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30 Interesting Websites You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

hongkiat.com - vr, 12/02/2016 - 14:01

Apart from the regular dips into your favorite social media waterholes, I’m sure you have that assortment of websites you visit almost religiously every day. Routines have that nasty habit of becoming boring after a while, hence the need for lists like this. In this post you will find 30 interesting websites that you probably have never heard of.

Although not all will be appealing to everyone, I’m sure you will be able to find a handful of websites, from this list, that is your cup of tea. From places to discover new content such as articles and music, to sites where you can learn about Greek mythology and unpublished truths about trending issues, hopefully this list will help you break the monotony – at least until the next list comes along.

.entry-image { text-align:center; } .entry-image img { width:80%; } Gnoosic

Gnoosic is your go to spot for new music recommendations. It asks for three of your favourite bands, and based on your interests, spits out an artist that you might like. You then have the option to “like”, “dislike”, or mark it as something you aren’t familiar with – which further refines the results.
This will be enjoyable for music enthusiasts who are looking for a musical adventure.

Bought it once

Are you frustrated with having to replace common household items every few years? Ever had the hankering to invest in something that will last you a lifetime, one that will withstand the test of time and usage? Then this website is just perfect for you! It presents a curation of products that were designed with durability and style in mind.

Tickld

Tickld is your go-to spot for anything humorous and funny, for anything that’s really cool and interesting, or stuff that’s just plain WTF. Guaranteed to provide hours of mindless fun and laughter.

Blue Ball Machine

For those who are looking to trance themselves out, a repeating, looping gif of a “blue ball machine” is guaranteed to keep you entertained for hours. It’s fun trying to figure out how all the little animations flow into one another, tracing the movement of the blue ball to another section, then another, then another. It’s also very calming to look at!

Patatap

Patatap is an interactive website that responds to the keys on your keyboard with a sound and a brief animation. Now imagine hammering in entire sentences – and you got an explosion of sounds, colors, and movement! Once you start typing in random paragraphs, it becomes almost hypnotic, in a way. A fun way to unwind and relax.

CoolThings

CoolThings is a collection of cool things. From entertainment, to gadgets, to even toys and inventions, there is bound to be something here that will interest you. There is even a section for really cool gifts, split into categories for men, women. It updates every day, so make sure to drop by once in a while for your fix of really cool stuff!

Sort by Dislikes

Here’s a smart idea – this website helps you filter out a YouTube channel‘s most disliked video. There’s also a list for the generally most disliked video on YouTube, as a whole. There’s even a list for the most hated channels on YouTube. Guaranteed to help you kill some hours, just searching through those channels and watching those videos.

Cool Hunting

CH is a really cool publication platform that uncovers the latest in design, technology, style, travel, art and culture. If you are into art, architecture, and culture, then this website is perfect for you. You’ll find lots of interesting articles here, and the best part is that there are new articles almost every day.

The Derpiest

An assortment of the derpiest people, animals, stories and more, the list goes on and on. Ever had a day when you felt like the proof of your intelligence was being threatened by something you did? Ever had a day when you just felt plain stupid? Worry not, for this website will help you feel smart and able again! Personally, my favorite category is the derpy animals.

HiveStory

Here’s something for the writers among you: HiveStory is an online platform to create a collaborative dynamic story. You sign up, write your contribution, and then the members vote on how the story will be shaped. It’s a fun process, seeing how the story branches out from a node that you contributed.

Uncontacted Tribes

This website is a beautiful collection of videos, pictures, and even stories of ‘uncontacted tribes’ which still exist, scattered all over the world. It gives an interesting insight into the way of life of humans who have been untouched by technology, electronics, and other modern facets of life. It also gives you an opportunity to donate to their cause.

Lonely Tweets

Lonely Tweets :'( explores the theme of hyper-connectivity and loneliness – what makes it even more interesting (or chilling) is that it is a live service, meaning that the tweets you see on the website were sourced the moment they were made. Feeling bummed out yet?

Tinderella

If you have ever been on Tinder, you know that like any other social discovery apps out there, you meet your fair share of creepers and desperados. Tinderella is a collection of screenshots that showcases the best and worst of pick-up lines that have been found on Tinder.

Not Always Right

Had a bad day at work? Did that one annoying, pesky customer or client who just wouldn’t shut up tried to give you a hard time, and succeeded? Then this website is just perfect for you! It’s a collection of stories about customers who just don’t know when to shut up. From incredibly funny to just downright horrifying, there’s a little bit of it all here.

The Art of Manliness

A blog dedicated to uncovering the lost art of being a man. The topics range from fashion to relationship advice – an attempt to fill the void that has been created by magazines that try to perpetrate the idea of a “machismo” man. Although solely aimed at men, it can be an interesting read for women as well.

Drench

A very simple browser game, Drench gives you a board with different colored tiles, and you use the buttons to flip the colors around. Do this until your board is full of tiles of a single color only. It’s a bit more difficult to explain, but once you get the hang of it, it can be really addicting and for some, relaxing.

Favorite and Forget

Set this as your homepage and then just forget about it. No, really. They’ll do the rest for you. What you’ll get is a daily assortment of links that lead to really cool websites – you’ll get educational links, cool stuff, really interesting stuff as well as useful stuff like apps and tools, and even life-changing things that could change your game forever.

Cooking for Engineers

Cooking for Engineers is a godsend for those who love to cook. This website has it all, from recipes, to kitchen gear, to cooking tests, down to a handy dictionary. The best part about this webstie is its classic 90’s layout, which makes accessing the recipes and files intuitive and easier.

PostSecret

PostSecret is a very interesting website. Visitors are encouraged to send in anonymous postcards on which they write their secrets. There are all sorts of secrets on all kinds of postcards, and the variations make this a really interesting project. However, be warned – these secrets are very real… and very heavy.

River Styx

An interactive website that takes you through the river Styx and the Underworld. You will meet many Greek Gods and Goddesses here, and you will also be learning a lot about their myths and legends. The website works much like how a point-and-click game would, with your cursor turning into a different icon when you hover it over relevant objects. An interesting, visual crash course to Greek mythology and philosophy!

Zooniverse

A really neat website that brings people together to create one of the largest platforms for people-powered research. Volunteers come together to assist professional researchers. There is no need for a specialised background or training; all you have to do is to answer simple questions.

NOIYS – Post, read, forget

NOIYS is a place to post an anonymous note to be viewed by many people, only to be deleted within 24 hours. It’s the perfect website for venting anonymously and not worry about the consequences, as it will be deleted within a day. The best part (or maybe worst) is that strangers can reply to your note, too. That way, you can have a running conversation with a complete stranger.

All Day

All Day is a curation of really interesting articles and blogs that will have you reading… all day. The topics range from history to food to entertainment to culture, so there’s bound to be something in it for everyone. The layout is also really interesting and easy on the eyes, and with the endless scrolling feature, you really are bound to stay on it… all day.

Vumble

Are you more of a visual person? Fear not, Vumble has you covered by offering a collection of videos which have been top-voted by users, such as you. The best part about this website is that there are always new content, new videos, and you’re always bound to find something really cool and interesting. Don’t forget to contribute by voting as well!

Scott H Young

Scott’s blog is a collection of articles and musings that he has written himself. Perfect for anyone who is doing some soul searching, his site touches on light topics such as productivity to heavier ones like the meaning of life. Definitely an interesting read and a good way to wind down during the evenings, if you like to crunch through articles like I do.

Addicted 2 Success

Need a little pick me up? Addicted 2 Success is the place to go. It features articles that are designed to inspire and empower people who are looking to turn their life around. There’s entrepreneurship, self-development, and an all-round focus on success and on getting things done!

the unbeatn path

Here’s something that I’m sure a lot of people will need to read. The unbeatn path features hand-picked and curated stories of young adults who are drop outs, and yet were able to make their way regardless of that fact. It features new and real stories every month, so it’s always worth to give it a visit every now and then.

Clapway

Taglined "technology, the quirky way", Clapway is basically your source for quirky discoveries, tips, and news off the beaten path. The stories are meant to inspire all readers of all walks of life – and the articles are most of the time something you won’t usually find on the net, too.

Truthdig

Truthdig is something for the people who have been keeping up with the news and politics. It aims to provide you with insightful and accurate repoting on current subjects and issues by having a situation seen from all possible angles, and including all the details relevant or seemingly otherwise.

F*CKING HOMEPAGE

Set this as your homepage and the first page that loads when you start up your browser, and you’ll be presented with interesting info every day. From random trivia, to interesting books, to beautiful pictures, it’s got the perfect assortment for your daily dose of interesting stuff. If you’re craving for more random f*cking trivia, you can just click on the random post at the bottom of the page, and you’ll be presented with even more things.

Found anything that struck your fancy? Did you already lose some hours trying these websites out? Make sure to let us know in the comments!

40 Clever & Creative Valentine’s Day Ads

hongkiat.com - wo, 10/02/2016 - 14:01

For some people Valentine’s Day has lost its meaning – they think that it is a celebration that has become too commercialized. For others, the 14th of February is the most romantic day of the year that when celebrated, gives extra significance to the relationship.

No matter which way you sway, Valentine’s Day will always be a reminder to the masses of how we all can always empathize with lost loves, and envy the relationships that do last. With V-Day just around the corner, here are some creative print ads and video commercials that drive that reminder home. May you find the love you deserve this Valentine’s Day.

Carphone Warehouse. The company insists on helping you save, one way or another. (Image Source: Ads Of The World)

Wise Up English School. Love is a language that transcends borders and unite lovebirds. Apparently, English helps translate. (Image Source: Ads Of The World)

WURST. Two halves of a pair. (Image Source: Ads Of The World)

Zoo Cologne. Ever spent Valentine’s day at the zoo? Now’s your chance. (Image Source: Ads Of The World)

SexyAvenue.com. Pleasure’s their game. (Image Source: Ads Of The World)

Electric & Solar Industry. Keep the light, I mean, love going. (Image Source: Ads Of The World)

IKEA. IKEA has some ideas on how you can spend Valentine’s Day and they tell you the best way they know how. (Image Source: Superb Company)

Flower Council of Holland. There should be more of these glass cases around. (Image Source: adweek)

Vodafone. A clever way to show how Valentine’s Day is changing with the times. (Image Source: Ads Of The World)

Hovis. Your bread loves you back this Valentine’s Day. (Image Source: Ads Of The World)

Schick Razor. “Would you kiss you?" Now if that doesn’t make you think about getting a good shave, nohing much will. (Image Source: Ads Of The World)

Vanish: Whipped Cream. Keep only the good memories and none of the bad… stains. (Image Source: Ads Of The World)

Wilkinson. A friendly reminder that “love needs a bit of upkeep”. Do your part! (Image Source: Ads Of The World)

Tampax. If Mother Nature deals you a bad card for Valentine’s Day, you still got us. (Image Source: Ads Of The World)

Singapore Airlines. Love Now Boarding is a design concept that banks on illustrating love stories on boarding tickets. (Image Source: Mustapha Zainal)

La Benedicta Restaurant. When cutlery go wild this Valentine’s Day. (Image Source: Ads Of The World)

HelpAge India. Valentine’s Day isn’t just for your significant other. Other people need your love and care too. (Image Source: Ads Of The World)

Dom Francisco Restaurant. What happens after dinner is up to your imagination. (Image Source: Ads Of The World)

Thursday Magazine (Oman). When you are in love, you see hearts everywhere. (Image Source: coverjunkie)

Binboa Vodka. A bad/good reason to always have vodka around. (Image Source: Ads Of The World)

Parisian Love by Google Stories. If a person’s search history could tell their love story.

Vodafone – The Kiss. A kiss that lasts a lifetime.

You – A Declaration of Love by Schwarzkopf Nectra Color. How a woman looks through the eyes of the man who loves her. Wait for it.

The Green Lantern Girl. When you know she is the one.

Love Distance CF. Any couple who has ever been in a long distance relationship will want to do this.

My Anniversary Gift to Lisa. How to have a conversation with your significant other with just folders.

Wilkinson | Smooth Valentine’s Day. An ingenious campaign to remind men to shave on Valentine’s Day.

Coca-Cola: Anthem. Sugar water’s take on fiery passion, love and tasting with feeling.

The Valentine Experiment. Seems a bit unfair to put Danish men on the spot but boy did they deliver.

