iceber.gs

When searching for creative inspiration and other useful things, one of the problems I’ve faced when actually finding them is being able to keep track and store them. I’ve built quite an extensive bookmark folder tree, but it becomes rather useless when it’s time to actually go back and find something specific. I’ve also used Pinterest here and there, but it just doesn’t do all that I need when it comes to saving items.

Recently, I found a new app called iceber.gs (pretty sweet suffix eh?). It’s basically like a detailed Pinterest if you will. It has sort of the same idea in mind where you’re able to “pin” or save things through the browser to custom boards, or “icebergs” as they’re called. The cool thing is you’re not limited to just images. Instead, it can be an image, content, or even the whole website. It even allows you to keep notes about your bookmarks which is really nice for organization.

I’m still checking it out, but that’s iceber.gs in a nutshell. Give it a try.

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OSX Server

This week we stepped our game up and finally invested in a server at work. We went with a Mac Mini running OSX Server and so far it’s been pretty awesome. It’s a big leap forward in comparison to where we were (shared files). No more file permission issues, new shared calendars and contacts, internal iMessaging, and an online wiki are the features we’re using heavily.

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PressPausePlay

This is a pretty great documentary about the creative culture. It takes a look at the art world now that the masses have access to just about any tool as well as the saturation of content. It raises questions like, is true talent drowned out? Pretty interesting and worth a watch.

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VirtualBox and Internet Explorer

If you’re a web designer and on a Mac like me, then you’ve probably experienced the difficulties that go along with testing sites in Internet Explorer. There are those great resources out there like BrowserStack and Adobe Browser Labs (sadly discontinued), but what if you don’t want to pay $20 bucks a month just to test sites in all browsers? That’s where VirtualBox comes in. Thanks to @epicserve‘s recommendations I was directed to a new site: modern.IE. It appears that Microsoft finally gets it, it’s a pain to build crossbrowser compatible sites especially on THEIR browser!

After browsing around for a bit I decided to try out the VirtualBox method. VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 hardware, targeted at server, desktop and embedded use. This basically means you can run applications, servers, or even different operating systems within it.

Modern.IE has a list of different IE versions available for download and integration with VB. Some of the versions are a little large in terms of file size so it took a little over an hour to download them all. After the download finishes, it’s basically just a matter of opening and running the installer for the chosen IE version. It’s pretty straightforward and within a few minutes you’ll have an IE/OS version in your queue.

Virtual Box

From here it’s just a matter of clicking “start”. Shortly, ahem, after waiting for Windows to boot , you are welcomed with a functioning Windows OS right inside your window.

virtualbox-ie-8

Pretty slick! I’ve only been using VB for a few days now, but I can already tell that it will become a real necessity. No more running back and forth between computers or paying those unnecessary monthly subscriptions.

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Add Spaces to your Dock Menu

Dock Spaces OSXMac used to support spaces in the Dock menu on old OS versions, but for some reason that feature has been removed in the more recent renditions. When you have a lot of apps sitting in the Dock, like I do, it can be a little cumbersome when things get crowded. So that’s why I thought I’d share this Dock Spacer method.

I stumbled upon this trick via Twitter quite some time ago and saved it (luckily). First, you’ll need to open up Terminal. Next, enter the following code and then press enter:

defaults write com.apple.dock persistent-apps -array-add '{"tile-type"="spacer-tile";}'

You might as well enter this code a couple times, because this will only give you one spacer. To get more spacers, continue to submit that line of code. By now though, you’ve probably noticed that nothing appears to be happening.That’s because spaces won’t show up automatically, so you’ll have to force the Dock menu to restart. You can do this by entering the following into Terminal:

killall Dock

And that about covers it. To remove the spacers simply drag them out of the dock like you would to remove any other app. The end.

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Position: Absolute; (Centered)

It’s pretty easy to center a relatively positioned div:

#div { position: relative; margin: 0 auto; }

However, sometimes centering a div that has an absolute position can be a little tricky. Here’s a workaround that I’ve been using that seems to get the job done. Say you have a logo that you want to center in your header and it has a position that is absolute, sort of like the following example:

<div id="body">
<div id="header">
<div id="logo"> logo </div>
</div>
<div id="maincontent"> main content</div>
<div id="footer"> footer </div>
</div>

Basically, what you can do is give the div #logo a value of left: 50%. The first thing you’ll notice is that the div doesn’t appear to be perfectly centered. Well, that’s because it’s not. It’s simply starting at the halfway point in your screen. To center the div you’ll need to make sure there is a clarified width. Then, take the width and divide it by 2 (round to even number). The result of half your width is what you will set your margin-left to in a negative value. Here’s a quick example:

#logo { position: absolute; width: 108px; left: 50%; margin-left: -54px; }

And that should just about do it. If you have an alternate, or better way of accomplishing absolute centered, leave a comment!

