Archive for category technology

Skitch for Evernote

 I have to admit – I’m a little late to the game as far as Evernote is concerned. I was a bit intimidated by it at first because its such a robust program and I didn’t want to take the time to actually “learn” it. But I kept hearing how great it was so I took a few youtube courses and now I feel like I can actually get some of the best features from it. One of them is Skitch. Its a great little tool that lets you annotate and share web clips and full page URLs. Of course there are many other tools out there that do this but since I was braving Evernote anyway I thought I would give it a try.

Ok – first off I had to download it. It sits as a standalone program to Evernote but you can send your Skitch file right into an Evernote notebook or copy and paste your link URL into an email. You can also share your file with Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. I tried sharing mine to Twitter which it did no problem.

skitch

The tools are a little bare and I found the highlighter tool hard to work with. I also couldn’t see where to move my annotations around if I wanted to (other than the undo button I was stumped). It also had a pixelate tool that I thought was cool if you wanted to edit something out real quick.

stitch test4

I wasn’t really sure what the shape boxes were for but I think I got the idea once I started a blank document and played around with it. Pretty cool actually.

highlighter

Ok so- overall I liked it. Turns out it was kind of like Diigo and Microsoft Paint blended together. If you like Evernote (which I do) you will definitely get some use out of Stitch.

If you use Skitch and have any other tips please share.

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New Conferences and A New Project!

I know I haven’t written in a while but I have been so busy learning so many new ways to organize myself with the new projects I have coming this year. I wanted to take the opportunity to list a few of the great web helpers that I found along the way as well some conferences that will be happening this year.

First off let me say that I have made my Pinterest page into a Business page so please stop by and check out my web articles board. Theres alot of good stuff there. I also came across some great tools for helping me gather information. Feedly, Go to meeting, Flipboard, CodeAcademy, and IFTTT have become my new best friends. I will be starting to learn Ruby next month and I will share my progress on the blog. I’m a little nervous but excited at the same time because I have always wanted to branch out into the coding side of things.

Speaking of learning new things there’s quite a few conferences around the world that might help you in your learning process as well.

FOUND Silicon Valley2 April 2013 — Mountain View, CA

FOUND Silicon Valley will feature presentations and discussions on the future of SEO and content marketing. The intimate event provides a chance for attendees to learn and network with industry veterans and fellow professionals in a collaborative format.

FinTech Hackathon – 6-7 April, 2013 – NYC

The goal of the FinTech Hackathon is to promote technological innovation in the financial
industry. The FinTech Hackathon brings together developers, designers, product managers and
marketers to launch innovative financial products and services with tools from several API, data
and platform partners.

GSummit SF 2013 – 16-19 April, 2013 – San Francisco

Come to GSummit (April 16-18) and earn your official gamification design certification, hear detailed practical examples of what works and what doesn’t from the experts themselves, network with the world’s top gamification designers and vendors, and get inspired. As consumer & employee attention has been harder and harder to obtain, you’ll learn how many companies have utilized gamification to create loyal customers & engaged employees.

Future Insights Live – 29 April – 2 May 2013 — Las Vegas

The 2nd annual Future Insights Live is a multi-track, 4-day tech conference, featuring an optional workshop day and 3 conference days. A combination of our existing shows – Future of Web Apps, Future of Web Design, and Future of Mobile – FILive will discuss the future technologies, platforms, and business models YOU should be using and implementing to launch the next big thing.

OuiShare Fest2-4 May 2013 — Paris

OuiShare Fest is the first major European event about the collaborative economy. Organized by OuiShare and La Fonderie, this three-day festival will bring together a global community of entrepreneurs, designers, makers, economists, investors, politicians and citizens to build a collaborative future in Paris.

Future of Web Design13-15 May 2013 — London

For the third straight year, we’ll meet in the amazing surroundings of The Brewery for three days of the very best in web design. Here’s what we’ll have on offer:

  • 4 amazing day-long workshops led by the best in the business
  • More technical topics and practical guidance than ever before
  • Healthy doses of inspiration
  • Creative challenges
  • An instameet and other relaxed networking opportunities
  • A rousing after-party and the chance to pull some shapes on the dance floor
  • A showcase of amazing new talent on our Rising Stars stage

Find the complete list here: Upcoming tech and media events you should attend and special thanks to The Next Web who will be offering discounts to these events. Check out their site too – great stuff.

