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5 Open Source Synthesizers You Can Build And Hack - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 15:01

The whole do-it-yourself (DIY), open source maker electronics scene that’s really gained in popularity over the past few years has led to a lot of really interesting devices and kits appearing on the market. The great thing, of course, is that it isn’t just limited to computing and robotics enthusiasts: musicians have benefitted from this open source DIY movement too.

We’ve started seeing a lot of synths with open access to both the hardware schematics and the software or firmware (if any) at the heart of the synth.

DIY synths aren’t a new thing, but until a few years ago they used to be either super simple square wave toy synths or complex analog synths, with very little in between. These days, there’s a lot more to choose from, especially with the advent of microcontrollers running easily hackable firmware.

Here are 5 great open source and DIY friendly synths that you can play, build, modify or even use as jumping-off blocks for your own synth creations, listed in rough chronological order.

1. Mutable Instruments – Shruthi

Mutable Instruments’ Shruthi is a hybrid digital and analog monophonic synth that uses an 8-bit microcontroller to generate two oscillators plus a sub frequency oscillator. The Shruthi-1′s oscillators are quite capable, though, and aren’t just limited to the square waves that you normally expect from DIY synth kits. Since they’re digital, the oscillators are also capable of wavetable synthesis and a smorgasboard of weird and "out-there" digital tones, such as formant synthesis and bit-crushed videogame-esque sounds.

The filter is all-analog, and by default the Shruthi comes with a four-pole low-pass filter. However, the fact that the filter is on a separate PCB means that you can easily swap filters, and there are a lot of different flavors of filter available for you to buy or build. The Shruthi-1 also has an audio input, so you can use the filter to process external audio. The Shruthi-1 only comes in kit form and will require assembly. [$203 kit; $39.50 - $75 enclosures]

[ Buy | Source ]

2. Lush Projects LushOne

The LushOne is a system of small, low-priced synth modules, covering everything from base oscillator and filter combination, to sound-shaping envelopes to some effects and additional control. All of these modules are connected to each other using small patch leads, letting you route signals and create sounds totally from scratch. The base unit contains two digital oscillators with five waveforms coupled to an analog filter, like most other synths in this list.

The Contour kit adds an ADSR envelope, a voltage-controlled amplifier (VCA) and a ring modulator. There’s also an Echo kit for adding echo effects to the LushOne. The LushOne can be controlled via MIDI, but it also can interface with other modular equipment, since it has control voltage (CV) inputs for elements such as oscillator pitch and filter cutoff. The LushOne base unit and the additional modules all come as kits, and requires intermediate soldering skills. [$117 - $129 modules; $76.50 - $119 cases]

[ Buy | Source ]

3. PreenFM 2

The PreenFM 2 is an open source, polyphonic, frequency modulation (FM) synth, with quite a lot of features packed into a small case. The PreenFM 2 actually consists of four separate and independent synth instruments in one little case.

Each of these instruments is quite well-equipped, with seven different modulation sources, a powerful arpeggiator sourced from Mutable Instruments’ algorithms, an effect slot for filters as well as one gate effect. Each instrument can be set to respond to different MIDI channels so they can be played independently, or set to respond to the same channel for really rich tones.

The PreenFM 2 has between 8 and 16 voices of polyphony, great for big chords. It responds to MIDI via USB, so you can plug it directly into your computer and control, sequence and play it directly from your digital audio workstation (DAW) of choice, without needing any MIDI ports or MIDI to USB converters. It also supports a USB stick for storing presets. It even supports presets from Yamaha’s classic DX7 synth. The PreenFM 2 comes as a kit, case included, and will need assembly. [$252]

[ Buy | Source ]

4. LittleBits Synth Kit

No list of open source synths would be complete without one of the highest-profile open source synth kits available today, the LittleBits Synth Kit. Designed in conjunction with Korg, the LittleBits Synth Kit is a collection of small synth modules that are completely modular – like the LushOne – and just snap together like Lego blocks, letting you create some reasonably full-featured synths from some basic building blocks.

Modules include a dual oscillator module, a filter module, a keyboard, an envelope and a micro sequencer, amongst others.

And, since the Synth Kit is built on the same platform as all of the other LittleBits kits and modules, it’s very easy to integrate a synth into other, more complex electronics creations. The LittleBits Synth Kit is a bit lacking in connectivity at the moment, but connectivity modules – MIDI, CV and a USB input/output module – are coming over the course of the year, letting you integrate it into your existing workflow a lot easier.

The circuits are all open source, although the connectors themselves aren’t. [$159]

[ Buy | Source ]

5. Meeblip Anode

The Meeblip anode is the latest synth in Create Digital Music’s line of Meeblip synthesizers, one of the biggest names in the world of open source hardware synths. The Anode is a hybrid digital and analog monophonic synth that combines square wave digital oscillators with a rich analog filter that covers a lot of sonic ground.

The Anode has a particular emphasis on generating bass sounds, and if you give a listen to the demos, you’ll find that the combination of 8-bit digital oscillators and an analog synth really help it create some rich and in-your-face bass sounds.

The Meeblip Anode might seem toy-like, but it’s a very capable synth: beyond the oscillators and resonant analog filter, you have some basic envelope controls, pulsewidth control for the oscillators as well as a low frequency oscillator (LFO) that can modulate either the filter cutoff or pitch of the oscillators.

Like most of the other synths in this list, the Meeblip Anode needs to be controlled over MIDI; you can use a MIDI keyboard to do this, but you can also use an iPhone or iPad if you get a MIDI adapter. The Meeblip Anode comes fully assembled. [$139.95]

[ Buy | Source ]

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15 Tips & Tricks To Help You Master Prezi - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 12:01

If you need to create presentations for high-powered clients, or impress lecturers and professors in university, you may have heard of (or are already using) Prezi. Prezi is a cloud-based presentation tool and is known for its zooming user interface (ZUI) allowing you to easily break down or go into things in detail.

As it was created to replace slide presentations, Prezi’s interface and visual story-telling makes it ideal for conveying information interactively.

Prezi is not new but if you are just starting out, it may be a little disorientating to use, beyond the basics. Granted, it will also take you a while not to get over-excited with the zooming feature but that is a different topic for another day. But if you would like to give Prezi a try, we’ve compiled 15 tips and tricks to help you get started and make the most of your Prezi-making journey.

1. Importing From PowerPoint

If you already have a PowerPoint presentation ready and don’t want to build slides from scratch on Prezi, just import your slides over. You can even choose to do it either slide per slide or all at once.

  1. Select the Insert tab from the top bar in the Edit mode.
  2. Next, select PowerPoint from the drop-down menu.

  1. You can now choose the PPT or PPTX file you want to import. Wait for a bit for Prezi to load the slides.
  2. The slides will appear on your right hand side. You can either choose to drag individual slides to your Prezi or click on the Insert All button at the top.
2. Using “My Collection” File

If you foresee yourself using Prezi often or are a power user, you will be using the same symbols, logos and images constantly. Instead of copying and pasting them from previous Prezis, you can store them in ‘My Collection’ and easily access them for future Prezis.

  1. To add content to My Collection, first right-click on the element you want to save.
  2. Select Add to My Collection from the drop-down menu.

  1. To use the element in a Prezi, access the Insert tab on the top of the bar in Edit mode.
  2. Select From My Collection in the drop-down menu.
  3. Choose the content you want to add and click the Insert button.
3. Creating A Path

As there are no slides in Prezi, Paths determine the presentation order of your information. It contributes to the transition of one info to another. There are no set Paths, so it is highly flexible and editable.

  1. First enter Edit mode. Click Edit Path on your left sidebar.

  1. Now click on the objects in the order you want them to appear.
    You can also choose to drag items you want based on your order.
  2. If at any time you want to delete something from your Path, simply hover over the object until an X icon appears. Clicking on it will remove it from the Path.
4. Drawing And Using Frames

Having frames is a good way to group elements together. Like PowerPoint, Prezi allows you to adjust the size by drawing the frames. Prezi even has an invisible frame option, which organizes content without a visible frame and helps to add Path steps.

Frames, however, work best when it fills the whole screen without other elements from your Prezi creeping in. The normal screen or monitor aspect ratio is 4:3, although there are some that are 16:9.

Tip: To get your frame to fit within that ratio, hold down the Shift key whenever you are drawing a frame.

5. Moving Multiple Objects At Once

Most times when you are editing your Prezi, you are bound to accidentally move something and lose your formatting, especially when you are trying to move multiple elements together. By grouping them, you’ll be able to minimize this.

  1. To select multiple objects hold down on the Shift key then click on each object.
  2. Lock the objects by clicking on the Group button that appears on top of the selection.
  3. You can now move your group wherever you please.

6. Fade-in Objects

You don’t have to just rely on Prezi’s zooming effect to make your presentation interesting. Use the fade-in animation to make your points or objects appear.

  1. When in Edit Mode, click on Edit Path, which is at the top of the left sidebar.
  2. Select the frame that you want to animate. Click on the star symbol that appears in orange.
  3. When the animation wizard appears, hover over the element you want to fade-in.
  4. Click on the element to apply the fade-in effect. It will immediately play the animation.
  5. Click Done on the top right corner once you’re done editing.

7. Adding A Voice-over

A Prezi presentation can basically present itself when you add sound to it. This feature is ideal for tutorials or when you want to embed Prezis on your website. Take note that you have to record your audio file beforehand using external sound recording software.

  1. In Edit mode, first select the Path you want to add sound to at the left sidebar.
  2. Click on the Insert tab on the top bar. From the drop-down menu, select Add Voice-over to Path Step.

  1. Choose the audio file you want to add. The file will take a while to upload onto your Prezi.
  2. Once done, you can click on the triangle to test play the sound.
  3. When finished, click Done to resume editing your Prezi.
8. Editing Collaboratively

You don’t have to be physically next to a groupmate or partner to work on a presentation together. You can both edit it online and see each other’s edits in real-time. You can have up to 10 people collaborating with you on a Prezi.

  1. First, click on the Share button located on the top right in Edit mode.
  2. Select Share Prezi from the drop-down menu.
  3. A window will pop up. Type in the person’s email address in the Invite people field. Select Editor from the drop-down menu next to the field and click Add.

  1. The person will receive an email address linking him or her to the Prezi’s Edit mode.
  2. The full list of people working on a Prezi is located on the sidebar on the right.
  3. You can invite more people to edit as you go by accessing that right sidebar. Click Invite to edit when you expand the sidebar.
9. Printing A Prezi

Do you normally give out your slides as handouts? You can do the same with Prezi by first converting it into a PDF file. Each Path will be turned into a PDF page so you might need to edit your Path, as the flow of the document may differ from the presentation.

  1. Click on the Share button on the top right in Edit mode. Select Download as PDF from the drop-down menu.

  1. It will take a while for your Prezi to convert. Once it’s done, a new option will appear asking you to Save PDF.
  2. In the pop up window, type in the name of the Prezi and choose a location to save it in.
  3. You can now print the PDF file.
10. Presenting Remotely

Prezi has this function called Prezi Meeting. The function allows you to remotely conduct presentations for anyone, anywhere, in real time. You are allowed to invite up to 30 people to view your presentation.

  1. To use this, first, click on the Share button on the top right in Edit mode. Select Present remotely from the drop-down menu.

  1. A window will pop up with the link to your Prezi. Send it to whoever you are supposed to present to.
  2. The recipient who clicks on the link will be redirected to the live presentation you will be giving.
11. Set On Autoplay

You can set your presentation on autoplay and have the presentation loop on endlessly. You can then embed this presentation on a website as part of a product presentation or an explanation video. Here’s how to set your Prezi on autoplay. You can find instructions on how to embed the Prezi in the next section.

  1. If your Prezi doesn’t have a Path, create one first.
  2. Enter Present mode and click on the clock icon at the bottom right of the screen.

  1. From there, select the time intervals you want, to pace your Paths.
  2. To stop the autoplay, simply click on the clock icon again and select Off. You can also press the Left and Right arrow keys on your keyboard.
12. Embed Prezi Into A Website

You’ve written a blog post and made a Prezi to illustrate your points better. Or maybe you’ve made a Prezume (that is a Prezi as a resume) and would like to feature it on your website. You can do that by embeding the Prezi into your website.

  1. Click on the Embed button at the bottom of your Prezi.
  2. In the pop up window, set the settings you want on the size and interactivity of the Prezi.

  1. Once done, click on the Copy code to clipboard button to get the embed code.
  2. Insert the code on your website.
13. Sharing And Privacy Settings

If you only have a free account on Prezi, you can’t set your Prezi on private. You can however set your sharing settings to prevent people from saving a copy of your Prezi. By setting it to Public, people who search for your Prezi can only view it.

