4 Interesting Kickstarter Projects Web Designers Need To Know About.

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Are you a web developer? Planning to start a new career/business in the field of web designing? A web designer’s job might seem easy but the ground reality is that web designing requires a lot of skill, discipline, creativity, and innovating thinking, which ultimately shows in the websites created. Following is a list of 4 noteworthy Kickstarter projects that could give a dash of help, ideas, and inspiration to all web designers out there.

Macaw: The Code-Savvy Web Design Tool

If you’re a web designer, Macaw is a nifty web design tool that might interest you. This is a tool that not only feels fluid and intuitive like an image editor but also serves as a powerful design-to-code engine. It has a fluid canvas that can be changed anytime, the grid can be easily modified, and even the elements that you draw are fluid. This makes it increasingly simple to design percentage-based layouts. You can simply drag and drop the elements wherever you want them, and Macaw will ingeniously do the calculations for you. Macaw has its Style Editor that lets you save commonly used styles and apply them to multiple elements and edit them. Alchemy, Macaw’s powerful design-to-code engine, helps developers unlock the language of the web and also pull code that meets their personal preference. Some other terrific features of Macaw include responsive breakpoints, element morphing, typography stats, HTML insertion, multiple backgrounds, linking, style guides, and much more.

Iconic: Advanced icons for the modern web

Being a web designer, you already know the importance of web icons. Iconic is the popular open source icon set, which was designed to be clear and legible, with a dash of personality. What gives Iconic a unique edge, is the capability to output icons in various colors, sizes, and formats. Though it has already been four years since the creation of Iconic, the creator now wants Iconic to reach its full potential by pushing iconography forward with new techniques, technologies, and thinking, and to create a commercial version of Iconic. The new set will have hundreds of icons, with each icon designed in three sizes. The idea is to increase the number of beautifully designed icons and make Iconic better. The new collection will be available in PNG, SVG, WebP, and font formats, there will also be a set of “Smart Icons” that respond/adjust to data. With the availability of three sizes, users can select the right sized icon according to the screen size – this is referred to as Responsive Iconography. Iconic, with these new developments, is definitely one of the best integrated icon systems you could lay your hands on.

Constraints Cards

Looking for an innovative and interesting way to tackle web design problems? If you’re a web designer, a developer, coder, or a creative director, Constraints is the only deck of cards you’re ever going to need, really. Constraints is a card deck designed especially for developers and web designers as a platform to help improve practice, structure hack days, and basically, to level up. These are cards that give you constraints to practice against, and aim at challenging the way you work, pushing you to find better ways and techniques to deal with design problems. Constraints are great for shifting your perspective, making new additions, focusing on specific areas, learning, bring out more ideas quickly, and most importantly, for having a direct impact on how you design, think, and build.

Learn WordPress!

Everything that you wanted to know about WordPress is right here, in this awesome Kickstarter campaign. WordPress is hands down one of the best and most widely used content management and blogging platform powering millions of websites across the globe. Moreover, there has been more demand for WordPress in 2013 than any previous year, and this demand is only getting higher. This incredible project has been started by Alexander Tushinsky, who has been teaching WordPress since several years now and would like to expand his material and share his expertise with you! This project is essentially a complete, easy, and intuitive course on WordPress, Web Design, and Blogging. The course will cover all possible aspects of WordPress such as installation and configuration of WordPress on Linux and Windows, various WordPress features and their uses, HTML 5 and CSS 3, SEO techniques, MySQL and PHP, use of graphics, and a lot more! Whether you are looking to start your own web design business, expand your current career, or even if you are a freelancer or a theme designer, WordPress is an ultimate blogging and content management platform that will help you in numerous ways.

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Jenny Wadlow, the author of this article, is a freelance blogger, currently writing for, ITW Consulting, a reputable website design and web programming company. She takes keen interest in fishkeeping and has a commendable stamp collection. You can follow Jenny on Twitter @JennyWadlow.

Top Awesome Technology For Your Swimming Pool

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If you are fortunate enough to own a home swimming pool, then it’s important to make sure that you also make the most out of it. Too many people will spend thousands on a swimming pool hoping that it will transform their lives, only to then neglect it and only take a dip once every month at best.

