All posts tagged “Don&#8217t”

10 Linux Desktop Environments You Probably Don’t Know

Unlike Windows and Mac OS, Linux offers a variety of desktop environments for its users. Each desktop environment (interface) has its own appearance, style and features and a user can install any one of these desktop environments on the basis of his/her requirements. Some of these desktop environments are also suited for machines with low hardware configurations.

If you’re not sure which Linux desktop environment is the most suitable for you then don’t worry, we’ve put together 10 Linux desktop environments along with their features to assist you in selecting the best one for your needs.

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1. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is based on Gnome library files and designed for Linux Mint. It is an easy to use powerful desktop environment which is flexible and combines the traditional layout with advanced features.

Cinnamon consists of 3 main things: a single panel located at bottom, a clock and system tray and various other things located on the right, and the application menu on the left side of the screen. You can also customize the application menu by adding applications of your choice. To ensure that this runs smoothly, your machine should have a powerful graphics card and updated drivers. [Get it here]

2. GNOME 3.x

A few years back, GNOME (GNU Network Object Model Environment) was the most popular and widely used Linux desktop environment. The transition of GNOME to GNOME 2.x series brought simplicity and ease of use that attracted a large number of Linux users to move to the GNOME 2.x series.

GNOME 3.x was introduced to provide easy access to all of your data by integrating it with online accounts. Some other important features offered by GNOME 3.x are Activities Overview, side-by-side windows to view several documents, and an easy way to deal with notifications comfortably. [Get it here]

3. KDE

KDE (K Desktop Environment) is one of most popular Linux Desktop environments and also a contender for GNOME. It resembles the Windows Desktop so if you want to experience a desktop similar to Windows OS, this is the option for you. While KDE comes with a visually intriguing GUI and a bunch of powerful features, the combo makes it a resource-hungry desktop environment.

This means you may not be able to run it smoothly on older desktop/laptop computers with low hardware configurations. [Get it here]

4. MATE

Despite its popularity with earlier versions, the simplistic design of GNOME 3 didn’t sit too well with many GNOME users. The Linux community decided to continue development of GNOME 2 and designers came up with MATE. MATE offers a GNOME 2 environment with new features and improvements to assure users of an improved computing experience. [Get it here]

5. LXDE

LXDE (Lighweight X11 Desktop Environment) is a fast-performing desktop environment. It’s designed for cloud systems that usually have low hardware configurations (less CPU power and less RAM) and older desktop/laptop systems.

Although it is a lightweight desktop environment, it still has a simple and attractive user interface. It also provides multi-language support and on top of that it supports standard keyboard shortcuts and allows tabbed file browsing among other things. [Get it here]

6. Xfce

Fact: the abbreviation for Xfce doesn’t really stand for anything. It’s a traditional desktop environment which is very lightweight but in terms of functions, it is similar to GNOME 2. Xfce has its own lightweight programs as well as some GNOME programs to provide a balance in between performance and functions. [Get it here]

7. Unity

Currently, Unity is the native desktop environment for Ubuntu, replacing GNOME. It comes with an application dock which can be scrolled if the number of applications exceeds the screen view area. You can also search a particular file or application by typing its name in the searchbar. Unity works smoothly on a system with good hardware configuration. [Get it here]

8. Openbox

Openbox is a desktop environment which is lighter than LXDE and Xfce due to its minimalistic design and appearance. It is a highly configurable desktop environment and has a completely bare desktop which makes the loading process really fast. Right clicking anywhere on the desktop to open the application menu.

You can also combine the functionality of GNOME or KDE with the speed of Openbox to make your desktop faster and cleaner. Openbox is ideal for Linux users with low power systems. [Get it here]

9. Razor – Qt

Razor – qt is a fairly easy and lightweight desktop environment for Linux users. It bears similarities with KDE but it is designed to offer simplicity with speed. It comes with minimal built-in applications; you can install the applications you need yourself (find the list of third-party apps youc an get on Razor-qt here. It should work smoothly with older systems with low hardware configurations. [Get it here]

10. Xmonad

Xmonad is actually a tiling window manager which means instead of overlapping windows on your desktop, it will automatically arrange them in a non-overlapping order, leaving behind an organized desktop. It does not come with too much of a decorated user interface but that makes it a fast, user-friendly and stable desktop environment. [Get it here]





hongkiat.com

40 Things You Don’t Expect To Find In Vending Machines

The person who thought of the vending machine is a genius for 2 simple reasons: you don’t need to hire personnel to man a vending machine like you would a store, and this keeps things in stock and available for the masses, 24/7. While most of the vending machines you are used to would dispense coffee, soft drinks, packaged food and snacks, these days we can find a lot more variety being offered.

gold-vending-machine

Whether it is for convenience, or practicality, or to drive a concept or an idea home, here are 40 things you probably don’t expect to find in a vending machine, but now can.

Live Crabs. Who would have thought that we’d see the day when crabs can be made available in vending machines. And they are alive! Grab one on the go if you are in China.

crab-vending-machine
(Image source: The Atlantic)

Ice cream. I scream, you scream, we scream for ice cream in a machine. This one is from Japan but you might have come across the ones from Ben and Jerry’s.

ice-cream-vending-machine
(Image source: Wikimedia)

Pizza (cooked). Want to get a steaming hot 9-inch pizza within 3 minutes? Then, keep a lookout for a Let’s Pizza vending machine. Most of these can be found around Europe and lately in America.

pizza-vending-machine
(Image source: Aol)

T-shirts. If you are a fan of Uniqlo T-shirts, this vending machine in Harajuku, Japan dispenses the whole line via vending machines. Shame it’s no longer there, though.

t-shirts-vending-machine
(Image source: Wired)

Noodles. Instant cup noodles aren’t the healthiest of snacks but if you still have a hankering for ramen or udon, this particular machine in Japan dispenses a hot bowl of these noodles complete with meat and veggies. Yummy!

ramen-vending-machine
(Image source: Techeblog)

Baguettes. Get fresh baguettes 24/7 with this particular vending machine, thought up by French baker Jean-Louis Hecht who got fed up with his customers knocking on his door on all hours of the day (and night) to get their hands on his delicious baguettes.

baguette-vending-machine
(Image source: Yahoo)

Guitar strings. For when you are on your way to a night gig and realize that your guitar needs a fix. It also dispenses guitar picks and drum sticks. This machine resides in Portland, Oregon.

guitar-strings-vending-machine
(Image source: The Beer Chaser)

Bike parts. Cyclists will love this particular machine as it dispenses bike parts to replace the ones that broke in yours. You can also get your punctured tyre pumped or grab a quick snack. It first appeared in Brooklyn, New York.