  1. After selecting your Prezi from the library, click on the Share button at the bottom of the Prezi.
  2. A pop up window will appear. Uncheck the I’m okay with people reusing my Prezi option.
  3. Alternatively, you can click on the second button on the far right bottom of your Prezi. You’ll be redirected to the same pop up window.
14. Bring Prezi Along Offline

Prezi relies on Internet connection for you to present, unless you’re using the Mac or Windows Prezi application. If you’ll be presenting in a place with low connectivity or do not want to risk getting your connection cut off, download a portable version of your Prezi. This way you don’t even have to sign in to your Prezi account to present and you can even save it in a USB drive.

  1. First select the Prezi you want and go to its Edit mode.
  2. Click on the Share button located at the top bar on the far right.
  3. In the drop-down menu, select Download as portable prezi.

  1. It will take a while for your Prezi to download. Prezi will confirm that it’s done and will save your Prezi as a zip file.
15. Keyboard Shortcuts

Make the most of Prezi by using keyboard shortcuts. Do note that if you want to use the keyboard shortcuts you have to turn it on. To do that, go to the options tab on the right hand corner and enable keyboard shortcuts by clicking On.

Shortcut Action F Draw frame and change frame type L Open new canvas S Draw a shape and change a frame type P Go to Path mode 1 Zoom in when editing 2 Zoom out when editing 3 Rotate object clockwise 4 Rotate object counter clockwise Delete / Backspace Delete selected object(s) Ctrl + S Save Prezi Ctrl + Z Undo last action Ctrl + Y Redo last undone action Ctrl + D Duplicate selected object(s) Ctrl + C Copy selected object(s) Ctrl + V Paste copied object(s) Ctrl + Shift + M Toggle screen ratio Ctrl + Shift + C Open Prezi CSS editor Ctrl + Shift + D Duplicate and flip images and arrows Esc Finish current action or close open dialog Space Enter between Edit and Present mode Right , Left Move forward and back respectively along Path in Present mode Up , Down Zoom in and out respectively B Blackout screen when presenting (press any key to return) Space Advance along Path Esc End presentation Bonus: For More Presentation Resources

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Designers: How To Gather Ideas That Will Impress - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 09:01

More and more designers are turning to blogging to get their ideas about design out there and be heard by the greater design community online. However, there’s one special problem that many of them have: they have nothing really interesting to say about design. They will blog about things that are unimportant, or boring, or that no one really cares about.

It’s essential that designers who blog have something interesting to say. If you don’t have this one down, you’re going to get nowhere fast in the blogging world. No one will stick around to read bland, uninformative content. Let’s explore some ways designers can develop an interesting blogging voice that keeps readers coming back for more.

1. Read, Read, Then Read Some More

I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it until I can’t say it anymore: if you’re not reading, you are doing a great disservice to yourself as a designer. Books are the main portals through which everyone – designers and otherwise – gain wisdom which they can apply to their lives. Now, you may think that you need to read a lot of books about design specifically. And you do. But you also need to be reading about other topics as well.

Read about anything else you have a vague interest in, and, if you can manage it, things you know almost nothing about. Any unusual perspective gained through reading a book will certainly broaden your perspective as a designer, and also will give you an endless source of fascinating material to create blog posts about.

2. Travel

Dust off that passport and go sightseeing once in awhile. You never know what sort of inspiration is waiting for you in another city or country. It may surprise you to find inspiration in even the smallest villages in the most remote places.

Even at home in your own city, there are likely things you’ve never seen and places to explore. More and more people in recent years have started taking so-called “staycations” where they stay in their own towns and play the role of a tourist. They go to new areas they’ve never been, and learn some fascinating tidbits about the city where they live.

Travel can be an incredibly inspiring experience for the designer who is looking for things to blog about. All of the restaurants, shows, art galleries, parks, shops, and landmarks hidden in places most people never bother to look can provide you with a steady stream of content for years – perhaps even decades.

3. Make Friends With Designers & Non

It’s not called a community for nothing. Making friends with other people in the design community seems like an obvious thing to do, but you would be surprised at how many designers – especially freelancers – work almost completely in isolation. It’s easy, after all, to get into a rhythm of working at home in your pajamas, and not bother to get out and network with other people in your industry.

I will confess to falling victim to this one myself. Working at home definitely has its advantages, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have things any other way at this point.


But you really have to work hard to make those vital connections to other people in your line of work, especially when you’re not being compelled to work together on a team project. Send an email or two now and then to a designer whose work you admire, or contact them through social media. Chances are they could use the conversation as well.

People outside your industry can also provide you with much-needed perspective about the world outside of design. And if you’re going to be working with non-designers as clients, this is very valuable information for you to have.

Again, it can be hard for freelance designers to keep up steady communication with those outside their immediate circle of family and friends, but it’s definitely an essential step to having things to write about, both design-related and not.

4. Make it personal

If you’re not being yourself on your blog, there’s no point in blogging. Yes, it’s important to stay on brand and cultivate a certain presentation that your readers can appreciate, but it should all be genuine and unique to you. Clients and fellow designers want to see the real you – don’t be afraid to let your opinions be known. Even if they’re controversial or edgy – especially if they’re controversial or edgy.

Continuing on a similar theme, you should also be sharing the things you love with your readers in terms of design. Do you have a favorite style or design period? Or maybe there’s some contemporary designer who is doing amazing things in some obscure corner of the Internet. Let people know about it.

Do you use blogging to gain traction as a leading voice in the design industry? What are some of the things you’ve learned through increasing the spread of your ideas about design?

Related posts:

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  4. Tastemakers: A Look At 10 Influential Living Designers

20 Inspiring Ideas For Minimal Home Living - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 17:01

The common idea most of us have when it comes to living space is that we are quickly running out of it. Rent and land is expensive in areas of vast opportunities and yet there are very creative people who went ahead and took the little space they have and made the most out of it.

We’re talking about smart micro-living where home owners make use of smart, stowable furniture, multi-purpose home fixtures, clever architectural designs or a combo of all three to cut down on the size of homes, without eating into the comforts we have grown accustomed to.

In this post, we will be looking at 20 amazingly tiny houses, some at less than 200 sq ft area, that will make you ask yourself if you really need all that space in your home right now. From studio apartments to vertical houses, these designs showcase the amazing architectural feats that redefine how much space we actually need for comfort living.

Mini Dwelling Tower

Located in Nada, Japan this 3-story high house contains a parking spot, living room, 2 children’s room, one bedroom and plenty of storage space – all within 398 sq ft. [Visit Page]

River Side house

The house is build right at the end of a road, next to a river, and holds 312 sq ft area of living space. The 2-story house has 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room, dining room and kitchen. [Visit Page]

Gap’s House

So this architect found a space between 2 houses – okay, he found a gap, a 97 sq ft gap which he turned into a home with a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom spread across 3 story. Talk about extreme home designs. [Visit Page]

Keret House

This is probably the narrowest house you can find. With an area size of only 46 sq ft, this double-story house connects from one space to the next via ladders yet looks comfortable and homely enough for a home owner who doesn’t mind a daily vertical ascent. [Visit Page]

The Tiny Tack house

Prefer a rustic, more countryside style of living? Try the Tiny Tack House. At only 140 sq ft, every necessity and comfort expected in a home is compacted into this house in Snohomish, Washington. [Visit Page]

Tiny house On wheels

In only 207 sq ft, this tiny hOMe project fully embraces the sustainable living lifestyle with a propane heat source and compost toilet. Inclusive of appliances, cabinetry and furniture, this is available for a little over $33,000. [Visit Page]

Cedar Park Tiny house

Made of bamboo, this tiny house fits a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living room inside 250 sq ft. It is located in Texas, and if you are interested, you can buy it for $25,000 while it is still available. [Visit Page]

Rhossili Shepherd Hut

This beautiful looking shepherd hut is a holiday house that you can rent for days or a week. The hut is located near Rhossili Bay, and inside you can find 2 beds, a kitchen, and a small living room. The only bad news is you need to share an outdoor toilet with other campers at the campsite. [Visit Page]

Tiny Project

If you think that rent is killing you, why not build one on a flatbed trailer like this guy Alek Lisefki, the proud owner of this tiny house. His house area size is only 8 feet by 20 feet, but it is a 2-level house complete with a kitchen, bedroom, shower, and living room. [Visit Page]

Tiny Vertical Madrid Apartment

If you don’t have enough space to go horizontal, then why not go vertical. This apartment has a 200 sq ft area and is found in Madrid. To get from one space to the next, expect to do a lot of climbing. [Visit Page]

130 Square Feet Micro Apartment

130 sq ft is close to Ikea level micro-living and yet this micro apartment still has enough space to house a workspace, a kitchen, a bathroom plus a rolling bed. Even the stairs and tables include hidden storage to fully utilize the space. [Visit Page]

Didomestic Apartment

Know any apartment that is full of trapdoors and moving walls? Well, now you know of at least one. This 621 sq ft has many slots to store away furniture and storage spaces inside the walls and ceilings. The tables and benches can be lowered via handles on the wall then stored away for extra space. [Visit Page]

Harbour Attic

This apartment is located somewhere in the fishing village of Camogli in Italy, a nice-looking 377 sq ft apartment that is smartly designed to make use of every available space. The quaint place known as Harbour Attic has enough space for 2 bedrooms, a studio, living room, bathroom and kitchen. Each room can be stored away for extra space. [Visit Page]

AP 1211

AP 1211 is an apartment of 398 sq ft area that has been turned into 2-story apartment with almost all the necessities included. The lower floor has a large daybed, kitchen, refrigerator and some cleverly designed cabinets. The floor is connected via a black spiral stairway to the second floor where you can find the bedroom and the bathroom. [Visit Page]

Barcode Room

This Barcode room can transform into many spaces: a bedroom, a workspace, a kitchen – all according to the needs of the resident. Thus, if you want to have a guest over, you may change the room layout according to your wish because the walls are on a track that you can move freely. [Visit Page]

East Village studio Apartment

This studio apartment has 500 sq ft of space to play with and the amazing architect team changed the once-cramped home to a high-class, cleverly designed home complete with high-gloss cover over its wall and storage spaces. The place has a workspace, living room, kitchen and bed. [Visit Page]

Multi-functional Studio

Talk about storage central. This previously cramped apartment of 215 sq ft has been transformed into a multi-functioning studio to store the owner’s 2D art collection. There is a foldable bed and cupboards for storing books, photos and the likes. [Visit Page]

240 Square Feet Apartment

A homely and comfortable design of 240 sq ft, this apartment in New York contains a bedroom, kitchen, living room, mini-library, plenty of storage space and even a hidden washing machine. [Visit Page]

237 Square Feet Micro Apartment

This beautiful micro apartment of 237 sq ft can house a family, and quite comfortably too. It has a kitchen, shower room, dining table and plenty of storage space kept high up, accessible by ladder. There is also plenty of storage space underneath their beds, talk about compact living. [Visit Page]

Mini Studio Apartment

129 sq ft of space is more than enough for a single person, if you know how to transfrom your furniture from say a sofa into a full bed or to turn your staircase into makeshift storage space. In spite of the small size, this studio apartment has a kitchen, a dining place and a shower room. [Visit page]

Related posts:

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  3. 30 Truly Creative Ways To Light Up Your Home
  4. 20 Furniture Marvels For The Futuristic Home

8 Types Of Email Titles That Often Get Ignored - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 15:01

When an e-mail pops up in your inbox, what do you usually do with it? Do you open it, ignore it, or shoot it straight into the “Trash” bin? It depends, right?

It depends on what’s written in the subject line.

See, the subject line tells you, at a glance, whether the sender’s message – or, more accurately, the sender’s purpose – is worth your attention. As a sender, you can either write the subject line right, or you can do one of the following things, which will definitely get your email pushed aside.

1. Get Too “Cutesy”

Example: Bet you won’t be able to resist opening this e-mail!

Why it doesn’t work:
It’s one thing to be witty. It’s another to come across as trying too hard, which is exactly the impression you’ll get from the sample e-mail above. When you’re in doubt about how to write your subject line, remember this: Clarity trumps cleverness. You can combine both, of course, but that takes some practice.

What can work:
This e-mail will help you [insert clear benefit for reader here] today

2. Type in ALL CAPS


Why it doesn’t work:
Your e-mail may be the most urgent in the history of urgent e-mails, but if your subject line looks like the online equivalent of shouting, it’ll still get ignored. Use the “CAPS LOCK” button only when necessary (e.g. proper nouns like John Doe, Empire State Building, World Cup).

What can work:
Very Important E-mail

3. (Ab)use Punctuation Marks

Example: Please, Please, PLEASE open this e-mail!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why it doesn’t work:
Punctuation marks have their place, yes, but as with the “CAPS LOCK” button, that place isn’t the subject line (most of the time). Besides, a subject line that looks as though it was written by a drunk 15-year-old at 3 AM doesn’t exactly earn you points in the professionalism department.

What can work:
Please open this e-mail

4. Promote, Promote, and Do Nothing But Promote

Example: Random Product for Sale!