Extra Gum. Didn’t expect gum to be able to tell such a beautiful love story, did you?

BETC & Leroy Merlin. This ad pokes fun in the aggressive bubble couples find themselves in when trying to renovate their homes.

TESCO. Tesco got a psychotherapist to pair couples up based on their shopping baskets. Check out if her matches are good or not.

Love Is In The Air. It’s Valentine’s Day. Here, have a Coke.

Hallmark. This is how a couple who have been together for 56 years explain how they feel about each other, without using the word “love”.

Cupid Drone. Cupid gets an updated, modern, and techy version update which still flies and still spreads love wherever it goes.

Max Burger A normal burger joint gets adorably fancy for Valentine’s Day. This should happen more often!

Dentiste The Japanese are incredibly shy and not comfortable with public affection. That’s why this campaign is awesome.

MediShield Life It’s three minutes long but still a better love story than many full feature films.

Land Rover An absolutely amazing Valentine’s campaign that talks about another kind of love – three lad’s love for their Land Rover.

#ShredYourEx “Inseparable”. This one is dedicated to those who are no longer attached this Valentine’s Day. There are still many reasons to laugh.

20 (More) Wonderful Things You Can Do With Raspberry Pi

hongkiat.com - di, 09/02/2016 - 16:01

If you can handle a little bit of programming and want to make a geeky, techy gift, then this list of DIY Rasberry Pi Projects may be the thing you are looking for. You don’t have to be a real programmer to build these, anyone with a bit of understanding about computers and the ability to follow instructions, can build most of these geeky gifts.

Ready to wow someone with a geeky gift of your own creations? Check out the tutorials below to find the instructions you need to get started.

Digital Photo Frame

If you’ve always wanted a digital photo frame, a photo frame that has its pictures change like in a slideshow, then here’s your chance to make your own.

Digital Media Player

Want a media player that streams photos and videos? Try this gadget which can display weather details, play music, movies and other content via Airplay.

WeggUp – Alarm Clock

WeggUp wakes you up with a gentle, natural light. You can also add an e-book reader or music player, which automatically shuts off when movements are no longer detected.

DiddyBorg

DiddyBorg is a six-wheeled, battery-powered RC car, which can be moved around with a PS3 controller or a keyboard using WiFi.

Wooden Pifi Sound System

Put dual speakers, a wooden cabinet, and a Rasp-Pi together and this sound system can let you play music over WiFi or from a thumb drive.

U-WAVE – Internet Radio

An Internet radio with 6 radio stations, this radio can be toggled with a smartphone, from anywhere in the house.

Pi Video Player

This video player is a touch screen device but why use the screen when you can tap on arcade buttons instead?

Remote Controlled Truck

If you have a broken monster truck lying around, fix it up by fitting it with a Rasp-Pi, then control it with your smartphone or keyboard, via WiFi.

Arcade Game Station

Don’t settle for arcade buttons, build an arcade game station with this tutorial. A little programming is required but the final result will be totally worth it.

Drone Pi Quadcopter

A remote-controlled copter sounds expensive, so why not build a quadcopter using a Raspberry Pi? Add a Pi camera and start taking aerial images and videos too.

Portable Versatile Player

Transform an old DVD player into a portable media player with a Raspberry Pi, a hard disk, a Wi-Fi adapter, and a USB hub.

RFID Music Player

A robot-styled music player that is tagged with RFID recognition which allows anyone to hold a tag near the robot to play a special song.

3D Printed Digital Camera

It’s not a DSLR or a branded digital camera but its parts are 3D printed which helps reduce the costs of this cool digital camera.

Pi Mobile Media Center

A powerful replacement for a DVD player and a music system, this gadget only needs your smartphone to play music and videos anytime anywhere.

Touchscreen Media Player

This media player powered by Raspberry Pi and Max2Play offers a powerful sound experience on a mere 7-inch touchscreen.

Pi RC Car

This is an remote-controlled car that can be controlled by your smartphone, Just tilt to control the motion of your toy car.

Internet-Controlled Radio

This radio checks a Google spreadsheet to load its playback schedule and functions as an alarm clock as well.

Legend of Zelda Arcade Machine

A beautiful arcade station powered by Raspberry Pi 2 and RetroPie using an Emulation Station frontend it provides a quality sound and gaming gexperience to gamers.

Pi Emulation Machine

Emulation Machine is a multi-player portable machine that supports different emulators like Gameboy, PlayStation One, Sega Genesis, and even Apple II.

DIY Avatar – Telepresence Robot

Let this robot be the voice or middleman for you to talk to friends and family who are far from you. Distance is no barrier to communication.

Which project idea you liked most? Are you planning to create any of these geeky gifts? Share with us via comments.

Utility Navigation: How it Influences User Experience Design

hongkiat.com - di, 09/02/2016 - 14:01

To design an effective and user-friendly navigation, we don’t only need to think about how to group our content into well-structured menus to enable users to easily find what they want, but also about how to design the tools they will need to interact with the site

Navigation that is not strictly related to the content, and helps users perform different actions is called utility navigation, and it’s a less widely discussed but hugely important aspect of user experience design. Search bars, login and signup forms, subscribe, sharing and print buttons, shopping carts, contextual menus, and tools that allow users to switch languages or font size are typical examples of utility navigation.

Designing them is not as easy as it seems at first sight, it requires consideration to find out what elements we need, where to place and how to display them to make sure that our visitors can quickly find them and understand how they work.

How Utility Navigation Impacts UX

When we design utility navigation we need to decide how we want our users to interact with our site. We need to provide them with an interaction structure that fits our business goals, leads users through the customer journey, gives them easy-to-understand options, and provides them with a pleasant user experience.

First of all, they need to be able to quickly perform the actions they want. If we enable them to do so, customer satisfaction will grow, and pleased users tend to spend more time and more money on websites.

The home page of AirBnB follows this UX principle, and its top menu only contains utility tools. It’s not a usual solution, but if we take a look at AirBnB’s incredible growth rate, it’s the perfect choice for them.

The 4 top menu items target the 4 main personas who usually visit AirBnB’s site: people who are interested in becoming a host (“Become a Host”), people who want to solve a problem that took place while they used the service (“Help”), new and returning users (“Sign Up” and “Log In”). AirBnB’s utility-focused home page also contains a quick search bar that is a crucial tool on an accommodation renting website.

Secondly, users don’t need superfluous utilities, as too much clutter distracts attention and reduces focus. What tools are necessary in our utility navigation and what are not depend on the nature of our site. For example it can be useful to include a Print view on a blog or a news site, but the same feature can be an unnecessary distraction on a forum board or a social media website.

Washington Post for example displays utility navigation on its single post pages differently from on the homepage. This way users only meet utility tools that are relevant, and are not pestered with options that they wouldn’t want to use anyway.

There are 3 utility navigation items that visitors may want to use site-wide. These are smartly included in the fixed top bar (search tool, “Sign In”, and “Subscribe”), but users don’t have to think about options related to single posts such as “Reading List” when they are browsing the home page or one of the category pages.

Thirdly, users need to quickly understand what they can do on our site. Visitors don’t necessarily know what they want, so we always need to provide them with information about the options they have.

If you take a look at the screenshot below, you can see that The New York Times informs users about the availability of 3 different editions: American, International, and Chinese, and also enables them to quickly switch between the three. This great example of smart utility navigation shows users less-obvious options they probably wouldn’t find on their own, in a non-obstrusive and elegant way.

Find The Best Place

There are typical placements for utility navigation where users intuitively look for these tools, as that’s what they’ve got used to on the majority of websites. Breaking web design conventions is considered bad user experience practice, and it’s especially true for utility navigation that, in most cases, is more about usability than creativity.

As utility navigation is secondary to content-based navigation in most websites, it’s frequently placed in less prominent but still visible areas. This usually means the (1) top-right corner of websites, and the (2) lower part of the footer. It’s a good idea to follow these conventions, as these are the places where most users look for utility tools first.

As you can see below, Reuters has positioned most of its utility tools into these two typical areas, the top right corner of the site, and the lower part of the footer below the content-based navigation. The unique solution here is the fixed extra footer with 2 utility items that designers thought to be the most important: “Login or register” and “Latest from My Wire”.

It’s interesting to note that the extra utility navigation area is still placed into a kind of footer where users would normally look for similar tools, so Reuters’ designers were creative in a way but still followed web design conventions to maintain usability.

Build A Logical Structure

Grouping utility tools into a logical structure is crucial if we want to build a site with a high conversion rate. This can be a challenge even if we don’t want to provide users with many options, but Amazon takes the complexity of utility navigation to the next level. Amazon has an incredibly complicated utility navigation with many options, but if we use Amazon regularly enough, it doesn’t appear so. This is the magic of smart design.

They didn’t only place utility navigation on the top-right corner where users expect to find it, but they also divided it into 3 main groups: (1) a search bar, (2) user-related information (below the search bar), and (3) actions that users can perform on the site.

It’s smart because, thanks to the visual cues such as the shopping cart or the search icon, customers can decide in the twinkling of an eye which group they want to use, and from then on they can ignore the other two. There’s only one group (“Your Account”, “Try Prime”, “Basket”, and “Wish List”) that has submenus that are also logically structured, and the different submenu groups are divided by discreet but visible separators to help users quickly find what they want.

Create An Effective Visual Design

The visual design of effective utility navigation needs to follow the famous KISS principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid). It’s recommended to provide icons with text labels, make controls look like controls, and visually emphasize the most important actions. It can also be a good idea to distinguish utility and content-based navigation by using a slightly different design.

Two great examples of effective visual design can be found on Walmart‘s and Etsy‘s website. Designers placed utility navigation on the topmost of both sites, and highlighted it with colours that vary from the rest of the navigation, Walmart with a blue background, and Etsy with blue fonts.

Both sites emphasize the most important user actions with different visual design elements, Walmart uses yellow for the Search and the Sign In buttons, while Etsy gives a discreet blue border to the Sign In button, and includes a gray shopping cart icon above the Cart menu.

This is the only place where Etsy uses an icon in its utility menu, while Walmart displays an icon next to each item, but still doesn’t forget to include the necessary text labels right next to the icons.

30+ Priceless Valentine’s Day Gifts You Can Make Yourself

hongkiat.com - ma, 08/02/2016 - 14:01

If you’re on a tight budget, but want to give your significant other a thoughtful gift for Valentine’s Day, nothing says "I <3" you better than DIY arts and crafts that are lovely gifts to receive but deviously simple to create.

We’ve done the legwork and found some 30+ creative DIY projects that will serve as the perfect and thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift. Some play around with how to frame up your precious photographs, while others need a bit of sewing and embroidery skills, but they all will put a smile on your loved one’s face.

Need More Ideas?

String Heart

Using nails, a piece of wood, and string, preferably in the shade of love, follow this tutorial to create a heart-warming decoration.

IMAGE: greenweddingshoes.com Secret Message in a Bottle

Using vintage “bingo” game pieces, create a secret message that only your special someone can decode! Using a stamp, put letters on each numbered piece, put them in the bottle, send them the code and let them play codebreaker for Valentine’s.

IMAGE: Holly & Nat We Met, We Married, We Lived, We Love

Do you have special “places” that mean a lot in your relationship? Then this little project is for you! Print out maps and label them based on where you met, got married, lived and even where you plan to grow old, then frame it up and hang it up in your home.

IMAGE: Bronwyn McConve Memory Candles

A perfect way to keep the love alive! Place your picture using transparent contact paper and apply them onto bottles or cylinders which double as candle holders! Works for letters and illustrations as well.

IMAGE: inspiredideasmag.blogspot.com Paper Necklace

Perfect for retro gamers (or people who grew up in the 80’s) or as a “last minute” gift. This easy but cute gift can be done in no time!

IMAGE: howaboutorange.blogspot.ru Heart Jars

Use LED lights or flameless candles as well as a few “household” items and mason jars to create this lovely handcrafted makeshift lights.

IMAGE: Ryan Krustofski Chalkboard Mason Jars

Another alternative to the heart jars, this time using the jars as a chalkboard and filling them with delicious candy.

IMAGE: Sherrie Ragsdale Giant Fringe Love Letters

Perfect as decorations or for photoshoots, as well as for ceremonial backdrops (hint: proposals), this can be made using only crepe paper and large boxes you can get anywhere.

