Scribd

Scribd

Publishing and advanced document sharing – that’s Scribd.

And it’s not just publishing documents already in PDF format. Publish PowerPoint presentations, Excel Spreadsheets, Plain Text documents, and of course WORD documents amongst others.

It’s YouTube™ for text.

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MailDesigner

Mail Designer

First came Apple Mail Stationery and tutorials on how to create our own.

Then came the Stationery Packs from equinux – over 300 total – but were we really going to use all those?

Then MailChimp, free template layouts or professionally designed templates for customers, and a world of email expertise and advice.

And finally, the combination of them all: Mail Designer.

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BuiltWith

BuiltWith.com

Sometimes it’s cool to know what a site is built on/with.

Giving results in a list summary format, BuiltWith has come in handy with a right-click or by entering a URL.

BuiltWith is a web technology information provider, tracking over 147 million active websites and performing over 900 billion technology lookups each year, BuiltWith is a leader in the web technology research field.

Fontsquirrel

Fontsquirrel: a @font-face time saver

Whoever thought of the @font-face CSS rule has the thanks of us all, whether we know it or not.

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Namecheap + WordPress + Google Apps

Namecheap Hosting and WordPress email with Google Apps

Trying to get your WordPress to send emails via Google Apps on a Namecheap Shared Hosting account? This post might help if the SMTP plugins didn’t do the trick.

We use and love Namecheap. We also recommend and encourage WordPress. The two are great for the groundwork of a website: domain registrar, shared hosting, and open-source (free) web software on which to build it all (and it’s fun, too).

Including Google’s Services through Google Apps is something we also like to consider and offer. The Standard Edition, with up to 10 users, is free for anyone. However, a little trick may be required if a site would like to combine Namecheap Shared Hosting, WordPress software and Google Apps.

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Reftagger from Logos Bible Software

Reftagger

What a cool invention.

It’s old news now (2008 vs. 2012) but it’s still cool. Read more

Google Drive Illustration

Google Drive

We know Google offers much more than just a search engine.

Google Drive is one step closer to “anytime, anywhere” for our files that Google Docs and Dropbox (to name just two) has helped usher in.

This should be fun (and helpful)!

Google Drive. Keep everything. Share anything.

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Google Analytics

Google Analytics

Google Analytics. It’s a great place to start (and easily stay).

Analytics is worth learning about.

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Google Apps

Google Apps

If you’re building a website or even just working with your own domain, I recommend that you consider Google Apps.

The main thing I want you to know is that using Google’s services (or “apps”) with your own domain is free for individuals and small teams of less than 10.

UPDATE

As of 12/2012 Google changed their business model to a “for-fee”. Unfortunately, most of the excitement in this post is no longer pertinent.
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Themezilla

Themezilla

It’s hard to limit what can be said about Orman Clark and the team behind Themezilla. Why? Because he is also the guy behind PremiumPixels.com (free stuff for aspiring designers) and overall good design.

I’ve personally used or worked with a number of Orman’s themes (now “Themezilla’s Themes”) and can vouch for their ease of use and customer support.

It’s a good place to start if you want to start somewhere other than ThemeForest.

They also have some plugins worth checking out.

Google Web Fonts

Google Web Fonts

The world of “fonts” (or type/typography), for whatever reason, has almost always mattered to me in my time with the computer.

Ever take an extra moment to choose a font for the “Title” of your paper back in high school (or college) that sort of embodied the feeling/meaning of your submission? When allowed, without thinking about it, I almost always did that.

Google, Inc.

Google (yup, Google)

Google is a web designer’s best* and most used tool. The sheer volume of searches is overwhelming. How many millions of searches are made in a month? The answer is actually billions. Almost anything related to web design or development (learning or earning), could be initiated from Google Search. And “Search” isn’t their only service.

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Conversation Prism

Social Media | An Organized List

I was semi-amazed recently at the ease with which I took in all those social media/networking/sharing services when I came across a really helpful, organized list in a Widget (of all things) in the Big City Theme by MNKYstudio.

He had organized some of the best websites and applications used for social networking by category in his Widget. I really appreciated his work. I didn’t realize it would only get me started.

I’ve added only a few services (LinkedIn, Scribd, Google+, etc.) in hopes of not overwhelming even myself. This is by no means a complete list of what’s out there. If you want to see the whole thing, there’s quite a conversation going on.

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Facebook Pages (Starbucks)

Facebook Pages

I wrote about Facebook Timeline back in December. It was an update for personal Profiles on Facebook, and I compared the “Subscribe” feature of a Profile to the public presence of a Page. You can do a quick read about it here.

That idea can still be applied for those interested, but the time has come for Pages.

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TextExpander

TextExpander

Besides the thought of seeing my words show up as I talk (Dragon Dictate, Siri, etc.), the thrill of watching five letters expand into 55 is pretty cool. Why would this be so cool? Precisely.

In 8th grade I once typed 106 words per minute (no mistakes) – I thought that was pretty fast. (I just typed 115 with 3 mistakes on typingtest.com). So how in the world could those court reporters type 225 words per minute?

