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Date: Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 15:01

Nearby Friends is a Facebook feature that will inform you about your friend’s location when they are nearby. You can also use the feature to track your friend’s location in real time. This feature is available in the Facebook mobile app, where once enabled, you will occasionally be notified when your friends are in the proximity range of your current location. That way, you can quickly meet up to grab a bite together, all thanks to Facebook.

Facebook Nearby Friends feature

Released on April 17, 2014 and currently rolling out in stages, the feature is probably not available to you yet, which makes it perfect for us to have a quick discussion about 5 essential things you should know about Facebook Nearby Friends.

1. How To Use Nearby Friends

First off, for Nearby Friends to work, you will need to share your location with your friends and have them do the same to you. To enable Nearby Friends (when you get it), go to the More tab within your Facebook application (iOS or Android) and look for Nearby Friends in the menu to turn t on.

Any of your friends that has opted in for this feature by turning it on will be able to see you in the list, if the both of you share your respective locations. The list will also show the distance between you and your friend, their last logged location and the current neighbourhood they’re in.

Sharing Precise Location At Stipulated Time

If you’re not okay with sharing your location all the time, but for perhaps a gathering or a meet-up you’d want to, Nearby Friends has an option for you to set the time you are trackable via the feature. You can share the precise location of your whereabouts to your friend(s) for a period of time which you can set.

That means you can look for your friends’ precise location on a map and be able to tell when they will arrive at the agreed meeting point, or if they aren’t on the way yet (even if they said they are).

Share Precise Location And Know When Your Friends Are Traveling

2. Use Of Your Data

There is no such thing as a free lunch and yes, using Nearby Friends will eventually get you submitted to some advertising (says Facebook). Basically, there is a plan to eventually use the data gathered by your location history for marketing purposes.

The data you submit to use Nearby Friends can be easily harnessed by Facebook to share with advertisers who will probably forward targeted ads to you – which isn’t so bad. For example, you will probably receive an online voucher, if you and a friend are lunching together at a certain restaurant that has a special promotion.

What's In It For Facebook?
(Image Source: TechCrunch)

Then again, this isn’t news because every other Facebook features that requires your location even before Nearby Friends, can be used the same way.

3. Facebook Features That Use Location Info

Even before the launch of Nearby Friends, there were other Facebook features that use or rely on your location to work. Those features are known as Facebook Messenger, Nearby Places, Check-in and Status update. If you use Facebook Messenger and share a status update via mobile, know that your location info is turned on by default.

Facebook Features That Uses Location

So, technically, Facebook already knows your location as exposed by you from the features listed above. It just can’t track you most or all of the time, until now. If however, you are fine with this, Nearby Friends is probably a great feature to help you reconnect more easily with friends.

4. There Are Other Better Apps

Note that there are already a few other services that offer similar, or even better, features that bank on location sharing. Just to name a few there is Circle, an app you can use to find out what local events are happening around you and which of your friends are attending the events.

Then there’s Banjo, where you can get information about live events and breaking news on your favorite social network, sortable by location.

Connect brings all your social networks friends (not just the ones on Facebook) into one map. You get to see which friends are nearby, who is visiting from out-of-state, and your social address book is always up-to-date.

We recently also reviewed Firechat, an app that allows you to chat offline with peeps in your vicinity using Open Garden mesh networks, without an internet connection.

Other Similar Services

Note that if you are an Android user, you already have a feature very similar to Nearby Friends: Google Now Commute Sharing. Through Commute Sharing, you can let your friends or family know when you’re heading home from work. It works over the Google+ network where you can share your locations to those in your circles.

Once enabled, your location will be available in the form of Google Now cards when you’re at work, leaving from work and when you arrive homeevery step of the way.

5. Yes, We Need To Talk About Privacy

Nearby Friends can only work if both you and your friend share each other’s location. The good news is you have the option to share your location to your Facebook list , just a group of friends or make it public to everyone.

But let’s face it, most people will probably share their location to everyone on their Facebook since it is a lot more convenient to do so.

Privacy: Are The Options Good Enough?

Overexposing your personal information to everyone may result in nothing, or it may come back and bite you one day. There are repercussions to oversharing that is unique to each individual so do use the feature with caution, rather than complain about how Facebook is invading your privacy or misappropriating your private data when something bad happens. The feature is optional, and at the end of the day, remember that you are in charge of your own privacy matters.


In comparison to other similar services, one clear advantage Facebook Nearby Friends has is that most of your friends are probably already on Facebook. One possible disadvantage is, this feature could probably have an effect on your battery life. However, if you want to bring your online social life back to real life, this is probably one of the best Facebook feature that could turn that into reality.

Author: "Nels Dzyre" Tags: "facebook, Web 2.0, rr, social media"
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 13:01

Freelancers have a lot on their plate, and although the most important role would be to keep the dough rolling in, sometimes keeping track of payments is a high-strung job. Times like these, you need a good invoicing tool to help you keep track of your clients, payments and invoices so you can focus on delivering the best job for your clients.

We’ve got your back. Together with Blinksale, we’re offering you the chance to win a 1-Year Blinksale Unlimited plan worth $180.

About Blinksale

Blinksale is full-fledged online invoicing tool with tons of features to help you stay on top of your project payments while keeping the peace with your clients.


  • Create, manage and send new and recurring estimates/invoices
  • Manage your clients and contacts all from one hub
  • Invoices can be sent via email or printed out in PDF
  • Payment reminders and thank you notes included.
  • Invoices can be customized to include, among others:
    • sales taxes
    • freight costs
    • late fee
    • non-US currencies

What’s more, if you want a different look, you can even customize your invoice via CSS. Blinksale also comes with Stripe integration so you can receive credit card payments right into your checking account. You can now even send payments to fellow collaborators who also hold a Blinksale account. For at trial run, check out their 15-day trial here.

The Prizes

We’re giving 5 winners the 1-Year Unlimited Invoicing Plan which covers unlimited invoices, estimates, clients and users.

On top of that, you also get free support via phone and email, customizable messages, custom email domain delivery and PayPal integration.

How To Win

Using the Rafflecopter widget below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  1. Login via your Facebook account / Email Address.
  2. Like Us on Facebook (if you aren’t already a fan)

Find out how else you can earn entries (and a higher chance of winning) in the widget. [More info]

Author: "Hongkiat.com" Tags: "Freebies, BlinkSale"
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 10:01

Bookmarking has been around for a while, yet not a lot has changed. The familiar bookmarking interface probably needs a facelift. While it may have been perfect back in the infancy of the Internet, bookmarking has become a more prominent part of our online behavior that the old interfaces just can’t cut it anymore. We need our contents organized, and easy to save.

There are a few apps and services out there that can help you do just that, but there’s now a new kid on the block: Dragdis.


Dragdis is a supremely easy to use drag-and-drop clipboard tool that stands out from the crowd. No more screengrabs, copy-pasting or saving to desktop needed. Just drag and drop. Sounds good, right? Let’s check out what Dragdis has in store.

Getting Started With Dragdis

Dragdis is available as an extension for Chrome, Firefox and Safari. To use Dragdis, you first have to register an account with the service. You can create a new account or register using your Facebook, Twitter or Google accounts.

Once you’ve registered, you’ll be taken through a quick tutorial on how to use Dragdis. You’ll also be prompted to install the Dragdis extension for your web browser of choice.

Install Dragdis Extension

Dragdis requires this extension to work, so there’s no getting around installing the extension.