(Image source: Pop-Up City)

Cupcakes. Satisfy your sudden midnight sweet tooth cravings with this heaven-sent machine by Sprinkles Cupcakes. The machines can be found in New York, LA, Chicago, Atlanta, and Dallas.

cupcake-vending-machine
(Image source: New York Post)

Burgers. It’s official, fast food cannot get any faster than this machine in the Netherlands. If you prefer having your burger being cooked though, you can try Japan’s burger vending machine.

burger-vending-machine
(Image source: Complex)

Bananas. When this vending machine first came out in Japan, people went bananas over them. I’d go bananas if I see this machine too.

banana-vending-machine
(Image source: Tofugu)

Eggs. This vending machine is found in the mountains of the Northern Hyogo Prefecture, Japan and is the perfect way to keep eggs fresh and readily available for the residents there, 24/7.

eggs-vending-machine
(Image source: Tofugu)

Salad. Healthy and goodness, in a salad, in a jar, in a vending machine. Not all vending machines dispenses fast food. While we’re on the subject…

salad-vending-machine
(Image source: Daily Mail)

Caviar. Ain’t nobody got time to dress up, fight for reservations, and light candles for some fine gourmet dining no more. Want some roe? Just grab them from the machine and go. More commonly found in upper scale neighborhoods in LA.

caviar-vending-machine
(Image source: NBC News)

LEGO. Is there a reason why this is only found in Germany’s train stations? LEGO has some explaining to do.

lego-vending-machine
(Image source: i am bored)

DIY Toys. A project built by development specialists Squibbles Ink and toy store Rotofugi, this DIY machine in Chicago allows you to make your own toy.

toys-vending-machine
(Image source: PSFK)

Rice. Being the staple food of the Japanese people, this machine makes sense. Why isn’t this machine found in more rice-loving Asian countries?

rice-vending-machine
(Image source: The Wiki Gullet Project)

Fantastic Delites. Love Fantastic Delites crackers? This guerrilla marketing tactic dispenses the snack for free, if you would do the things the machine tells you to do. Check out how the public reacted in this video.

fantastic-delites-vending-machine
(Image source: Coloribus)

Fresh Lettuce. Lettuce doesn’t get fresher than this, in this machine in Japan that is. Perhaps this will help encourage more people to eat their greens rather than falling back on processed foods… naah!

lettuce-vending-machine
(Image source: Huffington Post)

Pet Food. In order to feed its stray dogs and cats population, Istanbul came up with this vending machine. You slot in an empty plastic water bottle and it’ll dispense food at the bottom for strays.

pet-food-vending-machine
(Image source: EarthPorm)

Wine. If there are vending machines that dispenses beer, why not wine? Now everyone can get their booze, pronto. Pennslyvania first introduced this machine in America in 2010.

wine-vending-machine
(Image source: Daily Mail)

Mashed potatoes. Singaporeans probably loved their tay-toes, mashed and available on the go. Why else would this machine exist?

mashed-potato-vending-machine
(Image source: The Huffington Post)

Pies. Yes, you heard right. Berdoll Pecan Candy & Gift Company’s vending machine at Cedar Creek, Texas dispenses entire honest-to-goodness Pecan pies.

pecan-pie-vending-machine
(Image source: Team Hall & Nass)

Umbrellas. Never be caught out in sudden rain again. Just grab an umbrella from this machine and off you go to your next destination. This vending machine is placed around Hong Kong.

umbrella-vending-machine
(Image source: Calvin-C)

Condoms. If you aren’t a fan of getting condoms from a supermarket aisle or a pharmacy, this is the perfect solution like this machine that resides outside an Italian pharmacy. Now, there is no reason why you can’t practice safe sex.

condom-vending-machine
(Image source: Wikipedia)

Socks. This machine is a must have for all bowling alleys. And the socks should be as cute as these ones from South Korea. (P. S. We hate Mondays too!)

socks-vending-machine
(Image source: DramaFever)

Shoes. You never know when the bottom of your sole may break under your constant jogs, so being able to just dump the old pair and grab a new pair from this Onitsuka Tiger machine in Carnaby Street, London is a great idea.

onitsuka-shoes-vending-machine
(Image source: Hypebeast)

Flip flops. Broke a heel? Overdressed for the beach? Just love walking around in flip flops? This Havaianas flip flop dispensing machine got you covered, in Australia, Europe and Indonesia.

flip-flops-vending-machine
(Image source: summersinhavaianas)

Jeans. If you are a fan of the Italian brand, this is great for getting an exact replacement of the jeans you love. I said exact because you can’t return purchased jeans once they’re out of the machine.

jeans-vending-machine
(Image source: Annytime)

Books. This is a bookstore masquerading as a vending machine – a novel idea indeed. If you are going to be stuck in the airport at the UK or Australia for a while, why not grab a book?

book-vending-machine
(Image source: Daily News)

Used Books. A great idea to promote reading, pick up a book from this machine in Canada or drop in one of your own. It’s better than leaving them on your mantelpiece, collecting dust.

recycled-books-vending-machine
(Image source: Oddee)

Skincare Products. If you can get it via the store or via the shopping network, why not from a vending machine, right? Keep a lookout for them at any American airport.

proactiv-vending-machine
(Image source: Wikipedia)

Makeup. You might have come across a few of these in American airports, since Sephora introduced them in 2010. They are a boon for the female traveller in need of a touch-up.

makeup-vending-machine
(Image source: Imgarcade)

Baby Essentials. Forgetful parents who forget to pack their little one’s diapers (or any other essentials like pacifiers, baby wipes, lotion, powder, etc.) will consider this vending machine a lifesaver. This machine was spotted in Seaworld, Florida.

diapers-vending-machine
(Image source: Strangely Blogging)

