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CSS – margin:auto – How it Works - vr, 27/11/2015 - 14:01

Using margin:auto to center a block element horizontally is a well known technique. But have you ever wondered why or how it works? To answer this, we first need to take a look at how margin:auto works. Also in the mix is what auto can possibly do in margins, if it works for vertical centering, and a few other issues.

But first, what does auto actually do?

The definition of auto varies with elements, element types and context. In margins, auto can mean one of two things: take up the available space or 0 px. These two will define different layouts for an element.

"auto" Taking Up Available Space

This is the most common use of margin auto we come across often. By assigning auto to the left and right margins of an element, they take up the available horizontal space in the element”s container equally – and thus the element gets centered.

See the Pen margin:auto by Preethi (@rpsthecoder) on CodePen.

However, this will work for horizontal margin sonly (more on the why later), and it also won”t work with floated and inline elements and by itself, it also cannot work in absolute and fixed positioned elements (we will however see how to make those work).

Faux Float By Taking Up Available Space

Since auto in both right and left margins take up the "available" space equally, what do you think will happen when the value auto is given to only one of those?

A left or right margin with auto will take up all of the "available" space making the element look like it has been flushed right or left.

See the Pen margin:auto faux float by Preethi (@rpsthecoder) on CodePen.

“auto” Computed To 0px

As mentioned before, auto will not work in floated, inline and absolute elements. All these elements already have decided on their layouts, so there is no use in using auto for the margins and expecting it to get centered just like that.

That will defeat the initial purpose of using something like float. Hence auto will have a value of 0px in those elements.

auto will also not work on a typical block element if it doesn”t have a width. All the examples I showed you so far have widths.

A width of value auto will have 0px margins. A block element”s width typically covers its container”s when it is auto or 100% and hence a margin auto will be computed to 0px in such a case.

What Happens To Vertical Margins With The Value auto?

auto in both top and bottom margins is always computed to 0px (except for absolute elements). W3C spec says it like this:

“If “margin-top” or “margin-bottom” is “auto”, their used value is 0″

The why, well that is so far, a mystery. It could be because of the typical vertical page flow, where page size increases height-wise. So, centering an element vertically in its container is not going to make it appear centered, relative to the page itself, unlike when it”s done horizontally (in most cases).

And maybe it”s because of this same reason, they decided to add an exception for absolute elements which can be centered vertically along the entire page”s height.

It could also be because of the margin collapse effect (a collapse of adjacent elements” margins) which is another exception for the vertical margins.

However, the latter seems to be an unlikely case – since elements which don”t collapse their margins – like Floats, and elements with overflow other than visible, still assign 0px vertical margins for auto.

Centering Absolutely Positioned Elements

Since there happens to be an exception for absolutely positioned elements, we”ll use auto value to center one vertically and horizontally. But before that, we need to find out when will margin:auto actually work like we want it to in an absolutely positioned element.

This is where another W3C spec comes in:

"If all three of “left”, “width”, and “right” are “auto”: First set any “auto” values for “margin-left” and “margin-right” to 0… "

"If none of the three is “auto”: If both “margin-left” and “margin-right” are “auto”, solve the equation under the extra constraint that the two margins get equal values"

That pretty much says that for horizontal auto margins to seize equal spaces, the values for left, width and right shouldn”t be auto , their default value. So all we have to do is to give them some value in an absolutely positioned element. left and right should have equal values for perfect centering.

The spec also mentions something similar for vertical margins.

“If all three of “top”, “height”, and “bottom” are auto, set “top” to the static position…”

“If none of the three are “auto”: If both “margin-top” and “margin-bottom” are “auto”, solve the equation under the extra constraint that the two margins get equal values…”

Hence, for an absolute element to be centered vertically, its top, height, and bottom values shouldn”t be auto.

Now by combining all these, this is what we”ll get:

See the Pen margin:auto absolute by Preethi (@rpsthecoder) on CodePen.


If you ever want to flush an element on your page to right or left without the following elements wrapping it (like whats happens with float), remember there”s the option to use auto for margins.

Converting an element to absolute just so it can be centered vertically may not be a great idea. There are other options like flexbox and CSS transform which are more suitable for those.

10 Mobile Chat Apps to Send Messages Anonymously - do, 26/11/2015 - 16:01

The oversharing phenomenon is a real struggle. Opinions taken out of context get frowned upon, blown out of proportion and sometimes wreak havoc in the sharer’s life. Sometimes though, we just want to get things off our chest under anonymity, and find people who can help you deal or focus on your problem rather than the person behind it.

Here are 10 apps to help you talk to people who won’t know it’s you on the other side, or to help you find kindred spirits to share thoughts with. With these apps you can find people who you don’t know and will probably never ever meet in real life, to talk to.

Everything blows over over time anyways, but if you need someone to talk to right now, minus the possibility of getting your worries trampled over, here are the apps you should check out.

1. Wut Wut

Wut Wut is social app to let you share non-permanent messages to Facebook friends who are also on Wut Wut, without blowing your cover. Share spontaneous moments for a quick laugh and moments later your messages will disappear. Will be available for Android soon.

[Download: iOS]

2. Yik Yak

Yik Yak is an application for you to connect with people who think like you, without knowing them first. It works by letting you post messages to a live feed, on which you can see everyone else’s thoughts. Join in a conversation that interest you, and you might just be able to meet up with like-minded friends IRL. As the motto goes: find your herd.

[Download: iOS]

3. Psst

Psst is a chat platform where there is no chat history or chat ID’s. You can share political views, confessions, secrets, deal with grief and other less happy life experiences or just share corny jokes with other users. Your post stays active for 48 hours and is gone forever. Private chats stay for half a minute, tops.

[Download: Android]

4. Truth

Truth is fun anonymous chat app that lets you talk with people on your contact list without disclosing your identity. You will only be identified as a type of Owl. All messages will only be received by or sent to people in your contact list, so you will be talking to people you know; they just won’t know it is you. There is also a way to report messages of a threatening nature as well as cries for help (e.g. depression) by an Owl. The team is working on an Android version.

[Download: iOS]

5. Whisper

Here is app that offers a fun way to share anything on your mind via memes. Discover Whispers by topics that interest you. You can write your thoughts, feelings, reaction or responses and post it with a background photo. If you like to have more private talks, just the private messaging feature here.

[Download: iOS | Android]

6. Popcorn

With Popcorn you are able to chat privately with peoples within a one-mile radius. Discover what people are doing in the local community, in your campus, in the new city you moved to or just to relieve boredom while at the office. The app is available in multiple languages: English, Dutch, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.

[Download: iOS]

7. Anomo

Anomo is simple and fun application to meet people with common interests. You start chatting with an avatar and via icebreaker games with 4 other users, the app will help hone down matches for your personality. You can then continue chatting with the matches provided. Once you are comfortable with your new friend, you can send reveal requests to know more about the other user.

[Download: iOS | Android]

8. Kindly

Kindly is anonymous application with a compassionate community of helpful listeners who will listen to you vent problems or ask questions you are uncomfortable asking people around you. You can also turn the tables and be a life coach or a listening ear to someone with a problem. Chat openly in a threaded conversation feed or go 1-on-1 if the situation requires it.

[Download: iOS]

9. Roomvine

Roomvine is app to chat with strangers in the same vicinity. Your identity is hidden. With this app you can check whats going on at a venue around you, such as a bar, cafe or an on-the-spot event that you don’t have prior knowledge about. You can also remotely tune into what is happening at particular place anywhere around the world.

[Download: iOS | Android]

10. Wondr

This last one doesn’t let you in particular chat in anonymity but it does allow your Twitter followers to hide their identity when asking you questions. Once you start a session, a push notification will be sent to your followers, sort of like an invite for them to participate. you can then chat with them as if you are in a forum. You might find out things your followers thought about you when they are allowed to speak without hesitation.

[Download: iOS | Android]

Last Word

With these apps you can get things off your chest, text away your worries and concern and live life to the fullest after offloading. Now that’s a healthier lifestyle to adopt, wouldn’t you agree?

Now Read:
Send Anonymous Emails: 20 Sites To Keep Your Identity Hidden

How to Animate a Dashed Border with CSS - do, 26/11/2015 - 14:01

Decorated borders can adorn any element on page, but CSS borders are limited when it comes to style. Developers frequently come up with solutions like CSS-gradient borders, SVG borders, multiple borders and more to mimic and upgrade the looks of box borders and its animations.

Today we’ll look into a simpler hack for dashed borders: dashed border animation. The animated dashed border will be created using only outline and box-shadow, leaving no fuss about fallbacks, since outline is supported from IE8 onwards. That way the user will still be able to see the borders unlike when SVG or gradient is used. With this you can also create bicolored dashes. Let’s take a look.

Creating The Borders

We will first create the borders. For this, we’ll use a dashed outline and a box shadow.

.banners{ outline: 6px dashed yellow; box-shadow: 0 0 0 6px #EA3556; ... }

See the Pen CSS border – outline & box shadow by Preethi (@rpsthecoder) on CodePen.

The outline will need all of its values; width, type and color. The box-shadow only needs the value for spread which should be the same as the outline’s width and its color. Both the outline and the box-shadow together will create the effect of two-colored dashes.

You can then adjust the box’s width or height for your desired border look at the corners.

Animating The Borders

For our first animation example, we’ll add CSS keyframe animations to a set of banners with the borders animating continuosly, gaining attention. For the animation effect we’ll simply swap the colors of the outline and box shadow.

@keyframes animateBorder { to { outline-color: #EA3556; box-shadow: 0 0 0 6px yellow; } }

You can target the color of the outline using outline-color longhand property, however for box shadow you’ll have to give all the values to the shorthand property for now.

Once the animation is ready, add it to the box.

.banners{ outline: 6px dashed yellow; box-shadow: 0 0 0 6px #EA3556; animation: 1s animateBorder infinite; ... }

See the Pen CSS Dashed border animation by Preethi (@rpsthecoder) on CodePen.

Transitions On The Borders

For the transition example we’ll add borders to pictures and animate those on hover. You can also change the border size for different effects.

.photos{ outline: 20px dashed #006DB5; box-shadow: 0px 0px 0px 20px #3CFDD3; transition: all 1s; ... } .photos:hover{ outline-color: #3CFDD3; box-shadow: 0 0 0 20px #006DB5; }

Now, hover over these images to see your CSS dashed borders in all its animated glory.

See the Pen CSS dashed border transition by Preethi (@rpsthecoder) on CodePen.

And, that’s a wrap. You can try replacing dashed borders with dotted ones, but the effect might not be asas good. You can also change the outline type during animation for a few more effects.

50 Last-Minute Gifts for Frequent Flyers - wo, 25/11/2015 - 14:01

It’s the end of the year and the wanderlust is kicking in. Time to take a break from paperwork and go places we have never been and eat food with names we cannot pronounce! Travelling is a great experience, no matter if it’s a short weekend trip, backpacking across the continent, getting an extended vacation on the other side of the world, or camping solo in the middle of Mother Nature.

In all the above cases, it pays to be well-prepared. If you are an avid traveler, or you know one, here are some great gift ideas for the holiday/traveling season. You’ll find travel pillows, power packs, photography accessories, and plenty of gadgets that can help you have a great time traveling safely.

Editor’s note: Prices listed here may vary from time to time. Do check the links for the latest prices and for stock availability.

USB Power Strip. Connect this strip to your computer and charge up to four of your handheld devices in the same time. [Get it for $14]

Passport Sleeve by ÉSTIE. Keep your passport, boarding pass and cash safe and secure with this stylish and compact travel sleeve. [Get it for $59]

Airbolt. A smart Bluetooth-enabled travel lock for your luggage, Airbolt talks to your smartphone via an app, and unlocks with a single button so long as you are within range. [Preorder at AUD79.95]

Wearable Gimbal Camera. Wearable action camera will help you capture amazing shots and videos from a first person view while your travel adventures. [Get it for $319]

Weigh-to-Fly. This is a smart luggage scale which tells you how much your bag weighs everytime you repack it on your many travel stops. [Preorder only]

Passfort. Passfort is a keychain that allows you to generate and use your passwords. Remember only one number to access all your other passwords. [Get it for $49.99]

Hang-About Hanging Chair. Hang-About is a hanging chair that can be attached to a tree while on a camping trip, giving you some space and alone time. Available in orange and blue. [Get it for $240]

Travel Hoodie Pillow. The travel pillow is perfect for long-haul flights or overnight bus trips. It gives you a little privacy plus neck support for a good rest. [Get it for $27]

TinTag. Tintag is a rechargeable tracking gadget for your belongings. When travelling, this can help you locate your luggage, pouch, bag, keys and more important items that would otherwise be hard to retrieve in a foreign place. [Get it for $35]

Travelogue Scratch Map Travel Journal. Looking for a global adventure? Track all the countries you have visited with this "scratch card"of cities and countries. [Get it for $28]

Stack n’ Go Vino. This portable travel glasses for wine will help you to create romantic atmosphere wherever you are: in the woods or at a beach.
[Get it for $15]

BookBook Travel Journal Accessories Case. This travel case is designed to keep your iPad and essential accessories. The case looks like an old leather book, the perfect disguise!
[Get it for $100]

Pakpod. Pakpod is the first tripod that lets your camera stand securely on sand, grass, dirt or snow.
[Get it for $99]

TAG. Tag is a smart GPS tracker which a traveler might want to use to track a thing like your luggage, or a person, like a child. It also has fall detection.
[Get it for $89]