Ok..so that’s my update. I’ll be blogging much more in the coming months. As always keep in touch. Happy designing!

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Looking for An Upcoming Design Online Class or Conference?

Computer Image

Free images from FreeDigitalPhotos.net


I’d like to tell you about a great online course that I am taking through Stanford University. The course is called Human-Computer Interaction and is taught by Associate Professor Scott Klemmer. The course explains the process of how projects are developed using prototyping, surveys and user experiments all the way through to completion and implementation by the final end user.

This course is offered for free online https://www.coursera.org/course/hci and there are many other courses available as well: https://www.coursera.org/courses.



Here are some Design Conferences coming up in the next few months:

The Front-End Design Conference
“The Front-End Design Conference is an annual event dedicated to content, presentation and behavior. The speakers and attendees are made up of awesome people from the web design and development community.”
When: June 8, 2012
Where: St. Petersburg, FL, USA at the Palladium Theater



NXNEi Interactive
“With over 80 presentations, NXNEi bridges the gap between creators of all kinds and interactivity. Whether you’re a musician, film producer, marketer, public relations pro or community manager, NXNE Interactive programming has you covered. Join us for three days of tech and social media exploration to learn how to boost ingenuity while enhancing your marketing and business efforts.”
When: June 11-17, 2012
Where: Toronto, Canada



Reasons to Be Creative
Reasons to be Creative is a festival for creative artists, designers and coders. The festival brings together some of the most respected and brilliant minds from the worlds of art, code, design and education to share their passion, knowledge, insights and work. Expect two days packed with talks, networking, inspiration and learning.”
When: June 14-15, 2012
Where: New York, USA



The Rich Internet Application Conference
“The Rich Internet Application Conference: Where architects and developers of all levels gather to share and learn about creating the next generation of web and mobile based applications. At RIACon you’ll get to network with fellow industry professionals and community leaders while being exposed to the most up to date skills needed for building great applications leveraging the best technologies available today.”
When: August 6-7, 2012
Where: Washington, DC, USA



An Event Apart
“An Event Apart is an intensely educational two-day conference for passionate practitioners of standards-based web design. If you care about code as well as content, usability as well as design, An Event Apart is the conference you’ve been waiting for.”
When: August 6-8, 2012
Where: Washington, DC, USA at the Westin Alexandria



UX Australia
“UX Australia 2012 is a 4-day user experience design conference, with two days of workshops and two days of presentations about designing great experiences for people.”
When: August 28-31, 2012
Where: Brisbane, Australia at Sofitel Brisbane Central

Full list here: http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2012/02/10/upcoming-web-design-and-development-conferences-for-2012/#jun

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Google Docs Vs. Microsoft Word – Should You Make The Switch?

Recently I read a great article by Charles Cooper – regarding giving up Microsoft Word in favor of Google Docs. I was a little stunned at first because to be honest with you the thought never even crossed my mind. I had no idea that I could viably use Google Docs as a competent alternative. But me, always being curious, I wanted to try it out. I decided to write this post in Google Docs and see if I could format and post it without any prior knowledge or tutorials.

First off, I Ioved the dictionary feature under tool. This is so useful when you’re trying to think of new ways to say something and don’t want to make a fool of yourself in the process. I was impressed that my document was saved immediately and also sent to my docs folder without any prompting which means even if I forget its taken care of and I can access it anywhere (especially key if your multitasking like most of us do). I also liked the fact that you can download the document into different formats right from the file menu which means that you can make a copy for OpenOffice, PDF, or Word. I found this especially useful because I have OpenOffice on my laptop. Of course it goes without saying that you can email your document directly to the web or email collaborators right on the main menu.

Actually everything seemed pretty intuitive from the main window and I was able to write and edit my document with ease. I did eventually do a search for a good tutorial. Here’s what I came up with:

I have to say that I liked the overall experience. I’m sure I wont give up Word immediately since you have to be online to use Google Docs but it was easy to use and will definitely work in a pinch for documents, spreadsheets, and other duties that you want to share right away and get feedback. If your online anyway – why not.