Envelopes. Not a fan of sending emails? Go old school with envelopes in these vending machines found in Taiwan – stamps included!

stationery-vending-machine
(Image source: midori-japan)

Bicycle-For-Rent. Trust the bike-loving Dutch to come up with this very convenient means of transport. The machine allows you to rent the bike from one end and return it at another machine.

bicycle-vending-machine
(Image source: Gizmodo)

Gold. Yes, this is a gold ATM, you know, a machine that dispenses gold instead of cash. The vending machine comes with security measures to prevent robbery, and money laundering. These extremely valuable machines can be found in New York, Las Vegas, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Lisboa, Mendrisio, and Tirol.

gold-vending-machine
(Image source: Gold to Go)

Last Minute Gifts. Found at the JFK airport in New York, this one is very handy for super-last minute shopping right before you board your flight. Grab items from branded sunglasses and scarfs to cameras and even Beats headphones.

high-end-gifts-vending-machine
(Image source: BK Vixen Gone MD)

Marijuana. Now before you all get excited over the possibility of smoking pot easily, you need one thing to purchase the weed in this machine: a doctor’s prescription. Also they are only available at certain states where medical marijuana is legal like California and Colorado as well as Canada.

marijuana-vending-machine
(Image source: Vancouver 24 hrs)

Everything You Can Find In A Convenience Store. Because, why not?

convenience-store-vending-machine
(Image source: VendTrade)

What items do you find in the vending machines where you live? Tell us in the comments below.





hongkiat.com

Dynamic Design: Don’t Get Arrested By The Style Police

Designers, put your hands up! Today, we’re busting the widely held myth of the style, that elusive ‘je ne sais quois’ that creative professionals everywhere dream of achieving.

Yes, it’s good to show everyone that you’re an experienced creative who can put your personal mark on everything you touch, but there’s a dark side to style as well. What is it, you ask? Read on and we’ll find out.

Styling The Bull By The Horns

There is a famous etching series by Picasso, in which he drew 12 bulls in 12 different styles. The bulls are arranged side-by-side, and range from ultra-realistic, to ultra-stylized. This classic piece is a very clear example that, in the right hands, any style can be interesting, creative, and fresh.

via teacollection.com

As designers, we need to keep in mind that style is ever-changing. What might be the latest thing one year will be completely boring to clients and viewers the next. Style is a good thing to have, but you don’t want to become so stuck on one style that you fail to see the overall evolution of design as a whole.

This applies to all areas of design, from advertising to fashion, and there are numerous examples of designers who, once their famous style had lost its place in the sun, couldn’t find anyone to hire them.

You don’t want to be one of these designers. But at the same time, you don’t want to be a flaky, ineffective designer either, known for switching up their style far too often. The question, then becomes…

How Loyal Should You Be To Your Style?

There are plenty of good reasons to stick with an overall expression of style in your professional work. It identifies your work as yours to potential clients, for one thing. It also allows you to increase your rates for design work as people begin to request your specific style.

But on the downside, once your style is no longer relevant, or becomes a cliché, your client roster will dry up faster than autumn leaves on the ground. There’s nothing that will turn users away faster than a design that looks like last season’s leftovers. Despite controversial opinions on the subject, this is neither good nor bad: it’s simply how we all react to trends and novelty.

As you gain more experience over the years, it unfortunately becomes harder to adapt your style to the changing times. I’m sure you’ve seen work by a designer you used to admire, but who now seems dated and overexposed. What happened? Did their work suddenly become bad? No – it just got, well, stuck.

Getting (And Staying) Un-Stuck

The more you introduce routine to your brain, the more accustomed your brain becomes to doing that one thing, the the more resistant it will be to trying anything new. This is why it’s so hard to break old habits or take up new ones.

Keeping your brain alert with new experimentation in your free time will prevent you from having to start from scratch once your style starts to fade from popularity. I’ve written before about how important it is to have personal projects – it can’t be overstated enough.

Other than reading, personal work is the most important thing you can do for your design career. And the more you experiment and try new things, the more likely it is that you’ll find yourself at the front of the next trend, rather than bringing up the rear.

Try For Timelessness

No matter what the window dressing may look like, the fundamentals of design will never change. Having a solid understanding of composition, color, layout, and typography will carry you through the whims and whirlwinds of style, allowing you to adapt your design expertise to any visual trick clients may be looking for.

It’s impossible to say, of course, what will become timeless over the years, but if you study the classic examples of design, they will almost always have the basics in common. Strong composition, effective type, eye-catching layout, just the right combination of design elements to get the message across to viewers.

Design is not like art: it’s more objective than subjective. There are certain elements that make a “good” design that we all can see, and if you know what they are, your clients will always trust you to bring them out.

If you remember to keep your brain supple and flexible, and always keep the basics in mind, the idea of having one, unchanging style will start to seem more and more passé.

What Do You Think?

What are your thoughts on style? How important do you think it is to a designer’s career and potential for success?





hongkiat.com

8 Tumblr Limitations You Probably Don’t Know

We’ve already covered some Tumblr tips and tricks that can help you out with your blogging experience. On top of that, we featured a few tools and extensions to get the most of out Tumblr. But we bet you didn’t know that there are limitations as to what you can do on Tumblr, for instance, you can only post a certain number of posts per day. Once you hit that limit, then you’d have to wait until the next day to continue posting.

tumblr

Tumblr lists some of these limitations on its Help page, but there are some that are less than official. In this post, we’ll uncover some of these limits that range from the tags you can track and fan mail you can send. Regardless of whether you are a potential power Tumblr user or a sporadic one at best, here are some of the things you probably don’t know about using Tumblr.

1. Can’t Go Private With Primary Blogs

Limitation – There’s a saying on the Internet that what is on the Internet stays on the Internet. Even if you delete it, someone might have seen and saved the screenshot, and may resurrect it. This holds true on Tumblr when you post on your primary blog as you cannot privatise its contents – everything is made public. Besides that, multiple authors cannot contribute posts to your primary blog.

