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Graphic Artist Loves Open Source

29 Dec

Are you an starving artist looking for some affordable digital tools? We’ve posted before about open source software. However, I just have to jump in again and focus on Graphic Designing with Open Source. I work on a Mac, PC and even an Ubuntu Linux box. Professional Graphics Software isn’t cheap. So I let my Boss buy it for work. Adobe is great, and pricey. My heart is with the following software. All available for all platforms I use.


Inkscape (Illustrator equivalent)


  • The Best Auto trace anywhere.
  • SVG native format- (one of Illustrators default save options)
  • PDF editing well underway- not fully implemented
  • Diagraming tool works great for planning websites


  • Color Swatches are not currently able to be saved in direct manner. No Built in Pantone support ( but that is just a matter of specifying the proper Pantone number for printing)


Gimp (Photoshop equivalent)


  • It’s free
  • Regularly updated with fixes and the latest features
  • Strong community
  • Runs smoothly on almost every platform
  • Customizable with plugins and scripts
  • Handles almost any format including: bmp, gif, jpeg, mng, pcx, pdf, png, psd, svg, tiff, tga, xpm


  • Newest version can be buggy
  • No 16-bit per channel color support
  • Feature development is slow


Scribus (InDesign equivalent)


  • It’s free
  • PDF compressing is quality
  • Works well on Windows
  • It is a lightweight program


  • Lacks the “spell check”
  • Need to keep the pictures integrated in your document in the same location on your computer or you’ll lose them
  • Doesn’t look pleasant when switching fonts
  • Runs slow with multiple pages or large files
  • Navigation needs to be updated
  • Not enough intuitive
  • Documentation is incomplete


Blender (Maya equivalent)

The pros:

  • It’s free
  • Features animation, rigging, fluid simulations, UV mapping, and more
  • Export blender files to different file formats
  • Render with your gpu instead of cpu

The cons:

  • Slow viewport performance with high-poly scenes
  • Layers system is not intuitive at times

5 Ways Technology Can Improve Your Real Estate Business

7 Dec

Real estate market is growing fast, but at the same time, it is very competitive and challenging. Technological innovations for both agents and clients make the selling and buying of property more accessible and easy. Below is a list of top ways that technology can boost your real estate business.


Mobile Optimization

Majority of people nowadays use tablets and mobile devices to search for homes. As an agent, you need to have a real estate app and update the information about your business on a regular basis. You can use designs that will most likely capture the interest of clients by providing necessary information about listings. You should include your contacts so that customers may contact you for comprehensive details. Mobile apps enable agents to communicate with clients during the process of searching for homes through text messages, personalized listings and push notification. Nowadays, people embrace new technology fast, and if they can’t access your services on their mobile devices, you risk losing them to your competitor. You should make sure that you are well-informed about the latest real estate apps to be ahead in the market.


Emails and Newsletters

Coming up with a strategy where you send monthly newsletters and emails to people is a way of updating new and potential homebuyers on current listings. It is a branding effort that shows that you are an expert in the real estate market. Many clients get referred to agents by happy customers. By sending informative emails and newsletters, your clients will give your details to their friends and family. It is an efficient way to ensure recent updates reach your clients. Email drip marketing is a way of reminding clients of your unique expertise and differentiates you from your competitors. Readers are attracted to messages that are well-organized and informative. You ought to develop a design that is mobile-friendly because about half of your customers will read the emails and newsletters on mobile devices.



Real estate agents need to include bright and appealing photos on their websites to attract property buyers. Human beings are visual creatures and love images that are pleasing to the eyes. Good photography attracts buyers to inspect and buy your property. Avoid misleading photos such as making rooms look bigger than they are; it can leave a negative impression that a client can’t forget. You should always include the floor so that potential buyers can visualize the layout. Also, aerial shoots is a way to make the property stand out and seem more real. Everything inside the compound should be included in the photo.


Social Media

Social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Snapchat are necessary for any real estate professional. You need to utilize these sites maximally and create an organized plan to avoid getting sidetracked. Additionally, you should be selective on the channels you invest in and the type of audience you want to target. For example, Twitter is efficient in sharing articles, and Pinterest is best for visual inspiration. Over promotion can be detrimental to your business. At least 80% of the photos should directly relate to the interests of buyers, and 20% connected to the listings and information about your business.



Plugins are great technology resources for real estate agents. They help in accessing information and enhancement of your website, mainly if you use CMS systems or WordPress. Real estate agents need to work on listings correctly. Plugins offer them an opportunity to stay on top the market. Consumers are online most of the time, and it’s a great way to network with them and inform them about recent listings in the marketplace.

