Skip directly to content

Feed aggregator

15 Pocket-Sized Gift Ideas To Help Spread The Christmas Love

hongkiat.com - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 14:01

You probably have checked out most of the gift ideas available out there, but if you’re not into bulky gifts that could burn a hole in your pocket, then check out the pocket-sized options we have for you in this post. You’ll find cute small cameras, creative USB flash drive designs, portable battery backups, an activity tracker, a slim wallet and even a manual-powered espresso machine.

Note: Some of these items may be out of stock due to the shopping season but do check back often at the product page for replenished stock. Prices may also vary from what is depicted here because again, it’s the shopping season, synonymous with discounts!

For more gift ideas, check out our holiday shopping guide.

p.entry-image { margin-bottom:40px; }

The Polaroid Cube. This Polaroid Cube camera is one of the smallest in the world. Despite its small size, the Cube captures 1080 HD video and high-quality pictures and you can charge it via USB. Moreover, it has a magnet which lets you mount it on any metal surface. [Get it here – $99.99]

Projecto. The Projecto is a small, cute projector that shows photos from your Instagram stream. Think of it as an instant photo album for your Instagram snaps. Perfect for an evening of catching up with family and friends. [Get it here – $34.98]

The Portable Smartphone Photo Printer. Don’t like projecting photos? Then, print out your Christmas photos on the spot. With this portable small printer you can print photos right from your smartphone. [Get it here - $159.95]

Cartoon Christmas Tree Shape 64 GB USB Flash Drive. Gets you in the mood, doesn’t it? [Get it here – $26.85]

Narrative Clip Camera. This clip camera is small and light, and absolutely comfortable to wear as an accessory. With the camera automatically taking a photo every 30 seconds, you can focus on celebrating, not shooting! [Get it here – $229]

Q Bracelet. This device contains a hidden charging connector for both Android and iOS devices. The company Q Designs claims that the bracelet’s internal battery will deliver a charge of up to 60% for your device. It’s available in silver, matte black and gold. [Get it here – $98]

Goccia: The World’s Smallest Activity Tracker. The festivities should not be a reason to stop tracking your health. Goccia is small, stylish and simple activity-tracking device which knows whether you are sleeping, walking, hiking, or doing any other activity. It weighs only 2 lbs and can last for 14 days with a 25-min charge. [Get it here – $105]

Minipresso. It does not matter where you’re going on your next vacation, with this portable espresso machine, you can get your daily dose of espresso whether you are on an island or out hiking. It has models that work with capsules or ground coffee. Just push to extract your coffee! [Get it here – Pre-order at $39]

Wrapster. Say goodbye to tangled up headphone cords with Wrapster, a cool device to tame your cables and cords. It’s a simple alternative to wireless options and bulkier cord tamers, so give it a go. [Get it here – $1.99]

Moto Hint. This is a sleek wireless earbud that will never let you look down on the phone for notifications. Paired with Moto X, Moto Hint can be used to deliver voice commands to your smartphone. [Get it here – $149.99]

Bolt. Bolt is a small portable battery backup cum wall charger that will fit in your pocket. As you charge your devices, you can also charge Bolt at the same time. It is available in three colors, dark grey, red and blue. [Get it here – $59.99]

Slide Wallet. This is cool, stylish and eco-friendly minimalistic wallet that is slim enough to store in your back pocket. It can hold up to 8 cards. [Get it here – $38]

iSpoon Kitchen Stylus. This is one for those who like to read recipes off the iPad while cooking in the kitchen. On one side is a wooden spoon for you to stir your food, on the other, a working stylus to navigate through your recipes on the iPad. [Get it here – $7]

Message In A Bottle 4GB USB. This cool USB flash drive is made in the form of a bottle much like those sent out into sea by castaways. Message not included. [Get it here – $26]

Wood Paneled Power: A Handsome Backup Battery. This beautiful wooden backup battery can be used to charge 2 mobile devices at the same time. It’s the perfect Christmas gift for a couple or for a gadget fan who has a handful of gadgets keep charged up. [Get it here – $60]

Related posts:

  1. Gift Exchange Ideas: 25 (More) Gifts You Can Get Under $10
  2. 10 Christmas Gift Ideas For Paperphiles








5 End-of-Year Tax Tips for Freelancers

hongkiat.com - Fri, 12/19/2014 - 11:01

We’re not sure how it happened, but it’s already the end of the year. If you’re like most freelancers, you’ve probably avoided thinking about your taxes until now. Actually, you’d probably still like to avoid thinking about them. But just a little bit of effort now will make a world of difference come Tax Day.

Here’s a short and quick reminder of some of the things you should think about before the end of the year to prepare for tax season. And trust us when we say, some of them can’t wait until next year.

1. Get Organized Now

The most important thing you can do when it comes to your taxes is stay ahead of the game. Ideally, you’ve been using some sort of system for keeping track of invoices and expenses. If not, it’s time to start compiling all of those loose documents.

That bucket of receipts you’ve been keeping under your desk? Start digging through that thing to find any items you can write off.

Here’s a list of some common write-offs for freelancers:

  • Equipment
  • Software
  • Office supplies
  • Books, magazines, reference materials
  • Telephone and Internet expenses
  • Travel
  • Cab, subway, and bus fares
  • Business meals and entertainment
  • Office rent
  • Gas and electric
  • Legal and professional fees
  • Promotion
  • Memberships (professional organizations)
  • Messengers, private mail carriers, postage
  • Business insurance
  • Tax preparation
  • Business loan interest
  • Taxes and permits
  • Home office (see Tip #5)
2. Stay Organized

As a freelancer, it’s important to not only get your records organized, but to keep them organized into the future. According to CPA Jonathan Medows, freelancers are always at a high risk of audit. He suggests keeping detailed records of your income and expenses for at least six years (three years longer than what the IRS recommends).

“If you are audited, the government will insist on seeing receipts,” he says. “People think that having a credit card statement is enough, but it’s not. If you buy something from Amazon, the government wants to know that they are surge protectors for your office – not toys for your kids.”

3. Defer Income if You Need To

If you’re already worried about being able to pay taxes on this year’s income (you’ve been setting aside 25 percent, right?), you might consider waiting to send invoices on the work you’re doing right now.

Hold off until mid-December and you most likely won’t get paid until January, meaning that’s income you won’t have to pay taxes on until 2016, giving you a little more time to catch up on how much money you should have been putting away for taxes.

This strategy also works well if you find yourself right on the edge of jumping into a higher tax bracket. Of course, whether or not you adopt this strategy will depend on what precedent you’ve set in the past – whether you claim income when payment is received or when services are rendered. Switching now might raise a few flags – actually, it definitely will.

4. Grab More Deductions

Another great way to grab more deductions is to offload as much cash as you can before the end of the year. That scanner/copier you’ve been thinking about getting? That new Mac Pro? That RED Epic Dragon? Pull the trigger and get those expenses on your 2014 books.

There’s no reason to wait until January when the write-off won’t do you any good for another year.

5. The Home Office Deduction

If you use a dedicated area of your home for your business, you can deduct a portion of your living expenses as a “home office” deduction. The calculation is pretty simple.

Just figure out what percentage your office space is of the total square footage of your home, and then multiply that percentage by the cost of living in your home (mortgage interest, property taxes, utilities, maintenance, etc.). That high rent you’re paying is finally going to pay off.

Use these tips to get yourself in tip-top shape before the end of the year. Just a little bit of planning and organization is all it takes to keep your taxes from overwhelming you later on. Trust us, you’ll be thanking yourself later.

Editor’s note: This is a guest post contributed by Patrick Dodd, President of Blinksale, an invoicing app designed for the small business & freelancer in mind. He’s also an avid music guru, sports fan and surfer.

No related posts.








10 Christmas Gift Ideas For Paperphiles

hongkiat.com - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 16:01

These days, many people think of fancy, high-end and expensive smart gadgets when it comes to the perfect Christmas gift. It’s not wrong but if you prefer something out of the blue, unexpected or just downright different, how about going back to basics and getting your loved ones paper-based gifts instead.

I’d like to point out that I don’t mean gift cards or hand-made envelopes; there is much more in this category than you would think! There’s a whole world of paper-based gifts out there which I find very enjoyable. Plus, they are usually a lot cheaper than other gifts, and they offer a more personal touch as well – paper always feels like you put a lot of care in.

Here are some ideas which I think are great for Christmas, I hope you like them as much as I do (and if you feel like it, feel free to send me one any time, not just for Christmas!).

Typodarium

The Typodarium is a calendar for font aficionados but you don’t need to be an expert on font foundries to appreciate a new font each day. I had one of these in 2013 and I’m extremely sad I didn’t get one this year (I must grab one for 2015!).

(Image sources: slanted.de)

Moleskine

There are a number of notebooks out there but I thought I’d show you two of my favourites. Moleskine is of course a huge brand, they make all sorts of great notebooks and even has an iPad app. If someone in your life loves food / wine / travel / beer / books etc. you may want to take a look at the Passion Journals for a great present. If you’re looking for something more general, the plain Notebooks are a great choice.

(Image source: moleskine)

Field Notes

If you have something a bit more “indie” in mind, take a look at Field Notes. A three-pack of these 48-page plain notebooks go for $9.95. They offer all sorts of other merchandise, but my personal favourite is the “Archival Wooden Box” which is an awesome-looking storage place to store your paper notes.

(Image source: fieldnotebrands)

Constraints – A Deck For Web Designers

I saw this project first when it was launched on Kickstarter a while back. It survived and is now available for purchase on constraints.co. The premise of Contraints is design practice, bent on keeping your designer skills top-notch. Pick a card and follow the instructions, which could be along the lines of, for example, “no words on homepage”. Create a little thought experiment or whip out Photoshop and try to make a site that works with this constraint. The deck contains 52 cards to use as you see fit.

(Image source: constraints.co)

Munchkin

I’m a board game geek and there are just so many games you can play with cards – which have nothing to do with poker and other traditional French suite cards. Munchkin is a hilarious game for the whole family. Who doesn’t want to smite a monster with the “Boots of Butt-Kicking”, draw the Duck of Doom, or fight the horrid monster: The Insurance Salesman! You can buy about a billion add-ons for Munchkin, so you’ll be all set for a couple of Christmases if the receiver likes your gift!

(Image source: World Of Munchkin)

Dixit

Dixit is a hugely popular game because it is so simple. Small children can join adults and get in on the fun. All you need is a group of friends who aren’t afraid to throw their imagination around and tell stories, with the help of beautiful cards of course. I mean, seriously, look at it! You can buy Dixit at Toys"R"Us, Amazon or any board game store.

(Image source: Toys"R"Us)

(Image source: Amazon)

Stickers

Bear with me here, if you are a developer, you have to love your work to stay in the game. Not only that, you might even feel like declaring your love, with the help of stickers like these. jQuery, Sass, Grunt, Handlebars and more, you name it, DevSwag‘s got it. If you need some custom stickers, or non-developer oriented ones, take a look at Sticker Mule. They craft stickers for DevSwag and can do a lot more!

(Image source: devswag)

(Image source: Sticker Mule)

Posters

Posters are great because they can be found in such great variety you’ll find something for anyone. You can grab movie posters here for Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America, LOTR and other popular movies or steer towards art, sports, cars or anything in between – you’ll be able to find a fitting poster for it for sure!

(Image source: allposters.com)

(Image source: allposters.com)

Sketch Pads

Back to useful gifts now, how about a specific sketch pad for your web designer/coder friends? UI Stencils has a lot of material from browser to iPad or Windows 8 pads, they’re all pretty useful and comparatively cheap and practical. Rain Creative Lab provides some great customizable web notebooks which make great gifts for fellow developers out there.

(Image sources: uistencils)

Make Your Own Paper

Are you or your friend obsessed with paper? You can actually make your own at home! You’ll need a few things, but you could grab them all at Arnold Grummer’s. This hobby may be a bit more expensive than you think. If you’re serious about it, the press alone can cost around $350. However, there are some paper-making kits that start around $70 that may be a better starting point for your first try.

If you know of a unique paper-based gift please do let us know in the comments!

Related posts:

  1. Gift Exchange Ideas: 25 (More) Gifts You Can Get Under $10








The Internet Junkie’s 10-Step Guide to Awesomeness

hongkiat.com - Thu, 12/18/2014 - 11:01

“Awesome” is a rather overused word nowadays – especially on the World Wide Web. As long as an article, photo, video, GIF, or what-have-you pops out in some way, it automatically gets slapped with the A-word.

Whether that awesome “something” will be forgotten after a few days, or even a few minutes, doesn’t matter – because that’s just how the Internet works. Then again, being awesome on the Internet doesn’t mean relegating yourself to "flash-in-the-pan" status.

With 2015 just around the corner, maybe it’s about time you take a look at what steps you can take to be an awesome netizen.

To be consistently awesome, you need to:

1. Be A Creator, As Well As A Curator

Sharing stuff is great. Creating stuff to be shared is even better. If you have a creative side that you’ve always wanted to indulge, now’s the time to do it! After all, what better time than the new year, right?

Every moment you’re alive is the right time to indulge your passion in writing, painting, designing, etc. (Hey, you only have one life, after all.)

2. Share Only The Stuff You Genuinely Care About

Okay, so you’re a thousand percent positive that you have no creative inclinations whatsoever. That’s okay.You can still support the creative work of others by sharing these works on social media. Better yet, buy a piece from these creators, and let them know that their efforts are much appreciated.

Also, it helps plenty when you’re genuinely interested in the stuff you share on social media – rather than just sharing for the sake of gaining attention. After all, social media sites have enough “noise” as it is.

3. Reach Out To Other Online Creators

Creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Sure, you’re ultimately the best judge of your own work, but how will you know whether your work needs improvement if you don’t have another set of fresh, objective eyes to evaluate it?

You can contact a creator you’ve always admired via social media, and pick their brains regarding things that bother you about your work. Don’t feel intimidated about this; most creators are friendly and willing to answer questions. Just make sure your questions are politely phrased, and that they can’t be answered by a simple Google search.

4. Be An Activist, Not A Slacktivist

It’s one thing to share a post about impoverished children, and leave it at that. It’s another to share that same post, get out of your house, and hand out a crisp bill to an organization that helps impoverished children.

