If your looking for good selection of patterns, check out the Pattern8.com site. There are lots of free seamless patterns to select from. These would make great computer backgrounds.
From John Rawsterne, the founder of Pattern8.com:
Pattern8 was created to make it easier to find high quality free seamless patterns. Our sister site, PatternHead.com, offers free vector and pixel patterns but it can be hard to find the pattern you need. Pattern8 keeps things simple and allows searching by color. You'll find lots of free pixel patterns here. When you preview a pattern you'll find a link to the vector version of the pattern from PatternHead.com (if available).
What's nice is that you can select a color that you want and then pick a pattern in that color. So if your background looks best in green, you can find all the green patterns that may work for your design. Since these are seamless, there's no limit to the size you need.
John's Been Busy...
John Rawsterne hasn't been active for a while, no new blog post since July 19, 2013, and the last twitter post was May 23, 2016. Who know's how long these sites will stay around. I understand that it's a side project so you update only when you have time to.
I think it's certainly worth checking out to get some design ideas for seamless background. The Santa Hats patterns are great!
Fake Donald Trump Tweet
Hate him or Love him, but Donald Trump is the President of the United States. His use of Twitter, as a method of communications, has typically generated some attention.
Thanks to faketrumptweet.com, now you can pretend that he's tweeting your message. It's a great way to add humor to any situation.
Some sample tweets to get you thinking about how you could use this idea on Slack or Facebook.
- Happy Birthday [Some Names]! It's going to be a Tremendous Day
- Ok, Now What?
- Great Party. Had a Lot of Fun.
- [ Company Name ] party? It'll be Yuge!
- What the Covfefe are you talking about?
Quozio is a fast way to turn words into graphics. It's really easy to transform a simple quote into an image. Very useful when your spending time in a chat room and you want to highlight a quote that fits the moment.
There are 37 designs to make your message stand out. The whole purpose of Quozio is to quickly convert text to graphics as quickly as possible. Once it looks good, simply drag the image to the desktop and then apply it to Slack, Email, Facebook or Twitter.
From their website
Quozio turns meaningful words into beautiful images in seconds. Then share 'em on Facebook, Pinterest, email and more!
The nice thing about Quozio is they offer a Bookmarklet to make it super easy to create quotes. Bookmarklets are an easy way to create interactive bookmarks (See my post from earlier this year for how bookmarklet works. )
Quite simply Quozio is the fastest way to transform a simple quote to an eye-catching graphic.
Ultimatest Grocery List
There are lots of great list apps to help people shop smart - particularly when it comes to the weekly grocery shopping. We use AnyList (iOS App), which is a great tool to share any type of list.
The only problem with this list Apps is understanding basic fundamentals; Do you need Trash Bags, Cleaning Supplies. Things that your not thinking about when your planning the weekly grocery shopping.
Usually you don't think about some items until you walk down the aisle and see it in the grocery store. This makes grocery shopping not so effective. If there was only a way to help think of these items.
Ultimatest List to the Rescue
That's why having the Ultimatest List is awesome. You can use the list to get a better understanding of what you may need to get at the store. Simply print it out, and use it as a reference guide as your
From their Website:
This is awesome, in fact, it's The Ultimatest
Below are the best pre-formatted grocery lists ever created. I made them just for you--and they're free. Print 'em out, hang 'em on the refrigerator door and mark 'em up before you go to the grocery store. We have comprehensive versions for both meat-eaters and vegetabletarians.
The shopping list is a great compliment to any electronic list program your using now. If your not using anything, then use the list as it's been constantly updated by thousands of people that use it every day.
Printable Calendars on TimeAndDate.com
It's that time of year, time to start thinking about making next year's Calendar. Thankfully the folks at TimeandDate.com make the process really easy. They have a great widget that helps you create all sorts of different calendar types. Simply design your calendar then download the results.
This is useful for event planning and software release scheduling.
You can open up the PDF in Affinity Designer and other programs and add enhance the calendar even more.
There's a lot of other cool Date/Time utilities over at TimeandDate.com:
- Date Duration Calculator: Days between two dates
- Distance Calculator - How far is it?
- Solar & Lunar Eclipses Worldwide
- Sunrise and sunset times in Boston
- World Temperatures -- Hottest/Coldest City in the World right now.
The "Make Your Own" calendar is the most popular thing that I use the site for.
Finding good matching colors is tricky, especially if you're looking for colors for the holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. COLOURlovers is a great site to find the perfect color for any occasion.
Description from their site:
COLOURlovers is a creative community where people from around the world create and share colors, palettes and patterns, discuss the latest trends and explore colorful articles... All in the spirit of love.
There's color help for just about anything:
Drag and drop the image into Affinity Photo and you can create your own Swatch set from the colors. Just use the Color Picker Tool and build your custom Swatch Set. Check out this video by Affinity on how to do it.
CloudConvert is a powerful way to convert files from one type to another. It's very convenient and you don't have to install any software on your computer.