Why it doesn’t work:
Your recipient may be stingier than Ebenezer Scrooge, but if you at least specify a benefit in your subject line – rather than being a little too blatant in your attempt to part your recipient with their money – you’ll get a better response.

What can work:
Don’t Miss This 50% Discount on [Insert Product Here]

5. Be Vague

Example: E-mail

Why it doesn’t work:
Okay, I know it’s an e-mail (thanks, Captain Obvious!), but what kind of e-mail is it? Is it an uplifting message about getting through another boring day at the office? Or is it an ongoing promo about a product I’ve been dying to buy for the past few months? C’mon, don’t make me waste my next few seconds figuring that out for myself!

What can work:
A message about [insert e-mail subject here]

6. Be Generic

Example: News Alerts from The Daily News Deliverer

Why it doesn’t work: This one may be slightly more descriptive than a vague subject line, but it’s no better. Why? Because it doesn’t give the recipient an urgent reason to open your e-mail other than: “Hey there! We hope you’re willing to waste a few precious minutes trying to find something interesting in here!”

What can work: Breaking News: ‘Daily News Deliverer’ Figures Out How to Write Subject Lines

7. Write Kilometric Subject Lines

Example: This e-mail will help you ditch that soul-sucking corporate job, find a beautiful wife, buy an equally beautiful house in a swanky neighborhood…

Why it doesn’t work:
Yes, your subject line should be descriptive, but not to the point that it’s longer than the entire border of Russia. In fact, a study found that e-mails with 6-10 word subject lines are more likely to be opened than e-mails with 11-15 word subject lines. (Fun Fact: Most marketers are used to doing the latter.)

What can work:
This e-mail will help you live your dream life

8. Write Nothing

Example: [no subject]

Why it doesn’t work:
If there’s nothing written in an e-mail’s subject line, it’s reasonable for the recipient to assume that there’s nothing worth reading in the e-mail either. That said, if the reason you don’t have a subject line is an honest mistake (e.g. you clicked the “Send” button too soon), you can always resend your e-mail, along with a sincere apology and a polite request to disregard the previous e-mail.

What can work:
[insert a subject line here]

A (Parting) Reminder on How to Get It Right

Okay, we’re finally done with how not to write e-mail subject lines. Now what?

We start writing them right, of course. We start writing subject lines that (1) stand out, in a good way, from the usual drivel that clogs up people’s inboxes; (2) concisely describe the e-mail’s contents; and (3) clearly spell out to the recipient what they’ll gain from opening the e-mail.

If you don’t want to bother with subject lines, you can always communicate with others the old-fashioned way: either through snail mail, or through face-to-face conversations.

Bonus: More Things You Can Do With Your Emails

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20 Instagram Accounts Food Lovers Need To Follow - Wed, 07/23/2014 - 12:01

With 50,000 users uploading 5,000 photos each hour across the planet, Instagram represents a huge mobile photography movement that amazes and inspires. And honestly, what’s a better inspiration than food? A good plate of food doesn’t just satisfy your palate but presented right can be a feast for your eyes too.

Today I’m going to share with you 20 yummy Instagram accounts for foodies to follow. You’ll find tons of photographs featuring cookbooks authors, professional chefs along with food enthusiasts from all over the globe. These Instagram accounts will add to your experience, not just for food photographers but for anyone who’s keen on satisfying their food cravings.

@marika_collins. Marika Collins is a Toronto-based food and lifestyle photographer with a sweet tooth. Her Instagram feed has a classic polished feel to it, as it comes complete with beautiful, old silverware and paint-chipped tables.

@edibleliving. Sarah Copeland is the food director at Real Simple magazine. She is a New York city-based cookbook author and food expert. Sarah uses her Instagram to share new recipes and delicious photos of food.

@cooksmarts. Jess Dang’s feed is full of healthy vegetable-filled dishes from her Cook Smarts blog. With a big passion for cooking, Jess uses her Instagram to enlighten others on the benefits of eating healthier and delicious meals.

@sliceofpai. Joann Pai is a Vancouver-based food and lifestyle photographer. The nature of her work led her to sample and capture some exquisite and eclectic dishes.

@donalskehan. Donal Skehan is a 25-year old photographer and food blogger from Dublin, Ireland. With three cookbooks to his name, Skehan’s photos showcase his adventures in both travel and food.

@sundaysuppers. Karen Mordechai is a food stylist and photographer. She is the founder of Sunday Suppers, a communal cooking center in Brooklyn, which makes up a majority of her feed.

@kankana_saxena. Kankana Saxena blogs at and shares her food photography on Instagram. She has a big selection of delicacies on her feed ranging from Indian to Italian cuisine.

@jehancancook. Inspired by the culture of Guyana and the Carribean, food blogger Jehan posts photos of homemade food that comes from her heritage. Her blog features these traditional recipes as well as modernized versions.

@jamieoliver. More famously known as the ‘Naked Chef’ after his first tv show, Jamie Oliver is a chef, dad, food lover, and geek. His Instagram feed is full of photos to inspire anyone to spend more time in the kitchen cooking food that’s both delicious and nutritious.

@carolineadobo. Caroline was born in the Philippines and moved to Los Angeles when she was in her teens, where she now resides. Her Instagram feed is vibrant and is a representation of her love for food and her family.

@ashrod. Ashley’s cooking career began with her plating intricate desserts at Spago in Beverly Hills. These days she shares her food styling skills via Instagram and her ‘Not Without Salt’ blog.

@sarkababicka. Sarka Babicka is a London-based photographer and blogger from ‘Cook Your Dream’. Her passion for traveling and feasting is evident via the Instagram photos that she takes with her iPhone.

@carrieannpurcell. Carrie Purcell is a food stylist and photographer who shares her photos on Instagram. Her feed comprises of her assignments, food that she indulges in during her own time and her own personal photos.

@passportsandpancakes. Megan Fleiner is the creative photographer, adventurer, and blogger at passports and pancakes. She is inspired by creative minds, foreign places, new and challenging recipes, as well as the written word. She posts cool photos of food on her Instagram.

@heatherchristo. Heather Christothoulou is a photographer and blogger with her own website that’s dedicated to great food, drinks and entertaining. Her Instagram contains detailed pictures of food as well as snapshots of her life.

@yossyarefi. Based in Brooklyn, Yossy Arefi is a photographer and baker. She also writes on her award winning blog, Apt. 2B Baking Co., which celebrates seasonal baking and the art of preserving food items.

@loveandlemons. Jeanine Donofrio is the voice behind the Love & Lemons blog. She loves to cook and she’s inspired by seasonal produce. Her Instagram account is full of pictures from her blog.

@cannellevanille. The author of the cookbook “Small Plates and Sweet Treats”, Aran Goyoaga is a Seattle-based food writer, stylist and photographer. Her Instagram is a journal of all her recipes and her adventures in life.

@helenedujardin. Originally from Provence, Helene Dujardin is a photographer from Birmingham, Alabama. You can see how the photos on her Instagram embodies her passion for natural light, seasonal and fresh ingredients as well as her interest in travel and people.

@minimalistbaker. Dana Shultz documents her simple and quick recipes at the Minimalist Baker blog, as part of a team with her husband. Her Instagram feed features photos from her recipes as well as her own foodie adventures.

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18 Creative Uses Of Typography In Video Games - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 17:01

There is an argument as to whether or not video games should be considered an art form. Whatever side you’re on, there is no denying that video games do incorporate several forms of art into their narrative and gameplay as part of the storyline, art direction or audio.

Video games have also been known to use many forms of typography, to relay atmosphere or a timeline in the cutscenes or the gameplay itself. Its uses are varied but with it game-makers can greatly enhance the experience or gameplay.

In this post, we will showcase 18 different games and how they use typography to give players a better and more submersive gaming experience. Who knows, this may make you notice the use of typography in your next gaming session.

Alan Wake. In the end stage of the game and in the downloadable content, the main character will find words lying around, that when hit with a flashlight, will turn into the object the word is e.g. the words "telephone pole" (2:20) will form an actual telephone pole when shine with the flashlight.

Splinter Cell: Convictions. Instead of handing you mission objectives in a menu, the game will project the mission objectives on the wall so there can be no question on what you have to do next.

Remember Me. The player has access to a form of augmented reality: many items have floating information tagged to them in forms of items and what you can do with the items.

Max Payne 3. During cutscenes, certain dialogue will have their words appear on screen in order to put emphasis on a particular point or character.

Grand Theft Auto IV. In the opening cutscene, the credits will be projected and moved around the scenery while the scenes and dialogue continue playing out. Giving credit where credit is due.

Device 6. A visual novel that heavily incorporates typography into its gameplay and narrative. The developers wish to blur the line between game and literature in this title.

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier. Like in Splinter Cell, info on the environment and mission objectives are reflected in augmented reality style in Ghost Recon.

XIII. The game emulates the look of a comic book and along with the use of cel shading, will draw in onomatopoeic words on screen to feature impacts as they happen.

Devil May Cry. The environment in the game is almost a character in itself and will communicate with the player by projecting words on the walls or floor.

Far Cry 3. After a story mission, the loading screen will feature quotes from the book Alice In Wonderland, symbolizing the protagonist’s slow descent into insanity.

Type:Rider. A game that is actually about typography, letting you learn history while letters and words are used to build the game world.

Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. A visual novel where a portion of the game involves cross analysis in a trial setting. You literally have to shoot down your opponents’ arguments with your own.

Call Of Duty: World At War. The cutscenes between levels use kinetic typography, doling out expositional material and the storyline of World War II to the player.

Deadpool. Just like in the comic books, Deadpool’s multiple personality gets their own textbox which appears in the game.

Psychonauts. In one of the boss battle, the player character fights a critic, who uses critical words to harm the player.

Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3. The character Phoenix Wright at first doesn’t seem well suited for a fighting game but in it he uses his signature ‘Objection!’ shout to beat his opponents.

Lollipop Chainsaw. Zed, one of the bosses in the game, will use insults that manifest as floating words to harm the player’s character.

Katawa Shoujo. In the scene where the protagonist receives a list of medicine he has to take, the game uses kinetic typography to emphasize the confusion the character is feeling.

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These 10 Websites Will Help You De-Stress And Stay Calm - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 15:01

There’s a lot of things that goes on in our daily lives that can lead to a lot of stress and leave us agitated. It could be anything from working with certain clients on a particular project to a looming deadline. There are plenty of solutions but what about when you’re busy at your computer and have limited time to spare? This is where the Internet can help you out.

There are several websites that are designed to help you achieve a sense of inner peace. They do this through the use of captivating images and soothing sounds, among other things. If you feel like you could use some quick but efficient relaxation, here’s our list of 10 websites to help you calm down those nerves. Hopefully, they’ll work as well for you as they did for me.

1. Calm

Calm can help you achieve what the name itself suggests. You can choose between “guided calm” or “timer” to get there. The length of the session varies from 2 – 20 minutes. For the guided calm option, a voice will guide you on how to relax your tense body and mind. If you rather do a quick session without narration, just click the “timer” button.

The background music gets an added effect from the nature scenes depicted, such as a flowing misty riverside or sunlight streaming through moving clouds. Calm also offers a free iOS app with limited features. [Visit website]

2. Do Nothing For 2 Minutes

The title says it all. You will do nothing except listen to the waves for exactly 2 minutes. This website acts as a bit of challenge to see if you can restrain yourself from doing nothing at all. The best part of this website is that, if you do touch your keyboard or mouse, a fail message will pop up and the clock will reset again. I failed several times too before finally completing it.

It’s a simple idea but sometimes a quick 2 minutes break is all you need to reset yourself. Do nothing for 2 minutes is also available as an app (iOS). [Visit website]

3. Get Relaxed

If doing nothing for 2 minutes doesn’t really appeal to you, how about trying GetRelaxed? All you need to do is just sit back and yes, relax, while watching some beautiful images through a slideshow (it changes every 3 seconds). Add some soundscapes to choose from and you’re set.

There are 15 different tracks to choose from. Each of them lasts between 2 to 4 minutes. Getting back to nature may just be easier than you think. [Visit website]

4. LoungeV Studio

For those who are not content with still images, you could try watching some videos instead. LoungeV Studio offers relaxing HD quality nature videos, which you can enjoy for free. The website plays tranquil videos of beaches, waterfalls, underwater scenery and much more under various titles.

If you rather not get your dose of relaxation via the site, you can buy the full version of the videos or DVDs. What better way to refresh yourself than by watching the beauty of Mother Nature at work. [Visit website]

5. A Soft Murmur

A user-friendly website that lets you create your own mix of ambient noises. Your special mix can include the sound of rain, a singing bowl or my favourite, the comforting sound of a fireplace. You can have all 10 different ambient noises playing simultaneously or just pick a few that suits your needs.