One of these serves the cause better, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out which. Make this the year that you take that action.

5. Defend The Cyberbullied

It’s no secret that trolls and other nasty people lurk in forums, comments sections, and other online places where open discussions are encouraged. These people often make it difficult – or even dangerous – for newbies to even think about venturing into their waters.

If you see them verbally tearing someone apart for no good reason, don’t just sit back and watch from the sidelines. Stand up for whoever’s getting bullied, and let it be known that the Internet isn’t as nasty a place as overly vocal trolls often make it out to be.

6. Avoid Trolling Comments Sections

On the flip side, you might be a troll yourself. (If not, that’s good; you can skip this section.) In that case, I only have three words for you: Stop. Right. Now.

No matter how bad your day gets, or what’s going on in your life at the moment, don’t take it out on someone else. Take it out on a video game boss, take it out on an old piece of paper, but don’t take it out on a virtual, faceless stranger who doesn’t know any better. For all you know, that stranger could be going through a bad day too, just like you.

7. Dish Out Negative Criticism Only When Necessary

As much as we all wish otherwise, not every creator on the Internet has an abundant amount of talent flowing through their fingertips. If you see a creative work that is… less than satisfactory, let the creator know (in a nice way).

Also, be sure to explain why you think the work isn’t up to par. You don’t want to come across as a juvenile hater who leaves comments like “U SUCK” without an explanation.

8. Be More Creative With Your “Witticisms”

Internet memes might get old, but not human creativity. Get into the habit of thinking through every comment you make before repurposing yet another “arrow to the knee” joke. Fresh, creative, and well-thought out posts are always the most memorable.

9. Learn Something About Everything

To be clear, you don’t need to be an expert on everything under the sun. Even if you have a monstrously high IQ, there’s only so much knowledge you can store in your head at any one time, in a single lifetime.

However, it does help to know the basics of things people often talk about. (Hey, being the go-to person for interesting, obscure trivia can only score you points in social events.)

10. Be Your Own Brand Of Awesome!

I’ll probably risk contradicting everything I’ve said so far, but I’ll say this anyway: Don’t let anyone else tell you how to be awesome. The things I listed here are guidelines, not absolute rules. You’re the only one who knows your strengths, your weaknesses, and how you can harness these strengths and weaknesses to become awesome on your own terms.

It’s also good to realize that there’s more to life than the Internet. Even if you’re an Internet junkie, it won’t do to just coop yourself up at home and stay in front of the computer all day. Explore the world outside, take down notes, and post what you’ve learned on the Internet for the betterment of everyone – just like the awesome netizens who came before you.

No related posts.








40 YouTube Channels You Can Spend Hours On

hongkiat.com - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 16:01

The Internet has gifted us with many things. Along with e-mail and other things, we have also received YouTube. There’s a variety of things that you can find on YouTube and plenty of tricks to viewing them as well. From how-to’s to comedy channels that can get a chuckle or two out of you, it’s really hard to not just get caught up in what it offers.

YouTube is such an integral part of our lives now (especially mine, which I discovered as I was writing this) and to prove that, I’ve asked members of the hongkiat.com team what their favourite YouTube channels are. Here’s what they have to say.

Fahad’s picks YRF Songs

Who doesn’t love some music on YouTube? Fahad gets his Bollywood fix from this particular channel.

Photonicinduction

What better way to learn than through videos… Not a surprise that Fahad declares this as one of his most favourite channels.

Mismag 822 – The Card Trick Teacher

If you want to learn some neat card tricks, this is the right channel. Fahad says, "I usually impress my mates by learning card tricks from this channel and then doing the tricks live in front of them".

Nancy’s picks Evelina

Evelina is a fashion vlogger. Nancy’s not just a fan of Evelina’s outfits but her personality and DIY videos as well.

Sonya Esman

Sonya has this channel as well as a Russian channel that has even more subscribers. What Nancy appreciates about this personality is her "honesty" and the insight into her own life.

Agus’s Picks HowToBasic

Definitely not your regular how-to channel. Proceed with an open mind.

FungBrosComedy

Sure, this may be geared more towards Asians. It doesn’t make the videos any less funnier.

Good Mythical Morning

This is Rhett and Link’s morning talk show. Yes, on YouTube. No more boring morning programs!

Singyin’s Picks Konapun

True story: Singyin actually stumbled upon her daughter watching a video from this channel one day. She sat down with her daughter and watched pretty much the rest of the videos in the channel. Side note: She has also managed to drag me along on the journey.

Postmodern Jukebox

In Singyin’s own words, "Timber. That’s all you need to know." Just press play and you’ll understand what she means…

jwcfree

The channel of Sungha Jung. Do you really need a reason for this?

JuNCurryAhn

Another talented young Youtuber. Singyin thinks that he’s a“fresh breather from vocal covers.”

Screen Junkies

Because there’s nothing like a good honest trailer going around on your social media feed.

How It Should Have Ended

Let’s be real. We all know that this channel does the better endings…

Fine Bros

Definitely a choice all of us can agree with. For Singyin, it’s the kids (who are adorable and so mature for their age) that get her. I myself find the Elders and Teens plenty entertaining.

Daniel’s Picks Crash Course

As the name suggests, this channel features "crash course" videos on a variety of subjects from Science to Literature. It’s helmed by the Green brothers (who are basically the pioneers of the online video community).

Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell

The animation and epic voice over makes this a fun watch. Oh and of course, learning stuff is important.

Issa’s Picks Namiko Chen

No matter where we come from, everyone speaks the language of food. This is a scrumptious channel that shows you easy Japanese recipes that you can try out for yourself.

MOVIECLIPS Trailers

For all the people who go to the movies and actually watch the trailers (guilty as charged), this is for you. After all, trailers build up the excitement.

Mental Floss

If you’re interested like Issa in general knowledge and interesting facts, then you’ll love Mental Floss. Fun fact: Hank Green has a hand in this too.

National Geographic

National Geographic is a big name and this channel is filled with great big stuff to keep you occupied for hours too. It’s okay though cause it’s good for you.

Rean’s Picks Smarter Everyday

As someone who loves to learn things, “There’s just too much to learn” in Rean’s opinion. Smarter Everyday helps him get in the learning a lot faster.

VideoFromSpace

There are some things that stick with us from a young age. For Rean, it’s stargazing. “From a young age I’ve always loved stargazing and I remember watching Cosmos by Carl Sagan and it’s always stuck with me.”

VSauce

Unconventional questions is what VSauce plays on and this is the most interesting thing about the channel.

Kurt Hugo Schneider

As someone who’s also a subscriber of this channel, I can relate to Rean’s choice. A lot of awesome collaborations here.

Lindsey Stirling

Rean’s favorite violinist and if you’re a keen YouTube wanderer, probably yours too.

Leanne’s Picks The Ming Thing

Interesting back story about this video: Leanne referenced this particular video in her job application.

BoutoKm

According to Leanne, this is how she exercises. Hey, whatever makes for a fun workout, right?

Eat Your Kimchi

Being a new K-pop fan, she googled all things SHINee and stumbled upon this channel via the website. It’s okay Leanne, we’ve all been down that road before.

Anna Akana

A combination of geek and sass, Anna is a force to be reckoned with. In Leanne’s own words, "I just get her".

IISuperwomanII

After binging on Superwoman’s videos, Leanne came to this conclusion: "Her parents" are the best thing about them.

My Picks Nerdy Nummies

Food and geeky things are my 2 favorite things. So a combination of that basically leads me to this drool-worthy channel. Alright, it was actually my little sister who told me.

AVByte

More geeky things and musicals. You can’t see it but I sung that line.

ERB

Epic Rap Battles. From Oprah vs Ellen to Dumbledore vs Gandalf, it’ll make you want to brush up on your own rhymes.

Andrew Huang

I stumbled upon him when I typed in unicorns and have been a fangirl ever since. Note: He does amazing song challenges.

Gunnarolla

His songs are catchy and they deal with interesting topics like Comic Sans *cue groans*. And yes, this Andrew and Andrew Huang are buddies.

MysteryGuitarMan

Music, stop motion and special effects! You got to admit that he’s got style too.

Convos With My 2-Year-Old

Conversations with kids are funny enough but what happens when you get a grown man to play the role of the kid? Well, this is it!

ASAP Science

Because knowledge and cool drawings will make you lose track of time. It’s not rocket science but this will happen.

Pogo

The mixes that Pogo does are just beautifully crafted and make for great ambient music.

No related posts.








Top 8 Features Of WordPress 4.1 Twenty Fifteen Theme (Reviewed)

hongkiat.com - Wed, 12/17/2014 - 11:01

By the time you are reading this WordPress 4.1 is near release (or has been) and it will carry a new default theme, Twenty Fifteen. I actually like this theme so much that I changed my personal website to it as soon as the first preview came out.

In this article I want to show you my favorite features of Twenty Fifteen and why I think it is a worthy addition to WordPress. To me Twenty Fifteen is a “back to basics” theme in a good way. It showcases all the great features of WordPress without adding bloat, or features which really should be added by plugins, not themes. Themes are meant to style functionality not to add them; in this sense Twenty Fifteen is spot on.

1. Overall Design

I was not a fan of the overly-busy Twenty Fourteen. In comparison the new default theme is a breath of fresh air. I enjoy the very light default color scheme – it provides enough contrast but doesn’t overwhelm. It is easy on the eyes and well-placed featured images provide splashes of color where it is needed. There is plenty of white space and the text is easily readable.

Noto Serif and Noto Sans are great choices for fonts. They remain legible at small sizes and they are nice and elegant on desktop-sized screens.

2. Content Focus

The design and structure of the theme focus heavily on content. More importantly, they focus on quality content. My feeling with Twenty Fourteen was that it tried to do too much, the focus was on quantity, not quality.

The sidebar does give you great opportunities to cross-promote content but the main section gets the most attention. This is ideal for bloggers or casual writers.

If you have an online store this theme is of course not for you, but that was never the intention. Keep in mind that default themes are for showcasing default functionality, not to cater to all plugins out there.

3. Social Icon Menu

The social icons you see on the screenshot above have been added using the regular old menu editor. Just add the URLs of your social services along with the names and the theme will automagically convert them to the correct icons.

One issue I have here is that this functionality isn’t terribly obvious. I’ve been working with WordPress for quite some time so to me this came naturally but for casual users or newcomers this feature may be completely overlooked.

4. Static Sidebar

The sidebar scrolls with the content while there is content but remains stationary when content runs out in the sidebar. This means that you never see an empty strip next to your content.

This allows authors to put more thought into their sidebars and in general it shortens unnecessarily long asides. It forces you to think about what is important and what isn’t and this will result in a more organized, better streamlined site.

5. Featured Image Flexibility

The featured image doesn’t give you a huge number of options but the way it is presented offers enough flexibility to make your site look good with a large variety of images. You can go with no featured image, a high featured image, or perhaps just a small strip. Depending on the image used you can make the site look upbeat and fun (like in the first example image), or more polished and elegant, like below:

6. Customization

You won’t find a powerhouse of options at your disposal like you might with a premium theme, but Twenty Fifteen gives you just enough control to make it your own. The two most important controls allow you to specify the background of the sidebar and the content sections. This provides a surprising amount of variation:

7. Responsiveness

Responsiveness in Twenty Fifteen is beautifully executed. The menu is neatly tucked away behind a button (which is easy enough to do) and when it is displayed it remains easy to browse and will get you where you need to be (which isn’t easy to do at all). Even child pages are intuitive to access – kudos to the theme team on this one!

Images, galleries and post meta sections all look great and readability is maintained on every page. Reading a website running Twenty Fifteen on a mobile phone is a genuine pleasure.

8. Overall Harmony

This one is probably the most subjective one on the list. To me the theme looks like a harmonious whole which radiates simplicity. The theme looks “properly put together”, it seems well thought out and deliberate. It’s obvious that a lot of thought was put into the direction both visually and feature-wise and I think it really shows in the end result.

Conclusion

As with any other theme there will be people who love it and people who will hate it. I think the key element to think about is: is this theme right for me?

Twenty Fifteen is for those of us who enjoy writing on a minimal interface. It won’t appeal to everyone and you may disagree with some of my points above. Thats perfectly ok, the point is that Twenty Fifteen is right for a lot of people. If you think another theme does the job better, let us know in the comments!

No related posts.








How To De-Tech Your Family For The Holidays

hongkiat.com - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 16:01

It’s that time of the year where the family comes together around the table to savour each other’s company and the sumptuous meal in front of them. Then… a notification sound comes in – there goes someone checking on Facebook or a messaging app again. Sigh, so much for some quality family time.

via picography.co

If this bugs you more than you’d like to admit, and your pleas for an undisturbed Christmas dinner has fallen on deaf ears, you might have already resigned yourself to an evening of everyone staring at their screens at the dinner table. But why submit when you can take control?

Here’s a guide detailing the 5 ways you can get your gathering of peeps to unplug for Christmas, use it well to earn back your Christmas family time of yore and good cheer and don’t feel sorry for using this – they chose to be reminded of a tech-free holiday the hard way.

1. Silent Mode: On

Let’s start small, and give everyone the benefit of the doubt, that they are capable of controlling their own urges to check their phones every 5 minutes. As the people start to file into your humble abode, request for them to silence their phones and devices. It would be ideal for them to turn off all notifications but we don’t want them to be unreachable in case of a real emergency, right?

You might need to schedule in pockets of time where they can check on their phones for urgent emails (pffft) or messages because this isn’t an actual detoxing exercise and you really don’t want a sudden meltdown to occur in the middle of your dinner party.

2. Change The Wi-Fi Password

If, however, you are dealing with family members, there is a 99.999% chance that your pleas to put their devices on silent will be completely ignored. Furthermore, if you have chronic gamers who want to keep crushing candy and feeding virtual farm animals, putting their phones on silent don’t help.

It’s simple really; if you can’t win them, you cut the connection – your Wi-Fi connection to be exact. It’s as simple as changing the password, or completely turning off the router (desperate measures and all that). Then, it is off to feigning temporary (or selective) deafness to the popular question "What is your Wi-Fi password?" for the rest of the Christmas holiday.