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Desktop Snapshot 2013

Desktop Snapshot 2013

I sometimes like to take a desktop snapshot to see what apps I’ve been using. In this post I’m just going to list some of the main apps that I use frequently and talk a little bit about those that just haven’t worked out.

The Dock


Activity Monitor 

When you work with memory hungry applications like those found in the Adobe Creative Suite, it’s super helpful to be able to visually see how much memory your running applications are using. Activity Monitor displays in a nice color-coded pie chart that’s pretty self explanatory. Green means free memory and all other colors translate to memory being utilized in different fashions. So when you’re running a few Adobe applications and things start acting sluggish, you can just look at activity monitor to see if you should close one or two applications to free up some memory.

iMessage 

iMessage is a Mac only instant messaging application. It’s been pretty great to have the capability to integrate text/messaging across multiple devices. So if I get an iMessage, all messages are synced across my iPhone, iPad, and iMac. Staying on top of communication is something I’ve been trying to get better at and this app really helps.

Twitter App

Been using the Twitter Mac App for a long time. It really doesn’t need much introduction. It’s super simple and has a great UI that doesn’t really get old. Tweet, send PMs, and check the latest on your feed. You can even login several accounts and easily switch between them all without logging out of the app. It’s basically a necessity.

Mac Mail 

For me, Mac Mail is where it’s at. I’ve heard some users complain about it and use alternatives such as Sparrow, but I just don’t see many problems with this application. The new upgrade to Mac Mail is better than ever. It organizes all your messages into conversation threads, integrates nicely with Mac’s new notification system, and overall has a nice UI. I’ve never really found a reason to abandon Mail. The only improvements I’d like to see is a simpler auto responder feature and possibly a more detailed signature builder.

iTunes 

Ok, so I just got done letting Spotify and iTunes duke it out. A lot of people really like Spotify because you can download basically anything you want for free. The catch is you have to pay a monthly fee to sync all your devices (+ no advertisements). This was the real deal breaker for me. I know the monthly fee isn’t much, but the thought of creating a large music library and then one day deciding I didn’t want to pay for Spotify and not be able to sync my devices just didn’t appeal.

Since then I’ve switched back to iTunes. Now, iTunes isn’t perfect either and quite frankly, I’m a little upset about the most recent update. The “simpler” UI is quite irritating and not really any simpler at all. And what’s up with the mini player!? That was probably my favorite thing about iTunes, but since the update they’ve just made things all difficult ‘n stuff.

So, here I sit between a rock and hard place. For now I’m back on iTunes. At least it’s a native app and syncs for free.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome is my browser of choice. Its become super popular, is frequently rated as the fastest browser, and it supports most modern code! There are a few other browsers that I use as fallbacks: Firefox and Safari. And no, I don’t use Internet Explorer. Don’t get me started on that tangent.

Reminders 

Another native Mac application that came bundled with the most recent OS update. It’s pretty great and syncs with all devices, keeping me focused and on top of things. Also, a cool feature that I just figured out is that you can drag and drop emails into the reminder app. This is really helpful if you constantly get requests via email and don’t like using the default flag option.

1Password

For the past few years I’ve been using SplashID to store most of my sensitive information. It’s a pretty good application and has a lot of positive features like giving you the option to create your own custom categories for storing information and passwords. However, it’s a little quirky and sometimes it’s device syncing capabilities don’t always work.

I knew a lot of people used 1Password , so about a week ago I decided to give it a try. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about it since it doesn’t really allow you to create custom categories, but the more I use it the more I like it. The auto sign-in feature it integrates into browsers has been a real time saver. Plus, it’s UI is beautiful and I’m often sold on that sort of thing. One thing I’d like to see is iCloud syncing for multiple computers and devices. It appears that it’s something they’re working on, but just aren’t there yet.

PwGenerator

Sometimes you just get lazy when it comes to creating passwords. PwGenerator is a simple little app that lets you quickly generate random passwords. It has a few cool features, such as a security meeter and password length scale. Pretty handy when having to create passwords for different types of accounts all day.

Coda 2

I  already wrote up a post about Coda 2 here, but I felt like mentioning this application again. Coda is a website editor and FTP client all in one; the complete package. It’s slick user interface really puts the fun back into writing code again. It seamlessly organizes all working files and sets up a really nice workflow. I highly recommend this application.

