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  1. Hi friends, I am an active on-line worker for more than five years to have a moderate home based earning. I grew up learning things and finally realized that the potential I have to earn from my work is much more than that of a number of sites which paid me for the same works in my earlier days. I shifted my focus from working for others to working for myself. Because, my own site will help me earn for lifetime for the labour I had put up in comparison to that of one time earnings I received from my valued works for other sites. But, I want help and suggestions from my friends whom I consider much knowledgeable then myself, so as to up-lift my web site in the form of a blog to the next level. I am really poor to understand web designing, web tools, SEO, etc. A lot of things pass above my head and I just keep scratching my skull all the time to understand the IT Jargon. I can afford to buy web space but, just for my lack of knowledge in proper utilization of the facilities available, I am not opting so far. I want to build a website where I can categorize and sub-categorize my works so that one can assist everything inside my site by way of tab clicking, just as we do in case of Microsoft Excel worksheets. I have the contents with me scattered over this online world and want to gather them systematically under single banner and continue to add to them newer things. Please suggest me how shall I approach. Whether, Microsoft Excel could be uploaded to blogs to avail the facilities we get offline? Thank you in advance for your support.
  2. I kind of become inspired over the weekend to actually read some web design books all thanks to the series of books by the publisher A Book Apart. Right now I am on book three of the series 'The Elements of Content Strategy", but I thought I catch myself up on reviews. I previously reviewed the first book "HTML5 for Web Designers", which you can read here and so I will be reviewing book #2, called "CSS3 For Web Designers" written by Dan Cederholm. Before I begin my review I would to point out this book is completed outdated in the sense that this was written in 2010 and since then CSS3 has updated a lot in the three years that this book came out. However, being a perfectionist in some weird way I still read the book knowing that fact. Like the first book, "CSS3 For Web Designers" is a light read at 120 pages and the point of this book was to let people know, back then, that many of the browsers such as Firefox 3, Chrome, Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer 9 could have some of the CSS3 built already into their perspective browser engines. Such as the ability to use transitions, animations, hover effects, border radius, text shadow, multiple backgrounds (parallax), and even RGBA. So, Cederholm packs in a lot information and examples to show you how powerful CSS3 would and has become since it was first introduced. As for the reading itself, its light and fun and doesn't really get to technical with some of the CSS3 concepts of which I know everyone will enjoy. On top of that, the author takes the time to explain everything and I will say this, I had a better understanding of the code what I could do instead of visiting a few hundred websites or using generators. Granted, I still will use them to get through the quick stuff, though I wish they had a parallax generator I could work with. Might have to do some searching later about that. But most enjoyable about this book is that he provides sample website he used to apply the CSS3 features and of course provided a couple of pages worth of useful links and resources to help get your hands dirty with CSS3 and attempt to stay current with the code. As for who this book is for, hard to say really just because most of the information is old and outdated. Though if your a perfectionist like I am when it comes to numbered books you may want to collect it in order to have all the books. Is the book critical reading? No but if your looking to take a break coding websites or whatever and need a light read, this books will help relax your brain a bit and who knows give you that aha moment.