This will force some of them to go back to their data plan, and for those who obsessively count MBs and monitor their data plans, they know this is a battle they are going to lose.

3. Confiscate All Gadgets

The next stage would be to ask everyone to surrender their gadgets, only don’t do this straight after asking them to silence their phones or when they are asking for the password. You don’t want them to catch on to your plan of world domination, I mean, de-teching for the main course so that everyone gets some IRL face time while savouring the roast turkey you spent 5 hours in the kitchen preparing.

That said, at the start of meal time is a good time to confiscate their electronics. Just pass around a box or a bag for your guests to place their stuff in. By doing this, you would also take care of announcing that "Dinner Is Served!" and thus effectively ensure that no screen shall be sitting at the table.

Score!

4. Hide All Gaming Consoles

You might have taken care of the grown ups and some of the teenagers but you have one more age group left: kids. With their parents’ tablets and phones out of their reach, kids WILL get bored. And when their attention is not held captive by an alluring white screen, they will go searching for one, which will make your gaming consoles or your kids’ unfortunate victims.

Remember the goal you are doing all this de-teching for – it applies to the kids too.

So make sure to gather all the PS3s, PSPs, GameBoys, Nintendo DS’es, Wii’s and even laptops, and lock them up in a room. With their charging cables. Unplug any other non-portable gadgets as a safety measure. You can include the TV but don’t plunge your house in darkness while you’re at it.

5. Penalties!

Here comes the fun part. At some point, someone is going to be a bit jittery after going without their technology for so long. And it’s not even close to gift-time yet. They may attempt to sneak their phones out off the box or bag where you left it (because we are all a bit childish when it comes to our dependence on tech).

Before that could happen though, announce to everyone that the first one to reach for their gadget, or found to be using it, would have to perform a penalty. Here’s where you need to do a bit of homework. The penalties should be bad or embarrassing enough to deter most people from caving in to temptation. Making it entertaining enough for the resilient would be a bonus.

It could be doing the dishes and the kitchen clean up after everyone’s done, or doing a dance that you promise will make its way into Youtube, or you can make them down some yucky mix-up you concocted in the kitchen. The sky (and your grasp of ethics) is the limit.

Remember to have a list because just because someone reached for their gadget first, doesn’t mean everyone else is off the hook. You need them to last at least until it is time to open their gifts.

Let It Go

Once your gifts have been opened, it is time to relax the no-gadgets rule and let everyone find their sanity once again. Bear in mind, that for people who are always with their electronics 24/7, this is very tough for them to experience, and before you laugh off their inadequacies, remember that Christmas is about cheer and togetherness, so don’t be too rigid and overdo this to the point of ruining a Christmas gathering.

Happy de-teching for the holidays, people!

No related posts.








20 Minimalistic & Professional Business Card Designs

hongkiat.com - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 14:01

Even in this day and age, business cards are important. They can serve many purposes: Reminders, a way to leave notes, portfolio showcases, a way to offer discounts – the possibilities are endless. Following in the footsteps of Nancy Young’s great article about business card designs, I thought I’d show you the results of my search while preparing my own business card.

Here, I’ve put together a selection of 20 minimal business cards. Whether they focus on graphics or typography, these business cards will hopefully give you an idea of what you want to achieve with your own business cards.

Squared Eye By Able Design

Visual Jams By James Graves

Letterpress Business Card By Brad O’Sullivan

Seiichi O’s Personal Busines Card By Heterobrain

Design & Direction By Adam Vella

Michael James By Joey Rabbitt

Miner & Miner By Mike Kasperski

Mid Century Modern Business Cards By Seabornpress

Brown Kraft Business Cards From Rock Design

SOE By Therese Ottem

Monkey Square By Muhammad Ali Effendy

Pop Grub By Hype & Slippers

Hot Popsicle By Rachel Kalagher

Self Promotion By Ross Sweetmore

Sifter Logo & Letterpress Business Cards By Graham Smith

Troupe By Flag&Mountains

Personal Identity By Paolo Pettigiani

Personal Business Card by Solveiga Pakštaitė

Wellness Reform School By Maria Larios

Triad By Macrochromatic

No related posts.








10 Most Adorable Kids That Rocked Social Media In 2014

hongkiat.com - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 16:01

There’s not really a set formula on how to make videos that go viral although it is clear to see that those that do, tug on heartstrings, one way or another. And who can better manipulate your emotions than kids — charming, adorable and pretty talented kids, to be exact.

The Internet swooned over these 10 kids who burned up social media in 2014 with their funny antics and cute charm. Some of them have been at this for a while, while others became accidental stars overnight but the most surprising fact is that they are all under the age of 10. Warning: Extreme cuteness ahead. Proceed with caution.

Noah Ritter – The “Apparently” Kid

In August of 2014, this incredibly precocious kid became famous after a video of him being interviewed by WNEP-TV was uploaded onto their YouTube channel. Aptly titled, “Apparently” This Kid Is Awesome, Steals The Show During Interview, the video shows him being interviewed at a carnival about a ride. Apparently, he enjoyed his time there as well as his appearance on live television. He’s been invited to be on ‘The Ellen Show’ a few times and he even got to do his very own commercial.

Zhang Junhao – The Talent Show Kid

His name may not sound familiar but chances are that you’ve probably seen a particular video going around on the web of this little guy grooving. Merely 3 years old, Zhang Junhao wanted to "spread a bit of happiness" and auditioned for a Chinese talent show (spoiler alert: he made it to the next round). A YouTube account called DramaFever then uploaded his initial audition which quickly went viral for his impressive dancing skills and ability to adapt to different styles. It currently has 56 million views.

Yebin – The Kid Who LOVES Cookies

Baby Yebin, as she is known, garnered a following of admirers after her Korean mom posted a particular video that went viral. It showcases an attempt by her mother to teach her about "stranger danger". You can’t help but laugh at the little girl’s antics. Ye Bin’s YouTube channel currently has close to 45,000 subscribers (at the time of writing) and the video that made her famous has gotten over 500,000 views.

Mateo – The Kid Who Just Wants Cupcakes

In March, a video surfaced online of Mateo Beltran, a spunky 3-year old whom was on a mission. He wanted some cupcakes instead of dinner (because lunch was enough, apparently) but after being refused them by mom, he went behind her back to get some from Grandma. What ensues from here is this charming little guy’s attempt to reason with his mother, Linda.

Since the video, he’s appeared on The Ellen Show (and got some cupcakes, of course). His parents have since started selling t-shirts with his famous phrase for his college fund and part of the proceeds also go towards the Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary.

Zony & Yony – The Kids Who Dance

Zony & Yony are twin sisters from Taipei, Taiwan and they went viral thanks to their YouTube dance videos. In particular, the video of them dancing to K-Pop group Crayon Pop’s Bar Bar Bar has gotten more than 6 million views. Their fame got them flown in from Taipei to be on ‘The Ellen Show’ in May, which brought them even more fame… and a trip to Disneyland!

They’ve been invited back on the Ellen Show several times to perform. Most recently, they showcased their dancing skills to Taylor Swift’s "Shake it off".

Breanna Youn – The Kid Too Cute To Resist

Breanna’s mom has been posting videos of her on Vine where she has a steady following of 311.7K followers. However, it was only via the Instagram account that was set up that she really rose to fame. Her Instagram followers has since grown to a cool 1.2 million — pretty big numbers for an ordinary 5 year old girl. The videos showcase her and her daily antics and they’re pretty adorable to watch. Originally based in Korea, after a holiday in Saudi Arabia, paid for by wealthy fans, they decided to stay there .


James Hashimoto – The Action Movie Kid

Forget Schwarzenegger and Van Damme, there’s a new action hero in town. James aka Action Movie Kid quickly gathered fans on YouTube thanks to the awesome special effects skills of his father, Daniel Hashimoto. Daniel, an animator with Dreamworks, began posting videos of James’ adventures in April and since then the videos have raked in millions of views.

You can catch James in the new 2014 YouTube rewind video and word on the street is that we’ll see more of Action Movie Kid in the future.

Ty – The Kid Who Got Poked In The Heart

Like adults, even kids get into arguments sometimes. This video first uploaded to Facebook (and later on YouTube) by Tara Willmott. It features a group of 3 year olds, comprimising Ty and the Roberts’ sisters, arguing over the weather in Arkansas. Their interaction is adorable with lines like “You’re not real, I’m real” get thrown in. The video currently has more than 12 million views.

Sadie – The Kid Who Loves Her Brother

We all struggle with growing up but 5 year old Sadie seemed to have a bit more of a struggle with the fact that her 3 month old brother Carson would no longer be as young… or cute (I don’t blame her, he’s pretty adorable). Her uncle, Alex Miller, uploaded the video where Sadie refuses to accept the fact that her brother is going to have to grow up one day. Her outburst has since been viewed more than 30 million times.

Tre – The “Exasperating” Kid

Getting told that you’re getting another sibling is a big deal. You can tell just how much of a big deal it is for Tre when his mom told him that she was pregnant. This eloquent young man tried to explain to his mom why he didn’t take too kindly to this news.

Captured on video by his mom, Shanee, this video has made its way around the Internet has and has been viewed more than 2.5 million times. Like quite a few of the other kids, Tre was invited onto ‘The Ellen Show’ where both he and mom were treated to a special surprise.

No related posts.








How To Add Holiday Notices To Your WordPress Site

hongkiat.com - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 11:01

The festivities are upon us and what better way to spread the cheer than putting up a holiday-themed notice on your site? You might be going on vacation soon, you might want to greet your visitors with a special card, or you might just want to display a special message.

There are lots of WordPress Christmas plugins out there we’ve already looked at, but how about doing it on your own? Do you have a bit of time for a short WordPress project over the holidays? Follow along to learn how to add some Christmas notices to your website via text widget, sticky bar and a counter widget.

Creating A Text Widget

There’s no rocket science here, sorry! You can add a quick message and display it in a widget area by going to Appearance > Widgets, dragging a text widget into a sidebar and entering your message in the box. You can use HTML in there, so you could spice things up with an image if you like.

I agree, this is a bit boring but it could be just the right amount of festiveness to add. Many more serious sites such as e-Commerce sites or personal portfolios would be impacted negatively by dancing Santas but people still appreciate a little holiday cheer nonetheless.

Sticky Bar

How about a stick bar, similar to the Quick Notice plugin but one we coded ourselves? We can also make it stick to the top of the page on scroll easily.

The first step is creating a plugin, let me show you how:

In your plugins directory, create a new folder named “my-sticky-bar”. Inside that folder create a file named “my-sticky-bar.php” and paste the following content into it:

<?php /** * Plugin Name: My Sticky Bar * Plugin URI: http://yourwebsite.com * Description: My Christmas Project - creating a sticky bar * Version: 1.0.0 * Author: Your Name */

Once you save this file you should be able to activate the plugin via the Plugins section in the WordPress admin. It doesn’t do anything yet but we’ll soon fix that!

We need to do two things: use PHP and HTML to output our message and use CSS to style it.

In the “my-sticky-bar.php” file use the following code to add the necessary HTML in the correct place:

add_action( 'wp_footer', 'my_sticky_bar_display' ); function my_sticky_bar_display() { echo "<div id='my-sticky-bar'>Merry Christmas Everyone!</div>"; }

The first line is a WordPress hook, it tells WordPress to execute the “my_sticky_bar_display” function just before the end of the body. It’s fine to load the HTML for our bar at the end of the page. It isn’t that important and can be repositioned via CSS.

At this stage you should be able to see your message at the bottom of your site, without any formatting. To add formatting we’ll have to attach a stylesheet by enqueueing it.

In the same file:

add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'my_sticky_bar_styles' ); function my_sticky_bar_styles() { wp_enqueue_style( 'my-sticky-bar', plugin_dir_url( __FILE__ ) . '/my-sticky-bar.css'); }

Enqueueing is a way of adding scripts and styles modularly to WordPress. No need to understand all that though — if you paste this into the plugin file and create the “my-sticky-bar.css” file you can start adding your styles. Let’s do that now.

#my-sticky-bar { position: absolute; top: 0px; width: 100%; text-align: center; color: #fff; background: #810400; padding: 11px 0; text-transform: uppercase; letter-spacing: 2px; }

Best of all, if you replace “absolute” with “fixed” the message will stick to the top of the window and will follow users around when they scroll.

This method is great because you have full control over everything! For example, how about keeping this plugin active all the time but only showing the message on the 25th of December? No problem, just modify the my_sticky_bar_display function slightly.

add_action( 'wp_footer', 'my_sticky_bar_display' ); function my_sticky_bar_display() { if( date( 'd' ) == 25 && date( 'm' ) == 12 ) { echo "<div id='my-sticky-bar'>Merry Christmas Everyone!</div>"; } } Counter Widget

We’ve already added some simple text into our text widget, but what about creating a countdown for our users?

The first step is to let WordPress know that we want to create a custom widget. We need to define a function and hook it to widgets_init. Create a new plugin, just like before, and in the main file, paste the following:

add_action( 'widgets_init', 'christmas_countdown_widget' ); function christmas_countdown_widget() { register_widget( 'Christmas_Countdown_Widget' ); }

We will need to create a class named Christmas_Countdown_Widget with a few functions within it. Let’s start by creating a constructor function. Paste everything below into the main plugin file as well.

class Christmas_Countdown_Widget extends WP_Widget { function __construct() { parent::__construct( 'christmas_countdown_widget', 'Christmas Countdown Widget', array( 'description' => 'A simple Christmas countdown' ) ); } }

The constructor function contains some important information that is used to build the widget. It contains the id of the widget (christmas_countdown_widget), the name which will apear in the backend UI (Christmas Countdown Widget) and the description which is also shown.

We can add a function named form() which can be used to output some settings for the widget. We won’t be using it here, but keep it in mind for future projects. I’ll just add an empty function for now.

We will use the widget() function to output the widget to the front end. Let’s add a simple countdown now. Paste the following code inside the class, below the __construct() function. Note that I’m also adding the empty form() function now.

function form() {} function widget() { echo "Time to Christmas: " . human_time_diff( time(), mktime( 0, 0, 0, 12, 25, date( 'Y' ) ) ); }

We use the human_time_diff() function offered by WordPress to figure out the time between today and Christmas day. This will display something like: “Time to Christmas: 5 days”.

