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Date: Friday, 19 Sep 2014 15:01

Most of us are frequent users of PDF. Whether we use it for work or for personal matters, it’s a format that is widely used as it’s reliable, trusted, accessible and is also adopted globally making it more convenient for people to share documents. It also works smoothly over multi-platforms, so a user can interact with PDFs on Windows, Mac OS, Android or iOS.

But what if you want to know more beyond the printing and simple reading of PDFs? What about if you need to convert it into a different file format or maybe even compress it to make sharing a breeze? In this post, we’ll go over 10 things you probably didn’t know you could do with PDFs.

1. How to Create PDFs Without Adobe Acrobat

Many people may find it a bit difficult to download an Adobe Acrobat Software and then to create a PDF document using it. But there are other simple and easy ways to create PDF files without installing and using Adobe Acrobat. Here are the different ways you can create a PDF without the software:

Google Chrome: Press Ctrl+P (Windows OS) or Cmd+P (Mac OS) to open the print settings window. Click ‘Change’ to choose the printer and select ‘Save as PDF’ to convert the webpage into a PDF document.

Broswers other than Chrome: You can do this by installing CleanPrint, which is a free add-on for browsers such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and yes, even Google Chrome. There are different options you can choose from and they include print, PDF, Text, Email, DropBox, Google Drive and Google Cloud Print.

Online Web Service: You can also convert a webpage to PDF file using online web service named as htmlpdf. You can also create PDF files using the FreePDFCreator software.

File Conversion: You can also create a PDF by first creating a file using the most common file formats such as MS Word, PPT, etc. and then coverting that file into a PDF document using pdf24.

2. How to Merge Two Or More PDF Files

If you have multiple PDF files that you want to merge into a single file, then you can do it with ease using online web services such as foxyutils and PDFMerge.

If you are not much into online web services then you can use PDF Combine software for merging PDF files easily.

3. How to Edit A PDF File

PDF files are read-only documents but sometimes you may find a need to change or add something new to the existing PDF document. In these cases, tools such as PDFzen and TOUCHPDF are quite handy. If you rather use them offline, there’s nitropdf and Foxit, which are desktop softwares for editing PDF files.

4. How to Translate PDF Documents

If someone sends you a document written in French, don’t fret as you can translate it easily via Google Translate. If you didn’t guess by the name, Google Translate is used for translating text or documents from one language to any other language.

Once you’ve got the page opened, upload the PDF file using the browse button. Then, choose the language you want to translate your document into and click the blue translate button on the right side of the page. Just like that, you now have a translated document.

5. How to Convert A Bunch Of Documents To PDFs

Perhaps you have a bunch of documents, 40 or 50 documents, to be precise, and you want to convert these documents into PDF files. You can do so using 2 methods either doing it one by one (which can be quite time consuming) or in bunches. To convert a bunch of documents into PDF files, you can employ the use of services such as Peernet and ExtendOffice.

6. How to Print & Copy A Restricted PDF Document

Say, you stumble upon a PDF document over the Internet that is very useful to you and now you want to copy some of its text or maybe print it. However, you can’t due to the restrictions applied on the PDF document.

You can easily remove the password from a restricted PDF file or document by using a very useful feature of thepdf for removing PDF passwords. You can also use another online web service called PDFCrack to crack the password on a protected PDF document or file.

7. How to Convert PDF File To Other Formats

At some point, you may need to convert a PDF file into other formats such as into a MS Word file, HTML file or even a PowerPoint. Here are the different ways you can do so:

MS Word: The online PDF to Word Converter can be used for conversion. This makes it more convenient for any editing that you wish to make.

HTML File: If you want to convert a PDF file to an HTML file for easy publishing on your blog or website then convertpdftohtml and PDFHTML are some of the tools that you can use to do so.

PowerPoint: You can convert a PDF file to a PowerPoint File easily using PDFConverter. It is a 3 step process. First, upload your document, then provide the email address where the converted PPT file will be sent to and finally hit the start button.

8. How To Extract The Text From A Scanned PDF File

It is really easy to extract the text from a PDF file by using the text selection tool but that’s not always the case when it consists of scanned pages or images with text. To extract the text from a scanned PDF file, Google Docs can be used. All you need to do is upload the PDF file to your Google Docs account and it will convert the scanned http://media02.hongkiat.com/pdf-tips/pages into a format that you can select and copy the text from easily.

If you rather not use Google Docs, you can also use tools such as onlineocr and FreeOcr for the same purpose.

9. How To Extract the Selected Pages from a PDF File

If you have a PDF file with hundreds of pages and you want to extract only a few pages from that large file then PDFaid is an easy to-use online tool for this purpose. Just select the PDF file that you want to extract from, read through it and finally highlight the range for the pages that you want to extract.

10. How to Double Compress a PDF File

You may have a large PDF file that you want to send via email but due to the maximum attachment size restrictions you can’t. You can try compressing the PDF file as much as possible while retaining the quality of the original content.

You can use any document compressing software such as 7-Zip to do this. Although, if you want to compress it twice, you can do so using PDFaid and then again compress it by using 7-Zip for to minimize its size even further.

Author: "Fahad Khan" Tags: "pdf, Tools"
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Date: Friday, 19 Sep 2014 13:01

One of my favorite things, besides design, food, and writing about design and food, is perturbing my fellow designers with strange questions. You guys should try it sometime; it’s really fun. Anyway, today I was thinking about the dynamic of an in-house work environment, and how it compares to freelancing. I’ve done both, and I definitely have some thoughts on the matter.

Does the uncertainty and ever-changing nature of freelancing produce designers with sharper, more adaptable skills? Or does the social, fast-paced, and ordered workflow of an agency or design firm create more design superstars? Let’s see if we can find some answers.

Jobs Are Stable… Or Are They?

Not in this economy they’re not. Having a job these days, especially in the creative industry, is almost as uncertain as freelancing. In fact, it can be even more uncertain. But does uncertainty by itself create a more stimulating creative environment? In my experience, the answer is: yes and no.

Yes, you can feel challenged to perform well under pressure, and as a result create excellent work. But the opposite can also happen. You can freeze up if faced with too much pressure, resulting in disappointment all around. For this round, I believe freelancing and working in-house are tied. It all depends on whether you feel more pressure on your own, or beneath the watchful eye of a fickle boss.

The Truth About Being Your Own Boss

When you freelance, you call the shots. That means not only can you pick who to work with, you can also pick what you learn and whom you choose to associate with.

But are you truly better off on your own? Does the endless ability to choose your own projects and reject anything for any reason develop a tough enough hide to help you deal with scrutiny from users and the design community?

From my perspective, working as an in-house designer puts you in the position of an employee. You have an itinerary of things to get done, and there is a whole operation of people counting on you to do it all on time. You’re given a project and are told exactly what to do and when to do it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, if all you want to do is design.

Freelancing is a business. One of the main reasons freelancers give up freelancing to work at an agency or firm is because they get tired of handling all the non-design, “business stuff.” Marketing and self-promotion, networking, bookkeeping, contracts and other legal issues; those things can get tiresome if you’re not the entrepreneurial type. It can actually drain some people’s energy which they would ordinarily use for creating great designs.

So, for this round, I’d say it depends on where you draw your energy and inspiration from. If you feed off of working for yourself and handling all of your own affairs (and I mean ALL of them), then definitely freelancing will bring out your best as a designer. But if you only want to focus purely on design itself, working in-house is the way to go.

The Social Factor

Let’s face it: freelancing can get pretty lonely sometimes. Especially if you do all of your work from home and not, say, from an office or even a coffee shop. If your family and friends are all at work or school during the day, or if you live alone, your exposure to healthy social activities can seriously suffer. Depending on the type of designer you are, this can either inspire you to work harder, or completely drain you of motivation.

If you’re more of an introvert, you may find freelancing to be pretty much the ideal lifestyle. There’s no office or co-workers to deal with, and you can pretty much work as much as you want without seeing another human face.

But if you’re more extraverted, you might find freelancing unbearable, and prefer the more social atmosphere of an in-house environment. There are other creatives to bounce ideas off of, and you can take the edge off the solitude of your work with friends near.

Again, it comes down to the type of person you are, and the ideal design workflow you wish to cultivate. There is really no “right” way to go here. Whether you freelance or work in-house, you can still have a social life and benefit from the spontaneity of having people around; you’ll just have to work a bit harder at it if you freelance.

It All Comes Down To The Work

In the end, of course, it doesn’t matter whether a great design was produced in-house or by an independent contractor. All that matters is that the work solves the design problems it was meant to solve. But what kind of work will your career choice bring you, and is the grass greener on the other side?

It’s true that, at an agency or firm, you (arguably) have more opportunities to land huge, corporate clients and work on large-scale projects which will be seen by millions. While as a freelancer you (again, arguably) have more opportunities to select meaningful projects that you truly believe in.

But let me play the devil’s advocate anyway. Does in-house work actually fill more pages of design annuals and win more awards than freelance work? Or vice-versa? I’ll leave it to you to formulate your own answers to these questions. (It’s no fun if I simply tell you, now is it?)

What Do You Think?

So, designers: what’s your verdict? Do freelancers make better designers, or does working in-house tend to bring out the best in creative professionals? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Author: "Addison Duvall" Tags: "designers, freelance, Web Design, freela..."
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Date: Thursday, 18 Sep 2014 15:01

There is advertising everywhere. Commercials on TV, billboards across the highway, page long newspaper ads, the dreaded pop-ups of the Internet. Everywhere you turn you just can’t get away from the stuff. Whatever medium you can think of, chances are it’s covered with Verizon ads selling you its high-speed Internet service (Can I have my money now?).

Not even the world of escapism is safe from corporate advertising. Advertisers are quick to use a new medium to push their wares and this is no exception when it comes to TV and movies. In fact, in the process of writing this article, I have become more aware of how rife they are with product placement. Some inconspicuous, many blatant. In this list, we have for you just 18 examples of obvious and shameless product placement in movies and TV.

Little Nicky

Adam Sandler loves to integrate product placement into his movies. In Little Nicky, we see the titular character being introduced to Popeye’s Chicken for the first time by his friend/talking bulldog, Mr. Beefy, where Nicky declares it as “f***ing awesome!”. A one off shout out is maybe acceptable but it became worst when later on in the movie it becomes an integral tool to defeat a demon horde, with said demon’s also declaring it as “the shiznit”, putting Popeye’s Chicken in the same pedestal of good as butterflies and fluffy things.

The Wizard

Probably the number one contender for biggest media attention seeker in the 80′s has to be Nintendo. When it comes to promoting their products, there’s no line the Big N wouldn’t cross. Their crowning achievement has to be The Wizard, a 90 minute commercial for Nintendo masquerading as a movie. It goes beyond simple product placement, with plot and narrative taking a back seat to the parade of games on show, including the yet unreleased at the time Super Mario Bros. 3. Take a look at this scene that is obviously a commercial for The Power Glove. Oh yeah, it’s bad.


Think Toy Story or Wreck-It Ralph, but with food mascots instead. However, unlike the two, the mascots are horribly underused, with all of them appearing as simple background characters with no dialogue and little involvement in the plot. Just take a look at the poster below, where the mascots for real life brands, which do nothing in the movie, are prominently displayed while the main characters are in the background. It all feels like a cheap tack on just to promote the product. In the end though, the movie was so horrible that the brand executives probably wished they never got involved in the first place.


The Island

Director Michael Bay is notorious for a lot of product placements in his movies, probably in the same tier with Adam Sandler. In his movie, The Island, there are around 30 product placements, prominently among them are the XBox logo during the game scene and a Calvin Klein ad that leading actress Scarlett Johansson just happens to be in at the time.