Once you’ve installed the extension, Dragdis will take you through the rest of the tutorial, including how to create a folder and how to drag and drop content into this folder.

We’ll be covering all of that in the next part of this post.

Saving Content In Dragdis

First and foremost, let’s take a look at the Dragdis sidebar itself. To access this sidebar, click on the Dragdis icon in your browser’s navigation bar.

Dragdis Sidebar

In this sidebar, you’ll see your account name, plus two groups named Drag to… and Home. Drag to… is where your social network "apps" are, by default. These apps let you share content directly onto social networks linked to your account with Dragdis (more on that later).

Saving Text, Images, Videos, Webpages

With Dragdis, you can bookmark and save text, images, videos and even entire webpages. Just drag any content to the right side of your browser window and the Dragdis sidebar will appear automatically. Then drag the content to the folder of your choice. You can do the same with images and text.

As for saving a website (see below), just drag the site’s favicon from the URL bar over to Dragdis.

Saving Website

To save videos, once you have Dragdis installed, a small Dragdis icon will appear in the upper left corner of videos you view. Drag this icon into Dragdis to save the video.

Saving YouTube Video

Organizing Your Content

Organizing saved content on Dragdis is very simple. Click on the + icon beside your account name to create a new Group. You can add folders inside each group with the + icon within the group. Rearrange groups and/or folders by simply dragging them in the order that you want.

New Group And New Folder

More On Sharing

After you’ve dragged content into a folder, you’ll be given the option to tag or share that particular content. Sharing is caring, right?

Tag Or Share

Clicking on Click to tag or share will open a new tab in your browser.

Tag And Share Screen

Here, you can find the Dragdis link for this item, some social network Share buttons, as well as the ability to add notes and tags to the item. At the bottom you’ll also find a link to the source of the item, the Delete link.

Folders On Dragdis

If you like, you can also share entire folders through Dragdis. Content on Dragdis is semi-private, in that your content is only visible to the public once you’ve chosen to share the content.

Share Folder

To see the contents of a folder, just click on the folder name in the sidebar. You can also access this folder by visiting the Dragdis website. Do note that you can watch video content directly in the folder, which is a nice touch.

Dragdis Folder View

Settings And Customization

There’s a basic Group settings screen that you can access by mousing over the group and clicking on the small gear icon that appears. This will open a new tab and take you to the Group settings screen, where you can change the group color.

Group Settings

You can also do the same with folders; just mouse over a folder and click on the small gear icon. Here, in the Folder settings, you can rename folders and customize the folder icon.

Folder Settings

There’s also a drop-down menu that you can access by clicking on your account name or profile picture. This drop-down menu gives you access to Dragdis’ Settings, Browser extensions, terms and conditions, as well as letting you log out of Dragdis.

Dragdis Menu

In the Settings page, you can change your name and password under the General tab, and manage apps that have to your social network profiles under the Apps tab.

General And Apps Settings


Dragdis is an excellent application for saving and organizing the links, text, images and videos that you might find on the Internet. You won’t have to worry about using an additional application such as Evernote, nor will you have to worry about not having access to your saved content on a different computer, making it a great tool that almost anyone will find a use for.

Author: "Azzief Khaliq" Tags: "Tools, rr, Dragdis, content sharing"
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 07:01

Photography has been around for a long time, but there hasn’t been a lot of progress over the past few years. Sure, the sensors in our cameras and DSLRs are getting better and better, and we’re getting cool technologies like WiFi connectivity, but the medium itself hasn’t changed much. We’re still capturing flat 2D images, with the only improvements being the size and detail of these images. Until now. Say hello to the Lytro Illum.

Lytro Illum

The Lytro Illum is a game-changing light-field camera, the follow-up to their first Light Field Camera. The Lytro Illum retains the previous model’s party piece, the ability to refocus your photographs after you take them, but improves on the previous model in almost every way possible.

What Is A light-Field Camera?

Light-field cameras use an array of multiple microlenses, usually smaller than 1mm in diameter, to capture four-dimensional light field data. Basically, what this means is that a light-field camera not only captures the color and intensity of light, but also captures the direction of light.

This isn’t entirely new technology. It was proposed by Franco-Luxembourgish inventor Gabriel Lippmann back in 1908.

But the technology to process these images in interesting ways hadn’t been available until Lytro founder Ren Ng and his Stanford University computer team showed that cameras with powerful graphics processing capabilities – both hardware and software – could allow users to refocus and shift the perspective of images captured using light-field technology.

That’s why Lytro Illum comes in.

A New Way To Snap Photos

The Lytro Illum is a complete refinement of the previous Lytro Light Field Camera that’s targeted towards professionals and advanced amateurs, especially those working within the fields of creative photography.

The Lytro Illum has its own custom 40 Megaray sensor, which captures four times as much information as the sensor in the older Light Field Camera. The images this sensor captures are then processed by the Illum’s software with "tablet-class processing power". This combination of sensor and software is what allows you to refocus images after capturing them.

Lytro Illum Sensor

What does this all mean, though? Well, check out these examples to see what the Lytro Illum, and light-field camera technology, can do:

Cool, huh? Let’s check out the device that can do this from the palm of your hands.

The Hardware

The Illum’s user interface is simple and uncluttered, with only a shutter and a special Lytro Button, similar to a depth of field preview button, on the top of the body.

There’s also the usual exposure lock and autofocus buttons. Everything else is controlled through a 4" touchscreen that’s also angled slightly upward, to facilitate photo-taking without having to raise the Illum to eye level.

Lytro Illum Touchscreen

As far as the lens is concerned, the Lytro Illum boasts an impressive 35-250mm equivalent zoom lens with a constant f/2.0 apeture and macro capability. The lens is light, too, weighing in at only half a pound.

Lytro Illum Lens

Here’s a cut-out top down view of Lytro’s previous Light Field Camera, showing you the microlens array:

Lytro Light Field Camera

The Illum also has the common connectivity ports such as a hot shoe for external flash units, a remote shutter port, a tripod mount and an SD card slot.

Lytro also has a suite of desktop tools that will not only let you refocus and shift the perspective of images, but also transform your images into dynamic animations for desktop, mobile and even in 3D.

Lytro Desktop Tools

The Lytro Illum is currently available for pre-order at a special introductory price of $1,499, with a $250 deposit required to reserve a camera. Pre-orders are currently limited to the USA, Canada, EU countries, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.

Author: "Azzief Khaliq" Tags: "Lytro Illum, photography, Tools, rr, cam..."
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 05:01

Whether you’re working, taking a break in the park or preparing an awesome meal, listening to some tunes while you’re getting things done makes the task a lot easier and fun. There are plenty of ways to get ahold of music for listening on your Android device, but if you’re really looking for one that is free to add to your own playlist or maybe you want some background music for your next Instagram video, we have just the thing for you.

(Image Source: Norebbo)

Take a look at our list of top 5 apps to search, listen to and download free music on Android. You don’t have to register an account for any of these apps to use them. And the songs come from multiple sources so you probably can find tunes that are right up your alley. If you don’t have the time to transfer your music from your PC to your Android device, these apps may be your best bet for downloading them on-the-go.

1. Free Music Download

Free Music Download is an app with a clean and straightforward design. Once launched you have two options, search and files. The search option allows you to search for any songs related to a keyword whereas the files option features all the songs that you’ve downloaded using the app.

Free Music Download

You can also use the downloaded songs and set them as ringtones, alarms or notification alerts from within the app. Free Music Download uses SoundCloud as its source.

