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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category


Web design jargon defined

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

We frequently get questions regarding a lot of basic questions that our industry has introduced as standard terminology. The challenge of course is that the majority of people rarely understand all the jargon and even some designers are unfamiliar with the jargon. XML, XHTML, RSS, CMS, CSS… bleh. It’s easy to see where people start getting lost.

Smashing Magazine has just published an incredible list (A-Z) of common web design jargon. This is a highly recommended read for our clients and colleagues who need to quickly reference terminology.

Freshbooks vs. Harvest vs. Blinksale

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

After spending hours searching the web for a review of the top 3 online invoicing platforms we have finally decided to write our own review based on our usage of Freshbooks, Harvest and Blinksale over the past 3 years. We used Blinksale our first year but eventually outgrew it and switched to Freshbooks which we used for around 1 year before discovering Harvest. As a result of our experience we feel we are adequately qualified to comment on the merits and downfalls of each web based invoicing application. Hopefully this will be a helpful tool for people trying to figure out which one they should use.

Get Harvest

A lot of the plans share the same features (unlimited clients, invoices, projects etc.) and are quite similarly matched. I won’t cover the minor differences and instead will focus on what each does well and what it does not.

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Speed up Mac OS X Leopard

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

After a year and a half of running Mac OS X Leopard things have become extraordinarily slow on my MacBook Pro. After googling how to speed up Mac OS X Leopard I have decided to write my own brief tutorial on a handful of things you can do to effectively increase the performance of OS X. This is meant as a programmer’s quick reference guide so if you are not technically savvy you may want to google “performance tune mac os x” for more verbose explanations. (more…)

Flash: 99% Bad

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

This pretty much sums up exactly how we feel about flash animation. We’ve recently started getting a lot of inquiries about creating flash websites and our standpoint on this issue is that we simply do not provide these services specifically for these reasons mentioned in this article. If you are thinking of creating a website with flash as a main component we would highly recommend reading over this article before committing yourself to the technology. We do think flash has a great place for use in videos, audio, and photo slide shows but its use in the implementation of an entire website is something we strongly disagree with.

Introducing Ubiquity for Firefox

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Today I installed the free Firefox plugin Ubiquity and was amazed by the new concept and the possibilities it unfolds for both users and web developers alike.

Today we’re announcing the launch of Ubiquity, a Mozilla Labs experiment into connecting the Web with language in an attempt to find new user interfaces that could make it possible for everyone to do common Web tasks more quickly and easily.

While you certainly can read more about Ubiquity yourself… I was very impressed by a variety of functions that have already come in handy for me.

Contemplating a trip to Central America I have had to look at many pages which are often in spanish. It’s annoying to have to refer to babelfish or google translate constantly and I’ve often wished a translation could be done on the fly by selecting text and letting Firefox handle the rest. Enter Ubiquity.

First I go to a spanish speaking website…
screenshot_02.jpg

I highlight the text and then type “translate” into Ubiquity. I hit enter and it translates the entire text in the page itself.screenshot_03.jpg

Then lastly I select the newly translated text and pull up the screen for Ubiquity and type “email” which then automatically opens up Gmail and composes an email with the text that I have selected.
screenshot_04.jpg

All I can say is that’s just plain brilliant. You can do all kinds of things with ubiquity. You can select a phrase or word and then:

  • translate the text to english
  • google map it
  • email it
  • get a definition
  • look it up in wikipedia
  • search Google for it
  • and a whole lot more!

I can see increasingly that as web services and open API’s get more prevalent that tools like Ubiquity will become an everyday part of our browsing experience. Huge kudos to the team behind the concept!

Also here’s a good video on the concept:

Calibrating a Dell 2408WFP with Spyder Elite 3

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

This article is for designers and photographers who are struggling with colour calibration issues on the Dell 2408WFP. Having bought a Dell 2408WFP 24 inch LCD in the last few months I decided over the past few days to calibrate it. The main problem with the 2408 is that the colours are over saturated and the monitor at least to my eyes seems ridiculously bright. At first I tried calibration through the Apple Calibrator Assistant which can be found under Display > Color > Calibrate – but having no luck there I tried a combination of using both the LCD settings and found that the Wide Gamut setting in the colour profile manager seemed to solve most of my issues… or so I thought.