Technology has made the management of real estate businesses more efficient. Staying up-to-date with new technology is a way of showing potential homebuyers that you are serious about your real estate business. If you want to attract more customers than your competitors, you should utilize social media sites and other online platforms to market your company.

Finding Places To Charge Your Car

24 Aug

Do you have an electric car? Did you know that PlugShare is a good resource for finding places to charge. You can also sign up for EVGO and Chargepoint so you can access the fast chargers. If you don’t want to sign up, then you may find charging stations at Walmarts and Dunkin Donuts. However you’ll have to check stores individually because availability varies from location to location. Where do you recommend charging your vehicle? 

Delete Your Old Tweets

13 Aug

Would you like to clean-up your Twitter feed? Do you have a bunch of old tweets that don’t mean a thing? Try out Tweet Delete to protect your privacy by automatically deleting posts older than a specified age from your Twitter feed. This allows you to delete all your tweets all at once (up to 3,200 tweets), and helps make it easier to delete multiple tweets in one go.

Where Are Tech Jobs Booming In the Next 5 Years?

12 Aug

The tech industry is growing fast, with an estimated 182,000 jobs added to the industry in 2016 alone. This brings the total number of jobs to around 7.3 million and accounting for an estimated eight percent of the U.S. economy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is also predicting that tech jobs will account for 2.4 percent of all jobs added annually to the economy.

With the tech sector growing so rapidly, and with many cities already considered tech hubs, will there be a change in where these jobs will be booming in the next five years? The answers may not surprise you if you’re a part of the industry, but to those seeking new employment opportunities, here are the five states in which tech jobs are slated to grow in the next five years.



Austin, Dallas, and Houston are the primary tech hubs in Texas, a state renown for both its can-do attitude and its love for start up companies. For those interested in working in emerging technologies, such as cloud computing and machine learning, Austin is a great place to settle. Houston is currently on the hunt for more software developers and engineers as well, while Dallas is currently a hub for established technologies and engineering companies.



Colorado has a booming tech community and is well known for housing some of the most interesting companies working in big data and app development. Most of these companies can be found in Colorado Springs, Denver, and Boulder along with other major cities across the state. However, the real advantage is found in the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem: start-ups will find that Colorado is very welcoming to start ups, including a concentration of VC firms in Boulder and an influx of business-minded tech entrepreneurs that find the state very welcoming to bringing in new jobs.



Utah is currently considered a prime state for tech employers and employees; some of the best places to live in Utah, including Provo, are also tech hubs that support web developers, software engineers, and coders. The state is also home to, a genealogical website that is undergoing massive growth and is actively hiring for tech positions. Although not considered a startup haven, Utah is building a reputation for itself as a state that supports new and emerging technologies.



Although Michigan is probably best known to Americans as the home of auto industry, the state is also currently leading in tech specialty job growth. Detroit, in particular, is seeing a boom in emerging technologies, such as driverless cars, while Ann Arbor is growing in engineering research, data processing, testing labs, and computer systems design. The biggest pull for tech professionals to move to Michigan is thought to be the pay; in Michigan, the average tech wage stood at $84.800; while this is lower than the $105,400 national average, the cost-of-living in Michigan is significantly lower than in places such as Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Atlanta.


North Carolina

It should come as no surprise to anyone in the tech industry that North Carolina has made the list. The state is home to the Research Triangle, which is made up of the University of North Carolina State University, Duke University and UNC – Chapel Hill, which has long been a hub of developing technology for the country. Now, Research Triangle Park, a campus that currently hosts over 240 startups, is a major destination for tech professionals. With companies ranging from web developers to green technologies to information technology, this massive 7,000-acre compound is eager to take on as many tech employees as possible.


Technology drives almost everything in America; from banking and engineering to social media and online workflows, it is the single biggest driver of the success of the American economy. Although there are several great tech hubs that have not been listed, these five states are where the tech boom is headed next. Now all that’s left to do is to fill out a resume and start applying for tech jobs in these areas.


Road-Racing For Everyone?

6 Aug

Have you ever dreamed of auto-racing? A new trend sweeping North America is racing cars that cost $500 or less – it’s called 24 Hours of LeMons. All you need to do is buy a car for $500 or less (not including safety equipment, brakes, and wheels/tires) and have a valid street driver’s license.

A friend mine bought a car, started driving with a group of guys and enjoys racing on the weekends. Are you thinking of driving? In order to drive, your car must pass the 24 hours of LeMons’ tech inspection. You will need to add a roll cage, seat harness, fuel cell protector and fire extinguishing equipment.