2. Music Search

Music search is an easy-to-use app capable of searching and downloading free music on your Android device. To download the song you like, all you need to do is tap the song on the search results then tap the Download button at the bottom. You can even listen to it without having to download the file first.

Music Search

The downloaded song can then be accessed easily under the app’s library tab. There, you can preview the progress of downloads as well as look at the list of your downloaded songs. Besides that, you can set any of the songs as a ringtone from within the app as well.

3. Music Download Paradise

This app works in a similar way to the previous two. Simply search and tap on the song to preview or download it to your Android device immediately. Once downloaded, you can access the songs from the Library section in the app itself.

Music Download Paradise

Music Download Paradise also includes a share option. Just tap your downloaded songs in the app and tap share. Instead of opening your music player, you can also play your songs using the app’s built-in music player.

4. Music Maniac

You can use Music Maniac to look for individual songs by tapping on the MP3 Title/Artist Search option. The download section will list all of your downloaded songs. Tap on any of them to play the song automatically on your Android’s default music player.

Music Maniac

In case you’re wondering where the app stores your downloaded songs, look at the top right for the navicon button and tap on the View Download Location. If you want to clear your download list, you can do so from within the navicon menu as well.

5. Free MP3 Downloads

Just hit the search button from within the app to look for a song. Tapping the songs from the search results will start the download immediately. To delete a song, all you need to do is simply tap, hold the song and choose delete under the listen tab.

Free Mp3 Downloads

You can also listen to your song using the app’s music player. This app relies on the Jamendo open source API for their content, which means all the songs available through this app is free music released by the creators themselves.

Author: "Nels Dzyre" Tags: "android music apps, Tools, android apps,..."
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 15:01

In this era where mobile is a popular medium to get on the Web, your e-Commerce website needs to be responsive in order for a smartphone or a tablet to be able to load up your website properly. If you’re on WordPress, which powers over 77 million sites in the world, it’s easy to get a responsive theme for your website, and easily customise it to meet your needs.

There are plenty of responsive e-commerce themes available for WordPress, making it an ideal platform for you to start your e-commerce business.

Blanco E-Commerce WordPress Theme

What we have here is a collection of 30 beautiful and responsive WordPress e-Commerce themes that you can get for free and for a premium. You can check out the features for the themes or try out the respective demos by following the links provided. We hope this will help you find a new e-Commerce theme suitable for your site here.

Virtue [ Demo | Download ] Free


Bearded [ Demo | Download ] Free


Market [ Demo | Download ] Free


Mystile [ Demo | Download - add to cart to download ] Free


Boot Store [ Demo | Download ] Free

Boot Store

Aegaeus [ Demo ] $49.00


Gather [ Demo ] $49.00


465Industry [ Demo ] $55.00


Big Point [ Demo ] $55.00

Big Point

Blaszok [ Demo ] $55.00


Callisto WooCommerce [ Demo ] $55.00

Callisto WooCommerce

JustShop [ Demo ] $55.00


Kallyas [ Demo ] $55.00


Munditia [ Demo ] $55.00


Room 09 Shop [ Demo ] $60.00

Room 09 Shop

Shopsy [ Demo ] $55.00


Simplepxcreate [ Demo ] $55.00


Webmarket [ Demo ] $55.00


WooCommerce GoMarket [ Demo ] $55.00

WooCommerce GoMarket

WooCommerce TechGoStore [ Demo ] $55.00

WooCommerce TechGoStore

Legato [ Demo ] $79.00


MetroStore [ Demo ] $79.00


Flatshop [ Demo ] $49.00


Pinshop [ Demo ] $49.00


Store Box [ Demo ] $53.61 – $136.10

Store Box

Bike Store [ Demo ] $53.61 – $136.10

Bike Store

inStyle [ Demo ] $53.61 – $136.10


Piazza [ Demo ] $79.00


Sneakers Addict [ Demo ] $79.00

Sneaker Addict

Blanco [ Demo ] $55.00


Author: "Nels Dzyre" Tags: "Wordpress, responsive, rr, e-Commerce"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 13:01

We have discussed how to setup a Jekyll blog locally in our computer, create a draft, and manage multiple drafts with the use of a plugin in the previous posts. Now, we are ready to deploy the blog to the online server, letting the world see how awesome our blog is.

Deploying Jekyll to online server is so easy, as it is only a static website. All you need is shared hosting with decent hard disk space and bandwidth sufficient enough to host it. The cost for shared hosting should be affordable. But then again, why worry when you can host a Jekyll blog completely for free – using Github Pages.

Github offers Github Pages for free for anyone to host their static websites. It has Jekyll built-in, so it is a good place to host our Jekyll-powered blog. In this article, we will show you how to deploy our blog to Github Pages.

Getting Started

First, you need to have a Github account. Once you have one, create a new repository. The name of your repository will be used for the blog address in the following format {username}.github.io/{repo-name}.

In this example, I will name my repository simply as blog. When the repository has been created, copy the clone url.

Add, Commit, and Push

We are going to upload our local Jekyll files to our newly created Github repository. I will use Github for Mac to do the job, which can be downloaded for free – Github for Windows is also available for Windows users.

Let’s launch Github app, and then add our Jekyll blog directory as a Local Repository.

Head over to the Settings page. Paste the Github git clone URL that was copied above.

Commit and Push the files to Github.

Go to Github. Ensure that all files have been successfully uploaded.

Github Pages Branch

Creating a Github page for a repository is as easy as creating a new git branch. In the Github app, go to the Branches tab. Create a new branch named gh-pages of the master branch, and click the Publish button.

The new branch is now registered in the Github repository, like so.

The Github Page for your repository should be ready in a few minutes. When it is, you can open it on the browsers at {username}.github.io/{repo-name}, for example:


If the blog is not styled properly, this could be because the stylesheet is not linked properly. To solve this issue, open the default.html in _layouts folder. You will see that the stylesheet is initialized with a slash sign, /.

 <link rel="stylesheet" href="/css/syntax.css"> 

Omit that first slash, so the path looks like the following:

 <link rel="stylesheet" href="css/syntax.css"> 

Then Commit the change, and Push it to Github. The blog should now be displayed properly.

Author: "Thoriq Firdaus" Tags: "Jekyll, Web Design, github"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 10:01

Apps such as Instagram allows you to add layers onto your photos. These type of apps are very popular due to the photo filtering functionality, allowing users to create photographs that have a certain type of look to them. Some developers have tried the same with video, where a filter is added to achieve different color effects.


Spotliter, however, goes beyond simple color filters. The free app provides the users more than the usual black & white or sepia filters. Spotliter provides interactive filters where users can create videos while manipulating the filter effects as they shoot them. Let’s check out the app, shall we?

Interactive Video Filters

Spotliter has 15 different types of filters which they call "touch effects". They include Juxtapose, Freeze, Overlay, Blur, Posterize, Horizon, Dots and many more.

As an example, let’s look at what one touch effect called Magnify does to your video. With Magnify on, you can use an on-screen magnifying glass effect to zoom in on a particular subject, just by pinching your fingers.

Another cool touch effect is Searchlight, where an entire video can be shot in photonegative black, except a spot, circled, to simulate a searchlight in use at night.

Spotliter Searchlight

The amazing thing about the app is that all of the filters can be applied and changed while the video is being recorded. You can use one filter one moment, then change it to another in the next second. It also allows you to pause your video recording, giving you time to switch filters before resuming.