The sounds will help you to focus on the tasks at hand. If you want to, you can also share your mix with your loved ones or friends on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. [Visit website]

6. Nature Sounds For Me

Here’s another great one for the nature lovers that like to mix things up. Nature Sounds For Me offers a mixer tool that lets you control the audio level and pan (which determines whether you hear the sound from the left or right channel of your stereo source). This makes it easy for you to choose between the low steady sound of crickets or loud buzzing bees, just to name a few. You can choose up to 4 different nature sounds to be played simultaneously and save your mix for your future use.

There’s also an iOS app for your convenience. [Visit website]

7. Noisli

This website produces background noises such as coffee shop chatter, the low sound of a blowing fan, white noise, and more. The volume of the sounds are adjustable to suit whatever mood that you’re in. The web page also changes its color according to the mood of the sound that you have chosen.

If you’re keen to multitask, it also includes a Text Editor function, so you can write without the usual distractions. Plus your work can even be saved. Noisli also offers an app (iOS) so you can keep calm wherever you are. [Visit website]

8. Soundrown

Using the “relax.focus.escape” tag line, it really does what it offers. It helps your body and mind relax with 10 ambient noises that range from a moving train, children playing in the playground and even the sound of a fountain. The clips last for 30 minutes, which is more than enough for you to “escape” from work and regain your focus. You can play two sounds or more at the same time. This and the sleek design of the website will surely keep me coming back. [Visit website]

9. The Thoughts Room

Need to vent but you don’t want the whole world to see it? Or maybe you just need a quiet place to write down your thoughts? The Thoughts Room is the perfect website for you. You can write anything into the status bar and then watch the words disappear before your eyes. It is as simple as that and the website plays calming music while you type your thoughts.

If you’re more comfortable using your native language, the website page has 37 different languages for you to choose from. The app for the website is available on iOS and Android. [Visit website]


Sometimes, all we need is a little bit of rain to help soothe us. offers different variations on what the rain sounds like that helps you unwind. It’s so well done that you would hardly notice that the sound is actually looped. There are also extra features such as an image slideshow, a quick break reminder, and a timer to stop the sound altogether.

The reminder will help notify you when it’s time to go for a quick break and stretch your legs. There’s also a app available for both iOS and Android devices. [Visit website]

Editor’s note: This post is written by Gina Mark for She likes to read, is interested in indie bands and loves to eat and travel.

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Make Local Web Server Accessible Online With Localtunnel - Tue, 07/22/2014 - 09:01

During the development stage, you may deploy the website in a local server. There you can run, develop. and debug the website on a computer, locally. But when your clients need to get access to the website immediately, or if one of the applications you need uses a webhook that has to be online to function, you probably wish that your local server could be accessible online.

Making your local server available online is probably the fastest way to cope with this, especially if you have hundreds of files that requires access to. This is where a tool called localtunnel comes in. With localtunnel we can create a proxy that can tunnel to our local server, making it accessible from anywhere.

Let’s see how this tool works.

Installing Localtunnel

The localtunnel that we will be using here comes in a form of a Node.js package. So, you first need to install Node.js using the installer; you can download it in this page. Once Node.js installed, launch Terminal or Command Prompt and type this command below.

npm install -g localtunnel

This command will install localtunnel globally, so it can be accessed in any directories at any level of your computer. Once localtunnel is installed, you should be able to access the lt command. To test the command, you can type the following (in Terminal or Command Prompt).

lt –version

If the command works, it should return the localtunnel version installed in your computer, like so.

Alternately, you can also type lt –help. Like in any Help menu of an application, this particular command will return the list of options and guide on using localtunnel.

Using Localtunnel

You can use localtunnel MAMP or WAMP; two applications that are the most popular for Mac and Windows to run local server. Assuming that the URL of your local server is http://localhost/ without the port number that follows, you can type the command using 80 as the port number.

lt –port 80

The localtunnel will generate a randomized subdomain name, in which you can access your local server anywhere, like this.

If you want to make the subdomain easy to remember, you can add –subdomain parameter following the port number. This example below will generate

lt –port 80 –subdomain hongkiat

Localtunnel also support Virtual Host. By default, when you run lt –port 80 command, localtunnel will pick localhost as the address to connect with. If you have have created a Virtual Host with the name of, for example,, you can tell localtunnel to connect to that address instead of localhost using the –local-host parameter.

Put it all together, and you can type:

lt –port 80 –subdomain hongkiat –local-host

The command above will proxy that can be accessed through worldwide.

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20+ Must-Have Apps For Your New Windows Phone - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 15:01

Despite the lack of apps, the Windows Phone Store is steadily expanding its arsenal of great apps on a monthly basis. You can now find a number of official apps and alternatives that are similar to or even better than the regular culprits for your mobile needs.

The best thing about the Windows Phone Store is that we can try the apps before purchasing any; if it does not work as you expected, or you don’t like it, you can simply hit Uninstall.

After exploring the Store, installing, and uninstalling a bunch of apps, here is a list of essential apps you should be installing into your Windows Phone. Note that there are some apps like Files which need Windows Phone 8.1 to work. All apps listed here are free (at the time of writing), unless specified otherwise.

Tip: If some these apps may not available in your region (yet), you can change your phone region from the Settings > Region menu, and then restart your phone to install some of the apps.

Password Padlock

Having an app that lets you generate and save unique passwords is essential. Use Password Padlock to create unique password and manage them conveniently. This app also lets you manage passwords across the Windows app version for OneDrive. All passwords are encrypted with AES-256, the latest encryption standard. So, rest assured, your passwords are safe.


This app brings background images in various sizes and categories and lets you download them with ease. Use this app to have more background selections to attach in your Windows Phone Start and Lock screen.

Life360 Family Locator

As the name implies, Life360 Family Locator allows you to monitor your current family members’ locations in real-time. This app also lets you chat with your family in person with its built-in chat system. In a world full of uncertainty, this app is essential to help you keep tabs on your family members, with regards to safety, of course.


Photosynth is a Microsoft-owned app that allows you to capture amazing interactive 360 degrees panorama pictures. In the new version, aside allowing you to share your photos to Facebook and Twitter, it also ships with a Photosynth social; a niche community that shares panorama taken with Photosynth.

Adobe Photoshop Express

Adobe Photoshop Express gives you Photoshopping powers on your Windows phone. You can edit, crop, flip, rotate, and give your photos nice filters then immediately share your photos to your favourite sites. Note however that Adobe Photoshop Express would only run on Windows Phone 8 and 8.1 and requires at least 512 MB of memory.


This probably goes without saying but we’re pretty sure you are getting the Facebook app for our new Windows Phone. Luckily, Facebook is one of the social media sites that have made its way to Windows Phone Store with an official app. Additionally, a new version of Facebook app for Windows Phone dubbed as Facebook Beta has also been released. On Windows Phone, you can access the Facebook app straight from the lockscreen.

Other social media: Twitter, Instagram BETA, FourSquare, LinkedIn, Vine


WhatsApp has finally returned to Windows Phone after being pulled for having compatibility issues with Windows Phone 8.1. The comeback is accompanied by a number of long-awaited features such as Custom Chat Background, Custom Sound Notification, and Media Autodownload.

Other messaging apps: Messenger, LINE, KakaoTalk, Telegram Messenger BETA

Office Lens

Scanning your document is so old school, nowaays you can scan your documents with your phone. Office Lens not only lets you scan your docs, but also trim and resize your document automatically to an appropriate readable size. It’s a very handy app to take digital copies of your important printed documents like receipts and business card details.

Toib ($0.99)

The Google and Microsoft relationship is hot one minute, then cold, the next. Since Google axed Microsoft’s access to Youtube’s API, you should probably use Toib as an alternative for your video-related needs.

More video-sharing apps: MetroTube ($0.99) and PrimeTube.


Paypal is a superior service when it comes to payment processing, mostly because many people subscribe to its service. Check your current balance, send and request money straight from your Windows Phone when you get this app.

More financing apps: Finance, Mint.


This is one for power users who love to check out Amazon for deals. The Amazon app lets you browse products easily by category and department, search through products via filters and you can place your order easily, even without getting the Amazon smartphone.

More online shopping apps: eBay, Newegg, Yelp.

PDF Reader

You can’t avoid having a PDF reader on your phone hence this is a must-have app to get. Launch, read, add bookmarks easily to your PDF reading materials with the app. It also lets you share your PDF documents to social media sites via OneDrive.

Nextgen Reader ($2.99)

Nextgen Reader is a the nicest Feedly app in Windows Phone. It’s beautifully built and it implements the Windows Phone design principle, Modern UI, really well. It also comes with offline support, live tiles, image caching, Save to pocket and Instapaper. This app really well worth the price and you can run it on multiple devices.


Poki is an unofficial app client for Pocket, an application to save web articles to read it later. Poki, as you can see from the above screenshot, has a playful interface. It supports offline reading, tagging, Search, marking articles as favourite, live tiles, speech synthesis and more.


Files works similar to how Windows Explore workr. With Files, you are better able to manage the files or documents stored within your phone (as well as additional connected storage services) such as creating a new folder, moving as well as renaming files.

Network Speed Test

Network Speed Test is a minimalistic app to test your internet connection speed. It provides both the upload and download speeds of your internet connection and also records the result of the previous test in the History tab for comparison.

App Folder

iPhone users may be familiar with how easy it is to group certain apps within a folder. Windows Phone has no such thing built in the system. If you want to have similar functionality, App Folder would be the best app to use on that regard.

Bonus Apps You Might Like

Measures Mate is a unit converter suite. This app encompasses dozens of unit measurements ranging from temperature, length, volume, energy, velocity, and angle just to name a few. A handy converter can be of use for someone who is always on the move and may not have Internet access all the time to Google for the conversion.

Need a Stopwatch? This is one of the best and simplest stopwatch app to get from the Windows Phone Store at the moment. There are dozens of other stopwatch apps but you can start trying them out with this particular one frist.

Use World Clock to see the times at major cities worldwide. The app will also automatically switch to the time of your current location. It’s a handy app for those who often travel around the globe or for those who work with people across different timezones, and need an app to help them keep track of world times.

Unlike iOS, Windows Phone does not have a Compass app built-in the system due to the varying devices it needs to support. If you need a compass, you can try this app. But make sure that your phone has Movement and Directional Sensor hardware support.

Flashlight Zero, in my opinion, is by far the best app in the Store to turn your phone camere flashlight to lighten – in case of power cut. It’s simple to use and free, and you never know when you will be in a sudden need for a light source.

If you are looking for a Shopping list reminder app, then this is a free app that will help you manage your shopping priorities well. It’s a handy app that helps you remember details on what to pick up.

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How to Enable Background Size in Internet Explorer [Quicktip] - Mon, 07/21/2014 - 12:01

The new features that come with CSS3 won’t be applicable in Internet Explorer 8-6, and yet we can ignore this disadvantage as The effect will degrade nicely. For example, browsers without the support for CSS3 Box Shadow won’t see the shadow, but this is fine so long as the content remains readable.

However, one of the few things that you can’t ignore is when you apply CSS3 Background Size. We are able to control the size of background images added through CSS using the newbackground-size property. We can specify the width and the height in precise units and also let the background follow the container size using cover and contain values.

The cover value fills the entire area of its container and the width and height are proportionally adjusted. The contain value, will push the background to fit in the width of the container. This will sometimes result in a void when the container height is longer than the image.

1. Using CSS3 Background Size

Do note that the new background-size property cannot be included within the background shorthand property, background. They must be declared separately, like so.

.container { background: url('img/image.jpg'); background-size: cover; }

In the code snippet shown above, we attached an image with a width of around 3000px. The background-size that we have also added therein will prevent the background image from overflowing the content. As we mentioned above, the cover value will cover the entire container up proportionally.

This is what you will see in the browser.

Photo by Rafael Chiti

2. CSS3 Background Size in Internet Explorer

Unfortunately, this feature does not fallback nicely in Internet Explrorer 8 and below. If you attach a very large image, it may overflow the container. On the other hand, if you attach a very small image, you will end up with a void within the container. From the same example above, you will get the following result in Internet Explorer 8-6.

On that account, we need a polyfill that can somehow replicate CSS3 Background Size in Internet Explorer.

3. CSS3 Background Size Polyfill

This polyfill is developed by Louis-Rémi. This polyfill replicates the same behaviour of background-size property with cover and contain values. This polyfill comes in the form of an HTC file named, and an .htaccess file, which is required when the page is served from Apache server to send the .htc mime-type.

To use it, include the HTC file through the Internet Explorer behavior property, as follows.

.background-size { width: 500px; height: 320px; background-image: url('img/image.jpg'); background-size: cover; -ms-behavior: url(''); }

Then, if you are using Apache server, place the .htaccess in the root folder of server or, simply add this line to the existing .htacces file, if available.

AddType text/x-component .htc

And that’s it. You can now view the page in Internet Explorer. Assuming that you set the background-size with cover as shown above, you should find that the background image is now resized and will fit in proportionally within the container; see the following demo in Internet Explorer 8-6 to see it in action.