Michael Bay’s Transformers

If shilling for products in one movie isn’t enough, why not do it to an entire series? Granted, the whole concept of Transformers is to sell toys but Michael Bay managed to shoehorn in a few more products to showcase within the series. And when I mean ‘a few’, I mean more than 50 of them. The obvious is using GM cars for all the Autobots. Then we have a transforming XBox 360, a Mountain Dew vending machine, a Nokia cellphone and that’s just the first movie! Watch the series for them and you may even turn it into a drinking game. (Warning: we are not responsible for the alcohol poisoning resulting from watching a Michael Bay movie)

Mac And Me

Think E.T. but with a heavy dose of McDonald’s advertising. In fact, just like The Wizard, the whole movie felt like a giant, hour long commercial for the restaurant. Just take a look at the name, Mac and Me, where Mac is obviously referring to the Big Mac. Then there’s the five minute dance scene taking place in a McDonald’s birthday party complete with Ronald McDonald. Rotten Tomato called it “…a thinly-veiled feature length commercial for McDonald’s and Coca-Cola” while film critic Leonard Maltin described it as “more like a TV commercial than a movie”. Check out the dance scene below.

You’ve Got Mail

‘You’ve Got Mail’ is the popular (and trademarked) slogan for AOL back when it was the Internet for most Americans. So why don’t we feature that prominently as the title of a movie staring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan? The movie of the same name is based on a 40 year old play but instead of snail mail, we have email, with the AOL jingle playing every time ‘you’ve got mail’.

Code Geass

Apparently, empires may rise and fall in alternate timelines but Pizza Hut is eternal. When not blowing stuff up with their mechs and weird eye powers to overthrow the British Empire, the cast frequently eat Pizza Hut pizza, with the logo prominently displayed for all to see. Also, one of the main character’s prized possession is a plush of Cheese-kun, the mascot of Pizza Hut in Japan. Pizza Hut paid a lot of money to be featured in the anime and now fans can’t think of toppling the established order without thinking what topping to have with their order.

Code Geass Cheese Kun

I, Robot

I, Robot takes place a few decades into the future but in one 15 second scene, Will Smith’s character will start wearing a pair of “Converse All-Stars Vintage 2004″, an obvious attempt to sell the sneakers. He even calls it “a thing of beauty” and another character comments that they are “nice shoes”.

Days Of Our Lives

Did you know the reason they are called soap operas is because they were funded by soap manufacturers? While the name has stuck around, soap operas today parade more than just soap. Take a look at the very long running ‘Days Of Our Lives’, which sometimes doesn’t even bother to seemlessly incorporate their product placement into the story. This Gawker article features some of the more hilarious ones. Below is an example and personal favorite, as you can’t tell if it’s from the show or an actual commercial.


Evolution puts Heads & Shoulders shampoo front and center with the main cast using it as the MacGuffin to defeat the creatures that threaten them. They even manage to squeeze in a bit where some of the characters talk about the virtues of using Heads & Shoulders, on how it can keep your hair shiny and flake free. It’s played for laughs at the end where the main characters actually appear in a Heads & Shoulders commercial.


Everyone loves E.T. (unless you had an Atari 2600). And if E.T. liked something, chances are you’ll probably like it too. In the movie, one of the more prominent food items that E.T. enjoys is Reese’s Pieces. While director Steven Spielberg wasn’t paid to use the product, the movie was a boon for Hershey’s as their profits went up by 65%. Funny enough, Spielberg originally wanted to use M&M’s but Mars declined, thinking the movie will not do well.

The Internship

While Google technically didn’t make any money from the movie that is arguably a 2 hour commercial about Google, it did lend its support in the production, with even a cameo appearance by Sergey Brin himself. The result is that the audience probably felt that they should have been paid to watch the commercial. Sure, Google may have gotten some perks with their brand name being so predominantly displayed. However, the movie, by most accounts, stunk.

Man Of Steel

Because nothing says Truth, Justice and The American Way more than product placement. In fact, it made $160 million even before it’s release. It did this by featuring a hundred different products in the movie. Some of them are subtle. Others, not so much.

Hawaii Five-0

They literally put a 50 second plug for Subway in the middle of an episode. It wasn’t even subtle, it really was a commercial that is playing out in the show. If you were to cut it out and place it in a normal timeslot for commercials, you would probably think that it was an actual commercial. Just take a look at the video below.

Back To The Future II

Whether back to the future or here in the past, product placement will always be with us and stay the same. While the first Back To The Future movie was fairly subtle in its product placement, the second one takes it up a notch, marketing the brands more directly to the camera. Let’s see, we have Pepsi out of a pneumatic tube, self laced Nikes, a Mattel hoverboard (still waiting on that one), Pizza Hut, etc.

James Bond

As a superspy, James Bond deserves the best and he gets the best, which is defined as who pays the most money for the next movie. Product placement has been in the James Bond movie since Dr. No and many people who grew up with the 50 year old franchise can probably name some of 007′s favorite brands. Aston Martin, his Walther PPK, Rolex and Omega watches, you name it. So it’s no surprise that the latest Bond movie, Skyfall, managed to rake in 1/3 of its budget ($45 million) from Heineken alone. Here’s a video and article that shows the history of product placement in 007′s long career.

James Bond Heineken

Jack And Jill

This movie takes Adam Sandler’s pandering to product placement to its logical conclusion, with the man himself playing an advertising executive. The center of the story is Sandler’s character trying to get Al Pacino to shoot a commercial for Dunkin’ Donuts. Spoiler alert: he succeeded and there’s actually a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial at the end, though it was played for laughs. However, throughout the movie you can still see several brands featured in the movie, par for the course in a Sandler movie. To end this list, here is Pacino rapping and break dancing in said commercial. God help you all.

Author: "Azwan Jamaluddin" Tags: "product placement, Web 2.0, advertisemen..."
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Date: Thursday, 18 Sep 2014 10:01

If you’re an iOS user and have recently upgraded to the latest iOS 8, you may be confused as to what is actually new. You are not alone. Like most of Apple’s previous updates on its operating systems, whether it’s for the desktop or mobile OS, the latest iOS 8 hasn’t really had a major overhaul in terms of its user interface.

However, there are still plenty of new features and functions that come in quite handy. We’ve had a go for ourselves and have been playing with this new iOS upgrade for awhile now. The result? We’ve handpicked 20 new features and tips that we think you should know about the new iOS 8.

1. Sharing Photos And Videos Is Easier

The new OS makes sending photos and videos via the Messages app a lot more convenient. Just click once on the camera icon (located at the bottom left) and you are able to share multiple recent photos. You can even add a comment to the photos you send. Alternatively, if you click and hold the same camera icon, you can immediately take a photo or video and share it with your friend right away.

2. Send Audio Through Messages

If you’re a regular user of WhatsApp, LINE, WeChat or other messaging services, sending audio messages is nothing new. However, it’s good to know that Messages now has this function as well. Just tap and hold to record your audio message. Tap again to replay the audio message, or click the cross icon to cancel, or the Arrow Up icon to send.

3. Listen To Your Audio Messages Discreetly

Listening to your incoming audio messages and replying to them can be done in a private and discreet manner too. All you have to do is raise your phone as if you were answering a normal phone call. This feature can be turned off and on under Settings > Messages > Raise to Listen.

4. Changes To My Photo Stream

In the latest iOS8, Apple has made some changes to My Photo Stream. The My Photo Stream folder has been removed from your Photos app. From now on, all your new photos will be automatically synced across all your iCloud devices when connected to Wi-Fi.

In short, this means the next photo snapped on your iPhone will be available on your iPad as well as any other connected devices. The best part is there’s no longer a limit of 1000 photos.

5. Mark Your Emails By Swiping

When going through emails in your inbox, you can quickly mark an email as ‘Unread’ by swiping to the left. You can also flag it, or access more options by swipping to the right.

If you want to customize the swiping options further, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Swipe Options.

6. Instantly Reply To an IMessage

You no longer have to leave your home screen or a current running application. Reply instantly to an incoming message by pulling down on the iMessage notification and replying as you normally would.

7. Access Recent Contacts With The Home Button

Now when you double click your home button, you aren’t just able to access the latest opened applications, you can also see a list of all the people that you recently contacted. Click on their profile picture to call, message or Facetime them.

8. Capture Time-Lapse Videos

Besides capturing square, slo-mo, panoramic photos and videos, the latest iOS 8 allows you to take time-lapse video, a feature very similar to Instagram’s latest application – Hyperlapse. At the moment though, the time lapse feature is a little basic, as there’s no control over the frame rate.

9. Set A Timer For Your Photos

Another small feature that’s been added is one for photo taking. You can now set a timer of 3 or 10 seconds for your snapshots. This would probably be something ideal for those who love to take selfies and for group photos.

10. More Photo Editing Options

There are also more options when it comes to editing photos shot with your iPhone or iPad. On any photo you want to edit, click Edit to crop, add filters or edit the colors.

11. Easily Find Out The Name Of A Song That’s Playing

Hear a song that you like and am itching to find out the song title? All you have to do is just click and hold the home button. Then ask Siri, “What song is this?”, she’ll give you the answer right away.

12. Battery Usage Data

For Android users, this is probably nothing impressive. For the iOS users, rejoice as Apple has added in Battery Usage data. This will be able to give you an idea of the applications that are utilizing battery power the most. This information can be pretty useful for battery life optimization. Find out your battery usage at Settings > General > Usage > Battery Usage.

13. 3 New Native Apps

There are now 3 new native apps that come installed with the new iOS8. They are the Health app, iBooks and Tips.

14. Organize Your Messages

If you’re someone who likes to keep their Messages app clean and organized, this may be of interest to you. That’s right, the latest iOS8 allows you to purge your text messages. You can choose to keep them forever, or delete them after 30 days or after a year. You can access this feature via Settings > Messages > Keep Messages.

15. Instant Notification For Emails

Have an important email thread that you need to constantly get updates on? Now you can get instant notifications instead of waiting for that push notification. Just go to the specific email that you want to be up-to-date with, click on the flag icon (on the left), and select ‘Notify Me’.

16. Locate Your Phone As Your Battery Is Dying

A dying battery is not something you want when your iPhone gets lost, or worst, stolen. By turning on both the ‘Find My iPhone’ and ‘Send Last Location’ feature, your last known location will be sent via icloud.com. Handy right? To turn it on or off, access it at Setings > iCloud > Find My iPhone > Send last Location.

17. Share More Things With Your Family

With the new update, you can invite up to 6 family members to share all songs, movies, books and apps purchased within the iTunes store. Once an item is purchased, downloaded and shared, all family members will be able to access them for free. If you rather not, you can also keep specific items private. Click here to learn more about family sharing.

18. More Functions With Notes

Taking down notes in iOS gets better. You can now add images to your notes. What’s great is that you can even resume editing your notes on your Mac and the changes will reflect instantly on your iOS’s notes.

19. Switch Between Emails With Ease

Isn’t it annoying when you’re trying to compose an email in the Mail app and can’t refer back to the previous email? Apple has resolved that issue. In the new Mail app, if you are composing a new email, you can easily switch between your draft and your Inbox. If you are replying an email, you can switch between your reply and the previous email.

20. The Compatibility Check

Last but not least, you want to make sure that your device is compatible with this new software update. Here is a list of all the devices that iOS 8 is compatible with:


  • iPhone 4S
  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 5C
  • iPhone 5S
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus


  • iPad 2
  • iPad 3rd Gen
  • iPad 4th Gen
  • iPad Air
  • iPad Mini
  • iPad Mini with Retina Display


  • iPod Touch 5th Gen

Author: "Hongkiat Lim" Tags: "Tools, ios, ios 8"
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Date: Wednesday, 17 Sep 2014 15:01

A lot of artists have different tools that they use to create a particular form of work. Some people use paper as a medium whilst others prefer a more digital art form. Then there are those who utilize Photoshop as a tool in order to make something unique which represents them.

Photoshop manipulation is everywhere, commonly used in advertising to deliver a striking message. Or simply to showcase beauty in an alternative form. Or perhaps to make one laugh. Whatever the purpose of Photoshop manipulation, it takes skill as well as dedication to perfect like all other art forms.

Here’s 4 extraordinary Photoshop wizards with a focus on landscapes and scenery.

Andric Ljubodrag

Andric Ljubodrag is a self-taught Yugoslavian photographer who turns the ordinary into the extraordinary. His clients include AT&T and Corona.

Visit Andric’s website.

BottleBottle – andric.biz

Cow – andric.biz

Door – andric.biz

Garden furniture- andric.biz

Kite – andric.biz

Erik Almas

Erik Almas is a San Francisco-based photographer who places an emphasis on lighting and focus, which can be seen through his rich and open landscapes. He plays with surrealism, and adds a touch of fantasy to his landscapes.