  3. What's favicon.ico ? favicon.ico is the small image that appears in the tabs of your browser, bookmarks and web history, even in your desktop when you save a shortcut to a specific website. You can see them in almost everywhere. Why should I have a favicon.ico ? favicon.ico gives to your visitors a good visual landmark and are generally welcome. They are small but very visible. Then, it's a good way to brand your website. What appens if I don't want to have a favicon.ico? When your visitors visit or bookmark your page, or have a look to their history, their browser will request for it and your server will send an error page 404. If you have customized errors pages with styles, images, etc. , it will be sent each time favicon.ico is requested even if nobody see it. However, If you plan to design your favicon.ico later on, you can simply put an empty file at the root of your web server, this way you'll avoid error messages and useless logs. But don't avoid it, it's worthy. How to create a favicon.ico? You can find many icon editors in google. I use icoFX, it's a very friendly user, complete and efficient tool that alouds picture importations, supports transparency, picture editions, texts with fonts, and gives many setting choices. Using the minimal settings(16x16 pixels in 2 colors), you may have a very acceptable favicon.ico's weighting arround 198 bytes. How to include it in your pages Once you feel happy enough with your new favicon.ico, just upload it at the root of 'yoursite.com', and add the following rows within your <head> tags to make it appear to the browser’s tabs: <link rel="shortcut icon" href="favicon.ico" /> or with the absolute url: <link rel="shortcut icon" href="http://yoursite.com/favicon.ico" /> That's all, enjoy it
  4. When it comes to putting books together into a collective works, you will find a lot of them out there, from comics to art to images to even fonts. Usually this is done after months or years of them being put out at an individual level and so when these collection books are put together, all that information is condensed into a few volumns. Now take that collectors concept and https://www.smashingmagazine.com/ and you have one of three volumns of the best content from their website in book form. This book is co-authored by 13 individuals at various levels of experience in the web design world and at 315 pages broken down into ten chapters, Smashing Book #1 consists of a lot of information for one to take in. Like in most first volumn books, I think, This book covers covers a lot of introductory/beginner topics such as CSS layouts, typography, usability, color, optimization to name a few. Like I said, this is a condense volumn of hundreds of articles posted on their website, but on top of that each chapter by itself can be considered a book due to the fact there are litterally hundreds of books out there that cover every angle you can think of about color, typography, usuability and so on. However, the one thing I will point out is that most of the information is outdated by three years, but with a lot of the concepts presented in this book I doubt much has changed. Therefor, the book is worth getting to help give you a start on the hundreds of ideas and concepts that are presented in this book and obviously push you to find out more and see what current information is out there about what you have read. Another thing I like about this book is the writing from these various authors, its simplsitic in nature but they go into a lot of detail in explaining everything. Obviously if go to their website, most of the information you find in this book you will find there. However, I don't think you want to stare at the screen for hours on end, but I know most do. Because it is a great collection of information about the web and obviously the more you know the better you get at becoming a great web designer. Of course, I would recommend getting volume two of this book as it introduces you to even more topics, and if you have both of them, then go ahead and order volumn #3 as well since it will be the most updated book out of the three.
  5. Coming off their success "Professional Web Design Vol. 1" Smashing Magazine comes out with Volumn 2 of this series, and while most part 2 books cover the same topics and provide little updates, but not these boys and girls. Professional Web Design Volumn 2, covers 20 new topics at a whopping 283 pages, may not seem much. However, when your talking about 2011, well lets just say after reading each topic, you will Google your brains out and try to catch up. This book covers CSS3, HTML5, Responsive web design, UX, latest trends (2011), naviggation, more concepts and items, and what the heck they threw in some working with clients as well. Of course, what makes this book great is this, most of the information you read can be found on the smashing website and so the comments you read there are just as insightful, but here it is more focus driven and easier to find (lol). As for my usal chapter review, I am having a real difficult time, but I think I found a topic that hits home for thousands of freelance web designers and it is titled "Web Designers, Don’t Do It Alone" by Paul Boag and right away in this topic he drives it home in just his first sentence. "Whether freelancers, small agency founders or website owners, too many of us work alone." That is very true indeed, but he really gets to the heart of the matter when you even work in teams you feel that isolation and I find that a very interesting thought, because I wouldn't think it be possible to be isolated even while on a team. Nonetheless, he provide six common traps for web designers that would categorize them as isolated; they include Dry up creatively, Lose confidence, Become over-confident, Reach the limit of your knowledge, Have a blinkered perspective, and Feel overwhelmed. Reading at how he describes these traps I would have to say I have #1, #2, #5, and #6. Though in the case of #6 I am more overwhelmed at all the things you can do in web design and so you really have to spread yourself thin in order to learn as much as you can. Of course, this reflects upon #5 of being in a comfort zone and trying to limit myself. Of course, he goes on to say that you need a partner to get yourself out of these traps, but some are easier said then done. Such as an external consultant, a mentor or someone outside of the business. To help you get your thoughts and ideas out there and realize your potential. On the other hand, I see the potential of adding sub-groups into that partner list and so it is a matter of just putting them in the right spot. So, just like this chapter, the rest of the book provides very insightful information as helps expand what it means to be a web designer. Of course, it also opens up a lot ideas for you to explore and in some cases, opens some wounds in which you have to realize that it is time to get out there and expand your knowledge base in order to be a more effective designer/developer. To end, I would like to point out that the book isn't on individual sale, except for Kindle, but you can get it with a bundle package from the Smashing Magazine store at the following address. http://forums.xisto.com/no_longer_exists/ In this bundle it includes this book, and volume 2, and another book titled "Getting the Hang of Web Typograph" so check the bundle out and the rest of the Smashing book series.