What you can do – Here is when Tumblr’s secondary blogs shine. Secondary blogs allow you to receive contribution from more than one author, and you can add password protection to its content. There’s even a function that allows you to set certain posts as private before posting it. Best of all, although you are limited to just one primary blog per URL, there is no limit to how many secondary blogs you can own. However, you can only create 10 per day (which is more than you need, really).

blogs

2. Limited To 250 Posts/Day

Limitation – You can never have too many posts on your Tumblr blog. Well, not in a day anyway. You can only post a total of 250 posts daily. This includes reblogs, and yes, the number applies to the cumulative posts on both your primary and secondary blogs. Tumblr will reset the post limit only when it hits 12 midnight Eastern Time, as its headquarters is based in New York.

What you can do – If for some reason, you hit the 250 limit, you can do one of two things: wait until Tumblr resets itself or you can queue your posts for the following day. The Queue will not be posted on the same day if you’ve hit your daily post limit (see below), so make sure to give it a time for the following day, or your post may be lost. If you need to check how many posts you have left, enter your Tumblr username at Post Limit Checker. The tool also tells you the time left until the next reset.

posting

3. Queue Only 50 Posts/Day

Limitation – Queueing posts is an artform by itself. You’d want to stagger posts so as to not overwhelm your followers. In fact, you can queue and publish up to 50 posts in the same day. This is of course included in the 250 posts-per-day limit but if you are going to be away for a while, you can actually queue up to 300 posts to be released across several days.

What you can do – Note that if you somehow exceeded the 250 limit but your queue is still ongoing, you’ll lose the remaining posts scheduled for the day. Instead of trying to beat the Queue limit, you can save your posts as Drafts. Once your Queue count is under the limit again, you can move those drafts to Queue.

queue

4. Optimum-Res At 500×750 pixels

Limitation – Whether they come in a post of their own or in a photoset, there is an optimum size for photos to display nicely. The normal photo size on a dashboard is 500 x 750 pixels and the maximum size you can upload a photo is 1280 x 1290 pixels. Photos bigger than 500 x 750 will be viewed in a lightbox when clicked.

What you can do – If you share photos heavily on Tumblr, it is obvious to keep the photo sizes to the recommended 500 x 750 pixels so your photos won’t be scaled down. Also note that from the 250 posts-per-day limit, 150 of those can be photo posts. If you have any trouble uploading photos, refer here for troubleshooting options. This blog post provides a comprehensive guide to the various photo sizes on Tumblr.

photopost

5. Heavy GIFs Can’t Move

Limitation – Moving on to GIFs; GIFs maketh Tumblr as you can find all sorts of GIFs here along with users who specialize in making them. If however you come across a GIF that doesn’t quite work properly, it is because the file size allowed has been exceeded. If a GIF is more than 2MB, Tumblr will turn the first frame of the GIF into a static image.

What you can do – If you love making GIFs, you will do well to heed the size limits. The maximum GIF size was recently bumped up from 1MB to 1.75MB and within 500 pixels (which is good news as most GIF makers attest to their 500 pixels GIFs having better quality). If your GIF exceeds the size limit, try saving the post in drafts first to see if the animation loads. If it doesn’t, then you need to take some time to reduce the file size to workable limits.

6. More Than 5 Tags Lead To Phantom Tags

Limitation – Tags, as most of you would know, serve to keep track of things and function as a way to discover new content. If an original post has more than five tags, only the first five tags are searchable from the dashboard. Of course, with Tumblr’s new search, the sixth tag and beyond are searchable, unless you are using the old tag page.

What you can do – This tip is for the chronic tag commenters. If you want others to search for your post, you should hold off your comments until after the fifth tag – tag wisely if you want your post to be found. The ‘phantom’ tag phenomenon does not affect searching the tag from inside your blog. For a better way of searching tags, type http://username.tumblr.com/tagged/insert-tag/.

7. Can Track Only 20 Tags

Limitation – When it comes to tracking tags, some users track certain tags to keep up with new content. The tracked tags will show you how many new posts are posted with that tag since the last time you’ve checked. Note that reblogged posts don’t get tracked and if you are tracking more than 20 tags, then you won’t get to see the number of new posts that carry your tracked tag.

What you can do – Obviously, you should just track 20 tags for tag tracking to be effective. Do some house-keeping by untracking tags that no longer interest you, or track selectively. However, if you couldn’t care less about the post count, you may track all the tags you want.

trackedtags

8. Ask 10 Questions/Hour

Limitation – Mostly Tumblr users communicate through ‘Ask’. For ‘Ask’ to work, it has to be enabled and you can have the option of enabling anonymous asks. Though when someone asks anonymously, the recipient can only reply publicly. Possibly to reduce spam, you can ask only 10 questions per hour (of which 5 can be anonymous). You will also have to adhere to a character limit of 500 characters.

What you can do – If you’ve used up your Ask quota, you can use the alternative method of communication: Fan Mail. Fan Mail is the official messaging function on Tumblr. In fact, your message can be as long as you want, and you can even send links to others. There is one slight setback, however. You can only send Fan Mail after you’ve been following a user for at least 48 hours. But once you’ve past that limitation, you can send Fan Mail up to 500 times a day.

fanmail





hongkiat.com

5 Truths About Revisions That Designers Don’t Want To Hear

Oh, revisions. We’ve all gotten them – I personally don’t know a designer on earth who doesn’t hate them, and I’ve read blog post after blog post about how much they suck. You put hours (or days) of your time and effort into getting a design piece just right.

Then, some nitwit in the client meeting – perhaps a spouse or relative, or just some lackey who knows nothing about design – butts in with some insipid opinion that your client takes seriously, and bam! It’s, literally, back to the drawing board as you try to accommodate their requests. You know the drill. It never makes the design better – it just placates the weird tastes of all these non-designers on your “committee”.

Well, the truth is, sometimes that’s not true. Sometimes, you’re the one with your head in the clouds. Today we’re going to explore 5 essential things designers never seem to want to hear when it comes to revising their work.

1. Not All Revisions Are Pointless

First, let’s be clear here. I’m not talking about the types of revisions that are, in fact, flat out ridiculous. Everyone can tell when a client is crossing the line from “trying to be helpful” into “totally incoherent.” If this happens more than a few times with the same client, my best advice is to simply walk away.

It’s not worth the headache of trying to please someone whose expectations are so far away from the type of service you provide.

