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15 Android Apps For IELTS, TOEFL & GRE Preparation

hongkiat.com - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 12:01

There are various exams and challenges that each of us face in life. At some point, for whatever reason, that challenge may just be the IELTS (International English Language Testing Service), the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the GRE (Graduate Record Examination). These 3 exams serve their own functions and have their own particular syllabus and marking scheme.

Regardless of which one, facing any one of these tests would require some form of study. After all, anyone would want to try and get the best score they can. That is why we’ve gathered for you the Top 15 Android apps that can help you prepare for the IELTS, TOEFL or GRE tests.

IELTS

IELTS Skills – Free is an app that will help you prepare for the IELTS by covering all 4 sections: reading, listening, speaking and writing. The app provides sample exams, practice materials and interactive tasks. It contains materials from the best-selling IELTS books of Sam McCarter. You can also test yourself and see your score via an interactive ‘Can Do’ statement section.

IELTS Word Power is an app by British Council for test takers to enrich their vocabulary. This app assists you by helping build your vocabulary for the IELTS test, to locate your closest British Council test center and to learn more about IELTS.

IELTS Flashcard is the app which can help you learn stuff related to IELTS simply via your Android Device. It contains 2000 premade flash cards, slideshows, quizzes, a method to create your own flashcards and much more to make IELTS learning faster and more effective.

IELTS Essentials (IELTS Tips) is an app that would prove to be useful whilst studying for the IELTS. It has important words that you need to remember how to spell correctly, a way for you to calculate your scores, advice from IELTS test takers as well as top 10 tips for listening, reading, writing and speaking.

IELTS Essay contains 200 essays on different topics that will help you to improve your English vocabulary. It also helps you understand what kind and style of language you are supposed to use in the writing section of the exam.

TOEFL

TOEFL iBT Preparation is a helpful app for the TOEFL test. It covers vocabulary for all the areas of the TOEFL test with a clear and distinct explanation for each word. It contains words with audio playback, multiple choice questions, group choice tests, word choice tests and much more.

TOEFL Flashcards is an app which contains 1600 premade flashcards from 2 categories (vocabulary and reading skills) for your TOEFL preparation. You can also make your own flash cards, slideshows, take quizzes and much more to learn in an exciting way.

While preparing for a language test, it is really necessary that you should be able to identify incorrect words because it can get confusing. TOEFL Test Incorrect Words is an app which helps you to identify and rectify the incorrect words. This app contains 1670 questions of incorrect words to practice with.

TOEFL Pictionary is an app which functions as a dictionary of the most common TOEFL words with their picture definitions. The picture for each word will help you to visually memorize and remember these words. Along with the image, each word is explained in written text with examples as well.

TOEFL Essay is a really helpful app while preparing for your exam. It contains 60 TOEFL essays covering different important topics that will assist you in improving your English vocabulary. It also gives you an idea of the type and level of language that you should adopt while attempting the writing section of TOEFL.

GRE

The GRE Complete Prep app is designed on the basis of the new syllabus, so that you can study and test yourself easily on your mobile phone. The app includes important notes, large sets of practice questions along with their answers and flashcards to enhance and speed up your learning. The app covers verbal reasoning, math and analytical writing skills section in complete detail.

GRE Flashcards is an app which contains 1000 of the most important GRE words (in the form of flashcards) picked by an expert GRE tutor. Each flashcard contains the definition as well as an example sentence for each word. There are various decks of flashcards with different levels of difficulty. You can also track your progress as you study.

GRE Tests is a handy app to prepare and test your knowledge for 2 particular sections (verbal and quantitative reasoning) of the GRE. The app has a user friendly interface and it allows you to review your attempted tests from the test history function. It provides flashcard support as well.

Mnemonic is a technique in increasing one’s memory. The Mnemonic Dictionary is based on this technique of mnemonics and gives you access to hundreds of words with their meanings, synonyms, example sentences and memory aids.

The GRE Quantitative Formulae covers formulas from all the topics of the quantitative section of the GRE. This means that whenever you have the time you can have a look at them rather than bringing your notes with you.

Related posts:

  1. 10 Free Mobile Apps To Help You Learn English Faster
  2. 10 Alternative Android Keyboard Apps
  3. 5 Handy Android Apps To Supercharge Your WeChat
  4. Top 5 Android Apps To Download and Play Free Music








Designers: 7 Ways To Be More Prolific

hongkiat.com - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 12:01

With the demand for design increasing every day, so too is the number of designers out there competing for the same jobs. It’s not enough anymore to simply be a good designer.

via getrefe.com

Clients are looking for designers who can not only exceed their expectations, but do so in record time. Here’s how to get more design done in less time, earning yourself more money and loyal clients in the process.

Write Down Your Ideas Ahead Of Time

Don’t just sit down, open up Photoshop, and start designing. Good designs come from good ideas that you’ve given plenty of thought to developing. It’s important to brainstorm your ideas on paper first, letting them stew for a few days while you draw out their full potential.

I like to keep a list of ideas that I will curate for at least a week before I actually start designing; often they sit for far longer. For around 90% of my work, this is a major key to getting the idas to flow smoothly and quickly. The bulk of the work is completed in this stage, before I ever sit down at the computer. However…

Don’t Ignore Flashes Of Inspiration

I’ll confess: I get ideas for new designs suddenly when I’m hard at work on something completely different. Instead of ignoring the idea and letting it float away, jump on it and spend 15 minutes hammering out some basic sketches before going back to what you were working on before.

If something suddenly occurs to you and you know it’s a good idea, it’s stupid to ignore that. Follow your intuition and create what you feel the strongest, not what you feel you “ought” to create.

Use A List Format, Even If You’re Not A “Left Brained” Designer

Some people don’t like planning out every detail of their work, preferring to just go with the flow. But the fact of the matter is, planning works – not just for designers, but for users and clients as well. It’s much easier to organize your thoughts into an ordered schedule, then go through and flesh things out later. You can always remove or ignore things later if you don’t want to keep them in your final desgin.

Work On Multiple Designs At Once

I never, ever work on a single design at a time. That’s the biggest waste of effort a content designer can make. You can get much more work done if you learn to multi-task and work in an assembly line style. Remember, your ideas have been stewing for days now, so you already know they’re good.

The actual designing part takes far less time. I like to take three basic ideas and work on each one for 20 minutes. That’s three designs that get worked on in the span of one hour. I use a timer so that I don’t allow myself to get fixated on one piece.

It’s very important to keep going, forcing yourself to switch to a different document, even if you’re right in the middle of a really good idea. I have a 1 or 2 minute “grace period,” where I can finish what I’m doing, then it’s on to the next one. You can adjust the interval lengths however you like to fit whatever you need to design.

Learn To Work Faster

You can follow all the design advice in the world, but if you truly want speed, you’ll need to start physically moving your hand more quickly. There are numerous resources online, both free and paid, that you can use to improve your drawing speed and whatnot, but the main goal is to learn to send ideas from your brain to your fingers without stopping to ruminate on what you’re doing.

A related suggestion is to learn to read faster as well. You need to be able to digest the essentials of your brief and your research as quickly as possible. Most English speakers and readers pronounce each word either in their heads or silently with their lips as they read them. This is the number one roadblock to improving your reading speed, as any free speed-reading video on YouTube will tell you. And of course, as I’m sure I don’t have to remind you, if you’re not reading, you have no business being a designer.

Revise Later

This is an obvious one, but you can’t create and revise at the same time. It’s very important to put your revision hat aside while you’ve got your designer hat on. It takes a lot of effort and concentration to trim a complex, confusing design into something simple and elegant, and you don’t want to be trying to do that while you’re creating it. It makes as much sense as sketching an idea for a logo with your left hand while simultaneously drawing the final vector version in Illustrator with your right.

If You Don’t Care About It, Don’t Design It

Another obvious one that so many designers still attempt. If you aren’t a fan of what you’re doing, it will definitely come out in your final product. Designing things you don’t want to design not only makes the work go by slower, it won’t benefit anyone else who sees it either.

For example, I never do the more “technical” aspects of design – coding, UI configuration, etc. If I tried to design that stuff, it would take forever. Why? Because I’d be spending more time groaning and complaining about how out of my element I was, and less time actually designing.

I know this is true because I’ve done it before. It’s always a bad idea. Clients can get a much better solution to their problem by hiring people who actually enjoy creating those types of designs. And you as a designer can draw in far more devoted clients who will love hearing what you have to say if you pick a niche subject and become an expert in it.

What Do You Think?

Now you tell us: what helpful tips and suggestions do you have for cranking out design work in record time to wow clients?

Related posts:

  1. 5 Ways “Professionalism Overload” Can Kill Your Design Career
  2. Designers: 5 Reasons Why You Can’t Get More Projects
  3. Designers: How To Gather Ideas That Will Impress
  4. Should Designers Be Obligated To Explain Their Process?








Better Bookmarking With RainDrop.io

hongkiat.com - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 09:01

Even with all the advanced technology available, there is still one thing that hasn’t changed about the way we explore the Internet and that is bookmarks. Whatever the reason, we still like to keep a track of the things that really catch our interest.

Traditional bookmarks are not that social and are not optimized for easy and organized viewing. You can actually do this without relying on the default bookmark manager in your web browser. Raindrop.io makes it possible to bookmark websites, pictures, articles, and videos from the web in a more pleasant manner.

Getting Started

RainDrop has a simple registration and setup process. Just create an account, optionally install the Chrome, Safari, Opera, or Firefox add-on, and start bookmarking. Raindrop’s interface is well designed and is flavorfully organized with custom icons, tags, filters, and smart searching.

In-App Reading

Instead of directly linking out to the source website of an article, RainDrop automatically organizes all bookmarked articles and provides a clean, ad-free, and organized way to read articles without ever having to leave the RainDrop app.

With the in-app RainDrop reading tool you can edit parts of an article as well as its description and overall style. This includes things like fonts, font sizes, images, tags, and topics within your collections thus improving organization.

The reader also supports full-screen reading with “Next” and “Previous” buttons, so you can easily read through all of your favorite articles and bookmarked content.

Collections

Collections are RainDrop’s way of organizing an unlimited amount of bookmarks, much like folders. You can easily upload an icon to organize your collections and to make it look more organized. If not, you can even choose from their gallery of over 100 icons.

You can find collections or bookmarks with RainDrop’s Smart Search. You can also organize collections via a drag and drop method. You can choose to do so in alphabetical order or by the number of bookmarks there are in each collection.