  6. When comes to web design, there is just way too much information, but what if I told you that the best minds in the web industry got together, wrote some articles over a two year span, and it was put into a book to help make your life easier? Well, there is such a book and it comes from the boys and girls of Smashing Magazine and its called Professional Web Design vol 1., 12 Chapters, almost 250 pages of the best information of 2009 and 2010. In this book, if you don't come out as a better design after reading this book and volumn 2, then you need a career change. This book makes you think of what being a web designer is, as the information though a bit old is still quite inciteful because most of the core ideas and concepts in this book never change, just get a slight update based on who is using them. Some of the topics that Volumn one covers include, portfolio design, user experience (UX) concepts, corportate world, color theory, identifying and working with clients, and networking to name a few. The chapter that I am going to cover is titled "Color Theory for Professional Designers" and it is written by Cameron Chapman. So what does chapter cover that most of us know already? Well Chapman breaks down some various colors and their meanings (Red, Yellow, Orange, Blue, Purple, and Green) in which Chapman breaks it down by warm, cool, and neutral. Chapman then goes over and explains "Traditional Color Scheme Types" which Monochromatic, Analogous, Complementary to name a few. However, I think the most important section in this chapter is the process of creating color Scheme, one thing that Chapman does mention is creating a set of colors can be pretty intimidating, just because there millions of colors and billions of combinations to work with. But she says its not a complicated process and I would have to partially agree as its a norm for most web designers to work with just five colors, but if you feel confident with your color theory, you can work with more. Of course, the best advice she has to provide in which I should do more myself, is develop color schemes daily using the various tools out there. My recommendation is using Adobe Kuler as it is a fantastic tool to create and discover great color Schemes. The other thing is that when it comes to color theory, this chapter barely scratches the surface of which mentions there are litterally hundreds of books out there just on this topic alone. As for the rest of the book, it is just as insightful and worthy to be in anyone's library, and for those getting into the web design business, take a look at this book to give you an idea where to begin and focus your time and energy. For those who are well versed in the web or print, book is just as good if you feel like changing things up a bit or looking for a bit of a refresher. To end, I would like to point out that the book isn't on individual sale, except for Kindle, but you can get it with a bundle package from the Smashing Magazine store at the following address. http://forums.xisto.com/no_longer_exists/ In this bundle it includes this book, and volume 2, and another book titled "Getting the Hang of Web Typograph" so check the bundle out and the rest of the Smashing book series.
  7. In this review, I will talking about of many books that has been published by Sitepoint over the years, but what makes this book unique besides being free to download [https://www.sitepoint.com/thinking-web-voices-of-the-community/] its practically 12 books in itself as this book was written by several members of the Sitepoint community and thus brings several different perspectives as you read this book. Of course, when I say twelves books in one, most of what is covered can be found in Sitepoint's library itself or any book store on/offline that talks web or computer. You could say that if your interested in computers in some fashion or another, this would be a go to book to figure out where you want to start first. As this book covers three type of people; developers, designers, and programmers and of course the branches from those three main groups is too much for this review but gives you an idea what interests you the most. For me though, the chapter that stands out the most for me is "The Different TCP/IP Protocols" because this relating more towards computer hardware while the rest of the book is gear more towards internet based topics, such as, web design, web programming, graphic design etc. Of course, if you had ever taken a computer hardware course, like yours truly, or spent the time understanding the hardware or build computers from scratch. A lot of this information you should be able to recognize rather quickly. Such as the OSI model, TCP/IP model, how an IP address is broken down, the various protocols that use TCP/IP such as FTP, DHCP and of course the most important protocol of all HTTP. Though i would like to point out when it comes to TCP/IP, you would want more technical books that talk about it and prepare your brains to get all mushy after reading one of those books. Like I said though, this chapter stands out like a sore thumb just because its more technical then the rest of the book. Either way, this book is a fun read and worth getting, not because its free or anything but provides valuable information to help open you up to the world of computers.