Who Is Hanging On To The Mistakes?

What I’m talking about are suggestions that actually help improve some aspect of the design. Maybe that font was too unreadable by the client’s target audience, or maybe those navigation buttons really weren’t in the most optimal place for conversion rates.

As the saying goes, if you look all around you and can’t find the problem, it’s probably you. So always check to see whether the client (or his wife, secretary, or whoever else) actually doesn’t have a good point before you proceed to shoot them down.

2. Are You Sure You’re Getting The Message?

When you get slammed with revision request after revision request, it’s possible that there’s a communication error in play somewhere. You’re misreading the brief, your client is unclear on what he wants, or some combination of the two.

I know it’s easy to assume that the client is, by default, the dummy when it comes to design, but sometimes, a simple oversight on your part may be all you’re missing to help bring everyone back to the same page with your design.

For example, if your client is being vague or wishy-washy about the specifics of the design, it may be because the questions you’ve asked him were equally vague.

Go back to your checklist (you do have a client checklist, right?) and revise your questions to get more specific answers. Even if they are broken down to the point of silliness – whatever helps get the point across to both you and your client is essential for a successful designer-client relationship.

3. You Have To Read Their Minds

You have to get in your clients’ heads and know exactly what they need. This will cut down revision requests by at least 80%, if not more. You cannot do this with too broad a selection of clients, which is why you need to niche down your target client market as tightly as possible.

I focus on one particular type of client only, as I know exactly how to serve them. I know their needs and their audience inside out. I know how to make them as much money with my designs as possible.

You need to do the same with your own niche. Using your portfolio as a screening tool helps to send only those clients your way that you can best help. Choose the work you display online very carefully.

The Right Kind Of Attraction

If a prospective client sees a particular project you did that you absolutely hated, and they decide to hire you based on that project, neither of you is going to know there’s a problem until it’s too late.

The client is going to stick you with work exactly like the thing they saw in your portfolio, and you are going to secretly hate them and wonder why you keep attracting the same kinds of clients.

Personal work is a vital solution to this problem. If you continue to make time for projects you truly love, and you give them the same amount of time and dedication that you give your paid work, eventually people will start to notice and want to hire you based on that work instead.

4. You’re A Bad Salesperson

Design is a business, and business is about selling. You need to be able to sell your ideas to your clients so that they understand explicitly what you’re offering them. If you can’t properly sell a client on what you want to accomplish, you need to work on improving this skill.

Anyone can learn to sell – in fact, we all sell on a regular basis every single day. But some people might need a bit of help with particulars like body language, tone of voice, and clarity. There are countless resources online to help aid you with improving your presentation skills, but I would say the number one most important skill you can have as a designer is writing.

If you can write down what your goals are with a project so that other people can easily grasp them, you’ll be 99% of the way to a successful client meeting. Before you brief your clients, read what you’re going to say to a friend or family member to get their perspective. If a non-designer can understand what you’re getting at, then your client probably will also.

5. Maybe The Client Is Right

Not all clients are ignorant rubes who know nothing about design. Sometimes, they make good points. As a designer, nothing annoys me more than clients who think they know more about design than I do. There was a reason you hired me to do this job, wasn’t there?

However, as a design client, nothing annoys me more than designers who are arrogant and condescending about their superior design knowledge.

Yes, I’ve been both, and I have to say, from the other side of the fence, the smugness designers can give off is just as annoying as a client’s ignorance. In fact, I’d say it’s even worse, since as a designer, you should know better.

The key is being able to tell when your client’s ideas are good, and when you need to stand your ground and say no (politely). This is one more problem on your end, though. If you can’t be bothered to educate yourself and sharpen your design instincts, then clients are going to walk right over you and the end product will suffer tremendously.

What Do You Think?

How do you handle revision requests? What exactly distinguishes a good revision request from a bad one? Is there anything you can share about how to lessen the frequency with which clients ask for revisions?





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5 HTML Elements That You Probably Don’t Know

In the past we have covered a lot about HTML5 elements as well as demonstrating their functions. New elements such as header, footer, aside, nav, and main make our document structure more semantic or “meaningful”. In particular, these elements help machines to easily understand sections within the document.

But, HTML specifications are huge. If you visit W3.org where the documentation resides, you will find hundreds of pages documenting each element extensively. To this extent, there are possibly a few HTML elements that you have overlooked, and those include:

1. Sample Element

Sample Element or samp defines the output from a computer system, a program or a script. It was introduced far back in HTML3!. This element will be useful for tech tutorials or computer manuals. This example below shows how we wrap an error that occurred in Terminal.

 If you type dir in Terminal, it will output <samp>command not found: dir</samp>. 

All browsers, including IE5, support this element, and they will display it with Monospace typeface like thecode and pre elements.

2. Keyboard Input Element

Keyboard Input Element or kbd is an element that defines a user input. Similar to the samp element, kbd would be commonly used in tech or computer-related articles.

Say, you want to instruct readers to enter particular characters in an input field of an Application. You can wrap the text characters with kbd, as follows:

 To confirm deletion of your account, type <kbd>DELETE</kbd>. 

kbd can also be used to represent actual keyboard keys.

 Press <kbd>Enter</kbd> to create a new line. 

But when used along with the samp element, it could represent input that is conducted through the Application screen such as the buttons or menus. Here is one example:

 Click <kbd><samp>Agree</samp></kbd> to proceed. 

Even though kbd element is explicitly described as “Keyboard Input”, we can also use it for other input type, such as a voice input. If you write tutorials or manuals on Siri, Google Voice, or Cortana that allow us to communicate with the device using voice commands, wrap the voice input this way.

 ...the Ok Google hotword isn't actually disabled according to region and can be easily enabled in just two steps. 

Similar to samp, kbdalso outputs with Monospace typeface by default.

Styling Suggestion

These elements help machines understand the content better. But since they are all rendered with Monospace typeface, readers will hardly see the difference. In this case, we can add some styling to make them look more distinct.

We can add a class, for example button-input if it represents a keyboard key or an Application button.

Then, in CSS, we put the following style rules.

 .button-input { border: 1px solid #333; background: linear-gradient(#aaa 0%, #555 100%); /* W3C */ color: #fff; padding: 3px 8px; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0px 2px 0px 0px #111; } 

This will make it look like an actual button.