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9 Twitter Tips You Need To Know - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 17:01

Ever so often, a social media service would update its look and features to keep things running smoothly. Twitter is no different. Recently, Twitter profiles have seen quite a big change with the new layout being implemented with a bigger display picture and cover header (that’s similar to Facebook) among other changes.

Love it or hate it, the design change came with some new functions as well. Some are still in the process of being rolled out, so you may not have seen them. Others may not be new but have been hidden unless you’re the type to play around with your settings. If you haven’t, we did and here we’ve compiled 9 tips and tricks for you to make the best out of Twitter.

1. Following When You’ve Hit The Limit

Twitter limits you to following a maximum of 1,000 people a day and 2,000 in total. The number may increase when you have more followers than your following list. Instead of waiting for that time, you can get around this limit by following more people through Lists.

All you have to do is simply add the people you want to see tweets from in a designated list. As long as their Twitter is on public, you can read their tweets. Do remember that you can’t Direct Message people you don’t follow but you can still @mention them to communicate. You can have up to 1,000 list and follow up to 5,000 people per list. If you’re interested in other twitter limits, take a look here.

2. Turn Off Promoted Tweets In Settings

At some point of browsing your timeline, you would have come across a tweet that is not from anyone you are following. Known as Promoted Tweets and Promoted Content, these tweets pop up from time to time based on a combination of your web browsings and Twitter’s ad partners. If you prefer to not see them anymore, you can always opt to turn it off through your settings.

To turn off Promoted Tweets from showing on your timeline, first access your settings. Select the Security and Privacy section and scroll to the bottom. Once there, uncheck the Personalization and Promoted Content buttons repectively. Remember to save your changes once you’re done.

3. Request Your Twitter Archive

Did you know you can ask Twitter for an archive of all your tweets? Yes, even your very first tweet that would be hard to find with Twitter’s API search limits. All you have to do is to click on Twitter’s Request your archive button.

The button can be found in your settings under your Account section. Depending on how many tweets you have accumulated, it will take a few days for Twitter to send a zip file to your email containing your Twitter archive. If you don’t want to download the archive, you can also print it into a book, here’s how you can put your tweets into a published book.

4. Enable Or Disable Photo Tagging

Twitter’s mobile app now has a photo tagging feature. When you tag someone in a picture, that person will receive a notification that he or she has been tagged. Don’t worry, the tag will not take up your precious 140 tweet limit, as it would be in a separate section on its own. You can tag up to 10 people in a photo.

If you rather not have anyone tagging you in photos, just modify your settings. To do that, access your Security and Privacy settings under the gear icon. Check the option you want on your photo tagging preferences. Save your changes when you are done.

5. Modify Web Notifications

One of Twitter’s updates is that you now receive pop up notifications. The notifications alert you when someone has favourited your tweet, Retweeted from you, replied you or mentioned you, when you get a new follower and when you receive a Direct Message. The notifications even let you perform actions such as writing back a reply.

If you’ve been getting more notifications that you can follow, you can always adjust them. Access your Web Notifications settings from the gear icon. Check or uncheck which notifications you want to receive. You can even set who to receive notifications from by clicking on the drop menu for each section.

6. Muting followers

Do you have some people on your follow list that annoyingly tweet constantly? And it gets to the point that your timeline is made up of just their tweets? There is now a way for you to follow them and not have to see their tweets with Twitter’s new mute button.

To mute any of your followers, click on the More button on their tweet. You can also go their profiles to mute them by clicking on the gear icon on their profile page. There is currently no option to view all your muted friends but you can check if they are muted on your Following tab. If you change your mind, you can always unmute your friends by going to their profiles or your Following tab.

7. Turning Off Retweets

Okay, so maybe you’re not that annoyed by a friend’s tweets. But you are definitely annoyed by the things they Retweet or maybe they Retweet more than they tweet. In this case, just turn off their Retweets.

To turn off someone’s retweets, simply go to that person’s profile page. Click on their profile’s gear icon and select Turn off Retweets. If you want to do it from your timeline, click on their name. A pop up window will appear showing you their profile.

8. Filtering Search Results

Twitter’s search does more than just find hashtags. Especially when you use its Advanced Search option. Just think of all the possibilities of what you can search for like Retweets from a person, exact phrases and even multiple hashtags!

To access the Advanced Search option, first access the Search bar by typing in your query. Once at the results page, select the Advanced Search option on the menu which is located near the top left. You’ll be redirected to a window like the above picture. Fill up the fields you want to search through and hit enter.

9. Keyboard Shortcuts

Does anyone else miss the older Twitter platform, where all you had to do is type RT to Retweet a tweet and DM to Direct Message someone? While there are some things you still type by hand like @ to mention someone, Twitter has a new set of keyboard shortcuts that make it possible to operate Twitter using only your keyboard. You can access them by clicking on the gear icon at the top right of your timeline. Alternatively, you can look at the list below.

Shortcut Action N New Tweet F Favourite Tweet R Reply Tweet T Retweet M Compose a Direct Message U Mute User B Block User Enter Open Tweet details L Close all open Tweets / Search Cmd + Enter Send Tweet ? This menu J Scroll to next Tweet K Scroll to previous Tweet Space Page down . Load new Tweets G + H Home G + N Open Notifications G + A Open Activity G + R Show Mentions from other users G + D Open Discover tab G + P Open Profile G + F Open Favorites G + L Open Lists G + M Open Messages G + S Open Settings G + U Go to User Bonus: More Things You Can Do With Twitter

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9 Free Tools To Reduce Computer-Related Eye Strain - Fri, 07/18/2014 - 15:01

Whether it is a desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile phone, our eyes are fixated at one screen or another, be it for work, study or play. But let this happen long enough and you might suffer from ill effects from being in front of a screen so much e.g. blur vision, headaches or eye problems. Staring at a computer screen can also effect your sleep patterns due to the blue light that is emitted from these screens.

There are ways to help lessen the strain on your eyes, mostly by altering the color and dimness of the monitor as well as taking the occasional break now and again. If you are looking for apps to automatically reduce the brightness of your screen, here are 9 apps that will help you manage the glare from your monitor, without a fuss.

1. F.lux

The aim of F.lux is to adapt the color of the screen to the time of day. Example, F.lux will activate during sundown, gradually turning your screen a tint of orange as night falls. This helps negate the effect blue light has on sleep. F.lux is simple to use and set up, and you can change the "intensity" of the setting (how strong the effect will be).

Available for: OS X, Windows, Linux, iOS

2. Awareness

If you want a very simple app to remind you to take a break, then Awareness is it. Its only function is to tell you to take a break in the most unobtrusive way possible: by the sound of a Tibetan singing bowl. You set how long your work time is, the break time and the volume of the sound then let it do the rest.

Available for: OS X, Windows

3. Time Out Free

When this OS X app kicks in, it will dim your computer screen and display how long a break you should be taking. You can preset how long this break is, or set longer breaks under Normal mode, and shorter breaks under Micro mode. The display shown can also be adjusted, in terms of colors and transparency.

Available for: OS X

4. Shades

When installed, Shades will reside in the system preference of OS X. When activated, a slider will appear on your desktop and the app will apply a colored tint to your monitor. The default color is black. If you want to change the color, there is a color palette to choose from.

Available for: OS X

5. Pangobright

Pangobright dims the lights on your screen based on your preferences. It is a lightweight app that uses very little of your computer’s resources. When activated, it will sit in your System Tray. The app is useful for those that have a setup involving multiple monitors, as it is able to control the brightness of each monitor independently of the other.

Available for: Windows

6. EyeLeo

EyeLeo lives in your System Tray, and has a mascot who will notify you of any incoming breaks you should be taking. The best part of this app is the eye exercises that it provides to relax and ease your eyes during your break. There is also a Strict mode, where EyeLeo will prevent you from skipping breaks; a useful feature for workaholics.

Available for: Windows

7. Calise

Calise uses your webcam to detect the ambient lighting around you then adjusts the brightness of your screen. Basically it draws information from your surroundings based on the time and possibly weather, to get the optimat brightness to display at for the moment. Calise will work with all versions of Linux and their desktop environments.

Available for: Linux

(Image Source: Admin Reso)

8. Protect Your Vision

Protect Your Vision is a web app that will remind you at certain periods to take a short rest. It comes with two recommendations: take a 20 second break every 20 minutes of work by focusing on an object 20 feet away (20-20-20) or take a 5 minute break every 60 minutes. If neither suits you, you can create your own custom break.

Available for: Chrome, Firefox Extension

9. Twilight

If you like to check your smartphone in the middle of the night, or read your feeds right before bedtime with the lights off, you might want to get Twilight on your Android device. It works like F.lux and changes the screen color temperature based on the time of day. The intensity and color can be adjusted to your preferences.

Available for: Android

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20 Free Ebooks For Software Developers [Beginners] - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 17:01

Developing and programming software and applications is never an easy task, and sometimes you need a bit of help, whether it’s for managing your workflow, refreshing your knowledge or learning a new programming language. Thankfully, there are a lot of resources on the Internet that can help, including free ebooks.

Here, we’ve compiled a list of 20 free ebooks that should definitely be of use to beginner software developers and programmers. They cover a decent range of topics, from more general workflow advice to nitty-gritty code and quite a few things in between. Without further ado, here’s the list.

How To Become A Programmer

By Rob Wailing

The title says it all, really: this ebook should be one of your first reads if you’re just starting out, or even if you’re trying to decide whether programming is the right path for you. It’s not a deep ebook, but the author covers a decent amount of non-technical topics such as where to start, how to gain experience, and other real-world questions.

Available as: PDF

Lean Software Development

By David J. Anderson

This ebook sheds light on how the concept of "Lean", originating from the management structure at Toyota in the 1990s, can be applied to software development. It’s not a book about programming; instead, the ebook discusses how to approach and manage the process of developing software.

Available as: PDF

Back To Basics: Hype-Free Principles For Software Developers

By Jason Gorman

This ebook cuts through a lot of the hype and marketing speak that’s present in the software development world and tries to reintroduce some of what the author thinks are basic tenets of software development. Topics such as the need for testable goals, automating donkey work and the need for customer involvement are all discussed in this ebook.

Available as: PDF

Don’t Just Roll The Dice

By Neil Davidson

This ebook tackles one of the most important parts for any software developer looking to sell their work: pricing. After all, there’s no use writing a great program if you don’t price it correctly; this ebook should help, and discusses issues such as economics, pricing psychology and pricing perception.

Available as: Free download

Programming From The Ground Up

By Jonathan Bartlett

As the title might indicate, this ebook is really aimed at beginners to programming and development, teaching them how to think, write and learn like a programmer. The ebook teaches the principles of programming using assembly language for x86 processors and GNU/Linux operating systems.

Available as: PDF

97 Things Every Programmer Should know – Extended

Compiled by Shirish Padalkar

This ebook is a collection of essays and articles from the 97 Things Every Programmer Should Know wiki that weren’t included in the book. There’s a great variety of contributions in this ebook, discussing a lot of topics ranging from explicit advice with code and programming to more general advice on being a programmer or software developer.

Available as: Pay-what-you-want download

Efficiency in Development Workflows

By Florian Motlik

This ebook shares and discusses the Codeship development team’s workflow in the hope that it will inspire you to also streamline your – or your team’s – own development workflow. The three chapters in the book discuss developing new features, pull requests and code reviews as well as deployment pipelines and zero downtime deployment.

Available as: Email download

Foundations Of Programming

By Karl Seguin

This ebook, as the title suggests, tackles the basic foundations of programming and how to build better software. The author discusses topics such as ALT.NET, domain driven design, unit testing and dependency injection, as well as some simpler "back to basics" topic. Quite a good read to really get to grips with the foundations.

Available as: PDF

Hacknot: Essays On Software Development

By Ed Johnson

This ebook is a collection of essays written between 2003 and 2006, discussing and critiquing various concepts within the field of software development. From extreme programming and agile methods to debugging and maintenance to the software development industry itself, no topic is safe from Ed Johnson’s critical eye.

Available as: Free Lulu download

Programmer’s Motivation For Beginners

By Rajaraman Raghuraman

This ebook is a collection of the author’s blog posts, containing mostly simple and practical advice about being a programmer. There’s no code in here; rather, the author discusses topics such as how to learn programming, thoughtful quotes as well as the attitudes and skills that a good software developer needs.

Available as: Email download

Invent Your Own Computer games With Python

By Al Sweigart

If you’ve been interested in learning Python but never knew how, this ebook is a great place to start. It’s admittedly aimed more towards younger learners, but it’s still a great place to start, especially since it uses the process of making a game as a way to teach you some of the characteristics and intricacies of Python.