Sharing

Sharing is one of the many features that makes RainDrop so great. Within a collection, or even a single bookmark, you can instantly share via Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, or send it as an email.

You can also share your bookmarks by giving out a custom RSS feed URL to your friends or co-workers, so that they can either view everything you bookmark or just a single collection of bookmarks.

Privacy

Privacy is important, all of your bookmarks on RainDrop are private and only accessible by you. Of course, this changes if you’re keen on sharing profiles and collections with the people that you want to. Ultimately, this depends on what you think is right for your situation.

Profiles

With your RainDrop account, you get a custom profile in which your public collections and bookmarks are rounded up and organized into a grid layout for your friends to see, view, and discover.

Though there are customization features for profiles and feeds like cover photos, backgrounds, color customization, and profile pictures; I would love to see some more profile and collaboration features such as messaging and pinning bookmarks to other profiles among other things.

Feeds

RainDrop includes a feed feature much like public collections on profiles, you can easily round-up bookmarks and content into an organized grid for easy reading and viewing. Feeds can be made by providing RainDrop with links to RSS feeds, following other users’ collections, and by collection topics.

Subscriptions

Subscriptions allow you to “subscribe” to public feed collections by people like you. Subscriptions are organized in a grid layout and is a great way to discover new websites and content on topics you enjoy.

Smart Search

RainDrop’s smart search is a quick and intuitive way of finding collections or bookmarks just by typing in part of a description, tag, topic, subject, or title. RainDrop instantly displays the results and recommends words for you. Just type the kind of page you’re looking for, press enter, continue searching, and choose from the refined results.

Browser Add-Ons

RainDrop has an add-on for all of the major web browsers: Chrome, Safari, Opera, and Firefox. The add-on operates as an elegantly designed bar that slides out from the right side of the browser window with convenient drag and drop features.

The add-on carries the primary tools from the left menu in the RainDrop web app with functions like collection icons, numbering and organization, collection creation, exporting tools, collection settings and editing. It also includes a search function but does not support RainDrop’s handy smart search from the web app.

Importing And Exporting

Import and export features are a vital part of bookmarking tools, in which RainDrop has thought of perfectly. You are able to either import bookmarks from the Pocket service or you can import from a web browser using a file uploader. RainDrop also allows you to quickly export all your bookmarks and collections for use in another bookmarking service or web browser.

Advantages
  • It’s free
  • Organize bookmarks easily with collections
  • Upload and set icons to your collections
  • Use smart search to easily and quickly find bookmarks and collections
  • Customize and share your profile in a grid layout feed
  • Share your bookmarks and collections with friends and co-workers
  • Has its own in-app reader
  • You can register with Google+, Facebook, Twitter, or Email
  • Import and Export features from browsers and Pocket
  • Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera browser add-ons
Disadvantages
  • No messaging
  • No commenting on feeds or bookmarks
  • Some segments of the app are in Russian, even with an English setting
Conclusion

RainDrop is an organized and beautiful alternative to traditional bookmarking and is a great way to stay social in a new way, discover new websites, and organize your bookmarks better. With RainDrop’s browser add-on supporting 5 browsers, RainDrop is sure to satisfy your bookmarking needs.

Related posts:

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  4. Spice Up Your Browser’s New Tab Page With OneFeed








7 New Google Chrome Features You Should Know

hongkiat.com - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 17:01

Besides its function as a great day-to-day Internet browser, Google Chrome is also a great tool for web development through the DevTools.

The DevTools is constantly updated with new versions. So, there might be a few features and DevTools that you may have missed out on along the way. Therefore, here are 7 of the newest Google Chrome features you should know.

Getting Started – Chrome DevTools Experiment

Chrome has some experimental cool features, which are hidden or disabled by default. To activate these experimental features go to chrome://flags/#enable-devtools-experiments through the Chrome address bar and enable the DevTool Experiment option, and restart Chrome.

After restarting, launch the DevTools and click on the gear icon on the top right of the DevTools panel, and you should see “Experiment” tab on the left sidebar. Check whichever features you want to activate.

1. Improved Mobile Device Emulator

Today having a website that is optimized for mobile devices is a must. With Chrome, you can debug websites in mobile mode through the Mobile Emulator feature, which has been totally revamped and added with a bunch of new capablities.

To enable the Mobile Emulator, launch the DevTools and click the Mobile icon next to the loop/search icon, as shown in the following screenshot. As you can see, above the Emulator is now equipped with rulers so you can see exactly the viewport size the website is in.

2. Multiple Cursors Selections

Do yo want to edit multiple lines together in a source file the way you can with Sublime Text? Chrome now supports multipe cursors and selection in the DevTools. Use Ctrl + Click or Cmd + Click to select multiple lines at once.

3. Throttling Network Connection

You can now also test your website’s response and performance on various connections through the DevTools. In the DevTools, press Esc to launch Console Drawer then select Emulation. On the Network tab, select the speed type to throttling your network connection and see how your website performs within the selected speed.

4. Offline Mode

Google Chrome now is equipped with Offline Mode, which allows you to open websites while you are actually offline. If you are developing web application which aims to work even while users are offline, this feature would be really helpful. To enable the Offline Mode, head to chrome://flags/#enable-offline-mode via the address bar and enable the “Enable Offline Cache Mode” option.

Don’t forget to restart Chrome for the effect to take place.

5. Drag and Drop HTML Into the Editor

Sometimes you need to copy a HTML element to your editor. Instead of manually copying and pasting it on your text editor, you can simply drag the DOM and drop into the editor.

Currently, you can only drag one element, and its child elements won’t follow. Hopefully this will be improved on in the next update.

6. Auditing CSS

You can now also audit your CSS, such as inspecting useless style rules which are not being used on the web page. To do so, go to the “Audits” tab and click “Run” to start auditing the CSS. You will see a list of classes/selectors that are not used on the current page, as follows.

7. Adding SourceMap

With Source Map, you can see the unbuilt or the uncompiled version of CSS or JavaScript (JS). This feature is particularly useful for developers who compose styles or JS using Pre-processors like Sass, LESS, or CoffeeScript. With the Source Map enabled, you can find location of code on generated JS or CSS on a certain line and column number. The latest version of Chrome allows you to add Source Map manually.

To do this, make sure that you’re in the source panel then open a file. After that, right-click and select Add Source Map. to add the .map file.

Related posts:

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Top Photography Apps for Windows Phone 8.1

hongkiat.com - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 12:01

Most mobile phones are now equipped with a camera. A few phones even come with amazing camera specs, such as the Nokia Lumia 1020 with a 41-megapixels rear camera. Today, people use their phone’s camera in many ways. Taking a selfie is now a norm. Some photographers and movie makers also use their phone’s camera to shoot and produce their professional work.

On that account, many apps that utilize their phone’s camera as well as photo editors flood the app store of every mobile platform. If you are a Windows Phone user, here we have put together various apps available in the Windows Phone Store, aimed specifically at the photography enthusiast. We carefully selected to only put the best apps in the list. Let’s check them out.

500px

500px is a social site, where Pro photographers hang around and share their amazing photographs. This is the 500px official app for Windows Phone, and it is a nicely crafted app. This app allows you to edit your profile, as well as explore, follow, and give comments. The app is also integrated with the Windows Phone Lock Screen setting, which enables you to set your lock screen background with the currently featured photo from 500px. Whether you are a professional photographer, a hobbyist, or merely someone who enjoys good photos, this is the essential app on your Windows Phone. [Get it here]

More: Photobucket, Flickr Booth.

Photoshop Express

Adobe Photoshop Express makes it easy to edit photos on your Windows Phone. With this app, you can crop, adjust, add frame, and remove red-eye effect from your photos. The app also offers an array of filters to make your photos outstanding. In case the free options are not enough, the app offers an in-app purchase for more filters to add to your selection. Photoshop Express is a handy app to retouch your photo. [Get it here]

More: Nokia Creative Studio, Nokia Glam Me, Fresh Paint

InstaSign

InstaSign is a simple app that allows you to attach your autograph to a photo. Write down your autograph on a clean sheet of white paper. Take the picture and add it into your autograph collection. Once you’ve chosen to apply the autograph, the app will automatically pull out the white background and include the autograph on the photo. You can also use this app to attach a watermark to your photos, or assign autographs to your digital documents. [Get it here]

OneShot

OneShot offers a pack of features for you to play around with. Fancy some filters? This app brings a lot of them, which you can apply before taking the picture. The Voice Control, even more, enables you to take the picture with voice. On top of that, you will find a plenty of tiny hidden gems upon exploring the app further. The app literally lets you customize every corner of it to make the best out of it. [Get it here]

Camera 360

Camera 360 could make you “feel” like a Pro. Similar to OneShot, there are many features packed within this app. There’s a range of special effects and filters, camera modes, in-app photo editor, and social sharing available, just to to name a few. Camera360 is the app that you should carry in your pocket. [Get it here]

Nokia Panorama

Clearly, the name says it all. Nokia Panorama lets you take a panoramic picture with your Windows Phone. The app is easy to use. Simply take some pictures, and the app will stitch them together into a single photo. The app also lets you share the photos that you’ve taken on your favourite social sites. [Get it here]

Photosynth

Photosynth is Microsoft’s very own app. The app offers the ability to create a panoramic picture. Unlike Nokia Panorama, which only produces a straight panoramic picture, this app is able to create a 360 degree panorama. It’s a very powerful app to record the amazing views that you may encounter on your adventures. [Get it here]

Blink

Blink is a photography app with a very unique proposition. This app lets you capture a sequence of shots before and after the actual picture is taken. Then, you can select the best shot from there and even create a short animation clip out of the sequence – learn more about Blink here. [Get it here]

DualShot

If your phone is equipped with two cameras, why not use both of them? DualShot lets you utilize the front and rear camera of your phone, and take the picture from both sides. So you can take a selfie while at the same time, capture a picture of the food that you’re eating, which is a norm in this day and age. [Get it here]

More: Dopple Shot.

LazyLens

LazyLens is the app that will certainly please you. This app ships with, at the time of writing, 23 preset customizations, a bunch of filters, textures, and frames, and it lets you apply them with a swipe of a finger. On top of that, you can also apply some adjustments like brightness, contrast, and saturation to the photo. [Get it here]

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22 Creative Things People Did With Keyboard Keycaps

hongkiat.com - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 17:01

Have you ever been in the situation when suddenly one of your keyboard keys stop working whilst you are typing? Sometimes it takes a little force to get that key working but most times it refuses to budge no matter how many times you continue to press it. Eventually some other keys follow suit and you are forced to replace the entire keyboard altogether.