3. Variable Element

Variable Element or var, as the name implies, represents a variable character. This element may be useful to write tutorials or articles that comprise of mathematical equations, such as:

 <code>var <var>y</var> = Math.sqrt(16);</code> 

In the above example, we wrap the equation with code element, as the equation is a JavaScript code. We only wrap the character that is a variable with var element.

4. Defining Element

Defining element or dfn is used to highlight a jargon or a specific term that is particularly used in a community or an industry. Web Development industry, for instance, is full of jargon that may not be well known outside the industry.

And below is an example where we use dfn element to wrap the word Breadcrumb; we took the following sentence from Wikipedia.

 <dfn>Breadcrumbs</dfn> or <dfn>breadcrumb trail</dfn> is a navigation aid used in user interfaces. It allows users to keep track of their locations within programs or documents. The term comes from the trail of breadcrumbs left by Hansel and Gretel in the popular fairytale. 

Browsers display it in italic, corresponding to the typographic convention to denote a new instance, or a foreign term.

5. Mark Element

Mark is a new element introduced as part of HTML5. In short, mark is used to highlight text that you want readers to pay attention to. Thus, by default, browsers render this element with bright fluorescent color as you can see below.

For more, you can head over to its documentation, Text Level Semantic – Mark Element, where you can see some detailed examples on the usage.

Final Thought

Instead of using a generic element like div or span, it is better to wrap your content within a more semantic element as listed above, so that the machine – be it an Application, a bot, or a reading device – could better understand the content. Hopefully, this article can be a good reference for getting started.





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5 Reasons Why I Don’t Install WordPress Plugins

… well not ALL WordPress plugins, just the bad ones. Like every other tool out there, there are some plugins that work for you, e.g. for creating contact forms or for helping you build an e-Commerce website on top of WordPress – and there are those which don’t.

Some plugins aren’t necessary, other times, you should totally avoid installing them. In this particular post, I’d like to share with you my personal reasons why I won’t install a particular plugin. As this is an opinion piece, I’m sure you have your reasons as well. Share them with me in the comments section.

1. It Does A Simple Job

Many functionalities in WordPress can be achieved without a plugin. They are so simple that a plugin could sometimes be overkill. For example; I will prefer of adding the following snippet, to hide an admin bar, in the theme’s functions.php file, rather than using a plugin.

 add_filter('show_admin_bar', '__return_false'); 

Tip: Before installing a plugin, try to find that piece of code that can do the exact same job.

2. It’s Old & Not Updated

WordPress has a policy for plugins stored in the official repository; for plugins that are not maintained for more than 24 months, WordPress will display the following warning.

The plugin may contain some deprecated functions, and may also not be compatible with the current WordPress version. I usually won’t install or keep this plugin unless there is no better replacement, and the plugin stil runs well, and I’m sure it would not harm the site it is on.

For instance, I’m still using Maintenance Mode plugin, even though it has not been updated since 2010 as it still does the job really well. We can customize the output by creating a custom template from within the theme.

3. It’s Not Native

I found many plugins that have their own styling for the Admin User Interface (Admin UI) i.e. it does not follow the native WordPress Admin UI styles. The problem comes when WordPress decides to overhaul the entire UI design like in WordPress version 3.8. The plugin’s Admin UI will look out of place. It could also look awful.

On the other hand, it will also add more workload for the developer to update their plugins once WordPress makes significant changes.

Take a look at this example. It is a plugin to make WordPress more secure. It has its own styling, which does not really blend well with the WordPress Admin U. It looks cluttered at best.

Let’s compare it with the following plugin, named Better WP Security, which offers similar functionalities. It uses native WordPress styles and looks tidier.

For me, I would always check out the Screenshot page of the plugin. If the screenshots look unappealing or they are not available, the developer probably isn’t paying enough attention to this plugin of his/hers. And I probably won’t install it.

The rule of thumb for creating Admin UI is to stick close to the WordPress native styles. Sadly, WordPress does not provide a thorough documentation as a guideline. The following, however, are a few references that may help you get started:

4. It’s Branded

I found many WordPress plugins that put their “brand name” everywhere on its Setting page. It is distracting, particularly when it comes to user experience. Here’s an example, a plugin that put its brand on the Menu Name as well as on the Settings Page, 6 different times.

I’m not against putting your “brand name” in a plugin. But it should be done in a more friendly way. It also should not sacrifice the aesthetics of the User Interface design of the plugin. VaultPress is a good example in this matter:

5. It’s Obtrusive

Combine #4 with ads and pro version offerings and the plugin becomes obtrusive. Creating a plugin takes a lot of time and financial support for continual developent, but displaying ads and offers around every corner is can make the developer look desperate. As always, there are better ways to do this, and they are less obtrusive.

Advanced Custom Fields is one good example for this. It is a free plugin that allows us to create WordPress custom meta box easily with GUI. It has some premium extensions that are offered in a neat way, under a sub-menu named "Add-on".

Conclusion

I have my favorite set of WordPress plugins that I cannot do without but if we end-users are more selective with the plugins that we adopt for use, picking only those that are done well, this may little by little help improve the overall quality of plugins. Here is to the development of more powerful WordPress plugins.


    




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20 Handy Mavericks Tips & Tricks You Probably Don’t Know

Many would have upgraded to Mavericks by now as it was made available as a free upgrade to all Mac users. While the upgrades from Mountain Lion weren’t as groundbreaking (or as polarizing) as Apple’s iOS 6 upgrade to iOS 7, Mavericks does have many cool new features.

Mavericks

After playing around with Mavericks and scouring through the Internet, we’ve compiled a list of Mac OS X Mavericks tips & tricks that you might not know of. Some of these tips & tricks require the use of Terminal, but they are easily reversible, while others are found hidden within the System Preferences. If you know of more, let us know in the comments section.

1. Hide Icons In System Preferences

We’ve previously covered parental control tips and apps for Mac, but in Mavericks, you can hide certain icons in the System Preferences so someone else who has access to your Mac (e.g. your nosy kids) won’t be able to find it so easily.

