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100+ Elegant Tattoo Designs

hongkiat.com - vr, 29/05/2015 - 15:01

Tattoos carry a long and colorful history as markers of a rite of passage, as a sign of status or punishment, and in some cultures as a mark of protection to ward off evil. These days, however, we get tattoos under more voluntary circumstances, for artistic or sentimental reasons, or sometimes on a dare.

Tattoos are on many respectable bucket lists but no one plans to go down with a tattoo they are going to regret. If a tattoo is on your bucket list, remember that tattoos don’t have to be loud, big or flashy to look good on you. In fact, we’re going to show you 114 simple yet elegant tattoos that will look just as great.

Bows

The best gifts come wrapped in beautiful bows, so it’s no wonder that bow tattoos are a common favorite.

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Get a tattoo inspired by the softer and beautiful side of nature with trees, rainbows, flowers and more.

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When words do not suffice, lines can give meaning to the abstract, like how these tattoos do.

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Tattoos don’t always have to have a deep meaning. Sometimes simple symbols and short text keep it real.

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Tattoologist Planets & Constellations

Planetary alignments and constellations are also great ideas for simple and elegant-looking tattoos. Here are some examples.

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Whether you are a musician or one who just loves music, you can always keep your love of music close with a tattoo of a musical note.

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Can’t decide what quote to base your life motto on? Go with a simple shape like a star, heart or geometric shapes instead.

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A favorite among tattoo lovers, animal tattoos are symbolic of our love for our favorite animals.

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If you love games and tech, or are a movie buff, here are some great ideas on how to show your love for your favorite things.

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Here are some other tattoo ideas that don’t need a category to be cool.

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How One Artist Depicted Agency Life with Creative Mini Figures [Photos]

hongkiat.com - do, 28/05/2015 - 15:01

What do you do when you’ve had a bad day at work? Do you complain to a friend, vent online or meditate? Instead of taking the usual routes, Derrick Lin, a brand strategist at an advertising firm in Columbus, Ohio, makes portraits of tiny people that depict moments of agency life.

"Perspectives can change how we feel about things — things don’t always seem so negative when we look at them in a positive and humorous light"

With just an iPhone, a desk lamp, mini figures picked up from toy stores and co-workers who volunteer as his models, Derrick shines a light on the minor, mundane or annoying moments at work and turns them into something much more delightful, meaningful and beautiful.

Want to see more? Head over to his Instagram or his Tumblr page.








20 Udemy Courses For New Entrepreneurs

hongkiat.com - do, 28/05/2015 - 12:01

A business would not succeed if it were poorly managed. A serious startup aiming for a respectable degree of success needs leadership skills, the ability to communicate well, and a satisfactory knowledge of the fundamentals of business (such as financial management and marketing) to make it big. For some of these skilled individuals, becoming a successful entrepreneur is as easy as breathing or snapping their fingers.

For the rest of us, maybe we need a bit of help from online courses like those available in Udemy. Among the countless courses available on this online education portal, we’ve selected 20 courses (spanning four categories) that we believe are crucial in helping you to turn your web development business from a simple ambition into a lean, mean, money-making machine.

Site note: You can install Honey on your browser to automagically apply all discount coupons available for relevant courses.

Management Courses

Web development entrepreneurs often find that one of their biggest challenges in running a business – and perhaps, even more so than finding the capital or maintaining their cash flow – is learning how to manage its different aspects. This is not entirely surprising for web developers, given that their skill set gears them more towards a very direct, "I-can-do-it" attitude about working, as opposed to overseeing operations and delegating tasks.

With these courses, however, you’ll find that management, leadership, and planning for emergencies are all actually much easier – and much more important – than you may have initially thought.

Project Management: How to Become a Project Manager

Running your own web development business essentially means taking on the role of a project manager, except on a larger and much more demanding scale. It doesn’t hurt to learn the basics, though, and this comprehensive course on effective project management certainly has you covered.

There are 26 lectures and 5 hours of video. The course was developed by IDEA Consultancy, a group that helps international students with their IELTS scores in many countries like USA, Malaysia, Australia, and many more. At the end of the course you will learn how to develop and implement projects the right way.

Course fees: $197

Hiring & Managing Performance to Build a Great Team

Your team’s performance ultimately depends on hiring the right web designers and developers to begin with. This course was designed with the specific intent of ensuring that you’ll be selecting a team of all-stars, ready to deliver high-quality service and help you take your business to the top.

The class is taught by Perry Wilson, PMP (Project Management Professional, certified) who has over 32 years of professional experience in the corporate world. There are 11 lectures and 1 hour of video.At the end of the course, individuals and business owners will learn different recruiting strategies, hiring processes, and basically how to build a great team.

Course fees: $97

Working with Aggressive People

Unfortunately, even the best employees may require a bit of extra patience and understanding, or in some cases, some attitude readjustment. In 20 lectures and 2 hours of video, you will learn how to deal with annoying people. This is especially important if your business mainly focuses on talking to different kinds of people, from the aggressive kind down to those who simply fume whith just about anything.

Learn how to deal with the negativity-nurturing members of your team with this informative course taught by Sorin Dumitrascu, a management trainer who has made over 20 courses about management, human resources, career development, and many more even before Udemy was founded.

Course fees: $47

Advanced Management Training: Develop Your Leadership Skills

People are likely to follow strong authority figures that they can look up to. With this advanced management training course, you’ll learn not just how to be a skilled leader, but also one worthy of respect.

This course aims to help its students transition from doing to managing. A 16-lecture course, containing 3 hours of video, taught by Davis Jones, a Silicon Valley recruiter and co-founder of Eazl. learn how to advance from a “production” focused person to a more managerial role like CEO, CTO, or COO.

Course fees: $99

Time Management: How to Build a System of Success

You may not know it, but the little distractions you encounter each day – the very same ones that hinder your productivity – are actually making you lose money. Be aware of how you can manage your time properly for better returns by signing up for this useful course.

You will learn everything you need to know (and how to do it properly) about time management and how to organize things in an efficient manner so that your productivity will increase exponentially. The 19-lecture course plust 2 hours of video is taught by time management consultants Ryan and Tolan.

Course fees: $99

Finance Courses

The longevity of a business also depends on its cash flow – after all, what’s the point of running a business of your own if you’ll end up in the red and crippling your other business endeavors due to a lack of sustainable funding? Learn the basics of effective financial management via the following courses.

Crash Course on Financial Management

Want to learn the basics of financial management, but have no idea where to start? This course covers the fundamentals of accounting and managing your finances – for only a dollar! One dollar for 11 lectures (plus 1 hour of video) by Ca Raja Natarajan, a chartered accountant who also teaches financial management in India.

By the end of the course you will understand the various aspects of financial management and from there on you can easily expand your knowledge of cash flow, sources of finance, working capital, and the like.

Course fees: $1

Basics of Business Finance

Get lessons on business finance fundamentals, straight from Wall Street investment banking pros. This course, which focuses specifically in corporate finance and allows you to take lessons at your own pace, is definitely a worthwhile investment.

The course is taught over 24 lectures and 4 hours of video by Binny Mathews, an investment banker whose expertise is in Corporate Finance, Online Education, and Entrepreneurship. Through this course you will learn basic accounting and financial statement analysis and become knowledgeable about the topics surrounding corporate finance. This course is also great for business management students.

Course fees: $29

Finance and Accounting for Startups

For startup web developers with a slightly higher budget, this training course is a fantastic option if you’re after value for money. This special course guarantees that you’ll learn everything there is to know about entrepreneurial finance. The class is taught by MBA and CFO Chris Benjamin who has worked with several companies in the last 5 years and has helped over 100 startups succeed.

This 75-lecture course with 8 hours of video is so massive that beginners and CEOs alike can benefit from it. Everything you need to understand about raising capital, taking a company public, accounting principles, audit process, financial reporting, etc, you will learn from this course.

Course fees: $99

Economics for Accounting and Finance Professionals

Financial planning and management comes hand in hand with a good grasp of economics and the market. For budding web development entrepreneurs looking for advanced lessons on finance, accounting, supply and demand, and other such economic concepts, this training course is invaluable.

Over 20 lectures (plus 2 hours of video) taught by Ca Raja Natarajan, students of this course will learn about the Theory of Demand and how to properly leverage it to make a business succeed. The course tackles the basics of economics, what is micro economics and macro economics.

Course fees: $25

Finance Boot Camp for Entrepreneurs

This 30-day course promises to help aspiring entrepreneurs accomplish three things: raise capital for the business, build a strong company, and profit from their efforts. Web developers with no background whatsoever in finance should consider taking this. Over 17 lectures (and 1 hour of video) the course’s aim is to teach its students on how to make a company profitable, how to raise capital, and how to create a funding strategy for your company.

The course is created by Lili Balfour, CEO of Atelier Advisor and author of Master the Finance Game. She has over 15 years of investment banking and investment management experience and has helped over 100 startups raise over $200 million.

Course fees: $197

Marketing Courses

An inability to effectively market yourself means killing your business even before it could spring to life. Become more knowledgeable about the best ways to spread word about your brand and attract consumers to your products – and ideally, take up the following courses.

Facebook Marketing: A Step-by-Step to Your First 1000 Fans

Don’t let the relatively high price tag dissuade you from signing up. This course, which features more than 50 hours of lessons and useful content, will help you and your web development startup take advantage of what is arguably the most powerful social media platform on the planet.

In over 51 lectures and 10 hours worth of video, social media expert Benjamin Wilson, will teach you how to drive up the Facebook likes on your fan page without spending an extra dollar.

Course fees: $399

Internet Marketing Classroom

While a developer should have absolutely no trouble setting up their own website, the other aspects of maintaining it – such as formulating strategies to drive traffic and boost conversions – might necessitate going that extra step to learn more.

Learn basically everything you need to know about Internet Marketing in this 56-hour course that will take you from newbie to pro marketer in no time. It contains 290 lectures and is taught by Matt Carson who is a web developer with over 20 years of experience. He is also a lecturer for web design companies.

Course fees: $127

The Complete Guide to Video Marketing

Attract your potential clients with riveting and relevant video content! Learn everything there is to know about video marketing and why it would make a good inclusion in your overall marketing strategy. The Guide is created by MindMekka, a group of professionals bent on educating the masses.

The course aims to transform its students from regular people to becoming masters in video marketing. It teaches everything from editing, optimizing, and uploading videos down to market researching for keywords in 62 lectures and 6 hours of video.

Course fees: $59

Marketing on Google+

Many have made the mistake of discounting Google+’s potential to reshape the way users perceive and utilize social media. Take full advantage of G+’s many benefits – particularly for marketing – with help from this course.

This is a 10-lecture plus 1 hour of video introductory course on how to use Google Plus to your advantage. In this course you will learn why Google Plus is relevant for marketing and how to properly use it. It was created by Three Sixty Academy, an organization of experts in different subjects whose aim is to help organizations improve their skills in various fields.

Course fees: $9

Online Marketing Business: Work from Home or Anywhere

Pro tip: You can run an established business without having to have an expensive or assigned office or selling area. Take this course to find out exactly why more and more professionals are opting to go freelance and willing to work via the Internet.

You will be taught by Sean Marshall, an entrepreneur and lifestyle business author. It carries 83 lectures and 6 hours of video. The course aims to help its students plan and build an online marketing business that is profitable from day one.

Course fees: $199

Presentation Skill Courses

An often-neglected part of day-to-day business operations is the process of planning and building reports and presentations, both to disseminate information and to inform your audience of your current standing. Learn how to make excellent presentations – regardless of the software package of choice – by going through the list below:

Impress Your Friends By Creating The Best Prezi Presentation

Sometimes, all it takes for an idea to get approval is to present it in a cool and interesting way. Master the art of making Prezi presentations and wow your audience with this course by Amir Rimer, a passive income coach, web developer, and marketer with over 18 years of experience.

The course uses 12 lectures and 2 hours of video to help students like you build stunning presentations with the use of Prezi. It works both for online presentation and in an office setting for students, teachers, and entrepreneurs alike.

Course fees: $47

Presentation Bootcamp: Hands-On Presentation Delivery Skills

Your profession as a web developer or designer may lead you to believe that learning how to deliver presentations isn’t so important. However, it’s still important that you take this five-hour course, to get you started on learning how to deliver effective and persuasive presentations.

The 23-lecture course (including 5 hours of video) is taught by Jason Teteak, a TEDx speaker, author, and CEO of Rule the Room. There is only one goal: to help you express your thoughts and deliver your message in the most perfect way in front of an audience.

Course fees: $247

Presentation Skills: Give Your Presentation a Facelift

From building a crystal-clear message to identifying effective ways of dealing with nerves, this course is definitely well worth investing in. Learn effective tips and icebreaker games to facilitate audience engagement.

The course is by Larissa Levkovitch, an author, coach, and trainer who has a master’s degree in Coaching Psychology and over 20 years of experience in training people in both written and spoken form of communication. The course has 13 lectures and 2 hours of video. The goal of this course is to teach its students how to master the art of presentation, and ultimately deliver a crystal clear message to an audience.