IMAGE: greenweddingshoes.com 12 Months of Date Nights

Dating doesn’t stop after you are married, or when your job is taking up too much of your time. Relationships need work to last decades and pre-planned Date Nights like the one found in this tutorial are of great help.

IMAGE: Lauren Conversation Heart Pinatas

Another cute crafting project, this can be hanged up as decorations or used to store a secret message or gift that can only be liberated if you break the heart.

IMAGE: Kelly 8-Bit Heart Pillow

Perfect for the young at heart and gamers alike! Use some leftover felt and start brushing up your sewing skills for this easy-to-make heart plushie.

IMAGE: cutoutandkeep.net Two Little Lovers Sitting on a Tree

Who doesn’t love this “innocent” childhood sing-a-long song? Immortalize this sweet little chant by turning it into personalized art which you can hang on your wall.

IMAGE: Tara Heart Friendship Bracelet

Not keen on using metallic or plastic jewelery, then perhaps an hand-crafted, embroidered bracelet is the alternative for the environmentally conscious. And it costs you only a couple of embroidery floss.

IMAGE: Erica Stuffed Robot

Is your special someone a sci-fi geek? Even if he or she isn’t, we’re sure that your special someone will love this adorable stuffed robot.

IMAGE: Angie Owl Valentines

Want to make something ridiculously cute while spending some creative time with your better half? Make an owl from paper mache. It will be worth the effort and time spent together.

IMAGE: holdermans.blogspot.com Felt Treat Boxes

These easy to make, and simple to customize felt treat bozes are great for storing small items of jewelery, house keys and other small items. Check out the tutorial for a quick step-by-step guide on how to construct these boxes.

IMAGE: designmom.com Creative Photo Album

Not your regular run-of-the-mill photo album and one that will actually get you excited over printout photographs. Keep a "box" of your memories (get it?) with this creative photo album.

IMAGE: icreativeideas.com Valentines Day Photo Blocks

Another creative way to display your photos! This time build a puzzle which can be displayed by arranging the blocks.

IMAGE: Elena Picture Clock

Turn your favorite photo into a homemade clock! This project requires a little knowledge with editing software but it’s worth it when you breathe new life into your favorite photograph.

IMAGE: Camilla Book Clock

Have a book lover or a loved one who is into “vintage” looking displays? Then this is perfect as it only needs an old hardcover book and clock hands to be an awesome gift!

IMAGE: Claire Gallam No Sew Heart Pillow

No sewing skills? No problem. This heart pillow made from felt (and no sewing needed) is right up your alley.

IMAGE: krokotak.com Wire Wrapped Bangle

This requires some basic wire wrapping and shaping but the best thing here is that most of the materials can be found easily. And it looks grea too.

IMAGE: Adrianne Box Disguised as Letters

This box disguised as letters is a clever way to store away your secrets or small items. Just create a stack of letters made with invitation envelopes and some cardboard.

IMAGE: Diane miller Heart Paper Origami Box

The next time you try and write a traditional love note, try this simple yet charming origami heart box idea. It’s also easy to slip into a bag or purse. Talk about passing notes.

IMAGE: Leyla Torres Valentine Heart Pillow

This lovable pillow is made of burlap and requires a bit of sewing to pull together. Nothing like providing your loved one some comfort to a sore back.

IMAGE: Thistle Wood Valentine Lightbulb

A unique and symbolic DIY project. This project might look intimidating at first but is quite easy to follow and would result in an elegant gift that can be used as a display.

IMAGE: Grace Bonney Cute Little Teddy Bear

You will never guess what this teddy is made of; it is made from an old sock! This is easy to sew and takes little to no effort to make.

IMAGE: indulgy.com Pullout Photo Album

The perfect way to display your photo booth pictures. The accordian-like pull uot and wooden box is a nice touch.

IMAGE: countryliving.com Miniature Photo Pendants

Combining our love of little charms and photographs, this project is perfect either as a “couple’s gift” or just to display your photographs. It’s easy to do and cost effective as well; you just need popsicle sticks as the base.

IMAGE: Ashley Hackshaw Hoop Photo

Probably one of the most unique display pieces on this list. This is made from some wood embroidery hoops and clothing pins. The best part is that it’s easy to swap the pictures out.

IMAGE: Natalie Wright Goodybags for Valentines

The perfect “goody bag” for small items such as lipstick or make up. These are made of drop cloth canvas and cotton gingham which is washable.

IMAGE: Jaime Costiglio La La Love You Pillow

Inspired by the song from the Pixies, this is another sewing project that is easy and requires the use of a fabric glue gun.

IMAGE: Laura








50 Geeky Valentine&#8217;s Day Cards You&#8217;d Love to Receive

hongkiat.com - vr, 05/02/2016 - 16:01

Valentine’s Day is coming soon (if you forgot, this is your reminder) so you probably are looking for gift ideas and cards. Instead of the cheesy, done-to-death, lovey-dovey V-day cards you send as an obligation rather than because you know your significant other will actually like, we have here a compilation of 50 adorable Valentine’s day cards.

Scratch that, these are geekily creative and funny Valentine’s Day cards with hilarious one-liners that will resonate well with robot-obsessed cuties, romantic coders, and pixel lovers. Make your own card with ideas inspired from this list, or support the creative minds behind these clever cards by ordering the card from their stores.

IMAGE: Paperwheel

IMAGE: ThePaperCub

IMAGE: HowAwcard

IMAGE: RedLetterPaperCo

IMAGE: sillyreggie

IMAGE: HappyDappyBits

IMAGE: Paperwheel

IMAGE: DarkroomandDearly

IMAGE: BootsArt

IMAGE: NippyMouseDesign

IMAGE: dodobob

IMAGE: DebmonDesign

IMAGE: FinchandtheFallow

IMAGE: ArtfulCreationsByDeb

IMAGE: Paperwheel

IMAGE: Paperwheel

IMAGE: TedsDesigns

IMAGE: BootsArt

IMAGE: NaturalPhilosophyFox

IMAGE: TinyHinyDigitalArt

IMAGE: DebmonDesign

IMAGE: LostMarblesCo

IMAGE: JSSShepherd

IMAGE: FinchandtheFallow

IMAGE: DebmonDesign

IMAGE: thekolorbox

IMAGE: LeCartelier

IMAGE: HopSkipJumpPaper

IMAGE: TheGeekIndustry

IMAGE: StockLaneStudio

IMAGE:
WittyHearts

IMAGE: maddesign

IMAGE: MeowKapowShop

IMAGE: byMMcC

IMAGE: KnottyCards

IMAGE: PaintingReaver

IMAGE: playerNo2

IMAGE: playerNo2

IMAGE: MyLittlePinkHouse

IMAGE: craftboner

IMAGE: seasandpeas

IMAGE: HiLoveGreetings

IMAGE: buttonandprint

IMAGE: TheGeekIndustry

IMAGE: MomentidiVita

IMAGE: BettieConfetti

IMAGE: Living Locurto

IMAGE: HiLoveGreetings

IMAGE: theBirdandtheBeard

IMAGE: ohhicreative








How to Play the Hidden Chess Game on FB Messenger

hongkiat.com - vr, 05/02/2016 - 14:01

Did you know that you can play Chess on Facebook? Well, on Facebook Messenger to be exact. It is a hidden command that can be triggered with @fbchess but be warned it is a very tedious way to play an online chess game (but who knows? You might be a fan).

To get started, open up a chat conversation with any friend, preferably one who plays Chess of course. You can do this on desktop or on your iOS or Android app.

Type @fbchess play to start a game. You might be be automatically assigned a color.

You can choose to pick your own color (@fbchess play white) or assign your opponent a color as well. Here’s what chess on Messenger looks like.

You will notice the numbers and letters on the side of the chessboard. Yes, that’s how you are going to "move" those chess pieces across the board. No clicking or dragging here. This is old school algebraic notation chess play.

Like I said, it’s tedious. Wait until you see the instructions, which you can pull up by typing the command @fbchess help.

Here’s the full list of how to make certain moves on the chessboard, how to resign, offer a draw, claim a draw, undo your last move (well, the option is available but I tried this, and the Undo didn’t work for me), show current position, show stats between players or take the game to another conversation.

(Reddit)










40 Things You Didn&#8217;t Know Have Names

hongkiat.com - do, 04/02/2016 - 16:01

Did you know that the "sleeping 8" symbol you know as the infinity symbol is a lemniscate? It isn’t an important piece of information, but to me it is interesting to know that mathematicians bother to give a name to these symbols.

And why wouldn’t they? Names are important – they save us a lot of time.

In this post you will find a list of things which we use dozens of words to describe because we don’t know what to call them. the pins and needles feeling in your leg that is falling asleep; the high-pitched ringing in your ears that you can’t get rid of; the go-to solution that fixes every known device malfunction out there: turn it off and turn it on again.

All these things have one-word names that are just not commonly used; you will find the names below alongside many other less-known names. Maybe after reading this post, you might want to put some of the words to good use, in place of whatchamacallit, that-that-that thing, and other extended fillers. Let us know of more of these names in the comments.

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Obelus. The division sign, the one with the dots above and below a dash. In ancient times, the sign is used to mark passages that have issues and require a second look. It was not used to signify division until the 1600s.

Glabella. The glabella is the space between the eyebrows. A glabellar reflex is a primitive reflex found in patients with Parkinson’s disease. When repeatedly tapped on the forehead, they blink continuously. Normal people do not.

Uvula. It is the thing dangling at the back of the throat. Its purpose is to block off the pathway to your nose so that when you swallow something, you don’t choke. It also helps with your speech.

Rascette lines. The young people wrinkles across your wrist, rascette lines, are also known as bracelet lines, and are believed in palmistry to signify health and longevity.

Purlicue. The area between your forefinger and your thumb you see when you flash the letter L; unofficial symbol of the Glee club.

Hamburger button. The button to click or tap on to get access to the menu options. The three line navigational icon is named hamburger button because it looks like a hamburger: ☰ .

Braces. Sometimes known as curly braces { }

Brackets. Also named hard brackets or square brackets [ ]

Parentheses. Also known as round brackets ( ). Parentheses is the plural form of parenthesis.

Chevrons. Also called diamond brackets <>

Grawlix. The symbols used in comics, used in place of actual profanity. It was created by Mort Walker, creator of the Beetle Bailey comics.

Ellipsis. The three dots that indicate a voice or statement trailing off…

Caret. Used by proofreaders to insert punctuation or missing letters, the caret, ^, is also used in mathematics to indicate exponentiation (or superscripts)

Tittle. The dots over i and j are knowned as tittles. The phrase, "to dot your i’s and cross your t’s" means to be thorough. The phrase "to a T" is thought to be derived from the phrase "to a tittle".

Interrobang. The interrobang, ?! < these two symbols combined into one, like so: ‽, was a popular punctuation mark in the 1960s. It was found in newspaper articles and magazines, and even on Remington typewriters. It later on faded into obscurity due to lack of use.

Zarf. The piece of cardboard that keeps your Starbucks coffee cup from burning your hand. Zarfs used to be made from metal, usually silver, copper, brass, and sometimes gold, and heavily decorated by motifs, engravings or even stones. It was used to carry coffee cups that have no handles.

Aglet. The metal tip at the end of your shoelaces that keeps the laces from fraying. The aglet is also the poster boy for lists like this, and is popularized in pop culture by the animated series Phineas and Ferb.

Petrichor. Smell of rain after a dry spell. The petrichor aroma comes from a combination of plant oils and chemical compounds in soil, which is released with there is moisture in the air.

Tartle. A Scottish word to describe the hesitation caused from forgetting a person’s name

Akrasia. A lack of self-control or when you lack the willpower to follow through with something you’re supposed to do. It’s also used to describe as a condition when you against your better judgment.

Pate. The top of a person’s head; the crown.

Baluster. The sometimes intricately sculpted structure that serves as the structural support for hand rails on a staircase, doubling as architecture.

Tinnitus. The ringing sound you hear in your ears. Yes, the one you have no control over. An interesting note about it, people believe the sound is in E flat.

Vagitus. The crying or wailing of a newborn baby. It is a terrifying term, derived and even scarier term vagitus uterinus, which is the crying of a fetus from inside the uterus.

Armscye. The armhole that hasn’t had the sleeve sewn on. The only reason you might know the meaning of this word is if you are a tailor or a seamstress.