Power Bank. A high capacity power bank is a must-have for the always-connected traveler. Never be without battery juice.
[Get it for $18.99]

The Kooshy Travel Pillow. This travel pillow is a comfortable way to sleep while you’re on a long-haul trip. It is easy to assemble, for a good non-bumpy nap.
[Get it for $34.99]

Adventure Wallet. This wallet comes with two spots for cards, one for cash and a passport. The leather wallet with a sleek finish perfectly fits any pocket.
[Get it for $75]

Charging Strap for Apple Watch. Here is a "battery pack" for the Apple Watch which will give you an additional 30 hours of usage.
[Get it for $249.99]

Axess: Front Pocket Wallet. Designed according to minimalist Sweden principles, Axess is a front pocket wallet. It’s made of fine Italian leather. [Preorder only]

TUO: Travel Organizer. Country-hoppers should definitely get this travel organizer for underwear, keeping it separate from your other travel essentials.
[Get it for $49]

Space Saver Vacuum Storage Bags. Save much-needed space in your luggage compartment by vacuum-packing your larger items. [Get it for $33.99]

Mini Travel Steam Iron. Off on a business trip? This steam iron for your office wear can heat up in a minute and doesn’t take much space in your bag, and is so worth it if you need to look fresh for that important meeting.
[Get it for $30]

Bugatti Travel Desk. This trunk is not a usual suitcase, but also a portable desk. It can be turned into a workstation within a minute, so you can keep working while waiting for the next flight.
[Get it for $249]

Satechi Smart Travel Router. With this amazing adapter you can travel around the globe not worrying that the socket will not fit. This router adapts to fit in four of the most common plug configurations.
[Get it for $45]

Wrap-a-Nap 360 Degree Travel Pillow. This travel pillow or sleep mask allows even the fussiest sleepers to get well-rested while traveling.
[Get it for $25]

Olympus Air A01 White. The Olympus Air is an open platform camera which pairs with your smartphone. It offers all of the benefits of an interchangeable lens camera.
[Get it for $299]

LED Light. This portable LED lamp is designed for those who love camping. It has three different settings.
[Get it for $16]

ReTrak Selfie Stick. Who travels without a selfie stick these days? ReTrack is an amazing selfie stick with a Bluetooth shutter. Press the button on the handle for a quick snap.
[Get it for $18]

Handmade Cord Organizer. This cord organizer will help you to organize cables in your bag. It works great for headphones, power cords and other small wires.
[Get it for $19.99]

Sitpack. Sitpack is a portable seat that is easy to setup. It’s the perfect gadget for camping, music festivals, fishing and other outdoor adventures.
[Get it for $49]

Steve Aoki Micro Luggage. This suitcase is a skateboard and bag at once. No more rushing for trolleys at the airport.
[Get it for $299.99]

Rechargeable Heated Insole. Great for campers who need to stay warm, the temperature of these heated insoles can be adjusted with a remote control.
[Get it for $94.99]

Ostrich Pillow. A travel pillow made with high-quality soft fabric. Put your whole head in for completely uninterrupted sleep.
[Get it for $93.99]

Flash Drive USB Cufflinks. The best way to keep your valuable information on you at all times.
[Get it for $194.95]

Satechi Compact USB Surge Protector. Satechi Compact USB Surge Protector protects your devices from electricity spikes. Also, it has a single power outlet and a USB charging port.
[Get it for $10.99]

Travel Toothbrush Sanitizer. A sanitiser that kills 99.9% of the bacteria on your toothbrush. A must-have for health-conscious travelers.
[Get it for $26.51]

Pocket-Sized Portable Bluetooth Speaker. If you can’t go anywhere without music, perhaps this portable speaker can make your hotel room feel like home.
[Get it for $12.99]

Productivity Planner. Speakers who have to travel a lot may like this planner that is filled with inspirational quotes to keep you going. The planner is made for 6 month.
[Get it for $24.95]

inCharge. A USB cable that is so small you can attach it to your keyring. It has syncing and charging capabilities too.
[Get it for $12]

AM Thermos Bottle. This thermos bottle can keep your beverages cold or hot for a long time. It’s available in two colors: white and black.
[Get it for $24]

TRIX. Trix is a portable power strip that lets you charge multiple devices from smartphones to desktop computers. [Preorder at $30]

Elbee. Elbee is smart wireless in-ear headphone. Using various sensors, you can control the headphones with voice commands or head movements. [Get it for $149]

Heys eScale Luggage Scale. Here is an affordable, small, and portable luggage scale for travelers. Great way to avoid overweight luggage fees! [Get it for $25]

Travelproof Independent Medical Kit. This medical kit is great for large traveling groups like school trips. It will cover all basic needs including allergic reactions, pain relief and water purification. [Get it for £50.00]

iPhone 6/s Wallet Case by jimmyCASE. This case has a custom-woven pocket on the back to keep cards and cash, so your money would be always with you while traveling. [Get it for $39]

Oneadaptr. Oneadaptr is an ultra-portable power adapter designed to work around the world. It has 4 USB ports, and an alternative version has an additional port for the Macbook. [Get it for $44.99]

Navigator Travel Kit. This travel kit includes an eye mask, ear plugs, and neck pillow which blocks light and noise to let you rest during a long trip. [Get it for $19.99]

The Traveler’s Eye Massager. After a tiring day of travel, what better way to relax than to give your eyes a relaxing massage. [Get it for $129.95]

iPhone 6 Charger Case. This is removable power solution for iPhone 6. It will not only charge your phone, but also give it protection from shock and impact. [Get it for $100]

Thinksound In-Ear Headphone. These headphones with wooden toppers produce clear sound and have integrated microphone and call control. [Get it for $109]

Top 10 Sites to Ask All Your Programming Questions - di, 24/11/2015 - 14:01

When learning to code or develop software, websites or apps, we usually will get stuck with a problem or a bug that refuses to be resolved, no matter what you do. In cases like this, programmers like you may need answers to questions related to various coding languages, development platforms, tools, APIs as well as services. Where can you go for the solutions you need?

We had the same thought and after doing all the legwork, here are 10 are the best communities full of brilliant people who might have the answers you are looking for or tips that might be helpful to help you find the solution you need.

1. StackOverflow

StackOverflow boasts a community of 4.7 million programmers who are serious about honing their coding skills. One can quickly ask questions (after signing up) on this site, or answer questions asked by others – even as a guest.

It hosts questions in numerous programming languages, platforms, and services, and the top ones among them are JavaScript, Java, C#, PHP, Android, jQuery, python, and HTML. Its up-vote system helps people get quick answers after posting a query, and the stringent moderation ensures people get straightforward answers or mention of places (links) to find them on the Internet.

2. Quora

Quora hosts informative content created and shared by its users. Although it deals with a wide variety of topics and a majority of the answers you’ll find here are opinions from experts, it proves to be a valuable resource for programming and software development information . After signing up, you can ask questions by clicking on Ask Question and answer questions by clicking on the Write button in the top bar.

There isn’t a list of categories or topics you can ask or answer so it’s best to make a search on Quora to find any required info. Some of the supported topics you can find here include Java, C++, Android, Python, Ruby, HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript.

There’s an up-vote system where you can award or get points based on the quality and relevance of the answer, and you can also view stats for your answers.

3. Reddit

For a serious programmer who values useful information, Reddit has long been one of the best places to visit. It has several communities that hold discussions about particular interests and topics including programming languages, computers, Internet, and more. One can easily post a link or submit a question after signing up for the site.

The programming subreddit is for discussions about coding and development. You can check out:

  • C++ for discussions and news about C++ or programming in C++
  • GameDev, a haven for game aspirants and active game developers, where they discuss game engines, programming hitches
  • AndroidDev, a popular community that hosts news, tutorials and other helpful information about Android app development, and more.
4. StackExchange

StackExchange hosts Question & Answer communities where people can ask and answer questions. Experts vote on posts and make sure that helpful answers are easier to find. You need to get an account to start searching for answers or answering a query.

Its 149 communities include:

  • Programmers: where professional programmers can bounce off concepts about software development
  • Programming Puzzles: where people play, solve, and program puzzles
  • Super User: a discussion group for power PC users
  • Web Applications: for users and developers of web applications
  • Game Development: where independent game developers can ask questions
  • Ask Ubuntu: a group of Ubuntu newbies and super-users, and more.
5. CodeProject

CodeProject is a website that offers coders helpful news, information and source codes. It has general discussion forums for software developers to share their thoughts with like-minded users in the community, as well as a Quick Answers section to ask question and receive specific technical assistance. Signing up lets you ask questions, post in discussion boards, and get weekly updates.

Hosting a community of 11+ million users, its general programming forums are classified using tags based on programming languages, development platforms, and web services. Some of the popular topics dealt with are .NET, C#, C++, Java, Android, SQL, and Web. The site also has a constantly growing articles and discussions base, which attracts contributions from developers all over the world.

6. Google Groups

Google Groups, a service from Google, is a place to create communities where people with common interests can get together, make discussions, and find help with issues. Google Groups allows you to create a question and answer forum or join one and interact with other like-minded people.

To get started, sign in with Google, find the right group, join in, and start asking or answering questions.

Question & Answer groups let members ask questions and answer the questions asked by other members – much like StackOverflow and others. Groups fall under categories and regions with sub-categories, for example, Computers have various sub-categories like Artificial Intelligence, Databases, Games, Graphics, Internet, Operating Systems, Programming, Security, Software, etc. Each category has various groups created by members – browse or make a search to find the best as per the requirements.

7. CodeRanch

CodeRanch, a discussion board for programmers, is an ideal place for novices to learn the basics of Java, Android and iOS programming, and post queries about the things they need help with. Sub-forums on databases, computer engineering, and other languages including C/C++, Ruby, python, and PHP are also available. One can easily register, join a sub-forum, ask questions, and reply to unanswered questions.

The site even host other sub-forums, which discuss careers, products, frameworks, and more. Meaningless Drivel is for users who are there just to talk, Blatant Advertising is for people seeking exposure, and coding puzzles and fun challenges are discussed in Programming Diversions. With 280+ thousand registered users, this vital community holds the potential to help programmers past a hitch.

8. Programmers Heaven

Programmers Heaven offers resources including Question & Answer communities for developers and offers help in multiple languages and applications such as C and C++, Visual Basic, Java, VB.NET, PHP, and python. Posts are categorized under groups like Programming Languages, Applications, Mobile & Wireless, Operating Systems & Platforms, Software Development, Web Development, etc.

The site places a Question tag next to query posts and an Answered tag beside answered ones (you can also locate and answer unanswered questions quickly). Discussion lists shows the number of views and comments for each post, which helps to find popular topics to view. To start using this site, make a search for required info or sign up and comment on others’ posts.

9. FindNerd

A social network for developers, FindNerd is a great go-to website for querying on the technical aspects of various programming languages and practices. It’s a mix of freelance market and learning forum – providing best of both worlds with 0% commission charge. To get started, register on the site, and post questions or answer questions, or create projects, provide services, and collaborate with others.

Signing up allows you to post questions, and blog on technical issues which other users may find relevant and useful. The site has developers’ community that answer questions to improve their work profile and can help in your project in better way for a small fee. The site also provides a free desktop recording tool for users who want help with an issue, but couldn’t sufficiently outline it in a query.

10. Chegg

An educational resource site, Chegg offers solutions and tips for students around the world. Some of the services they provide are online tutoring, homework help, help acquiring textbooks’ solutions, advice and news on internships and careers, etc. Just sign up for the site and ask questions for free.

For programmers, the Computer Science section allows posting queries about Algorithms, Database Systems, Software Design, Operating Systems, Programming, and others. Experts from around the world provide assistance and tutoring in various subjects. Chegg Study, unlike the other sites on this list, is not completely free but will let you ask 20 new questions every month for free.

Top 10 Free Wallpaper Apps For iOS & Android Devices - ma, 23/11/2015 - 16:01

If you use your smartphone a lot, you probably play around with the wallpaper settings too. Some of us might opt for personal photos instead of the default wallpapers but sometimes those photos make the homescreen look cluttered. If you’re looking for fresh and beautiful smartphone wallpapers that won’t get in the way, here are 10 great wallpaper apps that may be able to help.

The following 10 wallpaper apps are available for both Android and iOS devices. Each app has something unique to offer, be it high-definition photos or the ability to randomize your wallpapers. The sources for these images also vary according to each app; you could be pulling famous art, monograms or even HD satellite images!

1. Wlppr (iOS)

The ultimate wallpaper app here, Wlppr contains a collection of satellite images of our lovely planet. The photosare taken from numerous sources – links to the original sources are included, showing the most interesting places on earth taken from high up. Basically, you are in for some awesome looking wallpapers. New images are updated every week.

2. Gradient (iOS)

Color gradients are great as wallpapers because they do not make your homescreen look cluttered. Gradient is an app that lets you explore stunning gradients. swipe around to explore and adjust the colors that you might find most suitable to your taste. To get another choice, shake your phone. To apply a wallpaper, save your results to the camera roll or gallery.

3. Blurred (iOS)

Blurred is an app to create simple and stylish graphics by applying a blurred effect on any pattern or photo. You can adjust the color by dragging the color slider to pick the color you like, then swipe to left or right to add patterns to the image. You can also take a pic using camera then procceed with the app to make it a stuning blurred wallpaper.