Bonus: now you can view your files offline in Chrome!

 

Do you use Google Docs regularly and have any tips to share? I’d love to hear them.

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Install Your own USB Wall Outlet

USB Wall Outlet


If you’re like me you have tons of gadgets all over the house and can’t remember what needs to be charged at what time. Unfortunately, we don’t really think about the battery life of our gadgets until it’s time to use them. It’s so frustrating when you want to use a device only to be stopped cold by a dead battery.

I came across a great tutorial on CNET on how you can install your own USB port into a regular wall socket without too much effort. I didn’t give this too much thought at first since I’m not really electrically inclined, but I must say, when I actually looked at the video I was impressed – this was actually something that I could do myself!

I felt like I had to share this because I really think this could be useful to so many people.

Sharon Vaknin made a great How To video for this here: http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57389548-285/how-to-install-a-usb-wall-socket/

Do you have any other tips that can help us out with all the technology in our lives?

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Free Programs That Can Make Your Life Easier

Everyday I come across tons of free programs that can definitely make your life easier if you have the patience to learn how to use them. Having a computer background I often wonder how easy these programs would actually be for someone who might not have the time to learn an extensive program with a lot of bells and whistles. I came across 2 that are very easy to use right away but offer tons of great features that you can discover at your own pace.

Open Office

This program is like a free version of Microsoft Office with all the same features that you would pay hundreds of dollars for. You can create documents, spreadsheets and presentations very quickly. I tried this one out a couple of months ago because I wanted a doc editing program for my laptop that I could use on the go. Without reading any of the tutorials I was able to create a document in about 5 minutes and save it into my docs folder. I don’t use spreadsheets very often but I was able to create a simple table in about 10 minutes. I honestly thought that there would be a major learning curve here but if you know anything about Microsoft Office this wont be a painful switch at all. The only thing that I had to remember was to save my file to a .doc format so that I could read it in Microsoft Office on my desktop. Here is an example of Open Office:

 

Gimp

Gimp is the closest free program that I have found to Photoshop. There is a download available for Macintosh as well (http://www.gimp.org/macintosh/ ). Gimp lets you do simple photo alterations, create web pages and brochures, as well as draw and paint with text just as easily as Photoshop without the major expense. Yes, there is a bit of a learning curve, but I was able to put together a simple one-page brochure in about 30 minutes my first time using it. There are also numerous tutorials available on line and at Gimps official website to get you up to speed fairly quickly. Then you can take your time becoming a pro. I’m sure I will be using this one a lot more often since I realized how extensive the program actually is. It’s definitely worth the effort of learning. A quick review of of Gimp:

Do you know of any other free programs that are fairly easy to learn? Please share them with me.

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Upcoming conferences featuring web design and social media

With the start of the new year approaching I’m sure were all starting to think about how we can develop ourselves both spiritually and creatively.  With that we also start to think towards fresh and new ideas that we can bring to our projects and to our clients. I found some great events coming in the new year which might help to spark your creativity.

New Adventures Web Design
“We’re working closely with our speakers over the next few months to ensure we bring you engaging, relevant, joined-up themes, and we’ll introduce all eight topics here in late 2011. Note also that our provisional schedule is subject to change.”
When: January 18-19, 2012
Where: Nottingham, UK at the Albert Hall

Web Visions
“WebVisions explores the future of the Web and mobile design, technology, user experience and business strategy and it’s bringing its Indie/DIY/Maker vibe to venues around the world, with awesome workshops, sessions, studio tours and networking events.”
When: January 18-20th in NYC (Visit website for upcoming dates)
Where: New York City, Barcelona, Portland, Chicago and Atlanta

An Event Apart
“An Event Apart is an intensely educational two-day conference for passionate practitioners of standards-based web design. If you care about code as well as content, usability as well as design, An Event Apart is the conference you’ve been waiting for.”
When: February 6-8, 2012
Where: Atlanta, GA, USA at the InterContinental

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