Course fees: $39

Business Presentation-The Supreme Guide To Skill Improvement

This is an indispensable guide to making and delivering presentations for business. Whether your chosen medium is Microsoft Powerpoint, Google Slides, or Prezi, you’ll find new things to learn and pick up from this handy course.

Over 24 lectures and 2 hours of video, you can learn how to be more confident and charismatic in front of an audience. The course is written and instructed by a medical doctor who has over 20 years of experience in self-improvement, coaching, and counseling.

Course fees: $99

How to perform stunning presentation in 10 steps

Satisfied clients will appreciate your work and perhaps even make you stand longer when they’re asking you questions about your presentation. Be open for any questions that you need answering immediately.

The course carries 12 lectures and 1 hour of video and is taught by Grzegorz Wisniewski, a coach, trainer, manager, and executive MBA. You will learn how to prepare an awesome presentation. It will also improve your presentation skills in order for you to deliver your message clearly.

Course fees: $29








20 Most Creative Wedding Invitation Ideas Ever

hongkiat.com - wo, 27/05/2015 - 15:01

The season is here and you probably have received a wedding invite or two a couple of months back. A lot of work goes into the preparation for a wedding ceremony and while some wedding invitations are printed or handwritten, they carry a personal touch.

These wedding invitations however have taken the personal touch to another level. Some of these creative invitations will blow your mind, be it the do-it-yourself teepee, an edible invitation card, one inside a can and even a record player that you can play. I’m not going to spoil it any further, take a look for yourself.

A Double Invite In 3D

Amy aka the bride created these invites to her surprise wedding under the guise of her two year old’s birthday party. With a pair of 3D decoder glasses, guests can get looped in on the double celebration they will be attending.


IMAGE: Polka Dot Bride Adventure for Two

Kitkat Pecson created this Adventure for Two wedding invitations for couples who love to travel as much as they do each other. The invite basically tells the whole love story with colorful maps and cultural references as the backdrop. Couples who have gone through so much to be together might also be able to appreciate the ambition of this design in trying to depict their journey towards marriage.


IMAGE: Kitkat Pecson Countdown Dial

Here is an incredible and unusual invitation that serves as a makeshift countdown timer to the wedding day itself. The card has a front wheel that the guest can turn to correctly indicate how many days are left to the wedding day itself. The couple has since tied the knot, back in 2012.


IMAGE: Until Sunday Paper Record Player

Karen is a rights advocate lawyer, and Michael is a Grammy-nominated sound engineer. Music brought them together so it is only fitting that their invite should be delivered in music form. Their invite is a record player, that when spun, will play a song they wrote together. Watch the video to see how this amazing design works.


IMAGE: Kelli Anderson

Teepee Invite

Instead of a regular card that guests will take only one look then put away, why not let them build the invite themselves. Oh, don’t worry, it will be fun! Like this cutout teepee invite that you can put together with sticks and glue. And it doubles as a nice desk ornament.


IMAGE: Wear Device Amorgos Wedding Invite

Here is an island-inspired wedding invite. The breathtaking Greek island of Amorgos has the perfect sandy beach and picturesque backgrounds for wedding ceremonies. And all that is clearly shown in this quaint, down-to-earth and truly lovely wedding invite.


IMAGE: Wundercloud Viewmaster Invitations

Here’s another idea you can use to spice up the traditional wedding invite. How about using a Viewmaster to deliver the invitations instead? Put your pictues into a custom image reel and send it off with the wedding card, and of course a Viewmaster. Guests can check out your photos and have a bit of fun themselves.


IMAGE: melangerienyc on Etsy Your Story Infographic Invitation

Want to tell your love story and send a wedding invite? Do it in an infographic, and put the ceremony details in the back. The 14.8cm by 42 cm long infographic, bearing vintage illustrations, is folded twice and fitted into an custom envelope. Over 400 couples all over the UK have told their story in this form.


IMAGE: RSVP Candy Retro Polaroid

How about sending your wedding invites like a polaroid. A polaroid sleeve keeps your wedding photo, the invite, RSVP card, map to the venue and other "pieces" of information together in this cute, modern and cheeky way to ask people to save the date.


IMAGE: ElloThere on Etsy Engraved Invite

Here’s an engraved invitation, though not on paper. The invitation is engraved and cut into a 4 mm clear acrylic sheet while the envelope is separately designed and printed with a digital printer. The invite is designed by the groom himself for his wedding back in 2013.


IMAGE: Marcelo Gonçalves Miguel The Recipe For Love

Any successful concoction is made up of the right ingredients and the right methods – relationships included! Hence, it is perfectly fitting for a wedding invite to be made into a recipe. This one is a recipe printed on what looks like a chopping board, great for a foodie couple.


IMAGE: Joan Lim Scratch It Off

Let your guests have some fun and scratch the date of your wedding on your invitation card. Here’s a handy DIY guide for you to create this with metallic acrylic paint and dishwashing liquid.


IMAGE: Martha Stewart Weddings A Bubbly Invite

Now here is an invite that may leave you out of breath. It’s a Save the Date sent via balloon. The details are printed onto the balloons, then all you need to do is pick a color. Now that’s what I call a bubbly invitation.


IMAGE: not on the high street Film Canister Invitation

This is a brilliant idea to send a wedding invitation inside an old metal film canister. It takes a bit of winding up to get the whole strip in but it is going to leave guests in awe when they pull out the full invite. Even the canister itself can be designed to be part of the wedding theme.


IMAGE: Oh so lovely blog Brochure Wedding Invitation

This cool wedding invite is designed by the bride and groom like it is a modern brochure. Each piece carries beautiful images and typography and although I’m not sure if the images in these wedding invites are of the bride and groom’s own album. That would be great way to personalize it though, wouldn’t it?


IMAGE: Paper and Place Say It With A Can

An invite in a can – now tell me this isn’t interesting. Apart from serving as an envelope for the wedding invite, guests also receive instructions to tie the cans to the back of the couple’s car for the ceremonial "Just Married" drive-away.


IMAGE: Chris Trivizas Board Game & Cookies

Tell your guests that you’re going to get married in a form of an edible board game! The game board elements, spinner, tokens and playing cards are all cookies and you can actually play the game. It’s a "sweet" way to invite your friends to your wedding party.


IMAGE: Layered Bake Shop Bird Pattern Record with Sleeve Invitation

This wedding invitation made of a record with a creative sleeve will show your love for music and vintage things. The wedding invite itself is printed on the record, which is made of paper so it doesn’t play like the one you saw previously, but still, how often do you see your name printed on a record?


IMAGE: ElloThere Hankerchief Map Invite

Here is another invite fit for the couple who loves to travel. It is basically a map to the wedding venue printed on a hankerchief. And despite what you think of the material, the outcome looks stunning, plus, unlike other wedding invites which end up as part of the decor or get thrown away, you can actually reuse this wedding invite.


IMAGE: Kelli Anderson A September Love Story

This invitation with an amazing-looking sleeve contains all the favourite love songs from the couple inside a vinyl record. A truly personal approach and a heartfelt way to tell the guests how they want them all to be part of their moment of unity. The sleeve also shows the groom and bride’s illustrated portrait inside a heart.


IMAGE: Veronica Angelescu






20 Highly Addictive Mobile Games You Have to Try

hongkiat.com - wo, 27/05/2015 - 12:01

Every day we wake up to a gamescape that’s teeming with new entries, which makes that perfect-match game more and more elusive. If you haven’t tried gamifying your phone experience, research shows you really should give it a go, for the sake of your sanity if nothing else – and one of the best reasons to do so is to relieve stress.

Whether you’re anxious or not, you’ll agree that, whenever you’re tied up in a traffic jam or commuting to work by mass transit, boredom can get the better of you. So why not pull up this helpful list of game apps and download a few, for the fun of it?

Alto’s Adventure

Alto’s Adventure is an endless snowboarding journey that is a result of a bunch of llamas getting away from the protagonist. The mountain shepherd is a whiz with the snowboard, scaling the mountainside landscape in the midst of soothing music and beautiful visuals.

The Toronto-based developers (Ryan Cash and Jordan Rosenberg) going by the name of Snowman started out with productivity app Checkmark, then went on to games via Circles and Super Squares. For Alto, they got help on the design side by Harry Nesbitt – and the ensuing game soon gained traction: the trailer itself passed the 100,000 views mark 3 days after the big release!

[Download: iOS]

Ridiculous Fishing

Indie Dutch developer Vlambeer’s crazy fish angler ride, Ridiculous Fishing, lets you virtually blow your catch to smithereens, no release, just instant gratification. Now there’s no need for you to get up at the crack of dawn to catch the tasty finned morsels.

The quirky visuals and suitably eerie music will get your head in a game at all hours: just power up, keep calm and cast a wide net! It made 2013’s "Game of the Year" and dubbed "a heroic quest for glory and gills".

[Download: Android | iOS]

Mr Jump

From the already roster-heavy game developing trio 1Button, came Mr. Jump, a game banking on the ever popular one-tap mechanic and never amiss streamlined graphics that are so easy on the eyes.

The game’s an uncluttered no brainer, featuring a blank, square-headed avatar that predictably hops forward as best it can to avoid the precipices and hurdles that are deviously peppered along the way.

[Download: iOS]

Two Dots

Released in May 2014, Two Dots is a basic connect-the-dots game. The title pair of dots get dragged across all sorts of uniquely minimalist gameverses, tundras and jungles among them, where a new bit of trouble can always crop up out of left field. With more than 185 levels to get through, each with varying, unpredictable mechanics, Two Dots was "created with the notion that beauty and fun are not mutually exclusive."

The team has kept busy, coming up with new levels on a regular basis and updating the dedicated Tumblr blog with inventive new posts (even a webcomic!). The game is also available as a Facebook game.

[Download: Android | iOS | Amazon

Lastronaut

Lastronaut tells the apocalyptic journey of a pixelated last-man-standing protagonist got a lot of traction on the back of its nice-looking 8-bit graphics and relentlessly catchy gameplay.

Developed as something of an experiment, with the first-time devs trying to answer the question whether a free-to-play game with no pay involved at any level, ever, would take off, Lastronaut was launched to great, immediate acclaim and one million downloads, one week after launch!

[Download: iOS]

Beyond Ynth

Beyond Ynth features a half-airworthy, frustratingly slow bug that you’ll need to guide through to the end of each level by having it move boxes around while avoiding getting squashed under them – basic, but focus-grabbing stuff.

Beyond Ynth was published by FDG Entertainment 5 years ago, and had picked up both the Excellence in Gameplay and the Grand-Prix awards at the 7th International Mobile Gaming Awards. Coming on the heels of the critical darling Ynth, the beautifully-illustrated (at times hand-drawn) 80-level epic hasn’t needed much in the way of promotion.

[Download: Android | iOS]

Powder

Powder makes you a skier who races downhill, gathering points the longer you stay upright. It’s set against a snow-capped mountainous background that really excels in terms of glacial stylishness.

Conceived by the creative pair of indie devs Dave Chenell and Eric Cleckner, working out of New York, the game’s, as they put it, "simultaneously soothing and stressful". The game had more than 200,000 downloads in the first week and was featured by Apple in more than 15 countries.

[Download: iOS]

Timberman

Digital Melody’s Timberman, an arcade game with old-school graphics and a pixel-artsy feel that I know many will enjoy, has been unsurprisingly gobbled up like hot cakes on the app stores. You get to play as a burly lumberjack, chopping at a tree that keeps going on forever. It sounds like simple gameplay, which is probably why it is super addictive.

Created by Pawel Kitajewski, creative director for the Polish digital interactive agency Digital Melody, it has had an impressive uptake, boasting over 15 million players, and got named one of the best games to have landed on the Apple store in 2014. There’s now a host of Timberman items you can buy, T-shirts and iPhone cases that bear its pixelated insignia.

[Download: Android | iOS

Game About Squares

Game about Squares is an indie game from developer Andrey Shevchuk. Featuring thoroughly graspable gameplay – getting squares lined up with same-colored circles – the added bonus (or, some say, annoyance) of funny messages dotted along the way, and a helpful version for the colorblind among us, have helped his puzzler compete with the bigger guns out there.

With 36 puzzles to fiddle around with, GAS boasts an exceptional level design, but its zero-to-hero fame may have been triggered by its showing up on Hacker News (it was soon after being picked up by Reddit).

[Download: Android | iOS]

Swipey Circle

Aside from being a game that hones reflexes and hews to the trend of rapid-fire hand-eye coordination, it’s the messages that accompany the player’s wins and losses that make Swipey Circle stand out from the pack.

The devs have the gameplay and art down pat, with their game matching the trends in all relevant categories: from level design to smooth-looking graphics, fast-paced, pull-your-hair-out-grueling and patience-testing gameplay and beyond. Swipe your way to the top!

[Download: Android | iOS]

Mikey Hooks

BeaverTap Games pays tribute to Super Mario Bros, from visuals to soundtrack, with this coin-collector game, Mikey Hooks, that harks back to the age of Nintendos. It was released in August 2013, as a follow-up to the equally successful Mickey Shorts.

