Category: Internet

General Web-related topics

8 useful apps for $39.95 – Black Friday Sale runs through Dec 3

Eltima Black Friday Sale

Eltima’s Black Friday Sale runs through December 3 and includes 8 of their most popular apps (regularly $339.72) for just $39.95.

Included in the bundle are CloudMounter, Commander One, Elmedia Player, SyncMate, Folx, FlexiHub and two of my favorites—PhotoBulk and Uplet. Unlike many other Cyber-sales this year, this bundle includes the latest versions of the apps… and they’re actually all USEFUL apps, not one good app with 5 or 6 other junk ones thrown in.

Mac Websites Walk of Shame. Shame. Shame.

Ads-Trackers
I’ve been experiencing issues when I visit certain websites lately. Specifically, a few Mac-based sites like MacRumors, iMore, 9to5Mac and a few others. The problem is the sites load incredibly slow or fail to load completely—requiring me to reload the page two or more times. I’m running macOS Sierra and using Safari.

I switched to the Safari Technology Preview browser, and that helped a little bit, but not much. Pages still weren’t loading completely.

With all the discussion about privacy, tracking and ads on websites lately, which I mostly ignore because I know it’s out of my control for the most part, I found myself installing an ad blocker for the first time in a long time.

Ad BlockerRather than going with the most popular AdBlockers out there, I went with Ad Blocker from the Mac App Store. It’s a Safari Extension and a stand-alone app. One of the features of the app is a Website Inspector that runs a test to show you how long a page takes to load, the page size (in MB), number of Requests the site sends, number of ads, number of trackers and number of Social Media buttons & doodads it loads.

After installing Ad Blocker, I went to a variety of Mac-related websites I normally visit to compare it with my pre-ad blocker results.

My results were astonishing.

Without going into detail on each site, I’ve compiled a bunch of screenshots of the results below. Some sites are worse than others, but I think the results speak for themselves.

It’s also important to note that some of these sites load perfectly fine and appear in this list simply for context. Also, sites that subscribe to ad networks for their income often have no choice in the ads that appear and would love it if the Javascript-heavy, privacy-infringing, ad-tracking bloatware didn’t appear on their site… they just have no choice.

Ad trackers - macrumors

Ad trackers - cultofmac

Ad trackers - appleinsider

Ad trackers - bgr

Ad trackers - imore

Ad trackers - 9to5mac

Ad trackers - appleworld-today

Ad trackers - arstechnica-apple

Ad trackers - loop

Ad trackers - macdailynews

Ad trackers - macobserver

Ad trackers - macstories

Ad trackers - macsurfer

Ad trackers - osxdaily

Ad trackers - tidbits

As you can see, MacRumors was a major offender of ads and tracking, as was AppleInsider, BGR and iMore. The worst of them all, by far, was CultofMac with a whopping 349 ads and 43 trackers. Now keep in mind that what the software considers an ad or a tracker may not in fact be an offensive ad or tracker. If the site is a WordPress site, it has a tracker, and many sites offer aside items that show a list of popular articles on the site, etc., which typically show up as ads. But by-and-large, anything that shows up in the inspector’s results is something other than the content you went to the site to view.

For context, I ran the inspector on a few other sites. Apple’s homepage has no ads, no trackers, no social annoyances, and loads extremely fast. CNN and ESPN, two sites that are typically considered obnoxious by most users, are relatively tame in comparison to the Mac-related sites I tested (see results below).

Ad trackers - Apple

Ad trackers - CNN

Ad trackers - ESPN

The end result for me was that all the sites I was having issues with loaded significantly faster, and loaded completely the first time when running the Ad Blocker extension.

Sites like Daring Fireball (the clear winner and model website, in my opinion), Macintouch and SixColors manage to run their site profitably (I presume) without killing the end-user’s browsing experience (see results below). All three of those pages load virtually instantly and are a pleasure to read, with or without an ad blocker—which is why I whitelisted them in Ad Blocker.

Ad trackers - Daring Fireball

Ad trackers - Macintouch

Ad trackers - Six Colors

I want all of these sites to make money, it’s what keeps them offering up great content for free. But when it comes at the expense of the user experience, it’s self-defeating. If I don’t block the ads to make the site tolerable, I’m just not going to visit the site at all.

How to create engaging images for social media

Engaging social media images

David Ogilvy, the father of advertising, was famous for spending an inordinate amount of time on headlines.

Back then, social media didn’t exist. If it did, Ogilvy would probably give equal time to creating the perfect complementary image.

The Buffer.com blog has some great tips for creating social media graphics. The article is meant for non-designers, but if you’re new to social media marketing, it’s worth the read.

Find out what font a web page is using

FontFace Ninja extension
I recently came across an awesome browser extension that allows you to hover over text on a webpage and have the name of the font appear in an overlay. It’ll even show you the font size, leading and spacing amount.

FontFace Ninja takes it a step further by allowing you to click the “Mask” button to hide all the images, ads and bothersome clutter to allow you to see only the text on the page. The website has a great intro video to show you exactly how the extension works.

Rounding-off the feature list is a button that allows you to purchase the font you’re interested in with (this feature doesn’t work with all fonts, but they have a pretty good collection of providers for the feature).

FontFace Ninja is free and works with Safari, Chrome and Firefox. It’s perfect for web designers and developers!

Amazon Prime coming to Apple TV this fall. Maybe.

The tech giants, who are increasingly competing for customers’ time, eyeballs and money, are close to an agreement to bring an Amazon video app to Apple’s Apple TV set-top box, according to people familiar with the two companies.

Ahhhh the famous “people familiar with” source. Those people seem to know everything. Accurate or not, this would be a huge win for Apple. HUGE. Perhaps even enough to move the Apple TV out of the “hobby” category.

Here’s hoping.

The case for vertical video

Vertical video viewing

Does your business record vertical videos for social media?

In years gone by, recording and uploading video with the camera held vertically was looked upon with ridicule, producing big black bars either side of the picture and a narrow viewing angle, guaranteed to turn viewers off.

But times are changing.

While horizontal is the way to go on web pages and other presentation methods, social media is (and probably always will be) a vertical format. It makes no sense to fight it. SocialMediaToday makes the case for shooting vertical video.

Carpool Karaoke: The Series — official trailer

Based on the segment that has become a global, viral video sensation on The Late Late Show with James Corden, the new CARPOOL KARAOKE series features 16 celebrity pairings riding along in a car together as they sing tunes from their personal playlists and surprise fans who don’t expect to see big stars belting out tunes one lane over.

Season 1 guests include:
James Corden, Will Smith, Billy Eichner, Metallica, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Ariana Grande, Seth MacFarlane, Chelsea Handler, Blake Shelton, Michael Strahan, John Cena, Shaquille O’Neal, and many more.

What’s the best size for fonts in email, web & TV?

Just because it looks great and is readable on YOUR screen, doesn’t mean that’s the case for your viewers. I like to stick with 14-16 point text for emails and web, and about 28-32 for PowerPoint/Keynote presentations being viewed on large-screen HDTVs. Anything smaller and you run the risk of your carefully crafted text being unreadable. There are exceptions, of course—but I almost always stick with those sizes.

font sizes for the web

Font sizes for the web: It’s all about the x-height


There’s actually a science behind the best font size for the web. There’s a lot of geeky gibberish in the article (which I personally found interesting), so if you don’t care about all that just scroll down to the bottom of the article and you’ll find a chart of recommended sizes for desktop, laptop, phone and TV viewing.