Now if this became a frequent occurence, you’ll soon have a pile of spoiled keyboards lying in some corner of your room, provided you haven’t got around to discarding them. Before you get around to that, why not recycle those keyboard keys? Here we have found 22 things keyboard keycaps can be reused of which some you can even attempt to do.

Things you can wear

Necklace. Wearing keycaps around your neck makes for a unique piece of jewelery. You can even string several to spell out your name or a word. (Image source: Pinterest)

Earrings. These can be matched with your keycap necklace. Some of them come with extra embellishments but the plain ones are not too bad either. (Image source: Etsy)

Ring. The thing about keycaps is that they are the perfect size for a ring. Or several. You know, in case you want to spell out a word on your fingers. (Image source: Etsy)

Bracelet. Better yet, why not string the keycaps on your wrist? All the best to wear your name or your favorite word, yes? Yes. (Image source: Style Hive)

Cufflinks. This one is for the men. Show off how classy (and geeky) you can look with a pair of these whilst wearing your shirt. (Image source: Green Diary)

Button. Lost a button from a favourite jacket? You can replace it with a keycap like how user babybayrs did with her daughter’s jacket. (Image source: Instructables)

Jacket. Instead of just sticking to buttons or cufflinks, why not go all out looking dapper in this jacket? You’ll definitely turn heads whilst wearing this. (Image source: Bit Rebels)

Handbag. You can actually purchase one of these classy bags from João Sabino’s site and choose to have it in either black, white, red or hot pink. (Image source: João Sabino)

Things you can have around the house

Bench. Made by Nolan Herbut who used 2000 keycaps, you can interact with this piece of furniture by pressing on the keycaps! (Image source: Nolan Herbut)

Lamp. You can light up your house like how Vietnamese Dinh Cong Thanh did with this lamp made by attaching keyboard keys to acrylic panels. (Image source: Upcycle Dzine)

Clock. Clocks are easy to make as is this one. Get yourself a base, a simple clock motor kit, and use the function keys as the numbers. (Image source: Dr Prem)

Picture frame. This are so easy to make as all you need to do is attach keys to an existing frame. Display them around the house or gift it to a geeky friend! (Image source: Hannah Ackroyd)

Walls. Why not? It’ll make for a distinctive wall, which The James Hotel can boast about after commissioning artist Sarah Frost to stick keycaps on their lobby wall. (Image source: Pinterest)

Sculpture. Make a statement for your home with a sculpture like this rocking horse that artist Babis Cloud constructed out of 18,000 keycaps and resin. (Image source: This Is Colossal)

Artwork. Why stop at just a wall when you can have a piece of art made of keyboard keys? This particular mosaic was made by Kay Knight who even does portraits of celebrities. (Image source: Fast Company)

Rubik’s Cube. Need something more challenging? Try out user Overlord5′s instructions on how to make a Rubik’s Cube out of keycaps. (Image source: Instructables)

Things for the office

Keychain. I don’t know about you but I would really like this for my house keys seeing that that keycap has been so aptly used. (Image source: Pinterest)

Thumbtacks. Move over, regular thumbtacks! This brainchild of Instructables user noahw is a must have to pin ideas and notices on your office board. (Image source: Instructables)

Pen holder. Normal pen holders are so boring but at least you can customize them with old keycaps like these ones. (Image source: Apartment Therapy)

Magnets. Again, why have normal magnets when you can make one or more of this? You can even spell out messages or play magnetic poetry on your fridge. (Image source: Apartment Therapy)

Notebook. No, I don’t mean the computer notebook. Yes, I mean embelishing a plain paper-bound notebook with keycaps. Or you can buy one here. (Image source: Perpetual Kid)

Box. These will be perfect for either storing trinkets or storing a present for a techy friend. Hey, you can even spell out a message if you are making it by yourself! (Image source: Think Geek)

Here’s more! – 80 Creative Geek T-Shirts »

Related posts:

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Free Code Editors For Android – Best Of

hongkiat.com - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 12:01

Programming can be fun when done with the right tools – development tools that let you write and test the source code without pestering. Coding on the computer is surely more congenial, but it cannot beat the convenience of viewing or editing the source code from anywhere. This is where mobile devices come in handy – you can carry them anywhere and do your tasks from your own comfortable place.

The Android app ecosystem offers a plethora of applications for programming. The Google Play Store is full of apps for all your coding needs – code editors, compilers, and development environments, just to name a few. They are all different and come with a varied set of features and drawbacks, which makes selecting the best tool a challenge. This is where we come in. Let’s take a look at the top 5 code editors for Android that can help you code, edit, compile and run your source code on the move.

1. Quoda

Quoda is certainly the best free multi-language code editor for Android. It is a powerful yet easy source code editor, and comes with nearly all the essential features that a software programmer would need. It also bundles various productivity-enhancing functionalities that can boost the developer’s efficiency. It is packed full of many useful features such as syntax highlighting, auto-suggestions, line bookmarking, auto-indentation, etc.

Syntax highlighting comes with variety of themes and fonts, and works for various programming languages including HTML, XML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, C, C++, C#, Java, ActionScript, Lisp, Markdown, Haskell and more. It has support for code templates and snippets, which can help minimize the coding work. It adds extra keys to your keyboard that gives you the ability to boost your typing speed. Other features include find and replace, comment and uncomment, preview for HTML files, website source downloader, HTML cleaner, etc.

Quoda understands your uploading requirements and offers various solutions. It can open, edit and upload files to an unlimited number of FTP or FTPS servers. It can even store and fetch files from popular cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive, and support for Box and Skydrive is expected in a future release. [Get it here]

2. DroidEdit

DroidEdit is a source code editor and text writer with a clean and simple interface. It has multi-language support with features to help you achieve your goal easily and effectively. It is for Android as Notepad++ is for desktop operating systems – that means it can be used to open and modify simple text files as well as source code files of various programming languages.

DroidEdit offers syntax highlighting that comes with support for more than 200 languages, and many built-in themes as well as an option to create custom color themes. Writer mode turns off the auto-correct and switches on the spell-checker. Emmet can be used to expand simple expressions into full-fledged HTML code. Other features include line wrap, search and replace, extra keys on your keyboard for faster code typing and even support for editing system files on your rooted device.

DroidEdit has support for downloading and uploading files from remote storage providers. You can upload and download files from (s)FTP servers. It even supports reading and writing to cloud storage providers such as Dropbox, Google Drive and Box. Additionally, it has a rare feature of built-in support for Git that allows you to checkout, edit, commit and push directly from your phone or tablet. [Get it here]

3. AWD

Android Web Developer (AWD) is a simple yet feature-rich integrated development environment. It lets you code and develop web projects using your Android phone or tablet. You can use it to edit and code HTML, CSS, JavaScript and PHP as well. It comes with full-screen mode and tablet-ready user interface that improves the overall coding experience.

AWD is a simple yet effective code editor for writing or editing the source code of your project’s files. It supports various productivity features including code highlighting, code completion, error checking, code beautifying, fast navigation, search and replace among other things. It even offers a quick preview of your web pages inside the application.

AWD supports managing remote projects easily by providing many quick ways to reach your project. It allows you to work with local as well as remote files. You can upload and download files from FTP, FTPS and SFTP servers. To top it off, it even supports WEBDav for accessing and storing your web projects. [Get it here]

4. AIDE

AIDE, which stands for Android IDE, is a complete integrated development environment for Android development. It lets you code and develop Android applications right on your Android device without the need of a computer system. You can also learn how to develop Java and Android applications. Programming lessons are interactive with step-by-step instructions, which help amateurs to easily learn the skills of app development for Java and Android platforms.

AIDE lets you develop Android apps, Java apps or PhoneGap apps using Java, C/C++, HTML5, CSS and JavaScript. Visual Designer lets you visually design the user interface of the app without the need of writing XML code. There’s also the feature-rich editor which comes with code completion, real-time error checking, refactoring, and smart code navigation. It offers a one-click solution to compile and run your project.

AIDE is compatible with the popular desktop IDEs for Android – Eclipse and Android Studio. This means that it can open and run projects created with the given desktop IDEs and vice-versa. It can integrate with Dropbox for uploading and downloading files from the popular cloud storage. Best of all, there’s support for Git, and it can edit, checkout, commit and push files directly. [Get it here]

5. CppDroid

CppDroid is a simple yet powerful integrated development environment for C and C++ development. It is a fresh baked application, which brings the GCC compiler to Android. It allows you to code, edit, compile and execute C/C++ programs on your Android device without any difficulty. It comes with various demos or practice programs, which can help you learn the basics of programming in C and C++ languages.

CppDroid offers an intuitive code editor that comes with various features for productive coding. Syntax highlighting is smart enough to highlight various parts of the program, and offers an option for configurable themes. Other features include auto-indentation, code-completion, real-time diagnostics (warnings and errors), file and tutorial navigator, and terminal emulation to run your compiled programs.

CppDroid supports Dropbox – the popular cloud storage provider. It integrates with Dropbox to provide you with the functionality of uploading and downloading from the cloud storage. There’s also an intergrated add-on manager with auto-update feature, which is used to download and install add-ons for this application. [Get it here]

How do you choose the best one from the given code editors? It all depends on your requirements. Have a check on your needs and just choose one from the above that meets what you’re looking for.

Which is your favorite code editor for Android? Did we miss your favorite code editor? Let us know through the comments.

More: 11 Top CSS Editors – Reviewed »

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  1. 10 Free Android Video Editors To Help Perfect Your Videos On-The-Go
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  4. A Look Into Atom: Github’s New Code Editor








5 Reasons Why Introverts Are Awesome

hongkiat.com - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 17:01

In our modern society where the assertive, charismatic personalities are favored over the solitary, silent individuals, an introvert is often seen as shy or even anti-social. Given how they may appear aloof, unfriendly an even snobby to others, it’s perhaps no surprise that people sometimes don’t pay enough attention to what these introverts have to offer.

Yet, some of the most talented people to grace the earth are, and were, actually introverts, from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to the greatest genius of the 20th century, Albert Einstein. This list of 16 Outrageously Successful Introverts from The Huffington Post reveals just that.

To be clear, introversion is actually an enduring personality trait (habitual patterns of behaviour, thought and emotion) and not just some frivolous, meaningless label we can place on anyone who doesn’t appear to socialize much.

