Author: James

10 great free stock photo sites

Free Stock Photo Sites

As a designer, stock photography is your lifeblood. Finding clients these days that have a decent photography budget is difficult to say the least. There are plenty of low-cost stock photo sites out there, but even then it can be like pulling teeth getting a client to pay for photos. Thankfully there are plenty of free stock photo sites like those listed below.
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Check out MyApple Magazine

MyApple Magazine
I had completely forgotten that I had downloaded the premiere issue of MyApple Magazine, a new English-language magazine about the world of Apple from the combined staff of Apple World Today and MyApple.pl.

Since I took the last week off for the holidays, I had some time to read through the free downloadable magazine. After reading through the first issue, I quickly downloaded the remaining new issues. Great stuff!

The articles aren’t just blog posts pulled from the website, they read easy—not too long, not too short. The photography is nice, and the layout is easy on the eyes.

How to customize Photoshop’s toolbar

Photoshop Edit Toolbar iconThe single greatest feature of the latest Creative Cloud 2015 version of Adobe Photoshop is something I’ve longed for since… well, almost since I started using Photoshop.

Photoshop is for designers. Wait, uh… no it’s for Photographers. The fact is, Photoshop is a useful tool for an awful lot of people. In the past that’s meant that you had to have your toolbar contain the balance of tools that Adobe thought you would need–including the ones you never use. That day has now gone, and your Photoshop toolbar can finally be YOUR Photoshop toolbar.

Simply click that 3 dot icon at the bottom of the default toolbar in Photoshop. This brings up the Customize Toolbar dialog box.
Photoshop Edit Toolbar
Now you can begin dragging items out of the toolbar (the column on the left), and rearranging them in the order you want. Don’t worry, dragging them into the column on the right doesn’t delete the tool, it just hides it from view.

You’ll notice that some of the tools are grouped. That’s what makes the sub-tools where you hold the mouse down on the tool to reveal similar/alternate tools—such as the Selection and Shape tools. You can create your own sub-tool list if you wish, or simply remove a tool from a sub group to give it its own spot on the toolbar. For instance, you could move the circular selection tool out from under the rectangular selection tool if you wish.

The best thing is that Photoshop allows you to save your new toolbar as a preset. So you could create different toolbars for different tasks and call them up quickly when you need to switch.

Why the heck Adobe hasn’t made this an option in InDesign and Illustrator, at the very least, is beyond me.

Create a grid of InDesign frames from a single existing frame

Adobe InDesign has a built-in way to create a user-definable grid of frames from a single existing frame in your document. Why you might want to do this, you ask? Think of what a pain it would be to place the same image in a grid of frames to make it look like a single large image. Or, maybe you just need a grid of text frames made in the exact space that an existing graphic frame resides in.

InDesign frame grid

Open the Scripts Panel from the menubar under Window/Utilities. In the panel, navigate to Application>Javascript and double-click MakeGrid.jsx. The dialog box that pops up is self-explanatory. You choose how many columns and rows you want to transform the frame into, and how much space to place between them. Finally, you have the option of automatically placing the original image into the frames and adjusting their coordinates to look like it’s one large image. You can see the image above for the results.

Free font: Aileron

aileron

Aileron is a free sans-serif, modern display font, coming in UltraLight, Thin, Light, Regular, SemiBold, Bold, Heavy, Black, & Italic.

Dear Apple: Seriously???

I have a pretty darn fast Internet connection. Much faster than any streaming video service requires, and plenty fast enough for me to download large files with little eye-rolling and finger-tapping. But the thought of updating my iPhone makes me cringe.

When Apple pushes an update to iOS, you have two miserable choices.

Miserable choice #1:
You can render your phone completely useless for as long as it takes to download the OTA (over the air) update, unpack/prepare, install and restart your iPhone. The annoyance is compounded by the fact that you must keep the phone from “sleeping” while the update downloads, otherwise it just stalls. So you basically have to sit there like a jackass flicking the screen every minute or so to keep it active. Unless you have a death-wish, you definitely don’t want to do this while driving.