The platformer created by Mike Meade and Mike Gaughen is full of hooks and swings, with spikes and robots lurking at every corner, to guarantee you won’t call it quits until the game is well and truly over. The nostalgia is kept alive through a jingly OST which will tug at heartstrings while keeping you wanting more. More and more gold coins, that is.

[Download: Android & iOS]

Turbo Bugs 2

Turbo Bugs 2 can at times be just as frustrating as any adult-targeted endless runner out there. That, added to the cute factor that the bug’s slice of life has well cornered, results in a ride that, while not terribly original in terms of gameplay, keeps your heartbeat elevated and your eyes at ground level, hot on the heels of the lead bug.

From the Bulgarian devs at Zariba, Turbo Bugs 2, through its bug’s eye view and well-drawn, cartoonish characters, stands out from the pack. If you can’t put it down even when the clock’s run out on your coffee break, don’t feel guilty, it’s not just you!

[Download: Android | iOS]

Boson X

In Boson X, you play as a scientist, suit, tie and in active pursuit of the elusive Higgs boson. Not at all as boring as this description might lead you to imagine, the app will have you quantum-leaping forward into a ceiling- and floor-less race, at an ever-increasing pace.

Launched by Mu and Heyo (namely, Ian MacLarty and Jon Kerney) 2 years ago, the game itself took 3 years to make, since the developers had day jobs. Just as well, since soon after its launch, enough accolades came in to make them feel the moonlighting was worth it.

[Download: Android | iOS]

Free The Network

Described as an endless runner, it would actually be more accurate to pin FTN down as an endless… roller – as it features a ball that the user has to nudge down a revolving rolling pin of torture, spikes and everything gruesome! It’s the second game from the Scottish brainy youngsters of Pixel Blimp, who’ve previously launched the popular Wee Paper Planes.

[Download: Android | iOS]

Zenith

The game Zenith is a space adventure that has players steering a ship around the many various obstacles you’re likely find in outer space, where physics count but the laws of gravity don’t apply. The quest is equal parts classy minimalist graphics and gameplay frustration.

Zenith, a space adventure that has many playing already (after its March launch), was the result of a bet Android developer Matt Kula made with himself, that he could try his hand at iOS and make something worthwhile.

[Download: iOS]

Dwelp

Launched just a few months ago, the paid indie puzzler Dwelp by Roundabyte, aka Romanian developer Alex Blaj, has been on a roll ever since, with users raving about its original game mechanics and smooth-looking graphics. The puzzler has been growing steadily by word of month and recently has even been featured as Starbucks’ pick of the week.

[Download: iOS]

David

David features a square as the unlikely anti-hero that slingshots attacks onto larger-than-life evil shapes. Developed by Andrew Armstrong (of FermenterGames) and launched in April 2014, David is equal parts Angry Birds, Shadow of the Colossus and Limbo.

Lauded for its minimalist design and counterintuitively thrilling adventures, everything about this game – the story, gameplay and gameverse – screams passion and 100% devotion to the craft.

[Download: iOS]

Eliss Infinity

Developed by Little Eyes LLC in late 2013 and released on iOS first, the use of multitouch in Eliss Infinity is off the charts, and its continued reign is not for nothing: putting the command of Universes in the hands of the player, developer Steph Thirion has made a gem that seems impossible to beat.

[Download: Android | iOS]

VVVVVV

Created by Terry Cavanagh, an Irish indie developer, VVVVVV is a platformer with spot-on bare-bones pixel graphics, that defies gravity and thankfully has an auto-save function in place to avoid any unnecessary frustration pile-ups.

The game capitalizes on a low-fi retro-nostalgic trend, while the minimalist graphics go hand in hand with its original, ever surprising game mechanics and a real earworm of a chiptune track by Souleye. Check out the demo here.

[Download: iOS]

Emoji Cosmos

Grachev’s Emoji Cosmos isn’t taxing on the brain, but it does get crazy fun, crazy fast – or, as Wired elegantly put it, it’s got "the addictiveness of Flappy Bird and the hipness of emoji." How’s that for a winning combo?

Ivan Grachev, a 19-year-old computer science student at Moscow State University, designed the characters of his game as emojis that he then had man a spaceship and, while soaring upwards into space, try to eschew incoming obstacles.

[Download: iOS]








10 Pocket-Sized Yet Powerful Mini Computers

hongkiat.com - di, 26/05/2015 - 15:22

Our daily activities are so powered by our computers and mobile devices that it was only a matter of time before mini PCs came to be. Like their much larger, old school counterparts, these mini computers carry processors, operating systems, RAM and even storage media but only need a fraction of the power supply to function, and also a fraction of the price tag to own.

They are also great space savers (which was the main point) and are usually not as noisy. That said, they could hardly take over the computer you are working on right now, and once they are out of the box, you will need to find peripheral devices (keyboard, mouse, screen, and the power supply) to start using these mini computers.

But for those who are on a tight budget or who are always on the go, perhaps these mini computers are the solution they seek. Here are 10 mini PCs that show you how far computers have, and can, shrink.

1. Hannspree

It is just a little bigger than a USB flash drive and it is equipped with an Intel Bay Trail processor with quad core for faster processing power, along with 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of media storage. Plus, it comes with Windows 8 installed.

To use, just plug Hannspree into the HDMI port in your monitor or TV screen, and you can use it as your personal computer. (Price: $177)

The Specs
  • Processor: Intel Atom Z3735F quad-core
  • Memory: 4 GB
  • Space: 32 GB eMMC
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 (preinstaled)
  • Dimensions: 110.9 mm x 38 mm x 9.8 mm
2. Intel® Compute Stick

The Intel Computer Stick transforms your TV into a full computer. It uses a Quad Core processor from the Intel® Atom™ series. You can choose whether Windows 8 OS or Ubuntu 14.04. Windows has 2 GB RAM and 32 GB of on-board storage while the Ubuntu Linux version only has 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage. Need more storage? Use the microSD card slot to get more.

One reported drawback that it has is that it has only 1 USB port, so you might need a hub if you want to plug in your keyboard and mouse together. (Price: $149 for Windows; $110 for Linux)

The Specs
  • Processor & RAM: Intel® Atom™ Processor Z3735F
  • Memory: 2 GB (Windows) and 1 GB (Ubuntu)
  • Space: 32 GB eMMC
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 with Bing & Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
  • Dimensions: 103 mm x 37 mm x 12 mm
3. MINIX NEO Z64

MINIX is a manufacturer of products mainly for the TV box but interestingly, the MINIX Z64 is equipped with Windows 8.1 which allows a TV box to also function like a computer. It comes with 32 GB of eMMC built-in storage, 2 GB of DDR3L memory and a 64-bit Intel Z3735F processor.

With this little device you can enjoy full 1080 HD videos and also the XBMC media center. (Price: $161.90)

The Specs
  • Processor: Intel Z3735F (64-bit)
  • Memory: 2 GB
  • Space: 32 GB eMMC
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 with Bing (32-bit)
4. Zotac ZBOX PI320

Zotac ZBOX PI320 is from the Zotac Pico mini-PC series. Its size is small enough to fit in your pocket, so you can take it wherever you go. It comes assembled with a Quad Core Intel Atom processor, runs on Windows 8 and it allows you to play HD videos.

It has 2 GB of RAM on-board a storage capacity for 32 GB but if you want more space you can add them via the provided MicroSD card slots. (Price: $168.99)

The Specs
  • Processor: Intel Atom quad-core
  • Memory: 2 GB
  • Space: 32 GB eMMC
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1
  • Dimensions: 7.1″ x 7.1″ x 2.3″
5. Vensmile iPC002

Need a super thin one? Here’s a mini computer that is only 10 mm thick. Vensmile iPC002 features an Atom Bay trail quad core CPU which runs Windows 8.1 (pre-installed) with Bing. It carries 2 GB RAM, and you can keep your files and data in its 32 GB media storage.

Vensmile includes a built-in 3000mAh rechargeable battery, so you don’t have to worry about power supply wherever you go with it. (Price: $118)

The Specs
  • Processor: Intel Atom Z3735F Quad-core
  • Memory: 2 GB
  • Space: 32 GB eMMC
  • Operating System: Windoes 8.1 with Bing
  • Dimensions: 151mm x 90mm x 10mm
6. Cloudsto X86 Nano Mini PC

Here’s a flat mini PC that can fit in the back pocket of your jeans. This mini computer from Cloudsto comes with two variety, one running Windows 8.1 and another version running Ubuntu 14.04. Don’t let the size fool you, it features 3 USB ports, Micro SD card slot and a 3.5mm headphone output. This mini computer runs on Intel Atom Z3735F Bay Trail processor with 2 GB of RAM.

The available storage is 32 GB, but is extendible with microSD. Cloudsto has a built-in 3000 mAh battery which you can even use to charge your smartphone. (Price: €129.99)

The Specs
  • Processor: Intel Atom Z3735F Quad-core
  • Memory: 2 GB
  • Space: 32 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 and Ubuntu 14.04
  • Dimensions: 148mm x 79mm x 9mm
7. Asus VivoMini UN62

VivoMini UN62 is equipped with Intel Core i3 or i5 with RAM of up to 16 GB. It also requires low power consumption and is pretty quiet enough, releasing only 26.3dB at full load; that’s 60% quieter than the average computer in the market. Its integration with SonicMaster Technology offers good sound quality and it can output 4K/UHD quality images to your screen.

Best of all, it can run on a power supply of only 6.95 Watts and it comes with fast-charging technology. (Price: $318.27)

The Specs
  • Processor: 4th Gen Intel® Core™ processors (Core i3 and i5)
  • Memory: 4 GB Up to 16 GB
  • Space: 32 GB Up to 256 GB mSATA SSD
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 Pro
  • Dimensions: 131mm x 131mm x 42mm
8. MSI Cubi

MSI Cubi computers are sold as "barebones" computers, which means you have to add the memory, storage, and operating systems yourself. Another way of looking at it is that you get to build your own computer and fit it with the specs you want. You can add between 2 GB and 16 GB of memory and install an additional 2.5" HDD for a bigger storage capacity. For the CPU, you can choose from:

  • Intel® Celeron™ 3205U
  • Intel® Pentium™ 3805U
  • Intel® Core i3™ 5005U
  • Intel® Core i5™ 5200U

It is a real quiet computer (the noise is only about 20.1 dB) and it consumes less than 30 Watts of power. (Price: from $168)

The Specs
  • Processor: Celeron, Pentium, or Core i3
  • Memory: 2 GB – 16 GB
  • Space: 2.5″ HDD/SSD
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1/7
  • Dimensions: 115mm x 111mm x 35mm
9. Meerkat

The Meerkat has an elegant and beautiful design, and has a size that is almost the same as the Cubi, just slightly taller. Like the MSI Cubi, Meerkat is a barebone computer. You can configure the hardware before buying it from its website. There are two processors available, Intel® Core i3-5010U or i5-5250U, and you can choose between 4 GB up to 16 GB of memory. For media storage, they offer SSD from 32 GB to 500 GB.

On the product site, you can also add other devices like monitor, speakers, keyboard and mouse. (Price: from $499)

The Specs
  • Processor: 5th Gen Intel® Core i3-5010U or i5-5250U
  • Memory: Up to 16 GB
  • Space: M.2 SATA SSD, 2.5" drive. Up to 2.5TB total
  • Operating System: Windows 8.1 with Bing
  • Dimensions: 114.3mm x 111.76mm x 48.26mm
10. Intel NUC

NUC or Next Unit of Computing is Intel’s take on the mini computer. Intel NUC NUC5i5RYK is equipped with the 5th Generation Intel Core i5-5250U processor. The kit doesn’t come with memory, storage and OS, so you need to install it yourself. You can plug in up to 16 GB RAM and for storage there are M.2 slots for SATA or PCle SSD.

If you want SSD/HDD in, you can opt for another taller model with a larger storage space. This computer integrates Intel HD Graphics 6000 which is good for 4K videos. (Price: $369)

The Specs
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-5250U
  • Memory: up to 16 GB
  • Dimensions: 4.5″ x 4.4″ x 1.3″
Now Read:
Building Your Own PC: 10 Things To Consider






10 Projects Showing Google Has The Future Figured Out

hongkiat.com - ma, 25/05/2015 - 15:01

Have a question? Ask Google. You can say that Google is the best search engine out there and no one would even argue with you. But Google isn’t just a search engine company anymore. Yes, of course it is also home to the ever-popular Android OS but Google’s reach is far beyond the online realm.

For many years now it has been trying to conquer the world’s heart when it comes to research, particularly in new sciences and technologies that would greatly benefit humanity. From a mere search engine that was almost sold to Yahoo! for $1 million to exploring space, Google sure has come a long way. And it isn’t stopping anytime soon. Let’s take a look at what Google has been up to.

AI In The Future

In the twenty-first century, the robot will take the place which slave labor occupied in ancient civilization. – Nikola Tesla

1. Robotics

Google appears to be building a robot army, and I’m not even kidding when I wrote that. Google first dabbled in robotics for their driverless cars. But later on, it acquired at least 8 robotics companies, including Boston Dynamics which is known to build Pentagon-funded advanced robots. Here’s a recently released video of Spot created by Boston Dynamics.