This is pretty basic, but you can use any sort of images, text, styles and Javascript to make this look awesome. The final and complete code for our widget is as follows:

add_action( 'widgets_init', 'christmas_countdown_widget' ); function christmas_countdown_widget() { register_widget( 'Christmas_Countdown_Widget' ); } class Christmas_Countdown_Widget extends WP_Widget { function __construct() { parent::__construct( 'christmas_countdown_widget', 'Christmas Countdown Widget', array( 'description' => 'A simple Christmas countdown' ) ); } function form() {} function widget() { echo "Time to Christmas: " . human_time_diff( time(), mktime( 0, 0, 0, 12, 25, date( 'Y' ) ) ); } } Happy Holidays!

I hope I’ve given you a few ideas to add some Christmas cheer to your website! If you don’t celebrate Christmas you can always use these methods and apply them to your own culture.

Eating and celebrating all throughout the holidays? Be sure to read our article on Christmas WordPress Plugins for tons of great ideas and quick access to great holiday stuff!

No related posts.








20 Gifts Web Developers Would Love To Get

hongkiat.com - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 16:01

Christmas and 2015 are just around the corner and the holiday season is almost here! It’s the time to detach ourselves from the hustle and bustle of work, cut down on the stress, and most importantly have a great time with family and friends, exchanging gifts and cheerful banter.

If you are having a tough time thinking of a gift for a web developer you know, then this list is for you. I have here a list of things that would be great for a web developer like me although, unlike me, some lucky web developer out there might actually get one of these gifts from Santa.

Due to this being the gift-giving season and all, there is a possibility that these items may be out of stock by the time you get to them but fret not, do check back at the site regularly in case they have restocked it, then quickly order one!

DeviceLab

DeviceLab is a responsive development stand. It helps developers test responsive sites all at once by bringing multiple devices together in a single place. [Get it here – $149]

Ghost Stand

Ghost Stand is a stand that is specially designed for the MacBook. Many web developers work with their MacBook while using an external keyboard and mouse. The stand will elevate MacBook which will allow them to look at the screen comfortably. This polycarbonate transparent stand makes it appear as if the MacBook is floating on thin air. [Get it here – $34.99]

WD My Passport Wireless

There isn’t anything scarier than losing months’ worth of precious data. That’s why having a backup is the first commandment in a web developer’s way of life. Backing up is now so easy, you can do it on your external hard drive wirelessly. One of the best available in the market is the 1 TB WD My Passport Wireless. [Get it here – $169.50]

Gunnars Computer Glasses

Web developer often have to stare at computer screen for long hours, which on the long run can cause eye strain, visual stress and headaches. Gunnar is an eyeglass with patented lens technology designed to minimize these effects. Not only do the glasses look cool, it’s a health hazard to not wear them! [Get it here – $58.65-83.92 depending on design]

A DIY Sketch Bundle

Some web developers prefer to draw raw sketches of their websites or apps before writing the code and turning them into a functioning product. Here’s what I suggest you get them, it comprises of a responsive sketch pad, stencil kits for drawing user interfaces, and a geeky delete eraser:

Docking Stations

If you know someone who has a messy desk, or people keep telling them that they do, these docking stations can help them reclaim some space from the clutter. They can fit phones, tablets, cables, wallets and keys into these stations, and if you’re lucky, maybe he or she will take the hint and be more organized.

Website Deck of Cards

Tired of mapping out a site’s infrastructure in front a screen? These UX cards can be of some assistance. It is a collection of 53 cards carrying common UIs of websites or apps. These cards are an attractive presentation tool for web developers to showcase their designs to their clients. [Get it here – $19]

Clear Notes

Think sticky-notes are fun? Try clear ones. Stick one on top of a page and you can scribble on it to your heart’s content (without ruining the text). It is also reusable and eco-friendly since it is made of recyclable material. [Get it here – $9.42]

Ergotron Workfit

Want to stand while you do work? The Egotron Workfit is a standing workstation accessory. It raises your laptop so that you can stand more while working to improve your health. [Get it here – $299.95]

QlockTwo Touch

A unique table clock the tells you time with written words instead of numbers. If it is 7.15, the clock will show “fifteen past seven”. This table clock is available in 5 different colors and 12 different languages. A truly stylish accesory for the working desk. [Get it here – $690]

CSS is Awesome Poster

Have a web developer friend who is a fan of posters? This CSS is Awesome poster comes in 3 color variants: white, black, orange or you can choose your own color combination. It also comes in 3 different sizes: 5×7, 8×10, 11×14 inches. [Get it here – $9-20 depending on size]

Web Design and Development Books

If you know a web developer who loves to read books, grab them some of these recommended titles to help them upgrade their skills a bit:

  • Design for Hackers: Reverse Engineering Beauty by David Kadavy [Get it here – $26.20]
  • Neuro Web Design: What Makes Them Click? by Susan Weinschenk [Get it here – $21.13]
  • Responsive Typography: Using Type Well on the Web by Jason Pamental [Get it here – $24.99]

Opena Case

This iPhone case will not only protect your iPhone, but you can also use it to open bottles. It’s strong yet functional, a good gift for web developers who are also party-goers. [Get it here – $10]

Dolce Gusto Coffee Maker

Many web developers love, no, need coffee to help them stay awake when trying to finalize a project, or for a debugging exercise. This cool-looking coffee maker is the perfect gift to help them grab a quick cup, whenever they need it. [Get it here – $140]

Hand Turbine Charger

Perfect for times of a blackout or when you just can’t find any place to quickly charge up your devices, this charger is powered by you. Just turn the turbine to generate power to charge your phones and tablets. Great for a workout, and for travelers who can’t be without their devices. [Get it here – $79.53]

Ziiro Wrist Watch

A classy wrist watch by Ziiro. Honestly I can hardly tell what time this watch is showing, but I don’t really care. Just look at it! [Get it here – $221.87]

Beats Fujira Special Edition

I always put my headphones on while working even if I am not listening to anything – it helps me to focus on my work more. Enhanced acoustics and a comfort fit for long hours of musical tunes, this is the perfect accessory to get some last minute work done fast. [Get it here – $199.95]

Batman Money Clip

If you are a fan of The Dark Knight, then this is a must-have. This tiny Batman batarang is a magnetic clip that holds your money snugly. It makes it easier to pull money out from your tight pockets. [Get it here – $39.99]

Turret

This is a toy that will "defend" your desk from any intruders. If anyone is near your desk Turret will raise the alarm with audio warnings such as “Target acquired”, “There you are” and “I see you”. Turret is one of the characters from the Portal video game. [Get it here – $43.37]

Online Course Subscriptions

Many web developers update their skills through online courses. If you want to gift one, you can try Lynda.com, where you can register a course subscription as a gift, or give them a coupon which they can use to register themselves later. Other good online subscriptions are Tuts+ and TreeHouse. [Prices may vary]

No related posts.








5 Apps To Shop From Home For The Holidays (Reviewed)

hongkiat.com - Fri, 12/12/2014 - 11:01

December is here which means the obligatory soul-searching and gift-finding marathon has begun. For the latter, there are plenty of gift ideas available on this site and on many others, but that is no reason for you to actually shop til you drop. There are plenty of apps out there to help you shop smarter this Christmas holidays.

We have here 5 apps that can help you have better control over your shopping tendencies, monitor your spending, track your online purchases, find discounts as well as browse and find what you need (and want) more efficiently. Now you don’t even have to leave the house to do your shopping (yay for technology, especially if you are in the US because these apps work best there).

1. Wanelo Shopping

If you love shopping, you’ll want to try out Wanelo Shopping. It’s basically a combination of social media and shopping – think Pinterest, but for shopaholics. With Wanelo, you can follow your favorite stores as well as your favorite Fashionistas (if they’re on the app, of course). It has an interface that is easy to navigate through on your mobile, and a fun color scheme which can really brighten up the shopping mood. Wanelo is available on the Web, Android, and iOS services.

Platforms: iOS | Android | Website

What I Liked

Category Browsing

There are plenty of different categories to choose from such as “Trending”, “Home” and “Newly Added” just to name a few.

They even got a” Holidays” and “Browse by Style” category, which can be real helpful.

Take for instance, “Browse by Style”. There are plenty of subcategories that you can experiment with for instance fantasy, minimalist, soft grunge and more.

Tinder-like Swipe

If you don’t want to go through every item like you’re digging through a bargain bin, you can use this feature.

Swiping right lets you choose what items you like, left, what you don’t like.

What you do like will then end up in the “Quick save” section of your profile.

Follow Stores & Personalities

Want to keep up with what is coming to your favorite stores?

You don’t have to visit the store every single day, just use the “follow” feature to stay updated with the latest.

As a plus, you can also know what other fashionistas are currently raving about and jump onto the latest trends ahead of the crowd.

What I didn’t like

Automatic push notifications. I don’t know about you but the push notifications, to me, are frequent and they get annoying after a while. If you are like me and prefer to be left alone to browse at your own sweet time, you can turn this feature off.

2. Coupon Sherpa

A sucker for coupons? Well, then Coupon Sherpa is going to be your best friend. It started out as an iPhone app back in 2009, providing shopaholics with the mobile version of money-saving coupons. All you need to do is show the mobile coupon with your phone or print it out if you want to use the deals. If you’re shopping via the website then you can use the codes for more savings. The Coupon Sherpa app is available for Android, Apple and you can even access the deals via the site.

Platforms: iOS | Android | Website

What I Liked

Organized Tabs And Layouts

The layout of the app works really well and with tabs like “Hot deals” and “In-store” that you can choose from.

I found it useful for quick and easy navigation. The system itself works well too as I could easily spot the brands and deals that I would be most interested in.

Huge Retailer Variety

There’s a great selection of brands to choose from like Banana Republic and H&M.

To top it off, it’s not just select brands but departmental stores and factory outlets that give out these coupon deals too.

Location-Based Searches

If you’re looking to save money within your area, this feature will prove to be useful.

After enabling location services, you can see the best deals that are near your location with this feature.

You can even search via your zip code, if you don’t want to share your location data.

What I didn’t like

The Coupon Sherpa mascot. I’m just not loving the mascot design but other than that, I have no complaints.

3. Monefy – Money Manager

If you’re an impulse shopper, like myself, the holiday sales may feel like a bit of a curse especially if you are trying not to break your budget this year. Monefy is a budgeting app that can help. Generally used for everyday spending, Monefy can also be used to help you watch your Christmas shopping. Create a category specifically for Christmas, to keep tabs on whom or what you’ve been spending on.

Platform: Android – Free | Pro

What I Liked

Clear Chart Expenditure

Like other similar apps, you can use categories to determine what goes where in terms of your expenses.

However, for Monefy the use of icons and a chart make it easy to see at a glance and keep track of what and where your money is going month after month.

Monitoring Cash Or Card Spending

Under “accounts”, you can choose if you want to log in your expenses under Cash or Card.

The Card option is absolutely crucial for those who love shopping with credit cards – and who would like to outlive their credit card debts.

You never know when you might get carried away with purchase after purchase.

Security and Backup

Monefy comes with passcode protection, Dropbox syncing and the option of additional data backup.

When it comes to your finances, you can never be too careful.

What I Didn’t Like

Ads. If you want more categories, you will need to allow the ads to roll. There are a few other apps out there that lets you do this for free, so this was a bit of a letdown.

4. ShopAdvisor

ShopAdvisor is an app that can help and advise you whilst you’re out shopping for those holiday gifts. All you need to do is input the item that you’re looking for and it will search through different retailers and bring up available options for you. The results vary depending on how detailed your search is. The app is available on iOS, Android and as a website.

Platforms: iOS | Android | Website

What I Liked

Different Search Methods

You can speak, scan a product’s barcode or type out your search query to find what you’re looking for.

This is a great feature for quick general searches or if you’re just browsing through the store and want to know if you can get a better deal elsewhere.

Watchlist

This lets you keep up-to-date with a particular item. There are 2 types of alerts you can set for yourself: time alert and price alert.

The time alert reminds you at a preset time daily about the progress of the item.

The price alert only takes effect if the item goes under a certain price change that you’ve predetermined.

The “Refine” function. If you know what you want, the refine function will help you narrow down your choices according to manufacturer, material, style, size, length and color.

What I Didn’t Like

Navigation. Tabs help in general navigation but it gets a bit complicated when you’re looking for something like how to view it in map form. It’s all in the details. Also, the Android app looks amateurish compared to the iOS and Web version. Would have loved for their presence to be more consistent on all platforms.

5. Slice – Online Shopping Tracker

If you make a lot of online purchases, then this is the tracker for you. Slice helps you keep tabs on all your purchases. You can sign up via social media (Google+, Yahoo and Facebook) or via your email address. No more wondering if your Christmas gift has been shipped yet or not. On top of that, it has a couple of fun features. You can access Slice online via the website or on your mobile phones using the app for iOS or Android.

Platforms: iOS | Android | Website

What I liked

“Discover” Function

Browsing for deals and bargains online is made easier thanks to this. It’s divided to “price drops” and “recalls”.

You can get your money’s worth and know if a product you’ve ordered online previously has been recalled.

“Slice And Dice” Function

It helps you keep track of your budget. You can see how much you’re spending in different categories in terms of online purchases.

It’s presented in the form of a colorful pie chart that’s easy to intrepret.

What I didn’t like

Some purchases were’t valid. Not sure if it is just me but when I used Slice, it actually showed me items that were merely promotional emails.

Related posts:

  1. Beautiful Weather Widgets For Your Android Home Screens
  2. Access Your Music Library Anywhere With OnAir Player
  3. Combine Internet Connections To Stream Videos Faster With VideoBee [Android]
  4. A Guide To Understanding Android App Permissions (& How To Manage Them)








2014 As Told By Hashtags

hongkiat.com - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 16:01

The year is coming to a close and as it is customary for many sites to run a recap of the biggest events to happen in 2014, we thought we’d do ours, with a bit of a difference. In this post we will be looking at 2014 as told by hashtags. These are the topics that were abuzz in Twitterverse throughout the year, you may have used some of these hashtags yourself.