Earworm. The song you cannot get out of your head. Unless you listen to another catchy song.

Oyster pail. The cheap, durable, easy to carry paperboard container your Chinese takeout comes in. The smart packaging design can actually be unfolded to form a plate, but with the use of chopsticks, it is easy to eat out of the pail, as is.

Paresthesia. The pins and needles feeling you get when your leg falls asleep. There is a numbness and a wave of tingling (or ants crawling) sensation that lasts for under a minute.

Philtrum. The area between the bottom of your nose and the top of your lip

Collywobbles. A combo of the word colic and wobble, its that feeling you get in your stomach when you feel anxious or queasy.

Tragus. That piece of cartilage on the outer part of the ear that blocks the ear passage.

Mondegreen. Misheard lyrics which change the meaning of the song. Check out this video for some examples.

Scurryfunge. The hasty, last-minute, cleaning up of the house when guests are on their way over.

Nibling. Like how siblings refer to sister or brother, niblings refer to nephew or niece. It’s the gender neutral way to refer to children of your siblings.

Lunula. The white crescent near the base of your fingernail, the lunule is touted by some to be a health indicator for a range of health problems, from mineral deficiency to kidney problems.

Phloem bundles. The strings on a banana that come off when you peel a banana. Phloems in plants deliver nutrients to varioius parts of the plants.

Powercycling. The IT guy’s ultimate solution; turning it off then turning it on again.

Rowel. The part of a cowboy’s spur, which has sharp points and rotates.

Griffonage. Handwriting so aesthetically challenged, it’s almost impossible to read. A symptom found in people with medical degrees.

Autodidact. A person who is self-taught. Among some of the biggest names who are autodidacts are Leonardo da Vinci, The Wright Brothers, Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, film-makers Steven Spielberg, David Fincher, Woody Allen and Stanley Kubrick.










20 Websites to Listen to Music for Free

hongkiat.com - do, 04/02/2016 - 14:01

Listening to music has become an integral part of our lives. We listen to the music during commute, daily runs, when we’re trying to relax, or when we just want to keep up with our idols’ latest tunes. These days we have a multitude of ways to listen to music online, and if you’re looking for something good to listen to your to one of your favorite trending tunes, this is the post you should be reading.

Here are 20 websites where you can listen to your favorite music on the go, online and for free. We’ve also included the iOS or Android apps that are made available by these music sites. Note that while there are premium options, if you opt to stay with the free version, you wil be subjected to ads that help towards keeping the services free.

SoundCloud

SoundCloud is an online service works by users who upload music for you to listen for free. You can search for artists, songs, bands, tracks and podcasts and explore music by genres, or check out what’s trending. You can follow your friends or other users with similar taste of music, or create your own playlists. [iOS | Android]

Spotify Music

Spotify is one of the most popular websites around to listen to music online. You can listen via your browser, mobile device, or a desktop manager which can be downloaded from Spotify. Once you are logged in, you can listen to the songs, create playlists and share your favourite music with friends. [iOS | Android]

Last.fm

Last.fm is a great site to both listen and download the tunes you like. It will also suggest artists you might be interested in, based on the artists you listen to. Music on Last.fm is sourced from services like Spotify and Youtube. You can choose the source of your choice. [iOS | Android]

Pandora

Pandora is a free music streaming website where you can not only listen to favourite music, but also find new music you are going to like. Just enter a song or artist you like and Pandora will build a radio-like station around it, proposing new music similar to your taste. [iOS]

8tracks

8tracks gives you access to music in eight different categories. Choose from romantic, sad, or other emotional moods to bring up soundtracks and scores to fit those moods. Alternatively, you can enjoy the playlists created by 8tracks and discover new songs serendipitously. [iOS | Android]

DashRadio

DashRadio is another internet radio website that has tons of stations and different genres to fit in your taste. Find any station by genre and add them to your profile for future returns. You can also share your chosen stations with your friends on social networks. [iOS | Android]

RadioTuna

RadioTuna is a great way to find radio stations by genre, artists or song. You can search for different stations and listen to them online via browser, or via an installed desktop player. [Android]

Mixcloud

Mixcloud is a place for long form audio, such as DJ’s music sets, podcasts, radio shows. It’s a great website for neverending playlists playing on the background for hours and hours. You can also create your own playlists here. [iOS | Android]

TuneIn

TuneIn is a free music streaming website. It’s simple to find local and global radio stations there. Radio stations can be searched by song, sports, news, talk genres and you will get results ranging from rock to religious music and business news among others. [iOS | Android]

Deezer

Deezer is very similar to its competitors, Spotify and Last.fm. You can listen to 35 million songs here, sprinkled with short ads in between. Sign in to choose artists you like, and they reciprocate with genres you might like. You can also listen to playlists created by other users. [iOS | Android]

Musicovery

Musicovery is a bright and colorful website that allows you to find music appropriate to your current mood. There is a mood chart in the form of a grid. Pick a mood and it will suggest music for you. You need to register to shuffle songs and ban songs you don’t like.

Thesixtyone

Thesixtyone is a website for finding music fitting your mood and new music in general. You can go with what’s hot and new, or choose a music theme according to your mood. The sixtyone aims to highlight newer artists so if you are in for fresh tunes, this is the place to be.

Slaker

Slaker is a radio-style website, but unlike, for example, Pandora, listeners are not restricted to only being able to listen to radio stations. On Slaker you can listen to different playlists created by their experts. [Available in Canada and US only] [iOS | Android]

Myspace

Myspace may seems qute odd for this list but they have relaunched themselves as a music and video platform. You’ll find a massive library of music in there. [Android]

iHeartRadio

iHeartRadio is an amazing music app and free music streaming website. Listen to live radio, stream podcasts and the news and create your own custom radio stations suited to your tastes. It also has a sleep timer, perfect for people who get lulled to dreamland with music. [iOS | Android]

Incus Tunes

After you register on Incus Tunes, you’ll get instant and free access to tons of music. Incus Tunes claims that they have more music than both Spotify and Napster. You can browse artists, songs, and public playlists.

Gaana

Gaana is a commercial music streaming service providing free and licensed music. Launched in 2011, the website had a huge collection of English and Bollywood music to choose from. [iOS | Android]

Di.fm

Di.fm is a short for Digitally Imported. It is a multi-channel internet radio service focusing exclusively on Electronic Music. You can browse through the site to find upcoming shows and radio stations. [iOS | Android]

Rhapsody

Rhapsody is a music streaming website but it’s not for everyone. The good news is it is popular for its huge library. The bad news is its audio quality peaks at 128kbps, making it a poor choice if you’re rocking any kind of quality headphones. [iOS | Android]

Bandcamp

Bandcamp is a great place to discover and support new artists. The platform allows listeners to listen to new music every day. New artists get to create a webpage here to help promote their songs to listeners. [iOS | Android]










50 Websites For Free Vector Images Download

hongkiat.com - wo, 03/02/2016 - 16:01

Unlike raster images, vector images are flexible and scalable enough to not lose quality when stretched out beyond their original size. This makes it perfect for use for both web and print design. In fact, we have plenty of compilations that feature vector images (you can start with our multipurpose vector icon sets) but in case you want to do your own searches, we have the next best thing.

In this post are 50 websites you can check out to download the free vector images, icons and logos you want. Make sure to read the licence before using the downloaded vectors.

1. Vector Stock

Vector Stock is one of the most popular website to find free vector art. Here you’ll find more than 220,000 royalty-free vectors with design elements. [Visit page]

2. Freepik

Freepik is one of the biggest websites out there, offering hundreds of new vectors daily, for personal as well as commercial use. [Visit page]

3. All Free Download

All Free Download has around 190,000 vectors for non-commercial use. Search by the 15 tags available, or go with what’s popular or the newest additions. [Visit page]

4. Free Vector

There are more than 35 categories to look for brand logos, vectors and icons here. You can use images under Creative Commons licence which means you can change and share them, but the attribution is a must. [Visit page]

5. Vecteezy

Vecteezy is home to vector icons, art and patterns. Do check the licenses to know if you can use them for personal or commercial use. There are also premium vectors available. [Visit page]

6. Free Vectors

A lot of designers share their vector designs in this quaint website. All vectors are free for personal use however do check with the author before using a vector for commercial purposes. [Visit page]

7. 1001 Free Downloads

Home to 35 different categories, covering food, sports, technology, business, science, and more, the vectors here can be used for personal or commercial use, with attribution. [Visit page]

8. Free Design File

Over 30 categories of vectors are available here. All vector art goes in no cost, but with CC 3.0 licence, so make sure to mention the author. [Visit page]

9. Free Vectors

This website has over 30 categories of free vector art. In order to use some particular vector in commercial purposes, it’s better to get in touch with the designer first. [Visit page]

10. Vector 4 Free

Vector4Free.com offers free vector graphics in the follow formats: Illustrator AI, EPS, PDF, SVG and Corel Draw CDR files. Use tags or search box to simplify your search. [Visit page]

11. Cool Vectors

This website shares vectors from other sources of free vectors. Users can rate the quality of the vectors. You can also use tags to find vectors you need. . [Visit page]

12. Free Vectors

Download thousands of simple vectors from this site. The designs are created by their in-house designers. Free downloads need an attribution line. [Visit page]

13. Vectorportal

Vectorportal has over 25 categories of vector art that can be used with attribution. The most interesting category here is probably the Coat of Arms category. [Visit page]

14. Vector Junky

The sponsored search results take up more real estate than the actual free stuff but still, this site has plenty of nice vectors you might find use for. [Visit page]

15. Vector EPS

Here you’ll find vector graphics, banners, posters, icons, logos, labels, stickers, business cards and more in vector format. Any shares of the resources will need a credit line. [Visit page]

16. Pixeden

You can find high-quality, full & free vector sets/packs in Pixeden. However, the site focuses more on their premium goods, which is worth a look if you need to regularly use good quality and beautiful vector resources. [Visit page]

17. Vectorish

Vectorish is home to lone vector graphics suitable for specific use. Use categories in the header menu to search for vectors you need. [Visit page]

18. DeviantArt

DeviantArt is a well-known community of artists from all over the globe. You’ll find almost free vector resources here, but will have to do it via the search box. [Visit page]

19. Vector Wallpapers

On this website you’ll find a small but free collection of vector wallpapers suited for any taste. The wallpapers are available in various resolutions. [Visit page]

20. Smashing Magazine

Smashing Magazine is one of the most popular blogs for web designers and developers. They also have a huge number of vector freebies. [Visit page]

21. Vector Goods

You’ll find more than a dozen categories on this website. All vectors here are under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0., so you can share and adapt them, with attribution. [Visit page]

22. Spread

Spread offers various free vectors in the following categories: backgrounds, design elements, illustrations, frames, ornaments, borders, postcards, templates, logos and occasions. [Visit page]

23. Dryicons

This website has high-quality creative vectors for free. Use search box to find what you want, and leave an attribution when you use the vectors. [Visit page]

24. Free Vector Maps

As you see from the site’s name, this site offers free vectors of world maps. Feel free to use a menu to choose the country you are looking for. [Visit page]

25. Pixabay

Pixabay is not only a repository for outstanding public domain images, they have home to plenty of free vector images as well. [Visit page]

26. Free Vector Archive

You can choose vector art from 20 categories, in the file formats you want or color filters. [Visit page]

27. Vectors4all

On Vectors4all you can search for suitable vector art to download, or even submit your own vector into the mix. [Visit page]

28.123freevectors

This website has around 50 different categories of vectors, including textures and patterns. It carries their own vector art along with submissions from other resources. [Visit page]

29. Blugraphic

There is a small collection of vectors, logos and PSD resources on Blugraphic, offering icons, ornaments, logos, and more. [Visit page]

30. Vector.me

Just enter a keyword to search for the perfect vector image you might be looking for. Since there are more than 280,000 choices, you might want to use the tags at the bottom. [Visit page]

31. Qvectors

On Qvectors you can search vector designs by categories or tags. Also, they have awesome blog with freebies showcases and giveaways. [Visit page]

32. Dribbble

Dribble is an awesome well-know community of designers from all over the globe, and they share free vector graphics here from time to time. [Visit page]

33. Light Stock

Light Stock is a stock photography website which offers unique content. Each week they give away free vector graphics, you just need to sign up for their newsletter. [Visit page]