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CrashPlanPRO

Backup: Have a CrashPlan

Businesses need backup. Files need saving. Data needs not getting lost.

Although I valued the services of SugarSync, the initial exposure to Carbonite, the easy familiarity of Dolly Drive, and the design and approach of BackBlaze, I found myself drawn, by recommendation of another friend, to CrashPlan by Code 42.

You know I like Dropbox and I didn’t mention SOS Online Backup or Amazon S3 in the list above, so do your own research, assess your options, and back up your stuff.

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New Zealand - 100% Pure

New Zealand – 100% Pure

There won’t be many posts for a little while. I am in New Zealand and using my camera more than my computer. In the meantime, if you like, have a look at the beautiful New Zealand 100% Pure website – it’s nearly as inspiring as the beauty in this country!

Google Philippines

.com.ph

This is what welcomed me this morning. Cool how Google is ready for wherever you are in the world.

Try it – here is Google.com for Greece, Japan, Spain, Hong Kong (Chinese)Africa (Swahili), Thailand, IsraelArabic-speaking Nations, and India (Hindi). Phew. The other 125+ can be browsed here, toward the bottom.

San Diego, CA - Google Maps

Google MapsGL

How cool.

A website can often need or benefit from having a web mapping service such as Google MapsBing Maps, Yahoo Maps, or the first on the scene, MapQuest (it’s a fascinating history). Whether for your personal use or via an embed on a site you own or are working on, the inclusion of WebGL technology in Google Maps,

“…enables a richer maps experience with immersive 3D buildings, smoother transitions between imagery, fluid transitions into Streetview and more, directly in your browser and all without a plugin.”

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OmniFocus

OmniFocus

OmniFocus helps me get things (like websites and other projects) done. It’s a powerful, digital tool for staying on top of just about everything I have to do. It’s my to-do list. On orange juice.

If you have something already that works for you, great. If not, give it a look. It’s personal task management, on Mac- or i- OS.

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LittleIpsum post

LittleIpsum

If you are designing websites and use Lorem Ipsum, you “need” LittleIpsum. What a great feeling when repetitive tasks get a great solution. Check them out.

Themeforest on the Envato Marketplace

ThemeForest.net

ThemeForest, and the entire Envato Marketplace family, has changed the way many build, access, and approach web construction, design, and extension. It’s a win-win, for users and designers, developers and owners.

In their words, you can begin your search for:

Site templates and themes to skin popular CMS products like WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, starting at $5.

It’s a great place to start for WordPress Themes, and I recommend it.

CandyBar – customize and organize your icons

CandyBar

Icons find their way onto small areas of a site, but they can make a big impact. Plus, they’re cool.

CandyBar collects all my icons into one place. I can store, organize, and tag/keyword icons and also share and export them in a few clicks.

The web is made beautiful in a lot of ways, a touch of beauty in an icon is one of them. I didn’t know I’d like icons so much, but I use this app for everything in that field. I always know where they are.

IconBox does allow users to import their CandyBar library should they desire to make the change.

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Transmit icon

Transmit | FTP Client (Mac)

I saw this little purple truck early on in my days of learning about building websites. Then I saw it again and again…and again! I always wanted to know what it was for. And then the day came – I needed my first FTP client. I guess it was the second-hand enthusiasm that I couldn’t resist.

But I did do my research (and you should, too!). I’m on a Mac, so I had FileZilla (free), Cyberduck (free), Fetch, Forklift (which I liked), Flow and Transmit, all as viable options. I downloaded and tested during trial periods and found that I loved the little purple truck.

Could I use the others? Absolutely. Could I recommend them to you? I think I could even do that. Do I like using Transmit? I do.

Gravity Forms

Web-based Forms can be semi-cumbersome, if not daunting and detailed to make, especially for a new designer.

The WordPress community, of which I am most familiar with – as opposed to Drupal or Joomla – is active with making things like building forms easier.

Contact Form 7 was the first contact form plugin/builder I was introduced to for WordPress. It had a great following and wide use. Previously I had used (and loved) JotForm, the “first web based WYSIWYG form builder” which, like WuFoo, lets developers visually build forms while storing the collected information in the user’s account (don’t forget Google Forms). This “offsite” setup and collection was (and for many still is) great. It was easy to build and embed, but I wanted to store collected responses in our own site’s database visible in the WordPress backend.

Well, as is often the case with me, options sparked my exploration. I eventually settled on/with Gravity Forms and have been happy ever since.

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ColorSchemer Studio

ColorSchemer Studio

In real life, architects and designers use color guides for selecting, matching and sampling the right color. The ones I’m thinking of are portable, numerically referenced and named – it’s a color-on-paper “fan deck” and they are so stinkin’ cool. Pantone has a fan deck with 2,100 colors. Many paint companies have collections of their own, too – you’ve probably seen them.