The problem is that anything can quickly become dull. When you don’t have your own swimming pool it seems like an amazing luxury that you imagine could help you transform your life. But then when you have access to one whenever you need it, the magic wears off and the hassle of getting changed doesn’t seem worth it.

This is a huge mistake though, because actually having your own pool really can transform your life. It can provide the perfect place to relax and unwind, it’s brilliant if you have guests, and it can make sure you keep in shape as well.

So perhaps you just need to be reminded of how much fun a swimming pool can be? And perhaps you just need a few more utilities to help you start making the most of it. Read on and we will look at some awesome technology that you can actually take into the pool with you to make the experience a little more enticing and to help rekindle that love for swimming… As well as some technology that you can use to transform the pool itself!

ION Water Rocker

If you want to add a little music to your swims, then the ION Water Rocker will offer just what you need. This is a waterproof speaker that connects to an MP3 player via a transmitter up to 150 feet away. The Rocker will float around the pool providing you with tunes, and can even be thrown around between you and friends like a ball. Ideal for pool parties!

Neptune Underwater MP3 Player

If however you will be swimming alone and sound quality is of more importance to you than sound democracy, then you may be interested in the Neptune Underwater MP3 Player. This MP3 player can be used underwater (as the name suggests) and uses ‘bone conduction technology’ in order to ensure a high quality of sound. In short, this works by vibrating your skull in order to transmit sound rather than the air around it!

The Sony Xperia Z Ultra

If there’s one downside to having a swimming pool, it’s not being able to take calls or play Candy Crush (just stay with me okay…?). With the Sony Xperia Z Ultra though, those worries are put to rest – this is a huge ‘phablet’ (phone-tablet) that is also fully waterproof allowing you to take it into the pool with you without worrying about it going up in sparks. This is great if you just want to kick back in the hot tub with a good book/YouTube video, but it’s also pretty cool when used as an underwater camera.

Retractable Roof

Outdoor pools are great for soaking up rays, but not so useful in the winter/whenever it rains. Indoor pools meanwhile are great for using in worse weather, but can’t really take advantage of those sunny days for outdoor pool parties. What’s the solution then? Of course it’s to install a retractable roof – giving your indoor pool the impression of a high tech secret layer and allowing you to have your cake and eat it too.

The PoolMate

 If you want to use your swimming pool in order to improve your health and fitness, then you will find the PoolMate to be an invaluable tool. Essentially this is a biofeedback watch like the Nike ones you get for running, but in this case it will actually work underwater too and even automatically count your number of laps for you. Great for setting and meeting fitness goals and improving your swimming ability.

Geothermal Heating

If you really want to take your swimming pool into the future, then a geothermal heated pool is the way to do it. This involves a series of pipes running underground which will heat your pool water for you using the natural heat from under the Earth. This means you can heat your pool completely for free and help save the planet in the process. Now that’s a high tech swimming pool!

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  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://pixabay.com/en/green-planet-save-energy-global-35930/

Nancy Baker, the author of this article, is a freelance blogger, currently working for, OpenAire, leading waterpark manufacturers. She is a passionate baker and enjoys treating her kids to some of her savoury treats. You can get in touch with Nancy via Twitter @Nancy_Baker_.

How To Automate And Outsource More Of Your Workload Using Modern Technology

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Companies will spend a lot of time, energy and money often trying to find ways to increase their turnover, hire more staff and generally expand. This is a great way to make a mark and if you can grow quickly and efficiently then you can improve the lives of many in the process.

But expansion shouldn’t always be your goal. Some companies aren’t cut out to become global megacorporations and would rather just turn a profit doing something they love. The more turnover you have, the more things can go wrong. The more you make, the more you’ll spend. And the bigger you grow the more stress you’ll find yourself under.

What’s often better then is to think less about turnover and more about efficiency and profit margins. Instead of taking on more staff and satisfying more customers in order to take home more profit, instead think about doing everything you’ve already been doing – but just doing it quicker and for less so that you can keep more of the profit at the end of every transaction. That way you can still grow your profit, you can still improve the lives of your staff, but you’ll all be happier and less stressed at the same time. The secret to more freedom as a company is not to earn more, but to spend less.