4. Everpic (iOS)

Everpic provides full and amazing-looking HD backgrounds for smartphones. You can browse the wallpapers, available in 14 categories including, 3D, music, abstract, nature, cities, minimal, sports etc. New wallpapers are added every day.

5. Monogram Lite (iOS)

Monogram Lite lets you create and personalize your own wallpaper by combining pretty backgrounds, badges, frames and typography. There are 60 free backgrounds that lets you start monograming right away. With this app you can change your wallpaper seasonally.

6. Tapdeck (Android)

Tapdeck not only fills your Android homescreen with cool wallpapers very easily, it also allows you to switch to another wallpaper with a double tap. Apart from that, it also displays content related to your current wallpaper selection, pulling content from Wikipedia, Reddit, Flickr and more. To access this info, just swipe up on the screen.

7. Meter (Android)

Meter is an Android experiment which displays data about your phone such as battery level, wireless signal and notifications, with a twist. Meter turns the data into a live wallpaper, creating three types of simple visualization, which will be cycled through everytime you unlock your phone. The wallpaper will also change when you tilt or move your device. Check out the inner workings of Meter here.

8. Wonderwall (Android)

Wonderwall contains bunch of the best nature and landscape photography. New wallpapers are added every day. The fun thing about Wonderwall is you can let it set wallpapers for you, random choices based on an interval you choose, or the latest wallpaper that is added to the collection. The wallpapers have also been optimized for the portrait orientation.

9. Muzei (Android)

Muzei features beautiful famous art as your wallpaper but you can also get add-ons that will allow you to use wallpapers from third party sources such asFlickr, Tumblr, Instagram, Behance, NASA photos, etc. For further personalization, blur, dim or change your wallpaper to grayscale, or opt for the images to be automatically rotated at the set time interval. Check out how Muzei works here.

10. Minimal Wallpapers (Android)

For those of you who like a minimalistic backgrounds instead of colored gradients or fancy images, this is the app for you. With more than 110 minimal wallpapers, available in HD, you can find two-toned choices, flat backgrounds fairly easily. This works best with custom launchers.

Bonus: 4 More Wallpaper Apps You Might Like

Wallrox (Android). A cloud-based wallpaper sanctuary with thousands of QHD quality (2560 x 2560px) Material Design wallpapers.

Interfacelift (iOS). HD images that are in the perfect size for iOS devices. Browser by date, popularity or pick a random image to turn into your wallpaper.

500 Firepaper (Android). Features images from 500px. Get quality photos as your wallpaper and set it to change within a certain interval to keep your wallpapers fresh.

Icon Skin (iOS). Original wallpapers optimized for iOS devices. Pick a wallpaper from the many weekly updates, and apply the blur effect on it if you prefer blurred images.

How to Add Thumbnails to WordPress Categories & Tags - ma, 23/11/2015 - 14:01

Sometimes a WordPress site will look a lot nicer if we were able to display an image beside categories or tags. For example, we may add an image about CSS in the "CSS" category or the HTML5 logo in the "HTML" category (like shown below).

Back in version 2.9, WordPress added the ability to add an Image Thumbnail (later renamed Featured Image) for post, page as well as custom post type. This Image Thumbnail feature does not cover Category, Tag, and Custom Taxonomy, even for later versions (with the exception of perhaps Custom Taxonomy, possibly in WordPress 4.4.)

Thanks to this WordPress tip and the Taxonomy Thumbnail plugin, we can do this to our post categories and tags. Let’s check out how this can be done with a few lines of code.

Getting Started

To begin with, deploy this plugin in your WordPress site. You can install the plugin either through Plugins > Add New or through FTP. Once you have activated the plugin, go to Post > Categories. Now, you should be able to find the button “Set a thumbnail“.

Clicking this button will display the WordPress Media Manager. Here you can you select the image you have previously uploaded as the category image or you can upload your image, customize it, and finally select it as the image thumbnail of the category (or the tag).

The image will be shown in the Category table, allowing you to see which category has an image category attached.

The Template Tags

This plugin comes with some handy template tags to retrieve images similar to the Post Thumbnail template tags. This way, we can retrieve the term’s thumbnail easily.

  • get_term_thumbnail_id( $term_taxonomy_id ): to get the Taxonomy term thumbnail ID.
  • has_term_thumbnail( $term_taxonomy_id ): To check if the Taxonomy term has thumbnail or not.
  • get_term_thumbnail( $term_taxonomy_id, $size = ‘post-thumbnail’, $attr = ” ): To retrive the Taxonomy term thumbnail.

As you can see above, these functions require the taxonomy ID – the category, the tag, or the custom taxonomy ID – which you can retrieve using the term_taxonomy_id function. The plugin comes with a few more functions such as to set and delete the thumbnail, but these are sufficient for now.

How To Display Thumbnails Get Terms list

First we use the get_terms() function to get lists of terms of the specified Taxonomy – in this case we will get the terms from the post category.

<?php $taxonomy = 'category'; $args = array( 'orderby' => 'name', 'order' => 'ASC', 'hide_empty' => true, 'exclude' => array(), 'exclude_tree' => array(), 'include' => array(), 'number' => '', 'fields' => 'all', 'slug' => '', 'parent' => '', 'hierarchical' => true, 'child_of' => 0, 'childless' => false, 'get' => '', 'name__like' => '', 'description__like' => '', 'pad_counts' => false, 'offset' => '', 'search' => '', 'cache_domain' => 'core', ); $terms = get_terms($taxonomy, $args); ?>

The output is an Array containing information of each term including the term_id, name, slug, term_group, term_taxonomy_id, description, etc. Now, we need to display the term’s name within the lists using the foreach loop, as follows.

<?php if (!empty($terms) && !is_wp_error($terms) ){ echo '<p>'. $taxonomy .':</p>'; echo '<ul>'; foreach ($terms as $term) { echo $term->name; } echo '</ul>'; } ?>

The result looks something like this:

Here we have CSS, HTML, JavaScript, jQuery and PHP. We have attached the respective image (logo or icon) for each of these terms. Now, we need to know how to display them.

Display the Thumbnails

To show the image thumbnail, we will extend the foreach loop, like from our previous code.

We add the template tag, get_term_thumbnail(), to get the thumbnail and we also add a link to the term’s archive page.

if ( ! empty( $terms ) && ! is_wp_error( $terms ) ){ echo '<ul>'; foreach ( $terms as $term ) { echo '<li><a href="/index.php/' . $taxonomy . '/' . $term->slug . '">' . $term->name . get_term_thumbnail( $term->term_taxonomy_id, $size = 'category-thumb', $attr = '' ) . '</a></li>'; } echo '</ul>'; }

And the result (after the added CSS) is as shown below:

The plugin has options to choose to retrieve all terms or just terms with thumbnails. To do this, use the parameter below on the get_terms() function:

$taxonomy = 'category'; $args = array( 'with_thumbnail' => true, // true = retrieve terms that has thumbnail, false = retrieve all terms ); $terms = get_terms($taxonomy, $args); Apply to other taxonomy

As mentioned, you can apply this plugin to not only categories but also other Taxonomy such as the Tags, Link Category, and Custom Taxonomy. This plugin is useful to enable Image Thumbnail on any Taxonomy just like in Post and Page.

38 Freebies &#038; Goodies For Web Designers &#8211; November 2015 - vr, 20/11/2015 - 14:01

It’s near the end of 2015 and we keep the freebies coming. This compilation contains amazing branding mockups, plenty of good-looking templates and some pretty cool text effects.

Also in the list are UI tools, kits, styles, amazing and diverse icons, stylish fonts, web templates in PSD format, unique WordPress themes and plugins and more. To get the resources, visit the source via the links provided. If these aren’t to your liking, please check out our earlier compilations at these links:

Inkallicons: 150 Ink Line Style Icons

Inkallicons is a set of 150 line style icons in Ai and SVG formats crafted with an ink-like trace and featuring effects that give them a realistic look.

World Landmark Vector Icons

A set of 18 vector icons that feature quite a defined line style in order to represent several of the most known landmarks in the world.

Bitsies: Line Color Vector Icons Set

Bitsies is a set of 143 vector icons that feature a line trace in several widths and colors, released free for personal and commercial use.

Office and Business Vector Icon Pack

A pack of 92 icons related to business and office topics released in several vector formats and additional PNG previews ranging from 64 to 512 pixels.

FlagKit: 180 Flag Sketch Icons Library

FlagKit is a Sketch icon library that features over 180 flags of countries and organizations across the world, ready to be called from Swift coding.

170 Line Icons Set

A set of 170 icons released in PSD format that feature a line style representing miscellaneous elements.

Blobs: Flat Colorful Icons Pack

Blobs is a pack of 1000 icons that feature a pure flat design delivered in Ai, PSD and SVG formats.

iOS 9 Sketch Keyboard Kit

A kit of several iOS 9 keyboard templates in both light and dark style featuring Qwerty layouts, emoticons, numerical keyboards and other keys.

24 Flat Mockups of Apple Devices

A set of 24 flat mockups representing most of the current Apple devices collection such as Apple Watch, iPod, iPad, iPhone, iMac and MacBooks.

Diverse Device Hands (Mockups)

Diverse Device Hands is a set of regular mockups featuring a range of hand-held mobile devices with different screen sizes.

Mydesk: Desk Item Mockup Set

MyDesk is a set of 50 mockups representing several desktop items such as cameras, coffee cups, keys, USD drives, and more.

T-Shirt PSD Mockup Set

A set of 10 photorealistic mockups that allow you to feature your design in several positioned T-Shirts which can be edited via Photoshop smart objects.

Newspaper Design Inclusion Mockup

A set of 14 photorealistic mockups that allow you to feature your ad designs in newspaper sections of different sizes and placements.

Blurring Image Filter

Blur Like Jony is an image filter plugin for Photoshop inspired by Apple's iOS blurring effect, allowing you to showcase your edition in a dark, light or extra light mode.

Style Tiles: Sketch App Template for Startups Design

Style tiles is a template for Sketch App that allows you to design logos by helping you manage the proportions of your design color scheme.

Stone Text Effect

A Photoshop effect that gives your text an amazing stone texture in a 3D perspective. It's best suited for sharp edged fonts. Material & Flat UI Resources is a web tool for designers that feature material design colors, icons and flat UI colors collections available for direct download or color code copy-to-clipboard.

Core: Colorful iOS UI Kit

CORE UI Kit comes with 12 fully editable high-quality screens of the 9 most common categories. This kit comes in PSD format including artboards to work with Adobe PS CC 2015.

U.S. Web Design Standards

An open source project that aims to collect and curate style guidelines used by US government sites.

Stark: Flat Acid Colored UI Kit

Stark is a modern web UI Kit that features a flat style with a soft and acid color palette. It consists 200 components, 90 elements, and 10 categories.

DYK: Blog UI Kit Collection

DYK is a collection of 13 homepage variations featuring a resolution of 1920×10000 pixel for website UI kit, perfectly suitable for blogging sites.

Let’s Go Travel App Concept

Let's Go is an iOS UI concept specifically designed for travel- and tourism-related applications featuring line icons and a flat minimal style.

Relancer Font

Relancer is a typeface that was designed following a single grid made out of regular circles and squares. The typeface is in uppercase, and contains a few special characters.

Novu-M Font

Novu-M is a rather futuristic looking typeface that comes in uppercase characters featuring a narrow and regular width style.

Stilu Font

Stilu is a sans serif typeface family that comes in four different weights for both regular and oblique styles. It features ligatures, lining, old style figures and more.


Anson is a sans serif font that features straight ends and edges, inspired by a British twin-engine, multi-role aircraft from the World War II.


Amsdam is a round typeface that includes a tail in most of its diverse characters in order to give a drop-like look.

H&S: ECommerce Fashion Web Layout Concept

H&S is a PSD web template that presents a new concept of layout featuring a 24 column 40 pixel-width grid which would allow you to lay out content in a very diverse way.

Food Magazine Sketch & PSD Template

A PSD & Sketch template that shows a modern tile layout concept for food magazine websites, combining section feature images and flat color backgrounds.

Flat Landing Page PSD Bootstrap Template

Hasi is a PSD landing page template for Bootstrap 3 that features a nice and clean flat style and filled icons.

Wedding Dress ECommerce Web Template

A clean website template that would perfectly suit eCommerce sites for wedding dresses and related products.

New Maxx

New Maxx is a WordPress theme designed for multiple purposes that comes with eCommerce features as well as several size containers and sidebars.


Zerius is a WordPress theme that has nice parallax effects for smooth navigation, as well as wooCommerce-ready features and custom blocks.


ClassyLite is a business template that comes ready-to-use with both Bootstrap and WordPress featuring a nice flat design and multi-weight line icons.

IDE Micro Code-Editor WordPress Plugin

A shortcode implementation of Codeflask to be embedded into WordPress. It allows you to edit code from WordPress.

Google Maps Plugin WordPress Plugin

Intergeo Maps is a WordPress Plugin that allows you to embed customized Google maps directly into your website. You can set initial position and zoom, control settings, manage colors, and more.

Medium: Automated Photo Publisher WordPress Plugin

A WordPress plugin that allows you to automatically publish photos onto Medium profiles directly from WordPress.

Dual Sliding Panels

A code snippet that generates panels that slide along sidewards in order to deploy a description featured by a background image.

50 Absolutely Beautiful 2016 Calendar Designs - do, 19/11/2015 - 14:01

It’s already November and we are near the end of 2015. You might already be making plans for expanding your career or business, drafting a new list of new year resolutions, checking out gift ideas or even creating gifts (for example, beautiful calendars) to give away to your clients.