The list is, of course, not exhaustive – we can only do so much in a single write up – but we hope to have captured the gist of how 2014 was with these hashtags. Here’s to a better year in 2015.

#Sochi2014

February 7-23, 2014: The 2014 Winter Olympics began on February 6 in Sochi, Russia and eventually became the most expensive Olympics in history, with expenses amounting to US$51 billion. Controversies and problems riddled the event as documented by athletes and members of the press under the hashtag #SochiProblems and #SochiStrays.

Meet the puppies of the Olympic ski jump venue. #SochiStrays pic.twitter.com/Pba8cwE7yf

— NYT Olympics (@SochiNYT) February 5, 2014

Hey @SochiProblems do I get a little credit for solving one? http://t.co/gyKi1gORXA pic.twitter.com/r7tXzBtE2z

— Steve Politi (@StevePoliti) February 7, 2014

Wolf in my hall?!? #SochiProblems #SochiFail http://t.co/ZMqZFC40jp

— Kate Hansen (@k8ertotz) February 20, 2014

#Oscars2014

March 3, 2014: This year, the Oscars broke Twitter with an epic selfie.

If only Bradley's arm was longer. Best photo ever. #oscars pic.twitter.com/C9U5NOtGap

— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 3, 2014

The host, Ellen DeGeneres, who made the selfie happened, also ordered pizza to be delivered, and tipped the pizza delivery guy quite generously. On the red carpet, Benedict Cumberbatch photobombed U2.

#Oscars PHOTO: Actor Benedict Cumberbatch jumps behind U2 (REUTERS/Mike Blake) pic.twitter.com/kXCei8UoGt

— ABS-CBN News Channel (@ANCALERTS) March 3, 2014

#MH370

March 8, 2014: Even as we are entering 2015, there is still no word about the fate of flight MH370, except that authorities are still searching for it. While bound for Beijing, China from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with more than 200 passengers and crew members on board, the plane disappeared without a trace, sparking an unprecedented massive multinational effort to find the plane.

These are MH370's crew boarding to Beijing last Saturday night. May they return home safely. #PrayForMH370 pic.twitter.com/YAJBYMQtb4

— Tunku Iman Mukhlis (@imanmukhlis) March 9, 2014

Dear flight #MH370, we here always waiting you. Please come back safely. #PrayForMH370

— azlym (@azlymination) March 9, 2014

#mh370 World's first 16 ctries' 13 warships, 300yds apart 20knts, searching every inch of big ocean till it's found pic.twitter.com/J97X15miUe

— Edphi (@sgify) March 11, 2014

#Ebola

March 25, 2014: It was announced that there was an outbreak of Ebola, a rare but deadly virus, with cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone. However, it was only on September 30 that #Ebola started trending when Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan was diagnosed in the United States. To date, 17, 145 cases have been reported and 6, 070 people have died of the disease, the largest Ebola epidemic so far.

Nigeria is Ebola-free: Here's what they did right http://t.co/J8wgnV1KDA pic.twitter.com/zksNDsN9rv

— TIME.com (@TIME) October 20, 2014

Ebola, The Global Perspective pic.twitter.com/3Vx7761aeu

— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) October 7, 2014

Obama hugs Nina Pham, nurse who is now Ebola-free http://t.co/LtJ2czH7Gp pic.twitter.com/yaqij3xpl6

— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 24, 2014

#BringBackOurGirls

April 15, 2014: 276 girls were kidnapped by terrorist group Boko Haram from their school in Chibok, Borno at Nigeria. The Twitter hashtag campaign was to pressure authorities into taking swift action against the terrorists and to bring the girls back to safety.

Yes #BringBackOurDaughters #BringBackOurGirls declared by @obyezeks and all people at Port Harcourt World Book Capital 2014.

— Ibrahim M. Abdullahi (@Abu_Aaid) April 23, 2014

First started by Ibrahim M. Abdullahi, the hashtag eventually snowballed as various individuals in Nigeria began to pick it up as a way to inform the world about the plight of the girls. Advocaters for the hashtag include Malala Yosafzai, Hilarry Clinton, and Michelle Obama.

Our prayers are with the missing Nigerian girls and their families. It's time to #BringBackOurGirls. -mo pic.twitter.com/glDKDotJRt

— The First Lady (@FLOTUS) May 7, 2014

#Malala stands in solidarity with Nigerians & people around the world calling for action to #BringBackOurGirls pic.twitter.com/VbnRePSDhd

— Malala Fund (@MalalaFund) May 3, 2014

#Sewol

April 16, 2014: En route from Incheon to Jeju, a South Korean ferry with 476 passengers, most school students, capsized and sunk. Only 174 were rescued. To date, 295 bodies have been recovered, with 7 still missing. The tragedy prompted national outcry for the captain of the ferry to be prosecuted, for deserting the ship. In November, it was reported that he escaped the death penalty and was sentenced to a 36-year sentence for willful negligence.

Many post-it messages displayed at the entrance of #Sewol memorial service area. #PrayForSouthKorea pic.twitter.com/jagySEVJn9

— Jaehwan Cho 조재환 (@hohocho) April 23, 2014

@SeoulSync: High school classroom of ferry victims.Incredibly heartbreaking. #Sewol #PrayForSouthKorea pic.twitter.com/5iWjPor2vl

— 시모나 ♥ (@Simo_4M) April 29, 2014

RT @/Pray4SouthKorea: "Student's last message stirs uproar over rescue operation" #PrayForSouthKorea #Sewol #Ferry pic.twitter.com/VnfYttx7ac

— JollyBee89 (@89_JollyBee) April 29, 2014

#YesAllWomen

May 23, 2014: Elliot Rodger, 22 killed 6 people and injured 13 others on a killing spree near University of California, Santa Barbara in Isla Vista, California. He also shot himself. His motivation for his actions came to light in a series of Youtube videos detailing his hatred for women for scorning him and for men who stood in his way. This prompted women to share their stories of harrassment, sexual assault, and fear online through the hashtag #YesAllWomen. It sparked further debate when men responded with the hashtag #NotAllMen.

#yesallwomen because apparently the clothes I wear is a more valid form of consent than the words I say

— Ryuk (@ghirah1m) May 26, 2014

#YesAllWomen know it's #NotAllMen but when you don't speak up about sexism and violence against women your silence condones it.

— Julie (@julieklippnich) May 26, 2014

RT: #YesAllWomen Because so many men say "#NotAllMen do that" but almost NEVER say, "Hey, man, don't do that!"

— Jean Johnson (@JeanJAuthor) May 26, 2014

#RIPMayaAngelou

May 28, 2014: Celebrated author and poet Maya Angelou passed away peacefully at home. Best known for her book "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings", Angelou was widely regarded as an outspoken and prominent voice for black people and women. Many took to Twitter to pay their respects.

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." #RIP Maya Angelou pic.twitter.com/Yb1F7TaLDn

— Arianna Huffington (@ariannahuff) May 28, 2014

"If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be." Maya Angelou – who was utterly amazing.

— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 28, 2014

"Nothing can dim the light which shines from within." —Maya Angelou pic.twitter.com/oR11k7rwxk

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 28, 2014

#WorldCup2014

June 12-July 13, 2014: The 20th FIFA World Cup in Brazil was another major sports event of the year, which saw riots and protests over corruption and ballooning costs for delayed construction of facilities. During the games, Twitter was abuzz with US goalkeeper Tim Howard’s amazing 16 saves, Luis Suarez’s bite, Brazil’s terrible performance on home soil and Germany meeting Argentina for the finals, both waiting to bring home the Cup.

Hey @luis16suarez. Next time you're hungry just grab a Snickers. #worldcup #luissuarez #EatASNICKERS pic.twitter.com/3RAO537HjW

— SNICKERS® (@SNICKERS) June 24, 2014

#ThingsTimHowardCouldSave pic.twitter.com/oIKOfWQO9K

— Rob Tornoe (@RobTornoe) July 8, 2014

"Stop! Stop he's already dead!" #WorldCup2014 #BrazilvsGermany pic.twitter.com/C0kG0pLPRb

— SimpsonsQOTD (@SimpsonsQOTD) July 8, 2014

In the end, the Germans emerged victorious as this celebratory selfie shows:

AHA! pic.twitter.com/iK5hbfm7Hr

— Lukas-Podolski.com (@Podolski10) July 13, 2014

#GazaUnderAttack

July 7, 2014: The relationship between Israel and Gaza has always been rocky but this year, conflict erupted when Israel retaliated with Operation Protective Edge when Hamas launched rockets at them. Since then, social networks has been rife with pictures of casualties and death, articles detailing the conflict, and declarations of solidarity on both sides.

This is in my area. I can't stop crying. I might die tonight #Gaza #GazaUnderAttack #ICC4Israel #AJAGAZA pic.twitter.com/DdDBIO7Q4B

— Guess What (@Farah_Gazan) July 28, 2014

Anti-Israeli and pro-Palestenian protests go global #GazaUnderAttack #ICC4Israel pic.twitter.com/hoSiRunV3j

— Layan.Baker (@LayanBaker) August 10, 2014

"1043 soul candles: 1000 #palestinians 43 #Israelis their death is our failure" peace demo in #TelAviv #Gaza #c4news pic.twitter.com/CcbplbXgdc

— Thom Walker (@thompwalker) July 26, 2014

#IceBucketChallenger

July 14, 2014: The Ice Bucket Challenge dominated social feeds for weeks as celebrity after celebrity dunked themselves with ice water in an effort to raise awareness for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), a disease which affects neuro cells in the brain and spinal cord, leading to paralysis. By the end of August, the challenge helped raise $100 million for research.



#MH17

July 17, 2014: It’s a tough year for Malaysia’s national carrier. Around 4 months after the MH370 tragedy, Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was reportedly shot down from the air while flying over the Ukraine-Russia border. All 283 passengers and 15 crew members on board perished in the crash. Retrieval of the passengers’ bodies were hampered by the conflict happening in the area but eventually the bodies were identified and sent home for burial. To date, 6 bodies remained unidentified.

"If it disappears, this is what it looks like": #MH17 passenger's chilling Facebook message http://t.co/dv710fAQ0a pic.twitter.com/HxmFMHnSnS

— Nikhil Bhardwaj (@nibhar) July 17, 2014

Now at the #Dutch embassy in #Kiev. Ukrainians showing their support. Thank you. #mh17 #ukraine pic.twitter.com/r5RfteE0So

— Christian Vermont (@FollowChris) July 17, 2014

1 plane still missing. 1 plane crashed. Very challenging and tough year for MAS, Malaysia and Malaysians

— Typical Malaysian (@TypicalMsian) July 17, 2014

#RIPRobinWilliams

August 11, 2014: The world grieved when news about Robin Williams, beloved actor and comedian, being found dead in his home hit the air. Widely known for his iconic movie roles and his comedic genius, tributes poured all over Twitter as fans paid their respect to Williams via the hashtag #RIPRobinWilliams. The tragic circumstances surrounding William’s death ignited talk and discussions about depression and suicide.

From a whole generation, thank you for this. #RIPRobinWilliams pic.twitter.com/wmaEHU5LsR

— Childhood Shows (@ChildhoodShows) August 12, 2014

I could not be more stunned by the loss of Robin Williams, mensch, great talent, acting partner, genuine soul.

— Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) August 11, 2014

He made us laugh. He made us cry. He ended up touching every element of the human spirit. #RIPRobinWilliams pic.twitter.com/kbEq7OwPOf

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 12, 2014

#Ferguson

August 12, 2014: Protests over the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9 is still ongoing today. Many on Twitter called for justice for Brown who died after being shot by police officer, Darren Wilson, on top of highlighting the issue of how black people are racially profiled and treated with suspicion automatically. #IfTheyGunnedMeDown carried photos of themselves and asked the question of how the media would use their photos to profile them.

If you died, which picture would the media use? #IfTheyGunnedMeDown #MikeBrown http://t.co/lJMM9a0owk pic.twitter.com/YYxIbPB0xA

— The Root (@TheRoot) August 11, 2014

#IfTheyGunnedMeDown they'd say i was a thug pic.twitter.com/JsLxga0uwv

— Dev (@DevinDinero) August 11, 2014

#IfTheyGunnedMeDown what young black girl would they see pic.twitter.com/NWx9MYfHOs

— Brie Nurse (@BriannaChevonne) August 11, 2014

Protests took a turn for the worse when the police force decided to confront the protestors instead of investigating Wilson. The media were not spared either when they were arrested for doing their job.

By the end of November, the verdict came in: Wilson walks. This prompted uproar and fueled more protests which now include the deaths of Tamir Rice and Eric Garner.

Boston Arts Academy students walk out in support of Mike Brown and Ferguson. #HandsUpDontShoot #HandsUpWalkout pic.twitter.com/N3i8XzyRie

— Chris Buttimer (@chrisbuttimer) December 1, 2014

"#Ferguson is Everywhere" sign at #EricGarner protest in Oakland pic.twitter.com/mS8DYZqNBQ

— Vivian Ho (@VivianHo) December 4, 2014

Over a hundred New York City #EricGarner protesters silently perform chokehold pose in protest. pic.twitter.com/zCkejmKlMa

— Patrick deHahn (@patrickdehahn) December 7, 2014

#Gamergate

August 16, 2014: Gamergate which was supposed to be a fight for ethics in videogames journalism turned into a blatant attack on women journalists in the industry. Indie game developer, Zoe Quinn became the first target when her ex-boyfriend accused her of cheating on him, in his blog post. This developed into the misconception that she was sleeping around to get coverage for her game. The incident escalated to the point of misogynistic attacks on prominent women in gaming and pop culture, including Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu causing them to leave their homes for safety.

I don't buy that you care about Journalism, though. You care about terrorizing women and queers until they leave your playground. #GamerGate

— winter lake (@xmaslemmings) August 30, 2014

Game journalist who just happens to also run a PR agency. No conflicts of interest here whatsoever! #GamerGate pic.twitter.com/bvOIgef9qL

— Daiz (@Daiz42) August 30, 2014

I'm Hayden, and I love video games. Stop painting me as something I'm not just to deflect criticism. #GamerGate

— JollyBitHero (@HyperBitHero) August 30, 2014

#RIPJoanRivers

September 4, 2014: After complications from a throat proccedure, comedienne Joan Rivers passed away at age 81. Known for her sharp tongue and humor, Rivers was never one to hold back on her comments or her self-deprecating jokes. Her death was another blow to the comedy industry.