The Tech Takeover

Here’s where technology comes in. You see, rather than making your staff do more work to finish more in a day, or hiring extra team members to share your workload, instead you’re going to look for ways to outsource and automate aspects of the job that lend themselves.

One way to do this is to look for patterns of behaviour – processes that you repeat in the exact same way multiple times a week. Break this down into every stage – from turning on your computer to loading up Chrome/IE and then ask yourself: how could you automate that process?

Well in this example you could set your computers to boot up just before everyone gets into the office, and you could set Chrome to boot on launch with your e-mail as the homepage. You could even set a coffee machine to prepare everyone’s coffee first thing in the morning so less time is wasted in the kitchen.

Similarly you can automate many jobs by writing software. If you run a company blog for instance and you aren’t already using a content management system, then that’s something you should look into right now as it will allow you to save a lot of wasted time you’d normally spend formatting HTML and uploading files to your server.

And if there’s something you do regularly that can’t be done by existing software? Then write some specifically for your business!

Virtual Assistants

That’s how you can do less work using hardware to automate things for you, but what does outsourcing have to do with your technology?

Well outsourcing is very much reliant on technology when you’re talking about a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant is someone who can handle admin and other tasks for you for a very small fee – often as little as a few dollars an hour. They can check your e-mail and then give you a set of tasks that your clients have asked you to handle, they can gather research for articles for you, they can filter complaints and queries from customers so that you aren’t wasting your time answering the same questions over and over, and generally they can run every aspect of your business that doesn’t require any particular expertise.

Now normally we would associate VA’s with self-employed entrepreneurs, but they can also be useful for a business. Either you can get a ‘company’ VA to handle the less challenging tasks so that you aren’t wasting the skills of your actual staff, or you could allow all your staff to use VA’s in order to manage their own workloads more effectively.

At any rate, technology can take a lot of work off of your hands in a cost effective way – so you could be earning more but working less. What’s not to like?

Featured images:
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  •  License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://pixabay.com/en/annual-report-stock-exchange-61851/
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Nancy Baker, the author of this article, is a freelance blogger, currently writing for, Aireus, renowned providers of point of sale software for restaurants. She extremely fond of old  people and often visits the old age home and treats the residents to her chocolate chip cookies. You can get in touch with Nancy on Twitter @Nancy_Baker_.

Can Driving Games Improve Your Real-World Driving Skills?

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When you’re leaping through a hail of bullets, diving through an explosion, and landing hand grenades onto the back of space ships in Halo, it can be hard not to feel at least a little bit impressed with your own abilities. Sure, it’s only a computer game and it’s obviously not real, but there is always the thought at the back of your mind that just maybe you could do it in real life too – after all, you’ve displayed all the reactions and the tactical genius necessary… how much harder can it be to do it all for real?

Of course you might even have considered that the simple act of playing Halo, could have even made you better in a gunfight should the need ever arise. And in that case, couldn’t playing a snooker game make you better at playing snooker in real life? And could playing a driving game make you better at driving?

That last point is actually quite an interesting one, seeing as driving is something that we all need to do on an almost daily basis, and that can be quite dangerous. If playing computer games could really improve your ability to drive well, then that would actually be very useful and it might even be worth going out of your way to play more driving games. Let’s take a look then at whether or not that could really be the case…

The Difference Between Driving and Pretending to Drive

The first thing to bear in mind is that there are indeed a lot of differences between driving in real life and driving on the Xbox. The first is the feedback that you get from driving – when you drive in real life you can feel the engine growl underneath you, you can feel the tug of the steering wheel as it tries to return to the neutral position, and you can feel the weight of the pedal as you push it down. Simply pulling the right trigger on a game controller just doesn’t have that same feel to it, and unfortunately it’s not really a very effective simulation. Sure you can make it a little more realistic – by using a steering wheel controller for instance – but that’s still only going to go so far.