Spotliter Overlay

Along with videos, the filters also work with photos. The Juxtapose and Horizon filters are a cool combined effect made possible with SpotLiter. They let the user combine 2 photos and lay them side by side, perfect for say, a before and after selfie.

Spotliter Juxtapose


There are a few shortcomings with the app. You can’t share videos and photos to your social networks from within the app. There is also no way to edit your files once it is recorded. It is also currently available for iPhone 4 and above, and iPod Touch 3 and above.

Nonetheless, Spotliter is a great app for those who want to add a bit of flair to their videos via interactive filters that they can experiment with to produce awesome homemade videos.

Author: "Hongkiat.com" Tags: "Tools, ios, Spotliter"
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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 05:01

There are many reasons that a user may have to hide an app from their home screen. Stock apps on iOS cannot be uninstalled, so some users choose to hide them inside a folder or use a jailbreaking tool to completely remove them, letting up room for the apps that they actually want.

You may have your own reasons for hiding an app or a folder from prying eyes, for instance apps that contain sensitive data, or apps without pin protection.

Private And Useless Apps

If you don’t want to jailbreak your iOS device, there is a bug in iOS 7 that you can utilize to hide apps or folders from the home screen – by way of the nested folder. A nested folder is a folder that is kept inside another folder. In this post, we will show you how to use this to completely hide apps from view on your iOS 7 device.

Step 1: Creating A Nested Folder

First, identify the apps you want to hide. Keep them all in one folder (we will call this Folder A). In our example, we will be hiding Cloud apps.

To create a folder, simply hold and drag one app on top of another. Then, continue adding all other apps you want to hide into that folder.

Once you have your set-to-hide folder ready, it’s time to create a dud folder. You will be putting Folder A into this dud folder, but the act itself is a little tricky, the first time around.

1. Drop any app to another app to create a new folder (See image 1).

2. When an app is on top of another app, quickly let go of the dragged app, and tap-and-drag Folder A before the zoom occurs (See image 2).

Creating Folder

3. Once you find yourself inside the folder, let go of Folder A (See image 3).

4. Press the Home button and there you have it, a nested folder (See image 4). We’re calling this dud folder Folder B.

Nested Folder

Step 2: Hiding The Folder & Apps

5. So now you have Folder A and two apps inside Folder B (dud folder). Remove the two apps from Folder B (See image 5).

6. Then move Folder B to a full home screen (See image 6).

Remove App

7. Once placed, drag Folder A out of Folder B to the dock. Folder B will disappear (See image 7).

8. When you let go of Folder A while it is on the dock, Folder A will disappear as well.

Hidden App

That’s it. All your apps in Folder A are now hidden. As now, only you know of their existence, if you ever need to use those apps, you can access them through the Search function. And if you ever need to bring them back to your home screen, just restart your iOS device.

Author: "Hongkiat.com" Tags: "How-To Guides, iOS 7, ios"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 13:01

Introduced as a feature in iPhone 4S back in 2011, Siri has allowed iOS users to control their apps via voice commands. However, this does not extend to third-party apps, unless you jailbreak your iOS device.

The good news is a hack called GoogolPlex, designed by 4 freshmen from the University of Pennsylvania for the PennApps Spring 2014 hackathon, is about to change all that.

Siri Logo

By using a man-in-the-middle exploit, GoogolPlex directs your requests to Siri to their proxy server, where it is then analyzed to work with a wider range of commands, more than what Apple allows. More good news, this hack does not require a jailbreak, can easily be installed in a minute, and can be customized to your needs with javascript.

Setting Up GoogolPlex

To set up GoogolPlex, go to Settings > Wi-Fi. On the network you are currently on, press the i symbol next to it.

iOS Wi-Fi Menu

Scroll down until you reach HTTP PROXY. Select Auto and enter "http://totally.betterthansiri.com" in the URL field.


Once configured, activate it by giving Siri a command that starts with "GoogolPlex". For example, "GoogolPlex play Michael Jackson".

This will activate GoogolPlex and since this is the first time you are using it, you will be prompted by iOS on whether you trust this server or not. Tap Continue. You will then be asked to login or register an account.

GoogolPlex First Time

Signing up is real easy and you can even use it to create custom commands later on.

GoogolPlex Register

Once you have created an account, you will be asked to log into your account to start using GoogolPlex. Done? Time to start giving commands using GoogolPlex.

GoogolPlex Login


GoogolPlex frees users to use Siri with third-party apps, allowing them to create custom commands of their own, or obtain scripts that other people have created, all from the web app.

Commands are invoked by saying "GoogolPlex [Say command here]" when Siri is activated.

GoogolPlex Commands

As a start, GoogolPlex will provide you with some default commands for you to test out. For example, there is a default command to play Michael Jackson songs from Spotify by saying "GoogolPlex Play Michael Jackson". GoogolPlex will instruct Siri to open Spotify and play Michael Jackson songs.

GoogolPlex Demo

GoogolPlex also allows the user to interface with other hardware such as Nest Learning Thermostats and Tesla Motors. After giving it your credentials, you can configure Siri to control the hardware – for instance, locking and unlocking your car – using only your voice.

Creating Custom Commands

One of the more interesting and powerful features of GoogolPlex is its ability to let you create custom commands. These custom commands are created using the web app and are in JavaScript. You can configure the trigger needed for your custom command, and specify exactly what the response will be (or even import JavaScript libraries into the app, should the need arise).

To write your own command:

1. Login to your account and click on Add a New Siri Command on the web app.

2. Name your custom command, type in the phase that will trigger the command in Siri, and create the script needed for it to function. Below is a user-generated command to pull a random Wikipedia article using the command "GoogolPlex give me a random article".

GoogolPlex Create Command

3. Press Save Siri Command. your custom command can now be used on your iOS device. If you aren’t happy with your command, you can edit it later or delete it.

4. If you think others will be able to benefit from the command, you can share it with your friends or submit it to the developers to have it featured on their Featured Commands page.

GoogolPlex Custom Command Share

Featured Commands

The Featured Commands section is where you can browse through the commands made by other users. If you are not comfortable creating your own commands, you may be able to find that command in this section.

Just install the command for immediate use. You can even take a look at the source code of the command to learn how it works.

GoogolPlex Featured Commands


GoogolPlex is an incredibly useful hack for Siri that greatly expands its functionality to cover third-party apps. Apple has yet to respond to this hack (some hacks in the past weren’t so lucky) but for now, this is easily the best way to expand Siri without a jailbreak.

Author: "Hongkiat.com" Tags: "Tools, siri, GoogolPlex"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 10:01

We’ve been told time and time again that simple design is better than complex design. Everyone from Seth Godin to Steve Jobs has expressed their feelings on the matter, and the consensus seems to be that true simplicity and minimalism are the way to go.

Remove everything that doesn’t absolutely need to be there, and you will inevitably arrive at the perfect design. But is that always true? We’re going to test this theory of less is more, and get to the bottom of why it’s so universally accepted.

Remove What Doesn’t Work?

It’s definitely true that removing elements of a design that aren’t fitting in with the end goal is the best, most obvious way to simplify a design. But what does that mean, exactly? Does it mean you should just keep taking things out until there’s only the bare minimum left?

How do you know when to stop removing design elements?

Richard Seymour of Semourpowell argues that design is more than simply a mechanical game of addition and subtraction. "You shouldn’t be putting more into something than it needs," Seymour explains in the Design Insights video series. "But the fact is, the need may be an emotional need."