On that note, if your plan is to create calendars to gift to your clients, collaborators or freelancers — one that carries your brand or company name — then you will absolutely love this compilation of gorgeous calendar designs.

From modern and minimalistic to funky and fabulous, these calendar designs can help you look forward to a new year. Some of them are also available as printables but you will have to click in to the source to get the files you need.


IMAGE: Peter von Freyhold and OUI R Creative Studio

IMAGE: ElisaSept

IMAGE: IrenaSophia

IMAGE: EyePoetryPhotography

IMAGE: TheNativeState

IMAGE: Anietillustration

IMAGE: QuotesandProse

IMAGE: rforrhoda

IMAGE: 51FIVEdesigns

IMAGE: OipsStore

IMAGE: O.OO Risograph printing & design Room

IMAGE: Sunga Park

IMAGE: DesignDifferent

IMAGE: ModernPrintedMatter

IMAGE: MokileArt

IMAGE: NationalParkArt

IMAGE: rachelspuzzlethings

IMAGE: amberartdesign

IMAGE: maedchenwahn

IMAGE: doublebuttons

IMAGE: AndSoItGoesShop

IMAGE: ModernPrintedMatter

IMAGE: GreenBeanThings

IMAGE: Saksham Verma and Barkha Gupta

IMAGE: Mikhail Laptev

IMAGE: Ana Varela

IMAGE: Alejandro Narváez

IMAGE: Marieken Hensen

IMAGE: Arina Pozdnyak

IMAGE: Regio

IMAGE: Multiple Owners

IMAGE: RebeccaStonerDesigns

IMAGE: mademoiselleyo

IMAGE: TwoBrushesDesigns

IMAGE: Beaisfor

IMAGE: slanted

IMAGE: Martina Friedli

IMAGE: Szende Brassai / Adline

IMAGE: Maria Deligiorgi and tind

IMAGE: ErinVaughan

IMAGE: Samantha Симпсон and Jono Alderson

IMAGE: shannonpix

IMAGE: Marita

IMAGE: nataliecreatesshop

IMAGE: 1canoe2

MAGE: ILovePrintable

IMAGE: GrainandDot

IMAGE: Gingiber


Raspberry Pi Alternatives: 8 SBC to Check Out - wo, 18/11/2015 - 16:01

When we talk about single-board computers (SBC), the first name that comes to mind is probably Raspberry Pi. There are many things we can do with a Raspberry Pi, including build a smart microwave and even a solar weather station (find out how to do both here).


As cool as the Raspberry Pi is, there are various alternatives out there that deserve some love from geeks, technocrats and hobbyists as well. In this post we wil be looking at 8 alternatives to the Raspberry Pi (and Pi 2). Time to step up the competition.

Why the need for Raspberry Pi / Pi 2 Alternatives?

As amazingly powerful and affordable the Raspberry Pi is for pet projects, it still lacks the necessary horsepower for more professional projects or more demanding home experiments.

The Pi series comes with an ARM processor, so it cannot run x86- or x64-based applications and operating systems, which includes Windows 8.1 (and its predecessors) and various Linux distributions.

Pi 2, on the other hand, is camera-shy and is known to have a bug that prevents you from taking its photos. The Pi series also lacks on-board storage (so it requires an SD card for data storage), Wi-Fi and SATA support, features that are found in some of the alternatives we will be naming below. Let’s have a look on the competitors.

1. Odroid-C1

Like the Pi 2, the Odroid-C1 has 4 USB 2.0 ports, HDMI and it is also priced at $35. However, the Odroid-C 1 is a great alternative due to additional features like Gigabit Ethernet, support for Android, and the option to use high speed eMMC module.

The board is fuelled with 1.5 GHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A5 CPU from Amlogic with a RAM capacity of 1 GB. Plus, it has an infrared remote control receiver. Value for price, this one’s a winner.

2. BeagleBone Black

When Raspberry Pi was launched at just $35 as a full-fledged Single Board Computer (SBC), BeagleBoard reacted quickly to the competition by launching its $45 (Rev. B) SBC. The new model is upgraded with Sitara AM335x processor running at 1GHz clock speed.

While Black is more powerful than its predecessor, it lags behind when compared with Pi 2 or Model B. The device runs on 512 MB DDR3 RAM and supports only 1 USB 2.0 port. However, Black holds some interesting surprises under its hood such as 10/100 Ethernet, HDMI and microSD storage.

3. Banana Pi

With 1GHz A20 dual-core processor and 1 GB RAM under its hood, Banana Pi is a $49 high-end SBC that’s much faster than the Raspberry Pi. However, its Mali GPU is significantly inferior to the VideoCore GPU of the Raspberry Pi 2.

The connectivity of the device is enhanced by 2 USB 2.0 ports, an Ethernet connector and a SATA 2.0 port. Its unique selling point is its storage capacity that’s a maximum of 64 GB via SD card and a maximum of 2 TB through SATA port.

4. Intel Galileo Gen2

Intel joins the race with its $45 Galileo Gen2, which offers Adruino support and its ability to boot without the need of external memory. The board runs on 32-bit Quark SoC X1000 processor with a clock speed up to 400 MHz.

The 256 MB RAM is less than that of Pi 2, but its 100 megabits Ethernet and the capability to integrate with the Arduino development environment make it a handy choice in robotics and electronics industry.

5. HummingBoard

Running on 1 GHz i.MX6 dual-core Cortex-A9 CPU and GC2000 GPU, HummingBoard is more advanced than the Cortex-A7 processor of the Pi 2. Its price is also much higher than the Raspberry Pi 2, at $70-160, though its support to run both Linux and Android provides an upper hand.

Memory support for 1 GB and connectivity options such as 3.5 mm audio jack, Ethernet, HDMI and two USB 2.0 ports makes it quite similar to the Pi 2. HummingBoard comes with Android 4.4 aka KitKat on the board, thus offering a similar experience to your Android smartphone.

6. Udoo Dual

Fuelled with quad core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU running at 1 GHZ, Udoo is a $115 minicomputer with 1GB RAM capable of running Android as well as various Linux distributions.

Although it’s less powerful than the Pi 2 or the BeagleBone, but its capability to support Android makes it a good alternative to use as a smartphone as well as a computer. With additional features like Ethernet, HDMI, Wi-Fi, microSD card slot and multiple USB ports, Udoo has emerged as a complete package.

7. MinnowBoard Max

MinnowBoard Max has a single-core Atom E38xx processor with a clock speed of 1.46 GHz and 1 GB DDR2 RAM which makes it a powerful alternative to the Raspberry Pi 2. The connectivity options in the board include 2 USB 2.0 ports, SATA-2, and Gigabit Ethernet.

Although the price of $99 is much higher, MinnowBoard offers much more flexibility to users who don’t need GPIO capabilities and open hardware. There is another version which costs $139 and comes with dual-core 1.33 GHz processor and 2GB RAM.

8. PandaBoard

Equipped with dual-core 1 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor, PandaBoard is a miniature powerhouse that comes with 1 GHz CPU and 384 MHz GPU. Its $174 price tag is higher than its competitors (Pi and Pi 2), but its capability to produce 1080p video from its DVI or HDMI port gives it an edge over other single board computers in the league.

Connectivity wise, the board packs Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 10/100 Ethernet, and two USB 2.0 ports, which makes competitive to the Raspberry Pi 2. Its board can handle 32 GB of data input and output using its SD card slot.

Wrap Up

Products like Udoo, HummingBoard and Odroid-C1 offer more features than Pi or Pi 2, while others like Banana Pi and MinnowBoard Max give better power combinations from the processor and RAM. How you make your choice will depend on what you seek from your SBC.

Let us know which ones you will opt for, or if you are sticking to Pi and Pi 2. We’d love to hear from you through the comments section.

Now Read:
20 Wonderful Things You Can Do with Raspberry Pi

10 Best Mobile Apps to Create Typography Easily - wo, 18/11/2015 - 14:01

Stringing words together in beautiful font is fun to do, and now it is also extremely easy to do so on your mobile device. There are plenty of web typography tools and libraries you can use for the same purpose but when it is an app, one you can use at anytime before you share on your social network, come on, who wouldn’t like that?

Here are mobile apps that you can use to apply, edit and create cool typography on your photos or as an image to share quickly and easily. These apps are mostly available on iOS and Android, and are free unless specified otherwise. Know of another app that would be a fit in this list? Tell us in the comments.


Typorama automatically generates text layouts in 35 typographic style from hundreds of available font. Select a background, type a few words, style your text and your typography is ready.

Play with 3D distortion, shadow, gradient, filter and add ribbons, badges, or ornaments to enrich your design. You can then use the result to post on your Facebook, save as wallpaper, make a flyer, and many more.

[Download: iOS]


PicLab is a photo editor with the capability to add beautiful typography and artwork. You can apply effect, filter, light FX, textures, borders, patterns and stickers on your photos and let your creativity shine through with best font collections.

Rotate, resize, set the opacity, add multiple text layer or add drop shadow on your font. If you don’t like their watermark on your design, just pay $1 to remove it

[Download: iOS | Android | Windows Phone]

Font Candy

Font Candy lets you mask your photos with captions or by adding text overlay on your images with amazing handpicked font. You can choose artwork or using preset sayings to add to your photos, in stylish typography of course.

If you don’t have matching photos on your camera roll, there are built-in search features to grab images from Pixabay. [Download: iOS]


Over lets everyone to be creative with more than 800 illustrations and 300 fonts to give you an amazing range of possible combinations. Create greeting cards, inspirational quotes, market your goods or visualize a lightbulb thought you chanced upon, quickly and easily with Over

The app also pulls images from Unsplash and Pixabay via addons, and makes it easy to share to your favorite social networks [Download: iOS ($3.99)]


With Quick you can add text onto your photos in a snap. Pick a photo from your album, then add some text. As you slide through the different fonts provided by the app you get a quick view of how the type looks on your photo.

This makes selecting the right font so much easier. Adjust the size, and color of your text and voilà, you’re reading to share. [Download: iOS and Android]


If you are bored with plain text postings on your social network, Notegraphy can help you beautify your words with more than 40 templates and 120 different variations. You can share the results on popular social networks, or create a gallery’s worth first before sharing. Follow interesting users to get inspiration. [Download: iOS and Android]


Like the many typography tools you can find on the web, WordSwag automatically designs the words you put on your photos. Wordswag basically puts some swag into your quotes or captions, and if you do not like what you see, just pick any alternative from 30 other choices. Then, save your design or share it with friends. [Download: iOS ($3.99)]


Phonto is simple app to add text on your images. There are more than 200 fonts available and you can add your own font as well. Add a text, then tap on it to modify its size, color, font face, letter spacing, line spacing, shadow, and more. [Download: iOS and Android]


Fontspiration lets you create custom typography with animation. There are more than a hundred fonts available and plenty of inspiration to draw from via their feed which showcases typography art from designers around the word. What you create can be saved as an image, GIF, video or directly shared to Instagram. [Download: iOS]


Ampergram makes use of Instagram photos to create cool typography. It works by exploring photos with letters on Instagram. This photos are tagged with #ampergram followed by the shown letter (eg #a or #b). The images are then delivered to you when you arrange a word via Ampergram. The result is a beautiful typographic composition made by Instagtam’s letter photos. [Download: iOS ($0.99) and Android ($0.99)]

10 Useful Firefox Developer Tools You Should Know - di, 17/11/2015 - 14:01

Firefox being "developer’s browser" has many great tools to help make our work easier. You can find more on its tool collection on the Firefox Developer Tools webpage and can also try their Developer Edition Browser which has more features and tools that are being tested.

For this post, I’ve listed 10 handy tools you might like from its developer tools collection. I’ve also demonstrated what these tools can do with GIFs plus how to access them for quick reference.

1. View horizontal and vertical rulers

Firefox has a ruler tool that displays both horizontal and vertical rulers with pixel units on the page. The tool is useful for arranging your elements across the page.

To access rulers through the menu, go to: ☰ > Developer > Developer Toolbar (shortcut: Shift + F2). Once the toolbar appears at the bottom of the page, type rulers and press Enter.

To make this appear on the developer tools window, Go to "Toolbox Options". Under the "Available Toolbox Buttons" section, check the "Toggle rulers for the page" checkbox.

2. Take screenshots using CSS selectors

Although the Firefox toolbar lets you take screenshots of the full page or visible portions, in my opinion the CSS selector method is more useful for capturing screenshots of individual elements as well as for elements that are visible on mouse-hover only (like menus).

To take screenshots through the menu, go to ☰ > Developer > Developer Toolbar (shortcutShift + F2). Once the toolbar appears at the bottom of the page, type screenshot --selector any_unique_css_selector and press enter.

To make this appear on the developer tools window: click "Toolbox Options" and under "Available Toolbox Buttons" section, check "Take a fullpage screenshot" checkbox.

3. Pick colors from web pages

Firefox has a built-in color picker tool by the name of "Eyedropper". To access the "Eyedropper" tool through menu go to ☰ > Developer > Eyedropper.

To make this appear on the developer tools window: click "Toolbox Options" and under "Available Toolbox Buttons" section check "Grab a color from the page" checkbox.

4. View page layout in 3D

Viewing webpages in 3D helps with layout problems. You’ll be able to see the different layered elements much more clearly in 3D view. To view the webpage in 3D, click the "3D View" tool button.

To make this appear on the developer tools window, click "Toolbox Options" and under "Available Toolbox Buttons" section check the"3D View" checkbox.

