Category: General

Tips for good print typography

Typography is a huge part of design and design is a huge part of type. You can’t just throw text on a page, it has to be laid out and organized in a clean way that adds to the information being presented. Spoonfed Design offers 11 tips for good typography to help you convey information in print the right way.

How to photograph fire

Fire, from a single candle to a raging inferno, presents some great opportunities to stretch your creative side. There are many different forms fire takes and a few different ways to attempt to capture those special images that convey the power, heat, subtlety or warmth that comes from the flame. Digital Photography School has a great little write-up containing lots of helpful tips for photographing fire. You would think it would be somewhat simple to do, but in my experience, it’s quite difficult. This article has some really helpful hints.

Fixing Suitcase Fusion launch problem after an OSX 10.5.6 update

If you’re running Extensis Suitcase Fusion 2 and recently updated to OSX 10.5.6, you may have run into the problem of Fusion not launching. The cause of the problem appears to be an issue with your Mac’s Bonjour name if the name is too long, or contains spaces or special characters. If you are experiencing the problem, here’s a quick way to fix it that requires little effort and no special hacks or software tools. (more…)

Quick tip: Easily enable OSX Dock magnification temporarily

If you’re like me, you don’t particularly care for OSX’s Dock magnification feature. I just don’t like trying to hit a moving target, especially when I’m dragging files to drop on an icon on the Dock! But every once in a while, I do have the desire to have the feature enabled. You can quickly enable Dock magnification, without turning it on in your System Preferences by holding down Control + Shift while hovering your mouse over the Dock. When you release the keys, Dock magnification is turned off.

Rant: Logo-Instant, free Web 2.0 logos

Design contests, it’s a hot topic in the design community. Most designers frown upon these online design contest sites where designers compete against each other designing logos, ads and Web sites for the chance to win a few hundred bucks. For the record, I have no problem with these design contests. It sharpens your skills and provides the opportunity to earn some extra cash in these tough times. If you’re willing to put in the work for a chance at winning a small fee, so be it. In my opinion, it’s not only not worth the money, but it really belittles the skills of designers everywhere. We’re not talking about spec-work for a potential big client. No, this is just some stranger on the Web looking for the cheapest, fastest work – basically preying on junior designers. But the other day, I came across a site that made my stomach turn. No, it’s not yet another design contest site like 99Designs, it’s much worse. Logo-Instant offers anyone and everyone FREE logos. That’s right, absolutely free. I have no idea who is designing these Web 2.0-style logos, but they should be taken out back and beat about the head, neck and shoulders with their keyboard. While the logos currently available aren’t completely horrible, you have to wonder why anyone would want to use them. After all, you don’t have exclusive rights to the logo. Anyone in the world can download the Photoshop or EPS files provided on the site, customize the name and use the logo as they see fit. Not only that, but the logos I downloaded were all screen-resolution, suitable for Web use only. What does that say about the work we do as designers? It’s really sad that legit designers are forced to compete with these hacks who are willing to provide design services for what I can only assume is virtually nothing. It’s even more sad that people & companies are willing to accept these “stock” logos as part of their branding efforts. I really didn’t even want to link to these people, but I thought you should check it out and offer your thoughts in the comments.

Get the most out of your laptop battery

If you know the right tricks, you can maximise the lifespan and battery life of you MacBook or MacBook Pro. The way you charge the battery, the conditions is which you use and store your laptop and the way you have your energy saver preferences set all have an effect on how long your battery will last and how well if performs. The OSX System Profiler can help you assess the condition of your battery’s current health.

MacOSXTips recently published Get the most out of your laptop battery, which covers some best-practices for maintaining a healthy battery life on your MacBook and MacBook Pro. My recommendations are to power-off your laptop overnight, cycle the battery completely each time you use it – which means to run the laptop on battery power until it’s down to at least 20% charge before you plug it in to recharge, and make sure you have the battery optimization set to “Better Battery Life” in the Energy Saver system prefs pane. And if you plan on not using the laptop for a few days, such as a vacation or long weekend, take the battery out of the laptop completely after powering it off. The laptop battery only has so many recharge cycles in its life, recharging the battery when it’s still at 80% needlessly uses up a cycle, thereby shortening the life of the battery. Using the tips provided in the article will go a long way in prolonging your investment.

Free digital photography e-magazine available

Photographybb.com has their latest e-Magazine available for download now. The holiday season is upon us and what better way to celebrate than to grab a cup of hot chocolate, kick back, and enjoy the December Issue of the PhotographyBB Online Magazine. This month, we head back to Moscow where Jon Ayres gives us a look at how the holidays are celebrated in Russia. We’ve also made some slight changes to the magazine to include more “how-to” style articles. Check out this month’s issue for:

  • Night photography techniques – Part II – Painting with Light and Holiday Lights
  • Best Shooting Gear for the Holidays
  • Better Portrait Posing Techniques
  • Mastering Photoshop Brushes
  • Pro Retouching Techniques
  • and more!

Be sure to grab all the back issues while you’re there. All PhotogrpahyBB issues are available as downloadable PDFs, ranging in size from 5-12MB each.

Fixing various power issues on MacBook/MacBook Pro

If you find your MacBook or MacBook Pro having various power issues such as:

  • backlighting
  • hard disk spin down
  • sleep or wake issues
  • battery issues
  • trackpad control

the first thing you should try doing (after simply restarting your computer to see if that fixes it) is resetting the System Management Controller (SMC). The SMC is a chip on the logic board which is responsible for power management of the computer. Issues can and do pop up that render the settings in the SMC unusable, resulting in problems with the above mentioned items. Many times, resetting the SMC is all that is necessary to fix the problems. To reset the System Management Controller on the MacBook or MacBook Pro, do the following:

  1. Turn the computer off
  2. Disconnect the AC Adapter and remove the computer’s battery
  3. Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds, then release it
  4. Reconnect the battery and AC adapter
  5. Press the power button to restart the computer

The process is similar for MacBook Air users, as well as users of older Apple laptops which use the Power Management Unit (PMU) rather than the SMC. You can view this Apple support document for more info.