Bring on the New: CS4 is out

September 24, 2008 at 4:22 am (News) (, , , , , )

I just posted a review on the newly release CS4 over at my new bloggin home. Includes links to a number of video resources for further exploring the cool new features in CS4.

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New Blog Officially Launched

September 20, 2008 at 10:56 pm (Misc, News) (, , , , )

If you have been reading my feed then you will know that I have been working on launching a new blog that is self hosted. Well today is the day that it is live. I will be posting here from time to time still but most of my posting will happen over at the new blog SFN aim. See you there.

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News around the Blogoshpere

September 12, 2008 at 3:48 pm (News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I thought today I would bring you up to speed with some of the neat things I found in my feedreader today.

Smashing Magazine is offering 67 free photoshop brushes today. They are free to use for any project but not to distribute.

Over at Niki’s DesignO’Blog there are some very cool tech coasters that you should check out.

If you have been following the NETTUTS tutorials on learning PHP like I have you’ll like to know that the second Learning PHP from Scratch tutorial is now out.

Finally Abduzeedo just put out the sites of the week post. There are a number of beautiful designs here that I have added to my inspiration folder.

Hope that give you enough reading for the weekend. I may not be posting this weekend as my internet connection is down and I have to get that fixed, so have a good one.

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5 Blogs Beginning Web Designers Should Read

September 10, 2008 at 5:31 am (Websites) (, , , , , , , , )

Boagworld
Boagworld was one of the first blogs I started to follow when getting into web design. Paul Boag and Marcu Lillington host this podcast for all of those people who are working with websites on a daily basis. Most of the blogging content is directly related to the audio podcast they also offer. I personally listen to the podcast and then read any articles that I feel need some more attention. Always a fun time listening to them baner.
A list Apart
While A List Apart doesn’t have as frequent a posting schedule as some other blogs all of the information provided is invaluable. From more theoretical discussions on the effectivness of zebra striping for tables technical topics on CSS Sprites2 there is always something to be gained from reading an article on A List Apart.
CSS-Tricks
Run by Chris Coyier, CSS-Tricks is an awesome resource for all those starting to tackle CSS. I know that CSS can feel overwhelming at times so the tools found here are very helpful for those starting to tackle it. CSS-Tricks contains not only a blog but also forums and screencasts. The forums are a great place to get help with code and the screencasts can even remind veterans of some of the simple shortcuts they forgot. For a great intoduction to WordPress check out the screencasts on Designing for WordPress.
NETTUTS
Another one of the envato family of sites run by Sian and Collis Taed this site bring you great coding tutorials each day. Topics range all over the web language spectrum so while you may not be really interested in the new Ruby developments you can always take a look back through the content and find something to learn or relearn.
i love typography
To many web designers today ignore typography on the web. At the very least it is often an after thought. With some of the new browser developments waiting in the wings though the days of ignoring beautiful typograpy are coming to an end. I Love Typography is a blog entirely about fonts and beautiful typography. An absolute must for those designer who need to beef up their knowledge of typography in general. Without a good knowledge it is much harder to judge what is worth doing for the web.

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Freelancers Make yourself Accessible

September 6, 2008 at 8:25 pm (Freelance, Misc) (, , , )

A number of my readers are freelancers. We are always trying to find ways to get more work in the door with the least amount of effort. Often for freelancers that means using email.

I would often much rather talk to a client via email than over the phone. It’s quick and I can fit it into my schedule when I have the time. Emails don’t have to interrupt you when you are in the middle of some ‘flow’ for a design.

Is email always the best for your clients though? I don’t really think so. I am sure we have all had a long email conversation over a few days that still really didn’t resolve a problem. Did just keeping the conversation to email really save you any time. Better yet did it make your customer happy?

Could that same conversation have been had in 10 or 15 minutes and then been done. Yes it make have taken you more time but would you have been able to finish the project faster therefore get money into your pocket faster. If the answer was yes then why didn’t you just pick up the phone?

I think that freelancers today rely too much on email and online forms of communication that are ineffective for our clients. That’s not to say that there aren’t some good ways to use online communication more effectively.

Right now, really as I write this post, I am using google chat in ‘guest’ mode with another freelancer for some development work. I don’t have this set up he does. I didn’t even know you could do this but is it effective? Hell yes. I am able to send links and respond in near real time to his questions while I do other things. This is way more effective for us than emailing back and forth a number of times. Think there is usually a dely in replying to emails (or we’d never get any work done) but if you blocked out time each day and told clients that you are online for chat if they need anything then you may server your clients better.

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