5. View browser style

Browser Styles consist of two types: the default style a browser assigns for every element, and the browser-specific styles (the ones with the browser prefix). By taking a look at the browser styles you’ll be able to diagnose any override issues in your stylesheet and also come to know of any existing browser specific styles .

To access "Browser styles" through menu, go to ☰ > Developer > Inspector. Then click the "Computed" tab in the right section and check the "Browser styles" checkbox.

You can also open the "Inspector" tab through the shortcut Ctrl +Shift + C and then accessing "Browser styles".

6. Disable JavaScript for current session

For best practice and screen reader compatibility it is always advised to code any website in such a way that its functionality is not hindered in a javascript-disabled environment. To test for such environments, you can disable the JavaScript for the session you’re working in.

To disable JavaScript for current session click "Toolbox Options" and under "Advanced settings" section check the "Disable JavaScript*" checkbox.

7. Hide CSS style from the page

Just like JavaScript, due to accessibility concerns it is best to design websites in such a way that the pages should still be readable even without any styles. To see how the page looks without any style, you can disable them in the developer tools.

To remove any CSS style (inline, internal or external) applied on a webpage, just click on the eye symbol of the listed stylesheets in the "Style Editor" tab. Click it again to revert to the original view.

To access "Style Editor" through menu go to ☰ > Developer > Style Editor (shortcut: Shift + F7.

8. Preview the HTML content response to a request

Firefox developer tools has an option to preview the HTML content type responses. This helps the developer to preview any 302 redirects and check whether any sensitive information has been rendered or not in the response.

To access "Preview" through menu go to ☰ > Developer > Network (shortcut: Ctrl +Shift + Q. Then open the webpage of your choice or reload the current page, click on the desired request (with HTML response) from the list of requests and click the "Preview" tab in the right section.

9. Preview webpage in different screen sizes

To test a webpage for its responsiveness use the "Responsive Design View", which can be accessed by ☰ > Developer > Responsive Design View or with the shortcut: Ctrl +Shift + M.

To make the "Responsive Design Mode" tool button appear, click "Toolbox Options" and under the "Available Toolbox Buttons" section, check "Responsive Design Mode" checkbox.

10. Run JavaScript on pages

For quick JavaScript executions on any webpage simply use the "Scratchpad" tool of Firefox. To access "Scratchpad" through the menu go to; ☰ > Developer > Scratchpad or use the keyboard shortcut Shift + F4.

To make the "Scratchpad" tool button appear on the developer tools window for quick use: click "Toolbox Options" and under the "Available Toolbox Buttons" section check the "Scratchpad" checkbox.

40 Awesome Geeky Gift Ideas - ma, 16/11/2015 - 16:01

Looking for gift ideas to buy for the geeks in your life? The holiday season is almost here and the game is afoot to find the best gift for your loved ones – or in some cases to reward yourself for an extremely good, or extremely tough, year.

In this post you will find a list of nifty gift ideas that geeks will love – some of them are inspired by popular movies, TV series and games, while others are just flat out "shut up and take my money" merchandise. Now, let the shopping begin!

Inception: Spinning Totem

This iconic spinning totem sums up what we love (or hate) about the movie Inception. Get one of your own and give it a spin ($22).

Sherlock: 221B Keychain

Fans of Sherlock would love to have this 2-inch customizable lightweight aluminum keychain with 221B engraved on it. There’s probably space for "Baker Street" in there. (£6.65)

Star Wars BB-8 Droid

A new droid (from Star Wars Awakening) that can learn and react to your voice. You can also control it with your smartphone. Without question, the perfect gift for hardcore Star Wars fans. ($149.99)

Underworld Stars Prop Replica

Love the vampire movie, Underworld? The fifth instalment is said to be coming in 2016. While we wait, check out this prop replica of badass Lycan-hunter, Selene’s throwing star set. ($249.95)

Death Note

Thankfully (or unfortunately) this is not a real Death Note. Instead of playing the role of Death himself, you can write groceries, wishlists, study notes and other harmless (aka boring) stuff in this. ($9.99)

Time Turner

An officially licensed time-turner necklace from the Harry Potter series, the thing that Hermione used to attend extra classes with, made with 24 karat gold plating and inner rotating rings. The perfect collectible for fans of the book and series. ($49)

Captain America Backpack

Carry your belongings in this Captain America shield (as seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron). The backpack comes with several pockets inside including two for accessories and for a laptop. ($59.99)

Avatar Wooden Pendant Necklaces

In The Last Airbender series, White Lotus helped Team Avatar defeat the Fire Nation. You can own your own 1.25-inch replica of these pendant necklaces as well. Bending powers not included. ($9.99)

Pokemon Badges

From the Elite Four collcetion, these badges would look great hanging from your wall. The whole collection contains 50 badges, and are assembled and glued by hand to a 24×12′ metal board. Made to order. ($300)

Death Star Ice Sphere Mold

An ice mold that shapes ice cubes in the form of the Death Star from the original Star Wars series. I can imagine that there are some fans who would create these ice cubes only to blast them while reenacting that iconic scene. ($11.99)

Game of Throne Monopoly

A G.O.T themed Monopoly board, minus all the blood and killing of "main players". Nope, the same old ordinary Monopoly game board rules apply but the totems look awesome. (£29.99)

Minecraft LightUp Redstone Ore

This 3″ replica of Redstone will be a favorite amongst Minecraft fans. It has 3 levels of light brightness, which you can adjust with light taps (with your hand, not pickaxes or swords like in the game). ($24.99)

Moustache Guard Mug

A perfect mug for gentlemen with long, lustrous mustaches. It keeps your beverage away from your facial hair. And the mug decor is very interesting too. (£14.99)

Exploding Kittens

Coming from Matthew Inman (of the Oatmeal fame) and two friends (Elan Lee and Shane Small), we get a card game perfect for players aged 7 and above with a special love, or hatred for kittens (I can’t tell). The game raised 1 million on Kickstarter in just 7 hours. (€25 – €35)

Lumos Helmet

A helmet designed to improve safety when cycling at night. This helmet is equipped with front light, left and right light as turning signal, and a red stop light. Controls are attached on the bike, and communicated via a wireless remote. ($134 on Pre-order)

Kano Kit

Kano is a DIY computer kit. It is powered by a Raspberry Pi plus apps to help you or for kids to get the first taste of learning how to code. ($149.99)

Lomo’Instant Kyoto

Lomo’Instant allows you to take photos and print them out instantly. This pack comes with a camera, 3 types of lenses, and 3 packs of film to print out your photos. ($193.83)


Back then, paper planes can fly for a mere few seconds. Today’s paper planes can get a boost with specialized paper, gear and a smartphone app. Great times to be a kid. ($49.99)

Foldio 2

A foldable, portable studio you can take with you on your photo-taking adventures. If you or a friend sell stuff online, this would be a great gift. ($75.00)

Superman Adult Leather Jacket

An awesome leather jacket with the man of steel’s insignia imprinted. You can’t fly in it but you would look awesome blazing down the highway on your motorbike with this thing on. ($449.95)


This is magical lamp. It levitates and hovers over a pad which lights it up wirelessly. The lamp uses an LED that lasts for 50,000 hours. And you can also wirelessly charge your smartphone on the pad. ($299 on Pre-order)

Batman Vs Superman batarang

A limited-edition handmade batarang made from cold cast resin. The maker will only make 50 of these. ($20.31)

Pokemon Cap

The iconic cap belonging to Reddo of Pokemon. It looks great for cosplaying as well for playing Pokemon Go. (£19.99)

Batman Gotham Cityscape Chess Set

An awesome chess set with Batman and Batwoman as King and Queen on the White side and Joker leading the dark side with Harley Queen. ($694.95)

Wonder Woman Business Card Holder

This card holder features the Wonder Women emblem giving it an elegant and classy look. ($29.95)

Pixel Stickers

Get your pixelated stickers of legendary game characters like Mario, Pokemon, and Legend of Zelda. ($5)

Batmobile Bookends

From Batman Arkham Knight, this Batmobile replica is recreated with the finest details. Split in two, they become the ultimate bookends for your comic book collection. ($199.95)


A replica of the Iron Man suit designed to battle the hulk, this Hulkbuster is approximately 55cm tall and features an arc reactor that will light up with 16 LEDs. ($824)

Pipe Mug

A mug that is shaped like the pipes in the Mario Bros adventures. It is made of ceramic, and safe for microwave use. Alternatively you can use it as a plant pot. Similarly themed coasters are available for $8 per piece. ($29)

Monochromatic Deck of Card

This card deck simply looks sleek. The single-colored card deck comes only in white or only in black. Brings new meaning to the game Black Jack. ($14.85)

Google Cardboard

With Google Cardboard you can turn your smartphone into a Virtual Reality device. You can watch movies, play games, and even develop on top of it with the SDKs. ($23.95)

Dragon Ball Set

Now you don’t have to fight to collect all 7 balls to summon Shenron who will grant you one wish. Ok, about 50% of that is true. ($17.91)


This monster may not coming out from the Loch Ness lake, but it could come out of your soup pot. ($2.37)

Tetris-shaped Storage Benches

These benches are not only shaped like the blocks in tetris but you can also store stuff in them. Perfect for the office and at home, whether you are a 90’s kid or not. ($600)

Flappy Bird Plush

The store dares you to get it before they "pull it" from the store. That may have worked too well since this plush has been currently out of stock for a while. Fingers crossed they restock soon.

BookBook for Macbook

The cover that makes your MacBook look like an old leather-bound printed book. ($79.99)

Star Trek Uniform Messenger Bags

With this 16×12" bag you can travel through galaxies or from one town to the next in style. It comes in three colors: green, red, and yellow, has a combadge on the outside. ($69.99)

Legend of Zelda Journal

This gorgeous note book is the best gift Zelda fans could ever receive. Use all 120 pages to fill in your adventures or your Zelda-inspired fanfic. ($19.99)

Stormtrooper Knit Hat for Kids

Knitted hat embroidered to look like the Stormtrooper helmet. This hat will keep your little one’s head warm during winter. ($14.95)

16 Best YouTube Channels To Start Learning Web Development - ma, 16/11/2015 - 14:01

Want to be a web developer but not sure where to start or which programming language to begin with? There are plenty of resources you can fall back on to start learning languages like Swift or frameworks like AngularJS or even responsive design or just coding in general, if you know where to look (they’re everywhere on the Web).

Then again, there are some of us who learn better via video, and this contributes to many web design lessons being made available on Youtube. In this compilation, we’re featuring some of the best Youtube channels you can go back to over and over again, to learn a variety of aspects to do with web development.

We have listed some of the topics that are expected from each of the videos, to make your search easier for you. Let us know, via the comments, of any other channels that you think should be in this list.


Codecourse helping you learn to code for web development for free. There are videos about making awesome CSS using Bourbon & Neat, bulding MVC applications in PHP from scratch, and learning material for PHP from the basics up to practical application.

Things you can learn: PHP, CSS, Hosting.

Dev Tips

DevTips gives you weekly tutorials and each video covers a topic thoroughly yet in an easy-to-follow manner. You can go into the basics such as HTML and CSS, CSS positioning, and others. The creator also devulges his experience in developing his personal website, from finding ideas, wireframing, creating web components to the final result.

Things you can learn: HTML, CSS, JavaScript.

Level Up Tuts

Scott Tolinski runs this channel, covering CSS Styling and web-building, frameworks such as AngularJavaScript, CMS like WordPress or Magento. and more. On design, he covers tutorials about the Sketch app, giving some sketching tips and guides to using some features. He releases a new video twice a week.

Things you can learn: HTML, CSS, JavaScript (AngularJavaScript, Meteor), PHP, Design (Sketch 3).


JREAM regularly provides programming courses with many topics there that you can learn, covering both front-end development (CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Gulp) and back-end development (PHP OOP). Sometimes there are also videos on useful tips, such as advice on writing good code and new topics such as Windows 10.

Things you can learn: CSS, JavaScript(NodeJavaScript, jQuery), PHP, MySql, Design (Photoshop, Illustrator).

A channel that can help you become a Pro web developer, with topics ranging from the basics to what is emerging today – all about web development. You will learn the basics of HTML, JavaScript fundamentals, jQuery, CSS, and Modular JavaScript or ES6 Cheatsheet. There are also tutorials on how to use multiple Pro WebDev tools.

Things you can learn: HTML, CSS, JavaScript (including Node.JavaScript, Angular.JavaScript, Backbone.JavaScript), Server Administration, Deployment Strategies.

Mackenzie Child

Mackenzie Child covers various topics in web development, from design to coding to launching web apps on Ruby on Rails. There are screencasts about Ruby on Rails in 12 different applications, ranging from blogs, to-do apps to Pinterest clones on Rails.

Things you can learn: Ruby on Rails.

Derek Banas

Derek Banas presents a video tutorial on programming in many languages. Interestingly he covers the topic of programming languages in the video as a whole. You can see a tutorial on Object Oriented JavaScript, CSS and SASS, Ruby, Go, Swift, Visual C#, Haskel, Dart, Scala and other languages.

Things you can learn: CSS, JavaScript, Ruby, Go, Swift, Visual C#, Haskel, Dart etc. is a podcast channel about web development. The topics presented include: introduction to HTML and CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Rails and also about design (prototyping, wireframing, UX).

Things you can learn: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Ruby on Rails.