"I succeeded by saying what everyone else is thinking." -Joan Rivers #RIPJoanRivers pic.twitter.com/1nKSVnENKD

— Elite Daily (@EliteDaily) September 4, 2014

RIP Joan Rivers. Being publicly told that my dress is hideous will never feel quite as awesome. You will be truly missed.

— Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) September 4, 2014

Only Joan Rivers would plan a funeral like this pic.twitter.com/4ZePQ6HuSI

— Trish! (@Trish_a_licious) September 5, 2014

#Indyref

September 18, 2014: Scotland votes on whether they become an independant state or not. Referring to the Scottish Independence Referendum, #Indyref generated further hashtags such as #BetterTogether, #ScotDecides, #VoteYes, #VoteNo (to name but a few) for the month leading up to and on polling day itself. In the end, Scotland ‘voted’ to stay.

"What's your favourite cheese, Alistair?" "Cheddar, which I buy using the pound. WHAT IS YOUR PLAN B FOR THE CURRENCY?" #scotdecides

— Wings Over Scotland (@WingsScotland) August 5, 2014

#IndyRef #meme #memes #voteyes there are no reasons for voting no pic.twitter.com/28EaCJ33gn

— Scott Graham (@suitedsorted) September 25, 2013

Some meme fun lol #indyref #NoThanks #VoteNo #Naw #BetterTogether #VoteNo2014 pic.twitter.com/2ppv0JYNpo

— Andrew Skinner (@Askinner2011) July 11, 2014

#Bendgate

September 19, 2014: The iPhone decided to grow big with the introduction of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus but within days of its launch, #iPhone6 was soon replaced by #Bendgate. Horror stories about the slim and large phone bending in pockets began to surface and the competition decided to jumped in on the action with their own jokes about bending and flexing phones.

Bend it like Beckham! #BendGate #iPhone6 @DavidBeckhamWeb pic.twitter.com/PHYzdEBYlQ

— Robin Israelson (@grapoluponape) September 24, 2014

#bendgate LEAKED: new iPhone Dali Edition! pic.twitter.com/0aOi9bteOX

— Phone Designer (@PhoneDesigner) September 24, 2014

Our phone doesn't bend, it flexes…on purpose. #bendgate pic.twitter.com/d1DudxDQgf

— LG USA Mobile (@LGUSAMobile) September 24, 2014

#UmbrellaRevolution

September 26, 2014: Starting out as #OccupyCentral, the protest was to call for China to give the people of Hong Kong their right to elect and vote for their own leader. University students and their peers took to the streets prompting news, discussions and footage of their conduct. The protests became violent when police shot rubber bullets and tear gas at the protestors prompting them to shield themselves with umbrellas, bringing about the #UmbrellaRevolution.

New day begins in Hong Kong with protesters still defying police. The Umbrella Revolution? http://t.co/6GGEn1UHPc pic.twitter.com/Quz9ppxjmh

— Philip P. Pan (@panphil) September 29, 2014

Relax, it's just my umbrella #UmbrellaRevolution #UmbrellaMovement #hongkong #OccupyHongKong @hkdemonow pic.twitter.com/282yQFjzVm

— leungfaye (@leungfaye) September 29, 2014

Watch Hong Kong police beat back protesters as students launch the latest round of demonstrations. http://t.co/8wn3DjnDr2 #OccupyHK

— Deborah Kan (@debkhk) December 1, 2014

No related posts.








How To Create Your Own WordPress Shortcodes

hongkiat.com - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 11:01

Shortcodes are a very powerful feature of WordPress. In essence a shortcode is a placeholder for some other content. A well-known shortcode is the built-in gallery shortcode. Just type into the WordPress editor and it will be replaced by a gallery of images taken from media uploaded to the post.

Although the media uploader gives you a nice interface to create a gallery, behind the scenes however, a shortcode is built, something like this: . Depending on your theme this may look different on your installation but one possible output would be something like this:

The HTML you would need to write to make this happen is pretty hefty; using the shortcode makes it considerably faster. If you need to do any repetitive tasks in the post editor or you need a specific HTML format which takes a while to mark up, you may find that your own shortcode can help.

In this article I’ll show you how shortcodes work and how you can create your own through some easy examples.

The Basics Of Shortcodes

As I mentioned, shortcodes essentially get replaced by some other content you define. Let’s take a look at the basics through an example. Let’s assume that throughout your post you want to reference the owner of the website.

"According to our company’s owner – Daniel Pataki – the main goal of the website is to generate lots of money. Daniel Pataki thinks that sharing is also important."

Instead of writing "Daniel Pataki" we could use a shortcode.

"According to our company’s owner – [owner] – the main goal of the website is to generate lots of money. [owner] thinks that sharing is also important."

This would allow us to change the name of the owner in one location, so in the event that the owner changes, all instances of our shortcode would use the new name.

Coding this is actually pretty simple. We’ll need to use the add_shortcode() function to tell WordPress about our shortcode, and then create our function to handle the output:

add_shortcode( 'owner', ‘owner_output' ); function owner_output() { return ‘Daniel Pataki'; }

Note that this code should be added to your theme’s functions.php file or your plugin’s files. If you are using a third party theme I recommend using a child theme.

The add_shortcode function requires 2 parameters: the first parameter is the shortcode WordPress tries to match — this is what you write between the square brackets — the second parameter is the name of the function which handles the output, which is completely up to us.

Inside our output handling function we need to return the output that we want to replace our shortcode.

Shortcode Attributes

It is important to be aware that our shortcodes can use attributes as well. For instance, if you want to make sure that the owner of the website is shown in bold, you can make this happen by creating a attribute named "bold" and when that is set to true, the appropriate HTML tags will be added.

add_shortcode( 'owner', ‘owner_output' ); function owner_output( $atts ) { $atts = shortcode_atts( array( ‘bold' => false ), $atts ); if( $atts[‘bold'] == true ) { return ‘<strong>Daniel Pataki</strong>'; } else { return ‘Daniel Pataki'; } }

This looks a lot more intimidating, but in reality it’s fairly straightforward. First of all, start out with visualizing how your shortcode would be used. When typing your shortcode you would do this:

[owner bold='true']

We now know that we’re going to have an attribute named "bold".

In our output handling function we use the shortcode_atts() function to parse out all the attributes and give some of them default values. We are making sure that if you don’t specify what the value of "bold" is, then it is set to false.

Next we just take a look at the value of the bold attribute. If it is true we return the name of the owner in a strong tag, otherwise we just return it as is.

Shortcode Content

Shortcode content is usually used when a bit of content needs to receive special HTML formatting. Let’s assume that your website uses fancy titles like this:

<h1><span class="fa fa-check"></span>My Title</h1>

This is a special title which is a level one heading and contains an icon as well. We could create this as a shortcode using the following formatting:

[title icon='check']My Title[/title]

Note that we’re using an opening shortcode tag which has some parameters and a closing shortcode tag. The content within (My Title) is passed to our output generating function as the second parameter.

add_shortcode( ‘title', ‘title_output' ); function title_output( $atts, $content ) { $atts = shortcode_atts( array( ‘icon' => ‘pencil' ), $atts ); return ‘<h1><span class="fa fa-' . $atts[‘icon'] . '">' . $content . ‘</h1>'; }

As you can see, the default icon is "pencil", unless it is defined in the shortcode. The content is passed as the second parameter and is used as the content inside the level one heading.

Practical Uses

There are a great number of uses for shortcodes from placing sliders and galleries into posts, to countdown timers and other dynamic content. These usually require some Javascript and CSS to work well. In these cases it is up to your imagination and your coding chops.

There are a number of things you can do to make your life easier (even as a non coder), such as to simplify the editing and writing process. Let’s say you write game reviews and in each one you need to enter a table like this:

<table> <tr> <th>Title</th> <th>Developer</th> <th>Genre</th> <th>Price</th> <th>Our Verdict</th> </tr> <tr> <td>Never Alone</td> <td>Upper One Games</td> <td>Indie Casual Adventure</td> <td>$14.99</td> <td>5/5</td> </tr> </table>

Even if you copy-paste this from article to article, it’s a fair amount of mucking about compared to the amount of content you are adding. You could use a simple shortcode to get the job done:

[final_table title="Never Alone" dev="Upper One Games" genre="Upper One Games" price="14.99" rating="5"]

Your shortcode output function would be responsible for adding the whole table and other bits of content around this information, something like this:

add_shortcode( ‘final_table', ‘final_table_output'); function final_table_output( $atts ) { return ‘ <table> <tr> <th>Title</th> <th>Developer</th> <th>Genre</th> <th>Price</th> <th>Our Verdict</th> </tr> <tr> <td>' . $atts[‘title'] . '</td> <td>' . $atts[‘dev'] . '</td> <td>' . $atts[‘genre'] . '</td> <td>$' . $atts[‘price'] . '</td> <td>5/' . $atts[‘rating'] . '</td> </tr> </table> '; } The Christmas Easter Egg

So you got this far and it’s nearing Christmas time so I thought I’d include a little easter egg. The Christmas Countdown Widget is a plugin which gives you the opportunity to add a Santa-themed Christmas countdown to your website as a sidebar widget or as a shortcode.

Install, activate and use [countdown] anywhere in your post content to add Mr. Clause to your post.

Conclusion

I think shortcodes are great because they allow non-coders to simplify their workflows and can increase in complexity as you expand your coding knowledge. I suggest trying to create a shortcode here and there as you have more complex needs.

For a list of all default shortcodes take a look at the Shortcode section in the WordPress codex. For more information take a look at the Codex, and you may also want to bookmark the Shortcode Generator which can save you a few keystrokes when creating your generator functions.

No related posts.








Designing For Christmas: The Ultimate Resource Pile You Need

hongkiat.com - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 16:01

Christmas is right around the corner. For designers and other creatives, Christmas is not just a season of giving and an opportunity to spend time with relatives and friends, but also a great chance for fun holiday design projects. If you’re having a hard time searching for various Christmas resources to spice up your holiday designs, look no further as we’ve done the work for you.

In this Christmas bundle, you’ll find plenty of free Christmas-themed fonts, greeting cards, wallpapers, icons, labels and badges to make your graphic and printing designs look festive and stunning.

All of the goodies presented here you can download free of charge. Just click the link, go to the primary source and download what you want.

p.entry-image { margin-bottom:40px; } Christmas Wallpapers

To get your holiday mood going, why not switch to a new desktop wallpaper that gives off a festive vibe? From Santa’s sleigh to Christmas wreaths, these can help put a smile on your face when you turn your computer on.

Winter Dolls

Xmas Roller Coaster by Carla Genovesio

Christmas wreath by dj2oon

Grumpy Cat Christmas

Little Christmas by tigz

Silver ball by joencurt

Christmas cookies by miroha

Christmas lantern by miroha

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2015 wallpaper

Christmas Sweets

Christmas lights by miroha

Christmas by nix44

Turquoise Globes

Santa Claus

Christmas and New Year by PimpYourScreen

Cute Christmas Cat

Fireworks In The Sky

Christmas and New Year by PimpYourScreen

Christmas Tree

Red Christmas Globes

Christmas Fonts

Here are free fonts that would be perfect for those Christmas themed designs you might be working on. These fonts are elegant, creatively inclined and festive enough for you to wish “Merry Christmas” to your loved ones.

PWChristmasfont by Peax Webdesign

DJB Holly Berry Wonderland font by Darcy Baldwin Fonts

One Starry Night font by Brittney Murphy Design

Christmas Time FREE Font by Lukasz KuIakowski

Mountains Of Christmas by Tart Workshop

Santa’s Sleigh font by HypoTypo

DK Clair De Lune font by David Kerkhoff

Berty Script by Jonathan S. Harris

Janda Sparkle and Shine by Kimberly Geswein

MTF Dear Santa font by Miss Tiina

Frosty Font by Font-a-licious

Yellowtail by Astigmatic

Sofia by Latinotype

Oleo Script font by soytutype

KR Snowflake 2 Font by Kats Fun Fonts

DJB Angel Baby font by Darcy Baldwin Fonts

Southpaw by Tyler Finck

Parker Font (Free) by James Lafuente

SUNN – Free Handwriting Font by Gatis Vilaks and krisjanis mezulis

Santas Big Secret BB Font by Blambot Comic Fonts

Christmas Icon Sets

These fresh holiday icon sets would be handy in adding some Christmas cheer into your designs. Have fun decorating your website, greeting cards, images, and other design-related elements with these icons.

Christmas Icons by Adina Neculae

Christmas Icons Set by CreAtive Web Themes

Happy Holidays by Assaf shalev

Freebie Flat Holiday Icons by Cat Lo

50 Free Christmas Icons 2014 by Ess Kay

Flat Christmas Icon Set (PSD) by Psdblast

100 Free Merry Christmas & Happy New Year Icons 2014 by Ess Kay

Free Holiday Icons by Jory Raphael

Christmas Icon Set by Melanie Grote

Holiday Icon Set by Jon McClure

Free Christmas Icons by Sam Jones

Free flat Christmas pack by Emanuel Serbanoiu

Free Flat Christmas Icons – 4 Styles by icons8.com

200 Free Snowflakes Icons by Freepik.com

100 Christmas Vector Icons by Freepik.com

Xmas icon set by Dmitriy Miroliubov

20 Christmas Icons by CreativeCrunk

Thin Vector Christmas Icons by Medialoot

Christmas Flat Icon by madefordesigners

Christmas Flat Icons by Fabio Di Corleto

Christmas Cards

Looking for something extra special this year? Congratulate your friends and clients with these smashing Christmas ecards and printable cards. All these cards are customizable, so you may add your own text on them. They are available in AI and EPS formats.