Visit Erik Almas’ website.

Butterfiles – erikalmas.com

Cows – erikalmas.com

Leaf Boat – erikalmas.com

Sleep – erikalmas.com

Whale – erikalmas.com

Erik Johansson

Erik Johansson is a photographer from Sweden who has a rich imagination, and looks at landscapes in a different way, from torn roads to strange towns. He twists conventions through his vibrant work.

Visit Erik Johansson’s website.

Cut & Fold – erikjohanssonphoto.com

Drifting Away – erikjohanssonphoto.com

Fishy Island – erikjohanssonphoto.com

Set TheM Free – erikjohanssonphoto.com

The Cover Up – erikjohanssonphoto.com

Richard Roberts

Richard Roberts is a digital illustrator and photographer with a flair for dark fantasy. He creates beautiful, gothic images, and takes inspiration from sci-fi and galaxies.

Visit Richard’s website.

Apocalypse – richardbroberts.com

Grow – breakingcanvas.com

Ice Passage – richardbroberts.com

Ladt of The Lake – richardbroberts.com

Zen – richardbroberts.com

More Cool Photo Manipulations

Editor’s note: This post is written by Sita Bridglal for Hongkiat.com. She is a copyriter with NuBlue. You can contact or follow her on LinkedIn, Google+ and Youtube.

Author: "Guest Contributor" Tags: "photo manipulation, photoshop, Inspirati..."
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Date: Wednesday, 17 Sep 2014 10:30

Today I’m going against the grain and asking you a question which you may have been wondering yourself lately. Over the past few years, there’s been a lot of talk about “finding your passion,” especially when it comes to creative work. It seems as though everyone is scrambling to uncover that perfect job that blends enthusiasm with a hefty paycheck.

But hold on a minute. Is all this recurring talk about passion, or living what other people think is a “passionate” lifestyle, free of stress or unpleasantries filling you with dread, rather than excitement? What if you don’t think you have a passion, or are just not a passionate person? Is all hope lost? Well…

You Might Call It Something Else

I confess to not really liking the word passion. As a fairly serious, ascetic person, I feel a bit silly describing myself as having “passions.” Interests, maybe. I’ll even settle for “enthusiastic pursuits.” I know. I’m a big hit at parties. My point is, different people have different motivations in life. Not everyone is equally motivated by “passion”.

Perhaps other things take precedence, like taking care of your family, or putting in the work to develop a high level of technical skill.

But make no mistake, all these concepts stem from a similar place, no matter what you think of them. We’re all motivated by something, even if it’s staid or “boring” to others. If the word “passion” is a turn-off for you, the way it is for me, you might try substituting a different word to start seeing the concept in a new way.

You Might Not See It For What It Is

It’s possible that you simply haven’t realized what your passion is yet. You might have been so busy with client work over the past couple of years that you haven’t had time to explore exactly what it was that drew you to your career in the first place.

You might look over your body of work and see nothing but a means to an end: client A pays you to create deliverable B, so that paycheck C can be transferred successfully into your bank account. That’s not a very passionate way to work. If you keep your head down for too long, you may find that it’s difficult to lift it up again.

Personal work is the great savior here. If you have something to look forward to – a little side project that’s just for you and isn’t directed by a client – you may find that it blossoms into something larger than you expected, and your entire career will be revolutionized. Photographer Chase Jarvis, the founder of CreativeLIVE, often says that “your current side project is your next major project.” So don’t forget to work on that cool personal stuff that you really love.

Realization Can Be Upheaval

Realizing what you are passionate about can take many years, and can actually cause you to completely restructure how you approach your work and career. This can be both rewarding and frustrating. You might constantly have to make adjustments to suit your ever-burgeoning passion, and end up completely worn out simply from pursuing whatever it is you think you love.

Is this the definition of finding your passion? Is it supposed to be this much work, pain, and sweat? Some people say: yes, it is. They might argue that, if you’re not hurting, then it’s not passion. But is that really true?

Do you really have to uproot your stability and your entire creative process to chase after some dream that might not be all that you imagined it to be? The grass might only look greener on the other side, after all.

Seeing The Forest For The Trees

To use more foliage metaphors (because what’s more passionate than plants, am I right?), you might be so far into the “trees” of your work that you forget to zoom out and view the forest as a whole. Maybe you initially decided your passion was web design, but you’ve gotten so bogged down with the daily essentials of securing clients, marketing, or learning complex code that it’s no longer fun.

The best way to “reset” this daily sense of drudgery is, you guessed it, to take a break for a while. Take some time off to recharge your batteries and rediscover what it was that you initially loved about your work. And if you no longer feel the same way about it than you did before, it may be time to quit – or it may be time to grow up.

Not everything is about following your fancy, after all. As the years go by, most people start to settle down and accept new responsibilities which replace the necessity of going wherever your dreams may lead you. If you can do both, great, but if you can’t, that’s great too. It’s okay to not love your work, as long as you’re finding fulfillment in other ways.

What Do You Think?

Are you sure about what your passion is? Do you think that everyone has a passion, deep down? Is it socially acceptable anymore to simply have a job, and not attempt to live passionately all the time? Let me know what you think.

Author: "Addison Duvall" Tags: "passion, self improvement, Web 2.0"
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 13:01

We are living in a digital era where gadgets from computers, smartphones to tablets have become an essential part of our lives. Even kids these days pick up an iPad as and figure out apps like how a fish takes to water. With kids becoming more tech-savvy as time goes on, there’s no reason why they can’t learn the basics behind their favorite technology. That’s right, we’re saying that there’s no reason why you can’t teach your kids programming from a young age.

This will not only develop the analytical programming skills of kids at early age but will also help them get an idea that whether they want to become a programmer in future. Here we’ve put together for you 10 educational tools that can be used to teach and develop programing skills in kids. Most of the listed tools are based on a visual programming language which has drag and drop interface for programming. These colorful and engaging tools will ultimately help build up your childs programming skills.


Hopscotch says that programming is designed for everyone. By using Hopscotch, you can teach the basics of programming to your kid easily. Currently, you can only download the Hopscotch app for free on the iPad. Hopscotch allows your kids to develop their own games, stories, animations and other many interactive programs by dragging and dropping blocks of code. One can shake, tilt or even shout at the iPad to control the characters in program. [Visit site]


Scratch is a programing language and online community, which is developed and maintained by Lifelong Kindergarten group at MIT Media Lab. Scratch is a free to use service and it allows your kids to create their own animations, games and stories. Your kids can share their creations with others around the world using the online community of Scratch. [Visit site]


Alice is a free to use 3D programming tool that allows one to create animations for telling a story, playing an interactive or a video to share on the web. The main purpose of Alice is to give your kids basic exposure to object-oriented programming. By using Alice, students will learn to create animated movies (containing people, animals and vehicles) and simple video games. [Visit site]


Tynker is an online programming learning system designed to motivate kids to translate their creative ideas into games, projects and animated stories, and circulate their apps on the web. Tynker uses easy visual programming language in which no programming syntax is required but only blocks of codes are combined together to create programs. There’s a fee for lifetime access but they offer online self-paced courses, mobile puzzles and summer camps as well. [Visit site]

Hackety Hack

Hackety Hack is an easy to use programming tool which can be used to teach the absolute basics of programming. One doesn’t need any prior experience of programming before they start working on Hackety Hack. It is based on Ruby programming language. Ruby is used for development of programs such as desktop applications and websites. It is really easy to build graphical interfaces using the Shoes tool of Hackety Hack. [Visit site]


Kodable is a free to use programming app for iPad. The tagline, “Learn to code before you know how to read” is embodied through their method of learning programming through a fun game. Kodable is specially designed for kids aged 5 years or above, so that they can learn programming by playing games with little instructions. Kodable has 3 levels of programming including K-2nd grade, 3rd – 5th grade and 6th – 12th grade. [Visit site]


Stencyl is fast, free and convenient. It allows you to develop games by using a drag and drop (block-snapping) interface, and no coding is required at all. If you do not want to use the block-snapping interface then you can type in code as well. Stencyl has extensive platform support and games developed on Stencyl can be played on Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and Linux too. [Visit site]


RoboMind is a programming tool for kids which uses its own language called ROBO. It is a very simple language which does not require any previous knowledge of programming. The main objective of RoboMind is to move a virtual robot on a two-dimensional grid and perform simple tasks. By using RoboMind, your kids can learn the basics of artificial intelligence and later on even use it on real robotic kits such as LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0. RoboMind gives a 30 days free trial of their tools. [Visit site]


Etoys is an easy to use programming tool that kids can use to create their own games, models and stories. An Etoys project can be developed by using graphics, animated objects, music, sound, scanned pictures and text. Etoys is free to use with a liberal license. [Visit site]


Waterbear is a convenient and free to use programming toolkit for kids which uses a drag and drop approach for programming purposes. Waterbear is a visual programming language which means there is no need to learn syntax to start programming with it. Kids can create a new file, look at examples of other creations and play around with the different features among other things. There are even descriptions for each element that are easy to follow as well. [Visit site]

Author: "Fahad Khan" Tags: "Web 2.0, kid, programming"
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 10:01

Reddit bills itself as The Front Page Of The Internet and the title is not without merit, with the site having an Alexa Global Rank within the top 100 and millions of page views in a day. The site boasts an absurd amount of content with users, known as Redditors, posting interesting content hourly. With content that caters to almost every niche imaginable, you can go in and explore and immediately feel at home.

If you’re reading this and have never set foot into the site before or just have and are completely confused on how to navigate the site, fret not as we have have for you 20 tips, tricks and tools to help get you started in finding the content you love. There are even tips here for current Redditors and you will be surprised with some of the hidden features and gems the site has.

1. Understand The Subreddit

The first time a user enters Reddit, they may experience a sense of information overload on the front page of the internet. In order to understand the site, the user must first understand the subreddit.

A subreddit is like a section of the site that is dedicated to one topic, such as news, games and fitness. The front page is filled with information that are made up of posts from the default subreddit of the site. Look around for subreddits that will fit your niche and you will find a community ready to engage with you.


2. Search For A Subreddit

Reddit is a very large site with millions of users and thousands of subreddits catering to nearly every topic imaginable so it can be a bit hard to find a community that fits your interest. To help you search for one, you can use their subreddit search which can be accessed by pressing ‘More’, located at the very right of the My Subreddits bar. You will see 2 search bars.

The first will give you quick recommendations based on a keyword. For example, searching for the word book will give you the most popular book-related subreddits. The second will give you a list of all related subreddits for a more in-depth discovery.

Search Subreddits

3. Create An Account And Subscribe

Probably the first thing you should do if you’re serious about getting into Reddit is to get an account. Not only will you be able to participate in the comments sections, you can subscribe to the different subreddits you find intruiging, so that they will appear on the front page. Plus, you will be able to unsubscribe from any of the default subreddits that you may not like, so their posts will no longer appear on your page.

Create Reddit Account

4. Learn How To Style Your Comment

You’ve probably seen some of the comments on Reddit, on how they are able to add some style into the comments. There are a lot of ways to stylize your comment. A good way to learn them is to read through their Commenting FAQ. If you know how to use the Markup syntax, you have a head start as Reddit is able to recognize these.

If you want to use those funny styled emoticons that are common on Reddit, such as the look of disapproval (ಠ_ಠ), it is done by the use of Unicode characters from the Kannada language. For the look of disapproval, copy and paste ಠ_ಠ into the comment box or just copy it directly if you see it elsewhere. Reddit supports the use of Unicode characters in comments, so use them to your heart’s content.

Reddit Style Comments

5. Follow Some People

Found an interesting Redditor and would like an easy way to follow their activity across the site? Add them into your own personal subreddit that contains just the posts from the people you like. To add a user, go to preference > friends and then type in the username of the Redditor you wish to stalk. Once that’s done, go to reddit.com/r/friends to view all the posts submitted by them. Do take note that you will need an account for this.

Reddit Friends

6. Find New Stuff With The Random Button

Tired of the usual subreddits you usually go to and want to discover new ones? Try out the Random button, which will throw you a completely random subreddit for you to peruse. Though you might want to be careful when you click it because, as the name implies, it is random and pressing it could possibly land you in a NSFW (Not-Safe-For-Work) subreddit.