Tuts+ Web Design

Tut+ creates video courses and tutorials to help you learn and master skills in web design. You can learn much here, including mastering Bootstrap, layout on Photoshop and Dreamweaver, build a responsive layout, implement SASS and Compass, making themes for Tumblr, and more. The in 60 Seconds videos make many topics very simple.

Things you can learn: HTML, CSS, Design (Photoshop, Dreamweaver).

Adam Khoury

Here is a free video course from Adam Khoury, that aims to help you in mastering web development technologies such as JavaScript, PHP, SQL, HTML, CSS and others.

Things you can learn: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, SQL.

Coder’s Guide

On Coder’s Guide you can learn computer programming more broadly. You can start from HTML/CSS and JavaScript then move on to more advanced topics such as responsive websites and applying WordPress themes with Bootstrap. Also available are videos on Java programming and VisualBasic.

Things you can learn: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, Java, VisualBasic.

Brad Hussey

Check out this channel by Brad Hussey which feaures free courses on coding for web development. The topics include: building websites from scratch using HTML and CSS, responsive web with Bootstrap, coding dynamic websites using PHP and others. Also included are videos about web hosting, and even how to be a great freelancer.

Things you can learn: HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP.

Google Chrome Developer

Google Chrome Developer shows web development best practice, HTTP 203, Polycast (about Google Polymer) and a very interesting tool tips series that shows you good tips for using many web fundamental apps or tools.

Things you can learn: HTML, JavaScript, Google Polymer.


CodeGeek is a channel that talks about events, tutorials, courses and webinars about coding and web development. The contents shared here are related to AngularJs, NodeJS, JavaScript, NodeJS Frameworks, PHP, Python, MongoDb, NoSQL, Couchbase, SQL Server and more.

Things you can learn: JavaScript and frameworks (Angular, NodeJS), PHP, Python, Database (MongoDB, NoSQL and more).

Google Web Designer

A channel to learn about the features and functionalities of the Google Web Designer tool, pluts a tutorial to using it to build a great website.

Things you can learn: Design, HTML, CSS, JS.

CSS Tricks

This is the YouTube Channel for made by Chris Coyier. The channel shows screencasts mainly about web design related topics, including CSS, Responsive design, SVG and others. There are also screencasts about WordPress Development.

Things you can learn: CSS, JavaScript, WordPress.

Showcase of Gorgeous Geometric Artworks - vr, 13/11/2015 - 16:01

Tired of looking at colorful and fancy graphics on the internet? If you want to take a step back to find inspiration in the most basic forms of art, I can help you with that. How about we take a look at some geometric artwork?

In this compilation of beautiful geometric artwork, we are going to look at the reproduction of beautiful art like you’ve never seen before. And they are all done with lines, squares, triangles, circles and polygons. By manipulating colors, shadows, and a little illusory trickery, these artists create art out of random shapes.

Disney Art Déco Series

Created by David G. Ferrero, these Disney princesses get new theatrical posters of a geometric nature.

Minimalist Stamps

A minimalist letter-inspired geometric art of stamps, Fabian Fohre’s collection of geometric stamps are based on the alphabet. These are for the letters A to F.

Animal Slang

Geometric art by Marc Villa which only uses polygons of varying area to deliver the illusion of animals.

Retro Movies

A different take on posters from old movies like Creature From The Black Lagoon, Barbarella and Forbidden Planet by Justin Mezzell utilized geometric shapes and a retro feel.


Paula Maia’s creates two dogs with scalene triangles and quadrilateral shapes. The beautiful thing about this design is the symmetry.

Geometric Portrait

Eclectic pastel renditions of beautiful faces, created with totally irregular shapes, lines and not a curve in sight, makes this an incredible artwork series. The vector artworks are also available at the Peter Olexa’s page.

Geometric Animal Series

Hope Little recreates majestic animals like the Tiger, Fox, Owl and more. Note how the ferocity of these wild beasts are not lost in the artworks in spite of the unusual style.

Star Wars: A New Hope

While waiting for the upcoming new Star Wars film, fans are starting to pour their creativity into beautiful artwork like this one by Phuwadon. Check out his profile for a closer look.

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe gets the geometric treatment in this stunning artwork. Just look at the details in her hair. Get a closer look at Xianmin Chia’s page.

Oootopia: An Artgebraic Tribute to Adventure Time

Fans of Adventure Time would love Liam Brazier’s multi-layered geometric artwork. The foreground makes use of light colors with low opacity, sandwiches the subject with a darker background that still maintains the shapes.


One of the most expressive geometric art series in the list is this one by Kate Jones, featuring some of the most iconic images on TV and movies.

Now Read:
The Very Best of Hand Painting Art [PICS]

How to Create Skewed Edges With CSS - vr, 13/11/2015 - 14:01

In this post, we’re going to look at how we can create a angled edge effect (horizontally) on a web page. Basically, it looks something like this:

Having a slightly angled edge should make our web layout look less rigid and dull. To do this trick, we will be using the pseudo-elements ::before and ::after and CSS3 Transform.

Using Pseudo Elements

This technique uses the pseudo-elements ::before and ::after to angle the element edges. In this example, we will be adjusting the bottom edge.

.block{ height: 400px; width: 100%; position: relative; background: linear-gradient(to right, rgba(241,231,103,1) 0%, rgba(254,182,69,1) 100%); } .block::after{ content: ''; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute; background: inherit; z-index: -1; bottom: 0; transform-origin: left bottom; transform: skewY(3deg); }

Let’s recap.

The transform-origin specifies the coordinates of the element we want to transform. In the example above we specified left bottom that will put the starting coordinates on the bottom-left side of the block.

The transform: skewY(3deg); makes the ::after block skew or angle at 3 degrees. Since we specified the starting coordinate as bottom-left, the bottom-right of the block raises 3 degrees. If we swap the transform-origin to right bottom and the bottom-left corner will be raised 3 degrees instead.

You can add a solid color background or gradient to see the result.

Make It Easier with Sass Mixin

To make this easier, I have created a Sass mixin to add the angled edges, minus the headaches from dealing with the complexities of style rules. With the following mixin you can quickly specify the side – top-left, top-right, bottom-left or bottom-right – to skew.

@mixin angle-edge($pos-top:null, $angle-top:null, $pos-btm:null, $angle-btm:null){ width: 100%; position: relative; background: linear-gradient(to right, rgba(241,231,103,1) 0%, rgba(254,182,69,1) 100%); &::before, &::after{ content: ''; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute; background: inherit; z-index: -1; transition: ease all .5s; } @if $pos-top{ &::before{ @if $pos-top == 'topleft'{ top: 0; transform-origin: right top; transform: skewY($angle-top); } @if $pos-top == 'topright' { top: 0; transform-origin: left top; transform: skewY(-$angle-top); } } } @if $pos-btm{ &::after{ @if $pos-btm == 'bottomleft' { bottom: 0; transform-origin: right bottom; transform: skewY(-$angle-btm); } @if $pos-btm == 'bottomright' { bottom: 0; transform-origin: left bottom; transform: skewY($angle-btm); } } } }

There are four variables in the mixin. The first two variables, $pos-top and $angle-top, specify the top starting coordinate and the degree. The latter two variables specify the coordinate and the degree for the bottom side.

If you fill up all four variables you can angle both sides – top and bottom – of the element.

Use the Sass @include syntax to insert the mixin to an element. You can see examples below:

To add skewed edge on top-left side:

.block{ @include angle-edge(topleft, 3deg); }

To add skewed edge on bottom-right side:

.block{ @include angle-edge(bottomright, 3deg); }

To add skewed edge on top-left and bottom-right side:

.block{ @include angle-edge(topleft, 3deg, bottomright, 3deg); }

Below is the demo with the mixins applied. Change the select box to toggle to another style.

That’s it!

30 Beautiful Temples in Asia You Must Visit - do, 12/11/2015 - 16:01

Looking for exotic destinations in the world to fit into your travel plans this year? The world is a beautiful place and there are plenty of sites to see. But if you want to do things a little differently, how about visiting exotic temples found all across Asia?

In this collection, I have gathered 30 of the most beautiful temples in the world for you to add to your list of must-see destinations for your next travel plans. No matter how stunning these photos look, the real place itself will surely leave you more awe-struck.

These temples are places of worship or meditation and have decades if not centuries of history built into the temple walls and grounds. What better way to reconnect with the past and gain a new appreciation of the present and future, by visiting these sites steep in history?

1. The Sri Sivan Temple, Singapore

An important Hindu temple in Singapore where devotees pray and make daily offerings. The temple opened in 1850. Initially, it was located in Potong Pasir, but it was eventually moved to its present location in Geylang.

IMAGE: William Cho 2. The Temple of Heaven, Beijing, China

The Temple of Heaven, or Altar of Heaven, was built in the early 1400s. It was commonly visited by the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties in order to pray for good harvest twice a year.

IMAGE: faungg’s photos 3. Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, India

A vedic temple built by the kings who ruled in the 16th century, for Lord Vishnu. It is the richest Hindu temple in the world in terms of precious stones and gold according to the Guinness World Records.

IMAGE: -Reji 4. Yakcheonsa Temple, Korea

A Buddhist temple from the Joseon Dynasty. It is the biggest temple in east Asia with an area of 3,305 square meters. Yakcheonsa Temple has an 18-ton Buddhist temple bell and its walls are sculpted with large altar portraits of Buddha.

IMAGE: Wilson Loo Kok Wee 5. Yakushi-ji, Japan

An imperial Buddhist temple in Japan that is the headquarters of Hossō school of Japanese Buddhism. It is one of the Seven Great Temples in Nara, and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple’s name was derived from Yahushi Nyorai, which is “The Medicine Buddha”, one of the pioneer Buddhist deities that came from China in 680.

IMAGE: TANAKA Juuyoh 6. Virupaksha Temple, Bangalore

Virupaksha Temple is a temple built for Shiva located in Hampi, Bangalore. It is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The temple was initially built to be a small shrine for Shiva, but was eventually developed into a large complex under the Vijayanagara rulers.

IMAGE: Sujith 7. Sanctuary of Truth, Pattaya, Thailand

Sactunary of Truth, also called Wang Boran, is built with only wood. Its tallest peak is at 105 meters high. Inside tourists can find a combination of sculptures and images from Buddhist and Hindu religions. Construction of the temple began in 1981 and is set to be completed by 2050.

IMAGE: Jeremy Andrews 8. Wat Chaiwatthanaram, Thailand

Wat Chaiwatthanaram is a Buddhist temple that is one of the major tourist attractions in Thailand. It was built in 1630 by king Prasat Thong as a symbol of his reign. The name of the temple literally translates to “the Temple of long reign and glorious era”.

IMAGE: Jim Trodel 9. The Lama Temple, China

Lama Temple, also known as Yonghe Temple, is a temple and monastery for the Tibetan Buddhism school. Construction begain in 1694 during the Qing Dynasty. Initially, it was supposed to house for eunuchs serving the emperor, but it was converted into the court of Yin Zhen, son of Kangxi Emperor. Ultimately, it was opened to the public as a temple.

IMAGE: Henrik Berger Jørgensen 10. Sri Senpaga Vinayagar, Singapore

Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple was built in the early 1850s for the Hindu god, Ganesha. It is located in Ceylon Road in Singapore. The temple has several facilities which include libraries, kitchens, halls, classrooms, and even a wedding hall.

IMAGE: The Naughty Prata 11. Sri Mariamman Temple, Singapore

Sri Mariamman Temple is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore built in Dravidian style. It was founded in 1827, eight years after the East India Company was established. The temple is dedicated to Durga, Ganesh and Shiva.

IMAGE: Jeffery Wong 12. Borobudur Temple, Indonesia

Borobudur, or Barabudur, is one of the oldest temples in the world. It was built in the 9th century by Javanese Buddhist architects. Its central dome has 72 Buddha statues with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues around the premises. It is also the world’s largest Buddhist temple.

IMAGE: Julien 13. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat, or Capital Temple, is the largest temple complex in the world. Originally founded as a Hindu Temple, it was eventually converted to Buddhist temple by the 12th century. It is the top tourist destination in Cambodia, having historic and architecture significance globally.

IMAGE: Dennis Jarvis 14. Kinkaku-ji, Japan

Kinkaku-ji, or Temple of the Golden Pavilion, is a National Special Historic Site in Japan and one of the most visited sites in the country. The temple was founded in 1397, but burned down during the Onin war in 1460s-1470s. After reconstruction, it burned down again on July 2, 1950 (a monk did it) and was rebuilt again in 1955 (and hasn’t burned down since).

IMAGE: Christian Junker – AHKGAP 15. Temple of Bacchus, Lebanon

Temple of Bacchus, also known as Temple of the Sun, was built around 150 CE by the Romans for the wine god, Bacchus. It is one of the best preserved Roman temple in the world and is a World Heritage site. The construction of the temple was initiated by Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, which lasted from 150 CE to 250 CE.

IMAGE: Arian Zwegers 16. Kek Lok Si Temple, Air Itam, Malaysia

Kek Lok Si Temple, or Temple of Supreme Bliss, is one of the largest Buddhist temples in South East Asia, covering 10 acres of land. Inside the temple complex is a seven-storey pagoda with 10,000 alabaster and bronze statues of Buddha. It also has a bronze statue of the Goddess of Mercy, Kuan Yin, which stands at 99 feet tall (30.2 metres).

