over 1,000 apps in the App Store.  With their apps removed from the store, perhaps shopping for an app won’t feel so much like trying to navigate the shopping mall the weekend before Christmas!  All for the best, I suppose.  Maybe Meat Clock will finally catch on with the masses.  Did you know that Meat Clock makes the perfect gift for your friends and family?  Well, it does.

Meat Clock

Get Meat Clock here:

Meat Clock at the App Store