34. For Designer

For Designer has all kind of free vectors you might need. Moreover, the website is available on English, French, German, and Spanish. [Visit page]

35. Vectorian

Vectorial offers vintage vector art in packs. Subscribe to their newsletter to get free vectors each week. [Visit page]

36. Web Design Hot

Here you’ll find free vector images along with free fonts, icons, photography, UI elements, logos, Photoshop brushes and more. The site however is riddled with ads.[Visit page]

37. Vecto2000

This website offers free vector art, icons, patterns over a wide variety of categories, including sports, transportation, floral and science. [Visit page]

38. All Vectors

The website has 20 different categories of vector designs. All the vectors are available under creative commons attribution license. [Visit page]

39. Freevectors.org

Freevectors has 14 different categories of 1600+ vector art to download, and more free additions. You can also browse website using the search box. [Visit page]

40. Vector Finder

With over 20 categories of vector art, Vector Finder gives their designs for personal use. [Visit page]

41. Vectors4free.net

On this site, you can find design elements from Animals to Vehicles to use. New resources are added in daily. [Visit page]

42. Digimadmedia

There are eight groups of subcategories to find vectors in, such as backgrounds, logos, icons, flowers and even Halloween. [Visit page]

43. Scalablegfx

Founded in 2015 by three students, Scalablegfx is another place to get high-quality vector images for creating game graphics. [Visit page]

44. 365psd

365psd is a popular website to get various freebies for designers. They also have amazing vector graphics. Use the categories in the menu to find what you want. [Visit page]

45. 7428.net

Despite the lack in site branding, this is a nice spot to find vectors alongside PSD, icons, HD pictures and more, all for free. [Visit page]

46. Vector Vaco

Vector Vaco offers various vector designs. But remember to link to the original download page when you use designs found here. [Visit page]

47. Freevectors.me

This site has 17 categories, and also allows you to search vectors using color filters. [Visit page]

48. Flaticon

On this website you’ll find amazing free vector icons. This website is a subsidiary of Freepik. All icons come with CC 3.0 licence which means you need to credit the author. [Visit page]

49. Vector Background

Use search box or color filters to find the vector background design you need. [Visit page]

50. Public Domain Vectors

As the name of website says, vectors here are available under public domain or CC0 licence. You’re allowed to copy, modify and distribute the vectors downloaded from this site. [Visit page]










How Creativity &#038; Care Power Your Coding Needs

hongkiat.com - wo, 03/02/2016 - 15:01

Editor’s note: This sponsored post is brought to you by Xfive.

In theory, design teams do the creative work, and expert developers transform their creations into working code. A wall often exists between these two. Requirements and results pass back and forth over this wall, as there is presumably no common ground between the designers and the developers.

It does not have to be this way. There is common ground, and it’s called creativity. Creativity can be shared by both the design team and the developer team, just as creative "sparks" are shared by both sides of the brain.

Let’s explore how developers can follow through on creative agencies’ designs rather than placing limitations on them, and see how one company does precisely that.

Creative agencies prefer to work with concepts, and tools that do not require coding skills. Building a product based on these concepts requires coding and conventional wisdom might lead you to believe that coding involves little more than following orders. Professional programmers however do more than mere coding, they adopt creative coding.

It takes creative designers and design agencies to design awesome layouts, and it takes creative developers to ensure that those designs will benefit the best coding solutions. Both sides are creative, and it is this creativity that glues the two teams together so they can work closely and collaborate with each other.

Aside from creativity though, there is one more crucial ingredient that should be in a team.

"A good developer should be proactive, help clients with hard decisions on a project, never limit its development, but find smarter & better technical solutions. You can call it "creativity", we prefer to call it "care" – Milosz Bazela, Xfive.

Finding the Source of Creativity

Restrictions could be regarded as the arch-enemy of creativity, and yet creativity flows from restrictions. It is an important part of problem solving, a process directed toward overcoming restrictions.

Innovative designers and developers rely heavily on the concept of structured imagination. While their ideas often appear to come from outside the box, those same ideas are almost always formulated by what lies within the box. Restrictions, limitations, and constraints more often than not give rise to innovative ideas.

Creativity does not come in a single flavor. Arne Dietrich (2004), defined 4 flavors of creativity: Deliberate and Cognitive, Deliberate and Emotional, Spontaneous and Cognitive, and Spontaneous and Emotional. Most of us make use of each of these types at one time or another.

Deliberate and cognitive creativity is what you typically find in software engineers, designers, and programmers. This creativity type arises out of performing steady work in a particular discipline, and having an ability to focus on an issue, a problem, or a solution.

It requires the ability to recognize patterns, or connect and manipulate information stored in various parts of the brain. Coders learn how to follow programming rules. They also learn how to combine and manipulate those rules, and use them to the best advantage.

Developers Who Care

Deliberate and Emotional creativity is not to be overlooked. This type of creativity can determine how team members will collaborate and work together.

Developers should put their best efforts forward at both the human and the technical level. Caring can and should extend to users and clients. In fact, developers who care are by far the best developers to work with. They want the products they develop for you to do what you want them to do, and do it well. They want to develop products that have only the features you actually need.

But delivering what a client want across to the developer’s team may prove harder than it sounds. In cases like this, somebody else in the team will have to step up.

"When meeting a new client, the ideal situation is that they should provide strict requirements and well written scope of tasks, so that we could rapidly understand their perspective, optimize its cost and deliver the project smoothly.

"However, there are situations when your client (partner) does not have a lot of experience, and that’s where our Project Managers come in and help. Thanks to that, our client will feel extremely safe while working with us – like driving a Volvo."Milosz Bazela, Xfive.

Such is the importance of having a professional and efficient team, with team members who know where their duties and responsibilities lie in the grand scheme of things. Because when it comes to push and shove, everyone wants the team who can hit the ground running. Take for instance, our collaboration with BrightOutcome.

Case study: Xfive & BrightOutcome

BrightOutcome develops patient-centered healthcare applications designed to enhance lives and improve patient health outcomes. Their web apps and healthcare IT solutions include stand-alone web portals, Web Services (WS) integration with EHR/EMR and legacy health IT systems, and custom implementation projects.

They needed a strong development partner, one that could implement the technical part without missing any details and to deliver within the given deadline.

"The team at Xfive truly went above and beyond the call of duty. I was certain there was no way I could complete my website redesign project in time for a big trade show that my company was exhibiting at, however the team at Xfive did the impossible!

"They worked around the clock for 7 days a week in advance of the show to ensure that my project was completed on time, within budget, and to a very high level of quality. I was a bit nervous working with a remote team on a web project, but after my experience with Xfive, I will continue working with them on every web project I have in the future. A++ they are wonderful" – Adam Wilbur, BrightOutcome Inc.

The Name’s Xfive

Xfive has been around since 2006, but prior to 2016, is known as XHTMLized. XHTMLized was a development team that helped thousands of clients, big and small. That hasn’t changed.

The "X" stands for eXtraordinay, eXperienced, and eXclusive. It has been with the brand from the beginning e.g. XWP, XHTML, X-Team. The "five" is based around the high five’s often associated with great work and many small victories.

Add the two, and you get happy clients. Xfive excels at working as partners, as an extension of your team, whether you are from a startup or an established enterprise. They provide full-service solutions for clients looking to expand their capacity for front-end, PHP and Ruby on Rails or WordPress development.

Xfive is based in Australia, with teams located throughout the world. Top freelancing talent is hired as well, and many of these freelancers have become full-time employees. No matter who among the dedicated team members will be doing your development work, you can expect high quality and fast turnaround.










Fresh Resources for Web Developers &#8211; February 2016

hongkiat.com - di, 02/02/2016 - 16:01

Many of the tools and apps for developers found on the Web evolve according to trends while some evolve to be a more pragmatic solution.In this month’s installment, I’ve decided to spend more time finding resources that may not appear to be as obviously useful, but still stand out in their respective categories.

We have a nice-looking font which may be your Helvetica Neue replacement, a JavaScript library to test touch pressure, and a handy tool for JavaScript error logging. Let’s check them out.

OverPass Font

OverPass font is a free font inspired by Highway Gothic. Highway Gothic is a widely adopted typeface in many countries for road signs due to its legibility across distance and high speeds. The OverPass Font comes in four font weights (thin, normal, semi-bold, and bold), uppercase and lowercase letters, and also can be converted into a web font.

License: OFL (Open Font License)

Pa11y

Pa11y is a tool to test your website accessibility with less of the hassle, through the beauty that is automation. You can use the command line interface or setup via the dashboard if you prefer a colorful, interactive interface. Pa11y will produce a report, showing the areas to fix if you want to improve your website accessibility for various disabilities.

More resources on accessibility:

PressureJS

Apple’s Force Touch basically measures finger pressure on the screen or trackpad, which can be used to add extra functionality. Developers can take advantage of this technology to add usability to their native OS X or iOS applications. PressureJS is a JavaScript library that hooks into the Force Touch APIs and allows you to apply it to your websites.

SplitJS

SplitJS is a lightweight JavaScript library that allows you to split the browser window viewport into several sections. You may have seen it commonly use in code-sharing webapps like CodePen.io, JSFiddle, or JSBin where the HTML, CSS, and JS working spaces are separated into their own sections.

FlexibilityJS

Flexbox makes arranging web layouts so much easier. Yet, since it does not work in Internet Explorer 9 and 8, web developers often have to revert to using the notoriously troublesome float property. FlexibilityJS is here so you can use Flexbox without leaving these old browsers behind.

LabellaJS

LabellaJS makes creating a labeled timeline so much easier. You have a number of options at your disposal to control the label position, direction, width, height, and the layout algorithm. It works with AMD loader such RequireJS, and can be nicely used along with Browserify and Node.js. No dependency required.

Wee

Wee is more than just another CSS framework. It is packed with lots of components to help with the building process including a built-in server, live reloading, sourcemap, minification, code validator, and static site generator. It also comes with its own JavaScript libraries with features to enhance your website’s frontend.

Grav

Grav is a flat-file-based CMS similar to Jekyll, a static site generator. Yet, it can be extended through Themes and Plugins, much like WordPress. For example, you can install to add Administrator Panel, Shortcodes, Comments, Forms, and Sitemap. It is overall a great CMS which may also be a great contender for a more established CMS.

PatternPack

PatternPack is a tool that allows you to build a system to build your website or application and share it across different projects all at once. Having a standard system is a general form of best practice: not only does it speed up your workflow, but it also makes the project more maintainable. Read the Start Guide to see how to use the tool.

OhCrash!

Debugging in JavaScript could be very tricky. Your users may experience errors which you probably did not experience during development and deployment because you already have the perfect setup. The tricky here is that the error is only logged into the user’s browser. With OhCrash you can now put the log into your Github repositories, so you are more well informed about the error.










10 Best Static Site Generators for Bloggers

hongkiat.com - di, 02/02/2016 - 14:01

Static websites are taking over from dynamic sites as the favoured web platform for delivering content on the Internet. Bloggers and owners of content-focused websites are now looking forward to a new dawn of website development that promises minimization of costs and improvement in speed, security, and performance.

Static site generators work by converting simple, plain text into static websites or blogs. There are no databases to slow requests down, and the site is easier to maintain, has enhanced security options and yet incur lower infrastructure costs.

Static sites also requires low bandwidth usage, with has the possibility of version control systems. If you’re interested in getting your own static site, here are 11 static site generators to check out.

Jekyll

Jekyll is the most popular static site generator that backs the GitHub Pages. The reason for Jekyll’s popularity is that it’s easy to use and requires just basic web development knowledge. Thanks to its numerous features like templates, layouts, and configuration, you can easily convert text into customized blog posts.

It also allows the import of content from blogs on other platforms, and you can create your own plugins, tags, and converters for any mark-up language. Additionally, you can also do away with your paid hosting as you can host a Jekyll blog on GitHub for free.

Getting started on Jekyll.

Learn more about Jekyll.

Octopress

Octopress is essentially a blogging framework for Jekyll that make things simpler for a Jekyll blogger or content writer. A huge advantage of using Octopress is that it’s compatible with a large number of plugins, official plugins for Jekyll and Octopress, and plugins from third party developers.

It supports building and publishing blogs to GitHub or Rsync in quick and easy way. This framework comes with built-in support for Twitter, Google Plus, Disqus comments, Pinboard, and Google Analytics.