As of this writing Google has been successfully awarded the patent to “control robot armies“. They have also patented building robots with personalities. And they are doing a lot more behind the scenes. Should we be worried? Well…

Google is actually pushing for flawless autonomous machines which could interact with each other, download updates from their server, and many more things. Think of Google’s self-driving cars with the ability to communicate with each other while on the road, predicting routes, avoiding collisions, managing traffic on their own

And then there’s these robots with personalities, which is a bit on the creepy side because it could mimic the dead. Alright, to be fair, these robots will "carry" transferable personalities by people who have passed on. Perhaps this can be helpful in easing the grief of people who have suffered a sudden and heavy loss?

2. Self-Driving Cars

The stir about electric and autonomous cars has been around for a couple of years now. Big names like Volkswagen, Mercedes, Tesla, General Motors, and Google (of all companies) are pushing for driverless cars.

The goal everyone is aiming for is to solve the long-standing issue of people on the road. Yes, we are a danger to ourselves. Google’s self-driving cars have been involved in 11 minor accidents in the last 6 years, and none of them were reportedly caused by the car’s own fault.

By introducing autonomous cars on roads, cars which can compute faster than a hundred sober minds combined, road-related accidents may see a significant drop. Driverless cars will also significantly help those who do not have the capacity to drive, either because of health reasons, disabilities or old age.

Check out their YouTube channel and Google+ to follow their progress.

Space Exploration

"Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people." – Carl Sagan

3. Space Exploration – Lunar XPRIZE

The buzz about going to space has been in a hype, every since Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines and Elon Musk of Tesla and Space-X joined the space race. Google too has its eyes set on going back to space. In fact, Google has leased a NASA airfield for 60 years for a cost of $1.16 billion , with a promise to upgrade its facilities and help educate people about the importance of space exploration.

The plan was to go back to the moon, for good. And how are they going to do this? Via the Lunar XPRIZE and with the help of privately funded organizations. Basically, Google is offering a cash reward of $20 million to whoever accomplishes three things: land a robot on the surface of the Moon, make it move at least 500 meters on, above, or below the surface of the Moon, and finally send back HDTV streams to Earth for us to enjoy.

Smartphones

The explosion in access to mobile phones and digital services means that people everywhere are contributing vast amounts of information to the global knowledge warehouse. Moreover, they are doing so for free, just by communicating, buying and selling goods and going about their daily lives.” – Ban Ki-moon

4. Project Ara – Modular Phones

Tired of replacing your phone every six months or two years because of wear and tear or outdated technologies? That may be why you have been excited about Project Ara ever since it was announced. The concept is simple: treat a phone like it is a lego toy. Assemble the phone according to the parts you need enhanced.

For instance if you are a photographer, you could focus on upgrading your camera or lens, or if you are a music lover, you can aim for better speakers and audio quality or longer-lasting batteries for uninterrupted listening time. Instead of buying a phone that may not have the feature you are interested in most, have more control with a Project Ara phone.

Project Ara not only lets you “upgrade” the hardware you need most, it also ensures that you don’t have to change your whole smartphone just because one part is broken, which is essentially what forces most of us to change our phones in the first place anyways.

5. Project Tango – 3D Mapping

Project Tango aims to bring spatial awareness of the world around us to handheld devices. We can navigate to any corner of the world, and yet our devices don’t know the difference between up and down, left and right, or what’s beyond the horizon, since these devices "see" the world in 2D.

With Project Tango, mapping the world in real-time won’t be a problem. Imagine entering a building and as you walk inside it, your smartphone maps everything. The ceiling, floor, walls, and objects on your path.

To get an idea of what we can use this technology for, we will let the magic of movie science show you. Here’s a clip from the movie Prometheus where it shows exactly what Project Tango can be used for.

Health

"To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear." – Buddha

6. Calico – Immortality

Calico is a research and development company that was founded by Google Inc. and Arthur D. Levinson. Its focus is on aging and how to slow it, along with how to counteactr age-related diseases such as cancer and neurodegeneration via new therapies and treatments.

Not everyone is as supportive of what Calico is doing however. In a reddit Ask Me Anything, Bill Gates criticized the timing of Calico’s objectives: to deal with it right now while we are still trying to find ways to eradicate malaria and tuberculosis "seems pretty egocentric."

7. Liftware – Spoon for People with Parkinson’s Disease

Liftware is a self-stabilizing handle that can be used as a fork or a spoon, which is perfect for people who suffer from muscle problems, for instance patients of Parkinson’s Disease. The problem that all Parkinson’s Disease patients experience every day is their inability, or reduced capacity, to eat by themselves (depending on the severity of the disease).

Losing control of their motor skills makes feeding themselves that much harder than it is for those who do not suffer from the disease.

Not only does Liftware help reduce the spoon’s shaking by 70%, it also boosts a patient’s confidence, since they can simply eat anytime they want without anyone helping them.

The starter kit is priced at $295 with option for add-ons like fork and soup spoon.

8. Google Contact Lens

The main purpose of Google’s smart contact lens is to help monitor sugar levels on diabetics. It may seem like a small deal but if you suffer from diabetes, you will need to get give repeated blood samples for analysis of your blood sugar levels. This means a lot of finger pricking to draw blood up to the surface.

With the smart contact lens blood glucose levels can be measured through tears, thereby allowing the blood-letting method to be skipped altogether.

The idea is to have glitter-thin microchips and an antenna smaller than the human hair embedded in soft contact lens material. With round-the-clock monitoring, the smart contact lens, in the future, can also warn the wearer if glucose levels are above or below the normal range.

World Problems

This is the only place we live in, we better take care of it.

9. Makani – Google’s Airborne Wind Turbine

The Earth’s fossil fuel supply is dwindling fast, and the race is on to find alternative and more sustainable sources of energy. Google is facing this problem headlong and has turned its attention to the energy that can be harvested from wind.

But instead of windmills planted on large stretches of wind-filled lands, Google is taking its energy harvester to the air. Through their project Makani, Google wants to harness wind energy while in the air, as in while flying, using an airborne wind turbine, which is flown in the air like a kite.

The “energy kite” is tethered to the ground, just like a normal kite would be. As it gains more altitude, and therefore faces more wind, the energy output also increases. This is possible due to the recent advancements in the shrinking of computers (like Raspberry Pi). Cheaper and more energy efficient (in the manufacturing sense), Makani “energy kites” can be used in any windy area in the world.

10. Project Loon – Internet In A Balloon

The number of people who are connected to the internet is growing by the minute. And while more and more people are getting connected every year, the hard-hitting truth is that the majority of the world just isn’t part of the Internet population. Why? Because setting up the infrastructure is expensive, and many places in the world simply could not afford this luxury (which, is now deemed a human right by the way).

Project Loon tries to solve this problem by taking it to the stratosphere. By using balloons, Google plans to provide Internet connection to the whole world. It works by acting as a node between the base Internet Service Provider and those who have a receiver in their homes. The balloons fly 20 kilometers (around 13 miles) above the ground. And Loons, powered by solar energy, can use the wind in the stratosphere to “sail" across the land.

To The Future

So far, I have only mentioned a dozen of their projects, but in reality they have way more than that (and maybe even a few secret ones on Google X). The truth is, though, their projects come and go, and no matter how good some of these projects sound on paper, some do not see the light of day.

Others get cancelled just when they’ve gained popularity (or infamy, like Google Wave), but that’s what research and development is all about, right? In any case, the future is looking great, don’t you think so?








Behind the Signatures of Tech’s 25 Biggest Names

hongkiat.com - vr, 22/05/2015 - 17:01

Ever wonder how much you can tell from someone’s handwriting or signature? Whether a signature is of a full name, a nickname, just the initials or a scribble, each type says something about the person’s personality, as do undotted "i"s, pronounced capitals, legibility of the name and surname, or even the use of a period in the signature.

Myprint247 has done a quick and simple handwriting analysis for 25 big names in the tech industry, and they’ve put it in a infographic. Check out the infographic and find out what Tim Cook, Satya Nadella, Bill Gates and Reif Hoffman’s signatures have to reveal. Looking at this, do you ever wonder what secrets about your personality your signature might betray?








15 Voice-Controlled Gadgets

hongkiat.com - vr, 22/05/2015 - 12:01

As modern technologies become more intuitive, manufacturers create devices which can be activated and controlled by touch, specific gestures, and even your own voice. Today we decided to share with you a list of innovative tech gadgets which can be activated by the sound of your voice.

These voice-activated gadgets range from voice-commanded light fixtures that make traditional switches a thing of the past to voice-controlled smart watches and a listening personal assistant that talks back! So, scroll down and enjoy these gadgets that will have you tongue-tied.

1. Skully Smart Helmet

From smartphones, smartwatches to smart TVs, we are now seeing smart helmets! The Skully Smart Helmet is aimed to make motorcycle riding safer. The helmet is equipped with a heads-up display system with GPS navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, a full 180-degree rear view camera, and it’s all voice-controlled. [Pre-order at $1499]

You can see how the helmet works in real life in this video.

2. Homey

The Homey glowing orb is a product that will connect all your devices so you can manage them with the sound of your voice. With Homey you can adjust things like your Facebook statuses, light switches, thermostats, and more from one console. You can even give commands a few rooms away from the orb. [€299]

Watch the video to see Homey in action.

3. Ivee

Have you ever asked your morning alarm to shut up? And of course it never listens. Ivee is a smart alarm clock that does. You can turn it on or off with your voice. It also provides you with all your needed morning info, like news, weather, stocks, and more. [$199]

You can see how this voice-activated alarm smart works in the video below.

4. Sony SmartWatch 3

This smartwatch from Sony is all about voice control. It can assist you with details about weather, making hotel reservations, directions and more. What it can’t help you with the look of faces on the passers-by as they stare at you talking to your watch a lot. [$249]

I managed to find an in-depth review of this watch, so you can see how it works.

5. Samsung Smart TV

No more searching for the remote contorl, this should be how all TVs of the future function. You can operate your TV without pushing a button. Turn it on or off, change channels, access apps, and navigate the web on your TV using your voice. [$749-3499]

See the video below to discover more features.

6. Listnr: Your Listening Assistant

Listnr is your listening assistant. It reacts to claps, music, knocks, and even your voice. It will analyze what your baby said, recognize 4 types of expressions, and send notifications to your phone. This was a Kickstarter project until it was suspended in early March. The creators have since decided to produce Listnr without Kickstarter funding. The first shipment will arrive in fall. [not available to buy yet]

In this quite funny video you can see how Listnr works, in images.

7. Amazon Echo

Amazon Echo is something like Siri for your home. Echo can be activated with a special password, after which, you can dictate shopping lists, ask about the weather, stocks, news, or anything else that you might normally turn to Google for. [$199]

This item is my favourite in this collection. The Amazon Echo can play music, read your cooking recipes, check weather and time, answer questions, and a lot more things! See yourself!

8. Vocca Light

Vocca is a light switch that can turn any old lightbulb into a voice-activated one. No more fumbling in the dark to turn on the lights. It comes with a mobile app for managing your light bulbs, so you can schedule your lights on and off, or control them with your own voice. [$39.70]

Don’t argue about whose turn it is to turn of the lights. Vocca is here to solve this issue for good!

9. Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat with Voice Control

You can use your voice to control your home temperature via this Wi-Fi enabled smart thermostat. Alternatively, you can also use your smartphone, tablet or computer to make things warm and cozy. [$275]

See how to install and use this smart thermostat in the video below.

10. Moto Hint

Moto Hint is an accessory from Motorola which allows you to control your phone through a voice-activated earbud. You can keep the phone in your bag or pocket and let your voice do the rest. [$149.99]

The video review below is really detailed and helpful. You can see the voice-command features in action.

11. Plantronics K100 Bluetooth Speakerphone

This Bluetooth speaker is designed to be clipped onto your car’s visor. It has echo cancellation, making calls clearer on both ends. Also, the in-car speakerphone allows you to stream music and podcasts through its A2DP-enabled phones. Its hands-free feature also means safer driving. [$64.19]

This review shows it in action.

12. Cubic Robotics

Cubic works just like Amazon Echo, except it has a personality that you can converse with. It can manage your devices and apps, search the information you asked through the web, and emotionally support any interaction. Its Indiegogo fundraiser was a success and the first batch will be delivered end of 2015. [not available to buy yet]

The Cubic is similar to Amazon Echo, just differently designed. See for yourself in the video below.

13. LG Vacuum Cleaner

This is a cool vacuum cleaner for your home, one which can be activated and controlled by your voice! It has virtual walls and works quietly while you rest. Just order it to clean and it rids your hard surfaces and carpets of dirt dust and pet hair. You can run a few patterns of cleaning including spot cleaning for lifting dirt from filthy areas.[$709]

14. Dragon Drive

You can write emails while you drive — using your voice, I mean! Dragon Drive lets you dictate messages and emails while you drive with both hands on the wheel. BMW not included though. [$199.99]

The video below shows how the Dragon Drive works.