Reddit Random

7. Sort The Subreddit Submission

The sorting feature can be a great way of discovering new content when browsing on a new subreddit. On the top of the page, you will be given the options to sort by the newest, the hottest or the most controversial. But the best way to make use of the sorting feature is the top. Press it and you will be given the option to sort from the best of the hour, week, month, year and, for the very best, of all time. A great way to discover the gems a subreddit has to offer.

Reddit Sort

8. Combine Subreddits Into A Multireddit

Reddit allows you to create what is called a multireddit, a way for you to group together different subreddits to view within a page. This can be incredibly useful if you want to group together related subreddits into one page instead of going to each one individually.

To create a multireddit, you have to be logged in. Go to your front page and press create located on the left side of the page, under multireddits. Name it and you will be taken to a page where you can add in the subreddits. You can explore other multireddits people create by pressing explore multis.

There is also a way to create a multireddit on the fly without logging in by using this URL, www.reddit.com/r/subreddit+subreddit, where the word ‘subreddit’ is replaced with your preferred community. Example, www.reddit.com/r/wallpaper+wallpapers. If you want to add more, just add another + in the URL.


9. Linking Comments

Need to link to a particular comment made by a Redditor? Use the permalink option on their comment so that you can link directly to it. Also, if you want to link to a comment thread on Reddit but find that the URL is too long, use their shortlink which can be found at the right sidebar.

Reddit Shortlink

10. Create A Slideshow Of Pictures In A Subreddit

A lot of subreddits are about posting photos, r/pics being one of the biggest and also a default subreddit. If you want to just view the photos without clicking on every single link, add a ‘p’ at the end of reddit in the URL: redditp.com/r/subreddit. This will create a slideshow of all the post within the subreddit. This tip really works well on the subreddits that primarily feature images. (Tip credit: euphoniumguy)

Reddit Slideshow

11. Live Update Of Reddit Comments

If you want to see the stream of Reddit comments in a chronological timeline, there is no better way than Reddit Stream. It will show you all of the comments as they come in, similar to a chat log. A great tip for threads that cover live events. To access it, add in -stream in the Reddit URL when in the comments section, example www.reddit-stream.com/r/subreddit/comments/article. (Tip credit: gologologolo)

Reddit Stream

12. Use Mobile Site for Smartphones

When on a smartphone, it is preferable if you use an app to browse Reddit, as the main site isn’t well suited for mobile. But did you know that they actually have a mobile version of the site? To turn the regular site into a mobile one, add in an i on the URL, i.reddit.com. This will format the site into one that is suited for smartphone browsing.

Reddit Mobile

13. Imgur Has Subreddits

Imgur is an incredibly popular image sharing site on Reddit, with Redditors uploading their photos to it and then sharing it on the site to reap in the upvotes. The majority of pictures on Reddit are hosted on Imgur. If you want to skip Reddit and just get to the pictures a la 9GAG, replace reddit in the URL with imgur, example reddit.com/r/pics becomes imgur.com/r/pics. This will show you most of the pictures that are posted to a particular subreddit.

Imgur Subreddit

14. Change The Interface Language

Want to browse Reddit in your own native language? You can change the interface language by pressing English (the default language) on the top right corner of the site. From here, you can select the language of your choosing or, if it’s not there or incomplete, volunteer to be a translator. Do note that the post will still be in their original language.

Reddit Language

15. Quote a Redditor By Highlighting Before Pressing Comment

What to quote another Redditor in your reply message while in the comments section? Simply highlight the quote in question before clicking reply. When you do click it, you will see the quote in the comment box, ready to be used, analyzed, praised and/or teared down. (Tip credit: Castun)

16. Unblock A Subreddit

There are times when the Wi-Fi you are using will block access to Reddit or some of its subreddits. There are 2 easy ways for you to get over this block. One is to use HTTPS, which can be accessed at https://pay.reddit.com. This will get through most blocks and all of Reddit will be available for browsing.

If only certain subreddits are blocked, there is an easier way to unblock it. All you have to do is add a + at the end of the subreddit’s name. Example, www.reddit.com/r/pics+. (Tip credit: ShetlandJames)

17. A Quicker Way To Get To Your Subreddit

When typing in the URL for a subreddit, you can skip adding in the slashes by adding the subreddit name at the front instead of the back. For example, instead of typing in reddit.com/r/pics, enter pics.reddit.com. This way, you can browse your favorite subreddit faster. (Tip credit: Aww_Shucks)

18. Reddit Everywhere With Extensions

Wish you could post the website you are currently on to Reddit or view the comments already made about it without having to open up the Reddit on another tab? There is a way to do so by downloading a Chrome or Firefox extension that is provided at the site. The links are available at the very bottom of the Reddit page, under tools. Once installed, you will be able to vote, view comments or post the site to Reddit.

Reddit Extension

19. Consider Reddit Gold

Reddit offers a premium membership program called Reddit Gold where you can subscribe to receive extra features on the site as well as some other perks. Example of features include being able to beta test the latest Reddit features, no advertisements, special offers from third parties and access to the exclusive, super secret subreddit, The Lounge, which may or may not exist. The prices are low but if you want a fun way to obtain it, make a comment that is so good that other users may gift it to you or send in a postcard to the Reddit HQ for a month worth of Gold.

Reddit Gold

20. Download Reddit Enhancement Suite

Once you are comfortable enough with Reddit the site, it’s time to take it up a notch by installing the Reddit Enhancement Suite (R.E.S) on your browser. As the name suggest, installing R.E.S. will add in a bunch of different tools that will enhance your Reddit experience, such as logging in as multiple users, an in-line image viewer, an infinite scrollable Reddit front page, among others. Once installed, you’ll wonder how you reddit without it in the first place.

Reddit Enhancement Suite

Author: "Azwan Jamaluddin" Tags: "Tools, social media, reddit"
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Date: Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 07:01

<SELECT> is a HTML element that is used for selecting items using a drop-down list. It’s useful for when you have a very long list of items to select such as dates. Unfortunately, for those who want to create a fancy web page, the default<SELECT>in their web browser is not very user-friendly and doesn’t look great style-wise.

To style the element, CSS should be enough. But, well, it isn’t quite enough in terms of accessibility. Introducing EasyDropDown.js, a free jQuery plugin to cover up all those flaws.

EasyDropDown.js can easily style the old-fashioned select element in your web page with a lot of features. After the<SELECT>element has been applied with this plugin, it will obtain full keyboard control with textual search. This tool also provides an inner-scroll for items in long lists to limit the drop-down box size. Form and validation are available as well which helps with compatability.


To install EasyDropDown, firstly include jQuery library into your web page. Make sure to also include the javascript (get it here) like so:

 <script src="http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.10.2/jquery.min.js"></script> <script src="js/jquery.easydropdown.js" type="text/javascript"></script> 

And its CSS file inside the head tag:

 <head> .. <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="themes/easydropdown.css"/> .. </head> 

If you’re using another theme, make sure to copy the files inside your web folder. Don’t worry as you don’t need to include them in the HTML to call them.

Styling The Select

When using EasyDropDown.js, you can build a customizable drop-down menu with a clean, semantic markup. The select elements can be styled within HTML only. You can disable the element, define a selected option or add a label easily.

To style it, you must firstly include a dropdown class into the tags. A label can be added by giving a label class inside the option. Here is the basic markup:

 <select class="dropdown"> <option value="" class="label">Setting</option> <option value="1">Option 1</option> <option value="2">Option 2</option> <option value="3">Option 3</option> <option value="4">Option 4</option> <option value="5">Option 5</option> </select> 

That’s it, you don’t need any custom javascript to add. Now the lousy, old-fashioned<SELECT>has turned into a beautiful, fancy drop-down input.

If you want to add a pre-selected option simply give your drop-down with selected attribute. We recommend not using label with this setting altogether as the selected value will override the label.

 <select class="dropdown"> ... <option value="2" selected>Option 2</option> ... </select> 

You can also disable the drop-down using the disabled attribute like so:

 <select class="dropdown" disabled> ... </select> 

Ready To Use Themes

EasyDropDown.js comes with 2 more ready-to-use themes: Metro and Flat. To use the themes, you can utilize HTML5 data-attribute.

Inside the <SELECT> tag, call data-settings='{"wrapperClass":"theme-name"}' to apply another theme. Feel free to change the theme-name with the available theme names: metro or flat. Here is the example:

 <select class="dropdown" data-settings='{"wrapperClass":"metro"}'> ... </select> 

Beside wrapperClass, there are more settings you may add, see the documentation page for the details. If you’re cool with javascript code, you can see the tutorial there.

Author: "Irfan" Tags: "coding, html element, Web Design, javasc..."
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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 13:01

Edward Snowden may be old news as his leaks on the US National Security Agency (NSA) have just passed their one year mark. However, international relations have soured since then and changing the public’s damaged perception would be an uphill challenge.

The impact of the NSA leaks also affects us, the average citizen of today. We are more sensitive about our social media accounts’ privacy settings, as evident from our reactions when Facebook experimented on manipulating our timeline feeds. With this heightened sense that someone is always watching us, tech trends and our Internet habits have changed as well.

1. The rise of the anonymous and ephemeral apps. More people have started using Whisper, Secret and Snapchat especially teenagers. Younger people in general have a greater awareness in online privacy which lead them to change their Internet usage habits. Of course, there’s a slew of other reasons as to why they change their online behaviour and this is just one of them.

2. Major tech companies have beefed up their security. This came about when the Snowden revealed that Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Apple provided their users data to the NSA through the agency’s PRISM program. Tech companies initially denied this until the evidence showed that they did unwillingly in accordance to the law, to their horror. To date, Google and Yahoo have enabled encryption for email. Facebook encode the site and all its data in SSL whereas Microsoft took the legalistic route by demanding for a reform in the law.

3. People are more aware of different ways to anonymously browse such as via DuckDuckGo and TOR. After the NSA and its PRISM program broke on Jun 6, 2013, DuckDuckGo saw an increase of traffic and search queries of 3 million a day. TOR’s usage undoubtedly increased too but the NSA knows when you are browsing.

4. The emergence of a new tech privacy market. This saw the creation of the Blackphone which was much touted as an NSA-proof phone. Besides the Blackphone, Boeing came up with a self-destruct phone and free Internet provider FreedomPop invented what it dubs as the Snowden Phone that has a feature to wipe out the phone’s contents.

The above are however relatively tamer measures compared to the extreme ones below:

1. Hiring a Digital bodyguard

Glenn Greenwald is among the first few journalist that Snowden leaked the documents to. His reports on the NSA leaks that were published in The Guardian have put him almost on the same pedestal as Snowden. It has also unwittingly, put Greenwald at high risk of the NSA (or other foreign spies) intercepting the top secret information that he still receives from Snowden.

(Image source: Mashable)

Enter Micah Lee, digital bodyguard and tech security extrodinaire. Lee was hired to join The Intercept, the media outlet Greenwald set up with fellow journalists, Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras, to help secure the journalists’ computers. To do that, Lee had to replace the operating system to Linux, install firewall, disk encryption and other various software.

(Image source: Mashable)

So good was Lee at his job that he ended up helping other journalists from other media outlets to secure their computers and brief them on computer security. No journalist is safe as there have been reports of the US Department of Justice demanding some to reveal their sources in the past as well as obtaining phone records from news wire Associated Press.

Although hiring a digital bodyguard for reporters is not widely practiced at other news outlets, it may soon be, as long as the NSA continues to poke around. So far, the only other media company that adopted The Intercept’s security modal is The Washington Post, which hired privacy and security researcher Ashkan Soltani to work alongside the other reporter working on the NSA leaks, Barton Gellman.

2. Going low tech

Among the countries that were spied on by the NSA, Germany felt the most insulted. Not only were their leaders spied on like chancellor Angela Merkel whose mobile phone was tapped for years, an agent in their intelligence services was found selling confidential documents to the US. The agent has since been arrested. This also led to the expulsion of another top CIA officer residing in Germany.

(Image source: Mashable)

International relations with the US, needless to say, worsened at this point. It got so bad that it brought about an increase in encryption services as well as a decline in technology use. Politicians eventually came up with the idea to invest in and communicate internally with typewriters. There are also talks to play classical music during parliament sessions to deter anyone from listening in.