Adobe Creative Cloud

About six months ago our office made the switch from standalone Adobe software to the Creatie Cloud. And after using the Creative Cloud I wouldn’t go back. It’s affordable, always on standby, and update ready. Coughing up a couple grand for new Adobe software used to be like pulling teeth. Now with a moderate monthly subscription fee, the teeth pulling has at least become less painful. It’s really nice to be able to download all of the Adobe applications at any time, but not feel like you have to install ALL of them. The updater also feels a lot more integrated and with less problems. I tip my hat to Adobe on this one, bravo.

ImageOptim

Because sometimes “Save for the Web” just doesn’t get the job done. ImageOptim is a free application that lets you drag and drop a bunch of images into the application, which will then shave off any leftover file size bulk. It’s basically file compression without sacrificing image quality. You really can’t go wrong.

Font Book 

I really hadn’t fully utilized Mac’s Font Book until recently. It’s quite a nice application and has a few options that lets you easily organize your fonts into projects. There’s really not a whole lot I can say about this app. Font Book, ladies and gentlemen.

The Toolbar


Visits

If you’re into Google Analytics, this app is pretty awesome. I get so tired of having to login to Google all the time to check on a few basic stats for my sites. That’s where Visits comes in. Visits hides up in your toolbar and collects some of the fundamental site traffic statistics on as many sites as you want throughout the day. Easily switch between sites and stat types through the pop-out widget. I think this app ran me about $5 bucks, but totally worth it in my opinion.

Dropbox

Dropbox! I use this daily. There are so many great things about it. First off, you can start out with a free account. But wait, there’s more! If you share folders and invite your friends through your account, you’ll slowly be rewarded with more and more space. I think I’m up to about 8 GB now, which is very convenient. It’s super nice to be able to keep a few work files in cloud storage so that I can easily pick up where I left off if I need to work at home. Group collaboration is also pretty easy through folder sharing. I’ve been with dropbox since it’s start and probably won’t be switching any time soon.

Cloud App

Ever want to just share an image, snapshot, or just some file with somebody really really quickly? Cloud App does that. I just recently did a short little write up about this application, here. Go check it out, it’s free.

Free Memory

One of my coworkers showed me Free Memory a little while back. It has easily become one of my most utilized applications. When using memory heavy apps all day long, a lot of times not all of your memory is freed up. After a while, this can really take a toll on your computer’s overall responsiveness. So, instead of restarting your machine, just click free memory in the toolbar and within 30 seconds you’ll regain at least 1.5 GB of usable memory. A must have in my book.


If you have any recommendations or just want to share some apps you like, please feel free to leave me a comment!

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Pow Day at Stevens Pass

After experiencing a dry spell this February, a strong winter storm came barreling through the Cascades. We made it count with a Powder day at Stevens Pass! 15 inches of new dropped in less than 24 hours, so my dad and I left town around 7 AM, grabbed some Starbucks, and headed up into the mountains. The snow-line was not present until we exited Leavenworth, WA. Then you were able to see some pretty spectacular views.

Before long, we found ourselves getting dumped on when we started nearing Stevens. Surprisingly, the ticket line wasn’t too bad. However, the chairlift line, that was a different story.

Saga Kids

We immediately rallied with my cousin Zack at the chair. He was up there with his crew getting some fresh tracks in as well. It was pretty cool to take a few runs with them as Stevens Pass has been their stomping ground for a couple years now. We ventured slightly off piste right before lunch and ended up in this area called, “The Meadows.” It was a quiet, powder-filled slope that was riddled with trees and seemed to go on forever. For a while, I thought we were way off track, but eventually we dropped right into the parking lot.

Lunch

We were pretty gased after “The Meadows” so we hit the lunch line. Stevens has a reputation for having pretty expensive food, but we managed to find this burrito bar that was relatively cheap. With lunch in our bellies we carried on and tried to go find any last powder spots that hadn’t been tracked out yet.

A Short Round 2

We only lasted until about 2:30 PM for the second half of the day. The mountain became pretty tracked which equaled lots of hard turns and our energy was spent pretty quickly. Overall, it was a pretty awesome day; ending the season on a high note.

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Cloud App

Cloud App

Cloud App is a nifty little link generator application that I stumbled upon about a month ago. It’s a cool time saver that allows you to drag and drop quite a few file types into the app and generate a quick preview link. I’ve found this tool to be simple, but very useful. I got so tired of having to login to services like photobucket just to generate a direct link for someone.

With Cloud App, a small icon will appear in your toolbar if you’re on a Mac. All you have to do is drag and drop your file (JPG, PNG, PDF, MP3, etc.) onto the icon and the app will quickly upload the file and provide you with a link to share. So simple, but so efficient.

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