What Seymour is getting at is that, sometimes, what doesn’t seem to "work" from a pure design perspective may actually be vital from a psychological perspective.

Simple vs. Easy

Take, for example, your favorite web browser. I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that, for the majority of you, that will be either Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox. Those are the two most widely used browsers in the world, but are they the most efficient from a design point of view?

Well, no. Google’s Chrome browser, I’d argue, is probably the most streamlined in terms of design when it comes to mainstream browsers. But it’s not the most popular browser, even though everybody who uses Google knows about it. There are certain features built into the IE and Firefox software that users are convinced they need and refuse to go without.

Therefore, they are necessary. Emotionally necessary.

What Do They Need?

Paying attention to your users’ emotional needs is one of the most critical jobs you have as a designer. You need to be able to judge when a design should be reduced down to the barest elements without angering the vast majority of the people who are using it. Emotionally, they may need to have more options, even if it’s not true. They may simply want the comfort of knowing that they have multiple ways of arriving at a solution.

Think of Adobe Photoshop. There are at least 10 different ways to do just about everything in that program, and the majority of its users wouldn’t have it any other way. Think about what happens when Adobe makes just the slightest adjustment to one of its functions or tools. If you guessed "maniacal howls of protest", then you’d be right.

Even if the change is for the better, there will always be a vocal group of users who will violently protest it, purely for emotional reasons.

The Functionality Of Users’ Needs

Do people need an absolute, bare bones interface? Do they need something that’s so simple and elegant that it brings them to tears of joy every time they look at it? Or do they need something that does the job it needs to do – something that works?

You the designer may be viewing your design from an aesthetic perspective, but don’t forget that (most of the time) your users are looking at it from a purely functional perspective. They are looking to use your design, not discuss its artistic merits.

This is a very difficult lesson for even the most experienced designers to learn. How many times have you seen an award winning ad campaign, mobile app, or book cover design and been completely perplexed as to how it solves any kind of design problem?

Sometimes, you may feel as though the design world rewards beauty over functionality, but the real proof of a design’s success lies with the people it’s supposed to be helping. The examples of gorgeously designed, award-winning failures in design history are numerous enough to fill entire volumes.

What Do You Think?

Do you think that simplicity and minimalism should be the end all, be all of a designer’s creative vision? Are there other ways to approach design that truly value function over form, while still being considered "good design"?

Author: "Addison Duvall" Tags: "Web 2.0, minimalistic"
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Date: Monday, 21 Apr 2014 05:01

Despite of only being a static website, we can utilize a plugin in Jekyll too. Let’s continue our discussion on creating drafts from the previous post. As you can see before – in the previous post – we created the drafts and put them within a special folder called _drafts first.

Then, as we are ready to publish it, we move them to the _posts folder with the proper naming format.

It sounds easy right? it should be no problem if you’d only manage 1 or 2 post drafts. But, when you have 5-10 post drafts, changing each file name, and specifying the correct date by hand can be a pain. Let’s take a look how we can simplify the workflow with a Jekyll plugin.

Getting Started

Before we go any further, let’s create a new folder named _plugins; this folder is required as Jekyll will search and execute plugins from within the folder. We also need to create a new file named publisher.rb in it; technically, you can freely name that file with any name you like.

We will be using a Jekyll plugin created by Jeffrey Sambells. This plugin will take care of the hassle when publishing a post from a draft in Jekyll. It will rename the file properly, along with the date. And it will also specify the date within the post Front Matter section.

The following is the source code of the plugin, available from this Gist page. Copy this code below and paste it to the publisher.rb file that we have just created.

 module Jekyll class PostPublisher < Generator safe false def replace(filepath, regexp, *args, &block) content = File.read(filepath).gsub(regexp, *args, &block) File.open(filepath, 'wb') { |file| file.write(content) } end def generate(site) @files = Dir["_publish/*"] @files.each_with_index { |f,i| now = DateTime.now.strftime("%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S") replace(f, /^date: unpublished/mi) { |match| "date: \"" + now + "\"" } now = Date.today.strftime("%Y-%m-%d") File.rename(f, "_posts/#{now}-#{File.basename(f)}") } end end end 

If your Jekyll server is currently running, restart it for the plugin to work.

Using the Plugin

To use the plugin, we need to create a new folder named _publish. We will move our post drafts to this folder, once we are ready to publish it. However, before doing so, set the date in the post draft’s front matter to unpublished, like so

 --- layout: post title: "This is My Second Post" date: unpublished --- 

Now, move the draft to the _publish folder.


As mentioned, Jekyll will automatically move the folder to _posts as well as set the post date, then publish the post for you.

Final Thought

We have seen that Jekyll is extensible with a plugin. In this post, for instance, we used one to simplify the process of publishing a draft. You can find more Jekyll plugins in this page: Available Plugins.

Now that we have learned how to setup Jekyll, and publish a post draft. In the next post, we will show you how to publish Jekyll blog to an online server via FTP. Stay tuned!

Author: "Thoriq Firdaus" Tags: "Jekyll, Web Design"
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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2014 15:01

Editor’s note: This is a contributed post by Issa Mirandilla, who writes about freelancing, writing, marketing, careers, personal finance and other business-related topics. Give her a nudge on Twitter or visit her website here.

After hours of researching facts and figures, organizing your notes like crazy, and hammering away at your keyboard, you’re finally done with your killer blog post. Congratulations for making it that far. Not all blog post ideas get turned into working drafts. Now, all you have to do is edit. That might take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, depending on the quality of your draft.

Seems like a lot of work, eh? That’s not really an issue if blogging is nothing more than a hobby to you. But when your entire livelihood depends on your ability to churn out posts on a daily basis, spending too much time polishing each post is impractical and dangerous to your business.

Of course, quality isn’t something you should sacrifice, no matter how clogged up your blogging schedule is. To solve this dilemma, you can either hire an editor to clean up your work, or purchase editing software online.

But then, in those cases, there’s no real guarantee that you’ll get what you pay for. So what’s a blogger who’s strapped for time and cash to do? Why, use these free editing tools available online, of course!

1. After the Deadline

After the Deadline (AtD) doesn’t just flag and give suggestions for your spelling, grammar, and style. It also concisely explains the reasons behind the corrections given. That means that the longer you use AtD, the better a blogger you become!

According to the developers, AtD can:

  • Recommend the right word 90 percent of the time;
  • Detect approximately 1,500 misused words;
  • Help you write clearly and concisely using thousands of rules in "Plain English" style
  • Use statistics to find exceptions to grammar rules.

AtD is available as a plugin, add-on, or extension for platforms like WordPress, bbPress, Firefox, Google Chrome, OpenOffice.org Writer, and the IntenseDebate comment system.

2. ProWritingAid

Like AtD, ProWritingAid not only tells you what to improve, but also how to improve. It has the ability to generate a detailed analysis on overused words, sentence length, writing style, plagiarism, clichés, redundancies, "sticky" sentences, consistency, and the like.

Although you need to download the Premium version to enjoy all of its features, ProWritingAid’s free version is enough for most types of blog posts.

3. EditMinion

Don’t let the site’s inelegant design fool you. EditMinion takes only a few seconds to check your work for the usual signs of weak writing, like adverbs, overuse of "said", passive voice, ending with prepositions, tricky homonyms and more.