Start your dream of auto-racing with 24 Hours of LeMons

DIY Tech Improvements That Will Increase Home Value

29 Jul

The housing market is booming in many areas around the world. With that growth, there are a lot of people who are starting to make investments in various areas in their home. There is a lot of new technology that can help you in this process. If you are looking to increase the value of your home, one of the best ways to do that is by upgrading the technology in your home. It is really amazing to see what kind of home technology is now available for owners to use. This is something that buyers are starting to look for in their current market. Over time, you should look at what to improve in your home to add value in this area. Here are some of the most important improvements that you can do to add value to your home.


One of the best ways to upgrade any home is to look at the communication technology within it. With all of the new options today, you can easily install new ways to communicate with family members. With the invention of smart devices such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, it it possible to control your lights, turn off your appliances, and order groceries all with your voice. These devices, depending on the quality and features you are looking for, range from about $50 to $100 on the more economic end, with higher quality voice interactive devices costing anywhere from $130 to $180.

Smart home communication has also drastically improved the effectiveness of home security. With such tech advancements, the police station or firemen can automatically be contacted as soon as a home is broken into or smoke sets off the fire alarm. Over time, these and many more innovations will help to increase the value of your home and improve the overall living experience.

Smart HVAC

When owning a house, there are a lot of expenses that must be paid every month. One of the biggest expenses in owning a home is understanding how much electricity and gas your home uses. A lot of the new HVAC systems are designed to use less than before. You can have a setting installed where you will use as little as possible based on the temperature outside for the day. With all of the changes that are going on in this area, many new buyers are looking for ways to make a smaller impact on the environment.

Not only will the environment benefit, but your HVAC system will last longer as well. There are a lot of people who are excited about the changes that are taking place in this area, and the demand for smart HVAC options in homes is higher than ever before. For now, smart HVAC systems range from about $2,000 – $3,000, but in the coming years, many people in the real estate industry expect that this will be a growth area for years to come.

Smart Appliances

Another trend in the industry is having smart appliances in your home. Not only will these appliances use less electricity, but they can also alert you when things are wrong. For example, some of the newest technology in refrigerators will let you know when food is starting to go bad. This will allow you to use it before you have to throw it out. This saves you time, and it also makes a positive impact on the overall environment.

With all of the new technology that is in the market today from $1,800 smart ovens to $4,000 smart refrigerators, you will be able to improve the value of your home quickly and easily with these upgrades. If you are thinking about going the for sale by owner route, this will make the selling process easier and your initial expenses will result in an even greater return. Many buyers in the market want their homes to be upgraded to reduce costs and use less energy than ever before.

Final Thoughts

For many people, a home is their largest and most important investment. It only makes sense to invest to upgrade your home in a variety of ways. With all of the changes that are starting to take place with innovation in the industry, there are a lot of people who are excited and ready to upgrade their home. Most of these upgrades will improve the value of the home because they save money over time. The upgrades will also make living in the home more desirable over a period of time.

Find Out If A Robot Will Take Your Job

5 Jun

What is the likelihood that your job will be replaced by robots? Search for your position and find out  the probability it will be automated.

I remember back in 2013 reading Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne’s report titled “The Future of Employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation?”. At the time, I tried to visualize what this report meant, and now this website makes their report actionable. According to the report, about 47 percent of total US employment is at risk. What are chances your job is obsolete? Will you need to find another skill?

Chip Reader Help at Point of Sale

30 Oct


You may have noticed recently that some merchants except the chip on your credit card and some don’t. I happily discovered that one local retailer inserted a temporary plastic card in the slot that said “coming soon” rather than letting you guess. It’s never clear if the chip reader is activated o you need to stand there waiting for a moment until the cashier tells you whether or not its OK to swipe or insert your card. If you need to insert your credit card with a chip into the slot, make sure you snugly press the card into the slot or the transaction will fail.

I wish all the retailers used the method of blocking the credit card chip reader slot until it was activated to avoid confusion, but the good news is eventually all retailers will have it activated so you won’t have to be left wondering. What has your chip reader experience been?

Tech In Our Everyday Life

24 Sep

The simple things in life can cause the most joy and frustration. Tech can sometimes look so simple, but it’s actually more complicated than it looks. Whether you are looking for tips on computers, internet, gadgets or technology, then you need to check Tech In Our Everyday Life. The site features “how tos” to common issues that people run into with you tech like “How to Back Up an iPhone to an External Drive”. Check out this site if you need to add smile to your life!