Someone like that can very well be an extrovert (the original psychological term is actually extravert) who craves for a rich social life but has problems fitting in. For that matter, an adult extrovert cannot “will” him or herself into an introvert (and vice versa), because such a trait is determined by our biological makeup, environment and upbringing.

First Off, What Makes An Introvert An Introvert?

Introverts are wired differently; they are more easily stimulated than extroverts. In the classic ‘lemon juice experiment‘, introverts were found to salivate more than extroverts when a drop of lemon juice was placed on their tongue. The researchers theorized that introverts get triggered easily by their surroundings because they naturally possess higher level of arousal, which is why they prefer less intensive activities such as reading and writing rather than partying. Their preoccupation with their own thoughts is also what separates them from the crowd.

Such “inward-orientedness” makes introverts unique souls with much to offer for the world which others often uniwttingly overlook:

1. Introverts Listen to Others and Respect Opinions

Great listening skills come naturally for introverts because they tend to think things through first before voicing their opinions. They prefer to seek first to understand others before seeking to be understood, which indirectly helps them build good rapport with people.

When others speak their mind freely, introverts listen attentively to have a good grasp of their perspectives and viewpoints. People generally feel much more at ease with opening themselves up when they see and feel the willingness of introverts to hear their standpoint. In other words, introverts have a flair of making others feel valued for expressing their opinions.

The only caveat is that introverts may find small talks mentally draining, in part due to their discomfort in engaging people on surface-level topics. Since introverts love to process and analyze information in their heads, they find conversation for conversation’s sake a meaningless activity that doesn’t pique their interests. This is precisely why introverts do not appear sociable when meeting new people. Once we get past the stage of acquaintanceship with an introvert, we can count on him or her to be there for us as a listening ear.

2. Introverts Contribute Significantly to the Literary Arts

Whether it is professional or casual writing, churning out any good piece requires writers to spend a lot of time reflecting in solitude. Such environment is what draws introverts to it since they long for less stimulating environment and more “alone time” than extroverts.

As it is also in their nature to consider carefully what to say before they actually open their mouths, writing seems to be a better communication channel than speaking since it grants them more time to consolidate their thoughts before they respond. For these reasons, introversion gravitates one towards writing and had produced many of the world’s greatest playwright, poets and writers, from William Shakespeare, J. R. R. Tolkien, Emily Dickinson to J. K. Rowling.

Being innately observant, introverts gradually build up an aptitude for writing. When they attend social gatherings, they are likely to be found at a quiet corner checking out their surroundings and the people around them, processing and analyzing these information in their mind.

Being a good listener also allows introverts to empathize well and gain insights into the thoughts of another. Through all these subtle attempts to understand their day-to-day encounters, introverts pick up valuable intuitions and perspectives about the world and express them elegantly through their writings to inspire and intrigue humanity.

3. The Golden Words of Introverts

As mentioned, introverts think deeply before they speak. While extroverts are capable of thinking as they speak, it’s a rarity in introverts. In dicussions online and offline, they are typically the last to comment after seeing and hearing what the rest have to say. The explanation behind this is that many introverts prefer to digest all the information and look at things holistically before coming up with a well thought-out response in their mind. We can all expect to find depth and balance in their words, which undoubtedly help us navigate our way through the many noises from the web, traditional and social media, as well as the many others who want to be heard.

Indeed, there’s a major advantage to the introvert’s ability to restrain their words: While the more reactive and vocal individuals may over-commit themselves or blurt out things (online and offline) that they regret later, introverts are able to avoid such social boo-boos because they don’t say anything until they have really thought through it.

During times when emotions are running high, introverts serve as the voice of sensibility that prevent us from getting carried away by all the excitement and taking unnecessary risks. All that is required is a time and platform for them to say their piece, and for the world to appreciate them enough to recognize their wisdom and rationality.

4. Secrets Are Safe With Introverts

We all know introverts like spending time by themselves more so than extroverts, and few extroverts can comprehend such self-reliance. Early 20th century psychiatrist Carl Jung explained that while extroverts require social stimulation to feel alive, introverts “recharge” their energy by isolating themselves after intensive interactions. All in all, they are less dependent on seeking others’ approval to be happy.

Extroverts who do not understand introverts well enough may misconstrue their autonomy and need for solitude as being “killjoy” or even arrogant. Yet, it is exactly such self-sufficiency that makes introverts a bunch of easy-going individuals who rarely demand for the company of others. As individualists, they also tend to be authentic because they are less interested in impressing others or getting attention.

For these reasons, many seek advice and entrust their secrets with introverts because they know that these people respect personal boundaries and are genuine in their actions, words and behaviors. Along with with how introverts value the small social circle they usually have, introverts generally make great reliable friends.

5. Introverts Can Lead As Well As (Or Even Better Than) Extroverts

Leadership isn’t just reserved for the charismatic extroverts – Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Eleanor Roosevelt and even Barack Obama are some of the world-renowned figureheads who are believed to be introverts. As you can tell from these individuals, they consistently project an aura of calm collectedness despite under pressure.

Such is a mark of true leadership, where one’s steady and poised presence is capable of instilling an unshakeable confidence and trust in one’s followers. Introverts are able to achieve such composure because they are rarely caught unprepared before they actually say or do anything.

Incidentally, introverts are also receptive to the needs of others and thus will do a better job in uniting of a group of engaged workers who proactively make work-improvement suggestions. Coupled with how they often pay due attention to what others have to say, a study has revealed that introverts perform better when leading such employees as compared to extroverts who prefer to give directions.

Finally, the introverts’ constant need to disengage and recuperate themselves from all the social interactions is actually a plus here, because such solitude repeatedly offers them the time and space to assess the situation.

By reflecting regularly, they are able to stay focused on the objectives and not let themselves get distracted by things that bear little relevance to the vision of the group. Such clear-headedness is a prerequisite for any good leader; he or she must always know whether his or her followers are being herded in the right direction.

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10 Cool Photoshop Tutorials For Creating Your Own Cinemagraph

hongkiat.com - Tue, 10/07/2014 - 12:01

Cinemagraphs were originally coined by American photographers, Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck of Ann Street Studio, who used this trick for their news and fashion photos back in 2011. It’s kind of a hybrid between a still photograph and a video. The whole image remains still except for a particular movement that is repeated over and over again in just one section. These are usually saved in a GIF format.

You can create a cinemagraph using editing software which would compose the photographs or the video frames into a seamless loop of sequential frames. It may take a bit of time but I believe cinemagraph is a form of art worth giving a chance. To help you along with the learning process, I’d like to share 10 ultra-cool cinemagraph Photoshop tutorials to assist you in creating your very own cinemagraph. Feel free to share your cinemagraphs in the comment field below too.

Create Cinemagraphs Easily Using Cliplets. This awesome image which showcases a moving skateboard wheel can be mimicked in no time with this tutorial. It uses Cliplets to help you create this cinemagraph.

How To Make a Cool Cinemagraph Image in Photoshop. This tutorial teaches you to play around with Photoshop action tools so that you can have your own cute shopping cinemagraph image like the shopping montage of the 90s.

How To Make A Cinemagraph for Photoshop Newbies. All you need for this particular tutorial is basic Photoshop skills, a tripod, a video camera, Photoshop (of course) and Quicktime player. If you’re armed with that, you’re good to go.

Create an awesome cinemagraph in Photoshop. In this lesson you learn how to use Photoshop frames to process footage, and how to tweak your sequence in order to find the ideal loop for export.

Creating a Cinemagraph in Photoshop. This cool video guide will walk you through the process of creating a cinemagraph in Photoshop and also tells you all the niceties of using this method including how to save the file in the correct format.

Cinemagraph tutorial. In just 6 easy steps, this tutorial can show you how to create a wonderful cinemagraph in Photoshop.

Create a Cinemagraph (or Cinegraph) Using Photoshop CS6. Use the latest Photoshop version CS6 to create a cinemagraph that’s bound to make everyone else green with envy!

How to Create a Cinemagraph Using Adobe Photoshop CS5. Hair fluttering in the wind or blinking eyes are the perfect parts of the photo to animate as they are subtle. Watch this short video to learn how to do it yourself.

Tutorial: Como hacer un cinemagraph con Photoshop. For all of you more comfortable with the Spanish language, here’s a handy cinemagraph tutorial in Spanish.

Cinemagraph: How to. Why not bring one of your favorite movie scenes to life in a different way? This guide will show you how to make a cinemagraph from a Vimeo video without having to take pictures.

Click Here To See More Cool Cinemagraphs »

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10 Instagram Tools For Business

hongkiat.com - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 17:01

Selfies and food porn may dominate Instagram but that is not all that the photo-sharing app is limited to. Some businesses are using the app as a site to host their products. Other businesses are thinking out of the box to use Instagram as an extension to market and reach out to their customers.

In fact, some are so good at it that there is now a new form of advertising on Instagram where you don’t advertise (if that makes sense). Even if you don’t have a physical product, your business can benefit by showing behind-the-scene snapshots or by showcasing your workers’ office space. Whatever your reason for using the app, we hope that these 10 tools will help you make the most out Instagram for your business.

TOTEMS

Once known as Nitrogram, TOTEMS serves 2 purposes. First, TOTEMS Analytics provides in-depth analysis on your followers, hashtags, posts, and competitors. Secondly, TOTEMS Connect helps you to connect with influential Instagrammers who can collaborate with you on new content.

Instagram Business Tools

Instagram themselves have came up with tools that can help you grow and manage your business. The tools concentrate on 3 main areas: Account Insights provide analytics on your account’s engagement and reach; Ad Insights analyzes your ads performances; and Ad Staging allows you to preview, save, and collaborate on future ad campaigns.

Piqora

Piqora is arguably one of the best social media management tools for Instagram. It provides analytics for when to post next, hashtag and contest tracking, interaction management as well as posting your photos via desktop. Now if that doesn’t spell almost complete, I don’t know what does.

Similar tool: Iconosquare

Over

Sometimes you need words on your photos. When that time comes, invest in Over. For only $1.99, you will have a plethora of beautiful fonts at your disposal. Hey, you can even use it to make Instagram posters for announcements. And the best part about this app? It’s available for both Android and iOS.

SnapWidget

Need to display your Instagram photos on your website? Use SnapWidget to do so. The widget allows you to embed your Instagram gallery as well as customize the widget’s look. You can even choose to either display the gallery based on a username or a hashtag.