EditMinion generates a report card for your reference, and allows you to add "hashtags" for easier editing. As of this writing, though, the site is still in Beta stage, so use it with care!

4. HemingwayApp

Ever wish you had Hemingway’s terse yet punchy writing style? Well, your wish can come true now, thanks to the brilliant minds behind HemingwayApp. Here, your copy will be assessed based on readability, number of adverbs, number of complex words, and number of times you use the passive voice.

The app also detects spelling errors, although it’s not much help in the grammar department. In case you need to use it offline, a desktop version of the app is also available for $5.

5. WordCounter

Whether you want to check for keyword frequency, or you just have a tendency to be repetitive with words, WordCounter.com is the answer. As its name suggests, WordCounter counts and ranks words according to frequency. The apps is great for reducing redundancy and/or repetitive writing in your copy.

You can also include "small" words, use only root words, and adjust the number of words listed by the app. You can use this primarily as an analysis tool, checking your drafts as you keep honing them to perfection.

6. ClicheFinder

Do cliches drive you crazy? If "Yes", ClicheFinder might be a godsend for you. Just paste your post in the space provided, click the "Find Clichés" button, and presto! Every cringe-worthy phrase will be highlighted in red. You can either rewrite these phrases to make them sound simpler and fresher, or toss them into the back-burner like the blights on language that they are (har har)!

If you experience the message "Unhandled Exception: An unhandled exception was thrown by the application," don’t be alarmed. It’s possible that your text doesn’t contain any clichés at all, so the system’s going all wonky on you.

Wrap Up

Naturally, all these programs have their pros and cons. Tools are only as good as the people who use them, and these six editing tools for bloggers are no different. It’s still up to you to decide whether their suggestions/corrections to your blog post are worth it or not. In any case, here’s to effective and efficient editing!

Do you know other free, downloadable, and/or safe editing programs for bloggers that haven’t been featured here? Share them in the comments section!

Author: "Hongkiat.com" Tags: "Tools, blogger, blogging"
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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2014 13:01

Geometric shapes are widely used in graphic design these days. You can find them on items like t-shirts to coasters. It’s one of the big trends that is hard to define, encompassing complex and large-scale patterns as well as simple shapes.

An ordinary triangle or a circle can totally change a photograph or illustration giving it new mystery, depth and meaning.

Here, we’ve put together 20 clever art pieces showing how circles, squares, rectangles and triangles can create stunning alternatives of what we don’t normally see in art. In the list, we feature creative business cards, illustrations, posters and editorial pieces that feature geometrical forms.

Have a browse through these creative creations and who knows, maybe it’ll encourage you to create some awesome geometrically inclined designs of your own.

Wolf in sheep skin by Kevin Harald Campean

Mixed Media by Sarah Eisenlohr

neutral. by LyKy Dragos

Space Out by Ross Bruggink

Polyanimal Project by Matt Rudinski

Lumi – Killscreen Magazine by Nicola Felasquez Felaco

Alice no País das Maravilhas by oraviva! designers

Geomas Type by Josip Kelava

Geometric Reveries by Bob Sparks

Typeforce 4 Submission Announcement by Will Miller

Thrift Store branding & collateral by Ally Simmons


Working Simply by Design Etiquette

Sea Level Album Art by Jeremiah Shaw

Yosemite X Eason Lee by Eason Lee

Basement Jaxx Single Cover by Sam Aylard

Encounter Mara by K&i Design Studio

Tanagram Furs by Patrick Sluiter

Calling from The Wild by Adam W-E

Hipster Illustrations by Kristýna Konečná

Author: "Nancy Young" Tags: "art, geometrical, Inspiration"
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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2014 10:01

For any smartphone user, no matter which mobile OS you are on, the camera app is one of the more oft-used apps. Many of us opt for third-party camera apps because they are more solidly built than what the stock apps have to offer. But now, Android users may want to reconsider trying out the new and improved Google camera app, just released in the Play Store. If you cannot download the app via Play Store, download the APK file directly here.

Lens Blur slider for Google Camera app

It’s better, sleekier and has a few pretty cool feaures you would want to try out, like Lens Blur and Photo Sphere. And better yet the official Google Camera app is no longer confined to Nexus and GPE (Google Play Experience) devices only. You can run it on any Android device running KitKat 4.4 and above.

New & Upgraded Features

The previous stock Camera was found wanting both in design and functionality, so this new Camera app is definitely a long-awaited improvement. Most of the app functions as a typical in-built camera app but what distinguishes this new revamped app from the previous version is the updated Photo Sphere and the new Lens Blur function. Let’s check out what this app has to offer.

Lens Blur

Lens Blur is finally here, a feature that allows your device camera to focus on a target while having the background blurred out. This is a common feature found on Single-Lens Reflex (SLR/DLSR) cameras, and it’s now available via this app.

In Lens Blur mode, you just have to shoot the subject, then slowly raise the device while keeping the subject in the center of the frame. The app will help guide you through the process with on-screen instructions.

Lens Blur tutorial

You can adjust the blur level after you have captured the shot. The blur level will only focus on blurring the blackground, not the subject. That will happen as long as the camera can tell the difference between your subject and the background.

Blur slider

Photo Sphere

This one is an app that will give the panorama mode a run for its money. It’s far from a new feature but you’ll definitely love playing around with it once you get the hang of it.

The moment you fire up Photo Sphere, you will notice 4 dots on the four sides, left, ride, up and down, after you make a snapshot. These dots are there to help you focus your device camera to create the perfect Photo Sphere. Shift your camera to align with the dots and the app will help you stitch the images together. How far can you go with this? A full 360 degrees!

Photo Sphere interface

There’s more, the new Photo Sphere can now capture up to 50 megapixels, providing more details in your photo sphere picture. Here is an example.

Other Features

There are a few other minor tweaks to some of the other features, namely:

Improved Panaroma – The newly improved Panaroma mode, allows you to capture the full width of a scene in higher detail.

Google Says No To Vertical Video – Don’t you hate it when you take a video that ends up in the wrong orientation? Unlike photos, videos can’t be rotated just as easily. This Camera app will remind you to rotate the device when you try to capture a video in vertical mode. You can ignore the warning and still record your videos this way, but do reconsider by watching this video first.

Camera app interface

Better Interface – Did the previous Camera app frustrate you with its interface? Fret no more. Features are now labeled properly, taking out most of the guesswork. Instead of the old sliding arc controls, the Camera features are now presented nicely in a menu by swiping to the right and by tapping on the menu button at the bottom right.


Like any other app, there are still a few drawbacks to this app. For instance, when taking a photo in Lens Blur mode, your photo will be automatically reduced to around 1024×768 resolution – the image quality will take a hit.

But if you need more motivation to try this app out, know that the Android Police have torn down the APK and found out that in the near future, Google will update the app to include Photo Sphere Live Wallpaper, Advanced Camera, Time Lapse, Wide Angle Mode, and much more.

Author: "Nels Dzyre" Tags: "camera app, Tools, rr, Google"
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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2014 07:01

In the previous post, we have shown you how to install Jekyll and publish your first post with it. If you have followed it, you can see that creating a post is a breeze; we simply create a new Markdown file, save it within the /_posts folder, and it will show up in the blog immediately.

That, however, could be a problem if you have put your blog online. Your post may have unfinished sentences, contain errors, and a few other things that should not be seen by your readers.

That’s why we usually create a draft first before pressing the Publish button. So, in this post, we will show you how to create a post draft in Jekyll before it hits the public eye.