  8. In this review, I will be talking about second edition of Jason Beaird's book titled "The Principles of Beautiful Web Design 2ed". it is just one of many free books I have picked up from this great website and I would like to share it with you. In this book Beaird talks about all the various aspects of designing a beautiful website, from layout to color to typography to the usage of images and more. While this is pretty small for what it covers (Five Chapters at 196 pages). He still provides a great source of information, especially with current trends such as Grids, Fluid/Fixed/Responsive layouts, CSS3 and some HTML5 as well. In his first chapter titled "Layout and Composition", he spends his time in this chapter discussing the layout process a designer takes, such as what what the website is about, which questions to ask, should it be symmetrical or asymmetrical, inspiration and more. Definitely worth reading for you UX designers out there because how important this aspect of building a website is important to the boys and girls of UX. Another favorite part of the book lies in chapter two "Color" in which, Jason Beaird talks about the psychology of color, and spends the first seven pages talking about the meaning of primary colors such as red, blue, black, white, yellow, and even purple. Then of course, a topic I have been pondering about for awhile of course is topography and the fact I spend timing looking at fonts more closely, especially since CSS3 including the @font-face into its structure. Even though this is good book, the one fatal flaw its a bit short, especially in the topics that Beaird covers and so this book is gear more towards those getting into design and not those or are well aged in these areas. Of course, if you bought the first edition of the book most of the information is the same, but I find this version to be more polished and the book more reader friendly then its predecessor irregardless of the information that is in the two books. Of course, if your a huge fan of Sitepoint, then its a must have for your collection and I know I have.
  9. In today's book, I will be reviewing White Space Is Not our Enemy: A Beginner's Guide to Communicating Visually through Graphic, Web and Multimedia Design by Kim Golombisky & Rebecca Hagen. If you thought what I though, unlikely, I was thinking it was a book about work white space in your designs, well you be wrong as this book is more of a informal discussion of web design in general. Meaning, that it covers the most important aspects of design such as fonts, color, images, layout, story boarding to name a few. Of course, the whole time the book is specifically talking about the proper and improper usage of white space so that is most definitely a buzz world to look out for as you read this book. While this book is gear more towards the UX crowd, I think this book, which is light in nature, is valuable to programmers, graphic designers, font and color specialists and so on. The book isn't technical by any means but does provides processes a person would go through when trying to figure out their design. Obviously, the topics that the previous sentence refers to the chapters on color, fonts, and story boarding. However, as you read the book it provides a subtle process for everything a person goes through, its just those three chapters that stick out the most. As for the chapter that I will be focusing on in this review will be Chapter 4, which is titled Layout Sins. In this chapter the authors talks about 13 common mistakes when it comes to the layout process, for me some of them are pretty common and others not so much. For instance, sin number 2 talks about re-sizing the image to fit your layout and the problem is that it often distorts the image itself and thus lose its quality. I can say from experience getting an image to work properly in a layout is a annoying task, especially if the image isn't large enough to fit the layout. As for a sin that isn't too common, for me at least is Sin #8: Trapped Negative Space. The idea from what the authors are talking and from my understanding it has to deal with making sure that the white is balanced through out the website and if it isn't, then it will stick out like a sore thumb. To read more about this sine more specifically, go here http://sixrevisions.com/web_design/negative-space-in-webpage-layouts-a-guide/ The best thing about this chapter is out the end in which they ask you to go through the 13 sins with your designs and see if any of them show up, and odds are after reading that chapter they will stand out more. Which means, that this list should be an important part of your design process and odds are I bet that list would be even larger, but odds are I think the authors wanted to stick to these the most. To end my review, it is a good book for light reading and helps you think a bit more or rather think about things that have never come up and while it isn't technical in nature, I bet if you combine it with your other books, UX or other wise, odds are it will strengthen the process you go through from paper to server.