Tagboard

Instagram makes full use of the hashtag and does well with unique ones crafted to suit your purposes. If your hashtag is used across all your other social media accounts, use Tagboard to keep track of them all. Besides Instagram, Tagboard tracks hashtags from Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Vine, and Flickr. It also allows you to interact with the posts.

Repost

If you read enough articles on social media posting tips, you would know that one of them would advise you to share some of your followers/fans posts. Enter Repost, which works the same way as the retweet button on Twitter. With this app, you can repost photos on Instagram whether on iOS or Android.

Picdeck

Ever wished there is a tool like Tweetdeck for Instagram? There is and it’s called Picdeck. With Picdeck, you can now create columns of users and hashtags to better track them. As of now, the web app doesn’t allow for posting posts. But it sure beats Instagram’s own website in search and organizational abilities on the web.

Pic Stitch

Another app to add to your arsenal is Pic Stitch. This app combines a few photos into a collage. You know, in the event that one photo isn’t enough and you don’t want to spam your followers with multiple photos. Use it specially for behind-the-scene moments or special events. There is also a similar app for Android.

Like2Buy

Social media management tool Curalate came up with the perfect solution for turning your Instagram account into a shop: Like2Buy. It works by making use of the ‘Like button’. If your followers like a product photo you’ve just posted, they can purchase it by simply tapping the ‘Like button’.

Are there any other notable tools that we are missing? Let us know in the comments below!

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6 CyanogenMod Alternatives For Your Android Device

hongkiat.com - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 12:01

Do you want to switch from CyanogenMod? This article will help you choose the best alternative for CyanogenMod – an alternate custom firmware that you will love to flash on your phone.

CyanogenMod, unquestionably, is one of the best innovations that ever happened in the Android world. However, it is also true that CyanogenMod, like any other firmware, comes with (some) flaws and has room for further improvements. That is the reason people go for other, open and superior firmwares.

Here we list the top 6 alternatives of CyanogenMod to help you make your decision and choose the best firmware for your device. Let’s learn what makes them unique and what they have to offer.

Carbon Rom

Carbon Rom is simply beautiful – it is an elegant Android firmware, which encourages a clean and simple visual interface. It gives you the power to better customize your device and underneath the Android, as per your needs, thus making the device your very own – something that reflects you and your style.

Carbon Rom is brilliantly designed, and comes with intuitive and useful features. It does not provide unnecessary features and delivers a fast and responsive user experience. Additionally, it offers performance options that can be used to further improve the speed and performance of your device.

Carbon Rom packs all the features under one title – ‘Carbon Fibres‘. It organizes all the ROM’s features with Scrollable tabs under their respective categories. It integrates the new CM 11′s Theme engine and many other special features like HALO, PIE, active display, lockscreen options, navigation bar, quick settings, dark mode, etc. [Get it here]

Slim ROMs

Slim ROMs are a major player in the market of custom firmwares. Slim ROMs are slim in size, but no less in features. Its releases are named after that particular Android version, for example, Slim ROM for KitKat is known as SlimKat. The Slim Team always comes up with something new that Android has not yet seen, and those feature are adopted by other custom firmwares later on.

One of the Slim ROMs’ USPs is that its team tries to support most of the popular devices. This enables people having legacy or low-range Android devices to get a stable, superb custom firmware for their device. For example, they provided a stable build for Moto G before CyanogenMod’s team came up with a stable release for the Motorola’s most successful Android phone.

Slim ROMs comes with unique and innovative features. Its team does things differently, and they always experiment with the features and apps of AOSP as well as other custom ROMs, and guess what? They mostly end up creating something better. Some of the features are Slim Recents, Custom Quick Settings Tiles, SlimPIE, Notification Reminder and Slim Dialer. [Get it here]

AOSB

AOSB or so-called “Android Open Source Bam project” is a project dedicated to giving your phone something special. It is a fast Android operating system – a custom firmware that claims to boot up in just 2 seconds and shutdown or reboot in only 1 second.

AOSB is a marvelous, feature-packed ROM – it packs many unique as well as borrowed features from various custom firmwares. One of the best features is the OTA support – which lets you update your firmware on-the-air without the need of flashing the ROM files again. Other features include animation controls, custom progress bar, etc.

AOSB has the features of many popular firmwares. Gesture Anywhere from Chameleon OS can be used to create custom gestures to launch applications and shortcuts. OmniSwitch from OmniROM is an app switcher that enhances your multi-tasking capabilities. Moreover, it also comes with HALO, Slim ROMs’ Dark UI, advanced battery bar, built-in Xposed framework, etc. [Get it here]

*Note: Anything, here, refers to custom firmwares only.

MIUI

MIUI is a stock and aftermarket Android firmware developed by Xiaomi Tech, the company behind the popular Mi 3 smartphone. MIUI looks very different from the AOSP for a good reason – it provides a faster, unique and heavily customized user interface, which attempts to provide a simple and overall refined phone experience.

MIUI is packed with lots of security and privacy features. MiCloud Messaging offers private messaging and a secure pin feature to protect your personal messages. The Anti-Spam feature protects you from unwanted calls and messages whilst the Permission Manager shows the permission details for each application on your phone. Additional features include anti-virus, backup, device finder, etc.

MIUI takes customization to another level by providing thousands of personalized themes, numerous lockscreens and various MiSpaces. MiSpace is the modern replacement for the traditional home screen, which brings a new way to interact with your phone. Other impressive features include toggles drop down bar, always-on alarm clock, re-designed app switcher among others. [Get it here]

Paranoid Android

Paranoid Android offers you a mobile experience full of customizations – from user interface modes to app colors and themes. It provides many unique and original features to completely modify the mobile’s interface according to your requirements and make your device truly yours.

Paranoid Android is power charged with multi-tasking features. PIE mode provides more room for the content by hiding navigation and status bars on a quick button press, and a simple swiping gesture from the bottom of the screen brings back the navigation. Floating mode allows you to open a smaller version of applications from Recent Apps without leaving/closing apps that are running.

Paranoid Android comes with a mix of UI layouts –phone, phablet and tablet layouts are available. Hybrid mode lets you set individual apps to have the tablet layout on your phone. Other features include app privacy, HALO, themes, etc. [Get it here]

OmniROM

OmniROM is all about flexibility, innovation, new features and freedom. It is a project from some well- recognized folks of the XDA community, who started its development as a reaction to the commercialization of the popular CyanogenMod ROM.

OmniROM is a relatively new custom firmware in the market. Though it is a work-in-progress, it offers state-of-the-art features. OmniSwitch is a better app switcher with support for application control and favorites. It provides action buttons for application control such as “kill all” and “switch to last app“. OpenDelta updates are incremental updates, which minimizes the download size and provides easy and quick method to update frequently.

OmniROM may include a new feature in its future release, which is known as Custom Hotword. It is a way for the user to create custom hotwords, which can be used to setup a phrase to startup Chrome, dial your family or launch the camera. It is similar to the “Ok Google” feature that opens Google Now, but this is different as you can create your very own hotwords. [Get it here]

Conclusion

I hope this article helps you find the best custom firmware for your device – a ROM that is better than CyanogenMod and provides you with a pure, personalized Android experience. Flash a custom ROM from the above listed firmwares as per your requirements of features, and enjoy the new experience!

Which is your favorite CyanogenMod alternative? Let us know through the comments section below.

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5 Times Internet Keyboard Warriors Didn’t Save The Day

hongkiat.com - Fri, 10/03/2014 - 17:01

There have been several times when Internet communities have banded together to do incredible amounts of good. Just take a look at these ‘Internet Acts’ for a few examples.

There are even times when they try to fight injustice and crimes that happen outside of the virtual space, in the real world. However, the Internet is still made up of everyday people with everyday follies, and just like real life, are prone to a hive mind mentality.

And this hive mind can be a dangerous thing once they’ve picked their target. And the target doesn’t even have to be guilty. The group could just easily be looking for someone to blame for a crime.

There have been several instances where when a crime is perpetrated, Internet vigilantes try to figure out who did it, sometimes, actually oftentimes, getting the wrong person, putting the lives of the accused in danger. Here are 5 cases of when Internet vigilantes didn’t save the day.

1. Reddit Didn’t Find The Boston Bombers

The Reddit investigation to find the Boston Bomber in 2013 has somewhat become a poster child for what could happen when you have a bunch of random Internet sleuths trying to find the identity of a wanted killer. What you get is a bunch of false accusations against innocent people made by a potentially dangerous mob of angry people. In other words, a classic witch hunt.

All discussions were made on r/FindBostonBombers and while the rule was to not post personal information, several of the accused were identified. It did not help that mainstream media also fueled the witch hunt by putting the photos of the accused on their front page.

One of them was even found dead, 22-year-old Sunil Tripathi, though officials ruled out foul play. Reddit admins apologized with the subreddit no longer publicly available. As stated before, the incident is often used to highlight how Internet vigilantism can go wrong very fast due to the lack of fact checking by the people involved.


(Image Source: Nieman Journalism Lab)

2. The Wrong Cop In Ferguson

What happened in Ferguson was a wake up call for racial relations in America. What made it even worst was the perception by many black residents that the mainly white police department was protecting the shooter by withholding the name.

The whole incident led to a lot of anger on social media sites, with some from the hacker collective known as Anonymous threatening to find and release any information they can get their hands on.

They did just that, releasing a 2 hour dispatch tape for the night of the incident. It was also claimed that they obtained the identity of the shooter and threatened to release the information to the public. The identity was eventually released on an Anonymous affiliated Twitter account.

But there was a slight problem: it was the wrong guy. Twitter then banned the account and the actual identity of the shooter, Darren Wilson, was released by the department.

@TheAnonMessage Bryan Willman is not even an officer with Ferguson or St. Louis County PD. Do not release more info on this random citizen.

– St. Louis County PD (@stlcountypd) August 14, 2014

3. Sandy Hook Shooting

The Sandy Hook Shooting that took place at the end of 2012 was a tragedy that took the lives of 20 school children and 6 adult staff members. It is considered to be the deadliest school shooting in the US. And in the process of identifying the perpetrator of the shooting, many got the name mixed up.

Quite a few mainstream news media got the name of the shooter wrong as they based it on reports by unnamed authorities that were not officially released yet. They singled out Ryan Lanza, the brother of the actual shooter, Adam Lanza. Unfortunately, this mattered little to the online social media communities, which then proceeded to gather an online lynch mob, that called for the usual death threats.

It was cleared up when officials released the identity of his brother. Though Internet vigilantes did not release the name, their hive mind hate and actions only made the situation worse.