But first, let’s start up the Jekyll server with the following command line.

 jekyll server --watch 

File and Directory

Prior to version 1.0, working with a draft in Jekyll is hardly manageable. There are numerous ways to deal with it.

Some have set published: false in the post files to prevent it from being published, and some put future: false in the configuration file to prevent Jekyll from generating posts with a future date — which still will be published once the date rolls around.

Now, Jekyll has made things simpler to control.

Jekyll relies on strict directory structure. In the case of creating drafts, we need to create a new folder named _drafts. We put all drafts into this folder.

The draft file name does not have to include the post date; we can just name it this way:

Jekyll will ignore this folder. You can write your post as usual, and it won’t be displayed out in the open yet. Once you are done with your post, you can put it in the _posts folder, and add a proper date in the filename.

Hold on?!

Hold on, can’t we just create any folder? Well, the _drafts folder name is the official naming convention to put your drafts in. We technically can name the folder anything, but doing so would prevent us from previewing our drafts.

In Jekyll, we can run the jekyll command with the --drafts flag to preview the drafts: jekyll server --watch --drafts Refresh your blog, and you will see the draft appear on the blog. The draft will be displayed with its latest modified date.


We have shown you how to create a draft in Jekyll. It’s quite simple. But we can make the workflow from draft to publication more streamlined with the help of a plugin. We will discuss it in the next post. So, stay tuned.

Author: "Thoriq Firdaus" Tags: "Jekyll, Web Design, blogging"
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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2014 05:01

When showcasing something on the Web, some developers often find a hard time deciding which backgrounds is most suitable for use. A good combination of the background with the right content can affect the user experience substantially. For some designers, they prefer to use some of the dominant colors inside the content itself – AdaptiveBackgrounds.js can do that for you automatically.

AdaptiveBackgrounds.js is a free jQuery plugin that helps you easily adapt the most dominating color in your content as part of the background. It was built on top of RGBaster, made by the same developer.

Basically, it’s a plugin to extract the color palette of an image to get to the dominant color. The first time the page loads, the plugin will extract the color from the image. The extracted color is then applied to the image parent. You can see how it works in this gif.

(Image Source: AdaptiveBackgrounds.js)

Getting Started

AdaptiveBackgrounds.js requires jQuery library to work. Although it’s built on top of RGBaster, you don’t need to include it anymore. You can get the plugin file from its GitHub page.

Then include all the required files to your project like so:

 <script type="text/javascript" src='js/jquery.js'></script> <script type="text/javascript" src='js/jquery.adaptive-backgrounds.js'></script> 

Adapt Dominant Color

We’re going to try this tool out, and use it to extract the dominant color from this image Double Arch photograph by Kartik Ramanathan, then apply it to the parent element.

In order for the dominant color to be applied into an element, you should put the image as the child of it. Inside the img tag, give the data-adaptive-background attribute, like so, so that the script can get the color:

 <div class='wrapper'> <img id="img" src="images/double-arch.jpg" data-adaptive-background='1'> </div> 

If you directly put the img on the body, then all of the body will be applied with the dominant color.

Next, call the plugin by adding this little javascript code:

 <script type="text/javascript"> $(document).ready(function(){ $.adaptiveBackground.run() }); </script> 

And so we’ve got the dominant color applied to the image.

For more examples and additional settings, you can visit the AdaptiveBackgrounds.js documentation page.

Final Thought

With AdaptiveBackgrounds.js, you will get only a static color. You might want to try give your background a little more color for an attention-grabbing result. If you do, check out the AdaptiveBackgrounds.js demo page for more ideas.

Author: "Hongkiat.com" Tags: "color, adaptivebackgrounds.js, Web Desig..."
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Date: Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 15:01

Next to the bed and our car, our workstation is probably one of the places where we spend most of our time. Who hasn’t ocassionally had to do lunch while they’re working, right? If that’s really the case, maybe it’s about time we spruced up our workstations. After all, your workspace reflects a lot about you. If you’re thinking of going with artsy frames and tasteful flower arrangements, put that aside. Instead, why not take a look at the bigger picture?

Here, we’ll share you with 20 uniquely designed workstations & office desks that’ll leave you amazed, inspired and perhaps even a little confused. Some of the designs are rather simple yet elegant while others are truly groundbreaking. Some are also more practical than others (we’ll let you be the judge). Whether you’re a workaholic that’s always on-the-move or a hardworking car buff, you’re bound to get some pretty great ideas here for your own workstation.

Surf Chair. The Surf Chair is a concept design made more for the comfort of the user. Users won’t have to sit upright to use the computer but instead be able to relax and meld into this uniquely designed chair/workstation.

Surf Chair

Car Desk. The car desk uses an old car, strips it of all its components to leave it with its good looking exterior body which is then transformed into a work desk. It’s a cool concept for car enthusiasts who want an original workstation.

Car Desk

iClubby Workstation. The iClubby Workstation looks like the workstation of the future. No need for any tables to work on and it doesn’t take up much floor space. You can even customize your workstation to add more computer monitors or speakers.

iClubby Workstation

Emperor Workstation. The Emperor Workstation resembles an alien spaceship. It can’t take you to outer space, but it’s built to have the ability to recline. And is teched out with in-built touch screens or buttons that lets you control what you see on the multi-monitor setup.

Emperor Workstation

Paradise Desk. The Paradise desk has a carbon fiber top that looks great and compartments to hide cables for a neat workstation. It also comes with USB and power outlets on the top, so you won’t have to break your back while removing plugs.

Paradise Desk

SlatePro Techdesk. A clutter free workstation without the need of additional iPhone Docks or cable organizers. The table has precisely cut holes where you can place your smartphone, tablet, coffee cup, and also holes to manage cables or cool your laptop better. It may look a bit odd but it does the job.


Kinetic Desk. The Kinetic desk is a futuristic desk with in-built touch screens that allows you to easily change the height of the table to turn it from a standard desk into a standing desk. Desk height profiles can be saved and loaded automatically. It also has built-in power and USB hubs that hides all your charging cables. Great for those who like to keep things neat and tidy.

Kinetic Desk

L3p D3sk. This enthusiast built his PC into his transparent table top, so that he could show off all the components and custom water-cooling parts. It makes for a one-of-a-kind workstation that’s very beautiful, and also neat as there’s no need for a PC case.

L3p D3sk

Nebbessa Table. The Nebbessa Table by architecture company, Nuvist has a unique shape that seems to defy gravity, and a minimalist design that conveys elegance. There’s also a complementary coffee table on the side that gives it an extra touch of class.


Pallet Table. We don’t think much about pallets as they’re usually ignored and just used for storage purposes. However, recycling a pallet and turning it into a work desk with clear glass on top would make for a very unique looking but inexpensive workstation.

Pallet Table

Ninja Standing Desk. The Ninja Standing Desk is a simple yet elegant desk that can be adjusted for users of any height. It’s made out of straps and light-weight shelves that can withstand 30 lbs each. It’s easy to set up and can even be hung over a door.

Ninja Standing Desk

Tetra Shed. Designers of the Tetra Shed wanted to make a modular workstation that can be placed at the backyard of your house. The shed has makeshift doors and windows and can "house" 3 people comfortably. It looks so cosy that you probably wouldn’t want to leave.

Tetra Shed

WheelMate Extreme. The WheelMate Extreme allows you to work comfortably in the comfort of your car. But it only works when the steering wheel is upside down, where you secure the small wooden table for a Bluetooth keyboard and tablet holder.