Vintage minimalist Christmas card by Freepik

Christmas Background Card by Graphicdome.com

Christmas card with light bulbs vector by Freepik

Elegant Christmas card with Santa hat by Freepik

Decorative Christmas Card with Ribbon & Candy by The Vector Art

Elegant red Christmas card by Freepik

Snowy Christmas card by Freepik

Christmas card with red ribbon by Freepik

CMYK Black and white Christmas card by Freepik

CMYK Christmas greetings by Freepik

Retro Christmas Flyer by Digital Space

Free Printable Christmas Card by Sophisticate Design

Christmas Greeting Card Set – Freebie by isoarts

Ugly Sweater Holiday Card and Gift Tags by Love vs. Design

Christmas card with gifts vector by Freepik

Christmas card with Santa and chimney by Freepik

Green Merry Christmas card message by Vector Open Stock

Christmas ribbon label card by Vector Open Stock

Christmas reindeer card abstract background by Vector Open Stock

Santa penguin snowman Christmas card by Vector Open Stock

Christmas Labels and Badges

With these Christmas labels and badges, you can turn any image into a holiday greeting card. Here, you’ll see badges in the form of snowflakes, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year greetings and other festive things.

Free Icons, Badges & Lettering For Xmas & New Year (Vector & PSD) by free goodies for designers

Merry Christmas ribbons and labels set by Vector Open Stock

Christmas badge vector by Freepik

Classic style Christmas badges by Freepik

Christmas label vector by Freepik

Decorative Christmas Banner on Blue Background by CGvector

Vintage Christmas badges by Freepik

Calligraphic borders collection by Freepik

Retro style Christmas labels by Freepik

Christmas Set – Labels, Emblems and Other Decorative Elements by GraphicLoads

Vintage merry Christmas label by Freepik

Retro style graphic resources for Christmas by Freepik

Christmas Vector Elements by carterart

5 Elegant Christmas labels by Vector Open Stock

Vintage Christmas stickers collection by Vector Open Stock

Christmas greetings pack by Freepik

Merry Christams Snowman Tag Vector by zcool

Black and white Christmas badges pack by Freepik

Free Vintage Vector Christmas Badges by Graphberry

Vintage Christmas badges pack by Freepik

No related posts.








Reflection Perfection: 60 Photos That Show You How It&#8217;s Done

hongkiat.com - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 11:01

Capturing beautiful reflections is not as easy as it looks. It takes planning, patience, creativity and sometimes luck to be able to capture that perfect shot off any natural or artificial reflective surface. From the surface of a lake, to a window pane, a broken mirror to a recently polished and waxed car, the world of reflected surfaces will astound you, if you know where to look, and shoot.

A well-executed shot can show perfect symmetry or a slightly distorted one and sometimes the shot is a one-in-a-million opportunity, that may not come again. Take a look at 60 of our most favorite photographs that will take you into the world of reflective photography.

p.entry-image { margin-bottom:40px; }

Vesturhorn Mountain by Eddie 11uisma. This is a stunning example of a perfectly symmetrical shot. It’s so clear, the mountain looks like it is floating on a mirror. (Image source: Eddie 11uisma)

Invisible by Laura Williams. Here’s an incredible yet surreal self-portrait by Laura Williams. She said this photo was never edited, which makes this photo trick more brilliant. (Image source: Laura Williams)

Crocodile by Pyreaus. Look at that big yellow eye pop out of the water! Getting the reflection of just the crocodile’s eye makes this photograph even more compelling. (Image source: Pyreaus)

Ghost Rider by Ravikanth Kurma. Fire dancing is a pretty intense display of art and skill, as this brilliant image tries to show. (Image source: Ravikanth Kurma)

Nature by Jasper James. One of the best shots from Jasper James’ City Silhouettes collection. The series reveals the city of Beijing through the silhouettes of its Chinese residents. (Image source: Jasper James)

Wedding by David Hayes. At first, I thought there’s a glass surface near the camera. There isn’t. The reflection comes from an infinity pool, a pool with no edges. (Image source: David Hayes)

Stripes by JMeyer. Here’s a very cool photo abstraction. JMeyer uses the refractive effect of water and glass to bend and twist these black and white stripes. (Image source: JMeyer)

Ferrari by Mark Berriman. While there’s a place and time for mirror-like replication, distortion of the reflected subject can sometimes be just as fascinating. (Image source: Mark Berriman)

Taj Mahal. The magnificent Taj Mahal with a nice silhouetted camel in Yamuna River at sunset. (Image source: Your Arvind Kumar)

Bubble by Richard Heeks. I think the world needs more bubbles. (Image source: Richard Heeks)

Street Art by SOKE. This graffiti is dope. Is that an alien in the middle of a gorilla fight? (Image source: SOKE)

Fluorescent by C. Anderson. It looks as if the fluorescent lights are dripping down to that well-waxed floor. This was taken using a fisheye lense at the Dan Flavin exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. (Image source: C. Anderson)

Lifelines by Alper Doruk. Alper Doruk turns a usual sight to an artistic photo. The people, the colors, the noise, the rush — you can feel them all on this image. (Image source: Alper Doruk)

Dog Rises by Simon van Cleeff. The reflection on the water looks more like a bear! (Image source: Simon van Cleeff)

Hanover City Hall by Spreng Ben. The vibrant color and symmetry of the City Hall makes this picture pop. (Image source: Spreng Ben)

Black Skimmer by William Dalton. William Dalton snaps a picture of a Black Skimmer perfectly copied on the surface of the lake. (Image source: William Dalton)

Skydiving by Suz Graham. Suz Graham captures this amazing moment as she jumped out of the helicopter. You can actually see the chopper from the reflection on her helmet, thanks to her GoPro. (Image source: Suz Graham)

Notre Dame by Loic Lagarde. Excellent composition! The mirror-like symetry draws your eyes to the middle. (Image source: Loic Lagarde)

Tanker by Andy Gocher. Lucky photographic opportunity here. Andy Gocher’s shot turned out pretty well. (Image source: Andy Gocher)

Hot Air Balloons by Dave Biddle. The fall colors are very vibrant in this shot! It looks wonderful. I wish I was there to witness this. (Image source: Dave Biddle)

Small Island by Shane Kalyn. It is a simple composition with awesome symmetry due to the reflection of the small island. The slight off-center placement gives a bit of dynamism to this photograph. (Image source: Shane Kalyn)

Fireworks display around Petronas Tower by Lim Su Seng. Soaring into the air, these fireworks explode around Malaysia’s landmark, the Petronas Twin Towers during the 2014 New Year celebrations. (Image source: Lim Su Seng)

The Finish Line by Lee Sie. There’s something pure and mystical about this image. I love it. (Image source: Lee Sie)

Field of Love by Radloff. This wedding photoshoot got a wonderful reflection of a polished car, and tones that convey the most romantic of atmospheres. (Image source: Radloff)

Leopard Stare by Chad Cocking. Chad Cocking deliberately flipped this image upside down which is actually clever. Turn your head upside down, and look again. Chad must have been pretty close to take this shot. (Image source: Chad Cocking)

Rhododendron Park in Kromlau. Popularly known as the Devil’s Bridge, this bridge is located between the borders of Germany and Poland. See this on Google maps (Image source: Kromlau)

Multiple Personalities by Eva Pech Marie. The subtle reflections from the broken mirror depicts the title so perfectly. (Image source: Eva Pech Marie)

Rainbow by Seffis. It’s very rare to spot a rainbow reflected on off a watery surface. Great catch by Seffis. (Image source: Seffis)

Doppelganger by CasheeFoo. Lovely focus and softness of the light. Love the colors and contrast clothing. (Image source: CasheeFoo)

Lightning by Lise Sundberg. Waiting patiently for a lightning bolt to strike, Lise Sundberg managed to take 4 bolts illuminating its surroundings for just a split second. (Image source: News Australia)

Broken Mirror by Bing Wright. Bing Wright placed a set of shattered Mirrors againts the bright sunset. The result is suprisingly appealing. They look like stained glass windows. (Image source: Bing Wright)

Drive above the Clouds by Tomohiro Nakatate. This is the world’s largest salt flat and it is located in Bolivia. The rain collects on top of the salt causing this mirror effect. (Image source: Tomohiro Nakatate)

Waterway to Orbit by James Vernacotola. This is a spectacular photograph of a shuttle launched into orbit from the Intracoastal Waterway Bridge, in Ponte Vedra, Florida. (Image source: James Vernacotola)

Luray Cave. You’ll find this more fascinating when you realize that the bottom half is actually water reflection. (Image source: WUnderground)

Miniature Liquid Worlds by Markus Reugels. The perfectly timed shots by German photographer Markus Reugels resulted in this beautiful spherical representation of Earth. (Image source: Markus Reugels)

Watercolor by Patrizia Sapia. Here’s another flipped image of a reflection from a puddle on the streets of Rome. It does feel like the watercolored version of old buildings, doesn’t it? (Image source: Patrizia Sapia)

Sin City by Sina Poursohi. I name this one Sin City because its looks like a scene from that movie. (Image source: Sina Poursohi)

The Golden Gate by Nathan Spotts. One of the most famous and most photographed bridge in the world. The reflection off the water is just fantastic. (Image source: Nathan Spotts)

Levitation by naytttt. A guy jumping in a puddle in Pittsburgh. The image here is upside down. (Image source: naytttt)

Houses by Jan Siebring. I love the serene feel of this shot. These lovely houses are from the City of Monnickendam in the Netherlands. (Image source: Jan Siebring)

Anniversary by Ismael. Ismael and his wife were toasting their first year anniversary when he noticed the reflection in his glass and decided to take a picture of it. This was taken at Glacier Bay, Alaska on their cruise. (Image source: Ismael)

Bullet by Alexander Augusteijn, With the help of a high-speed camera, Alexander Augusteijn captured the moment a bullet slices through a drop of water. The refection of the bullet is equally stunning. (Image source: Alexander Augusteijn)

Aurora Borealis by Johnathan Esper. Johnathan Esper manages to capture the lights reflecting on the surface water of Silfra crack in Thingvellir National Park, Iceland. (Image source: Johnathan Esper)

Eye of the beholder by Mitchell Phelps. Really good composed shot, with delightful colors and reflections. (Image source: Mitchell Phelps)

Dragon’s Mirror by Nancy Falso. Its’ almost night time as the illuminations of this chinese dragon sculpture is reflected in the tranquil river. (Image source: Nancy Falso)

Pyramid by Felix Bonfils. Here’s a vintage photo of the great Pyramid of Giza. This photo was taken by Felix Bonfils during The Ottoman Empire, between 1860-1880. (Image source: Felix Bonfils)

Polar Bear by Paul Nicklen. A polar bear with an unbelievable reflection from crystal clear Arctic ice, gives a confused look towards the camera of Paul Nicklen while he was shooting this in Lancaster Sound, Nunavut, Canada. (Image source: Paul Nicklen)

Windmill by Jeff Morgan. Great capture of vivid green with a great composition and reflections off the lake. The angle makes this even better. (Image source: Jeff Morgan)

Anamorphosis by Jonty Hurwitz. Anamorphosis is the distorition of objects or images to create an image ona reflective surface. In short, something like this. (Image source: Jonty Hurwitz)

Dubai Panorama by Beno Saradzic. Here’s a beautiful panoramic view of Dubai’s massive skyline. Taken by Beno Saradzic, the glowing buildings are nicely reflected on the desert lake. (Image source: Beno Saradzic)

Silhouette by Piriskoskis. The dark silhouettes of people against the bright yellow background reflected with clear symetry is beyond amazing. (Image source: Piriskoskis)

Space Selfie by Mike Hopkins. Astronaut Mike Hopkins takes an out-of-this-world selfie. (Image source: NASA)

City Park. A colorful evening at a quiet river near a theme park. What a great sharp photo! (Image source: WallPapersCraft)

Water Droplet by Teguh Santosa. Just seeing an ant pushing a droplet of water is just fascinating. (Image source: Teguh Santosa)

Inception: New York by Trey Ratcliff. Modern architecture reflecting the old ones. Check this out on Google maps (Image source: Trey Ratcliff)

Sphere by Carlos Gotay Martinez. What sort of wizardry is this? Very cool idea. (Image source: Carlos Gotay Martinez)

Underwater by DobsonFly. This image was rotated 90 degrees clockwise to give the standing illusion. (Image source: DobsonFly)

Black and White by Hannes R. Taken at Strandvagen, Ostermalm, Stockholm, this captures a terrific reflection of trees after snowfall. (Image source: Hannes R)

Mom and Dad by Luna Bella. The cutest family portrait I have ever seen. Fantastic angle! (Image source: Luna Bella)

Smiley by Aoao2. Perfectly timed photo! Aoao2 captured this water drop refracting an image of a smiley. (Image source: Aoao2)

Some of them may look like it was created with a nifty photoshop skills, but these collection are nothing but showing the beauty of mixing reality and reflection. Feel free to give your opinions and knowledge about these listing. And don’t forget to let us know your favorite images.

No related posts.








10 Useful WordPress Functions You Might Not Know About

hongkiat.com - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 14:01

WordPress is full of great functions for us developers to use. We can pull post lists out of thin air, manipulate almost everything about them, grab any user we wish and display their social media connections in a jiffy.

There are however quite a few functions which seem to be overlooked for unknown reasons. I’ve been coding with WordPress for around 8 years now and occasionally I still find something new! Let’s take a look at some of my favourite overlooked functions and learn how to use them along the way.

antispambot()

I usually raise a few eyebrows with this one, it seems to be one of the most well-hidden functions in the codebase. <code>antispambot()</code> replaces characters with HTML entities which is one way to mask email addresses from evil scrapers.

$email = 'mymail@mail.com'; echo 'You can contact me at ' . antispambot( $email ) . ' any time'.

While this is a useful tidbit, it is also an example of why some people criticise WordPress – this is a horribly named function. From reading the function name, you have no idea what it does.

human_time_diff()

When I first learned about this function about a year ago I thought it must have been a recent addition which I overlooked in a changelog. Not quite…

This function – which outputs the difference between two timestamps – has been in since version 1.5 (that’s February 17, 2005!).

The following great snippet I borrowed from the codex shows how long ago a current post was published. It uses the publish date of the post as the first argument and the current date as the second.

echo 'This post was published ' . human_time_diff( get_the_time( 'U' ), current_time( 'timestamp' ) ) . ' ago'; get_post_meta()

Bear with me here, I know this is a well-used function, however, how it works is not-so-common knowledge. First of all, by omitting the second and third parameters you can pull all metadata for a post.