Miserable choice #2:
You can render your entire home network useless for hours by downloading an enormous iOS installer. It’s like downloading the entire OS just to get the updated components. Everyone in the house will hate you, because your Internet service slows to a crawl while you download what appears to be something the size of the entire Amazon video library just so your Apple Music app gets improved playlists, old photographs stop showing up in Photos app as new every time you connect your iPhone to your Mac, and your Email app works the way it should have to begin with.

iOS updates

…And as is always the case…
I decided to update to iOS 9.2 this morning. At 4am, to be exact. Nobody in my neighborhood is awake, so there is no internet traffic from other users in the local pipe. I made sure no other downloads of any kind were occurring. I decided to ‘download only’ the iOS update via iTunes on my Mac. The 2GB file download offers me the wonderful news that it might be finished downloading by the time I get home from work tonight. That doesn’t include actual install time.

So I decide to go the ‘quick’ route by doing the OTA download. A much smaller file, my iPhone claimed it only need ‘about 15 minutes’ to update. So after 40 minutes of downloading, another 15 or so minutes of updating, and 5 or so minutes of excruciatingly slow restarting, my phone is finally ready to use again.

In contrast, I downloaded and installed the entire Mac operating system from scratch in less time than it takes to do a run-of-the-mill iOS update. And I didn’t have to sit there and babysit the download—–as the Mac is smart enough to not fall asleep while downloading/installing.

Seriously, Apple. FIX THIS SHIT!

Is WiGig the next big thing for the Mac?

WiFi speeds have increased significantly over the years. But the WiFi Alliance claims that 2016 will be the year of WiGig (IEEE802.11ad) with its 7Gbps speed. That’s more than just a little speed bump. But before you start dreaming of mega-fast downloads, it’s important to understand WiGig’s true intention.

WiGig

WiGig certified products operate in the 60 GHz frequency band and deliver multi-gigabit speeds, low latency, and security-protected connectivity between nearby devices. Think of WiGig as a wireless cable replacement for external hard drives and network servers. Imagine using a WiGig-enabled hard drive with your iMac AND your MacBook without having to connect wires to the computers.

You may ask “why not use the 7Gbps speeds for wireless Internet access?” The reason is simple. While 802.11ad is super-fast, it only works over short distances, and isn’t very good at sending the signal through walls.

I have no idea if Apple will eventually include WiGig on future Macs. But it could be a Good sign that Apple has a representative on the Board of the WiGig Alliance.

What I do know is:
• Wireless Keyboard
• Wireless Mouse
• Wireless Trackpad
• Wireless Scanner
• Wireless Printer
• Wireless Headphones
• Wireless iPhone Syncing

The only thing left on my desk that still plugs in to a USB port are external hard drives, and the plethora of charging cables for Bluetooth and iOS devices.

Is the Apple Watch a stalled platform?

I reply to a large portion of text messages from the watch, using customized quick responses. Tracking my exercise has helped me lose 10 pounds. But that’s about it. And they are pretty much the same ways I used the watch when I first got it.

The platform simply feels stalled.

I recall a lot of journalists claiming the same thing about the Apple TV years ago. The Apple Watch is going to take some time to become a mainstream device that everyone wants or has. Right now, it doesn’t offer anything new, it just offers another way to see what you already can on your phone. It’s going to take time to train people to leave their phone in their pockets and use the watch instead—and even longer to make that a habit that users don’t want to be without.

Mayer fails to bet the Yahoo! farm

Over all, Yahoo remains much the same business it was three years ago. It is a far-flung collection of news, entertainment and communications destinations supported by ads. Ms. Mayer was hired to build something novel. Instead, at best, she appears to be building a better Yahoo — with debatable results.

We all know Yahoo needs to do SOMETHING to shake things up. The debatable question is WHAT? Everybody is quick to point out that Mayer isn’t doing anything… but nobody seems to have a solution.

Font use inspiration

Font inspiration
Have a look at FontsInUse for some great font inspiration for your next design job. The examples are large images, complete with the names of the fonts used in the piece. There’s some really great work here, definitely worth checking out.