I'm FB friends with the profile being sent around. This is a real screen grab. pic.twitter.com/YuEIdkW5

– Matt Bors (@MattBors) December 14, 2012

4. Amanda Todd’s Suicide

Amanda Todd was a Canadian teen who committed suicide in 2012 when she was the victim of an online bullying campaign from a stalker. The entire ordeal generated a lot of sympathy from the online community and thus a hunt for the perpetrator was launched.

When it comes to hunting down someone, no other group on the Internet is as relentless as the hacker collective known as Anonymous. While the actual authorities were still figuring out who the stalker was, Anonymous went ahead and released the personal information of a man located in Vancouver, who they claimed is the one behind the suicide.

Again, as most can probably guess from reading this article: wrong man. Even some of the info they released on the man was wrong. Though the man was accused of sexual assault, he claimed that he was helping Todd and tipped the authorities to another suspect. This was then revealed by Anonymous. The real culprit actually turned out to be a 35 year old Dutch man.



(Image Source: Wikipedia)

5. Andrew Moskowitz Doesn’t work Here

This is an incident that wasn’t about a single individual being outed by mistake. Instead, this story is about a pair of companies that was caught in the crossfire when the Internet lynch mob went out looking for a racist hiring manager.

Andrew Moskowitz made some disparaging remarks on those who had “African sounding names” and said that he would never hire them on one of New York Times‘ Facebook comment thread. This riled up the Internet with righteous fury and a campaign was instigated on Twitter and Tumblr to find the company he works with.

Internet denizens started to accuse 2 cotton plants located in Monroe, Georgia – the Monroe Cotton Mill and the Cotton Warehouse – of hiring Moskowitz, based on his online activity. Unfortunately, this online activity was him checking in at the Cotton Mill, with the Cotton Warehouse being confused as it was another popular landmark.

The false accusation led to a lot of misplaced anger and complaints towards the two companies, with their Yelp and Facebook page invaded by the netizens. In fact, the two companies never even heard of a man named Andrew Moskowitz, with the Internet just looking for a scapegoat to blame.

http://t.co/xalvcRqePu has a disclaimer on their webpage(!) that Moskowitz doesn't work for them. I'm prepared to take them at their word.

– Dan Holzman-Tweed (@HolzmanTweed) September 22, 2013

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Are You Sure You Should Be A Freelance Designer?

hongkiat.com - Fri, 10/03/2014 - 12:01
This article is part of our "Guide to Freelancing series" - consisting of guides and tips to help you becoming a better self-employed. Click here to read more from this series.

Are you getting sick of the daily grind of commercial creativity – having to be creative on command for a client with a specific idea in mind? I know, I know – it’s an odd question to pose on a blog that caters to designers. But sometimes, the process of working on someone else’s creative visions all the time can get a bit…monotonous.

And, truth be told, not everyone who works in the creative field should be a designer. The good news is, there are many other professions which may suit you better than actually designing. Perhaps you should consider working toward a different career: art directing, programming, illustrating, taking photos, running a business, etc. How do you know? Let’s figure it out!

Don’t Stop Learning

I got my first degree from a design school, then decided to take a sharp left turn and study culinary arts. After a few years of finding my feet, I was able to merge the two disciplines into a happy medium: designing for culinary clients. Now, I’m working on a personal project that combines my two loves: design and cooking. Had I stopped my education at design school, it probably never would have occurred to me to pursue that particular creative combination.

Perhaps your problem is that you haven’t finished your education. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been out of school for 10 months or 10 years – or even if you went to school at all. I have some choice opinions on the college and university systems and how broken their infrastructures are in many countries. Going to school is only one (faulty) option out of many amazing learning opportunities all around you. Keep learning and figuring out what exactly you should be doing.

Do You Want To Consult Or Create?

Being a creative professional means being a consultant on some level. If you find you don’t enjoy the idea of working with other people who don’t know as much about design as you do, and counseling them on the best design choices for their business, maybe it’s time to switch to a space where you do more creating and less talking.

Working in-house in the thick of a production pipeline can alleviate this somewhat, as it’s usually your boss who deals with the clients and not you. If you like having a clear set of goals for the day, and you crave a social work environment, then freelancing is definitely not for you. Working in-house will remove the pressure of managing the business/client side of things.

Craft Or Art?

I always get miffed when people outside the design industry talk about art and design as if they were interchangeable. The simple truth is, they are two separate things. Yes, they’re related, in the same way that cooking and waiting tables are related. They’re technically under the same umbrella, but are very separate disciplines.

Art is about being true to your creative self. You do your work for its own sake and there are no expectations from anyone about how you create. Design, or craft, is about making things to solve problems. If you’re not in love with the idea of helping people solve their problems, or even thinking about everyday problems that can be solved creatively, then you probably shouldn’t be a designer period, let alone a freelance one.

Go Against The Grain

If you like to draw, paint, or be creative somehow, but you just can’t see yourself freelancing or working with clients, it may be that you’re not a designer at all. Maybe you’re an artist – someone who just creates what they want and gets paid for it. This is a bit riskier than having a steady paying job, but for some people, the freedom is worth it.

Artists get commissioned all the time to create work for corporate brands, so it might pay off to be true to yourself rather than thinking you have to compromise. The designer, Marian Bantjes, famously straddles the line between art and design, creating bold, experimental pieces that completely overturn her clients’ expectations, but that they end up loving regardless.

I started out as an “artist” studying illustration, then realized that what I really loved was the process of solving problems. It’s been said that art creates questions while design answers them. I really agree with this idea, and I think it’s a great metric to use when trying to figure out whether you should be an artist or a designer. If you’re more interested in asking questions than you are in answering them, then your interests probably lie more toward the art end of the spectrum.

What Do You Think?

Are you a freelance designer or thinking about becoming one? What are your thoughts about the process of freelancing and doing structured client work versus going your own way?

Related posts:

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  2. How Roleplaying As A Plumber Can Improve Your Freelance Business
  3. How To Quit… Acting Like An Amateur Designer
  4. 10 Signs You Have Gone Too Far Into Freelance Design








Bloggers: 6 Steps For The Perfect SEO Formula

hongkiat.com - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 17:01

Welcome back, Class. If you are expecting the easy, nothing-to-it type of list we covered in Article Writing: 6 Rules To Getting The Perfect Format, we are happy to disappoint. The 6 steps to the ideal SEO formula are the most difficult and just as important for the perfect articles and blog posts every single time.

With some major Google Panda updates, some of you may find it even more difficult to nail the right methods. There is nothing more powerful than or as riveting as an article or blog post with the perfect format and SEO formulas. Let’s explore the 6 steps for the right SEO formula.

Step 1: The Perfect Articles Or Posts Keyword

If you have been writing since the 1990s, you will still remember what it was like to write content around keyword density. It can be a hard habit to break. The Panda algorithm took keyword stuffing out of the equation a couple of years ago and I still catch myself worrying over how to stuff keywords and have to stop and remind myself not to do so.

Too many keywords can kill an article quicker than a bullet. Step One is easy. Stop worrying about keyword density and write original, free-flowing content.

Step 2: The Title

Keyword optimization still exists. The Panda is a wise old bear indeed. He knew that doing away with keyword density would alleviate the unoriginal content problem.

He also knew that keywords are the easiest way for a search engine to connect traffic to the websites they seek. Place your researched keyword in the title as close to the beginning as possible to help the search engines find your website or blog.

Step 3: Images Are Worth Much More Than A Thousand Words

The images tags are how a server reads and understands what a website’s images are all about. Servers do not see the images. All they can do is read the descriptions that are placed in the tags.

The wise placement of a keyword in your image alt tag is another way the search engines can find your content and bring you the traffic your perfect articles or blog posts deserve.

Step 4: Optimize H1

Your Header 1 is an excellent place to put a keyword simply because it is the one subtitle on the page that you know Google’s spider will crawl. It is also possible that it will crawl and index your H2 and H3 subtitles but it will definitely crawl your H1, so do not miss the opportunity to get your perfect articles or blog posts noticed.

Placing keywords in these areas takes a little planning. Think it through beforehand for the perfect content, header, and keyword optimization.

Step 5: The Ice Cream Sprinkles Dilemma

We learned quickly when we were children about the ice cream sprinkle effect on our cones and sundaes. Too many sprinkles are pretty, but they detract from the taste of the ice cream flavor. If we put too few sprinkles on our ice cream, we barely notice them at all and it defeats the purpose. We became sprinkle experts in a hurry. Thus it is… with keywords.

Too few keywords may as well be none and too many will cause Google to pass you by, which defeats the purpose. You have to get a feel for the perfect amount of keywords without worrying about saturation. That is like telling someone that the ship is sinking but not to worry about it because there are not enough lifeboats anyway. How can you not worry about something for which there is no clear answer?

Place a keyword in your title, a keyword in your H1 subtitle, a keyword in your perfect article’s or blog post’s first and last sentence, and of course, your images alt text. Once you have these 5 keywords in place, one in each paragraph or in every other paragraph are more than enough and not too many. As long as your five bases are covered, write naturally.

Step 6: Content Is King

We have learned about formatting and optimizing the perfect articles. The question is… are they really perfect? The answer lies in your content.

Once you have formatted and optimized your work, go back, read everything very slowly, and then ask yourself these 5 questions.

  1. Is it interesting?
  2. Is it informative?
  3. Does it answer all the questions that it raises?
  4. Does it have anything of value for the reader?
  5. Is it original?

If you can honestly say yes to all of the 5 questions above then congratulations are in order. You may have just recreated the SEO formula for the blog posts every single time.

Practice Makes Perfect

You may not be Stephen King, but you will be your client’s favorite content writer and well on your way to securing a reputation as a dynamite article and blog writer. So what are you waiting for? The perfect articles or blog posts takes practice.

Related posts:

  1. Article Writing: 6 Rules To Getting The Perfect Format
  2. Bloggers: Blogging For Need vs. For Greed
  3. How Guest Posts May Derail Your Google Ranking
  4. 10 Writing Tips For Bloggers








Fresh Resource for Web Developers – October 2014

hongkiat.com - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 12:01

Being a Web Developer is a really exciting thing. Why? Because there are always new shiny tools to try and play with every month. Whether you’re a developer who likes playing around with CSS or someone who prefers tinkering with Java, there’s always something to get a hold of and it’s hard to keep track.

Well, you’re in luck as we’ve done the work for you. We have searched every corner of the web and put these resources together. And this time we’ve come up with a bunch of goodies for web developers who always deal and struggle with code on a daily basis.