At the same time, driving for real means dealing with a lot more information and a much wider field of vision. Most driving games are about F1, or about grand theft auto – they don’t require you to keep an eye out for people crossing the road, or to follow the highway code, thus they could potentially even lull you into a false sense of security when driving. Worst of all, these games often have entirely different objectives to real world driving – sometimes actually encouraging you to crash or at least have ‘near misses’. Not exactly great practice for real-world driving…

On the Other Hand…

But games aren’t out of the race just yet – you see playing computer games can actually have a very positive impact on your brain. Many studies have shown how computer games can improve your reaction times for example, as well as your concentration and even your ability to split your attention between tasks. These are all skills that you would have to use when driving, and so it’s easy to imagine how that might be beneficial when you’re really on the road. But the surprising part of this, is that it’s not necessarily the driving games that will improve your driving most. It may well be that you’re better off playing something that simply demands a lot of attention and good reflexes – such as Space Invaders or Tetris.

At the same time, it’s also worth considering that some ‘games’ are designed specifically to help your driving in other ways. There are plenty of software packages out there aimed at learner drivers for instance, and these can help to challenge your perception by getting you to press keys whenever you spot hazards or just to become more familiar with the highway code by testing your knowledge.

So no, ‘Need for Speed’ isn’t going to help you to get to work any safer or more efficiently each morning. That said though, it’s still an awful lot of fun and it may just improve your reactions that little bit – which can sometimes make all the difference.

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Todd Jacobson, the writer of this post, is a driving instructor at a race driving school in Florida. He is a blogging enthusiast and loves to share his knowledge on sports cars and driving techniques through guest posting.

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Top 5 Ebook Readers You Don’t Want To Miss

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While most people use their tablets as e-reader devices, there are still a good number of people that want a real e-reader. These devices are often much better for reading ebooks because the screens are whiter and similar to reading a real book. There are dozens of e-readers, but only a handful of them are really worth your time. These are the five best e-readers currently available.

Kindle Paperwhite 2013 Edition

Amazon has ruled the e-reader market for a long time, so it’s no surprise that the Paperwhite is one of the best e-reader models. This version improves over the last one by using a whiter screen that is similar to paper, and it uses better lighting so that you can read outside in the sun or in a dark room. The processor is also much faster, and the screen rarely refreshes. Perhaps the only problem is that the common version of the Paperwhite comes with ads, but you can get rid of them with a $20 upgrade.

Kindle 2012 Edition

If you want an inexpensive and compact e-reader, then this is the best choice. While it might be an entry-level device, it gives you all the speed and power that you need to read basic ebooks. It lacks a touch screen or backlight, but that’s no surprise due to its low price point. And it will become even cheaper with Smart Phone Reviews this year. This is best if you want a basic device without all the bells and whistles.

Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight

The Simple Touch with GlowLight gives you everything that you could want from a dedicated e-reader. It uses an advanced e-ink screen that looks great and is very responsive. You also get a fast processor that can easily download new books, and the battery lasts for days. The GlowLight feature is very uniform, which ensures that you can read the whole page without squinting. The only issue is that this is a dedicated device. It doesn’t have 3G or 4G connectivity, a Web browser or audio. At the same time, it’s a great device for reading books.

Nook Simple Touch

This is basically the same as the other Nook, but it lacks a backlight. At the same time, this small change reduces the price by almost half. This is another basic e-reader with an expansion slot and amazing battery life, but you won’t be able to read it in a dark room without a light.

Kobo Glo

This is another device that uses a backlight to improve your reading experience. It also has many of the essential features, like an expansion slot, wireless connectivity and it supports EPUB files. Many people are calling this a worthy alternative to the Kindle. The Kobo store doesn’t have quite as many books as Kindle or Nook, but the unique thing is that this device can load books from any online store as long as they use the Adobe DRM format.

Conclusion

While tablets work well for reading ebooks, e-readers are definitely the best if you plan on finishing dozens of novels. They won’t hurt your eyes, and they definitely won’t hurt your wallet. These devices are much cheaper than most tablets, and they are the best e-readers that you can find.

Andy Jones loves to blog about gadgets and money saving tips. He recommends shopping at Amazon.com on Black Friday and Cyber Monday to take advantage of the best discount available.

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