ColorSchemer Studio is a web and graphic designer’s equivalent. It’s digital, portable, and I can even edit and save color names for each project. I use it all the time, it’s value is second-to-none in the design process, and that’s why I have it listed here with this recommendation.

“I/We need a website” you might say? If we’re working together, my question to you would be, “What’s your favorite color?”

Pull out the crayons and colored pencils – it’s time to color.

Facebook Timeline

Facebook Timeline

Facebook Timeline launched today. It’s another way to say, “Hey”.

Why mention Timeline when companies, organizations, and businesses generally use Facebook Pages?

The answer comes with the word, “Subscribe”.

Beyond those personal friend requests you might make on Facebook, Timeline can be a way for individuals to share publicly with Facebook’s new(er) subscribe feature. This can make the Timeline layout and features a viable option if you are someone people would like to “Subscribe” to (think “Follow”, like in Twitter) but with whom you may not necessarily be friends.

And as an aside for the unsure and apprehensive, are you afraid to be on Facebook for fear of managing friend requests? Timeline and Subscribe can help. You can simply share with others with no expectation (or ability) to be “friends”.

w3schools logo

w3schools

Dear w3schools.com,

Thank you for teaching me and letting me learn “How it all works.” Thank you for available and organized information, and results in Google’s search. Thank you for step-by-step tutorials during my introduction and exposure to HTML and CSS. I’m where I am because of your help.

“Success brings interest.” I felt a lot of success learning what I needed to know with you guys.

Thanks.

Espresso HTML

Espresso

I happen to use Espresso as my HTML/CSS/PHP/etc. editor. Syntax coloring and autocomplete are invaluable features both for work and for learning. Visual CSS Editing and “X-Ray” on live previews contributed to Espresso 2’s 10/10 review on AppStorm.net.

HTML, etc. can be edited in many ways. In truth, I can only help get you started in your research as price, features, and interface all play into choosing a web editing tool. So if Espresso isn’t your cup of web-editing-tea, here’s a few other flavors I will point out on the menu (in no particular order):

WYSIWYG editors like iWeb or RapidWeaver are on the “code-free” menu, but can be helpful and tasty in the right situation. Dreamweaver is on all the menus, but can be a little overwhelming for the complete beginner.
Lynda.com logo

Lynda.com

Lynda.com introduced me to a whole new world of learning software via video tutorials, available 24-hrs online.

Once I saw it, I felt like I could learn anything because they had a video tutorial for just about every application I was hoping to learn.

And the way in which I could learn made such a difference; all my senses (learning styles) engaged. I essentially had the ideal situation for learning a new “instrument”, through professionally prepared lessons, at my own pace, at any time.

Tutorials you might consider, should you be in a situation similar as I regarding websites, Content Management Systems (CMS), etc. might include topics like WordPress, HTML5, CSS3, and Web Design Fundamentals.

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1Password - for Mac/Windows and Mobile Devices

1Password

As part of a website or presence online comes the need for password management. It has been my experience that we sometimes find ourselves in need of a piece of paper to write down a new password or are always clicking “Forgot my password” and then forgetting the new one we just set.

I use and recommend 1Password, available for both Windows and Mac (again, I am not affiliated – just a happy customer).

Dropbox logo

Dropbox

I’ve grown to love this word.

“…a free service that lets you bring all your photos, docs, and videos anywhere…any file you save to your Dropbox will automatically save to all your computers, phones and even the Dropbox website. Dropbox also makes it super easy to share with others…” – Dropbox

I think you will, too.

MailChimp

MailChimp

There are few things I love more than ice cream. MailChimp may be one of them.

ManageWP logo

ManageWP.com

For those working with and/or supporting multiple WordPress sites, I have found ManageWP to be a helpful service.

From their site:

All your sites under one dashboard! ManageWP helps you manage all your WordPress sites from one dashboard, keeping them updated and secure.

I don’t get anything for telling you about them, I just like them and appreciate what they’ve permitted me to do and accomplish a little more easily as I support and manage multiple WordPress websites.

WordPress Plugins

Plugins for WordPress

Here are some WordPress plugins I recommend and use (alphabetical):

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Namecheap Logo

Namecheap.com

I use and recommend Namecheap (I’m not affiliated), both from my past two years with them as a domain registrar and more recently with web hosting. Thanks for good prices, great service and support, and coupons.

Namecheap has been a credible alternative for some of the other more well-known registrars out there to date and I use them for everything in this field, as much as I can.

UPDATE: If you have an iOS device (iPhone, iPad, etc.), the Namecheap app offers a management system for the domains that you manage at Namecheap: search, register, renew, view transfers and even change DNS, all on the go.

igbok | it's gonna be o.k.

igbok.com

I finished igbok.com this week.

igbok.com was my first site done in WordPress. This was a learning experience for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

During igbok I learned CSS, HTML, and some deeper elements of the Creative Suite by Adobe that I had worked in before but hadn’t fully developed. These were all technologies that I had so longed to learn, for some reason. Having the chance to do so with the team at igbok was an honor and privilege, in my opinion, to do.