Despite this extreme switch to low tech, Germany isn’t the first country to do so. Soviet state Russia quickly invested in some 20 units of typewriters following Snowden’s expose last year in a bid to avoid internal communications from being leaked. Each typewriter is said to have a unique signature in order for documents typed on it to be easily traced back to.

3. Using make-up

One of the revelations that was released over time was that the NSA collects images for facial recognition. The Atlantic associate editor Robinson Meyer was concerned about this fact and wondered if there’s a way to thwart the cameras that are probably tracking him down. Meyer eventually decided to apply an interesting make-up called CV Dazzle and wrote about his experience.

(Image source: Adam Harvey)

CV Dazzle was invented by then New York University student Adam Harvey for his Interactive Telecommunications Program in 2010. Inspired by WWI naval camouflage called Dazzle, the make-up includes obscuring tonal areas of the face such as the cheeks with paint and draping hair across the nose bridge. At the time of creation, Harvey merely wanted to get around Facebook’s newest feature which uses facial recognition algorithm for auto-tagging photos.

(Image source: The New York Times)

Wearing CV Dazzle while going about his everyday life, undoubtedly made Meyer stand out. He did however note that when he tested the make-up with his iPhone’s camera algorithm, it couldn’t register his face. How effective CV Dazzle has against facial recognition technology in the long run however remains to be seen.

4. Modifying clothes

Building on the work he has done with CV Dazzle, Adam Harvey went on to develop a range of clothing dubbed as Stealth Wear. The artist and privacy advocate collaborated with fashion designer Johanna Bloomfield to create the clothing whilst he was experimenting on metalized fabric. Stealth Wear is meant to hide the wearer from thermal imaging cameras and drones.

(Image source: Adam Harvey)

Harvey is not the only one to get into anti-surveillance clothes judging by the emerging popularity of wearable tech. Montreal fashion designer Ying Gao had came up with dresses in 2013 that will deconstruct when exposed to a camera’s flash. This year, Austrian architecture firm Coop-Himmelblau came up with the Jammer Coat which shields wireless signals from the wearer’s phone, rendering the person invisible to tracking software or search engines.

Author: "Leanne Tan" Tags: "privacy, Web 2.0, security"
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Date: Monday, 15 Sep 2014 10:01

Many people dream of becoming wealthy by doing the thing that they love. Designers, by and large, get into design because they simply love it. But eventually, the realities of making a living, paying the bills, feeding your family, etc. take precedence over your creative dreams, and you may find yourself taking on clients and projects you never thought you would just for the money.

via Aleksi Tappura

Most designers are under no illusions that their profession will lead to riches – that’s reserved for others who have more finance-oriented ambitions, after all. Or is it? How exactly would a designer make tons of money from design? Is that even a worthwhile or realistic goal? Let’s explore the idea of a designer making an outrageously comfortable living from design, and what that actually means.

Create A Runaway Hit

The majority of single designers who build empires of massive wealth and prestige have done so the hard way: they worked their way up and slowly mastered their craft, then they created a design solution that was so beautiful, elegant, and perfect that it garnered them praise from the entire design community and beyond. Consider the case of Massimo Vignelli and his famous New York City subway maps, or, more recently, Jonathan Ive and his revolutionary designs for Apple. When the whole world is clamoring for more of your work, they are inevitably going to start throwing lots and lots of money at you.

If you have a particular project – either a client project or a side project – that you become well known for, this is the first step towards building your own lucrative empire. Right now, you can challenge yourself to come up with the best ideas that you can, and implement them in ways that will not only please your client, but dazzle them and anyone who lays eyes on your work.

Scale Your Design Firm

Everyone knows that real money lies not in design, but in entrepreneurship. The designer is just part of a team that helps to create a winning product. If you enjoy design, but don’t mind assuming more of a creative director or CEO role, becoming a firm will help you earn much more money.

If your ambition is driving you to make a larger paycheck, then scaling your design services beyond just yourself is essential. There are several options here. Firstly, you could get a partner. A fellow designer to share the workload, or a more “business-type” person to do your bookkeeping, client negotiations, or anything else you might need a hand with, while you focus more of your time on design.

The other thing you could do is create your own brand, under which you manage several employees who handle all of the day to day aspects of providing design services to your clients. Again, it’s more about being an entrepreneur rather than simply a designer. This comes with its own challenges and risks, and, frankly, is a lot more work up front, but the benefits of being your own boss and having no cap on how much you can earn far outweigh any downsides, in my opinion.

Become A Founder At A Startup

This is another popular way to get rich as a designer, especially since the start of the new era of online and technology startups. Here’s how you do it: simply sign on at the ground floor of a startup, have a hand in creating the look and feel of the company’s website, brand, or merchandise, and wait for it to become a million dollar company. Easy, right?

Well, not exactly. Of course this method requires a lot of hard work, and also luck. If you’re serious about working in a founding capacity at a company, you’ll need to hone your Good Startup Detection skills to a fine edge. Look for warning signs and red flags when evaluating a startup. Particularly, pay attention to whether they are genuinely selling a product or service, or whether it’s all smoke and mirrors.

A lot of startup founders like to talk up their big plans, and if you’re not careful, they can bring you along for a ride that goes nowhere. You’ll invest months or even years of your time and effort into something that was only a pipe dream all along. Not exactly the best path to getting rich.

Create And License Your Work

This is an excellent way to become wealthy, and also one of the most lucrative once you learn the ropes. The way to license your designs is fairly straightforward: you approach a company that makes things, and offer them the rights to reproduce your work on whatever they make, in exchange for a royalty (usually around 7-10%). Then, you sit back, put your feet up, and wait for the checks to start rolling in while you work on a new design. There are no other clients or middlemen to deal with, and you don’t have to concern yourself with how the products will get made or distributed – that’s the licensee’s job.

Of course, licensing comes with its own set of challenges as well. For one thing, it’s exceedingly difficult to find a company who will:

  • give you a fair royalty percentage,
  • be appropriate for the type of work you do, and
  • be profitable enough to be able to license your work in the first place.

This becomes somewhat easier once you’ve built a platform around your brand and enough people know your work who will be willing to buy your licensed reproductions.

The best way you can improve your odds of success here is to create a formidable presence online. Interact with people who like your work, create cool side projects that will catch people’s attention, and don’t forget to share your ideas about design and what you do through blogging and social media. If you build a large enough brand on your own, you may not even have to worry about approaching companies for licensing – they’ll be coming to you.

What Do You Think?

Know any rich designers? How did they manage to pave their way to wealth? What are your thoughts on how to reach this elusive goal in this competitive industry?

Author: "Addison Duvall" Tags: "entreprenuer, Web Design"
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Date: Friday, 12 Sep 2014 15:01

Internet freedom is something that we value but take for granted on a day-to-day basis. So when the government or corporations try to limit it in some way or another, everyone sits up and pays attention. It was why some of your favorite websites recently on September 10th, 2014 displayed the dreaded loading sign as a GIF or some pop-up message that looks like this:

popup via Battle For The Net

Don’t worry, the Internet didn’t slow down. Technically. But it would definitely be irritating if your cat videos took longer to load because of some policy that benefits Internet providers, right?

This online protest wasn’t the first one of its kind though. There were similar online protests that took place when our freedom to browse the World Wide Web was at risk. And of course we would protest! We have heard enough horror stories about Iran blocking Twitter and China monitoring their own sanctioned social media. Therefore, here we’ve put together 4 major online protests in the name of Internet freedom.

Internet Slowdown Day

We’ll start off with the one that’s currently making headlines: The purpose of the protest is to educate people on net neutrality, why it is in danger as well as telling the government why it matters. Known as Internet Slowdown Day, sites employed loading GIFs and pop-up messages to simulate what would happened if net neutrality is done away with.

Basically net neutrality is the only thing keeping Internet providers from charging extra for certain websites to load at normal speed. But the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering changing that. By doing away with net neutrality, you can say that the Internet would be divided into 2 lanes: a fast lane which is only accessible to those who can pay and a slow lane for everyone else.

If the rate of your Internet loading time doesn’t concern you, consider this: Are you able to pay extra for the same Internet speed you are using today on top of daily expenses in today’s economy? The protest is not over as September 15 is the last day for final comments on the act and a rally.

via Battle For The Net

Internet Blackout Day

This was a popular one back in 2012, as everyone couldn’t access their favorite sites for information. On January 18, 2012, major sites such as Reddit and Wikipedia either blacked out their content or closed down in protest of 2 proposed laws by the US Congress; Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA).

The acts were introduced as a way to combat online copyright infringement and the distribution of counterfeit goods. While it had good intentions, it threatened to rid the whole web of chunks of information and user-created content due to the acts’ broad wording.

The whole world paid attention when the blackout protest came into affect. As many sites are based in the US, users from the other end of the earth will lose out as well should the acts get passed. And do you know how frustrating it is to Wiki something but not have that information because it was blacked out? (see image below). The protest was a success as the acts were repealed.

wikiblackoutvia Wikipedia

Protests againsts ACTA

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) was considered Europe’s version of SOPA and PIPA. It had already been drafted in 2010 and signed in 2011 but has yet to take effect. Besides the European Union, signatories also include the United States, Japan, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea.

ACTA only gained worldwide awareness after the SOPA and PIPA protests. European citizens were outraged when they found out that the act was negotiated in secret. DDoS attacks shut down government websites, online petitions were circulated and signed, and people all over Europe marched the streets on February 11 and June 9.

Public outcry was effective and on July 4, Members of the European rejected the treaty by a staggering 478 votes to 39 votes.

actaprotestsvia Wikimedia

Restore The Fourth

Internet freedom includes the right to online privacy, which is what Restore the Fourth champions. The campaign came about after Edward Snowden leaked documents detailing how the NSA spied on US citizens. The name was chosen as the organizers, Fight For The Future, believed that the NSA’s actions violate the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution and set the protest date to take place on the 4th of July.

Not only did US citizens come out in droves to rally on Independence Day, prominent websites joined in the cause as well. Mozilla led the way with its online petition, Stop Watching Us. Further protests were held in subsequent months with the most prominent being the Stop Watching Us rally on October 26, 2013 and online protest The Day We Fight Back on February 11, 2014.

restorethe4thvia Mashable

Author: "Leanne Tan" Tags: "Web 2.0, internet"
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Date: Friday, 12 Sep 2014 13:01

If you’re a PC gamer, you probably use Steam to buy, play and manage some, if not all, of your video games. With all the sales and convenience that Steam brings, you’d probably be crazy not to. The Steam application is probably everyone’s first choice, but did you know that there are some Chrome extensions that can add a lot of functionality to the Steam website?

Steam Ninja

Between completely enhancing your Steam experience to handling your Steam Inventory with more ease, here are 5 of the best Chrome extensions that you can use to improve your Steam website experience. Who knows, these extensions might just make you give up the Steam app in favor of the browser view.

1. Enhanced Steam

Enhanced Steam adds a fair number of features and enhancements to the Steam browser interface that really makes the browser interface quite a pleasure to use. For instance, Enhanced Steam can highlight games that you own, that are on your wishlist and those which you have coupons for, amongst others, with customizable colours for each category. You can also show or hide additional information such as Metacritic scores, 3rd Party DRM Warnings and Widescreen Gaming Forum (WSGF) certification.

Enhanced Steam

Enhanced Steam can also show price history on the game store, including the current and historical lowest prices for not just the game overall, but also individual bundles or special editions. This also includes a price comparison feature, with the ability for you to choose which stores are included in the comparison feature, which is handy. Enhanced Steam also has options such as adding the total amount you’ve spent on Steam into your account details page, as well as displaying a transaction summary for your Steam Marketplace transactions. [Get it here]

2. Steam Ninja

Steam Ninja is a Chrome extension that adds an extension icon to your Chrome navigation bar that brings a lot of Steam Market functionality into one quick popup. It helps to streamline and speed up managing inventory items. When on a game page, the popup will show all the inventory items that you can get for a game, including badge cards, booster packs and foil cards, including prices. The popup also has links to Market items and the Steam Store.