Available as: PDF

Learning to Program With Python

By Richard Halterman

This ebook is quite an exhaustive guide to programming with Python 3.2. The author starts with the basics of Python, such as software and development tools, before going into more detailed territory such as Python’s iterative processes, using and writing functions, different types of objects and custom types.

Available as: PDF

Open Data Structures (In Java)

By Pat Morin

This book has a pretty noble goal, giving students free access to an open-source, updatable textbook related to data structures in Java. As you can imagine, the content is geared more towards learners of Java rather than seasoned experts, but it’s likely that even seasoned programmers will get some use out of this textbook, if only as a refresher.

Available as: PDF

F# Succinctly

By Robert Pickering

This ebook is a to-the-point introduction of the F# programming language. The author devotes a few chapters to introducing F#, functional programming and why it’s important, before guiding you through the classic "Hello World!" exercise. Later topics include object-oriented programming, simulations and graphics as well as creating an application in F#.

Available as: Email download

Getting Started With Open Source Development

By Rachna Kapur, Mario Briggs, Pedro Carvalho, Ulisses Costa, Tapas Saha, Raul F. Chong and Peter Kohlmann

This thorough ebook is a great introduction to the world of open source software and issues related to it. Topics discussed include licensing, open source business models, the role of the open source community in development and starting your own open source project.

Available as: PDF

Git Succinctly

By Ryan Hodson

GitHub is one of the most useful version control systems on the Internet right now, and is incredibly important for any software developer. This ebook is a great introduction to how GitHub works, discussing everything you need to know, from a general overview of GitHub to specific topics such as recording and undoing changes and remote repositories.

Available as: Email download

The Rook’s Guide To C++

By Jeremy A. Hansen

This ebook is pretty much a comprehensive C++ textbook that covers all you’d need to know about programming and developing software using C++. Topics discussed include variables, data types and conversion, loops, file I/O and dynamic data. The ebook also includes review questions and answers for each chapter to further aid learning.

Available as: PDF

C++ Succinctly

By Michael McLaughlin

This ebook was written with C# developers in mind. Specifically, it was written to help developers familiar with C# learn C++. It does this by trying to refer to prior C# knowledge as much as possible while it discusses topics such as types, namespaces, resource acquisition and strings.

Available as: Email download

Programming windows Store Apps With HTML, CSS, And Javascript

By Kraig Brockschmidt

This is an essential ebook for anyone developing applications for the Windows Store. All the topics contained, such as the anatomy of Windows apps, web content and data binding, are all discussed in-depth and with great detail. The ebook also comes with companion files to help you with some of the tasks in the book.

Available as: PDF | EPUB | Kindle

.NET Technology Guide For Business Applications

By Cesar de la Torre and David Carmona

This ebook’s main goal is to help you choose the right Microsoft development technologies and approaches for your .NET project. It does this by guiding you through a number of different application patterns and scenarios, with recommended technologies for each pattern and scenario, in order to help you make the right choice.

Available as: PDF

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These 9 Bizarre Stories Will Make You Rethink Getting Google Glass - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 15:01

Google Glass was one of the first pieces of wearable technology to break into the mainstream. When it was announced, it was not only the tech world that was awed, but the general public as well. Now we are seeing Glass being used in cases that weren’t envisioned when it was just released. The bad news is, there were also some bizarre, unforeseen consequence of the tech as well.

From physical and verbal assaults, a shower selfie and even an interrogation session courtesy of the Department of Homeland security, Glass users are getting into all sorts of dangerous, weird and/or strange situations due to the wearable. Check out some of the more bizarre cases unsuspecting Google Glass readers found themselves in.

1. Attacked At Bar

Probably one of the most infamous incidents relating to Google Glass was the one where Sarah Slocum, was asked to remove her Glass while in a San Francisco Bar. The other patrons there had repeatedly told her to remove the wearable device, as they did not want to be recorded with the device. Eventually, one of the patrons took matters into their own hands and grabbed the Glass off her face. Though she managed to get that back, her purse and cellphone were stolen during this incident.

2. Assaulted In A Grab-And-Run

As Business Insider writer Kyle Russell was heading home after covering a protest against a Google employee, a man went up to him and grabbed his Glass. While in pursuit, the thief smashed the Glass on to the ground, destroying them. The incident may or may not be related to the protest but after Russell tweeted about it, a barrage of anti-glass and anti-Google replies came in, saying that he deserved it. Guess people didn’t like the idea of camera-weilding glasses.

(Image Source: Business Insider)

3. Received Ticket For Driving With Glass

A Californian woman by the name of Cecilia Abadie received a ticket for wearing Glass while driving. She was charged for wearing the device as it was deemed to be a form of distraction from her driving. The good news is that the ticket was ultimately dismissed, as there wasn’t enough evidence to prove if the device was used or even turned on when she committed "the crime".

(Image Source: +CeciliaAbadie)

4. Glass Users Retaliate With Bad Reviews

Katy Kasmai, was asked to remove her Glass while in a New York restaurant, as some of the other patrons felt uncomfortable at the idea of potentially being recorded. She refused and left, posting about the incident on her Google+ page. The post received a lot of attention from other Glass users, some of which pummeled the establishment with bad reviews related to that one incident. Kasmai however felt that she owed the restaurant an apology for how things turned out, and offered to teach the restaurant how Google Glass works.

(Image Source: Ev Grieve)

5. Cinema-Goer Interrogated By Feds

A Glass-wearing AMC cinema patron was escorted out and interrogated by agents from the Department of Homeland Security for 3 hours, as they suspected that he was secretly recording the movie for piracy purposes. The Glass user was cooperative during the interrogation, explaining that it was turned off, and that he needed them to see (the Glass he was wearing was the prescription version). The man was released, and as compensation was given 4 free tickets for his troubles.

6. Artist Kick Glass Users Off WiFi

After reading about a complaint from an NYU student who was afraid that art performances could be recorded with Google Glass, Berlin-based artist Julian Oliver created a program called It will allow a WiFi hotspot to detect any Glasses that are connected to the network and boot them out. Of course, this won’t stop them from using their own wireless connection but at the very least, it makes it just a tad bit more difficult for Glass users who don’t get the "You Are Not Welcome Here" atmosphere in the room.

7. "Have Glass, Will Shower"

Tech evangelist Robert Scoble is a big fan of Google Glass (although he thinks it is doomed to fail in 2014 because of the price) and swore that he would never take them off. Well you better believe him, because he took a shower with his Glass on, then proceeded to share the picture on his Google+ page. The picture is now infamous. Even Larry Page, the CEO of Google knew about it, and had joked with Scoble saying that he “really didn’t appreciate the shower photo.”

(Image Source: +Scobleizer)

8. Glass Banned Before Arrival

Google recently opened up its Explorer program to the general public. The project is still considered in its testing phase and opening up the program is still not considered a consumer release. Yet that didn’t stop some business owners to preemptively ban Google Glass from their premises, fearing the camera could be used to discreetly record video. The ban is in effect in small restaurants and even in large cinema chains, all in the name of protecting privacy and preventing movie piracy.

9. Assaulted For Using Wearable Tech

Perhaps the problem isn’t Google Glass, perhaps it stems all the way back to wearable tech itself. Steve Mann, inventor of EyeTap, a precursor to Google Glass, is widely considered to be the father of wearable computing. While at a McDonald’s in Paris, he was assaulted by a man who tried to yank EyeTap off him. The problem was the device were attached to his skull. Despite efforts to explain how the device work, Mann was forcibly removed from the restaurant and his EyeTap damaged during the ordeal.

(Image Source: Steve Mann’s Blog)


These are just some of the bizarre situations that Glass users find themselves in, through no fault of their own, apart from wearing the device. The risk of being assaulted for having the device on them is real and present, and Google Glass users can no longer expect to wear Glass and not attract attention or animosity wherever they go.

Google has even come up with their own Do’s and Dont’s for Glass Explorers, which include tips like Asking for Permission to use Glass in public and premises, and to treat Google Glass like they would a cellphone camera. With the amount of attention Glass is getting, we’d probably be seeing more bizarre stories appear in the future.

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Designers: 5 Reasons Why You Can’t Get More Projects - Thu, 07/17/2014 - 12:01

Are you a freelance designer who is struggling to find work, or quality jobs that will allow you to grow your career? Or maybe you’re looking for full time, in-house design work, but just can’t seem to land the perfect gig you want.

If you’re a designer in this situation for long enough, you may begin to think there’s something wrong, and you’d be right. We’re going to look at some reasons why you might not be finding the design work you’re looking for, and how to correct those errors.

1. Your Work Isn’t Good Enough

Ouch. Harsh, I know. But many times, designers only think they’re doing professional quality work, when really, they’re not. I was guilty of this at the beginning of my career. I was fresh out of school, and overconfident in my meager abilities. Little did I know, I had much to learn. I learned quickly when would-be clients laughed at my outrageous prices and high opinion of myself. If I was going to eat, I was going to have to accept that perhaps I didn’t know as much as I thought I did.

Even designers who’ve been in the industry for many years can become trapped by their weaknesses, and blind to them. They might feel they’re infallible and that their word is the law. They may try to boss their clients around and bully them into accepting a design solution that’s completely wrong for their business. As you quickly find out, this is not a good way to get people to pay you for your work. Clients may become frustrated with your arrogance and decide not to work with you.

2. You Don’t Have Anything To Say

Or, rather, you’re not writing or sharing any opinions about design with the larger community out there who’s listening. Blogs and social media are the best ways to get your message out there and let others know you have something important to say about design. The more you encourage other people to learn from you and inspire you in turn, the more they will respect you as a designer and begin to share connections or invitations to events or groups you never knew existed.

These days, you can’t simply be a technician for hire if you want the best design jobs. People expect you to be a part of the conversation that’s being had about design, in whatever way you feel is best. More and more businesses, especially young startups looking to change the world, are searching for that perfect founder-designer who can understand their mission and get caught up in the excitement of creating something that will change people’s lives. You can’t really be that designer if you never have anything to add to the discussion.

3. You Don’t Connect Enough Dots

Most jobs are gotten through connections. Someone knows someone else who’s looking for a designer, and suddenly you’re working. So don’t forget to go out there and make friends, both in the industry and outside of it. Believe it or not, the best way to get more design work is not by talking to other designers, but to people who know someone who is looking for a designer. This could be anyone, depending on the industries you’ve decided to serve.

This also works in reverse, by the way. If you know that your friend designer A would really benefit from meeting potential client B, dive in there and make the introduction. Both parties will be exceedingly grateful that they both got what they wanted, and your reputation as a connector will have risen a few notches.

4. You’re Not Helping Others

There are many ways to provide value to clients and other designers, which we can talk about in detail forever. But in this case, I’m specifically talking about helping other designers with the technical skills required to compete in today’s design industry. The best way to learn is to teach, as they say, and the things you learn when you’re helping others can really help you to be the best designer you can be.

Writing tutorials or articles to help the design community is a great way to get your name out there and let people know you have something of value to offer. Providing resources and how-to’s for other designers to use will position you as a source for people to go to, which will inevitably include some potential clients. If you post tutorials or resources to other websites (and you should), be sure to let people know where else they can find your work.

5. You’re Not Marketing Yourself Properly

This is a topic for another article (and I’ve written it already). But you need to get out there and market yourself. There’s just no other way around it – if you want people to know who you are and what you can do, you have to tell them about it. There are as many ways to market as there are designers, and no single method will work for everyone.

Take stock of what kind of designer you are, and how you best communicate ideas to people. Then use that knowledge to scale your message to even more people and get on a bigger radar. All of the points we’ve gone over today can be adapted as marketing tactics.

In Conclusion

The design industry is smaller than you think, and people do talk. If you develop a reputation as someone who helps out fellow designers and is talented, you’ll find yourself with more jobs than you can handle.

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20 Beautiful Lake Houses You Would Love To Own [PICS] - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 17:01

A house reflects a lot of things about you. Floating homes are great examples of houses that are not only able to combine form and functionality but in most cases, they consider the surrounding environment as well and how to fully use it. Of course, there’s also just something soothing about being surrounded by water. It gives one a sense of serenity.

We’ve put together a collection of 20 gorgeous examples of these structures for you to gaze upon. From simple and rustic to unique egg shaped spaces, these houses are more than just a space, they’re an indicator of one’s lifestyle.

Muskoka Boathouse. Located in Muskoka Lakes in Ontario, Canada, this house takes a rustic material like wood and uses it a modern and contemporary way. It comes with all the facilities you would expect like a bedroom, bathroom and living space but also comes with a stunning roof terrace.

Lake Union Floating Home. This floating home at Lake Union, Seattle, makes full use of its location. Not only does it provide stunning panoramic views, the house is designed in such a way that it allows for maximum functionality.

Lake Rotsee Refuge. If you think that this lakehouse looks like a piece of art, you’re right as it is a combination of a sculpture and a functional building. This three storey high building is located in Rotsee, Lucerne.

