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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)

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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)

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

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

 

Scribus (InDesign equivalent)

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • 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
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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.

https://www.tweetdelete.net

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Stat My Web

13 Feb

How good do you know your website? What about your competitor’s? When was the last time you ran a complete diagnostic/check-up on your domain? The other day I was recommended to check out Stat My Web and I was pleasantly surprised with the results. The website reminds me of compete.com.

Stat My Web for example provides free detailed stats on:

  • When a website was created
  • Where is it hosted
  • How much is it worth
  • Where it ranks on the web

These detailed stats are displayed in both graphical and text formats. Furthermore, there are a bunch of tools which help in specific analysis of the website. I really liked the organic search terms users are typing in to get to a website. If you are trying to get a leg up on your competition, find out what words they are getting traffic on and add them to your mix.

Find detailed and accurate stats for your own or any other website check out –
http://www.statmyweb.com

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Web 3.0 – Curated User Experience

9 Oct

I believe with the passing of Steve Jobs is the tipping point that will move us from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0. Who will replace Steve Jobs? The reality is that no one can replace Steve, but we are using his thought leadership and innovation as a spark of creativity.

Web 1.0 was emphasized by the need for users to establish their space online. Web 2.0 has been classified as giving the power to the people to create, rank and rate their online content. I am officially declaring that Web 3.0 has arrived. This new era is characterized with a strong desire to be guided by experts. Specifically, I see the need for curating content to improve the user experience.

Tim Berners Lee recently stated that Web 3.0 would be the “semantic web” where computers will begin to learn. Tim’s statement emphasizes the fact that users will truly no longer be in charge. Instead users will need increased help either artificially or from more contextual information (curated). This week with the release of IOS5 and the iPhone 4GS, users now will get help from the built-in software called Siri. What signs point to the fact that Web 3.0 is here?

I was asked the question, “Should this new era just be an incremental leap perhaps to a 2.5?” However three distinct changes that are dramatically converging that has pushed this new online era to a head. Social media has added volumes of information into the mix that now as a user, it is difficult for you to tell what is legit. The wired web is now dwarfed by the mobile web with new statistics that have changed the way we perceive the Internet. Technology like the iPad and HTML5 are changing the way the Internet functions and the big players like Adobe are scrambling to keep up. So what does this all mean? Now the Internet is saturated with a diverse sophisticated audience that are accessing it multiple ways and we need help (like it or not).

Three factors that are creating Web 3.0:

  • Too much content online and users need experts to guide them (semantic/curated)
  • Increasing displayed platforms – mobile web versus wired web
  • New technology – HTML5 and tablets like the iPad (the end of flash)

How are you bracing for the three factors in your business plan? I will sharing more examples and elaborating on Web 3.0 as it unfolds.

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Mixergy, Learn From Gurus

12 Jul

Need a daily dose of inspiration? Jolt you brain with Mixergy! Learn from the mouths of successful entrepreneurs and today's thought leaders. The website proclaims, “The Mixergy Mission is to introduce you to doers and thinkers whose ideas and stories are so powerful that just hearing them will change you. The best way to grow is to learn from a mix of smart people who are willing to share their expertise and experiences.”

Jimmy Wales, Paul Graham, Timothy Ferriss and Gary Vaynerchuk lead the way with innovative chatter at Mixergy. So what are you waiting for, jolt your mind!
http://blog.mixergy.com/

P.S. If you find any good articles, share them with us.

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Scrivener Is Creative Writing

5 May

Mac users are looking for a creative ingredient to spark your writing? If so, then you need to discover the program called Scrivener. The writing program is ergonomically centered around the way the modern multitasker thinks.

Scrivener lets you jot down thoughts on documents that resemble post-it notes. You can view them individually or all at once as if you pinned them up on a cork board. I traditionally write bits of information down as I go and then elaborate later, this program gives me the latitude to do so. Another outstanding feature of Scrivener is the ability to merge documents together by individually selecting each note. You can export your document as a word doc, pdf, or a multitude of formats.

The program has a 30 trial so you can always give Scrivener a test drive.
http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.html

Special thanks to Stephen Herron for the recommendation on the program.

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Blippy Makes Credit Social

22 Feb

How far can social networking go, how about into your wallet? Blippy makes credit card transactions social. I was reading a recent article about Blippy and I was floored by this next level of social networking.

The website asks, “What are your friends buying?” Register for an account, enter your credit card info (which is not kept on record) and share with the world what you are buying. Your Blippy account is updated with what you just bought. Other Blippy users can comment on your purchase. You can tell Blippy what types of transactions you don’t want to go public. It also has a connection with Facebook and Twitter.

As a by-stander, I think this website is cool. Now I can see what other people are buying and if I see something nice, I might buy the same thing. All I can say is that a recent poll stated 70% of lawyers are using social networking in case proceedings. Use this service at your own risk.

Do you think Blippy is too much information?
http://www.blippy.com

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Geography Now

19 Dec

The stereotype is most U.S. residents are terrible at geography. Now there are new tools and opportunities to educate yourself about geo-science.

Globe.gov
group of students conducting research on soil, atmosphere

earth.goggle.com
free software to explore terrain maps and satellite images of globe

ohioview.org and ameriaview.org – partnership of college to promote use of satellite data

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Big Events Shut Down The Net

4 Nov

The net is still in diapers. Every time a big event happens, the Internet seems to experience lag and major websites just simply shut down. When Michael Jackson’s funeral was held during a weekday in the middle of the afternoon, the world watched the event mostly at work online. This event alone seemed to cause everything online to hick-up.

Think about these facts:

  • Amazon just turned 15
  • Twitter is a new communication form started in 2006
  • iTunes launched in 2001 and now represents half of music industry sales

Can we just admit to ourselves that the Internet is just still just learning to walk? Web 3.0 is approaching, but the fact is it is never too late to get on the web bandwagon and embrace the technology.

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R.I.P. Geocities

26 Oct

Geocities was closed today by Yahoo. I used Geocities to create my first webpage to get my first Internet job back in 1996. Yes, the page was rudimentary and featured a flaming guitar, but it was a building block for later success. I actually think my website address had so many tildes “~” that it was impossible to remember.

Geocities was a true pioneer that now has been surpassed with more powerful user-centric based website creation tools. Rest in peace Geocities.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2009/10/geocities-closing.html

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