  10. If you a designer or developer of the web regardless of experience and skill, odds are quite a few might be missing a key asset into their development process. Sure the pros know what to do and the beginners have an idea. However, what if I told you that there is more too it then sketching out your prototype and providing great content. "Oh come now SM I know everything I need to know to produce great websites, what could I possibly be missing?" A whole lot then you might think, and so this is were the following book will help you get started or fill in the crack and make you a stronger developer in not only design but the User Experience. Undercover User Experience Design by Cennydd Bowles and James Box, experts in the UX field, have written a great starters guide to a good portion of the UX aspect of websites, web applications, and mobile applications. Rather then being a step-by-step guide on what to do, they explore all the concepts and ideas one has to think about when building something for the internet or for the office. they talk about the design process, who you most likely deal with during the process, various tools to get you going, statistical and analysis information to think about and more. While this is a small book at 183 pages, but the odds are that after reading this book you will be surprised there is a lot more to it then the coding process. Consider it a starters guide because everything they have to talk about there are hundreds of more books out there on specific topics or more in-depth guides on how to become a more efficient developer and designer. As for my favorite section, it would have to be "Chapter 6: Working With..." Because this chapter gives a brief but interesting perspective of the type of people you would be or are working with when developing websites, software and applications. What I like best about the chapter is the fact that everyone of those people who can be categorized in those groups has a different way of thinking and doing things and so the best experience you will be getting if you are able to take a bit of everything from them. That way, as you transition from each part of the process you will be prepared and being able to change your mindset when dealing with Developers, Visual Designers, SEO, Marketing people, to name a few. Of course, this book offers some useful tips and other books to read when you complete, so it is definitely a book worth having as it provides your available information to make you and your crew better designers/developers.
  11. In this review I would talk about an interesting book in which can be best summed up in making your life as a developer and designer much easier. This book is called Simple and Usable: web, mobile, and interaction design. Now i like to point out that this book is not sure fire techniques to instantly make your life better but more of a where to begin and how to progress in making your life simpler. Another thing is this, this book is literally one of thousands that covers topics of organization, project management, web development and of course User Experience or UX. So this book covers a lot of different topics at once in one page summaries which I because you don't have to think about it. In which another book I have and enjoy called Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability is a great companion book to have and read. Another way you can look at this book is at the UX level, because it really gets down and dirty on to think about your users and how to plan your projects and designers around your user base and I will say this. User experience has become very huge in the last decade and for someone like me who has been in the web design business for almost 15 years, I have become more aware about the user experience thanks to the learning i have receive from my time in college. However, I would like to think if your just starting to design and you are worrying about the code then you have barely broken the ice in the web design/development world. Because there are so many different levels of progression a person has to go in order to build a website that it makes your life very difficult until you have a plan and that is where this book will give you a good start on where to begin. Of course, if your training in the UX side of things then ideally this book is good as a source of inspiration and something to read if your stuck or looking for that little push of improvement. So check this book out and who knows it might encourage you to become a better designer and developer and maybe a better person.
  12. The Book I would like to talk to you all today for all you web designers and web developers today is called The Book of CSS3 - A Developer's Guide to the Future of Web Design by Peter Gasston and would briefly like to talk to you all about what this book consists of and that of course is all the exciting and somewhat new and somewhat old features CSS3 has to offer. This book consists of 17 chapters of awesomeness to say the least because Gasston gives a pretty descent break of the syntax of the CSS3 and how they should be set up. On top of that, there are quite a few updates as well especially to the Background, font, and text properties, which I feel are the most important sections in this book. Of course, with all what CSS has to offer and what designers and developers are using now, everything is important. Besides the break down of the syntax of the features, Gasston also talks about which browsers currently accept the features, and surprisingly not all of them do, but i will note that this book did come out in May and so some features might have been updated since then. Earlier, I had mention that some of the CSS3 properties are somewhat new and somewhat old, I meant that in two ways. The first being that some of the stuff this book covers has been well established on the internet, such as gradients, font face, box shadow and text effects like Letterpress. the somewhat new I would say that some of the techniques required the use of JavaScript or engine specific code like Webkit, got the CSS3 treatment again Box Shadow, 2D and 3D, transitions to name a few. Better yet, designers and developers are slowly making that transition as CSS3 is doing a lot that Flash and JQuery have been doing for years in order to produce the same results. So, this does two things for you, it makes your website load faster and the learning process quicker. But I digress, when it comes to this book it is a handy started to get you going but to keep yourself current, go on the web and see what people have done and see what else has been added to the CSS3 specturm
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