IMAGE: Tartarin2009 (mostly off) 17. Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto, Japan

Kiyomizu-dera, which means “clear water”, was founded in the year 778. Additional buildings in the complex were constructed in 1633 by order of Tokugawa Iemitsu. It is located in Kyoto and is part of the 33-temple route pilgrimage in western Japan.

IMAGE: Christian Junker – AHKGAP 18. Lotus Temple, India

The Lotus Temple, a Baha’i House of Worship, is a flower-shaped temple that is one of the most prominent attractions in New Delhi, India. It has won numerous architectural awards. The temple can seat around 1300 people. Since its public inauguration in December of 1986, it has received over 70 million visitors from all over the world.

IMAGE: Ronit Bhattacharjee 19. Wat Bo Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Wat Bo Temple, located in Siem Reap Town, is one of the lesser known temples in Cambodia. However, Wat Bo has one of the most beautiful pagodas in Siem Reap, and the interior has intricate paintings from the late 19th century depicting Chinese merchant and other foreign visitors.

IMAGE: Güldem Üstün 20. Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, Bali, Indonesia

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, or Pura Bratan, is a temple surrounded by water in Bali, Indonesia. It resides in the shores of Lake Bratan by Bedugul mountains. It was built in 1663 for the river and lake goddess Dewi Danu for irrigation. It has an eleven storey high temple built for Shiva and his lover Parvathi.

IMAGE: Peter Nijenhuis 21. Wat Chedi Luang, Bangkok, Thailand

Wat Chedi Luang, literally temple of the big stupa, is a Buddhist temple that was built during the 14th century as a burial place of King Saen Muang Ma’s father. The grounds has three temples: Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Ho Tham and Wat Sukmin.

IMAGE: shapour bahrami 22. Jogyesa Temple, Seoul, South Korea

Jogyesa is a Korean Zen Buddhism temple located in the heart of Seoul. In the temple, tourists can find a Sakyamuni Buddha statue. The temple hosts a Lotus Lantern Festival every May, celebrating the birthday of Buddha.

IMAGE: travel oriented 23. Prambanan Temple, Indonesia

Prambanan temple, or Candi Rara Jonggrang, is a 9th century Hindu temple dedicated to Trimurti, the creator, preserver, and destroyer. The central architecture of this Hindu temple towers at 154 feet (47 metre) and is surrounded by individual temples.

IMAGE: Deep Goswami 24. Tongdosa Temple, South Korea

Tongdosa, meaning "salvation of the world through mastery of truth", is a temple that was founded by the monk Jajang in 646 CE during the reign of Queen Seondeok. Unlike most temples, Tongdosa is unique for not having any statues on its exterior.

IMAGE: Su-Hwan Pyo 25. Wat Rong Khun, Chiang Rai Province, Thailand

Wat Rong Khun, known as the White Temple outside of Thailand, is one of the most popular temples in the world. It is a privately owned temple that also serves as an art exhibit for Buddhists. The total cost for building the temple was THB40 million (1.1 million USD) and was privately funded.

IMAGE: Tyler Ingram 26. Banteay Srei, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia

Banteay Srei, a temple in Angkor, Cambodia was built in the 10th century. It is presided by the Hindu god Shiva. The unique thing about this temple is the miniature size of the temples by other Angkorian standards. It has been dubbed by toursts as a “precious gem” and “jewel of Khmer art” due to its miniature scale.

IMAGE: Chris Neuman 27. Golden Temple, Punjab, India

Harmandir Sahib, known as the Golden Temple, is a temple where Sikhs offer their prayers. It is built by a lake believed to be holy, where believers wash their feet during worship. Over 100,000 people visit the temple daily. It also has a community kitchen that serves free meal to the visitors.

IMAGE: 28. Paro Taktsang Monastery, Bhutan

Takstang Monastery, also known as the Tiger’s Nest Monastery, is a Himalayan Buddhist temple that is located in a cliffside of Paro Valley in Bhutan. There are four main temples in the complex by the cliff, each situated on the ledges of the terrain.

IMAGE: Pierre Le Bigot 29. Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar

Shwedagon Pagoda, official name Shwedagon Zedi Daw which means Great Dagon Pagoda, is a gilded temple that stands 325 feet tall on Singuttara Hill. It was built during the 6th century by the Mon people. Its base is made of bricks coated in gold plates and it has 5,448 diamonds and 2,317 rubies along its exterior, making it one of the most stylized temples.

IMAGE: Paul Arps 30. Chion-in, Kyoto, Japan

Chion-in, a Buddhist temple in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Japan, founded between 1133 to 1212. One popular feature is its nightingale floor, which alerts its residents when people are walking along the corridors. Metal rods underneath the floor boards rub against each other when pressure is applied. This helps detect intruders.

IMAGE: Everjean

Know of other beautiful temples that should be in a travel list? Share with us in the comments.

Interaction Design: Guide to Creating Personas - do, 12/11/2015 - 14:01

Let’s do a mental experiment together. Imagine that you want to design a product or a website for a client and you are at the beginning of the process. What is on your mind? Do you try to figure out what the client likes, immerse in your own creative ideas at once, or rather try to imagine the people who will use your design?

Researchers recently began to praise the latter option and the notion of human-centered design started to appear in professional discussions. The concept assumes that if you want to create a product that actually works it’s not your customer you primarily need to focus on but the customers of your customers who are the end-users of the design.

If the clients of your client are happy, the happiness of your client will be doubled. And who wouldn’t want happy clients who can’t wait to pay and write stunning testimonials? To reach this ideal state of business it’s crucial to understand the end-user of the product.

User-centered design is hard. It doesn’t only require technical and creative skills but also empathy and a deep understanding of human psychology. This level of complexity is hard to understand on the theoritical level, so UX designers introduced a practical approach: they began to create personas.

Why You Need Personas

As your future product will have many users, a question that naturally arises: how do you design for each one of them? Rather than think of your users as just a big bunch of people that will neither inspire you nor make you understand their needs, you need to reduce them to a number that can be handled more easily.

A Persona is the impersonated version of a typical user. Note that you don’t need to limit yourself to only one, but working with too many personas can easily get out of control.

IMAGE: Developing Personas Research (8th slide)

Personas are not fake users; their characters must be based on user research. As it’s recommended to create personas as early as possible in the design process it can be a wise idea to draw your client in into the process of persona creation. After all it is likely that they know more about their future customer base than you.

Personas also help mitigate your or your client’s assumptions and biases. If you keep your personas in your mind, and you learn to relate to them as if they were real individuals, you will design for them instead of for some abstract group of faceless people.

A Brief Case Study: The Persona Cafe

As the main goal of personas is to make our minds move from the abstract and general towards the concrete, we will use a real-life example to understand how personas work in the user experience design.

Let’s say you have a new client who wants you to design the website of a popular coffee shop in a university campus called “Persona Cafe”.

Persona Cafe serves hot and cold drinks, sandwiches and desserts. Students and teachers come here to relax and socialize between and after their classes. So the owners of the Persona Cafe want a new website that resonates with their guests the best. How would you start?

The Initial Steps

Personas are usually presented visually as one-page documents that you can nicely print and put in front of you while you design. You can even download cool persona templates from the internet if you want or you can use this handy User Persona Creator tool.

Keep in mind that personas are not user groups, not market segments, not stereotypes, and they doesn’t represent roles.

So if you have a stereotypical millenial university student or a typical awkward professor in your mind when you think about the model users of the Persona Cafe, forget them quickly.

The only thing that’s important is how they relate to your product, what is the goal they want to reach, or what problem they want to solve with the use of your product. So the security guard of the campus working for a contractor company can be represented by the same persona as the eminent student learning for his exam – in other words, they frequent the Persona Cafe with the same motivations, goals and attitudes.

1. Background Info For Andrew, Virginia, Jeanne

First we will give the background information of our personas such as age, gender, occupation, etc. It’s important that you remember that these are not the qualities you will need to focus on during the design process; we just create them so that we can think about them as real-life people. What will really count are the narratives we will add to our personas later.

2. Name, Age, Location

Not to be influenced by our concious or subconcious or stereotypes, we will use a fake name generator and a stock photo site to establish the identities.

I set the generator to an American name set (as the fictional campus is in the United States), the age from 19 to 46 years old, and the gender 50%-50% to represent the typical customer base of a university coffee house (students and teachers).

The first 3 hits the generator returned are the following:

  • the 26 years old Andrew from Oakland, CA
  • the 22 years old Virginia from Stanley, NY
  • the 45 years old Jeanne from Chester, SC

Based on the age of the characters we give them the appropriate occupations, so Andrew will be a postgrad student, Virginia will be an undergrad student and Jeanne will be a professor.

3. Photos

To generate the photos of our personas I used Pixabay’s stock photo site. For Andrew and Virginia I typed the “university student” keyword into the search bar, and decided to choose the first image of a single male for Andrew, and the first image of a single female for Virginia. Then I run a search query for the keyword “teacher” and I chose the first image of a middle-aged woman for Jeanne.

So here is the background information about our personas in which the names, the ages, the locations and the profile photos were generated randomly so we can’t be accused of using our own biases and stereotypes.

IMAGE: Pixabay The Narratives

Now that we have the background information of our model guests, it’s time to forget them for a while.

Let’s focus on how a typical target user of a university cafe can relate to the venue. What are their needs, concerns, goals, frustrations, etc.? To find the right answer the best thing is to do a little user research. You can ask the opinion of your client, and also some of your friends or family what is on their mind when they go to a coffee house.

Tapping Real Reviews

Alternatively, the Internet can also be of good help as it’s full of opinions and reviews of the average customer. For this case study I used the Yelp review site, set Stanford, California for location as it’s a typical university campus in the United States, and browsed the reviews of the Coffee & Tea Shops section a bit to understand better what is the general attitude (goals, motivations, frustrations, etc.) of the average customer of a university cafe.

You can see what I found on this link or if you don’t like Stanford you can make your own search. Let’s see some citations from the reviews to understand better what can be on the mind of the future customers of our beloved Persona Cafe.

1. Motivations

“I like this coupa better than the one on university because it’s cheaper.”

“The Caracas and marron are Venezuelan lattes that provide a nice kick of caffeine when you need to study at green library.”

“it’s nice to have this place right between the Education buildings and 2 libraries…”

“… my boyfriend and I had our first date here, so it has a special little place in my heart.”

“I love the location and portion sizes here.”

2. Frustrations

“I ordered a panini during the lunch rush and they lost my order. … Ended up wasting 45 minutes on a takeout order.”

“… that was quite possibly the worst iced double espresso I’ve ever had.”

“The dusty air and the noise might have made the people less careful preparing lattes…”

“He’s really allergic to walnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts, but the crepe didn’t list any nut ingredients.

3. Goals

“I go to this humble outdoor cafe around 3-4 times a week because it is convenient to most of my classes.”

“The coffee was strong which I like and the size is actually ok for a quick caffeine fix.”

“This location offers online ordering which makes it a pretty convenient eating spot, and the prices are reasonable as well. “

“I’m vegan so I basically get the same stuff every time, but love it just the same. I love the hummus plate, the vegetarian heaven panini, and the hummus veggie wrap (no cheese). I also love their drinks.”

Connecting The Personas With The Narratives

Now that we made our research about the typical motivations, goals, and frustrations of the average customer, it’s time to return to our personas. Remember, they don’t represent a special demographic but a certain attitude towards the product.

1. Andrew, 26, Postgrad Student

(1) Customer Profile: Andrew is a busy PhD Student who needs a quite place where he can study and read without distraction. As he spends a lot of time on the campus and is also a huge coffee lover, he is the ideal customer of Persona Cafe. He wants to have the opportunity to receive quick and professional service, order online from his smartphone, and not be bothered by the staff.

(2) Motivations

  • High quality, strong coffee
  • Quiet atmosphere for studying
  • Good location, close to the campus

(3) Frustrations

  • He hates to wait too long for his coffee.
  • He doesn’t want to be bothered by the staff while he is busy with his academic stuff.
  • He’s afraid he won’t be able to concentrate later in case the coffee is not strong enough.

(4) Goals

  • He needs information on the type of coffee Persona Cafe serves to be able to decide its quality.
  • He wants to find the menu and the daily specials as soon as possible.
  • He wants to order with his smartphone.
2. Virginia, 22, Undergrad Student

(1) Customer Profile: Virginia doesn’t have much money to eat out, but she likes socializing very much and she needs a place where she can regularly meet with her friends. These hangouts are not mainly about studies. They just want to relax and have fun. She can’t afford expensive meals but she likes variety in food and drink choices, and easily gets bored if she always has the same meals.

(2) Motivations

  • Economic prices, and larger portions so she has to order only once
  • Diverse range of food and drink with some exotic choices
  • A place where she can regularly meet her friends

(3) Frustrations

  • She has to spend her money on distasteful, plain food
  • The staff won’t be welcoming and friendly, and they will ruin their fun time
  • She or her friends can’t afford the prices

(4) Goals

  • She wants to find the prices as soon as possible.
  • She wants to be rewarded for her loyalty (possibly in the form of discounts and coupons).
  • She wants interesting descriptions about the drink and food so she can make the best choice.
3. Jeanne, 45, Professor

(1) Customer Profile: Unlike Andrew and Virginia, Jeanne is not a regular cafe-goer. She wants to keep to her diet, and doesn’t like to eat out much. She’d rather walk during the breaks. She only goes to a cafe when her colleagues invite her. She is a tidy person, so a clean environment is important for her. She never drinks coffee, and only wants to eat healthy food.