15. Girl Tech Password Journal 8

Finally, here’s one for tech savvy girls looking for a safe outlet to vent their thoughts and opinions. This modern girly diary keep secrets better than any other diaries made before. It’s activated by the owner’s voice. You need to say your password out loud to open the diary. [£17.99]

Here’s a review done by a little girl.








Display Time and Web: How to Do It Right

hongkiat.com - do, 21/05/2015 - 15:01

We come across them dates and time… well, every day. When it comes to the Web, you can spot them in your mobile apps, in emails, in your messaging apps and many other places. Yet in spite of seeing date and time every day and everywhere, we have yet to adopt a universal format for it.

For example, if I write 10/05/2015, you can never be sure if that "10" is the month or the date unless I tell you where I am from. Sometimes the format changes, other times the language.

It is of importance that as web developers we pay attention to the date and time that we deal with in our projects, so that we can cater them to different geographic inhabitants without any conflict. In this post we’ll be discussing what to avoid and what to embrace when it comes to displaying date-time.

Globalization

Let’s say we don’t want to convert and show different date and time formats to different viewers across the world, what can we do? We pick one global format and stick with it. Here is where some standards come into play. Before we get to that, I must advise that W3C recommends that we use the ISO 8601 date format with UTC timezone.

ISO 8601

ISO 8601 describes an internationally accepted way to represent dates and times using numbers.

And the format for complete date is; YYYY-MM-DD, for example: 2015-07-28

YYYY = 4 digit year
MM = 2 digit month (01=January, etc.)
DD = 2 digit day (01 to 31)

For complete date-time;YYYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ss.s, for example: 2015-07-28T21:15:18.45

T = To separate date and time according to ISO 8601
mm = 2 digit minute (00 through 59)
ss = 2 digit second (00 through 59)
s = Decimal fraction of a second, 1 or more digits

Please note that as no timezone has been mentioned in the above example so it is to be assumed that the time is in the local timezone. If you have decided to use UTC timezone, just add Z to the value to denote UTC

For example: 2015-07-28T21:15:18.45Z

But if you wish to display local time, then you can add a timezone offset for UTC to the value in the formats +hh:mm or -hh:mm as needed.

For example: Let us assume 2015-07-28T21:15:18.45 is in the EST (Eastern Standard Time) timezone which lags 5 hours behind UTC timezone.

To represent it with UTC offset we write 2015-07-28T21:15:18.45-05:00 which is equivalent to the UTC time 2015-07-29T02:15:18.45Z.

Again Z is appended to represent that the date-time displayed is in UTC time.

UTC vs. GMT

They both are same yet different. By now you have probably come across GMT at least once; while setting up the date-time in your mobile phone or computer. It is the most popular timezone recognized worldwide since it has been in existence longer than UTC.

While some may say that they both are the same but they are not, UTC is a successor of GMT and is maintained by the International Telecommunications Union. It is advised to refer to time based on UTC and not GMT.

Use The Name Of The Months

The ISO standard only used numbers in the date representation to avoid any language conflicts. But, if the contents of your web application is going to be in English, then you should consider writing down months in English rather than in numbers.

Instead of 2015-07-28, 28, July, 2015 is easier to understand by many, and less confusing.

Localization

There are times when we want to be very specific with our services and would like to represent the date and time in local timezones and languages. There are many libraries and APIs available for web developers to make use of and display the dates and times as per the accessing region.

You can get the browser default locale either by interpreting the Accept-Language request header or through the navigator.language or navigator.browserLanguage JavaScript object, but the best method is to let the user choose a locale in your application since the former ways are not very reliable.

Once you have the locale, you can format the date time according to it, for example using the Internationalization API, you can format a date using toLocaleDateString in JavaScript, for instance, myDate.toLocaleDateString('ko-KR') will return a formatted date in the format used in Korea by Korean-speaking natives.

Daylight Savings Time (DST)

In certain countries daylight savings time is done by forwarding the clocks by an hour in summer to make use of the extra sunlight available. Be aware of DST to keep up with the local times in your services.

No Two-Digit Year

While customizing the date and time for localization do not use the two-digit format for the year at any point. We are already in the 21st century. Using years like 64, 99 etc. will be troublesome in future. If you already have a two-digit year system in place consider changing it.

Leap Year And Other Calendars

Let us end this post with some miscellaneous things to remember while dealing with dates. If you are not using any library or API for dates and like to deal with them on your own (which is not recommended nonetheless), do not forget to show the 29th of February in the input for the leap years.

Also, it is worth noting that the Gregorian calendar is not the only form of calendar available and used all over the world. There are few regional calendars that the locals follow, especially when it comes to festivities.

References






How to Serve Google Fonts For Visitors From China

hongkiat.com - do, 21/05/2015 - 12:01

The reason we are using Google API to serve libraries such as jQuery and Web Fonts is that it serves fast through Google’s reliable infrastructures. It is used almost everywhere, and so much that some users may already have the cache stored in their browser, which makes the libraries load even faster.

Unfortunately, that is not the case in China. The China government closed access to many of Google’s services including Google API in 2014. Chances are that your website may appear partially broken in China because the jQuery and web fonts hosted in Google are inaccessible.

In this post, we are going to see how to bypass China’s "digital" Great Wall, so our website can run like how it is viewed outside of China. We will be using an alternative font library that mirrors Google Fonts and libraries, but first we will need to put in some measures to identify users who hail from China.

Identifying User Location

To begin with, we will need to find where our visitor is from and to do so, we will be using this WIPMania API that allows the retrieval of a visitor’s geolocation, including their country name:

$.getJSON('http://api.wipmania.com/jsonp?callback=?', function (data) { swal('You are from', data.address.country); });

We use jQuery $.getJSON to call the API. We then pass data.address.countrywhich should tell us where the visitor is from. Here is a demo.

Providing Alternative Web Font Source

So now that we can retrieve our visitor location, we’re going to replace Google Fonts with Useso libraries, a CDN service that mirrors Fonts and Libraries from Google API, to serve visitors from China.

At this stage, we still have our font styles pointing to Google API:

<link href='http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Oswald:400,300,700' rel='stylesheet' type='text/css'>

We will replace the href within the link element with a JavaScript function.

function replaceGoogleCDN() { $('link').each(function(){ var $intial = $(this).attr('href'), $replace = $intial.replace('//fonts.googleapis.com/', '//fonts.useso.com/'); $(this).attr('href', $replace); }); }

This function replaces each link to refer to //fonts.useso.com/ in place of pointing to Google API address, //fonts.googleapis.com/.

The function will run only when the visitor is from CN, China’s international country code.

$.getJSON('http://api.wipmania.com/jsonp?callback=?', function (data) { if ( data.address.country_code == 'CN' ) { replaceGoogleCDN(); } });

We are all set. Now, visitors from China will be served fonts via //fonts.useso.com/ which is not blocked by the Chinese government.








50 Astrophotography Photos

hongkiat.com - wo, 20/05/2015 - 17:01

The Earth is a beautiful place; the Universe, spectacular. Nothing could make whatever problems and worries you have, seem and feel less significant than the thought of Earth being a mere speck in the vastness of the Universe. That, and stellar astrophotography photos like what you see in this post.

The truth is though that the colors of these astrophotographs may not be as what you see them. In truth, we won’t be able to see much of the "colors" that make up the sights in the Universe. Our eyes are not capable of "seeing" wavelengths in the infrared or gamma-rays regions. Our appreciation of color is limited to a small portion of the spectrum.

Nonetheless, scientists have "translated" the images taken in and of space into the forms of colors that our brain can see and interpret. These color-corrected images make up what we understand of the cosmos and faraway galaxies, nebulae and other heavenly bodies. Here are 50 of the most beautiful shots they have of our Universe, get ready to be dazzled.

NGC6888 The Crescent Nebula

IMAGE: astrodoc.ca

NGC2403

IMAGE: astrodoc.ca

M15 Globular Cluster

IMAGE: astrodoc.ca

Small Magellanic Cloud

IMAGE: astrodoc.ca

NGC2174 and NGC2175 Nebula

IMAGE: astrodoc.ca

NGC949

IMAGE: ESA Hubble & NASA

M45, The Pleiades

IMAGE: astrodoc.ca

Andromeda M31

IMAGE: Jean Jacquinot

M52 and The Bubble Nebula

IMAGE: astrodoc.ca

Orion’s Sword

IMAGE: astrodoc.ca

Hickson 44 Galaxy Group

IMAGE: astrodoc.ca

Galaxies Collide in the Antennae Galaxies (NASA, Chandra, Hubble, Spitzer, 08/05/10)

IMAGE: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy Passes the Star Rukbah and the Open Clusters M103 and NGC 663

IMAGE: Joseph Brimacombe

NGC6604 – Open Cluster in Serpens

IMAGE: Bill McSorley

M31 Andromeda Galaxy “Neighbor of a Grand Design”

IMAGE: Terry Hancock

Black Hole Blasts Hole in Galaxy Cluster (Redux: NASA, Chandra, 11/02/06)

IMAGE: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

Monster Galaxy at the Heart of Perseus Cluster (NASA, Chandra, 08/20/08

IMAGE: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

Center of the Milky Way Galaxy (NASA, Chandra, 11/10/09)

IMAGE: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

M101 The Pinwheel Galaxy in LRGB + HA

IMAGE: Terry Hancock

Milky Way Galaxy Over Mauna Kea

IMAGE: Shane Black

Spiral Galaxies “Ultraluminous X-ray sources” (ULXs)

IMAGE: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

M81 (NGC 3031) Bode’s Galaxy

IMAGE: Terry Hancock

MyCn18: An Hourglass Planetary Nebula

IMAGE: R. Sahai and J. Trauger

Trio Leo

IMAGE: Philippe Durville

Mystic Mountain Dust Pillars

IMAGE: Hubble Legacy Archive, NASA, ESA

Along the Cygnus Wall

IMAGE: Jimmy Walker

Sharpless 249 and the Jellyfish Nebula

IMAGE: César Blanco González

Star Formation in the Tadpole Nebula

IMAGE: WISE, IRSA, NASA

Sh2-155: The Cave Nebula

IMAGE: Bill Snyder

Moon and Earth from Chang’e 5-T1

IMAGE: Chinese National Space Administration

The Cat’s Eye Nebula from Hubble

IMAGE: NASA, ESA, HEIC, and The Hubble Heritage Team

Titan Beyond the Rings

IMAGE: Cassini Imaging Team, ISS, JPL, ESA, NASA

Messier 20 and 21

IMAGE: Lorand Fenyes

The Horsehead Nebula

IMAGE: John Chumack

Sharpless 308: Star Bubble

IMAGE: Jeff Husted

M106 Close Up

IMAGE: Adrian Zsilavec, Michelle Qualls, Adam Block

Comet Lovejoy Before Galaxy M63

IMAGE: Damian Peach

IC 5067 in the Pelican Nebula

IMAGE: César Blanco González

Perseid Meteors Over Ontario

IMAGE: Darryl Van Gaal

Io’s Surface: Under Construction

IMAGE: Galileo Project, JPL, NASA

Thor’s Helmet

IMAGE: Martin Rusterholz

IC 1805: The Heart Nebula

IMAGE: Terry Hancoc

Herschel’s Andromeda

IMAGE: ESA/Herschel/PACS & SPIRE Consortium, O. Krause, HSC, H. Linz

LL Ori and the Orion Nebula

IMAGE: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team

A Halo for NGC 6164

IMAGE: Don Goldman

NGC 2736: The Pencil Nebula

IMAGE: ESO

Total Solar Eclipse

IMAGE: Eyetothesky

Comet Lovejoy

IMAGE: zeFinn

NGC 6888: The Crescent Nebula

IMAGE: J-P Metsavainio

The Sombrero Galaxy in Infrared

IMAGE: R. Kennicutt (Steward Obs.) et al., SSC, JPL, Caltech, NASA






25 Chrome Extensions For Awesome New Tabs

hongkiat.com - wo, 20/05/2015 - 12:36

We previously wrote about new tab browser extensions that you can get for Chrome and Firefox. Since then, more and more extensions are popping up, offering a variety of content that will display itself whenever you open a new Chrome tab on your browser.

In this post, I’ve pull together 25 Chrome tab extensions that can help you be more organized, be more relaxed, learn more things and even a few that will give you a laugh or two. Say goodbye to empty newly opened tabs and say hello to better days with more useful and effective replacements.

Personal Dashboard – Momentum

Get greeted with a cool personal dashboard and a stunning background that brightens your day. You can add your main focus for the day, a regular to-do list, a weather widget, quick links, also great quotes.

Timezone Checks – Figure it Out

FIO lets you see the current time of locations around the world based on your choices. It works best for teams that work remotely and across continents, and who may need help figuring out the timezones of their colleagues.

Task Manager – Taco

Get access to all your tasks from multiple task management tools, all in one spot using Taco. It will bring your tasks from Asana, Basecamp, GitHub, Gmail, OmniFocus, Trello, Zendesk and 40+ others, all on the new tab you open.