This site has been handy when I wanted to:
- Convert a Movie to GIF
- Convert an Apple Live picture to GIF
- Convert a PDF document to ebook
CloudConvert supports the conversion between more than 200 different audio, video, document, ebook, archive, image, spreadsheet and presentation formats.
There is no need to install any software on your computer! Upload your files to CloudConvert and we will do the job for you. Don't worry, your files are safe and only you can access them. They will be deleted again as soon as your conversion is finished.
Most conversion types support advanced options, for example setting the codecs of audio/video files. Also, we support batch converting and folder monitoring!
Free and Subscription Plans
The free plan allows you to convert 25 minutes per day. Think of a conversion minute as the amount of time that you spend on the site. Larger files will take longer to convert, so plan your time according.
If you plan on using CloudConvert a lot, there are a couple of Package plans available. You can purchase a block of time, or commit to a certain amount of time every month.
The block of time is useful when your converting a whole bunch of files and don't want to make a long term commitment.
Mozilla created a website called openbadges.me where people can design and Issue Open Badges. You can use the free online generator to create a badge for your website or blog. Badges also make great picture overlays.
It does take a bit of time to learn all the functionality of the online editor. Once you get it, making badges will be easy to do any time you need one.
Open Badges are visual tokens of achievement, affiliation, authorization, or other trust relationship sharable across the web. Open Badges represent a more detailed picture than a CV or resume as they can be presented in ever-changing combinations, creating a constantly evolving picture of a person's lifelong learning.
Image compression is important when your sharing files. You don’t want to email a large file if you don’t need to. The problem with most image applications is that they don’t have a good preview of what the image will look like when you compress it.
That’s where JPEGMini comes in handy, from their website:
Get the smallest image file size without compromising quality. JPEGmini can optimize photos up to 28MP.
This is a very useful tool to help compress images for email or website development. You’ll be able to see the before/after and decide if the compression is worth it.
In most situations, you don’t really need the high-resolution photo unless your sending the image file to a printer.
If your using JPEGMini a lot, then consider going Pro, here are some features:
- 128 Megapixels - Support high-resolution photos from the world's leading camera brands.
- Lightroom Plugin - Fits perfectly in your workflow, enabling you to optimize photos without adding any extra steps.
- Batch Resize -Drag and drop any amount of photos and have them resized to your specifications.
Ultimate CSS Gradient Generator
One of the neat features of HTML5/CSS3 is the ability to have gradient colors. You can fade colors or mix different colors to create all sorts of creative effects. All the major browsers fully support HTML5 and CSS3 gradient functionality. Chrome has supported
Creating gradient colors in CSS can be tricky. You have to figure out all the HEX values, the length of the color and then decide on the gradient type: linear-gradient, repeating-linear-gradient, radial-gradient, repeating-radial-gradient.
Ultimate CSS Gradient Generator
Ultimate CSS Gradient Generator makes creating CSS gradients designs very easy.
There are 115 gradient color designs to get you started. You can get inspired by selecting one of the designs and then change the colors and position to what will look good for you. There all sorts of configurations, including hue, saturation, lightness and more.
You can also convert an image gradient to a CSS style too! Useful if your trying to match a web design from a printed design.
There's a Live Preview to show what the gradient will look like.
Once you have the perfect design, simply copy/paste the CSS code into your CSS or web page.
Very useful site and it's free!
Five Cool Text Graphic Tools
There are lots of cool websites online that can help create cool graphics. These are useful when you want to convey a simple message and want to draw some attention to it. These are very useful to catch attention in Slack, Facebook or Twitter posts.
Here are five cool graphic tools that I have found online, bookmark these so that you have them when you need them:
Design your own logo or text for your website, blog, YouTube videos, screenshots, forum sig., artwork, Minecraft server, wallpaper, computer games etc. Textcraft is a free online text and logo maker and is also compatible with iPad and Android tablets.
Pixel Speech Bubble
Write some text and click the create button to make your own pixel speech bubble graphic.
Cool Text is a FREE graphics generator for web pages and anywhere else you need an impressive logo without a lot of design work. Simply choose what kind of image you would like. Then fill out a form and you'll have your own custom image created on the fly.
Mega Cool Text
Introducing the Cool Text Generator for Nicks lyrics for the Internet, you just write your cute Nickname in the form, then copy and paste it on your Facebook, Twitter or Google+. We have all the lyrics you are looking for you to write a funny nick, different and Nice Nick.
Cool Fancy Text Generator
Cool Fancy Text Generator - Create Cool Font Text is a handy tool that helps convert normal text to different cool stylish text with many cool font styles. Just click on a style to copy it to the clipboard and paste it anywhere you want.
Have you ever worked on a document and then an idea came up for something completely unrelated to what your working on?
Ya, it happens to everyone.
The problem is if you completely stop what you're doing - you'll loose focus on the task at hand.
EverNote Helper (Menu Item) can be a real life saver. When you encounter a distraction thought, such as "I should really check out that Tom Cruise - Tom Gun Music Video" you can just make a quick note without closing the program you're in. This is possible because EverNote Helper is a Macintosh/Windows system-wide utility.