Recommended Reading: Fresh Resources For Designers And Developers – September 2014

Monocle

Monocle is a tiny JavaScript library that will magnify the item along with the user scroll. This library is created by Hakim El Hattab, the developer who have created a handful of popular libraries like Ladda and Reveal.js.

Inspired by the Flash-based which he once visited, Hakim built the same effect using JavaScript and CSS3, so we can apply it on websites without having to depend on Flash plugin. It’s a really great plugin for a more embellished scrolling experience on your website – take a look at the demo here.

OS X App Icon Template

The new version of OS X, Yosemite, is just around the corner. The OS X Yosemite interface will finally bear some resemblance to iOS 7 with a flatter and more translucent design. So, have you prepared your app to adjust with the the new interface? This is a new PSD template that’s specifically designed to allow you to create new icons of your applications for OS X Yosemite.

As you’re designing an icon, you can see and clearly imagine how your icon will turn out in different sizes and in some corner of OS X like in the Dock, in the Folder, or in the prompt window. If you’re an OS X designer and developer, this is a PSD template that should be ready in your toolbox.

Marka

Marka is the Indonesian translation for the word “mark”. It’s a JavaScript library that allows you to create a popular mark, icon, or sign using only a single element of HTML. This library currently brings 36 icons.

You can customize the color and the size of each icon by passing JavaScript parameters or through the CSS stylesheets. The demo shows us how the library nicely shifts from one icon to another, which also constitutes that this is a handy JavaScript if you want to display a flexible and customizable icon on your websites.

jQuery FocusPoint

The general method is that we simply scale the image down to fit in the screen, which could make the image focal point barely noticeable or even missing to some degree. The jQuery FocusPoint, as the name implies, is created to address this notorious problem. The library will smartly crop the image and retain image focus on what matters most.

Markdown Table

Markdown has simplified the way we write on the web. But that’s not the case with writing table. Writing or stucuturing a table has always been a frightful task since its inception.

Fortunately here is the tool that makes it a bit easier to format a table for Markdown. You can easily insert new columns, rows, and put in content too. It will generate the Markdown format that you can easily copy and paste. Also check out our beginner’s guide on Writing Web Content with Markdown.

CSS Gradient Inspector

One of the great inventions in CSS3 is the CSS gradient. But, it is also one with the most complex syntax to write.

If you happen to find an interesting gradient and would like to know how it is made, install this Google Chrome extension named CSS Gradient Inspector. Once installed, it adds a new tab in the DevTools where you can see all the gradient composition as well as the preview.

UiGradient

UiGradient is a website that puts together some of the nicest and harmonious color combinations of gradients. On top of that, you can also copy the CSS code of each gradient.

Runnable

Runnable is a website where you can post and run code snippets. Unlike JSFiddle of Codepen which only supports JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, Runnable is able to run back-end language too such as SQL, PHP, Ruby, and Bash. This makes Runnable a perfect place for both front-end and back-end developers to share and find useful snippets.

CSS Trashman

CSS is a double edged sword as it’s easy to learn and straightforward to use but it also the hardest language to administer. Over time, as your website and your CSS capabilities grow, you will soon realize that your CSS looks like trash with a lot of duplicates and redundancies.

This is the time where you should re-examine your CSS, and CSS Trashman can help you make this job a bit easier. CSS Trashman will examine both your website’s DOM and CSS together, and generate the optimized possible output. You can opt for a CSS or Sass format output.

ColorSublime

ColorSublime is a collection of SublimeText syntax highlighting themes. There you can view how the theme looks before you download it for your usage. There is even a plugin, Colorsublime Plugin, which allows you to apply the themes from the ColorSublime collection seamlessly right into your SublimeText.

Related posts:

  1. Fresh Resources For Designers And Developers – September 2014
  2. Fresh Resources for Designers and Developers – August 2014
  3. Fresh Resources for Designers and Developers – April 2014
  4. Fresh Resources for Designers and Developers – October 2012








Adorable Comics Featuring Sound Effects From Around The World

hongkiat.com - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 17:01

Onomatopoeia are words that suggest or resemble sounds. In simpler terms, they are sound effects. You see them in comic books where things go ‘Wham’, ‘Bam’, and ‘Smash’. Most likely you’ve learned some of them at a young age like how cows go ‘moo’ and cats go ‘meow’. They’re the reason Ylvis’ What Does The Fox Say? was stuck in your head for a while.

There doesn’t seem to be a shortage of sound effects. What’s more, they differ from language to language. This is what fascinated and inspired PhD physics student James Chapman. Hailing from Manchester, UK, the 25-year-old would scour the Internet for various onomatopoeia before compiling them and illustrating them into cute comics.

For more of James’ work, check out his Tumblr.

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  4. 20 Brilliant Examples Of Better Effects Using Textures [Photoshop Tutorials]








20 Alternative Web Browsers For Windows You Didn’t Know Of

hongkiat.com - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 12:01

We access the Internet through our web browsers all the time but it doesn’t really get a second thought. Windows OS users are probably more familiar with well-known ones such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera etc. In actuality, there are many other web browsers with plenty of unique features available in the market.

There are those catered to gamers and some are more for people who want a more integrated way for socializing. Here we’ve covered 20 web browsers for Windows that you may not know of. They could potentially make your life a whole lot easier.

1. Dooble Browser

Dooble is a new open source and multi-platform web browser launched in September 2009. Dooble aims to provide improved privacy and usability. Currently it is available for Windows, OS X, Linux and FreeBSD. Along with other features, Dooble has a built-in easy to use download manager and it can also support third party plugins as well. [Get it here]

2. U Browser

U is a free to use web browser developed by Conduit. It is a Chromium-based web browser with a user-friendly design and it’s great for people who are more into using social tools. It is really easy to cross over from the web to your friends, apps and even your phone by using U browser. [Get it here]

3. Coowon Browser

Coowon is a Google Chrome based browser and specially designed for gamers. It has some features that are perfect for online gaming such as performing automated tasks, Record and Play for mouse clicks, Gamepad Support and controlling your game speed while you play games. [Get it here]

4. BlackHawk

BlackHawk is an easy to use web browser. It combines the operating speed of Chrome and the practical functionality of Firefox. BlackHawk provides exceptional cookie handling. [Get it here]

5. Beamrise Browser

Beamrise is the latest social web browser that merges chatting and browsing together. It allows you chat using your regular social networks and video chat via the browser itself. There’s also awesome animations, visual bookmarks and even free texts powered by Android. [Get it here]

6. NetGroove Browser

NetGroove is a light, fast and tabbed browser based on the Internet Explorer Engine. The main feature of this web browser is that you can use it directly from your flash drive without having to install it. [Get it here]

7. Epic Browser

Epic is an Indian-based web browser which is powered by Mozilla. It provides you the latest films and songs, live cricket scores, news from multiple sources such as regional and Hindi language sources. While surfing the Internet on Epic, no one can track what you browse and what you search. [Get it here]

8. QT Web Browser

QT Web Browser is a portable, secure, fast and lightweight web browser with a unique user interface. It is an open source software based on Nokia’s QT framework and Apple’s Webkit. [Get it here]

9. Browzar Browser

Browzar is a privacy oriented web browser which does not save browsing History, Cookies, Temp files, Passwords, Cache etc. It is suitable for cloud and banking applications. Once you have finished your work and closed the browser, it cleans up automatically. [Get it here]

10. Wyzo Browser

Wyzo is usually referred as The Media Browser because it optimizes the online media experience of a user. It accelerates the web downloads and also allows a user to download torrents with a single click. It is totally compatible with all famous and common add-ons for Mozilla-based browsers. [Get it here]

11. SlimBrowser

SlimBrowser is fast, secure and powerful. It is one of the best web browsers for Windows in terms of time saving. It has an intelligent form filler which lightens the burden of completing web forms. It has a built-in ad filter and pop-up killer that eliminates annoying advertisements very efficiently. [Get it here]

12. Avant Browser

Avant web browser has a very user-friendly interface and it is totally free with no advertisements and malwares. It is a multi-processing and light weight web browser. It has a built-in download accelerator and video sniffer which lets you detect and download the videos from the current webpage. It has features ranging from private browsing to a flash animation filter. [Get it here]

13. Superbird

Superbird is a free, fast and alternative option to Google Chrome. It’s main emphasis is on speed, data security and stability. This light weight web browser with auto update functions comes with a variety of plugins. It has improved privacy as no data is sent to Google or other third parties. [Get it here]

14. Comodo IceDragon Browser

Comodo IceDragon is a secure, fast and feature-rich browser based on Firefox. It comes integrated with Comodo security. It scans webpages for malwares. Comodo IceDragon is fully compatible with all Firefox plugins. [Get it here]

15. Lunascape Browser

Lunascape is a free web browser which harnesses 3 popular rendering engines (Trident, Gecko, WebKit). By clicking on the smart engine-switch button, one can easily switch the rendering engine from any of the ones included for any webpage displayed on the browser. This browser is ideal for technology geeks and web developers. [Get it here]

16. TORCH Browser

TORCH browser is free like the other ones featured here. By using TORCH browser, you can easily search and share photos, videos and links in just one click and can download your favorite videos in a single click by embedded video grabber. Great for those of you who want to keep and share your memories. [Get it here]

17. Midori Browser

Midori is a free, fast and lightweight web browser which is specially designed for users concerned about their privacy. By default, it allows users to search through DuckDuckGo. It uses GTK+2 interface and WebKit rendering engine. [Get it here]

18. Maxthon Browser

Maxthon is a cloud browser with a unique dual-core design, which uses both Trident and Webkit. It offers cloud services, modes that make it easier for reading and features to make web browsing more convenient . It even provides easy screen grabbing and has great security and privacy functions. [Get it here]

19. Yandex.Browser

Yandex.Browser is a very simple and user-friendly browser which is based on the Chromium technology platform. It loads the webpages very quickly and provides plenty of space for viewing webpages. It provides a cloud-based safe browsing technology with Kaspersky Lab security solution. [Get it here]

20. QupZilla Browser

QupZilla is a cross-platform web browser built on the QtWebKit engine. Some of its important features include history and feeds, unified library for bookmarks, integrated ad blocker, cookie manager, speed dial and private browsing mode. [Get it here]

Related posts:

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  3. 16 Alternative Ways to Download Online Videos
  4. How to Test Website Across Multiple Browsers and Devices Synchronously








Free Badges PSDs & Vector Sets For Your Future Projects

hongkiat.com - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 17:01

Badges can be quite handy for a designer as it can be incorporated into various items such as banners, landing pages and other things. It can even be used as your watermark. Instead of spending a lot of time creating your own badges, there are actually plenty of badges already available for your use.