Personal Dashbaord – Cardboard

Get customized cards that let you quickly access important things in your browser, such as bookmarks, browser history, recent downloads, and many others. You can simply add them via the plus button on the right bottom. Cardboard has a beautiful interface design similar to Google’s Material Design.

Online Activity Tracker – Be Limitless

Be Limitless collects information about your activities online and gives you a report on how much time you "wasted" on certain sites, as well as suggestions on what you can do to improve your productivity. Also features a to-do list, reminders and countdown timer.

Personal Dashboard – iChrome New Tab

iChrome allows you to customize a new tab with stunning themes and dozens of useful widgets. There are available widgets for weather, stock, news, to-do list, quotes, and many others. It’s easy to install and customize, and you need only drag-and-drop to reorder them.

To-Do List – Prioritab

For the disorganized soul or for those who really love organizing things, Prioritab is for you guys. Every new tab page is a reminder of your priorities. You can add things you need to finish today, this week or this month.

Personal Dashboard – Speed Dial 2

With Speed Dial 2 you are easily access your most visited pages, bookmarks and browsing history. The design is clean, intuitive and customizable, it’s easy to change the column, size, and others, as well as to customize the themes. You even can browse all the bookmarks via mobile by going to this link.

Reading List – Noosfeer

Noosfeer is a reading list with a simple design and a stunning background. You can choose the topics you want to follow, and Noosfer will shows them to you on every new tab. The preview page is simple and clean yet beautiful.

To-Do List – Wunderlist

Love Wunderlist? Get it on your new tab with this plugin. You can now add and show your next to-do activity, filter your to-do into work, shopping, wishlist and others, just like in the original app.

Inspiration Background – Juicy Drops

Like to look at pictures instead? Juicy Drop fills your new tab with a single beautiful photo from any Instagram feed. The photo will change every few seconds. You can choose the photos you want to display based on a tag or username, or your own photos, or Juicy Drops’ favorite picks.

Inspiration Background – Wandertab

Whenever you open a new tab, Wandertab shows you a stunning picture from an amazing place as well as how much it costs to go there. Probably not the best tab to get if you hate being cooped up in the office though.

Content Curator – Panda 4

Panda 4 lets you stay up to date with the latest or most popular content from top sites for designer, developers, and entrepreneurs e.g. the best shots from Dribbble or Awwwards. You can change the layouts to match your style. Browsing everything worth reading in one place.

Content Curator – Muzli

Muzli gives you all the design inspiration that you need. It give you the freshest and the best shots in design from around the Web. You can easily filter from the source site, found on the left sidebar, or just browse Muzli picks.

Inspiration Background – Exposure New Tab

Exposure is a site that allows its users to create or upload beautiful photos with narratives. This cool extension will show you a beautiful photo from Exposure every time you open a new Chrome tab. If you want more stories about the photo shown just click the link to the rest of the photo narrative.

Inspiration Background – Ritual

If you want to make your new tab more beautiful but don’t want it cluttered by widget, text or another, then you can try Ritual. It will display fresh and beautiful photos from Unsplash.

Instagram Feed – Instatab

Your instagram feed displayed right in your New Tab. What’s not to like? It has a simple yet beautiful layout. Want to give a like to a photo or video? Just double click like you do on the Instagram app.

Content Curator – Behance

This extension displays inspiration you need from Behance. You can sort based on featured image, most featured, most appreciated, most viewed, most discussed, or newest image.

Content Curator – Dribbble

Get the most popular shots in Dribbble, the newest shot, your followers shot, and also your own shots and likes.

Learn Something New – Random Wikipedia Tab

Increase your knowledge with a random Wikipedia page every time you open a new tab. You learn something new every day, right? You can change the language to your own; otherwise it defaults to English.

Daily Q&A – FlashTabs

Make learning an everyday part of your life with FlashTabs. Each new tab will flash you a question with the answer hidden. If you give up, just show the answer and basically, you learn something new each and every day. You can add your own questions too.

Learn Japanese – Mainichi

Mainichi lets you learn Japanese language in an easy and fun way. Rather than trying to force in a lesson in your already busy schedule, every new tab will show a card with an object and its name in Japanese, complete with Romaji script. Your vocabulary will be fabulous.

Adopt A Pet – Bark Buddy

If you are a dog lover, this extension will show you the nearest fluffy singles from your location. Every opened new tab will display a cute puppy photo aong with its identity and ready for adoption.

Get Animated GIFs – AnimatedTabs

Lets turn your boring new tab screen into something fun. With animatedTabs a new awesome GIF will show on every new tab. You can customize the image caption, and even share this find with your friends via social media.

Get Sound Effects – Tab cola

Don’t like to read or look at pictures? Try this extension instead. It plays a cool sound effect whenever a new tab is opened, for instance Cola cans being opened.

Now Read:
40 Useful Google Chrome Extensions for Web Designers






10 Cool Things HTML Tags Can Do

hongkiat.com - di, 19/05/2015 - 15:01

At the moment there are a total of 142 HTML elements standardized by W3C excluding the ones in the initial phases of standardization and those that went obsolete. That said, it is possible to miss or forget few of them that can be useful when needed.

Earlier we did a recap of some of the best CSS tricks you might have overlooked. This post will remind you some of the HTML tags that you didn’t know you could use to implement features such as:

1. Map Images

The HTML <map> elements can be used to create image maps. Image maps are basically images with clickable areas on them, that can be hyperlinked to another web page or other parts of the same document. You can define which areas of an image are clickable by simply mentioning the corresponding X Y coordinates of those points in the <area> elements nested inside <map>.

Note: The clickable areas cannot be styled through CSS so, if you want those markers to be styled, use a simple image editing software to draw the markers.

Tip: If you want to know the coordinates for a point in an image, open the image in an image editing software and move the cursor to that point, you should be able to see the coordinates of it in the software itself. For GIMP it is shown at left side of the bottom bar.

See the Pen PqZNzG by Preethi (@rpsthecoder) on CodePen.

2. Input suggestions

Use <datalist> to provide a list of relevant suggestions that appear while typing an input value.

See the Pen MwKybG by Preethi (@rpsthecoder) on CodePen.

3. Highlight Text

Highlighted text usually has dark text color with a light background. You can achieve that highlighted text effect with markup alone. Any text enclosed inside the <mark> will have that effect.

You can customize the highlight color with the background-color CSS property of <mark> and the text color with the color property.

See the Pen XbXdMy by Preethi (@rpsthecoder) on CodePen.

4. Define Templates

Along with HTML5 came the new <template> element. The <template> element holds markup inside it that is not rendered by the browsers, the markup enclosed by it are to be used to generate dynamic contents in the page using JavaScript.

For example, suppose you have a <table> where rows are to be added dynamically, you can simply put the markup of an empty row of that table inside the <template> tag and when needed call a JavaScript function containing script to copy the markup from inside the template tags and add it to the table markup. This is not supported by IE.

See the Pen KpVzmQ by Preethi (@rpsthecoder) on CodePen.

5. Fine Print

Fine print refers to the text of document that is typically printed in very small size containing information like conditions, terms, restrictions, citations, legal rights etc. The <small> tag in HTML can be used to show fine prints. From HTML5 onwards the <small> tag not only shows a fine-print styled text but will also semantically define the same as legal disclaimers and caveats.

See the Pen RPraga by Preethi (@rpsthecoder) on CodePen.

6. Assign a Base URL

The <base>HTML element is quite handy when you have multiple links in your document with the same domain URLs, it allows you to add a base URL to the document which in turn allows you to add only relative URLs to other links in the page as needed.

Note: All of the relative URLs in the page will be referred based on the base URL, if you have any link with a different domain don’t forget to assign the complete URL to it.

See the Pen eNJZRP by Preethi (@rpsthecoder) on CodePen.

7. Responsive Images

Responsive web development is in vogue with ever growing mobile access. Images can be toggled for different screen sizes with markup. The <picture> HTML5 element lets you add various image sources for different media for the image inside it.

Note: This currently works in Chrome only. You will have to set dom.image.picture.enable to true in about:config in Firefox.

See the Pen jPWqLZ by Preethi (@rpsthecoder) on CodePen.

8. Color Picker

HTML5 introduced many new input type elements; the color input element is one of them. It lets you chose a color on a webpage with the help of a color picker.

See the Pen XbXzeb by Preethi (@rpsthecoder) on CodePen.

9. Group options

If you have many options in a dropdown list and would like to show them grouped, the <optgroup> element will get the job done. You can also style the groups with CSS.

See the Pen XbXdLv by Preethi (@rpsthecoder) on CodePen.

10. The <noscript> element

The markup inside <noscript> is rendered by the browser only when the script is disabled. This tag is useful for letting users know when the script is disabled in their browser and to provide any alternate fallback mechanism for components on the web pages that will stop working without JavaScript.

<head> <noscript><link rel="stylesheet" href="noscript_fallback.css"></noscript> </head> <body> <noscript><h2>Javascript is disabled in your browser.</h2></noscript> </body> Now Read:
15 Useful CSS Tricks You Might Have Overlooked






10 Free Sketch Plugins for Web Developers

hongkiat.com - di, 19/05/2015 - 12:01

Sketch is getting a lot of traction among web designers and developers. This is probably because it is intuitive, easy to learn and comes with many features that makes it a lot easier to create a website prototype. It may also be because this application is extensible i.e. you can add new features to the application easily with the help of plugins.

Here are 10 plugins that can help you to boost your productivity when working with Sketch. There are diverse, ranging from content generators, color palette selector, and they can help you to display layer measurements or automatically add padding to a layer.

1. CSS Buddy

CSS Buddy allows you to add the CSS to your layer in the Sketch workspace. Basically, you can apply width, height, opacity, box-shadow, border, and background to the layer using CSS.

With this plugin installed, just select a layer then select Apply to Selected from the plugin menu. A dialog will prompt you to enter your stylesheet. Add the CSS content without the CSS class and watch your layer take shape.

2. Material Design Color Palette

If you follow the trend of Material Design, a prominent thing you will notice is the use of distinctive colors. Material Design has an awesome color palette. Now you can bring that to your workspace with Material Design Color Palette Plugin.

This plugin will generate color palettes in seconds without you having to close your workspace. Choose Hue, Value, or Swatch to generate a color palette that is suitable for your project.

3. Sketch Notebook

Sometimes we need to show what we do in a comment or via documentation. If you are working on projects with other designers or a client’s involvement, this is also necessary so you can ensure that the outcome is what the everybody was aiming for.

Sketch Notebook is a plugin for documenting your design in Sketch with ease. It will add an additional sidebar to your workspace, which contains comments you add to any element on your design. You can reorder comment, realign, delete and toggle comment visibility.

4. Day Player

Before using real images in a design, we often use placeholder images to speed up the design process. For Sketch, you can use Day Player to add customized placeholders to any layer on your Sketch workspace from 6 placeholder image services including Placehold.it, LoremPixel and Unsplash. Once activated, you can set the image’s width, height, and other information.

5. Content Generator

We already have a plugin to insert placeholder images, how about one for general content? Content Generator helps you add dummy data such as avatars, names, geolocation data and more. Works great for mockup designs and for reducing headaches from trying to figure out how to generate data on the spot.

To add the dummy data, just select a layer, then select Plugin > Generator, and choose Geo, Persona or Photos.

6. Sketch Measure

Sketch Measure is a measurement tool for Sketch. It measures the length or size of a layer (or layers) in your design. You also get the padding and margin of a layer as well as the distance between two layers. Sketch Measure can also print the layer properties, such as color, border, and opacity. All measurements can be brought up via keyboard shortcuts.

7. Dynamic Button

Dynamic Button helps you create button with fixed paddings easily. It will automatically adjust the padding based on the value you give, no matter the length of your text. With the plugin installed, a text can be converted into a structure with the shortcut Command+J. The amount of padding required can then be punched in to the (0:0:0:0) text layer (under flex button group).

8. Typographic Scale

Typographic Scale is a plugin to turn selected text layer into typographic scale. To use this plugin, just select text layer (single or multiple), or mixed layer that contains at least one text layer, then select Plugin > Typographic Scale and adjust the value on the dialog. The result is a set of scaled text that follows the rules of typographic scale.

9. Modulizer

With Modulizer you can control the paddings for button, module, or areas on your design with the keyboard shortcut Shift + Command + M. You can combine all your layers, group it then use the shortcut to automatically adjust your padding based on the padding value you need. Watch the video demo to see this in action.

10. Blade

Have you ever thought about converting your design from sketch to HTML? If so, you probably should get Blade, a Sketch plugin that automatically generates HTML files from your design. It will convert group into div, text into p and so on.

When using Blade, you can tell the plugin what DOM element to generate by adding a special name to the layer, such as [btn] or input[text] so Blade knows what it should do. Check out this video demo for an inside look.

Now Read:
12 Useful Plugins for WordPress Developers






Could More Vacation Time Improve Your Productivity? [30 Countries Compared]

hongkiat.com - ma, 18/05/2015 - 15:01

Japan, known for its workaholic culture made headlines when its government was reported to be considering passing a law which force its workers to take leave. There are many reasons that contribute to such a drastic decision including the thought that this move could help to revive Japan’s economic growth after years of stagnation.