Lake House. This lakehouse concept by Djordje Stevanovic from Serbia is beautiful not only for the details involved in the exterior but also for its simplicity. The unique combination of materials makes this lake house sophisticated yet comfortable.

Lake House by Hutchison & Maul Architecture. Located on Lake Washington, this lakeside guest house wonderfully incorporates elements of nature into its design. The materials such as copper and timber lends an industrial feel to this contemporary design.

Hardanger Retreat. This retreat is a simple 15 sq meter room made of glass and wood. Designed by two young Norwegian architects, it is a sustainable getaway that allows one to reconnect with nature once again.

Croft Residence. This lake house located on the south coast of Victoria, Australia is uniquely crescent-shape. Looking as if it emerged from the land itself, it offers panaromic views of the surrounding rural landscape.

Haus Am See. This dream home in Carinthia, Austria is surrounded by a maze of greenery. Designed by Spado Architects, this contemporary piece offers guests a look at the picturesque lake below.

Glass Cube House. The glass house sits on the water’s edge at Lakefield, Ontario, Canada. This completely modern design brings the house to life by letting nature do the necessary work.

Floating House. MOS architects designed this floating home on Lake Huron. Steel pontoons may keep this house afloat but it is the minimal design of exterior of the house that grabs your attention.

Lake Joseph Boathouse. Situated on Lake Joseph, this house is a great place to get away from your troubles and gain some peace and quiet. The colors and design of the house makes it a comfortable setting.

House on Lake Okoboji. In West Lake Okoboji, Iowa, this house not only looks lovely but also acts as a 3D set of blinders. Privacy from surrounding neighbours and easy accessibility to the surroundings make this an ideal set up.

Boat House at Millstatter Lake. Built where the soil and water intersect, this house embodies the character of both elements. Its modern design is complemented by the surrounding natural landscape and detail.

Cliff House. This $43 million multi-level lake house in Lake Tahoe took 4 years to be constructed. With 5 floors, 6 level glass stairwell and a glass elevator, this gigantic glass house is truly a sight to behold.

Lakeside Studio. Located in California, this house effortlessly combines a flexible living space, art studio and gallery. With the natural landscape for inspiration, residents are given the freedom and comfort of exploring as they wish.

Aqua Float Home. Inspired by sailboats, the house is made of glass and steel by German architects Steeltec37. This nautical home comes with a rooftop deck and various spaces for guests to wander through.

Glass House. Located at Round Top, Texas, this three storey cube is on sale for $5.3 million. This lavish one bedroom retreat comes with multiple rooms for storing vehicles and entertaining among other things.

Exbury Egg. This unique looking egg located on River Beaulieu is an energy efficient and self-sustaining work space. Its shape means that it is affected by the weather around it.

Floating House by Dymitr Malcew. This gorgeous floating house is designed with the concept of freedom and nature in mind. The open glass and use of natural light allows one to seamlessly connect with their surroundings.

Crown House. A lake house that indeed looks like a crown, this beautiful concept blends well with its surrounding environment. It is a prime example of a lakehouse with a bit of a modern twist.

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7 Ways To Greatly Increase Your Productivity - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 12:01

In 1915, Albert Einstein presented his brilliant and revolutionary theory of relativity. In the three years leading up to that, he had completely devoted himself to its creation, without being distracted by anything else. We’re not suggesting that you spend three years working on a particular project (unless you really want to do that) but this approach of focusing completely on one piece of work is a vivid illustration of the new work trend called ‘Doing Less’.

As the name suggests, this popular trend encompasses techniques that can help you achieve great results by doing less than you need to. Today I’d like to share just a few of those techniques. Hopefully, they will help you achieve the best results for the task you’re facing, in the shortest amount of time.

1. 20% Effort Gives 80% Results

The Pareto principle, is also known as the 80/20 rule. It states that: to receive 80% of the results obtained in the work, the average person takes about 20 % of the total time spent. This conditional 80/20 statistic operates in all areas of life. For example, it is said that 20% of criminals commit 80% of crimes, and that 20% of drivers are guilty in 80% of the accidents they’re involved in.

If you know how to use the Pareto principle properly, it can be helpful not only in your professional life, but also in your everyday life. It’s like a little trick which forecasts an expected result. For example, if you are a sociable person then you would probably have a lot of friends. Think of how many of these people really help you in certain situations. In fact, it’s probably just 20% of those people. It is worthwhile to consider this percentage and give the right people the proper attention, instead of focusing on virtual friends.

How To Use This

If one follows the Pareto principle, it’s better to do all the useless things when your productivity is low. For example, some people come to work in the morning and can’t immediately get to work right away. They need some time to prepare for the job, talk to colleagues, drink their coffee, and other things that help them settle in.

Only then can they start working productively. It’s important to be able to prioritize your tasks. You need to determine your most productive time for important cases and decisions.

2. Three Main Tasks

At this day and age, people still rely on to-do lists to keep things organized. Sure, we have evolved from using paper to utilizing computers and smartphones but whatever tools used would be powerless without action. In this case, all you need is one simple rule: every morning take a few minutes to think and write down the three most important tasks for the day.

And then focus your efforts on the implementation of this short list. Who needs these countless endless lists of tasks which you won’t be able finish in a week, let alone in a day? Focus on these three main tasks, and after they’re done, you can go ahead and do something else. This simple but powerful habit can really increase your productivity in a short period of time.

3. The ‘Do Less’ Philosophy

In the world of coaching today, the ‘doing less’ philosophy has become quite popular. Different theorists offer different approaches. One of them is based on the mystical practices of Zen Buddhism, described by Mark Lesser in his book “Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less“.

His manifesto “Less” starts with dispelling the belief that reducing the load makes us lazy and is bad for productivity. By doing less, we actually allow ourselves to fully enjoy our achievements. The author recommends taking some time for meditation and “quieting the mind” in the middle of the working process.

You can perhaps even align your breathing in between reading and sending emails. It would help you to relieve stress and focus on a particular subject leading you to find the perfect balance. All of this can assist you in figuring out which activities are really important, and which are not worth your attention at all.

Therefore, you should prioritize tasks. Start doing the most important ones first, and after they’re done come to the low-priority ones. Just don’t overload yourself with lots of tasks. It’s better to do less and high-quality tasks that you will enjoy rather than doing lots of things half-heartedly.

4. The Pomodoro Technique

The ‘Doing less’ philosophy also includes a lot of interesting techniques, such as the “tomato technique” (you can check out the official website here). This method of time management was developed by Francesco Cirillo. It got its name from the tomato shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo originally used.

The technique is based on the principle of working on a particular task for 25-minutes without a break. After which, you should definitely take a break.

But how does it actually work?

  1. From your task list, focus on the high priority tasks.
  2. Then start the timer for 25 minutes and start working, without anything distracting you, until you hear the signal from the timer. Each 25-minute period of time is called “pomodoro”.
  3. Rest for 5 minutes and start the timer again.
  4. For every four ‘pomodoros’, take longer breaks of 10-15 minutes.
  5. If the task takes more than five ‘pomodoros’, it may be divided into several parts.

This technique allows one to group tasks better, increases attention, and simplifies planning affairs. It would be especially helpful for programmers.

5. The Myth Of Multitasking

Multitasking does not make us more productive, it’s one of the biggest myth these days. In fact, the division of our attention has a negative impact on productivity, concentration and energy.

“For tasks that are at all complicated, no matter how good you have become at multitasking, you’re still going to suffer hits against your performance. You will be worse compared to if you were actually concentrating from start to finish on the task,says David Meyer, a scientist from the University of Michigan.

Multitasking could be possible in just two cases. First is when you’re doing something that is somehow automatic, for instance, walking and talking at the same time. Walking is an automatic activity that doesn’t need you to focus or think whereas talking requires the use of your brain.

The other situation when multitasking is possible is when it involves different kinds of brain proccessing, for example, reading and listening classical music. But if the music contains some lyrics in it, it would be impossible to do these two tasks at once, because both of them activate the language center of the brain.

Thus, if you want to be more productive then learn how to do one thing at a time and stay focused only on that one particular thing.

6. The Information Diet

These days, getting overloaded with information is as easy as getting a heat stroke in the middle of the Sahara. And even the symptoms are similar: sleep disturbance, distracted attention, and deferred reaction. Our brain is overloaded with all the noise that the information brings. In our modern world, people are constantly looking for news, when it truth, it surrounds us.

In this case Timothy Ferriss, the author of the book “The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich” recommends taking a “low-information diet”. Do you really need to all the emails, blogs, newspapers, and magazines that you read every day? Do you really need to spend so much time looking through your Facebook news feed or watching TV?

Give it a try and cut out as much useless information as you can, for at least a week, and see how it can help your productivity.

7. Living On Schedule

Ask any successful person when he or she wakes up and it’s likely that they are an early riser. It’s quite simple: there aren’t a lot of distractions in the morning, which helps a person focus on the main priorities. Waking up early in the morning is one of the factors of living on schedule.

During the day, there is time to rest and there is time to work. There are strict boundaries present and understanding this helps you to stay productive. Start with trying to leave the computer at the appointed time, as you need to rest to be productive.

It’s better to live on schedule than without it.

Parkinson’s Law states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” which means that if a girl needs to write a letter for a week, it will take a week to write the letter. Especially, if it’s something they don’t like or don’t want to do. People tend to procrastinate and play for as long as they can. But strict deadlines for each task you get will put you on the right track to meeting the deadlines perfectly. Having a deadline that you’re afraid of missing is great motivation.

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Deliver High-Res Images on Mobile Devices with RetinaJS - Wed, 07/16/2014 - 09:01

High-resolution screens on mobile devices is now a norm. The images give users a sharper and crispier look, and once they have gotten used to this high level quality, web developers are pressed to produce high-quality imagery for their users as well. Most images that we use a decade ago will definitely turn blurry on a retina display screen, thus we need a new way to present graphics on the Web.

The ways we can adopt vary depending on the purpose of the image. Font Icon and SVG is now the better way to serve icons or logo, while Media Queries is the way to serve image from CSS.

But if you want to serve hi-res image within the body content, Retina.js is the way to go. Retina.js, a JavaScript library that makes serving high-resolution images a breeze. You don’t even have to modify much of your code. Let’s check it out.

Getting Started

Retina.js does not rely on any sort of third-party libraries. All you need is to download the retina.js file and link it in your document. Alternately, you can link the file from, like so.

<script src="//"></script>

Retina.js offers two methods to serve high-resolution images.

Method 1

In its initial release, Retina.js adopts the same method as Apple did in its devices, which attaches the hi-resolution image with @2x suffix. So if you have an image named autumn.jpg, you name the high-res version as autumn@2x.jpg. In version 1.3.0, Retina.js introduces a new suffix, _2x. So aside from @2x you can name the image as autumn_2x.jpg.

Retina.js will check your server for images with these suffixes when your website is viewed on a high-resolution screen, and will replace the regular image with it. To ensure Retina.js picks up the image successfully, you have to save the high-resolution image in the same directory where your regular version is saved.

Method 2

Another way is by using the data-at2x within the img tag, like so.

<img src="img/autumn.jpg" data-at2x="img-hi-res/image-autumn.jpg" alt="">

By using this data- attribute you can set the name of the folder or the image differently, and Retina.js will not perform a server check; this will speed up the process.

Open your website in a separate screen; one in regular screen and another in high-resolution. Compare them, and you should see the difference (like below).

LESS Mixins

Retina.js also provides a LESS Mixins, .at2x, to serve image through CSS. This example:

.social-icons { .at2x('image/icons.jpg'); }

…will turn into the following when compiled into regular CSS.

.social-icons { background-image: url('image/icons.jpg'); } @media (-webkit-min-device-pixel-ratio: 1.5), (min--moz-device-pixel-ratio: 1.5), (-o-min-device-pixel-ratio: 3/2), (min-resolution: 1.5dppx) { .social-icons { background-image: url("image/icons@2x.jpg"); background-size: auto auto; } }

Quite handy, right?

Using Retina.js In WordPress

WordPress users can use a plugin called WP Retina 2x to utilize Retina.js in their website. Assuming that you have installed the plugin and also uploaded images, you can go to Media > WP Retina 2x menu. You should see the list of images that you have uploaded, as follows.

Click the Generate button. It will generate images with @2x suffix for Thumbnail, Medium, Large, and the other custom image sizes that you have specified.

Final Thought

Seeing the increasing number of devices with high resolutions, it is only a matter of time before web developers cannot avoid supporting it. Retina.js is the all-in-one library to serve high-resolution images. You can use images with the@2x or data-* attribute within your body content, use .at2x Mixins for serving your website image through CSS, and there is a plugin available for WordPress.

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15 Bizarre (And Insane) Programming Languages That Exist - Tue, 07/15/2014 - 17:01

Some people say learning to program is hard, tedious and excruciating. It’s like learning a new language, just to talk to a machine which needs to be told in very specific commands what to do and execute. For some reason, a group of people seem to think that programming itself isn’t complicated enough, and thus ‘esolang’ was born.