Getting started on Octopress.

Learn more about Octopress.

Hexo

Hexo is a simple yet powerful blog framework powered by Node.js. This static site generator is blazing fast and takes only seconds to build a complete website. Hexo supports all GitHub-flavored Markdown features and most of the Octopress plugins. One of the key advantages of Hexo is that it lets you transfer your blog or site to your web host with a single command.

Website migration from other blogging platforms is also a breeze with this tool, thanks to the numerous migration options available.

Getting started on Hexo.

Learn more about Hexo.

Hugo

Hugo is a fast, flexible, easy to use static site generator. Hugo is ideal to create blogs, documents, and portfolios. This application does not depend on administrative privileges, databases, interpreters, or external libraries, and still works like a charm. Websites or blogs built with Hugo can be hosted on any web host including GitHub Pages, S3, and Dropbox.

Hugo is built to deliver optimal performance and speed like Hexo, and as a result, it builds most websites almost instantly.

Getting started on Hugo.

Learn more about Hugo.

Pelican

Pelican is a static site generator developed using Python. This software supports reStructuredText, Markdown, and AsciiDoc formats for writing content. Blogs and sites built with Pelican can be hosted anywhere like Hugo. This generator allows creation of blogs in multiple languages and also generates RSS and Atom feeds.

Pelican supports Jinja Template Engine, and as a result, it supports numerous easily-customizable themes.

Getting started on Pelican.

Learn more about Pelican.

Middleman

Middleman is a static site generator that utilizes all the shortcuts and tools available for modern web development. This software is built on Ruby, provides extensive documentation on usage and customization, and lets you customize your website with ease. Like Hexo, you can build and deploy your blog or site to any web host with a single command.

Finding support is also easy with Middleman as this tool has an active open-source community of people ready to help you.

Getting started on Middleman.

Learn more about Middleman.

Metalsmith

Metalsmith is a simple, efficient, pluggable static site generator. What sets Metalsmith apart is that every task is handled by plugins and the best part is that all plugins are reusable. Just decide what you want on your site, identify the relevant plugins, and chain them together, and your website is ready to deploy.

Files can be written and manipulated easily with the respective plugins. Metalsmith can also generate PDFs, e-books, documents, and more.

Getting started on Metalsmith.

Learn more about Metalsmith.

DocPad

Equipped with pre-built website skeletons, DocPad lets you create a fully functional website in seconds. This tool supports CoffeeScript, Ruby, PHP, Stylus, and more. With DocPad, blogs or sites can be transferred to any web host with ease.

DocPad also supports numerous plugins that make customization very easy. The extensive documentation and its helpful support community make this a user-friendly tool.

Getting started on DocPad.

Learn more about DocPad.

Wintersmith

Wintersmith is a flexible, minimalistic static site generator powered by Node.js. With Wintersmith, you can customize your site using simple plugins. Wintersmith’s projects are merely directory structures, which means you can take content from your old static sites, or from another generators, and use them with this tool.

Easy deployment and speedy performance makes Wintersmith a popular choice. It supports Jade plugin and other community-built plugins for Node.js’s template engines.

Getting started on Wintersmith.

Learn more about Wintersmith.

Cactus

Cactus is an efficient static site generator built on Python and Django template system. Cactus lets you develop websites locally and host them easily on Amazon S3 etc.

It offers beginner Django templates such as portfolios, blogs, and single pages, as well as more templates for advanced uses. Cactus is ideal to build company sites, portfolios, support websites, and blogs.

Getting started on Cactus.

Learn more about Cactus.

One more…

HubPress is a free open-source web application that allows you to build AsciiDoc blogs on GitHub Pages. Creating a blog with HubPress is easy – all you need to do is fork or create a copy of the repository in your GitHub account and update the included config file as per your requirements.

HubPress also supports Google Analytics so you can keep track of your site’s traffic and reader activities easily.

Getting started on HubPress.

Learn more about HubPress.

Wrapping Up

Whether you want to build a website with single or multiple page(s), a static site is the option to choose if you want to keep things simple, and save costs and other resources. Of course, there are a number of disadvantages using static sites, but if you believe "content is king", then less is definitely more.

Get started with one of these static site generators and you will find that building a static website is easier and more manageable than a CMS like WordPress.

Which is your favorite static site generator? Please let us know via comments.










Four UX Design Techniques to Encourage User Engagement

hongkiat.com - ma, 01/02/2016 - 16:01

Encouraging users to stay on and use a website doesn’t always involve slimmer code or prettier graphics. Some of the simplest layouts like Reddit still keep users engrossed with the content, and thrilled to interact with the site.

The secret lies in user experience and the consideration of how a website functions. Interactions stem from page elements and action flows that move from one page to the next.

In this post I’ll take a look at some UX design techniques that can be applied to improve user experience & increase user engagement. Note that these are not always applicable to every website and it’s more important to understand why these techniques work so you can use your own judgement.

The subject of user experience is vast and requires patience to fully understand. But the more you practice the more you’ll understand

The best thing you can do is play around on websites you like and figure out what you like about them. From your experiences you can extrapolate consistent ideas and figure out what keeps you (and perhaps others) engaged on a website.

1. Use Contrast to Draw Attention

Every site is built with a handful of elements made for user interaction. Hyperlinks, buttons, input fields, sidebar widgets, the list goes on and on. But not all elements should be created equal. Some are naturally more important to visitor engagement and should be designed with higher contrast to stand out from other elements on the page.

This idea stems from high color contrast and the way humans process visual data in patterns. When something stands out from its surroundings whether by color, size, shape, or whitespace, it can appear more important based on context.

Use contrast to draw attention towards certain page elements that engage visitors into a particular task. If your goal is to build more newsletter signups then your subscription box might have a bright animated signup button or a unique vector icon.

The goal is to capture attention by building an interface that lures visitors into performing some desired action(s).

If you have the time it might be worth running a few A/B case studies to see which colors/elements play best together. Statistics are difficult to pinpoint but you’ll be surprised how much can be learned from a simple split test.

2. Tasteful UI/UX Animation

I recently stumbled onto a post entitled What Does Disney Know About Interface Animation. It covers the vital points of animation and how these play to the psyche of users interacting with a flat 2D screen.

Different types of animations can imply certain behaviors. For example, when hovering over a button it might bounce up to show that it’s clickable. Error messages often shake to draw attention from the user.

Remember that UX animation should be visible yet subtle. Wild over-the-top animations are more for TV and movies rather than interfaces.

But that doesn’t mean your interfaces should remain flat. In fact most users would rather have some type of animation because it gives the illusion of a smoother experience. Digital design is partially about creating an illusory interface, but the more realistic it appears, the more your users will want to interact.

3. Responsive Design as a Requirement

It’s fair to say a good portion of Internet users browse from their mobile phones. Links that get shared to social sites like Facebook and Twitter are often visited right on smartphones and tablet devices.

This means every website should be optimized for mobile in some manner – preferably with a completely responsive design.

When you’re forced to consider screen size, it places critical features in a whole new light. As a designer you need to choose which features are most important and how they should appear on smaller screens. This responsive design strategy takes time to learn but the best way is to study other websites and pick up techniques that you like.

The truth is responsive design works and it’s becoming more accepted by the design community with each passing year.

Users are also expecting websites to be fully responsive so they’ll cater to any device screen. When a site doesn’t fit nicely into a mobile web browser it can be off-putting to the user experience.

4. Simplify the Interaction Process

Smashing Magazine recently published one of the best posts I’ve read in support of simplification for interface design. It states that nobody wants to jump through hoops to use your website or application. People are only interested in the end result, and the quickest means to get there.

I like to build UX flowcharts for each interactive page element whenever I’m sketching wireframes. These help to visually conceive how the site should look and function.

But in truth it doesn’t matter how you plan out the experience. Just be sure that you’re planning the quickest and simplest experience possible. When it comes to encouraging activity you’ll want the important stuff to be implied by the design.

If someone lands on your webapp and doesn’t understand how to signup right away, that’s a huge problem. It should be blatantly obvious to the user what your site does and how they can be apart of it.

The best place to start is by researching UX design and the process of how users interact with an interface. From there you’ll be able to draw conclusions relevant to your own projects and ideally simplify your interfaces to their greatest potential.

For related reading on the topic of user activity, check out these posts:

Wrap-Up

There is no single answer on how to design (or fix) websites to enhance usability. Yes there are some things you can try but each site is a little different and the study of UX design is very complicated.

I hope this article can get you started thinking about some common techniques for building highly usable interfaces. The best thing you can do is place yourself in the shoes of a typical user and try to determine the major flaws of an interface. And once you recognize a problem you’re already halfway to the solution!










How to Manage Your Android Smartphone From Desktop

hongkiat.com - ma, 01/02/2016 - 14:01

No matter how advanced your smartphone is, multi-tasking on it is a living nightmare. We are limited by the small screen on a smartphone or tablet and its insistence on allowing us to use only a single app at any viewing.

It is probably easier to manage a ton of media, such as our photos, videos and music on the desktop. This is where tools like what you see in this post comes to play.

Apart from being able to transfer large files from mobile to desktop, it also allows us to better manage the files and materials in our mobile. A few of these apps even gives us access to the phone’s camera, or to take mobile screenshots from the desktop.

Most importantly, we can do all this without being limited by the different desktop OS. Let’s check out the tools you can use to manage your Android from your desktop.

1. Airmore

Airmore is an app that allows you to stream videos, photos and your music collection on your smartphone. Photos are organized by day or month to make it easy to download or delete. With Airmore, you can also manage contacts, send multiple messages at once to your contacts or even make a call (note that you cannot end the call directly from your desktop).

How to Use
  1. Install the app for Android or iOS. Open the app.
  2. Open Airmore Web on your PC browser, and scan the QR code displayed. Click "Accept" on your mobile.
  3. Alternatively, connection can be made via IP or code or mobile hotspot connection as well.

With Airmore, you can connect your Android to Mac, or iOS to PC as well. For troubleshooting help, check out their help page. Airmore lets you manage all files both on phone memory and SD card, and of course, transfering files between phone and PC is easy.

2. Connect Me

ConnectMe allows you to stream any video or any other media saved on your phone. You can even link to the phone camera and watch the feed from the desktop. On top of that, you can send SMS and making phone calls with ease without touch your phone. It will even notify you when someone calls you or sends you a message.

How to Use
  1. Install the app and open it.
  2. Using your home WiFi, visit the web address shown on the app or login to web.gomo.com on your PC’s browser. Click ‘OK’ on your phone to connect.
  3. Alternatively, you can connect your PC to your phone’s WiFi with a name generated by the app. Open the URL shown on your phone with your PC browser.

Connect Me works with Windows, Mac, Linux, Chrome OS and even Smart TVs. The app also lets you send ringtones, clipboard data, APK files or push URLs to your phone. With root access, you can even take screenshots of your phone.

3. Airdroid

Airdroid is one of the most popularly known Mobile to PC apps out there and it comes with a plethora of features. These features include being able to show notification from incoming calls or messages, as well as app notifications from messaging apps like Whatsapp. Getting an Airdroid account allows you to find your phone.

How to Use
  1. Install Airdroid, and open the app.
  2. Open Airdroid Web and scan the QR code to connect.
  3. Alternatively, you can download the desktop app for Windows or Mac OS X. Starting the app on the desktop will launch the app on your mobile.

Apart from that Airdroid also works well when transferring files between phone and PC, and also lets the desktop link to the phone’s camera. A cool feature it has is AirMirror, which allows you to run your Android app right from your PC with the same interface on your smartphone (but this requires root acess on your Android).

4. Web PC Suite

Web PC Suite enables you to see and stream your photos, music, videos, documents, APK, and other kind of files from your Android to PC, via WiFi or personal hotspot. The interface functions via drag-and-drop.

How to Use
  1. Download the app and open it.
  2. Go to the website and scan the QR code there. Alternatively, you can login via your account as well.

Web PC Suite works across a wide range of desktop, mobile and tablet platforms bridging transfers between Android, iOS, Symbian, Windows Phone and Blackberry with PC, OS X and Linux.

5. Mighty Text

Mighty Text is created for those who still text via SMS for reasons we will not explore here. But basically, with Mighty Text, you can send or receive SMS or MMS on your PC using your current phone number, or send an SMS from your Gmail account. The app comes with a PowerView which lets you carry multiple conservations in one go.