In this showcase, I’ve collected over 20 free badges designs in PSD and AI files. All of them are fully customizable to meet your design project needs. Whether you’re looking for something with a more vintage feel or maybe something a bit more simple, browse through and have a look for yourself.

Free Retro Badges by Imagearea

Vintage Labels/Insignias by Raul Taciu

Design club label design by Freepik

Flat Badges V.01 (Ai, Eps) by blugraphic

Branding Bundle from Cruzine Design

8 Simple Badge Templates from Cruzine Design

5 Photo Neat Retro Badges (PSD) by blugraphic

Badge Templates (Psd) by blugraphic

Free Vintage Effects & Templates Toolkit by Hortensiu Milstein

4 Free Ornamental Headers v.2 by Cruzine Design

Premium Quality Badges (Vector / Psd) by blugraphic

3 Vector Badge Templates by inu mocca

Hand Drawn Badges By Callie

4 Retro Sign Templates by Cruzine Design

Premium Vintage Label by eightonesix

Free badge collection by Scredeck

Vintage Badge by eightonesix

Free vintage typography label art by Freepik

Retro label design art by Freepik

Vector stickers collection by Freepik

Related posts:

  1. 20 More Free Multi-Purpose Vector Icon Sets for Designers
  2. Ultimate Infographic Resource Kits For Designers
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  4. 60 Free GUI Sets for Your Next Project








5 Hyperlapse Alternatives For Android

hongkiat.com - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 12:01

After Instagram released Hyperlapse, iPhone users are having a ball of a time making creative videos. As for the rest of us with Android phones, we are still waiting for the day when Instagram would make the app available for our phones and for Google to change their API. Sigh. But why continue to wait in frustration when you can join in and create your own timelapse videos with these alternatives?

Of course as alternatives, these apps do not have the same technology as Hyperlapse such as its stabilization feature and the option to import older videos. These apps however will let you create timelapse videos without having to invest in expensive and sophisticated equipment. Interestingly some have even existed before Hyperlapse. Whether you knew that or not, you can now consider these 5 Android apps to create timelapse videos.

1. Lapse It

If you like the ability to control settings when shooting your timelapse video, Lapse It is for you. You can start setting things up like the white balance, ISO, resolution etc. when you first open the app. As this is a timelapse app, you would also want to set the app to capture a picture during each interval. The lower the number of intervals, the more shots are captured which in turn shows more changes.

When you are done recording, simply press the stop button. You can also pause the recording to record another scene. The app will then let you edit your timelapse, such as by applying effects and trimming the video length. It even allows you to add music, something the Hyperlapse app lacks. The best thing about Lapse It is that it lets you render your timelapse specifically for upload onto Instagram.

[Get it here]

2. Framelapse

Framelapse was once known as Droid Timelapse. Like Lapse It, the app allows you to control your settings before recording. The app even comes with a Wizard mode which helps you set the frame interval. This is helpful for when you are not sure what to set it to, but are sure about the video duration. But of course, to not be limited by your shooting length, set your video duration to infinite.

There are some caveats to using Framelapse. First, the app does not allow you to share your timelapse to Instagram. It does however produce a high quality MP4 video that you can play on any device. Secondly when using the app, make sure there are no distractions by turning off notifications and putting your phone on airplane mode.

[Get it here]

3. Hyper Timelapse

Compared to Lapse It and Framelapse, Hyper Timelapse offers the least control in settings. It is however the closest you can get to the directness of the Hyperlapse app. The app allows you to shoot your video first and set the speed of your timelapse later. You can set the speed of the frame rate from 2x to 8x with the latter being the fastest.

Being a relatively new app, Hyper Timelapse needs to first straighten a few bumps. It cuts your timelapse in half and it really needs more settings. The good thing about it though is that the app lets you share your timelapse across several social media platforms including Instagram and messaging apps.

[Get it here]

4. TimeLapse

Next in simplicity is TimeLapse. Upon opening the app, you can set the most basic of settings namely image interval, resolution, and the limit of photos captured. Once done, you can begin recording. You can even change the scene by pausing the recording and shifting your focus elsewhere. To finish up, simply press stop and the encode button to render it for sharing.

A fault with TimeLapse is that it doesn’t save your previous videos. Every time you take a new video, the app will inform you that it has to delete your previous ones. This can be a good thing though if you rather not have timelapse videos taking up your phone space. Like Hyper Timelapse, this app allows you to share your timelapse across various social media and messaging apps.

[Get it here]

5. Overlapse

Overlapse is very different from the rest in that you have to manually tap the capture button to shoot your images. This is however its greatest strength as it allows you to take timelapse videos over a period of days, months, or even years. It comes with an overlay feature that shows a shot of the previous photo. The overlay helps to guide your next shot like Vine’s ghost mode.

This feature also makes the app ideal for creating stop motion videos. Taking into consideration that you might be creating several videos at any one time, Overlapse saves your images under different projects. To share your timelapse, you would need to first sign up for an Overlapse account. The app lets you share across different channels but sadly, at the time of writing, Instagram is not one of the them.

[Get it here]

Are there any other apps that we’ve missed out? Please let us know in the comments below!

Related posts:

  1. 20 Best Hyperlapse Videos So Far
  2. 5 Android Screen Recording Apps To Record your Screen Activity
  3. 10 Free Android Video Editors To Help Perfect Your Videos On-The-Go
  4. Combine Internet Connections To Stream Videos Faster With VideoBee [Android]








Annoying Web Design Trends That You Should Avoid (Or Do In Moderation)

hongkiat.com - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 17:01

People love to follow trends. And there is nothing bad about that. In fact, in order to be “cool” following trends is a must. This is very important for web designers in order to keep up with the growing competition. But when it comes to following trends, web designers sometimes tend to overthink or overlook some of the most important details, especially for usability.

In this post, we’re going to try and point out some of the more “annoying” things of current design trends. When you understand what makes them annoying, you’ll be able to avoid doing them for yourself.

Infinite Scroll With Footer Content

Infinite loading is cool and in many cases people actually love the smoothness of it. Thanks to Pinterest, infinite scrolling is still hot up till now. The problem happens when a website scrolls automatically and it has footer content that gets pushed to the bottom all the time.

Here’s the perfect example of infinite scroll and footer combo.

DVF.com uses infinite scrolling and they have their footer, well, at the bottom. I tried scrolling to catch up with the footer but the page just kept on extending.

This is not just annoying, this is a usability issue that needs to be addressed. Something that Facebook managed to solve quite easily. But when the infinite scroll was introduced to the site, they also had this problem.


(Image Source: Zachstronaut.com)

Parallax Websites Galore

Parallax websites are okay, and to a degree they are really pleasing to the eyes. These kind of websites used to be gems because of how rare and perfect they appeared to the regular user. Right now though it’s everywhere. The beauty in rarity is now dead, and even web design blogs are shunning parallax tutorials nowadays.

Also, there is a slight misconception about parallax websites. There are people who think that a single page website that scrolls is considered a parallax site. This is wrong. Parallax websites display depth by having layers while regular single page websites don’t have the illusion of depth.

Now, parallax websites are great for introducing a product or a service, something that doesn’t need lots of text but a fancy presentation would be of help. The problem happens when parallax websites are used to replace regular websites with lots of content. Instead of separating them on different pages, they are all loaded up in one single page.

Another issue with the overuse and misuse of parallax websites, including regular single page websites, is when they get to the point where you need to scroll down for several seconds just to reach the bottom.

First, it can be tricky with browsing history. Secondly, these websites tend to be heavy in terms of loading the files. Which users with slow internet connection would definitely despise and most likely never visit again. But overall, when done right, parallax websites is still capable of captivating people’s heart.

Floating Elements

There seem to be a big fascination when it comes to floating elements in a website. Floating menu bars that stick around even after the users have scrolled down to the footer, floating social media icons that clearly begs to be clicked, and floating sidebar advertisements. This happens both on desktop and mobile websites.

Here are a couple of reasons why this is bad:

  • People who have small screens can’t fully see the content available.
  • It’s obnoxious.
  • Design-wise, they don’t look good at all.

Take a look at the screenshot above. It’s my website and I hate 2 things about it. First is whenever I log in on my dashboard and visit the front page, the admin bar is always there to cover the links and search bar. Second is the menu bar itself that scrolls with the page. You can probably understand my frustration with this.

Here’s an example for mobile applications. It floats and when it’s closed, it appears after a few seconds (not minutes).

Popups and Splash Pages

Splash pages are ancient. Popups are evil. But those that don’t provide value are basically the heralds of darkness (see screenshot below). And when I say no value, I mean popups or splash pages that exist solely to display a third-party advertisement or to solicit for Facebook likes and Twitter followers.

Splash pages are a thing of history and they should not be used at all. I’m not even sure why Forbes still clings to such a crude practice.

Popups are a necessary evil. And they work well. But people hate them. So, why do people keep on falling for these popups? Simple: it’s because they offer value. A free ebook, a discount coupon, great information that they will get when they sign up for a newsletter, and similar things.

My point here is as much as possible, try to avoid popups. However, if you can’t avoid popups because you have a product to promote, at least have the decency to offer something in return for people’s time (or email address).

Distracting Background

In every art form, beginners and experts alike love to tell everyone to always keep it simple, stupid! And rightly so, if the purpose of the website you are designing is to provide information, then the focus should be on the content, not on the background.

Here is an example of a website with a great fullscreen background.

If you head to the website itself, you will see that it employs several large images as a background. And it’s fantastically applied! The reason? The images used here are not placed there as a mere background, but as a means to direct people’s attention, to give visual cues on what really matters.

What do you think about the website shown above. Do you think it’s distracting?

Conclusion

It’s either by necessity or passion that the things above are born, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It only becomes “wrong” when they are used excessively or of without thought for the users.

Remember, designing is all about making people comfortable and to help them use your website with great ease, not to make them feel frustrated.

Related posts:

  1. Web Design: 20 Hottest Trends To Watch Out For in 2013
  2. Enabling Infinite Scroll for WordPress Theme [WordPress Tip]
  3. 14 Beautiful (Premium) Parallax Scrolling WordPress Themes
  4. Web Design: 20 Hottest Trends To Watch Out For In 2014








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