Steam Ninja

Steam Ninja will also add some extra functionality when you’re browsing one of your badge pages, namely a link that will buy all the remaining trading cards for you to complete the badge, as well as a a check box to enable auto-purchasing of trading cards for that particular badge. For regular Market sellers, Steam Ninja can help you by adding a price overview for historical and current prices to your inventory page. [Get it here]

3. Steam Inventory helper

For heavy buyers and sellers on the Steam Market, this Chrome extension adds a lot of functionality that will definitely help make the buying and selling process a lot quicker and smoother. For instance, Steam Inventory Helper lets you sell items in bulk, disable inventory reloading after selling an item, which even includes an auto accept function as well as the ability to automatically adjust your prices according to market value. In addition, the extension adds a Quick Buy button to item listings as well as the Newly Listed tab, replacing the default Buy Now button.

Steam Inventory helper

The extension will display a warning when an item in a listing has a custom name or description. It even lets you quickly pick and count items in trade offers and hover over items to see the price when on the offer page. The extension also extends the quick buying functionality to set items, complete with its own custom dialog. The extension has support for notifications as well and will show a Chrome popup when someone offers you a trade, which can be handy in certain situations. [Get it here]

4. Steam Store Filters

The Steam storefront is a veritable smorgasboard of information, showing you all the latest and greatest games on Steam, as well as some featured items, top sellers, recently updated games and so on. Having all this information immediately accessible is great, but sometimes it’s handy to be able to filter these lists a bit to get rid of some of the clutter and "noise". Steam Store Filters is an extension that does just that, by adding a Filtered Releases tab and letting you choose how games are filtered.

Steam Store Filters

You can choose whether you want to show downloadable content or Early Access titles and whether you want to see old or brand new releases in the list. Interestingly, these old and new release filters go by the games’ original release date, and not the date the game was released on Steam. Furthermore, you can also blacklist developers or publishers, if you’re not interested in seeing their games in your list. [Get it here]

5. CheapShark

Steam is really well known for its sales. If you can’t stand waiting for sales but still want to get the best deal possible on a video game, the CheapShark extension is something you should consider installing. CheapShark is an extension, currently in beta, that adds a button to the Steam game store page that searches the CheapShark database for a better deal on the game you’re looking at on Steam. Pressing the Search CheapShark button on a game’s store page will bring up a list of prices for the game on other websites.


Sites displayed include Get Games, GameFly, Amazon and Gamers Gate, although the sites that display will depend on where the particular game is distributed. Of course, you could just keep track on all the other sites yourself, but if you’re primarily on Steam, this extension can be really handy to make sure you get the best deal possible. [Get it here]

Author: "Azzief Khaliq" Tags: "Tools, steam, gaming"
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Date: Friday, 12 Sep 2014 10:01

When dealing with the issue of trying to get a users attention, there are many ways for you to achieve this. For special cases, hover is a great way to draw attention to a link or button. Normally, hover works by changing the element color or gradient state when users move their cursors over it. But with a lot of features in CSS3, a lot of things can also be customized with the hover effect. One of them is applying animation. And Hover.css can make it happen with ease.

Hover.css is a free CSS library to easily apply animation using the hover effect. You can apply the hover in call to actions, buttons, logos, images and much more. This library comes with over 40 effects to choose from and they’re categorized according to the following: 2D transforms, border transitions, shadow and glow transitions, speech bubbles, and page curls.

Getting Started With Hover

To get started, you need to download Hover then put the hover.css file into your project folder. Or if you prefer, you may use hover-min.css, a more compact version, which is smaller and quicker to load. Lastly, link the file into your web page like so:

 <head> .. <link href="css/hover.css" rel="stylesheet"> .. </head> 

Adding Hover Into An Element

To add a cool hover effect into your element, just include the effect name into the element class. You can see the live demo of all available effects in the Hover landing page. Make sure to only use lowercase letters and if it has space in between, simply replace it with a dash.

Let’s say, I have the following link markup:

 <a href="#" class="btn">SUBMIT</a> 

If styled properly, the link comes out like so:

The link has changed to look like a button. But when I move the cursor over it, the button won’t change and stays static. With one of Hover effect, Hover Shadow, I edit the markup and add it a class like so:

 <a href="#" class="btn hover-shadow">SUBMIT</a> 

Now the button has a cool hover effect floating with a shadow underneath it just like the following GIF demo.

Some Hack And Customisation

If you open hover.css with an editor, you’ll find that each effect comes with some default properties. These properties give the element the most desired result both for the display and the look. Below are the default properties, go ahead and customize them to meet your needs:

  • display : required for an effect to work.
  • transform : used for CSS3 transforms to improve the performance on mobile and tablet
  • box-shadow : give transparent box shadow causing edges of CSS3 transformed elements on mobile/tablet look smoother

Final Thought

Hover is another best practice of CSS3 implementation. But as most of the effects such as transitions, transforms and animations are using new CSS3 features, you will need to do some extra work on old browsers that don’t support these features to make sure that the fallback hover effect works well.

Author: "Irfan" Tags: "css3, Web Design"
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Date: Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 13:01

Think of all the popular hardware brands in technology right now. The Apples and Sonys that have the distinct honor of being considered a luxury brand. Everyone wants one and anyone who’s anyone would buy and flaunt them to their peers, creating an appeal. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford them and that’s where knockoffs come to the rescue.

These knockoffs were made as a copy of the original, sometimes using the logo and design of the original. Sometimes they get it right and many might not notice. Often at times, they get it wrong. Very wrong, in fact, to the point of hilarity. Here are 20 of the most amusing knockoffs of popular tech brands that you may have seen. Spoiler alert: Apple gets ripped off a lot.

PolyStation. This Sony Playstation knockoff is actually a Famiclone, a hardware clone of the Nintendo Entertainment System. If you open the CD tray, you’ll actually get a cartridge slot.

(Image Source: Wikipedia)

Blueberry. Obviously this Blueberry is neither blue nor a berry.

(Image Source: College Humor)

PX 3600. A mad experiment to hybridize a PS3 and XBox 360, and it came out so very wrong. The controllers won’t vibrate. The disc tray won’t open, which doesn’t matter since there’s no disc drive in the thing. And worst of all it can only play pre-installed games. And not very good ones, I might add.


(Image Source: Buzzfeed)

Wiwi. If saying "I like playing with my Wii" makes you uncomfortable, how about the Wiwi for extra social awkwardness? Like many knockoff game consoles, it too still relies on cartridges.

(Image Source: Tom’s Hardware Italy)

Action Pad. If your iPad isn’t cutting it anymore, perhaps it’s time to look into the Action Pad. Don’t be fooled though as it runs on Android. And honestly, if the Taiwanese Steve Jobs with angel wings and halo can’t sell you this, I don’t think anyone can.

CECT m188. The eventual endgame for Apple and their fetish for miniaturization is to create a phone so small it might as well be called the iPhone Invisa. The Chinese, however, are beating them to it.

CECT m188
(Image Source: Dvice)

Teso Blackbook Air. As far as knockoffs go, this one is drop dead gorgeous and could even be mistaken for the real thing. If it weren’t black or made of plastic, that is.

Teso Blackbook Air

(Image Source: CIO)

Fake Apple Store. If you think China’s copycat machine weren’t blatant enough, here’s a fake Apple store that looks and feels exactly like the real thing. Spotted by a Westerner in Kunming, the whole store has everything down; from the layout, wood furniture to even the employee uniform. It’s not licensed by Apple but for most residents, if it looks and quacks like an overpriced computer, it is an overpriced computer.

(Image Source: Birdabroadblog)

Blockberry. It took a lot to convince President Obama to give up his Blackberry. Now he’s addicted to another type of berry, the Blockberry, as seen in this advertisement where his photo is used to promote the phone.


(Image Source: phoneArena)

PCP Station. This thing barely qualifies as a game console, with the ‘games’ being swappable LCD cartridges you add to the handheld.

PCP Station

(Image Source: Arcade Sushi)

Red Star OS. A software knockoff this time around. This North Korean Linux distro was made to look almost exactly like the Mac GUI. Kim Jong Un is obviously a Mac fan. You can even find pictures of him using a Mac online. Because Best Korea only copies from the best.

Red Star OS
(Image Source: Wikipedia)

Sciphone A5. Looking like a hybrid of Apple’s Mighty Mouse and iPhone, it is neither mighty nor a mouse. It’s probably not even a very good phone, running some no-named OS.

Sciphone A5

(Image Source: Complex)

CoolK07. Remember the Palm Pre? I still haven’t forgiven HP for what they did to them but there’s no denying that they were never very popular compared to iOS and Android. That doesn’t mean that it didn’t get any love from the Chinese copy machine, as evident by the CoolK07, which copies the design of the Pre.


(Image Source: ChannelPartner)

MiniPolyStation3. Want to have a handheld console with the power of a PS3? Sorry to break it to you but that’s not going to happen. But you can settle for the next best thing with the MiniPolyStation3, a small, portable knockoff console that looks like a PS3, complete with LCD screen. And it only requires 3 AA batteries to operate.


(Image Source: Destructoid)

i-dong. The less we talk about the i-dong, the better. All joking aside, it’s actually a competent game console similar to the Wii, using infrared lights to detect the controller. You can even connect it to your PC. It does, however, look eerily similar to the Microsoft Kinect.

(Image Source: Nikkei Technology)

iPhoho6. Can’t wait for the latest iPhone to come out? Why not get the iPhoho6? It even has an Apple logo shaped home button for twice the Apple logo goodness.


(Image Source: TechCrunch)

HP Spectre One. Proving that the Americans are just as good at copying stuff, the HP Spectre One looks incredibly similar to the design language of a certain fruit company.

HP Spectre One
(Image Source: Apple Insider)

Chuwi PadMini. Like the look of the iPad Mini but detest Apple and iOS to the point that you won’t even look at an actual Apple product? Then the PadMini is for you! Except for a few differences, mainly a missing home button and extra ports, the PadMini looks incredibly similar to an iPad Mini, except for the fact it runs Android. And if you think this isn’t amusing enough, check out their website, which is a mishmash of Apple’s website design and hilariously broken English.

Chuwi PadMini
(Image Source: Chuwi)

Samsung. Samsung creates knockoff Apple products. Regardless of what the Android fanboys may lead you to believe, this is very obvious, with Samsung copying the user interface, advertising designs and hardware of Apple’s products. I can already hear the Samsung fanboys screaming at the top of their lungs at me, so here’s some proof to the claim.

iPhone Samsung Copy
(Image Source: Nicklazilla)

Xiaomi. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and that’s no more true than with Xiaomi. In fact, they’re more blatant than Samsung when copying Apple, even copying the presentation style, down to the black turtleneck and ‘one more thing’. Take a look at this TechCrunch article to see how hilariously similar the products are. And this Mi Pad commercial that looks like something Apple would make.

Author: "Azwan Jamaluddin" Tags: "Web 2.0"
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Date: Thursday, 11 Sep 2014 10:01

Ideas, ideas, ideas. Creative professionals are brimming with them. There are many ideas we have each day that we know we may never get to actually follow through on, yet we’d like to record them somehow just in case.

via Pixabay

Every designer has their own, special way to keep track of their design ideas. But which one is the most helpful for getting those ideas down and, eventually, turned into designs? Here are some of the most popular ways to record ideas, with the pros and cons of each.


The original method of recording ideas, before people had anything else to use. Using paper and pencil helps retain the immediacy of the idea you’re recording. There is no technology in between you and your design, which can be more cumbersome than you might think.

Using a computer or mobile device to take down notes often requires first turning it on, navigating to the proper app, and doing whatever necessary functions are required to get started. All of these actions can be a drain on your willpower, which, according to an increasing number of psychologists, is a finite resource that can evaporate much sooner than we wish.

On the downside, notebooks are cumbersome and not nearly as portable as a phone or tablet. They can also get lost or left behind just as easily as a mobile device (although you do have a greater chance of having them returned – just try getting your phone back if you leave it on a busy subway or in a shopping center).

Recording Apps

Apps are fast and convenient, not to mention sexy (and yes, this is important). With an app, you can quickly and easily record any idea you have and save it for later. Not only that, but you can transfer it almost immediately to your hard drive and plug it straight in to Photoshop or any other program you use. Whether it’s a sketching app, a note-typing device, or an elaborate productivity system, apps can take many different forms to suit your individual needs for the project you’re working no.