But is it really that simple? Do more leave days equate to increased productivity?

While there are many articles written on the Internet (including one of our very own) that say YES, fewer work days lead to higher productivity, the data is incomplete or usually uses only one country as a focal point. We thought we’d give the data a second look, and going much bigger with this.

So here’s what We Did

You may have come across reports that mention Switzerland as the most productive country, based on a Global Competitiveness Report. We’ve looked into the methodology and found that they fall back on the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) as "an appropriate estimate of the level of productivity and competitiveness of an economy."

Technically, the higher up a country is ranked on this report, the higher the productivity of the country.

So we pulled the top 30 most competitive countries as ranked by the Global Competitiveness Report 2014/2015 and found the four following sets of data for comparison:

  • average working hours per week
  • minimum annual leave mandated by law
  • days of parental leave allocated for each country
  • parental leave mandated by law

Note: The data here is correct as pulled from their sources on Feb, 2015. Our sources are available at the bottom of the table.

Working Hours And Leave By Countries Country Working hrs per Week
Minimum Mandated
Annual
Leave (days)
Paid Public Holidays Paid Vacation Days Parental leave (1) Switzerland 30 hrs* 20 days N/A 20 days 14 weeks (2) Singapore 40 hrs 8-14 days 11 days 7 days 16 weeks (3) United States 34 hrs* 0 days;
6-20 days
(doe) 0 days 0 days 0 days (4) Finland 32 hrs* 30 days 9 days 25 days 15 weeks (5) Germany 27 hrs* 24 days 10-14 days
(depending on state) 20 days 14 weeks (6) Japan 33 hrs* 10 days;
+1 day off for each yos
(max: 20 days) N/A 10 days 14 weeks (7) Hong Kong 40 hrs 7-14 days (depending yos) N/A 7 days 10 weeks (8) Netherlands 27 hrs* 20 days 10 days 20 days 16 weeks (9) United Kingdom 32 hrs* 28 days 8 days
(9 for Scotland) 28 days 39 weeks (10) Sweden 31 hrs* 25 days N/A 25 days 480 days (11) Norway 27 hrs* 25 days 2 days 21 days 56 or 46 weeks (12) United Arab Emirates 40 hrs 2 days/month for 1st year;
30 days for
> 1 yos 10 days 25 days 45 days (13) Denmark 27 hrs* 30 days 9 days 25 days 52 weeks (14) Taiwan 40 hrs 7-30 days (dependent on yos) 25 days 7 days 8 weeks (15) Canada 33 hrs* 10 days 5-10 days
(depending on province) 10 days 50 weeks (16) Qatar 40 hrs 15-20 days 10 days 15 days 50 days (17) New Zealand 34 hrs* 20 days 11 days 20 days 14 weeks (18) Belgium 30 hrs* 20-24 days (dependent on working days a week) 10 days 20 days 15 weeks (19) Luxembourg 32 hrs* 25 days
(extra 6 days of for workers with disabilities) 10 days 25 days 16 weeks (20) Malaysia 40 hrs 8-16 days (depending on yos) 19 days 7 days 60 days (21) Austria 31 hrs* 30-36 days (dependent on yos) 13 days 30/35 days 16 weeks (22) Australia 32 hrs* 20 days
(25 days for shiftworkers) 9-11 days 20 days 18 weeks (23) France 29 hrs* 30 days
(extra 22 days for > 35 working hrs/week) 1 day 25 days 16 weeks;
26 weeks for third child. (24) Saudi Arabia 48 hrs 21-30 days (dependent on yos) 10 days 15 days 10 weeks (25) Ireland 35 hrs* 20 days 9 days 20 days 26 weeks (26) South Korea 42 hrs* 15-25 days (dependent on yos) N/A 15 days 90 days (27) Israel 36 hrs* 10-28 days (dependent on yos) N/A 10 days 14 weeks (28) China 44 hrs 5-15 days (dependent on yos) 11 days 5 days 98 days (29) Estonia 36 hrs* 28 days
(dependent on contract) N/A 20 days 140 days
(extra 2 wks for medical complications) (30) Iceland 33 hrs* 24 days 12 days 24 days 90 days

*doe – depending on employer;
*yos – year of service

Sources:
  1. Top 30 Most Competitive Countries, Global Competitive Report
  2. List of statutory minimum employment leave by country, Wikipedia
  3. *Average annual hrs actually worked per worker, OECD
  4. Workweek and weekend, Wikipedia
  5. Parental leave, Wikipedia
Leaderboard

Now, we understand that the table above is contains a truckload of data and who has the vacation time to go through the data cell by cell, right? In this section we will just give you the summary for each category, in what we will call the leaderboards.

Let’s start with the working hours in a week.

Countries with the most working hours:
  • 48 hrs – Saudi Arabia
  • 44 hrs – China
  • 42 hrs – South Korea
  • 40 hrs – Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates,
  • 36 hrs – Israel, Estonia
Countries with the Least working hours:
  • 27 hrs – Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark
  • 29 hrs – France
  • 30 hrs – Switzerland, Belgium
  • 31 hrs – Sweden, Austria
  • 32 hrs – Luxembourg, Australia

If you are looking for the country that tops the chart in highest number of mandated annual leave, check this out:

Countries With Most Annual Leave (days):
  • 30 days – Finland, France, Denmark, Austria
  • 28 days – United Kingdom, Estonia
  • 24 days – Germany, Iceland
  • 25 days – Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg
  • 21 days – Saudi Arabia
Countries With Least Annual Leave (days):
  • 0 days – United States
  • 5 days – China
  • 7 days – Taiwan, Hong Kong
  • 8 days – Singapore, Malaysia
  • 10 days – Israel, Canada, Japan

If you wonder if vacation days actually have the influence on productivity in the workplace, then these are the leaderboards you want to see.

Countries With The Most Paid Vacation Days:
  • 30 days – Austria
  • 28 days – United Kingdom
  • 25 days – Finland, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, Denmark, Luxembourg, France
  • 24 days – Iceland
  • 21 days – Norway
Countries With The Least Paid Vacation Days:
  • 0 days – United States
  • 5 days – China
  • 7 days – Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia
  • 10 days – Japan, Canada, Israel
  • 15 days – Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea

Parental leave, a controversial topic for many countries including the United States. Here are the countries that give parents a whole lot of time off, and those that didn’t.

Countries With The Longest Parental Leave:
  • 480 days – Sweden
  • 56 weeks – Norway
  • 52 weeks – Denmark
  • 50 weeks – Canada
  • 26 weeks – Ireland
Countries With The Shortest Parental Leave:
  • 45 days – United Arab Emirates
  • 50 days – Qatar
  • 8 weeks – Taiwan
  • 60 days – Malaysia
  • 10 weeks – Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia

Lastly, here are the leaderboards on paid public holidays, also known as holidays that you get to take a break while still on a payroll.

Countries With The Most Paid Public Holidays:
  • 25 days – Taiwan
  • 19 days – Malaysia
  • 13 days – Austria
  • 12 days – Iceland
  • 11 days – Singapore
Countries With The Least Paid Public Holidays:
  • 0 days – United States
  • 1 day – France
  • 2 days – Norway
  • 5 days – Canada
  • 8 days – United Kingdom
Visual Aid

To our readers who adopt the tl;dr approach, here’s an infographic that can help you better visualize the amount of data featured here, designed by our friends in Piktochart.

Editor’s note: This infographic is available at Piktochart and is free to use.

Conclusion

While our methods are far from scientific, we’re not seeing a pattern where more vacation days is contributing to higher productivity or competitiveness of a particular country. Then again, the data is all here and up for your scrutiny and interpretation.

Let us know what you think.








How To Create SVG Animation Using CSS

hongkiat.com - ma, 18/05/2015 - 12:01

Animating SVG can be done through native elements such as <animate> and <animateMotion>. But for those who are more familiar with CSS animation, not to worry, we can also use CSS Animation properties to animated SVGs as well.

CSS Animation could also be an alternative way of using JavaScript library like SnapSVG. In this post we will see what we can possibly deliver with CSS Animation in SVG.

1. Creating the Shapes

First of all, we will need to draw the shapes and objects which we want to animate. You can use applications like Sketch, Adobe Illustrator, or Inkscape to create one.

For this example, I have drawn a cloudy sky as the backdrop, and a rocket ship shooting upwards, flames included:

Once done with the drawing, we need to export each object we’ve created into SVG.

I’m going to use Sketch as an example for this step. Select the object you want to turn into SVG format. At the bottom right of your window, click Make Exportable. Choose SVG format, then click Export {object-name}. You need to do this one object at a time.

2. Insert the SVG into HTML

When you open the SVG file in a code editor, you’ll find that SVG codes are quite messy. Hence, before we deploy the SVG file, let’s tidy up the code and optimize it with this command line tool called SVGO.

Launch Terminal or Command Prompt, and install SVGO with this command line:

[sudo] npm install -g svgo

Tun the command, svgo, on the SVG file using --pretty to produce readable SVG code:

svgo rocket.svg --pretty

If you have multiple SVGs in a directory, you can optimize them all together, at once. Assuming the directory is named /images, then from the parent directory use this command:

svgo -f images --pretty

Let’s see the difference before and after using SVGO.

Copy the code within the SVG file and paste into an HTML file. We will work on a workspace of 800px by 600px wide, so let’s not forget to define the width on the SVG element.

<svg width="600" height="420" viewBox="0 0 600 600" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg"> <g fill="none" fill-rule="evenodd"> <path d="M96.008 ..." fill="#FFF"/> <path d="M55.53 ..." fill="#75C9EC"/> <path d="M27.543 ..." fill="#0096D5"/> </g> </svg>

The SVG is set in the HTML file. We will need to define an ID for each object, so we can select them in CSS later.

For this tutorial, we need to define the ID for the rocket and the flames, and some of the clouds. In order for the objects to handle the animation stage later on, we need to add id – you can also use class – to each object. At this stage, the code will look like this:

<path id="cloud1" d="M-24.205 ..." opacity=".4" fill="#FFF" fill-rule="evenodd"/> <path id="cloud2" d="M128.42 ..." opacity=".3" fill="#FFF" fill-rule="evenodd"/> <path id="cloud3" d="M13.043 ..." opacity=".2" fill="#FFF" fill-rule="evenodd"/> <path id="cloud4" d="M84.954 ..." opacity=".1" fill="#FFF" fill-rule="evenodd"/> <g id="rocket" fill="none" fill-rule="evenodd"> <g id="flame" fill="none" fill-rule="evenodd"> <path d="M37.957.898s24.385 ..." fill="#FF5B0D"/> <path d="M30.482 ..." fill="#FFD03D"/> </g> <path d="M96.008 ..." fill="#FFF"/> <path d="M55.53 ..." fill="#75C9EC"/> <path d="M27.543 ..." fill="#0096D5"/> </g> 3. Animate Using CSS

Now let’s have some fun. The plan is to boost the rocket up into space. The rocket is split in two groups; the rocket itself and the flame.

First of all, we position the rocket in the middle of the workspace, as follows:

#rocket { transform: translate(260px,200px); }

What you see is this:

Now to make the rocket look like it is going upwards, we need to create the illusion of clouds falling. The CSS that we use for this is:

#cloud1{ animation: fall 1s linear infinite; } @keyframes fall { from{ transform: translateY(-100px); } to { transform: translateY(1000px) } }

To make it look even more realistic, let’s animated four clouds, and make them "fall" at different speeds. We’ll also position them differently from the X-axis.

The second cloud will have code like this:

#cloud2{ animation: fall-2 2s linear infinite; } @keyframes fall-2 { from{ transform: translate(200px,-100px); } to { transform: translate(200px,1000px) } }

Note that we have moved the cloud #2 a bit to the right, by 200px with translate. At this stage, the result should look like this.

Next, let’s make the rocket come to life. We will assign an animation keyframe, as follows:

#rocket { animation: popup 1s ease infinite; } @keyframes popup { 0% { transform: translate(260px,200px); } 50% { transform: translate(260px,240px); } 100% { transform: translate(260px,200px); } }

And add animation to the rocket flame as well:

#flame{ animation: shake .2s linear infinite; } @keyframes shake { 0% { transform: translate(55px, 135px) rotate(7deg); } 20% { transform: translate(55px, 135px) rotate(0deg); } 40% { transform: translate(55px, 135px) rotate(-7deg); } 60% { transform: translate(55px, 135px) rotate(0deg); } 100% { transform: translate(55px, 135px) rotate(0deg); } }

Right! Now that our codes are all set, the animation should be working on our SVG.

Take a look at our rocket blasting into space.

Final Thought

Animation is not the easiest feature in CSS to grasp. But hopefully you will find this tutorial as a good starting point to explore CSS Animation on SVG further; you’d be surprised to know what can be achieved with CSS Animation at hand.

If you want to start with the very basics, you can start here with this post: A Look Into: Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) Animation or follow the rest of the SVG series.