To do this, open System Preferences then click on View located on the Menu Bar followed by Customize. You’ll then notice checkboxes on the icons. Uncheck the icons you want to hide and click on Done when you’re finished. The unchecked icons will now be hidden.

Settings Icon

2. Disable Dashboard

If can’t find any use of the Dashboard — that space in the far left where you can put your widgets — you can disable the Dashboard using this command in Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES

After that, key in this command to reset the Dock:

killall Dock

If you find you want to re-enable the Dashboard, enter the command below, and followed by the ‘killall Dock’ command again.

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean NO

Disable Dashboard

3. Hide Username On Menu Bar

By default, your account username is shown on the Menu Bar next to the date and time. If you want to clean up your Mac’s Menu Bar, you can remove the username from System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Options > Uncheck Show fast user switching menu as.

Note that you might need to first double click the lock at the bottom left corner and type in your password in order to make these changes.

Hide Name

4. Permanently Disable Notification Center

The notification center bugging you with too many updates? Aside from turning it off with the Do Not Disturb feature, you can even remove it from the menu bar.

Enter the following command in Terminal:

sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.notificationcenterui KeepAlive -bool false

After that, enter this command in Terminal:

killall NotificationCenter

Then log out of your Mac. When you log back in, the Notification icon on the Menu Bar will be gone.

Disable Notification Center

5. Align Dock On Corners Of The Screen

By default, you can position your dock to the left or right of the screen, or at the bottom. By entering this simple command into Terminal, you’ll be able to align the dock to a corner of the screen instead of the default middle alignment.

This command will align the horizontal docks to the top corners, and the vertical dock to the left of the screen.

defaults write com.apple.dock pinning -string start

Dock Align

This command will align the horizontal docks to the bottom corners, and the vertical dock to the right of the screen.

defaults write com.apple.dock pinning -string end

Dock Align

To return to the default, middle alignment, enter this command:

defaults write com.apple.dock pinning -string middle

Do note that after entering any of the commands above, you’ll have to reset the dock with this command in order to see the changes:

killall Dock

6. Use Emoji In Text

Mavericks comes built-in with Emoji; to access it, use the keyboard shortcut Command + Control + Space to bring up the special Emoji menu on any text area in any app.

Emoji

7. Find Out Which Application Drains Power

Mavericks’ new Activity Monitor now lets you see more information about your Mac, particularly which app is draining your energy bar. You’ll have to ‘show’ Energy Impact by right clicking on the headers and checking it. Once you check Energy Impact, you’ll be able to see which application is taking up the most power (higher value) and stop it to maximize your Mac’s battery life.

Energy Impact

8. Disable App Nap On Selected Apps

Apple implemented App Nap in Mavericks to further lengthen your Mac’s battery life by temporary slowing down apps that are not doing anything in the background. However, this slightly reduces the start up time of the app.

If multitasking speed is important to you, you can disable App Nap on selected apps by right clicking the app and clicking on Get Info. There, you’ll be able to check Prevent App Nap so that the app doesn’t slow down when it’s not in use in the background. Do note that by disabling App Nap, your battery life drains quicker.

App Nap

9. Move Dashboard Like Spaces

The Dashboard can be moved around now, just by clicking and dragging it to where you want to leave it. You can even move it to your secondary monitor on a dual monitor setup.

Move Dashboard

10. See More On Activity Monitor Dock Icon

On Mavericks, the new Activity Monitor has several dynamic dock icons you can choose from. Right click on the icon then go to Dock Icon to choose between four activities to display or switch back to the regular icon by choosing Show Application Icon.

Dock Icon

11. Enable Offline Dictation

Previously on Mountain Lion, in order to use Dictation you will have to be connected to the internet. On Mavericks, you can enable offline Dictation by going into the System Preferences > Dictation & Speech and checking Use Enhanced Dictation. Do note that it’ll require a 785MB download that might take up some storage space.

Offline Dictation

12. Use The Built-In Text Expansion

If you’ve already mastered keyboard shortcuts to improve your speed and productivity, Mavericks now comes with a text expansion feature that allows you to type a predetermined keyword to then expand it to something longer. You can access these settings in System Preferences > Keyboard > Text.

Do note that this text expansion only works on select Mac Apps.

Text Expansion

13. Enable/Disable Auto App Updates

Just like iOS 7, Mavericks now has automatic app updates for your convenience. However, if you’re one who would read the app update change log and update it yourself, you can disable automatic app update. Go to System Preferences > App Store and uncheck Install app updates.

Auto Update

14. Hide Notifications On Lock Screen

Don’t like lockscreen notifications to pop up on your Mac? Disable notifications on your lock screen, by going to System Preferences > Notifications. Within each app, uncheck Show notifications on lock screen.

Lock Notifications

15. Move Application Windows In The Background

If you need to move a window in the background without switching to it, hold down the Command key before clicking and dragging the application windows.

16. Use The Built-In Spelling And Grammar Checker

Apple has a built-in spelling and grammar checker that you can use on selected apps. All you have to do is enter this keyboard shortcut to bring it up: Command + Shift + ;

Spekk Check

17. Show One Application At A Time

Desperate times call for desperate measures. If multi-tasking is killing your productivity, you can enable a ‘single application’ mode by entering the following command in Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.dock single-app -bool true

You must then enter this command in order to see the changes:

killall Dock

This mode allows for only 1 application to be shown at one time. It might slow down your multitasking speed, but you’ll be able to concentrate more on that one application without being distracted by any other applications in the background.

Single App

18. Show Dock On Secondary Screen

Mavericks comes with better dual-monitor support; you can now make the Dock show on your secondary screen by moving the mouse cursor right to the bottom of the other screen. After a one second delay, the Dock will disappear on your main screen and appear on your secondary screen.

Dock

19. Disable Startup Sound

If you find the Mac startup sound obnoxiously loud and want to permanently disable it, you can enter the following command into Terminal:

sudo nvram SystemAudioVolume=%80

You can return it to its default state by entering the following command into Terminal:

sudo nvram -d SystemAudioVolume

20. Access Hidden Mavericks Wallpapers

Once you’ve updated to Mavericks, you’ll be greeted with new default wallpapers. However, there are also more than 30 other new but hidden wallpapers that come with Mavericks. Run a spotlight search on "Default Collections" and you will be treated with 4 folders with all these awesome wallpapers.