On the other hand, apps can be a psychological barrier to actually getting work done.You can waste a lot of time picking out the right app and figuring out how it works – without actually doing any work yourself. It can allow you to keep showing off to your friends how “productive” you are, when in reality, your ideas are simply going into an electronic vault to wither and die. You don’t have the immediacy of recording ideas “your” way, the way you would with a sketchbook. You have to utilize someone else’s method of recording ideas, and this can take away from your desire to actually access your ideas when you need them.

Voice recording

Vocal recording is easy and immediate. Technically, it can be an app as well, but there are still plenty of devices on the market that were created specifically to record your dictated notes. It’s like having your very own secretary in your pocket. All you need to do is pull it out, press a button, and voila: you’ve got your ideas down, in your own words, that you can pull out and use whenever you need them.

The downsides to voice recording, like recording apps, are subtle and mostly psychological. It may sound like a small thing, but many people are surprised to hear what their own voice sounds like in a recording. This can actually be a deterrent to using a voice recorder, since they have to switch over to listening to themselves speak. Also, you usually still need to transcribe your words or otherwise sketch out the idea in order to use it, so it can be a secondary step that can hinder your progress.

High Tech or Low Tech?

When you’re recording ideas, you want to use whatever method uses the least amount of brain power. Why? Because the energy you expend figuring out a new way to record your ideas is energy that is lost. You cannot use it to work on your actual project, and you’ll need to take a break in order to recover it.

Navigating through the apps on your phone or naming a file on a voice recording uses a particular part of the brain that involves your motor skills. That part of your brain gets worn out fairly quickly and can actually slow you down even when you use high-tech products which were supposed to help you save time.

So, what’s the final verdict? Ultimately, it’s up to you, but I and plenty of other designers will continue to swear by the good old, trusty pencil and paper sketchbook. There are so many creative and psychological benefits to writing things down and making sketches that, in my opinion, an electronic device just doesn’t compare.

Again, your mileage may vary, but if you find yourself getting tired easily from staring at a computer or mobile screen all day, go ahead and give the old notebook a try you may just find that the low tech option is all you need to create great designs.

Author: "Addison Duvall" Tags: "Web 2.0, ideas"
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Date: Wednesday, 10 Sep 2014 13:01

Social media management tools are heaven-sent, especially when you are managing multiple social media accounts and platforms. The same goes for Pinterest. If you are using Pinterest for your business, you not only have to deal with posting to the image-based site but also juggle cross-posting to other social media, engaging with followers, and tracking your posts to name among other things.


But with the help of Pinterest tools, these tasks can be simplified. In fact, there are specific tools that cater for specific functions such as those that help you generate content or even track how many times people pin from your website. To that end, we have gathered here 10 tools to help you get started on making the most of Pinterest for your business.

LoveList App

This iOS app makes it easier to post your products on Pinterest. All you have to do is scan your product’s barcode with the app and it allows you to pin a picture of it on Pinterest. You can even use it to create a wishlist dedicated board for your followers.



Want an easy way of coming up with content for your Pinterest? Pinstamatic is the answer. Besides photos, you can also generate screenshots, audio, quotes, announcements, and maps into pins. Click on the top icons at Pinstamatic site to choose the content that you want to generate.



Previously known as Pinfluencer, Piqora provides analytics for both your website and Pinterest. It not only tracks your pins and board’s reach, Piqora also helps manage promotions and contests on Pinterest. Additionally, Piqora will track your Instagram and Tumblr as well, especially when you cross post your content on those platforms.



ViralTag not only offers analysis and the easy scheduling of pins. It allows you to manage multiple accounts and analysis from other platforms. As it partners with HootSuite, ViralTag even lets its Pro users schedule pins from the HootSuite dashboard.



Pinvolve makes cross posting across various social media a breeze. It primarily post your pins onto your Facebook page and lets you share content from Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram content from your Facebook page.


Pinterest’s Goodies

Pinterest calls them Goodies. Actually, they are the Pinterest apps for both iOS and Android. Which are helpful when you are pinning on the go. Included among its Goodies is the Pin It bookmarklet, which lets you pin things you see around the web just by clicking it.



This handy website takes a screenshot of a website when you enter the URL at its home page. Snapito renders the screenshot into a full-sized PNG file but you can choose to save your image in GIF or JPEG. It even has bookmarklet that will pin the screenshot you’ve taken to your Pinterest.


Pinterest Widgets

Pinterest has its own tools too. Although they are very basic, they are still useful. There’s a total of 5 widgets you can download for your site. Access them all from this link.

  • Pin It Button allows people to pin stuff from your website.
  • Follow Button invites people to follow you on Pinterest from your domain.
  • Pin Widget lets you embed the pin of your choice on your website.
  • Profile Widget displays 30 of your latest pins on your site.
  • Board Widget displays 30 of your favorite board’s latest pins.



ViralWoot, previously known as Pinwoot, helps you gain more followers for your Pinterest. It does this by referring your account to users in exchange for "Seeds". "Seeds" are sort of like ViralWoot’s currency which you can earn by following and repinning others. You then give out "Seeds" to followers for repinning a certain content from you.



PinAlerts is an interesting tool that tells you if someone has pinned something from your website and who that someone is. The service informs you of this through email as Pinterest only tells you what others have repinned from your account. This can help in engaging with other pinners as you get to thank them personally and follow them.


Did we miss out on any tools? Let us know in the comments below.

Author: "Leanne Tan" Tags: "Tools, social media, pinterest"
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Date: Wednesday, 10 Sep 2014 10:30

Depending on your individual opinion, Helvetica is either a classic, truly neutral English typeface with universal appeal and functionality – or it’s an overused, bland set of letters with its own cultural and historical baggage that needs to hurry up and die already. Lettering artist Jessica Hische claims that the iconic font “only really looks good when paired with itself.”

via Pixabay

But I’m not here to talk only about Helvetica (personally I have no real qualms with it), but to talk about the idea of fonts that some designers consider to be “overused.” Who gets to decide when a font has “jumped the shark,” so to speak? Does using a so-called overused font diminish others’ perceptions of your creative abilities? Or does it signal that you know what current clients need and are actively looking for?

What If It’s Your Signature Font?

Were you using Helvetica before it was trendy? (Probably not, unless you were designing before 1960). Is there a particular type style that’s all the rage now, making your work look like it’s just one of the crowd? What do you do when people suddenly decide that the font you’ve been using for years is suddenly cool?

In my opinion, there are two main paths to take here. The first is to simply keep doing what you’ve been doing, and let the imitators move on to something else once the fad has faded. You know this typeface inside and out; it’s part of your work and your unique identity as a designer. As long as you are a master of your craft, you probably don’t have to worry about anyone lumping you in with those who came after you.

The other option – and I’m not picking sides here – is to update your font library a bit. Being a creative professional means changing and adapting to the current landscape and the expectations of your newest clients. If you feel like your style could use a face lift, then by all means start shopping around for some other fonts that would suit your purposes just as well, but be distinct from what you were using before. This is a good way to subtly evolve your style without going all out and possibly turning off previous fans of your work.

Details Matter

Type is all about details. It’s what makes different type applications different from each other. There are only 26 letters in the English alphabet, after all. How else are we going to get all the variety possible out of type and letterforms except through tiny details that go unnoticed by the majority of viewers, but that make a world of difference to the design?

Here’s the key takeaway: don’t worry about the font – worry about the details. Is the ascender of that d too high for the logo you’re designing? Does the bowl of the lowercase a curve just right, or is there something you would change? And what’s the deal with that ampersand?

Perhaps you should find another font that suits your needs better. There are hundreds of thousands of fonts out there, all incrementally different from one another in sometimes very subtle ways. There’s absolutely no reason to stick with something just because it’s popular or expected.

Design Is Like A Symphony And Type Is But One Instrument

Designers are like composers. Type, color, and composition all matter separately, and they can’t be discarded without a good reason. The audience sees the final product, but only the professional can see and appreciate the separate elements that went into the whole. In this way, design is like a symphony orchestra. All you, the layperson, hear is the harmony and beauty of the music, but the conductor and musicians are hearing something very different.

Or, to use one of my favorite analogies, design is like a harmonious plate of food served up at a restaurant by a master chef. You may not know all of the individual ingredients that went into creating it, but believe me, if the chef had left any one of them out, you’d be able to tell that something was wrong.

Your expectations of a high quality meal are the same regardless of how much training you have, and the same is true for users, clients, and anyone else who is looking at your design work. They can’t necessarily tell when your design is working, but they’ll certainly know when it’s not.

Pick The Best Font For The Job

Let’s face it – the most popular typefaces look good and work well in a lot of the most popular types of projects commissioned by clients today. Even if you feel it’s an “overused” font, or that too many people have jumped on the band wagon. If it works, use it. You’ll find that if you make the right choice, your design will hold up in the future while all those bandwagon hoppers fall by the wayside. After all…

There’s Usually A Reason They Are Used So Much

Certain typefaces have an elegance and internal structure that is hard to deny. That’s why people use them so much – because they’re well-designed. Their popularity may wax and wane, but the talent and thoughtfulness that went into their creation is forever. Nobody uses a poorly designed typeface over and over again in professional design work (so Comic Sans doesn’t count).

What Do You Think?

What typefaces do you think have earned the label of “overused” lately? Do you think the accusation is justified? Are any of your favorite or go-to fonts in danger of being slapped with this label?

Author: "Addison Duvall" Tags: "typography, Web Design"
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Date: Tuesday, 09 Sep 2014 13:01

The word ‘selfie’ is so popular these days that there’s even songs about it. After all, it was declared by Oxford Dictionaries as their International Word of the Year in 2013. Whether you love them or hate them, selfies are probably gonna be around for awhile.


There are even plenty of selfies that are making it into the news headlines for one reason or another. Here we’ve gathered 15 selfies that have made the news headline. From ones featuring celebrities to selfies that have managed to save lives, each one has a lesson that we can learn from.

1. The Wrong Place To Selfie

Breanna Mitchell posted a selfie of herself smiling in front of the Auschwitz concentration camp on Twitter in June, but suddenly she woke up early morning on July 20 to find hate retweets and mentions on her notification, thus resulting in #auschwitzselfie trending.

(Image Source: MTV)

Claiming that she felt glad to be at the place since it was her desire to be there with her late father since childhood; she battled against the haters and said she won’t regret posting the selfie on social media. Many people felt that it was distasteful but judging by her reaction at her fame, she was clearly enjoying the limelight.

2. Selfie Obsession

Danny Bowman, 19, left school and never went out of his house for 6 months in an attempt to take the best selfie of himself. He spent 10 hours taking up to 200 selfies per day using his iPhone and even became aggressive when his parents tried to stop him.

(Image Source: Mirror)

When he reached a point where he knew he was overly addicted, he tried to commit suicide by overdosing, but fortunately was rescued by his mum. Perhaps we should all bear in mind that a selfie addiction could be an indicator of something else.

3. Selfie To Combat Hair Pulling

This priceless selfie montage tells us about a young girl who is battling with a hair-pulling disorder. Taking a photo of herself everyday for six years is what she felt right in expressing how the sickness had affected her life.

(Image Source: BBC News)

Rebecca Brown from Essex, who is 21 this year, had been affected by trichotillomania – a mental disorder which gives her the compulsive urge to pull her hair out, leading to hair loss and depression. She claimed that she has been using social media to cope with her depression, specifically Youtube since 2007. She has almost 200,000 subscribers who are inspired by her, sending Brown letters as their way to express their feelings.

4. Just A Selfie With His Hommies

These days when you meet a celebrity, your first instinct is to probably take a selfie with them. But this young man did not just manage one celebrity but two. With the caption “Chillin with my hommies,” you know that this is as epic as it gets. With both Paul McCartney and Warren Buffett, how could it not be?

(Image Source: Dailydot)

Tom White knew that he’d be able to make fans of Paul McCartney and Warren Buffett jealous when he uploaded this selfie on Instagram. He did of course and hey, he even made it in the news headline.

5. under Arrest For Selfie Of Dress

Most people have the smarts not to upload anything incriminating up on Facebook. That’s not the case for this particular lady. An Illinois woman, Danielle Saxton, was arrested for shoplifting jewelery and clothing after she uploaded a selfie wearing a stolen dress.