How to Use
  1. On the installation page, insert your Android phone number to get the app sent to your phone.
  2. Install the plugin or extension for your favorite browser. To send text from Gmail, get the required extension on the same page.
  3. Launch the Web App to start using.

The app also notifies users of incoming app notification to their phone, and allow these notifications to be dismissed on the PC. The app also has syncing abilities for photos and videos, and you can add filters to your photos right on the PC.

There is a Pro version of this app gives you extra features such as to send and reply to text messages via email, changing the themes, block numbers, create templates and signatures as well as schedulling messages.

6. Xender

Xender is great app to transfer everything from files, photos, music, videos to apps between two Android phones or from Android to a PC, Mac or iOS devices. The Connect PC mode allows users to see the all the files found in their phone, from apps, photos, videos, music and even files from your phone storage.

How to Use
  1. On your PC browser, open web.xender.com.
  2. Download and open the app on your mobile.
  3. Tap on the Transfer button and choose which device to transfer to.
  4. If you choose Mac or PC, you will need to choose to scan QR code on your mobile. Scan the code to connect.

Xender’s phone to phone transfers incur no data usage, and supports file transfers between iOS and Android devices seamlessly. Two cool features Xender has is that you can create a group of up to 4 devices, and regularly share your files to the same group, and it is a great app to replicate your phone: you can transfer everything you need from your old phone to your new phone seamlessly.

7. Mobizen

Mobizen lets you access and transfer files between your Android and your computer, and lets you access all multimedia files on your phone, including contacts and calls. Mobizen also allows you to share music to your speakers and photos and videos to your larger desktop screen, record your Android screen (minus the rooting), and use your Android from your computer screen.

How to Use
  1. Install the application on your Android. There are two options: one for Samsung devices and the other is for non-Samsung devices.
  2. Get the browser plug-in.
  3. Log in both the Android app and the web app.
  4. You will receive a 6 digit pin that you need to input in the Android app to connect.

You can be connected in several ways: WIFI, USB or even 3G / LTE connection. For the fastest connection, USB connection is the best. The app runs very slowly when I connect via WiFi. Mobizen also comes with a "Find my Device" feature to help you locate your phone, which would be helpful if their over the air connection is better.

8. WiFi File Transfer

WiFi File Transfer does what the rest of the apps in this list do, but in a relatively traditional way. With this small app you can browse all of the files and folders on your Android via WiFi by FTP (File Transfer Protocol).

How to Use
  1. Download the app.
  2. Ensure your Android and PC are on the same WiFi network.
  3. Open the application and click "Start Service".
  4. Copy and paste the URL address displayed in the app, into your FTP client application, or Windows Explorer (if you are using windows) or simply open the URL in the browser. You will find all the files on your Android.

If you use an FTP client, commands such as copy, delete or download files exist on the default FTP client application. You won’t find these commands on the browser however. Basically, this app can do fast, secure and efficient transfers but you will have to do it without a user interface.










Creatives: Why You Should Always Have a Side Project

hongkiat.com - vr, 29/01/2016 - 16:01

Anybody who works or spends time in a corporate culture is sure to read about, hear about, or even sometimes experience "corporate burnout." Burnout is a feeling of despair, a conviction that what you are working on – and how you are spending the precious hours of your life – simply does not matter.

It manifests itself in various ways: a marketing chief storms out of a conference; a programmer disappears for three days without a trace, and ends up in a beach resort. The most common manifestation, however, is a quiet, miserable, hangdog look of desperation.

Why does it happen? Nobody really knows for sure. There may be different triggers for different people.

But one of the fundamental symptoms of burnout is a lack of passion, or at least interest, in one’s work. Since this is the case, perhaps the antidote to burnout is work that you truly care about. In other words, you need a side project.

Side Projects Reignite Passion

A side project counteracts the feelings of boredom and despair by giving you work you care about. A sense of control and creative freedom is essential to feelings of well-being, particularly among creative individuals.

However, these are often lacking in a corporate environment. Such structures dictate that most employees perform at the company’s behest, allowing for very little creative flexibility or outlet.

Creatives need some form of work that mandates creative freedom at a pace comfortable to them. This sense of control and creative expression can reinvigorate a worker’s drive and fire.

Moreover, a side project benefits both creatives and the company they work for in several fundamental ways.

For instance, it lets creatives add another piece to their books, while simultaneously improving the agency’s portfolio. It keeps the creative constantly in a creative forward motion and doing work he or she feels passionately about.

How does one find a side project? Consider what you’re passionate about and how you can pursue that passion in a productive side project. Or, find an area that you’re curious about and simply start learning, after all, from education comes creativity.

Well-Known Side Projects

Thus far, side projects might seem like minor therapeutic activities designed to keep your head straight until you return to real work. This could not be further from the truth. Because of the driving passion behind many so-called side projects, their creators quite often transform their "side ideas" into something world changing.

Uber

Uber, the international transport network company now operating in 58 countries and 300 cities around the world, started out as a side project by co-founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp.

IMAGE : Vanity Fair

The inspiration? Camp was annoyed that he couldn’t snag a taxi in San Francisco. Kalanick recalls:

"It was a cold winter in late 2008. Garrett Camp and I were hanging out in Paris for a week… Amongst the amazing food, the copious amounts of wine and inevitable nightlife crawls there were all kinds of discussions about what’s next…Garrett’s big idea was cracking the horrible taxi problem in San Francisco – getting stranded on the streets of San Francisco is familiar territory for any San Franciscan… His over-the-top idea in Paris that winter started as a limo timeshare service."

Clearly, a side project need not stay small. As of mid-2015, Uber was worth an estimated $50 billion.

Google’s 20% Time

One of the most famous and noteworthy stories to come out of Google headquarters was the company’s support of a scheme known a " 20% Time." It was, at heart, a corporate embracement of side projects.

The New York Times revealed how, at Google, employees were encouraged to work on company-related side projects of personal interest. If an employee had an influential idea, the time allotted allowed and even mandated an employee to expand on that idea.

Did Google benefit from letting its people do his or her own thing? Why yes, it did. Some of Google’s most successful products came out of this time, including: Gmail, Google Maps, Google Talk, and AdSense (now producing 25% of Google’s annual revenue).

Why was the initiative so successful? People simply work better when they have passion for their work. Moreover, when there is personal ownership, employees try harder and think more creatively than they do with mandated tasks.

Google has since phased out its support of 20% Time. However, Google has not stopped innovating. The allotted time for side projects has simply transformed into a more structured process of creativity and innovation in Google X lab, so far producing concepts such as Google Glass and a self driving car.

Despite the fact that Google has turned its back on directly supporting time for side projects, they are still a key component of employee satisfaction, productivity, and creativity.

Other Side Projects

Although Uber and Google 20% Time are two of the most well known side project success stories, they are by no means unique.

For instance, Authentic Weather began as a side project of Tobias Van Schneider, the art director at Spotify, and took off as an alternative weather and social app.

Likewise Buzzfeed’s Cute or Not, which lets you judge whether people’s posted pets are–you guessed it– cute or not

The same is true of WeddingWire’s Hashtag Generator, which lets you find "a perfect and memorable Wedding Hashtag!"

Although none of these projects rose to the exalted heights inhabited by Gmail, AdSense, or Uber, they nevertheless create a great deal of buzz and traffic for their owners, and their creators certainly enjoyed the fire of passion while working building them.

The Takeaway

The takeaway here is that when you – or your employees – exhibit signs of boredom, fatigue, or even the dreaded corporate burnout, consider taking time away.

As Google demonstrated on numerous occasions, even a single day a week dedicated to a passion project can result in dramatic results. Even if you don’t wind up with the next billion-dollar brand, you should certainly see improvements in performance.

And, you might end up with something really cool.

Editor’s note: This guest post is written for Hongkiat.com by Amanda Soderlund. Amanda is an analyst at Clutch, a Washington, DC-based research firm that identifies top services and software firms that deliver results for their clients. Amanda writes articles, conduct interviews and research on web design and digital marketing industry trends.










How to Achieve High Productivity with a Few Easy Steps

hongkiat.com - vr, 29/01/2016 - 14:01

Like it or not, the conditions of our working environment have an impact on the way we function. However, we’re referring to more than just the cramp office space you have to put up with. Much of the inner workings in the office extend beyond your cluttered desk or where you place your potted cacti.

Organization should be a way of life, not just when filing your physical files, but also when filing the ones on your desktop. Similarly, there should be adjustments to the way you communicate with your co-workers, as well as how you manage your deadlines.

This simple infographic by MakeitCheaper.com shows you some of the easy organization tips you can apply to allow yourself to generate higher level of productivity at the office.










20 Useful 3D-Modeling Software You Can Use For Free

hongkiat.com - do, 28/01/2016 - 14:01

3D-modeling tools help turn individual ideas into beautiful models and prototypes for a variety of fields. These tools allow building and customizing models from the ground up, no matter if you are a keen beginner or a professional engineer. Popular in various industries such as film, animation, gaming, architecture, and interior design, 3D models are key aspects of various projects.

Choosing the best modeling software is often difficult because of various aspects and the wide range of features available in these tools. To help you with the selections, here is a list of 20 3D-modeling software for personal or professional modeling.

Wings 3D

Wings 3D is an advanced sub-division modeler which offers a wide range of modeling tools and a customizable interface, along with a built-in AutoUV mapping tool, as well as export facility for common 3D formats. However, despite more awesome features like support for virtual mirroring for symmetric modeling, Wings 3D provides no support for animation for its users.

Available for: Windows | OS X | Linux [Download here]

Daz Studio

A powerful and free 3D creation software, Daz Studio may not prove easy for beginners to use, but it does offer a feature- and functionality-rich user experience nonetheless. It enables you to create amazing 3D art with GPU-accelerated real-time rendering and photorealistic results. Along with providing various features of Wings 3D, it also supports animation as well as scene buildings.

Available for: Windows | OS X [Download here]

Open SCAD

A free 3D-modeling software for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, Open SCAD focuses more on the CAD aspects of modeling an object rather than the artistic aspect. Unlike many others listed on this page, Open SCAD is not an interactive modeler but a 3D-compiler modeler that reads in the details of the objects to render their 3D models on the screen.

Available for: Windows | OS X | Linux | BSD [Download here]

AutoDesk 123D

A suite of CAD and 3D-modeling tools, AutoDesk 123D even supports the 3D printing technology. AutoDesk 123D consists of various tools to create, design, and render 3D models. The websites also offers more than 10,000 free 3D models to get inspiration from, fun experiments, or for use in personal projects.

Available for: Windows | OS X | iOS | Android (soon) [Download here]

Meshmixer 3.0

Meshmixer 3.0 allows designing and creating 3D designs by combining two or more models in just few simple steps. It follows a simple cut and paste procedure, and even supports sculpting ie molding and refining the surfaces real-time like a virtual clay. It supports 3D printing, taking design models as inputs and sending the models to a 3D printer.

Available for: Windows | OS X [Download here]

3DReshaper

3DReshaper is an affordable and easy to use 3D-modeling software dedicated to the processing of 3D models. It can be used in various fields such as arts, mining, civil engineering, and ship-building. It comes with support for various scripts and textures, and packs in lots of features for easy modeling.

Available for: Windows [Download here]

3D Crafter

3D Crafter is a real-time 3D-modeling and animation tool that incorporates an intuitive drag-and-drop approach for use. Complex models can be constructed using simple 3D shapes, and it supports sculpting as well as printing. It’s an advance tool for creating animations.

Available for: Windows [Download here]

PTC Creo

Creo is a comprehensive system for mechanical engineers and model designers who create products using the direct modeling approach of 3D CAD. Direct modeling allows the creation of designs by existing designs or fresh ideas. Hence, the changes to the geometry of an object can be made quickly and easily. This is a premium program but there is a 30-day free trial, and a free version for students and teachers.

Available for: Free Trial for Windows [Download here]

LeoCAD

LeoCAD is a CAD program for creating virtual LEGO models, with support for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. An alternative to LDD software, it has an easy interface and supports key framing and works in animation mode. It has a better support for animation compared to the rest of the animation-supporting 3D-modeling software.