Welcome to the world of esoteric programming languages (aka esolang), where programmers push the conventions of language design. These languages are not meant to be easy to use. Quite the opposite, they are designed to challenge, frustrate and amuse programmers with their difficulty. There are many esolangs out there for you try but here are 15 of the most bizarre and insane of the lot.

1. Brainf*ck

True to its name, this programming language will give any programmer an instant headache. It was created by Urban Müller in 1993, as a language that could be implemented by a really small compiler, to amuse the programmer. The language uses only eight commands and an instruction pointer, each made up of a single character, making this an incredibly minimalistic language. Below is a sample of the headache-inducing code, one that will print out ‘Hello World!’:

+++++ +++ Set Cell #0 to 8 [ >++++ Add 4 to Cell #1; this will always set Cell #1 to 4 [ as the cell will be cleared by the loop >++ Add 2 to Cell #2 >+++ Add 3 to Cell #3 >+++ Add 3 to Cell #4 >+ Add 1 to Cell #5 <<<<- Decrement the loop counter in Cell #1 ] Loop till Cell #1 is zero; number of iterations is 4 >+ Add 1 to Cell #2 >+ Add 1 to Cell #3 >- Subtract 1 from Cell #4 >>+ Add 1 to Cell #6 [<] Move back to the first zero cell you find; this will be Cell #1 which was cleared by the previous loop <- Decrement the loop Counter in Cell #0 ] Loop till Cell #0 is zero; number of iterations is 8 The result of this is: Cell No : 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 Contents: 0 0 72 104 88 32 8 Pointer : ^ >>. Cell #2 has value 72 which is 'H' >---. Subtract 3 from Cell #3 to get 101 which is 'e' +++++ ++..+++. Likewise for 'llo' from Cell #3 >>. Cell #5 is 32 for the space <-. Subtract 1 from Cell #4 for 87 to give a 'W' <. Cell #3 was set to 'o' from the end of 'Hello' +++.----- -.----- ---. Cell #3 for 'rl' and 'd' >>+. Add 1 to Cell #5 gives us an exclamation point >++. And finally a newline from Cell #6 2. LOLCODE

LOLCODE is made up of lolspeak, the ‘language’ used by lolcats. The language was designed by Adam Lindsay in 2007, a researcher at Lancaster University’s Computing Department. The language isn’t as complete as traditional ones, with syntax and operator priorities not clearly defined but there are functioning compliers for that available out there. The hilarity and cuteness of the language more that makes up for this though. Just take a look at the ‘Hello World!’ code below:


Similar to Brainf*ck, Befunge was developed by Chris Pressey in 1993, with the aim of creating a language that would be as hard to compile as possible. He does this by implementing self-modifying code and having the same instruction being executed in four different ways, not to mention the instruction set itself. However, a number of compilers were eventually created. Below is the source code for ‘Hello World!’:

> v v ,,,,,"Hello"< >48*, v v,,,,,,"World!"< >25*,@ 4. ArnoldC

Here is a programming language made entirely out of one-liners from movies featuring Arnold Schwarzenegge, classics such as Terminator, Predator and Total Recall. ArnoldC was created by Lauri Hartikka, who swapped out standard commands with their equivalent Arnold one-liner. Example includes False and True, which becomes "I LIED" and "NO PROBLEMO", respectively. Here’s how a "Hello World!" code would look like:


If bodybuilding Austrian actors isn’t your thing, you may prefer the Shakespeare programming language. Created by Jon Aslund and Karl Hesselstörm, the aim was to make a programming language that didn’t look like one. In this case, the source code looks exactly like a Shakespeare play. Variables must be named after Shakespearian characters and constants are decided by positive or negative nouns.

A "Hello World!" sample is quite long, reading exactly like a play, so here is only part of the source code (the full one is available here):

The Infamous Hello World Program. Romeo, a young man with a remarkable patience. Juliet, a likewise young woman of remarkable grace. Ophelia, a remarkable woman much in dispute with Hamlet. Hamlet, the flatterer of Andersen Insulting A/S. Act I: Hamlet's insults and flattery. Scene I: The insulting of Romeo. [Enter Hamlet and Romeo] Hamlet: You lying stupid fatherless big smelly half-witted coward! You are as stupid as the difference between a handsome rich brave hero and thyself! Speak your mind! You are as brave as the sum of your fat little stuffed misused dusty old rotten codpiece and a beautiful fair warm peaceful sunny summer's day. You are as healthy as the difference between the sum of the sweetest reddest rose and my father and yourself! Speak your mind! You are as cowardly as the sum of yourself and the difference between a big mighty proud kingdom and a horse. Speak your mind. Speak your mind! [Exit Romeo] 6. Chef

Similar to Shakespeare, Chef, created by David Morgan-Mar, is a programming language that doesn’t look like one, looking instead like a cooking recipe. The design principles of the language is that

  • the code should not only generate valid output but the output must be easy to prepare and delicious
  • recipes appeal to cooks with different budgets
  • the recipes have to be metric

In other words, the recipes must work as code, AND can be prepared and eaten. The source code for the ‘Hello World!’ program is available below:

Hello World Souffle. This recipe prints the immortal words "Hello world!", in a basically brute force way. It also makes a lot of food for one person. Ingredients. 72 g haricot beans 101 eggs 108 g lard 111 cups oil 32 zucchinis 119 ml water 114 g red salmon 100 g dijon mustard 33 potatoes Method. Put potatoes into the mixing bowl. Put dijon mustard into the mixing bowl. Put lard into the mixing bowl. Put red salmon into the mixing bowl. Put oil into the mixing bowl. Put water into the mixing bowl. Put zucchinis into the mixing bowl. Put oil into the mixing bowl. Put lard into the mixing bowl. Put lard into the mixing bowl. Put eggs into the mixing bowl. Put haricot beans into the mixing bowl. Liquefy contents of the mixing bowl. Pour contents of the mixing bowl into the baking dish. Serves 1. 7. Whitespace

Whitespace was created by Edwin Brady and Chris Morris as an April Fools’ joke. Where most programming languages ignore whitespace characters, Whitespace uses them as commands, ignoring non-whitespace characters instead. Because of this, Whitespace code can be written inside programming languages that ignore whitespace. Below is a ‘Hello World!’ source code written in Whitespace (color is used for clarity).

(Image Source: Wikipedia)

8. Piet

Named after Piet Mondrian, Piet is yet another esoteric programming language created by David Morgan-Mar. The program is compiled by a pointer that will move around the image, from one section to the other. The code is in the color; the colors is read by the compiler to turn into a program. Below is an example of a ‘source code’, with the output being ‘Hello World!’:

(Image Source: Wikipedia)

9. Chicken

Chicken. This is a programming language consisting of only one word: chicken. It was created by Swedish programmer Torbjörn Söderstedt, who was inspired to create it after hearing Doug Zongker’s parody of scientific speeches (which nobody understands). Rather than showing the code for ‘Hello World!’, which would take half the page and consist of nothing but the word ‘chicken’, here is the paper and presentation that inspired the language:

10. Ook!

Ook! is a derivative of Brainf*ck, and is created by serial esoteric language developer, David Morgan-Mar. The structure is the same, except the eight commands are substituted with combinations of "Ook.", "Ook?" and "Ook!". The aim was to create, and we kid you not, a programming language "writable and readable by orangutans". Below is the source code for ‘Hello World!’:

Ook. Ook? Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook! Ook? Ook? Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook? Ook! Ook! Ook? Ook! Ook? Ook. Ook! Ook. Ook. Ook? Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook! Ook? Ook? Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook? Ook! Ook! Ook? Ook! Ook? Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook! Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook! Ook. Ook! Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook! Ook. Ook. Ook? Ook. Ook? Ook. Ook? Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook! Ook? Ook? Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook? Ook! Ook! Ook? Ook! Ook? Ook. Ook! Ook. Ook. Ook? Ook. Ook? Ook. Ook? Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook! Ook? Ook? Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook? Ook! Ook! Ook? Ook! Ook? Ook. Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook. Ook? Ook. Ook? Ook. Ook? Ook. Ook? Ook. Ook! Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook. Ook! Ook. Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook. Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook! Ook. Ook. Ook? Ook. Ook? Ook. Ook. Ook! Ook. 11. reMorse

Developed by Ryan Kusnery, ReMorse is a programming language that was made to look like Morse code. There are only four instructions: dot (.), dotty (. followed by a space), dash (-) and dasher (- followed by a space). The specifications of ReMorse were unclear, and ReMorse2 was created as an attempt to clean the code up a bit. Below is an incomplete sample for ‘Hello World!":

- - - ..- ...-.---.;newline - - - .-. - ..-.- ...-. ---.;! - - - ...- . . -.---.;d ----. . . -.---.;l ----. . -...---.;r ----. -...---.;o ----...-.- ..-. ---.;W omitted code for "Hello " is similar to the above for "World!" -..............;output all characters 12. l33t

Anyone who has ever spent even a bit of time on the internet knows what l33t sp34k (leet speak) is — users substitute words and letters with numbers and intentionally bad spelling. Two programmers, Stephen McGreal and Alex Mole, decided that it would be a good idea to create a programming language out of it and thus l33t was born. As with many other esoteric languages, it was designed to be as "brain-melting as possible to code in". Below is the source code for ‘Hello World!’:

// "Hello World" by Stephen McGreal. // Note that the views expressed in this source code // do not necessarily coincide with those of the author :o) Gr34t l33tN3$$? M3h... iT 41n't s0 7rIckY. l33t sP33k is U8er keWl 4nD eA5y wehn u 7hink 1t tHr0uGh. 1f u w4nn4be UB3R-l33t u d3f1n1t3lY w4nt in 0n a b4d4sS h4xX0r1ng s1tE!!! ;p w4r3Z c0ll3cT10n2 r 7eh l3Et3r! Qu4k3 cL4nS r 7eh bE5t tH1ng 1n teh 3nTIr3 w0rlD!!! g4m3s wh3r3 u g3t to 5h00t ppl r 70tAl1_y w1cK1d!! I'M teh fr4GM4stEr aN I'lL t0t41_1Ly wIpE teh phr34k1ng fL00r ***j3d1 5tYlE*** wItH y0uR h1dE!!!! L0L0L0L! t3lEphR4gG1nG l4m3rs wit mY m8tes r34lLy k1kK$ A$$ l33t hAxX0r$ CrE4t3 u8er- k3wL 5tUff lIkE n34t pR0gR4mm1nG lAnguidGe$... s0m3tIm3$ teh l4nGu4gES l00k jUst l1k3 rE41_ 0neS 7o mAkE ppl Th1nk th3y'r3 ju$t n0rMal lEE7 5pEEk but th3y're 5ecRetLy c0dE!!!! n080DY unDer5tAnD$ l33t SpEaK 4p4rT fr0m j3d1!!!!! 50mE kId 0n A me$$4gEb04rD m1ghT 8E a r0xX0r1nG hAxX0r wH0 w4nT2 t0 bR34k 5tuFf, 0r mAyb3 ju5t sh0w 7eh wAy5 l33t ppl cAn 8E m0re lIkE y0d4!!! hE i5 teh u8ER!!!! 1t m1ght 8E 5omE v1rus 0r a Pl4ySt4tI0n ch34t c0dE. 1t 3v3n MiTe jUs7 s4y "H3LL0 W0RLD!!!" u ju5t cAn'T gu3s5. tH3r3's n3v3r anY p0iNt l00KiNg sC3pT1c4l c0s th4t, be1_1Ev3 iT 0r n0t, 1s whAt th1s 1s!!!!! 5uxX0r5!!!L0L0L0L0L!!!!!!! 13. Omgrofl

Omgrofl (which stands for ‘oh my god rolling on the floor’) was created by Juraj Borza where all the commands are made up of internet acronyms such as lol, wtf, brb, stfu, etc. All variables declared with the language must be in the form of lol, e.g. lol, lool, loool, etc. Here’s what the source code for ‘Hello World!’ looks like:

loool iz lol looooool iz lool rtfm wtf looooool iz liek 0 tldr brb lmao loool roflmao looooool brb 14. Velato

Velato is a language created by Daniel Temkin which uses MIDI files as the source code. The commands are determined by the the pitch and order of notes and the source codes created using Velato tend to have a jazz-like sound to them. The ‘Hello World!" example given below is what the ‘source code’ looks like:

(Image Source: Daniel Temkin)

15. Malbolge

If a programming language is named after the eighth circle of Hell, you know what to expect. Created by Ben Olmstead in 1998, Malbolge was designed to be near-impossible to program it. In fact, it was not manmade — it is created using an algorithm. It’s no wonder that it took 2 years for the program to materialize. This is the source code for ‘Hello World!’ for this impossible programming language to give you an idea of the craziness in the code.


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