(Image Source: The Gloss)

Just hours after the incident, co-owner of Mortie’s Boutique, Kert William posted about the loss on Facebook. The citizens of West Frankfort then found Saxton’s selfie online and helped to report it to the police. She then went to jail for her actions. Guess criminal isn’t her best color…

6. The Exam Selfie Gone Wrong

If you’re a student, you probably know that phones are never allowed in the exam hall and that it can get you in some serious trouble. Well, this joker brought in his mobile and took this selfie just before his GCSEs. It got retweeted over 30,000 times and trended worldwide, making it a news headline.

(Image Source: Mirror)

The one who caused the sensation, Karem then claimed that it was not him in the photo but instead it was someone else. Regardless of who the photo is actually of, this is a good lesson to all that you should never jeapordize your education for just a selfie.

7. Squirrel Attack!

Brian Genest, 17, was walking through John Chestnut Park near Tampa, Florida when he saw the squirrel and wanted to take a selfie with it because it looked friendly. His big mistake? Using the flash.

(Image Source: Centralmaine)

The squirrel was so startled by the flash and the noises made by his camera that it ducked for cover under his shirt. The squirrel attack left him unsettled but he wasn’t hurt. Well, at least he got a cool selfie and was even featured in the news.

8. Spider Photobomb

Here’s a seflie for a good laugh. What do you get when two girls try to take a selfie and a spider wants in on the action? A pretty epic and funny selfie.The girls were trying to shoot a video selfie when the itsy bitsy thing decided that it wanted to be famous too.

(Image Source: Metro)

This is just one of those great moments that would definitely be difficult to replicate. Thanks for uploading this priceless selfie, girls.

9. Selfie With The Dead

There’s always a right time and place for everything. And as this girl learned, taking a selfie with a cadaver to post on her Instagram account is not one of those moments. The selfie was taken by a senior of Clements High School, Alabama during a school trip to the University of Alabama, which was held to teach pupils about an anatomical donor program.

(Image Source: Independent)

There was a rule saying that mobile phones were banned during the tour, but it failed to stop this girl from taking this selfie. Her lack of respect for the deceased is evident and it angered a lot of people. She paid the price for it though, as after she uploaded the selfie on Instagram, the school later on took disciplinary action.

10. The ‘Accidental Kick To The Head’ Selfie

Jared Frank was just a regular guy who wanted a bit of fame till he got a selfie of himself being kicked in the head as train went by. One could say that he was being a bit of a daredevil as he was taking a selfie so close to the train tracks and a little bit of danger was just what he got.

(Image Source: CBC News)

This Canadian attempted to make an epic video of himself with a slow moving train in the background but it was then shortlived when he was suddenly kicked in the head by the train conductor (accidentally, of course) on the speeding locomotive. Well, this went viral and just goes to show that you better be careful about what you ask for.

11. Hey Stranger! How About A Selfie?

A Youtube Vlogger took over 50 selfies with complete strangers. He wanted to find a way to use the generation trend positively while walking through a mall.

(Image Source: ABC News)

With the intention of inspiring people to overcome fears of social interaction, this Seattle-based entertainer and musician, Jason Rodjanapanyakul (a.k.a JasonSoSilly2) took over 50 ‘self-explanatory’ video selfies with whoever he met while walking around Bellevue Square Mall in Bellevue, Wash. It was met with great response and continues to entertain.

12. ‘On Top Of The World’ Selfie

It’s not just another tourist selfie. This particular selfie is touted by many as possibly ‘the best sellfie ever taken’.

(Image Source: Al-Arabiya News)

According to Le Thompson, the photographer and the co-founder of The Flash Pack (a travel company), this was the first selfie he had ever taken. This magnificent selfie on top of Christ the Redeemer was taken after the photographer was given special privilege to climb the highest statue in the country where the World Cup was recently held this year.

13. In Case Of An Emergency, Selfie First

Most people would freak out in the case of an emergency but not this particular man. Nope. He used the opportunity to take a selfie. Fight TAP Portugal 668, en route to Amsterdam encountered an inflight emergency, due to a technical failure and was forced to divert to Paris.

(Image Source: All Things Aero)

But then this man onboard decided that it was the perfect time to take a selfie, despite the intensity of the situation. One has to admire his dedication to preserving the moment though.

14. Life-Saving Selfie

A woman called Stacey Yepes had experienced paralysis on her left side and went to the doctor’s to seek advice. They told her that it was just stress.

(Image Source: ABC13)

However, when it happened again while she was driving home, she took out her smartphone and recorded herself in video and picture and detailed her experience. After taking a look at the evidence and further examination, doctors told her that she had indeed suffered not one but three strokes.

15. Camera Returned With Bonus Mayor selfie

When an amateur photographer got back his camera, he probably never expected to get an extra bonus picture of the mayor. And what’s more, a selfie too. Gabriel Collins thought that his camera was gone forever when he lost the camera at a Calgary Folk Festival. But those worries didn’t last very long as he got his camera back from Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

(Image Source: Calgary Herald)

Half an hour later though as Collins was going through the photos, he found a selfie of the mayor. A good citizen always returns the belongings of others but a mayor with a sense of humor will take a selfie first.

Author: "Guest Contributor" Tags: "Web 2.0, selfie"
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Date: Monday, 08 Sep 2014 15:01

Diversity in tech companies is one of the hottest topics in cyberspace now and shows no sign of dying down. This is mainly prompted by the biggest tech corporations like Facebook, Twitter, and Google releasing their workers diversity data sparking fresh debate on why there aren’t more women working in tech. It has also sprouted new initiatives to spread awareness and educate more girls to code like Google’s Made With Code.

But that doesn’t mean that the Internet is lacking in talented women. Generally found behind the screens, they’ve brought us the World Wide Web that we know today. Critics say that these women were not given enough recognition for their efforts unlike the men and in many instances, they are right. Not to say that all of them go unnoticed but you might not have heard of some or most of them. So we decided to do a little digging and found these 9 women who significantly contributed to how we use the Internet today.

1. Radia Perlman

This list wouldn’t be complete if we don’t revisit history and include Radia Perlman who is widely hailed as the Mother of the Internet. Perlman is most famous for creating the spanning-tree protocol (STP). STP bridges two computer networks so that they can exchange information. You can see its usage in Local Area Networks (LAN) where many computers are accessing one network and the Ethernet.

via Internet Hall of Fame

STP made the Internet possible, as it allows the Ethernet to handle large amounts of information being exchanged and stored which set the precedent of cloud computing. As a software designer and network engineer, Perlman is also credited with inventing the Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links (TRILL) to make up for STP’s shortcomings.

2. Elizabeth Feinler

Wired described Elizabeth Feinler as the person “before Google and GoDaddy”. Feinler is considered the pioneer of the Internet when she was the Director of the Network Information Center (NIC) at the Standford Research Institute (SRI) from 1972 to 1989. She also managed the ARPANET, the network that connected various research centers across the country, which was seen as the predecessor to the Internet.

via Wired

Feinler was more commonly known as Jake, a nickname given by her sister that stuck. In managing the NIC, Feinler oversaw the creation and registration of Internet addresses or URLs. It first started out manually with Feinler and her team maintaining and publishing directories of people. The resources were distributed via snail mail and was also available through a telephone hotline the team set up.

Over time as the Internet evolved, the NIC came up with the Dormain Name System (DNS). DNS maintains the naming scheme of URLs such as .com, .edu, .gov, .mil, .net, .org as well as translating domain names into IP adresses. Needless to say, these contributions of hers are still in use today.

3. Caterina Fake

Caterina Fake co-founded with her husband Stewart Butterfield popular photo-sharing site Flickr in 2004. Yahoo! then acquired Flickr in 2005. Before Flickr came about, photo-sharing meant sending your pictures through email. And you know how sending photos via email was years ago when emails couldn’t handle attaching photos in bulk.

via FamousWiki

Additionally, the existence of Flickr also brought about the advent of many of Web 2.0′s features like social networking, tagging, algorithms that bring up popular content, and community open APIs. Interestingly the site was meant to be a multi-player gaming site until lack of funds spurred Fake and her husband to change tack.

4. Mitchell Baker

If it weren’t for Mitchell Baker, most of us would still be browsing the Web with Internet Explorer. As Executive Chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation, Baker led part of Netscapes team on the Mozilla project. The project, as you can tell from the name, birthed the open source web browser, Mozilla Firefox, which made the Internet experience safe and stable.

via Wired

Trained as a lawyer, Baker used her expertise to create Netscape’s open source license, making it free as well as the basis of Mozilla’s public license. It helped pave an era of open source software and inspired open source projects such as GitHub, HTML5 and Android.

5. Rashmi Sinha

If it wasn’t for India-born Rashmi Sinha, there wouldn’t be SlideShare. Sinha caught the Web bug when she was researching on how search engine optimization as well as algorithms work to help push recommended content at the University of California, Berkeley. After her research, she went on to start a user-experience consultancy Uzanto which provided services to companies such as eBay, AAA, and Blue Shield.

via women2.com

In 2006, Sinha and her husband Jon Boutelle co-founded SlideShare. She became its CEO while her husband is the CTO. As you know, the site makes it possible to share PowerPoint slides online without the need of a presenter. SlideShare’s user-based community and user-friendliness draws people to discover new content as well as generates its own traffic. In 2012, LinkedIn acquired the presentation-sharing site for over $100 million.

6. Leah Culver

You may not have heard of social networking site Pownce, as it met its early demise in 2008. Many attributed it to the acquisition by software company Six Apart, who was after the talented staff of Pownce, which was then Twitter’s biggest competitor. What almost nobody focused on is that it’s possibly the reason why Facebook and Twitter is now able to share and attach links, files, photos and videos on their platforms. And the women behind it is Leah Culver.

via Wikimedia

Interestingly Culver switched her art major for computer programming when studying at the University of Minnesota. A year after she graduated in 2006, she launched Pownce with Kevin Rose and Daniel Burka. Culver is the lead developer for Pownce having created the site from scratch using the Python programming language.

7. Marissa Mayer

Currently, Marissa Mayer is the president and CEO of Yahoo!. Before that however, everyone knew her as Google’s employee number 20 in 1999 and the search engine’s first female engineer. Anyone who is tech news savvy will know that Mayer worked on a slew of Google services that we all use. Among them are Google Search, Google News, Google Images, and Google Chrome.

via The Drum

Her attention to detail and user-first mindset contributed to the look and feel of these products. She was so good at her job that she became Vice President of Search Products and User Experience. In her final two years at Google, she was made Vice President of Local, Maps, and Location Services. In this division, she oversaw the engineering and design of Google Maps, Google Earth, Street View and local search for both web and mobile.

8. Mena Trott

Mena Trott made it possible for us aspiring writers to start out by blogging. In fact, she made it easy to blog. Trott co-founded Six Apart with now former husband Benjamin in 2001 that specializes in developing blogging software. The company came up with Movable Type in 2001, a blogging software that is similar to and precedes WordPress.

via Bloomberg Businessweek

Before Six Apart and Movable Type, blogging meant hard-coding your own online diary. In 2003, Trott and her team came up with blog hosting service, TypePad, based on Movable Type’s software and features easy-to-use blogging tools. Some of the tools include multiple author support, photo albums and mobile blogging. Six Apart eventually came up with blogging platform Vox and acquired Livejournal before it finally joined forces with VideoEgg to become SAY Media in 2010.

9. Susan Wojcicki

Another Google employee, Susan Wojcicki was responsible for selling ads on the search engine giant. Recently made the CEO of YouTube in February 2014, Wojcicki used to lead Google’s Advertising and Commerce division. She first started out as Google employee number 16 as its Marketing Manager and if it weren’t for her renting out her garage to Sergey Brin and Larry Page in 1998, there would be no Google.

via Ad Age

During her tenure as Vice President of Advertising and Commerce, Wojcicki came up with AdWords and AdSense. The 2 advertising services are why you see ads on websites and blogs today which contributed 96% to Google’s revenue. Wojcicki is also the person responsible for acquiring YouTube and DoubleClick as well as developing the doodles on Google’s home page.

Author: "Leanne Tan" Tags: "Web 2.0, entrepreneurs"
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