Hidden Wallpapers

From there, you can drag and drop these 4 folders into the desktop background options to use these wallpapers.

Add Wallpaper


    




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BlinkScan Scans & Removes Backgrounds Of Multiple Images (So You Don’t Have To)

Most scanners in the market today are expensive, slow and do not produce images in true color. BlinkScan is going to change all that. BlinkScan is a revolutionary device that can take high-resolution image scans of multiple objects without the background in mere seconds.

Every object that is scanned with the device is also automatically aligned and extracted into its own image file, thereby saving you lots of time in photo editing, and in cropping out the background images. Let’s take a look at how it works.

How BlinkScan Works

BlinkScan is a tabletop device that works a bit differently from a conventional scanner. For one thing, it is noticeably faster. It has a monochrome sensor and lights that blink Red, Green and Blue. The sensor will capture a total of 3 images (one of each color) and then combine the 3 into a high-resolution true "full color" image.

BlinkScan Color

Designers would also love the fact that BlinkScan churns out digital images without any background. While most of the time we may need to spend some time cropping out the background, BlinkScan does it for you, with high accuracy.

BlinkScan Scan

Another time-saving feature that BlinkScan offers is multiple object scanning. Just place all your items within the frame, and hit the button. BlinkScan has a scan area of 216mm x 297mm, the regular A4 paper size. Images are scanned at a resolution of 300 dpi.

Best of all, BlinkScan can recognize each individual object from that one scan, and save them into separate image files, when they are transferred to your computer.

BlinkScan Images

These individual images are also automatically de-skewed (aligned appropriately, if scanned at a crooked angle), saving you some precious time. And all of this happens at a single press of a button. The scan takes about 3 seconds, and you can get your high-res, true-color photos on your computer in the blink of an eye.

BlinkScan

The BlinkScan technology is simple and brilliant and it comes with a basic software that allows for simple photo editing such as rotate, contrast, brightness and hue. It is still a running Kickstarter project, as of this writing, but the early bird prices of $ 599 have been taken up. You can still purchase one for $ 799 with an estimated delivery date being sometime in July 2014.


    




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20 Cool Mouse Designs You Don’t See Often

Laptops with their trackpads have conquered the world these days but there some people who still use desktop computers with the mouse. The way we use the mouse has not changed much since its conception but when it comes to design and style, there are massive upgrades everywhere.

If you’re into gadgets and innovations of any kind, you’ll enjoy viewing today’s collection of mouse designs. Industrial designers do their best to design mice for playing games or comfortable everyday usage – they also make them look really cool.

Some of these mice are just concepts, while others are already available for sale.

VF Portable Mouse by Jet Ong

This mouse design is just a concept, but the stylish and sleek concave back and the white-and-red combination will make this mouse a delightful addition to the workdesk.

GoodMood Mouse for Microsoft by Evgeni Leonov

In addition to eco-friendly materials and an ergonomic design, this mouse is equipped with an Activity Sensor. When you spend more than an hour on it, the mouse sends a vibration signal to your arm to tell you to take a break.

Wooden mouse by Alest Rukov

This mouse is an alternative option in a greener sense. The main goal behind this product is to get the maximum out of natural materials and extend lifetime warranty.

Woody | PC Mouse by Joana Ferreira do Amaral

This mouse design is based on the tree leaf form. Plus, it is made from organic materials and serves as a great example of biological design.

Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse by Donn Koh

Microsoft found a way to get a mouse to flatten for travel and storage, while being ergonomically shaped for use. It was engineered with the bend-and-snap principle.

Bean by Rene Lee

Bean is a universal ergonomic mouse. It has only one touch sensitive bottom that clicks on both edges. Its lateral symmetry makes it a comfortable fit for both right and left hand users.

The Mouse by Alex

This mouse has a pure and smooth surface design plus a hollowed out design in the middle to keep it lightweight for constant use.

Express Mouse Limited Edition by Microsoft

Microsoft Express Mouse tracks on almost any surface with BlueTrack technology, works for both right hand and/or left hand, is available in a variety of colors and just looks so cute.

Pearl Mouse by Lee Gicas

This mouse is built to pivot in four directions, left and right, front and back, allowing users to extend, flex, and relax their wrists for minimal fatigue while using the mouse.

CAMEL TOE by Matthieu Nollet

It is still a concept but just look at it!. The lack of the scrolling wheel is replaced by optical detection. Hey, you can dream, right?

Infinity by Pierre Schwenke

Look at the curve on those mice. Check out the design process at the original link for a backstage look into how mice are made.

XEN: faceted mouse design by Zhenhui Ng

From curves to corners, this Xen mouse, had some body work done to give it an alien-version of what a mouse would look like.

Megalan Speed Mouse by Adept and Petya Savova

Fancy sports cars? Then maybe this Megalan Speed Mouse is right up your alley.

Float – Minimal Mouse by Patrick Mulcahy

Material reduction comes to play but not at the expense of ergonomics. The soft touch black with a teal accent makes this one a classy act.

Jailed mouse – PC peripheral by Jang WooSeok

If you hate it that your mouse becomes greasy from extended use, this jailed mouse design keeps the surface dry with steel bars.

Intelligent Design – Titanium mouse by Zlatan Menkovic

This Titanium perfection at your fingertips comes with high quality-plastic resin and a neodymium scroll wheel.

Elecom Egg Mouse

Want more to grip on? The ovoid design here will fit perfectly in your palm. Its variety of colors will also be a great addition to a not so white-and-black workdesk.

Really Cool Washable Mouse from Belkin

Finally, they made a washable, water-resistant mouse that can survive spills on the table and can get back to work after a quick wash under running water.

SWAROVSKI MOUSE by by Jeremy Doherty, Simon Doherty and Dareen Doherty

This mouse design is a play on the Swarovski logo. The body of the Swan becomes the body of the mouse and the two buttons are placed alongside the crystal.

The Flip-Flop Toe Mouse

Here’s one for the foot. It is designed for people with upper limb disabilities and is inspired by flip-flop beach sandals.

Which mouse design do you like best and why? Share your ideas and thoughts in the comment field below.


    


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