(2) Motivations

  • Friendly atmosphere where she can be involved in professional networking
  • Healthy food and drink in accordance with her diet
  • Connecting with her students while spending time in the cafe

(3) Frustrations

  • She’s anxious that the place will be dirty, as that will distract her from the professional discussions.
  • Unhealthy food and drink will jeopardize her diet.
  • During the rush hour she will have to wait a lot.

(4) Goals

  • Besides using the coffee house as a place for networking, she also wants to meet her students, so the venue needs to be close to her university.
  • For food, she needs information on the ingredients of each item on the menu so she can decide if it’s okay to order them.
  • As a visit to a coffee house is rather a special occasion to her, she wants to give feedback on the service and quality afterwards.

And, that’s it! We are ready with the profiles of our 3 personas who represent the needs, goals, attitudes, and frustrations of the future guests of Persona Cafe. If you are a visual type you can look up or design a cool persona template, and fill it with the information. Here are 3 really nice examples.

You must remember that personas dwell in the realm of interaction design. Good designers must understand how the future users will connect with their product before they immerse themselves in visual design.

IMAGE: Adpearance Digital Agency

IMAGE: Fake Crow Agency

IMAGE: Nielsen-Norman Group

An Overview of Designmodo&#8217;s Slides Framework - do, 12/11/2015 - 11:01

Landing pages and promotional websites are vital for converting visitors into users or customers. A quality design can be the key to improving sales numbers and bringing your product into center-stage.

Slides Framework is a series of templates for generating single-page animated layouts. The package includes all HTML/CSS/jQuery source code and PSD/Sketch files for designers.

This is easily one of the most exhaustive frameworks for constructing a landing page with style. In this post I’ll give an overview of the Slides Framework showing how it works and how it can apply to your own design projects.

Getting Started

The Slides download pack includes a simple tutorial walkthrough for new users. This is called “First Steps” guiding you through the initial steps of creating a website from Slides Framework.

Designmodo has a full 8-minute video on YouTube explaining this setup process. Check it out if you want to see how this works visually.

The best part about Slides is that everything can be customized in your web browser. It has a setup wizard that guides you through everything and compiles the final template into a .zip file. This allows anyone to create a Slides template, download the source code, and then upload straight onto a web server. Simple!

Each setup pack contains the following folders:

  • CSS for all CSS assets
  • JS for the jQuery library and all plugins
  • Assets contains all the image media required for individual slides
  • Library has code snippets for panels, slides, and custom navigation
  • Template offers pre-built variations of the layout for different project ideas

The template generator makes it super easy to select your own custom values based on how you want the layout to behave. Choose variations of text placement, image/video backgrounds, and even animations between slides.

If you’re having trouble with the generator you can always visit the Slides manual online. This is only accessible to those who pay for a Slides framework license but it teaches everything you’d need to know.

Impressive Slides Features

I’m most impressed with how snappy and quick the framework operates. No matter what browser you’re using, it feels like Slides is the fashionable landing page we’ve all been longing for.

The framework includes 60 different slides to choose from and customize for your needs. Each slide can be mixed together with any other slide into one consistent layout design. This gives web designers a wide range of options when constructing a new Slides layout.

Plus all of the fonts and icons in the Slides Framework are free to use on any template you design. This allows designers to customize designs in Photoshop or Sketch with the purpose of handing their ideas off to developers.

Slides Framework is meant to save time during development when crafting animated landing pages. One license can be used for unlimited websites which is very handy for freelancers or creative agencies working with multiple clients.

To learn a bit more visit the FAQ page which answers most questions about how Slides operates.

Pre-Built Templates On Demand

If you want to save time with Slides you might choose to work with one of the pre-built templates instead. These come in a wide range of designs from background videos to iOS app landing pages.

The Slides Templates video offers a fantastic glimpse into the various options. Anyone who purchases the Slides framework can choose between customizing a layout from scratch, or customizing one of the 11 quick-start templates.

Every good framework includes a few demos and Slides even has its own custom examples page full of dazzling layouts. Once logged into the Slides backend you’ll be able to view these samples and pull the source code for your own project(s).

Each sample layout demonstrates the breadth & depth that Slides has to offer. You can setup background videos or photos, along with custom animations between them. If you know how to customize a simple HTML file then you have complete control over these templates and how they operate.

Customizing Slides for Websites

One handy aspect of Slides Framework is that it runs with HTML/CSS/JS code. This means you can build a landing page on WordPress, Laravel, Django, or even Node.js. But no backend language is required because Slides can run as a static HTML/CSS webpage.

This gives developers a lot of flexibility when configuring Slides to run on any given website.

For example, someone might want a landing page added to their WordPress site but not added onto the homepage. Slides can be used as a WP template applied to a single page without affecting any other page on the website.

It should be noted that anyone hoping to edit a Slides layout will need to know a bit of HTML/CSS. You won’t need to use WordPress or any other CMS but Slides does operate on HTML/CSS code. Most of the JavaScript is contained within plugins but a few settings like animation effects may require manual edits as well.

Keep this in mind if you want to work with Slides because having a certain level of HTML/CSS/JS proficiency will go a long way.

All-in-all the Slides template offers an incredible experience for any custom landing page. The Slides generator and pre-built templates can save a lot of time writing and rewriting code from scratch.

The biggest point to note is that Slides does require some manual editing if you want to customize a layout to suit a particular project’s needs. It’s not mandatory to be an expert but you’ll want to know a bit about HTML/CSS to make the proper changes to any template.


There are very few(if any) in-depth landing page frameworks on par with Slides. The code is exquisite, customization is fantastic, and the Slides code generator can save hours of toil.

If you want to see a live preview visit the Slides landing page. It also includes details about Slides features and what you can expect from the framework. Overall Slides is dynamic, lightweight, and perfect for anyone looking to build a custom promo page or landing page with pizzazz.

Ts&#363; Social Network &#8211; Cash Cow or Pyramid Scheme? [Op-Ed] - wo, 11/11/2015 - 16:01

If you’re an Internet gadabout, you’ll probably have heard about or Tsū, the social network that’s been getting a lot of hype, and hate, lately. Throughout its year-long existence, the social network exotically called Tsū has been plagued by naysayers and, just recently, had its API and links banned from Facebook.

Considering that, until as recently as this week, it’s been an invite-only network whose content/posts couldn’t be accessed by crawlers, spiders, scrapers etc., the now month-long ban is presumably taking a toll on users who’ve been cross-promoting their Tsū content on Facebook for increased reach.

Zuck’s mammoth network is claiming Tsū users have been trying to rig the system, by creating fake accounts to promote their posts and consequently boost their revenue on Tsū (more on that below).

Sebastian Sobczak (who co-founded Tsū with Drew Ginsburg) and artists who’ve been hit by the ban purport this is just a heavy-handed maneuver meant to weaken a competitor that’s gaining ground. As such, Tsū has now opened its gates to everyone (not that it was that hard to get in before).

The business of ads

But what is it about Tsū that’s rubbing Facebook the wrong way? With 4.5 million users to date, there’s still no chance Tsū is going to be a household name, like the billion-strong Facebook, anytime soon.

Still, more and more artists and early adopters are jumping on board, largely as a direct result of the perceived rebellious premise of Tsū. The anti-Facebook rhetoric it’s been employing to attract users over from Facebook seems to be paying off, thanks to their promise to let users keep 90% of the ad revenue on the site.

And users have been quick to answer the clarion call, lining up as a result of what they perceive as their right to monetize their own content.

With Tsū clamping down of late on users posting third-party content, the revenue stream seems particularly tailored for creators and artistic types. But that’s not to say Tsū feels in any way exclusive, like the other anti-Facebook network making some waves not long ago with its no-ads promise to users, might seem at first sight.

Ello might have fizzled out of the news cycle, but it’s remained a purveyor of "beauty, " making a buck from T-shirts and paraphernalia made from its users’ art (just like VSCO is doing now with its new Artifact Uprising app). Tsū however lies at the other business-centric end of the underdog SNS spectrum: it doesn’t push any lofty or artsy proposition, but stays defiantly grounded in pragmatism.

Help me help you make us all some money!

Revenue from ads is what sustains most publishers these days, although the trend of ad blockers aiming to change that in the name of users’ on-site experience is growing fast. Social media sites aren’t of course exempt unless they’re expressly whitelisted by users.

Still, while there is money to be gained from traditional ad practices, you can bet everyone from Facebook to WordPress will be engaging in them to the bitter end.

But Tsū is only cashing 10% of what advertisers send their way, with users getting paid 45% in "royalties " on any original content they create and the rest being divided among their "family tree, " i.e. the "parents " who invited them into the network.

The deal you strike with Tsū and its Monetization Service will get you a trickle of money or a truckload, depending on your follower and "children " counts, and how many shares your posts and your invitees’ get – since more views on a post equal more impressions and clicks on ads.

But veteran Tsū users will be the first to warn you that the check will be slow to arrive, as the first few months are all about building your network by posting original, properly hashtagged and user-tagged content and (full-sentence, value-adding) comments.

The latter won’t earn you royalties, but, as is the case with most social networks, it will get your profile seen and, presumably, get you more followers.

How does Tsū work?

From what I could gather over the course of a few weeks on Tsū (under an alias), the features and functionalities are pretty much in line with what you’d expect if you’ve ever used Facebook.

And the invite-only gateway (that Tsū seems to have dropped as of late) was there mostly for the cachet and the added bonus that any "invited " user would automatically become a money-maker for his/her "parent. "

If you, like me, didn’t know anyone who’s on Tsū, all you needed to do was Google "Tsū invite code " or something to that effect, and you’d find plenty of sites listing existing users whose personal short code you could then use to enter.

So what happens after you join Tsū?

You start by populating your profile with the regular stuff (photo, bio, other social accounts) and discovering other users (aka #Tsūalites) you can follow, through the Popular tab.

You can also join a TsūGroup, a new feature currently in Beta and numbering all of seven groups, the most popular one, with almost 32,000 members, being TsūCharities.

Who holds the purse strings?

The question on everyone’s mind when they hear about this attractive (too good to be true) revenue model is, or should be, what’s the catch? And many detractors have been pretty vocal in their concerns over Tsū being nothing more than a MLM (multi-level marketing) scheme.

On the face of it, the accusation fits the bill pretty well.

So, let me try to clear that up. As far as your digital Tsū wallet goes, the terms and conditions are pretty self-explanatory: on joining, you enter into a contract of sorts with Evacuation Complete, the company operating Tsū, that allows you, whoever invited you (if applicable) and whoever you invite to earn money from ads running on Tsū.

The proprietary algorithm used to divvy up the sums is defined in the TOC as "the rule of infinite thirds " (don’t worry about keeping up with all the specific jargon, thinking too hard about Tsū defeats the purpose anyway).

IMAGE: Tsū Facebook page

That algorithm runs whenever Tsū disposes and tops up your wallet accordingly – you won’t be eligible to cash out though, until your account (under your "Bank " tab) reaches at least $100.

There are a bunch of advertisers working with Tsū – that well won’t dry up anytime soon – and the network has recently managed to skirt Apple’s ban on pay-for-install practices from apps, so on its mobile version, you can see Twitter, Lyft or other bigwigs shooting you up for installs.

Clicking through to install the apps advertised means more ad revenue for you, so there’s a nifty circularity to the money trail. There’s nothing to lose, not for advertisers as long as Tsū’s user base keeps growing, and certainly not for Tsūalites.

So, Tsū can shoot down the MLM charge by pointing at advertisers as the only ones injecting any money into this whole affair – and that, like the Apple ban trick, is both defensible and suspicious, like any loophole ever exploited.

So why the backlash?

To sum up, while the above-mentioned loopholes may narrowly save Tsū from being deemed illegal, there’s a shadiness factor attached by society to these kinds of practices that rubs some people the wrong way.

On the other, practical, side, there’s no doubt Tsū’s pay scheme helps some artists survive and even thrive, while putting a premium on original content can only add value in a digital world suffering from an influx of copyright infringements, that for the most part go unchecked, and a shortage of content.

I didn’t care for Tsū for a couple of reasons, though, which may or may not be just me being overly sensitive to these kinds of things.

There’s a tangible aura of hypocrisy to it, for one: while the site, and Tsūalites, sing the praises of a nice-sounding ultimate goal, that is, working towards building a community, the lay of the ground feels a whole lot more pragmatic than all that.

Everything , to the #TsūTips for "expediting follower growth, " feels sharply focused on one thing only: priming the pump, getting paid. And, while there’s nothing wrong in a (presumably starving) artist wanting to get paid for his/her art, most of the content I’ve seen posted on Tsū is really stretching the notion of "art ".

I don’t mean to offend anyone on Tsū, but from what I could see, the majority of Tsūalites are non-artist types whose idea of original, valuable content is shooting a stickered photo into the interwebs and hoping it soars far enough for a quick payday.

The written (more or less) rules of posting: 45 times a day, tops, including no more than 15 shares that you can avail yourself of or not; and other caps: 50 pending friend requests at any given time and a maximum of 1000 people you follow; also cheapen the would-be "networking " ethos, in my opinion.

The rulebook feels like a top-down laying of the law in a space that would implode without all the policing. The all around vibe I got from the community is obsequious, as everyone is too busy making nice with everyone else for the sake of ultimately gaining more followers, more views, more shares, more impressions and, yes, more dough.

I may be reading the "room " wrong, or just more confrontational than most, but at some point, you have to ask yourself, how many different, eloquent, multi-word ways are there for saying thanks for a post?