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).

Free 3D gold text template for Photoshop

3D Gold text

Adobe Photoshop‘s layer effects offer you great customization when you mix and match the different effects together. But unless you’re really talented, getting the effect you want can be difficult. Take the image above for example. It offers a fairly realistic 3D effect, but it’s really just two text layers on top of each other with different layer effects applied.

You can download the above free template for creating 3D gold-styled text, which comes in three different sizes.

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.

Get detailed battery time, info and notifications in Mountain Lion

Apple’s OS X Mountain Lion removed the ability for laptop users to see the exact amount of time left on the battery charge in the menubar – which annoys some users to no end. But you can not only get that info back, but add even more with this free app for OS X.

Battery Time Remaining app

Battery Time Remaining (BTR) is a small app that places a battery indicator in your menubar just like the built-in battery monitor, except it displays the time remaining instead of just a percentage. In addition, you can set BTR to show detailed battery information such as battery cycle count, temperature and power being used. You do so by turning on Advanced Mode in the preferences of the menubar item.

Battery Time Remaining notificationIf you like, you can also set BTR to add a system notification to Mac OS X’s Notification Center at specified times in the Notification menu of BTR. I like that you can choose more than one percentage for your notifications, rather than only offering one or two pre-defined settings.

Battery Time Remaining is a free app which can be downloaded from the GitHub page.

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.

“My opinion is that management of the app store is a good thing in the long run. This is the biggest reason why apps are so much more successful in the Apple App Store than on Android”

iTunes

I couldn’t agree more. For all the “walled-garden” comments made by Android fans, I’m left with a satisfied feeling at night because my phone gets updated to the latest OS (every time!), and the apps I download from the App Store don’t do anything bad to my phone. That’s not to say some don’t have problems, but for the most part everything just works. (more…)