Available for: Windows | OS X | Linux [Download here]

VUE Pioneer

Pioneer helps create vast expanses of terrains by rendering hyper-realistic images of landscapes. It is useful for advanced users looking for a rendering program. It helps compose amazing 3D landscapes with wide range of presets, and it provides direct access to Cornucopia 3D content. The software aids in the lighting and shadow effects.

Available for: Windows | OS X [Download here]

Netfabb

Supported for popular platforms such as Windows, Mac OS, and Linux, Netfabb is not just a viewer but can also allow its users to analyze, edit, and repair 3D models. It supports 3D printing, and is the smallest lightest tool amongst its competitors with regards to installation size. The size does not compromise on the features though.

Available for: Windows | OS X | Linux [Download here]

NaroCAD

NaroCAD is a full-fledged and extensible CAD modeling application. It is based on the OpenCascade technology, and supports both Windows and Linux platforms. It supports both basic and advance 3D modeling operations, and can be extended through plugins and programming interface.

Available for: Windows [Download here]

LEGO Digital Designer

Lego Digital Designer or LDD, by the LEGO group, is available for Windows and Mac OS. The program allows the building of models using virtual LEGO bricks in CAD. The software has an export feature, allowing the created models to be opened and edited in other 3D modeling software.

Available for: Windows | OS X [Download here]

ZCAD

ZCAD can be used to create 2D or 3D drawings. It supports different platforms but also provides great viewing angles and various tools to ease the whole modeling task. Its user interface is very easy to understand and the drawing process is quite simple. The finished design can be saved in AutoCAD’s format as well as many other popular extensions.

Available for: Windows | Linux [Download here]

Houdini Apprentice

A free version of Houdini FX, Houdini Apprentice can be used by students, artists, and hobbyists to create non-commercial 3D-modeling projects. Other than a limited render size, watermark on 3D renderings, and a few other minor limitations, Houdini is a tool with plenty of features packed in a great user interface.

Available for: Windows | OS X | Linux [Download here]

DesignSpark

Providing a design worksheet, DesignSpark allows the production of highly detailed 3D designs. It promises easy features to remove bottlenecks by making amendments and additions to your design as well as changing product concepts in 3D quickly. It also supports direct modeling technique as well as 3D printing your models.

Available for: Windows [Download here]

FreeCAD

FreeCAD is a parametric 3D modeler made primarily to design real-life objects of any size. It is easy to modify designs using the model history and changing the parameters. The program is a multi-platform (Windows, Mac OS, and Linux) tool, and reads and writes various open file formats. It also allows the building of your own modules or embedding them in your custom-developed application.

Available for: Windows | OS X | Linux [Download here]

Sculptris

Sculptris provides an excellent gateway into the exciting world of 3D. Its features are easy to learn, navigate and use, even for someone with no experience in digital art or modeling. It helps take geometry concerns out of the design process, and will dynamically divide the model, better handling your computer’s resources.

Available for: Windows | OS X [Download here]

MeshMagic 3D

MeshMagic 3D helps in creating 3D rendering files, and drawing 2D objects or extending them to 3D. It’s an easy and intuitive 3D design software for users of multiple fields. Although it currently supports only Windows, it allows the output file to be saved in the popular STL format, which can be opened and edited in various online and offline 3D-modeling tools.

Available for: Windows [Download here]

Open Cascade

Open Cascade is a software development kit (SDK) intended for development of applications dealing with 3D CAD data. It includes the special, community-developed C++ class libraries that provide services for 3D surface and modeling, data visualization and exchange and rapid application development.

Available for: multiple desktop and mobile platforms [Download here]

Have you used any of the listed 3D-modeling software? Which is your favorite among these software? Kindly let me know your answers through comments.










20 Beautiful Cursive &#038; Handwritten Fonts to Download

hongkiat.com - wo, 27/01/2016 - 16:01

There are a lot of various free fonts all over the web, but it could be quite challenging to find one that gives off a natural vibe. In this showcase we have put together 20 free script handwritten fonts for any of your needs, be it a wedding invitation, preview images for a blog, to creative business card designs.

The fonts we collected here can be blended into any design to match the theme of the design or to spice things up. From refined elegance to pure rawness, these are some of the best handwritten & cursive fonts you can find out there.

Bakery by StereoType is a complete set of alternate glyphes plus 13 ligatures and swashes that is available for personal use. [Download]

Described as a quirky brush font, She Always Walks Alone by Runes & Fonts is available for purchase for commercial use. Contact the creator for the license. [Download]

Variane Script Font by Boy Moch Tomi is a simple and clean cursive font that works well for both light and dark settings. [Download]

A free flowing cursive font, Shorelines Script by The Branded Quotes are not aligned to a fixed height or spacing, giving off a very natural handwritten look. [Download]

Reis by Marcelo Reis Melo is perfect for posters and headlines, due to its loud nature. [Download]

Stackyard by Mans Greback is a strong, organized font with a consistent slant. [Download]

A HandMade Font by Gaston Jacquier is a roundish, clean font with beautiful lightweight strokes. [Download]

Cheddar Jack by Brittney Murphy Design is a very natural take on handwritten fonts. It works well with freestyle packaging designs. [Download]

Kitsune Udon by Rory Harnden is a vast collection of over 1194 dynamic handwritten characters, with 4-16 glyphs for each character. [Download]

Michelle by Noe Araujo has a soft, flowery, watercolor effect that would look nice in cards, or album covers. [Download]

BeWicked by Jeff Bensch is inspired by the Bewitched TV sitcom title card. [Download]

Euphoria by Typesenses is an informal, playful, greeting-card level font. [Download]

Moose font by Jake Luedecke Motion & Graphic Design is a collection of 94 characters that looks like an endearing attempt to mimic an old typewriter font. [Download]

Vtks Love U by VTKS DESIGN is a raw and deliberately unpolished font that helps give off that anxious vibe. [Download]

Light stroked and quirky, this MRF Freckled Lemonade by MonkeyRoodles Fonts would look nice in invitation cards. [Download]

A beautiful and elegant font, Milasian by Mans Greback is available in three weights, thin, medium and bold. [Download]

Wasted by StereoType comes with 14 different swashes and two underline styles. A commercial license is available. [Download]

Scriptina Font Family by Apostrophic Labs has loud waves that would look equally nice in fancy wedding invites as they would on tattoos. [Download]

For a truly believable handwritten font, this crude Popsies Font by StimulEye Fonts gets the impression across. [Download]

Milasian Circa by Mans Grebasck is a more spread out and rounder version of Milasian (also featured in this list). [Download]










Anticipatory Design: When Choice is Removed From Decision Making

hongkiat.com - wo, 27/01/2016 - 14:01

Have you ever thought about how the web would look like if we could anticipate user needs? The idea to personalize user experience and serve different content to different people based on their interests has lately appeared in the discussions about web design.

The new approach is called anticipatory design, or sometimes context design, and takes experience design to the next level. It anticipates what customers need before the specific need even pops up in their mind, and customizes the content accordingly.

When I heard about the new concept for the first time, I was fascinated, and eager to learn more about it, as it seemed to be an awesome idea. As I’ve read and thought more and more about it, I’ve begun to understand the concerns as well, and my initial enthusiasm has started to turn into skepticism.

Since then my views on anticipatory design have been back and forth between optimism and pessimism. In this post I will demonstrate the opportunities and risks the new approach can bring into the field of design, so you can take your own stance on this yet controversial subject as well.

While reading, please keep in mind, that anticipatory design still takes its baby steps, its rules are not final yet, and still can change in the future a little or a lot.

What is Anticipatory Design?

The term of anticipatory design was coined less than a year ago by Aaron Shapiro in a brilliant post on FastCoDesign. The article claimed that designers tend to give too many choices to users, which distracts them, and makes user experience stressful.

In turn, this leads to poor quality decisions and less satisfied users. The recommended solution for this problem is a new approach called anticipatory design.

In anticipatory design the designer’s job is to create an environment that eliminates as many step-by-step interaction as possible, and to simplify processes. This means people won’t have to run through tons of options in each app they use. Instead, smart algorithms will make most, if possible, all decisions for them.

This smart decision making process will be possible by making use of:

  • data previously collected on the respective user’s behaviour
  • interconnected apps
  • intention detection
  • big data technology
  • business logic algorithms
  • other advanced technologies.
A Theoretical Example

How would fully fledged anticipatory design look like? Let’s imagine the following scenario.

You leave from work, and drive home as usual. By the time you arrive, the ingredients of the dish you talked about with your spouse earlier that day are already delivered to your front door.

During the process there was no need for you to make any decisions. Based on the current traffic data and the distance between your office and your house, an app calculates the time you need to get home; another app downloads the recipe of said dish, orders the ingredients from your local supermarket, and informs them about the time of your arrival.

Sounds more like a dream than real life, doesn’t it?

Real-Life Examples

Okay, maybe anticipatory design is not this advanced yet, but its early implementations are already in the market.

Amazon’s recommendation engine uses machine learning algorithms and big data technology to predict what you need, based on your past searches, ratings, comments, and other online actions.

Google Now anticipates your wants and needs by analyzing your former search history as well.

Amazon’s new hardware, the Dash Button is also a great example of already existing anticipatory design. It’s a tiny plastic button that was invented for automatic product ordering (read more about how it works here).

Google’s learning thermostat, Nest doesn’t eliminate all decisions yet, but it allows you to optimize energy usage in your home without putting too much thought.

Advantages of Anticipatory Design 1. It Reduces The Cost of Choice

Giving too many options to users can make the decision-making process overwhelming and stressful. When this happens, people tend to leave early, and those who stay are usually less satisfied with the overall user experience.

It’s not a coincidence that experts say that the best way to maximize usability is to minimize the cognitive load.

Anticipatory design claims that is better to have fewer choices than it is to have more (to understand this perhaps you should take a look at this video on the Paradox of Choice) and thus it aims to eliminate redundant choices.

This way it can better control information overload and the resulting decision fatigue, which leads to lower bounce rates, fewer complaints, and purchases that are better suited to the individual customer.

2. It Simplifies User Interfaces

Having fewer choices or no choices at all naturally results in simplified user interfaces. The recent popularity of flat design already shows the trend of users wanting less distractions and more intuitive online experiences.

Smartly utilized anticipatory design can save a lot of time for users, and allow them to focus on things that are more important for them, instead of performing mundane, repetitive tasks again and again.

3. It Improves the Quality of Decision-Making

We are living in the age of information, which means tons of personal and public data is at our disposal. We not only can reach loads of media publications, statistics, databases, and analyses, but also gain access to data logged by our wearables, smart devices, and other high tech gadgets that record our preferences, actions, and behaviours.

The human brain has limited capacities though, therefore we are unable to take everything into consideration.

The popularity of business logic software and expert systems in the corporate world already shows that many businesses trust machines better than humans. If anticipatory design is used the right way, it can improve the decision-making process and reduce human mistakes by gathering, aggregating, and making use of way more data than is manually possible.

Potential Risks 1. There Are Privacy Concerns

The most important ethical questions anticipatory design brings up are data security and privacy. Anticipatory design needs data about our preferences and previous actions; moreover content providers can have access to our user profiles, social networks, mobile and web applications.

In short, different kinds of data controllers will hold tons of data about all of us. How will they handle it, and how much control are users willing to give up? In what forms will they be able to control who and how can access their data?

If, as designers, we really care about the needs of our users, we need to take privacy more into consideration than ever before, and build it into the design workflow.

Image: Freepik 2. It Can Be Too Restrictive

In many cases, second-guessing just doesn’t work. Motives behind human actions can be different in each individual.

For example if someone schedules a meeting, do they need a taxi for sure? If the weather is nice, they might want to go on foot, or they might cancel the meeting last minute due to an emergency or if they felt under the weather.

Previous preferences can also be restrictive when someone wants to try out new things, or pick up new habits.

Companies using anticipatory design certainly need to make a lot of research, and assess responsibly what they can automate, and what they cannot, how they can keep users well-informed and avoid oversimplification.

3. There Are Psychological Costs

Fully fledged anticipatory design will be an intuitive technology that probably will know us better than we know ourselves. Having fewer or no choice at all may leave us feeling manipulated, and constantly being assessed based on our past behaviour can hinder self-improvement and even set back our creativity.

If we outsource decision-making to algorithms, we can easily lose an important life skill as well. The most interesting question probably is whether users will recognize at all that they have less options than before. Will they be happy with a more hassle-free life, or mourn their reduced freedom?










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