WheelMate Extreme

AutoExec iPad Desk. For the workaholic on-the-go, the AutoExec iPad Desk sits on the passenger seat of your car to instantly turn it into a simple, mobile workstation. It comes with a tablet holder and space for writing and simple organization of documents.

AutoExec Desk

Pedal Power. The hand-made Pedal Power desk forces you to pedal and move its gear and chains in order to produce electricity to power your electronic gadgets. Not the prettiest but it’s definitely environmentally friendly and gives you a workout too.

Pedal Power

TrekDesk. Take standing desks to the next level with the TrekDesk. The treadmill desk allows you to keep healthy by walking on a standard treadmill while working on documents or a laptop. Just make sure to keep your focus.


Zero Gravity Workstation. The Zero Gravity Workstation is a rig built around a PC chair that allows you to recline backwards. You can view your monitor and use your mouse and keyboard as the entire rig moves with your reclined chair. Perhaps one for the thrill seekers.

Zero Gravity Workstation

Tactical Desk. You can take this Tactical Desk anywhere on the field. It’s equipped with a built-in power source to power all your gadgets on the field. The table included drawers that secures your belongings well and the side table can be folded up to mobilize the entire desk with its wheels.

Tactical Desk

Overbed Workstation. This takes the term working-in-bed to a whole new level. This rig allows you to mount a monitor and use an almost full-sized desk to use a mouse and keyboard while lying down comfortably in bed. Just make sure you don’t fall asleep.

Overbed Workstation

Author: "Brian Voo" Tags: "rr, Inspiration, workstation"
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Date: Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 13:01

In the past we have covered a lot about HTML5 elements as well as demonstrating their functions. New elements such as header, footer, aside, nav, and main make our document structure more semantic or “meaningful”. In particular, these elements help machines to easily understand sections within the document.

But, HTML specifications are huge. If you visit W3.org where the documentation resides, you will find hundreds of pages documenting each element extensively. To this extent, there are possibly a few HTML elements that you have overlooked, and those include:

1. Sample Element

Sample Element or samp defines the output from a computer system, a program or a script. It was introduced far back in HTML3!. This element will be useful for tech tutorials or computer manuals. This example below shows how we wrap an error that occurred in Terminal.

 If you type dir in Terminal, it will output <samp>command not found: dir</samp>. 

All browsers, including IE5, support this element, and they will display it with Monospace typeface like thecode and pre elements.

2. Keyboard Input Element

Keyboard Input Element or kbd is an element that defines a user input. Similar to the samp element, kbd would be commonly used in tech or computer-related articles.

Say, you want to instruct readers to enter particular characters in an input field of an Application. You can wrap the text characters with kbd, as follows:

 To confirm deletion of your account, type <kbd>DELETE</kbd>. 

kbd can also be used to represent actual keyboard keys.

 Press <kbd>Enter</kbd> to create a new line. 

But when used along with the samp element, it could represent input that is conducted through the Application screen such as the buttons or menus. Here is one example:

 Click <kbd><samp>Agree</samp></kbd> to proceed. 

Even though kbd element is explicitly described as “Keyboard Input”, we can also use it for other input type, such as a voice input. If you write tutorials or manuals on Siri, Google Voice, or Cortana that allow us to communicate with the device using voice commands, wrap the voice input this way.

 ...the Ok Google hotword isn't actually disabled according to region and can be easily enabled in just two steps. 

Similar to samp, kbdalso outputs with Monospace typeface by default.

Styling Suggestion

These elements help machines understand the content better. But since they are all rendered with Monospace typeface, readers will hardly see the difference. In this case, we can add some styling to make them look more distinct.

We can add a class, for example button-input if it represents a keyboard key or an Application button.

Then, in CSS, we put the following style rules.

 .button-input { border: 1px solid #333; background: linear-gradient(#aaa 0%, #555 100%); /* W3C */ color: #fff; padding: 3px 8px; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0px 2px 0px 0px #111; } 

This will make it look like an actual button.

3. Variable Element

Variable Element or var, as the name implies, represents a variable character. This element may be useful to write tutorials or articles that comprise of mathematical equations, such as:

 <code>var <var>y</var> = Math.sqrt(16);</code> 

In the above example, we wrap the equation with code element, as the equation is a JavaScript code. We only wrap the character that is a variable with var element.

4. Defining Element

Defining element or dfn is used to highlight a jargon or a specific term that is particularly used in a community or an industry. Web Development industry, for instance, is full of jargon that may not be well known outside the industry.

And below is an example where we use dfn element to wrap the word Breadcrumb; we took the following sentence from Wikipedia.

 <dfn>Breadcrumbs</dfn> or <dfn>breadcrumb trail</dfn> is a navigation aid used in user interfaces. It allows users to keep track of their locations within programs or documents. The term comes from the trail of breadcrumbs left by Hansel and Gretel in the popular fairytale. 

Browsers display it in italic, corresponding to the typographic convention to denote a new instance, or a foreign term.

5. Mark Element

Mark is a new element introduced as part of HTML5. In short, mark is used to highlight text that you want readers to pay attention to. Thus, by default, browsers render this element with bright fluorescent color as you can see below.

For more, you can head over to its documentation, Text Level Semantic – Mark Element, where you can see some detailed examples on the usage.

Final Thought

Instead of using a generic element like div or span, it is better to wrap your content within a more semantic element as listed above, so that the machine – be it an Application, a bot, or a reading device – could better understand the content. Hopefully, this article can be a good reference for getting started.

Author: "Thoriq Firdaus" Tags: "html5 elements, Web Design"
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Date: Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 10:01

Do you remember the helpful paperclip in Microsoft Word that would help you out with tips? It’s one of the first mascots in design I remember. With the number of websites increasing daily and highly competitive markets, brand new attention-grabbing tricks are required for you to stand out.

A logo on your website is no longer enough to make an impact on your visitors. One creative way is to develop a mascot, which will interact with customers and present your company to the outside world. Visual memory is much stronger than text, thus the mascot is a great solution to help people remember your products and services. A custom-made character doesn’t only fit your company’s style perfectly but it’s also way more memorable.

These days mascots can be used for various sites, no matter what sort of business you run. Today, I’d like to share with you 20 creative fresh mascot designs for your inspiration.

The freddie expression project by Ron Lewis for MailChimp

Toon Me! JohnObidiMascot by Anthony Anth Ezeokoye

Olympic Mascots by Alina IVANOVA

Borne, Character Design for Wonderful Indonesia by Tandy Mackenzie

Miner Mascot by Alan Oronoz

Mascot for Surfaccounts by Nikolay Verin

Hipposters by Matt Kauzlarich

Cubtab Mascot by Alan Oronoz

Owl Mascot Prints by Jacob Greif

Bulls Sports Mascot by Ed

Mascots for the World Winter Universiade 2019 by Anna Kulakovskaja

Patch: mascot design for Salvation Army by Joey Ellis

Wheat character by Evgeniya Rodina

“Kahuna” mascot & characters by Andreas Krapf

Instagram Logo Mascot Toy Design Concept by Shinbone Creative

Owl mascot for a translation company by Anna Grape

Hypertech Octopus by Andra Popovici

MonsterMortgage.ca Mascot Illustration by Karen | fivethree

Splish Splash Swimming’s Mascot by Brian James Russell

Rhino mascot design by Sergio Ordonez

Author: "Nancy Young" Tags: "Inspiration, mascot"
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