I recently was working on a redesign of our site which has a number of red elements and noticed upon sliding the palette onto my Macbook Pro that the colours in the red hue were most definitely off on my 24″ dell display. Perplexed I tried further calibration steps – but with no luck. Utterly frustrated I zipped down to my local mac reseller and bought a Spyder Elite 3 hardware calibration unit.

The following are the settings I adjusted my LCD to before running the hardware calibration:
Gamma: Mac
Colour Settings Mode: Graphics
Preset Mode: SRGB
Brightness: 10
Contrast: 90

I know that the brightness seems terribly low but this seems to be a relatively normal adjustment for this particular monitor after finding a number of posts on the topic at MacRumors and on Adobe’s forums. I have also tried manually setting RGB values to both 60 across the spectrum and also tried 70 for all values. I chose SRGB as it seems that it’s the closest least saturated match to my MacBookPro.

Next I ran the Spyder Elite 3 software and ran through the hardware calibration and it seemed to behave a little better. The reds were still a few shades off what I thought the MacBookPro would be but at least they are reasonably close now.

Then I found this comprehensive review of the Dell 2408WFP. The author notes:

For those who need to simulate the standard sRGB space rather than use the monitor with its extended gamut, the 2408WFP offers an sRGB simulation mode via the OSD preset modes. Considering many users will not have extended gamut sources or content, this feature is nice….in theory. I switched to this mode, while leaving all other settings at their defaults to establish whether the colour accuracy or other settings were any better than in the ‘Desktop’ preset. As you can see, gamut and luminance remained a long way out from the desired levels, and colour temperature was actually a little worse at 5831k. dE was sadly not improved at all, in fact, it was worse with an average of 7.3 and a maximum of 23.0. As you can see from the CIE diagram on the left, the gamut triangle for the monitor now only just stretched outside the sRGB space, and was now pretty much in line with normal CCFL backlighting (72% NTSC coverage). If nothing else, at least this mode accomplishes that!

Then I noticed this comment:

Firstly I calibrated the screen using LaCie’s software suite while also changing the monitor to the ‘Custom’ preset mode, affording me access to the RGB colour controls. During the calibration process the screens brightness was adjusted to 20%, with contrast being left at 50%. RGB values were altered to 92, 90 and 98 respectively. It should be noted that OSD adjustments only form part of the calibration process with the majority of changes being made automatically at the graphics card LUT level.

So I decided to give this configuration a shot. Brightness, contrast, and RGB values were once again adjusted. I found blues to be oversatured and grays just a little too bluey as well – but I’ve now been staring at this screen looking at colours for 2 hours and it’s time to take a break.

Despite what the article says about SRGB I still find that my initial calibration I mentioned earlier in this article has provided me with what I feel is better colour correction. If anyone has found a better way to calibrate this LCD I’d dearly like to know. [UPDATE] I just found another good series of questions and answers here.

CommandShift3

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

No it’s not some a keystroke in Microsoft Word, it’s a website where you can rate websites against one another. Think “Hot or Not” but with more of a web design focus.

Link: CommandShift3

More Information on Web Standards

Saturday, December 8th, 2007

Web Standards Project

As mentioned in our reasons why to choose us we touched briefly on web-standards. This is something I’ve felt needs a little more explaining, and it’s worthwhile taking a read through this article if you are unsure what web standards are, or how they might apply to the design and development of your website.

Check out the full article on our website.

The Web 2.0 List

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

While I was looking for a decent project management suite that had the ability to create tasks, track tickets, and manage users I came across a few websites that have a huge list of “Web 2.0” sites. For those of you who haven’t heard of Web 2.0 yet I’d recommend checking out Wikipedia’s article on it.

Excerpt:

Advocates of the concept suggest that technologies such as weblogs, social bookmarking, wikis, podcasts, RSS feeds (and other forms of many-to-many publishing), social software, Web APIs, Web standards and online Web services imply a significant change in web usage. Source: Wikipedia

Check out the giant list of all things Web 2.0:

Green Web Hosting

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

Green web hosting

A really interesting link today to a green web hosting company named AISO (Affordable Internet Services Onine). I found their mission quite unique.

AISO.Net is a reliable and responsible green web hosting company. We have made a strong commitment to help fight pollution and preserving our natural resources. Solar panels run our data center and office, not energy credits. Take a look at the (Solar Panel Photos)

Solar tubes bring in natural light from the outside providing light during the day. AMD Opteron powered servers use sixty percent less energy and generate fifty percent less heat. These are just some of the ways AISO.Net is becoming the world’s most responsible green web hosting company.