The Internet&#8217;s Most Hated Innovations Of All Time [Infographic]

hongkiat.com - vr, 15/05/2015 - 15:01

The Internet giveth and the Internet taketh away. The modern world is no stranger to major innovations making its mark and ruling the world before being dethroned by the next successor in line. Every year inventors try to top each other, pushing the boundaries of technology and innovativeness to try to cement their names in the history books for posterity.

Then, there are these guys, the creators of some of the most hated innovations every person who has ever used the Internet has had to come across. If you don’t know who Dennis Toeppen or Ethan Zuckerman is, you’re about to find out.

This brief but informative infographic by StudyWeb.com will tell you about 7 of the Internet’s most hated innovations of all time. Let us know if you agree with the list or if you think that they have missed out on any other aggravating creation.








Eco-Friendly Packaging Done Right In 20 Examples

hongkiat.com - vr, 15/05/2015 - 12:01

There are thousands of cosmetic brands and natural beauty products available on the market these days. Customers are spoiled for choice when it comes to picking the next product to try in their daily beauty regime. To beat the stifling competition and stand out from the rest, many cosmetic companies have decided to go back to nature when it comes to applying branding exercises for their merchandise.

Here are 20 examples of product branding that adopts an eco-friendly, more organic and natural approach to cosmetics. By using sustainable packaging material like paper and reusable jars, fruits, flowers and leaves, as well as a nature-based color palette, these are some of the ways cosmetic branding is changing our perception of organic products.

What better way to drive home the idea of “natural beauty”?


IMAGE: Jenni Kupelian
IMAGE: Anna Trympali
IMAGE: Amélie Warnault
IMAGE: Andre Larcev
IMAGE: Grace Kuk
IMAGE: Anthropologie
IMAGE: mousegraphics
IMAGE: Maria Aksyuta
IMAGE: Boglárka Nádi
IMAGE: STUDIO POLKADOT
IMAGE: Louis Meeus
IMAGE: Publicon PR and Maciej Szczerba
IMAGE: Jennifer Boddam
IMAGE: Daria Gavrilina
IMAGE: Patrick Daley
IMAGE: Scott Kirkman, Mike Walter Nguyen and Spencer Harrison
IMAGE: alkisti papageorgiou
IMAGE: Brad Plogsted
IMAGE: Rebecca Stoeckle
IMAGE: Patrycja Koszyk Now Read:
25 Examples of Brand Identity Design Done Right






20 Most-Wanted Apple Watch Tips and Tricks

hongkiat.com - do, 14/05/2015 - 15:01

Have a question on how to do something on your new Apple Watch? Seeing as how this is the first generation of the Apple Watch, you probably have many questions on how to use it. For starters, the Apple Watch needs to be paired with your iPhone. This allows it to do many things like sync photos, music, receive app notifications, and locate your iPhone.

If you are looking to do all that and more, this is the user guide for you. Here are 20 of the most frequently asked questions a first time Apple Watch user may have:

1. How to pair Apple Watch With iPhone

Before you can start using your Apple Watch, you will need to pair it with an iPhone. To pair your iPhone you need to make sure that:

  • Your Bluetooth is turned on
  • You are running iOS 8.2 (or later) on your iPhone 5/5s/5c/6.

Pair Automatically via Viewfinder

1) Turn on your Apple Watch by holding down the side button for a few seconds.

2) Select your preferred language.

3) Tap on Start Pairing.

4) Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.

5) Hold your Apple Watch and align it with iPhone’s camera viewfinder. That’s it!

Manual Pairing

1) Tap the (i) icon button on the top right corner of your Apple Watch.

2) Go to the Apple Watch App on your iPhone, and tap "Pair Apple Watch Manually". You will be presented with a device name.

3) Follow the steps on screen and pair your Apple Watch.

2. How to Unpair Apple Watch From iPhone

Have your Apple Watch nearby, and make sure it is connected via bluetooth to your iPhone.

  1. Launch the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Under "My Watch" screen, go to "Apple Watch" and tap "Unpair Apple Watch".
  3. Tap again to confirm.

Your Apple Watch will now be disconnected from your iPhone.

3. How to Lock And Unlock Apple Watch

During the initial setup of your Apple Watch, you will be prompted to setup a passcode to keep your apps and sensitive data safe on your Apple Watch. If you skipped this step during setup, you can still set your passcode.

Create a Passcode

On your iPhone’s Apple Watch app , go to My Watch > Passcode > Turn Passcode On. On your Apple Watch, enter a new passcode, and enter it a second time to confirm.

By default, you only need to enter the passcode on your Apple Watch one time, and the watch will stay unlocked as long as the watch is detected on your wrist.

If the Apple Watch is off your wrist, you will need to unlock it everytime you need to access the apps and other notifications inside.

A few reminders:

  • Ensure that the passcode on your Apple Watch is different from your iPhone’s passcode.
  • You can unlock your Apple Watch via your iPhone.
  • You can also change your Apple Watch passcode via your iPhone.

Unlocking Apple Watch with iPhone

You can choose to have your Apple Watch unlocked whenever you unlock your iPhone. To do this, go to My Watch > Passcode and turn on "Unlock with iPhone".

Locking Apple Watch

Apple watch will automatically be locked when it is off your wrist. If you want it locked even when it is on your wrist:

  1. Press and hold the side button on your Apple Watch.
  2. Choose Lock Device.
4. How to Change Apple Watch Clock Face

Not loving the current clock face, or want to change the clock face to suit your current mood? Here’s How to do it.

  1. Make sure you are in the Clock app.
  2. Press the screen firmly to bring up the clock face gallery.
  3. Tap "Customize" to change the current clock face, or swipe left/right to select other clock faces.

Here’s a list of clock faces currently available on your Apple Watch:

  • Customizable: X-Large, Utility, Motion, Mickey, Simple, Chronograph, Color, Modular
  • Non-customizable: Solar, Astronomy
5. How to Add And Delete New Apple Watch Clock Faces

One of the great things about the Apple Watch is that you can create as many clock faces as you want, and change them to suit your mood. If you aren’t a fan of the preset clock faces, why not add a new one and customize it to suit your taste?

Adding a new clock face

1) Press firmly on the Clock app to bring up the clock face gallery.

2) Swipe all the way to the right, until you see a +New option. Tap on it.

3) Use the crown on the side to select your preferred clock face.

Deleting an existing clock face

1) Press firmly on the Clock app to bring up the clock face gallery.

2) Swipe up on the clock face you want to delete and tap the delete button.

6. How to Add And Remove Apps In Glances

Glances as its name suggest, gives you a glance at the apps you access frequently.

To go to Glances on your Apple Watch, simply swipe up from the clock face. You can navigate through the apps in Glances by swiping left or right.

Manage your apps on Glances

  1. Go to the Apple Watch app in your iPhone.
  2. Tap on Glances.
  3. Tap (+) to include an app to Glances, or (-) to exclude the app.
7. How to Add And Remove Apple Watch Apps

To add an app you’ve installed on your iPhone to Apple Watch, go to the Apple Watch app, look for the app under My Watch, tap inside and select "Show App on Apple Watch". It will then be reflected on your Apple Watch’s app screen.

There are two ways to remove an app from your Apple Watch:

Remove Apps via Apple Watch

Go to the app screen, tap and hold the app you want to delete until you see the (x) button.

Remove Apps via Apple Watch app on iPhone

Look for the specific app under My Watch, tap inside and uncheck "Show App on Apple Watch".

8. How to Organize And Rearrange Apps In Apple Watch

You can control the layoutof the apps you have on your Apple Watch. There are two ways to rearrange or re-position the apps on your Apple Watch’s app screen.

Rearranging via Apple Watch

  1. Go to the apps screen, tap and hold until the (x) button appears.
  2. Drag any of the apps to the position you want.

Rearranging via Apple Watch app on iPhone

  1. Go to the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap on "App Layout".
  3. Tap and hold the app’s icon until it zooms up. You can now re-position the app.
9. How to Clear All Notifications

You can view all your notifications by swiping down from the clock face. To clear all your notifications, press firmly on the notification screen, then tap on Clear All.

To clear a individual notification, simply swipe left of the specific notification and tap Clear.

10. How to Turn Off App Notifications

Notifications on your Apple Watch mirror the settings on your iPhone. In short, if you get alerts for a specific app on your iPhone, you will automatically get the same notification on your Apple Watch too.

Turn off the notification for a specific app on your Apple Watch

  1. Go to the Apple Watch App on your iPhone.
  2. Under My Watch, go to Notifications.
  3. Scroll and find the app then toggle the button to the right of the app to turn off notifications.
11. How to Enable Siri In Apple Watch

Voice control is probably the best way to interact with your Apple Watch, which means, you need Siri on your Apple Watch. You can use Siri on your Apple Watch to launch apps, make calls, check the weather and much more.

To initiate or access Siri

  • Raise your wrist, say "Hey Siri", or
  • Hold the Digital Crown until you see the next screen that says "What can I help you with".
12. How to Sync Music To apple Watch

You can listen to your favorite tunes on your Apple Watch with the help of Bluetooth headphones. To do that you need to sync a playlist to your Apple Watch from your iPhone first.

To add your music to Apple Watch

1) Make sure Bluetooth is turned on on your iPhone.

2) Connect your Apple Watch to its charging cable.

3) Open the Apple Watch app on your iPhone, go to My Watch > Music > Synced Playlist.

4) Select and tap the playlist you want to sync to your Apple Watch. Wait for the sync to finish before using your Apple Watch.

Keep in mind that:

  • You can keep only 1 playlist on your Apple Watch at any time.
  • Your playlist is limited to a maximum of 1GB (or a specific number of songs).
  • You can change this limit via My Watch > Music > Playlist Limit on the Apple Watch app on your iPhone.
13. How to Sync Photos To Apple Watch

Syncing your iPhone photos to Apple watch is similar to syncing your music, except you don’t need connect your Apple Watch to its charging cable.

By default, Apple Watch will have your "Favourites" album from your iPhone synced. If this is not the album you want to have on your Apple Watch, here’s How to sync other albums to your Apple watch.

Sync photos to Apple Watch

  • On your iPhone’s Apple Watch App, go to My Watch > Photos > Synced Album.
  • Tap to choose the album you would like to sync.
  • Wait for the sync to finish.

Keep in mind that:

  • You are limited to one album at a time.
  • You are limited to a maximum of 500 photos, or 75MB worth. This setting can be altered under My Watch > Photos > Photos Limit.
14. How to Turn Your Apple Watch Off And On

To turn off your Apple Watch, click and hold the side button (below the Digital Crown). On the screen, swipe right on the "POWER OFF" button.

To turn it back on, simply hold the side button for 1-2 seconds until you see the Apple Logo appear.

15. How to Reboot Apple Watch (Do A Hard Reset)

If your Apple Watch hangs, or is just too slow, you can do a force reboot (also known as a hard reset). Hold the Digital Crown and side button together for a few seconds, and your watch will turn off and restart by itself.

16. How to Toggle Between Two Apps

To toggle between two of your most recently accessed apps on your Apple Watch, simply press the Digital Crown 2 times. This will allow you to jump instantly from your current app to your last used app, and vice versa.

17. How to Force Quit An App

If a specific app is acting up in your Apple Watch, you will need to force quit the app manually.

Force quit a specific app

  1. Hold the side button until the Power Off menu shows up
  2. Release, and hold the side button again until the app closes.

You will be brought back to the App screen.

18. How to Erase Content On The Apple Watch

If you are thinking of handing over or selling your Apple Watch to someone else, it’s a good idea to erase and wipe out all of your data and settings before you do so. Here’s How to completely erase everything on your Apple Watch.

Erase data on Apple Watch

On your Apple Watch app on iPhone:

1) Go to My Watch > Apple Watch.

2) Tap "Unpair Apple Watch".

3) Next, open the Setting app.

4) Go to General > Reset, and tap "Erase All Content and Settings".

19. How to Find Your iPhone With Your apple watch

Does it seem like your iPhone is a fan of hide-and-seek? Since you will have your Apple Watch on your wrist most of the time, you can use it to locate your iPhone.

Locate your iPhone

1) Swipe up to Glances.

2) Swipe all the way to the left until you see the following screen:

3) Tap the "Pinging iPhone" icon to make your iPhone make a loud sound so you can locate it easily.

This works even if your iPhone is on silent mode, and as long as it is within range of your Apple Watch.

20. How to Take Photos With The Apple Watch

Technically you can’t take a photo with your Apple Watch alone because it has no camera installed. However, you can use it as a viewfinder for your iPhone’s camera and to trigger your iPhone to take photos.

Take a photo with the Apple Watch

1) Launch the Camera App on your Apple Watch. This will, at the same time, brings up the Camera App on your iPhone.

2) The screen on your Apple Watch serves as a viewfinder for your iPhone camera. Tap on the white button (center – below) to take a photo.

Bonus: One More 21. How to Take Screenshots With The Apple Watch

Taking a screenshot of your Apple Watch is easy. Just navigate to the screen you’d like to take a screenshot. Hold the side button then press the Digital Crown once.

Your screenshot will be saved into your iPhone Camera Roll.

Now Read:
Apple Watch Docks – The Best So Far






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