$all_meta = get_post_meta( 14 );

Even if you only grab the data for a single key all postmeta is pulled anyway.

The reason is actually pretty logical. Metadata is used in multiple places. If <code>get_post_meta()</code> queries the database each time it was used we would end up with way too many queries. Instead, if you pull metadata it caches it all and uses the cached values on all subsequent metadata retrievals.

wp_upload_bits()

This function is a straight-up file uploading function. While it doesn’t move the file to the uploads folder and add it to the WordPress media section, it is extremely convenient and you can always to the rest with the <code>wp_insert_attachment()</code> function.

$upload = wp_upload_bits( $file['name'], null, file_get_contents( $file['tmp_name'] ) );

Some explanation is at hand for this: the first parameter is the file name. The second is depreciated so it should be set to null (eyeroll at WordPress consistency). The third parameter is the actual content of the file.

get_post_field()

In the past I saw quite a few examples where someone wrote a loop to get a comment count for a post, or wrote a dedicated database query for it. You don’t need them, what you need is <code>get_post_field()</code> . This function retrieves the value of a single field for a single post in the database. Let’s grab a comment count!

This post has <?php echo get_post_field( 'comment_count', 4124 ) ?> comments. wpautop()

This function has come out into the spotlight a bit, but it is still relatively unknown. It is similar to the PHP native <code>nl2br</code> but instead of creating new lines, it wraps your content in paragraphs.

This is useful if you have a textbox and you want to make sure that when users create paragraphs with double line breaks, they remain visible in the front-end as well.

<h2>What Our Users Say</h2> <?php echo wpautop( $user_comment ) ?> wp_is_mobile()

This aptly named function detects when a user is on a mobile device and allows you to display content accordingly. Since this is a conditional tag it returns true or false depending on the scenario.

<?php if( wp_is_mobile() ) : ?> Visit our website on your desktop for a richer user experience <?php endif ?> DOING_AJAX

While this is a constant, not a function (sorry), it is useful nonetheless. You can discern between AJAX calls and regular stuff by checking if it is defined and is true. This can be useful if you are using a common function for a task that is sometimes triggered by AJAX.

if (defined('DOING_AJAX') && DOING_AJAX) { echo 'done'; die() } else { } wp_redirect()

The last example shows another neat function: <code>wp_redirect()</code>. This should be used in place of the PHP native <code>header()</code> function. The WordPress redirection function allows you to set a URL to redirect to, and also set a status code, great for handling permanent redirects as well.

// For a URL which is no longer in use wp_redirect( 'http://website.com/new-url/', 301 ); paginate_links()

I bet that this function owes its obscurity in part to the popularity of the WP-PageNavi plugin. By default WordPress displays previous/next links at the end of your post list. WP-PageNavi replaces that with page numbers.

This can actually be done with a little work using the <code>paginate_links()</code> functions. It has quite a few parameters so I recommend taking a peek at the documentation.

The following example from the codex shows how you can add it to a default loop but adding it to custom loops is not much of a stretch.

global $wp_query; $big = 999999999; // need an unlikely integer echo paginate_links( array( 'base' => str_replace( $big, '%#%', esc_url( get_pagenum_link( $big ) ) ), 'format' => '?paged=%#%', 'current' => max( 1, get_query_var('paged') ), 'total' => $wp_query->max_num_pages ) ); Conclusion

These are just some functions that seem to be less-known that the rest. I discover a new great function about every two months and I’m sure my developer friends out there could surprise us even further.

If you have a favorite obscure function or a function which would be useful but isn’t available, let us know in the comments!

No related posts.








Fascinating Fruits And Vegetables Art By Dan Cretu

hongkiat.com - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 11:01

Remember how your mom always tells you to eat your fruit and vegetables but somehow chocolate and meat always win instead? Fact is, fruit and vegetables are good for you, and they are good for art as well, in the hands of the right artist.

Dan Cretu is a conceptual artist who likes to play with his food, sorta. He takes advantage of the bright colors of fruits and vegetables and creates food sculptures like this.

Almost looks good enough to eat! Here are just some examples of his food sculptures but you can find more on his Tumblr and Facebook page.

Related posts:

  1. Samantha Lee Plays With Her Food With Deliciously Stunning Results








15 Inspiring Startup Presentation Videos For Entrepreneurs

hongkiat.com - Mon, 12/08/2014 - 16:01

Feeling deflated with failures or launches that didn’t ignite in 2014? Everyone has to experience failure in their lifetime, it is what we do of it – or what we become because of it – that sets the success stories apart from the rest. There is no better way to do this than to seek inspiration from those who have gone through their set of hardships and successes.

In this year end post, we’d like to invite you to have a look at 15 inspiring videos by 15 strong, charismatic, hardworking and experienced entrepreneurs who have gone the distance and decided to fall back and help the rest of us who are still running in the rat race.

If you have a startup under your care or want to take the entrepreneurial route, take some time to go through these short videos and get a bit of help from the experts.

Guy Kawasaki: Make Meaning In Your Company

Guy Kawasaki is an award-winning author of 10 books, the creator of Alltop.com and the chief evangelist of Apple in the past. In this video he shares his entrepreneurial secrets, summarizing his top 10 tips for those who are starting a company. He says that the only thing to make profit is to create a meaning, and that the only way to create a meaning is to increase the quality of life (with your products or services), correct what’s wrong, and prevent the end of something good.

Richard Branson: Advice For Entrepreneurs

Richard Branson is an English business magnate and investor. He is best known as founder and owner of the Virgin Group which contains over 400 different companies. Billionaire Richard Branson believes people should be able to take time off work whenever they want – no questions asked. Also, he advises us to be a great listener, motivator, and be very good at praising and looking for the best in people.

Larry Page Of Google Gives Tips On Entrepreneurship

Larry Page, one half of the founders behind Google is a computer scientist and business magnate. The tips he’s giving in this video were derived from his success story: Google. And despite the fact that this video is already 12 years old, these tips are still relevant today. For him, one should not be afraid to set aggressive and high goals as it will encourage more resourcefulness.

The Small Business Expert – Sizzle Reel – See Susan Solovic in Action

Susan Solovic is a Small Business Expert, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author, and an award-winning serial entrepreneur. Susan Solovic’s keynotes are focused on women running small businesses. She describes the difficulties women face when entering the world of business and offers encouragement to those facing hardships in their endeavors.

Jason Fried: The Drug-Dealing Model Of Online Business

Jason Fried is a co-founder of Basecamp, formerly known as 37signals. His business model speech gives fair advice to small business owners. He uses the analogy of running a business like a drug dealer. This speech may use humorous comparison, but it holds useful information.

Marc Eckō On Entrepreneurship As An Art Form

Marc Eckō is an American fashion designer, entrepreneur, artist, investor, and philanthropist. He is the founder and Chief Creative Officer of Marc Eckō Enterprises, a billion-dollar global fashion and lifestyle company. In this video he explains that a startup company is a journey, not a destination. Marc dispels the myth that everything will change once a company succeeds and says that business is always a struggle.

Jeff Bezos Advice To Entrepreneurs – Founder Of Amazon.com

Jeff Bezos is an American business magnate and investor, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. Under his guidance, Amazon became one of the biggest retailers on the web. In his speech on passion he gives advice to young entrepreneurs: be clear with yourself to find what you really like and then follow your passion.

Entrepreneurship – Vision, By Aliko Dangote

Aliko Dangote is a business magnate in Nigeria who owns Dangote Group. He is ranked by Forbes Magazine as the 23rd richest man in the world and the richest in Africa. Aliko Dangote is looking beyond cement, sugar and flour (the three commodities that he built his fortune on) and into the oil business. In this business speech he shares his easy-to-follow entrepreneur steps.

Challenges For Young Entrepreneurs: Max Gouchan

The Norwegian entrepreneur Max Gouchan began his own oil company at the age of 18 after dropping out a high school. In this video he shares the lessons he learned and the challenges he faced. Max Gouchan offers some tips that can be applied while starting your own business, or even in life in general.

The Challenges Of Starting A Small Business

Clifford Schorer, Ph.D is a serial entrepreneur who specializes in the startup acquisition and development of small- and mid-sized companies. He focuses on businesses with unique ideas or technologies that are in need of guidance during their initial growth phases.

Don’t Be Afraid To Start Small (Jessica Jackley)

Jessica Jackley, the founder of Kiva.org, an organization that facilities the transfer of money to entrepreneurs and small businesses in developing countries, explains how her model changed the world. She shares her own experience of growing a person-to-person micro-lending site from small.

Michael E. Porter On Management

Michael E. Porter is the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at The Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness based at Harvard Business School. In this video he advises the audience to set appropriate goals. The clients want something different and unique, so don’t fall into a trap and don’t just follow the latest trends in the pursuit to success.

Kenny Moscot: The Government’s Role In Small Business

Moscot Eyewear and Eyecare has been a New York City institution for nearly 100 years. In 1992 Kenny Moscot, eagerly entered the family business, with a degree in finance, opticianry and a passion for business. This 2-minute long speech discusses the role the government should play to help startups to succeed. As a business owner, he claims that it’s quite challenging to start a business and employ people when one if worried about taxes rather than producing results.

3 Mistakes Kathryn Minshew Vows Not to Repeat

Kathryn Minshew is the founder and CEO of The Muse which offers free career advice and online classes. She understood from her experience that it’s important to choose business partners wisely, get agreements down in writing, and make web presence reflect the long term vision early on in a startup’s life.

Marshall Goldsmith – CEO Crash Course

Marshall Goldsmith is an American leadership coach and the author of management-related literature. He states that it’s important to do what you like and what is meaningful for you. In our rapidly changing world it’s critically important to consistently learn something new as well as to build relationships from all over.

Related posts:

  1. Entrepreneurs: 5 Startup Mistakes to Avoid
  2. Internet Marketing Avenues for Web-based Company
  3. What It Takes To Call Yourself A Real Entrepreneur
  4. How To Turn (Irrational) Skepticism Into Success: An Experiment








15 iPhone Accessories That Should Be In Your Wishlist This Holiday

hongkiat.com - Mon, 12/08/2014 - 11:01

Christmas is almost here and as much as it is a time for giving, it is also a time to treat yourself well. There are plenty of great gift ideas floating around to celebrate the giving-nature of Christmas and if you own an iPhone, you can check out these 15 ideas of accessories to get for the holidays.

In this collection you’ll see snowproof cases and wallets that lead a double life as a charger, beautiful docks, photography kits for a creative Christmas photoshoot, games that are made for smartphone users, two different ways for you to continue using your iPhone even with gloves on, as well as a DSLR-like lense for your iPhone.

Scroll down, and happy holidays!

Leather Wallet Case 80° for iPhone 6 Plus. Made out of super-quality vegetable tanned leather, this wallet case is the perfect companion for your iPhone 6 Plus this Christmas. It also looks stunning as a holiday gift.

[Get it here – $50.72]

Jambox Speaker for iPhone. The Jambox speaker turns any phone, tablet or mobile device into a portable, hi-fi sound system. You can play music, movies and games and fill even the largest of spaces with sound — perfect for noisy parties!

[Get it here – Prices vary according to model]

iPhone 6 Dock. Charge your phone in style with this steady iPhone 6 dock. The stand also sets up your phone for a game or movie session.

[Get it here – $40]

Touch Tonic (for Gloves). This magic tonic will give "touchscreen power" to any gloves you have. No need to buy new special touchscreen gloves or those with cut fingertips — with this tonic everything is much easier!

[Get it here – $20]

Black Diamond iPhone Charging Ambient Dock. This charging dock comes with 3D lighting effects such as rainbow, plasma, flames that can help create a romantic Christmas atmosphere indoors, day or night.

[Get it here – $50]

Photo FX Kit. The Photo FX Kit will help you create the most stunning and festive Christmas photos ever! one bag color flour for color explosions, one glass prism to bend light to your wim, four colored LEDs for light painting (or more), and one rainbow peephole to create beautiful diffractions.

[Get it here – $25]

The Power Wallet. It’s a wallet, a phone case and it charges your phone too! This wallet has a bettery inside which can be powered up via your computer.

[Get it here – $79.99]

Game of Phones. Christmas is coming! This set of cards is a great game that involves your smartphones too! It’s a perfect game for a lot of friends and large gatherings.

[Get it here – $20]

Lifedge Waterproof Case for iPhone 5/5s. This awesome iPhone case is waterproof, shockproof, and dustproof. You can take the phone outside in snowy weather not worrying that it would be damaged even if it falls in the snow!

[Get it here – $125]

Micro Fiber Lens Cleanse Patches. Get your gear ready with these lens-cleaning patches. Ultra-soft with fun patterns to booth, get your screens and lenses clean up and ready for the holiday gatherings.

[Get it here – $12]

The iPhone Telephoto Lens. This awesome telephoto lens gives your iPhone 12x zooming power to shoot object far away from you. For more choices, check out 20 more lenses here.

[Get it here – $35]

Touch Screen Gloves. With these cool gloves you can stay warm and still be able to chat via your iPhone during winter. They are crafted with special fibers on the fingertips to allow it to work on your touchscreen device. The gloves are available in two colors: grey and black.

[Get it here]

Belkin Car Cup Mount. With this Belkin device you can mount your iPhone in your car’s cup holder and see the map while the road trip. It rotates 360 degrees, tilts 90 degrees to lay flat and its base expands to fit any cup holder.

[Get it here – $39.99]

Opena Case – iPhone 5/5S. I’m pretty sure that there are would be a lot of bottles to open at the Christmas party. This iPhone case has a built-in bottle opener, that will come in handy for times like this.

[Get it here – $10]

The Sony QX Lenses. With this super lens you can turn your iPhone into a DSLR camera! It has sharp optics and four-times larger zoom for incredible iPhone photography. It’s a great gadget to shoot family photos.

[Get it here – $349.99]

Related posts:

  1. 15 iPhone/iPad Accessories For Savvy Musicians
  2. 25 Cool Battery Cases For iPhone
  3. Throwback Thursday: 20 Retro Gadgets For Your iPhone
  4. 20 Latest Fitness Wearables You Can Buy








Pages