Category: Internet

Testing your HTML email campaign

If you create a lot of HTML emails, you surely spend a lot of time making sure those emails look as good as they possibly can no matter what email client the end-user might have. But you can’t possibly test for them all. Thankfully there is Litmus.

Litmus

Send Litmus a copy of your email design, either by uploading the HTML or sending a test email. Within a couple of minutes you’ll see screenshots of your email as it’s rendered by all the different email clients. It couldn’t be easier.

To be clear, Litmus is a professional service; it’s not for the casual user. Litmus costs a minimum of $49 per month for the basic service, and goes up to $300 per month for the premium. It sounds expensive, even at the low end, but I don’t know of any professional digital design firms that don’t use Litmus (or a similar service).

‘Almost Everything That Apple Does That Involves The Internet Is A Mess’

Former Apple engineer Patrick B. Gibson has a provocative post on Tumblr arguing that the power balance between Apple and Google is shifting in Google’s favor.

Specifically, Gibson suggests, Google is getting better at gadget design faster than Apple is getting better at Internet services.

I’m not sure I don’t agree. While Apple has certainly been improving in the area of cloud computing, it still seems like they’re only providing half-efforts. On the other hand, Google has made a living off of offering half-baked services for free.

Last chance to save on web hosting

HostMonsterNow through Cyber-Monday, HostMonster is offering a discount of $1 off per month of their already low monthly rate for quality web hosting.

For only $3.95 per month, you get everything you need for hosting your website. I’ve been using HostMonster for many years for all the websites I manage, and I’ve been extremely pleased.

HostMonster’s standard plan includes:

  • UNLIMITED Space & Bandwidth
  • FREE Domain Name
  • Host UNLIMITED Domains
  • UNLIMITED E-mail Accounts
  • cPanel Control Panel
  • WordPress, Gallery and More
  • FREE Online Stores
  • FTP Access
  • IMAP & POP3 Email and Webmail
  • UNLIMITED Site Traffic
  • FREE Site Builders

As I said, I’ve been using HostMonster for years, and am quite happy with their service. I can’t recall my site or email service every being interrupted, other than pre-scheduled downtime in the middle of the night one or two nights per year. If you choose to use HostMonster for your web hosting, I would appreciate you using the links in this article. I do receive a minor commission from each sale when you use the links.

Easily create vector-based word cloud with this handy service

Word Cloud Generator

Every once in a while I have the need to create a word cloud for a project. The problem with most web services that create them is that the resulting artwork is rendered as a raster image. Not very customizable.

JasonDavies.com has a fantastic Word Cloud Generator that offers the ability to not only customize the appearance of your word cloud, but download it as a SVG file which you can open and further customize in Adobe Illustrator.

You can use keywords found on Twitter, Wikipedia, or enter your own custom keywords to create the word cloud. Customization includes setting angles of words, font, and number of words. To download your word cloud in vector format, right click on the SVG Download link and choose to Save Linked File As (making sure to add the .svg extension if necessary).

Adobe offers new tools for creating a modern website

Adobe Edge tools

Most designers know about Flash, Dreamweaver and Fireworks. But did you know that Adobe offers a plethora of modern tools for website creation? You’ll have to be a subscriber to Creative Cloud, but there is a free version available. Adobe Edge Tools & Services offers seven tools that every web designer and developer will want to take a look at. I suspect that these tools are Adobe’s future in the web arena.

Edge Animate:
Create interactive and animated content using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Because you design in an environment based on WebKit, your content will display reliably across modern browsers and mobile devices.

Edge Reflow:
Create responsive layouts and visuals with standards-based CSS. Edge Reflow offers an HTML-based design surface, enabling web designers to accurately and confidently realize their visions throughout design and development.

Edge Code:
Code content and applications with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript using Edge Code preview, a distribution of the Brackets open source project. Work fast with an innovative code editor that works well with other Edge Tools & Services.

Edge Inspect:
Preview and inspect your web designs on mobile devices. With Edge Inspect, work more efficiently using synchronous browsing and remote inspection, and grab screenshots from all connected devices with a single button click.

Edge Web Fonts:
Get started with free web fonts.

Type Kit:
Use commercial fonts on the web.

PhoneGap Build:
Package mobile apps in the cloud.

You can get more information about all the Edge Tools & Services here.

How to disable Flash in Google Chrome browser for Mac

If you’re like me and find Flash to be an annoyance with its constant crashing, slowing down your browsing, security risks, and ramping-up of your Mac’s cooling fans when in use, you’ll no doubt want to turn off/remove Flash from your Mac. If you use Firefox or Safari, you simply have to remove the System Preference Pane item by right-clicking the icon and choosing to remove it.

If you’re using Google’s Chrome browser, it’s a bit more difficult. That’s because Google includes Flash as part of the browser itself. Thankfully, they’ve included it as a plug-in which can be turned off.

Disable Flash in Chrome

Type about:plugins in the URL bar and hit Return/Enter. A list of the plug-ins you have installed is displayed. Note that these are plug-ins, not extensions you install from the Chrome Store. Find the Adobe Flash Player plugin in the list and tick the Disable checkbox. After restarting Chrome, Flash will be off.

The downside is that Flash will be re-enabled the next time Google updates Chrome, which is quite often. You can download Flash blocker extensions, but I prefer to completely remove it and save myself the overhead of having yet another extension installed.

Podcasts: What I’m listening to (part 1)

A few years ago, the TWiT network were about the only people putting out decent tech-related Podcasts. Now though, you have to spend a lot of time going through Podcasts to weed out the bad ones, rather than find the good ones.

I listen to a lot of different types of Podcasts, but for the purpose of this article, I’ll stick with just the tech-related ones. Generally speaking, I prefer shorter podcasts – they feel more relaxing to listen to and less like a chore I must complete.

70 Decibels podcasts

I came across the 70 Decibels network a while ago and have since subscribed to several of their podcasts. They’re very well produced, and cover a decent range of topics.

In particular, I’ve been listening to 11 Minutes, The 512 Podcast, Enough, and CMD+Space.

Many other tech-related podcasts have turned into something you might expect from a political talk show, with two or three people all talking over each other trying to get attention. None of the shows I’ve mentioned above have this problem.

Other shows available on the 70 Decibels network include cooking, freelancing, science fiction and general technology. All the 70 Decibels Podcasts offer an iTunes subscribe feed, as well as an RSS feed to stay up-to-date with newly released shows.

More…

Mac OS Ken is one of my favorite Apple-related podcasts because it’s timely, and typically only 10 to 15 minutes long – perfect for listening to during the work commute or lunch. Ken Ray’s daily podcast includes most stories directly related to Apple, many stories indirectly related to Apple that stand a chance of affecting Apple’s business or its users, and tangentially related stories that are funny. Mac OS Ken has an iTunes and RSS subscription link on the homepage.