I have found that EverNote helper is good way to remember things when you don't want to interupt your current task.
As an added bonus, you can take a quick screenshot with your quick note. You don't need to take a full-screen shot - you can just take a picture of a selected area of the screen or any window.
Macintosh users can add a voice recording but I don't see any use for that. At my office it's pretty quiet - I don't think I would ever use this.
Some real world examples
Don't think it's something you need to use? Check out some real world tasks that have happen to me:
- Thought of a cool gift idea while browsing Amazon? Take a screen shot and make a note.
- See a cool graphic design on social media that you would like to duplicate? Take a screenshot of it and comment on why you like it.
- Need to bring some supplies to work tomorrow? Take a note.
- Found a bug but don't have time to file a report? Take a screenshot and jot down some notes.
- Wouldn't it be great if.. Take a quick note.
- On a call, need to jot a phone number or address?
- Discovered a cool Alexa saying? Take a note.
At first I thought having another menu item didn't make any sense. However, I discovered that it makes perfect sense for just a quick note.
Once you remember the keyboard commands you'll be using this feature all the time.
Quick Cheat Sheet Guide.
One last Thought
Think about it - when was the last time your desktop sticky note had a screenshot?
Emoji in Evernote
EverNote is a great tool to organize everyday notes. You can put notes in Notebooks and tag them so you can easily find them later.
Did you know that EverNote Supports Emoji icons? It's a cool way to highlight notes or notebooks. Check out this example of the Done and Food Notebooks.
As you can see it's pretty easy to identify the use of those particular notebooks.
What are Emoji icons?
Emoji are a small digital image or icon used to express an idea, emotion, etc., in electronic communication.
Emoji in Evernote
You can use emoji within your documents. But did you know that you can use them in headers and in Notebook names?
This can make it easier for certain notes or notebooks to stand out. As in the above example, my 'Done' notebook is where I store completed Blog notes.
All Emoji are Not the Same
Androd Emoji and Apple Emoji are different, this is important to know if your using EverNote on different devices types.
Also keep in mind that Apple and Android don't have the same Emoji library. When Android encounter an Emoji that is not in their library, you'll get a box to indicate an incomplete emoji, If you keep a single OS platform, then this isn't a problem.
Using Emoji is a good way to make ordinary notes stand out. This is a great idea for those reference notes that you may need to use all the time.
Just remember to not throw an Emoji on synced Notebooks. (i.e. Notebooks that are being used by IFTTT, such as Twitter and IOS Photos.) If you add an Emoji, you're essentially changing the name and that may cause the sync to fail.
Five Web Productivity Tools to Maximize Your ProductivityHere are the five online productivity tools that I use just about every day.
PicMonkey makes creative tools for photo editing and graphic design because we want you to rock the universe. We want your images to show your creativity, your style, your spot-on brilliance.
I currently have the Royale Membership ($33 a year) This is simply an awesome tool to touch up images and create Collages. I use this tool to create my photo collages where I email my daughter's photo of the day. The good thing about PicMonkey is that it's 100% web based - which means that it works the same no matter what platform I am using.
Here are the key features of the Royal Membership - Advanced touch up tools, 1,100+ graphic overlays, 2x more effects and filters, Premium fonts, Edit from Collage and No Ads.
This online service says that they are "The World's Most Accurate Online Grammar Checker." - probably true. Grammarly's writing app finds and corrects hundreds of complex writing errors -- so you don't have to. Millions of users worldwide trust Grammarly's free and premium products, which are also licensed by more than 600 leading universities and corporations.
This is a great tool to have! It's almost like someone double checking my writing. I find this very handy when I have to send company-wide emails. Grammarly doesn't catch everything, but it forces me to proofread what I am writing. This works with any HTML page that has a text area.
I purchased Hemingway, but I find Grammarly to be more accurate and a lot easier to use.
I currently on the Free version, and don't have any immediate plans to use the Premium plans, although it's very tempting!
By creating a Google Alert, you can get email notifications any time Google finds new results on a topic that interests you. For example, you could get updates about a product you like, find out when people post something about you on the web, or keep up with news stories.
Stay on top of news that you care about! Google Alerts will send you daily email summary of whatever you choose. Interested in what Donald Trump said last night? How about a product review of camera you're thinking of buying? Google Alerts is a powerful tool that lets you focus on what you want and not get distracted by a lot of news clutter.
Here are some suggested Alerts to set up:
- Your hometown
- The car brand that you are thinking about buying: BMW, Audi or Mercedes-Benz
- Favorite Vacation Spot: Disney World, Sint Maarten...etc
- Famous Person to You: Phil Schiller, Carl Yastrzemski, Peter N Lewis
This is a free service provided by Google. Why not let the power of Google work for you!
We're building the next generation commuting app focused on your commute and the information you need to make it better. Data-driven transit, designed and built for Boston. Tools for Commuter Rail riders.
Every morning I need to know the status of the train that I need to catch. As soon as I park my car, the first thing I do is bring up the MBTAtrains.com website. I then quickly figure out the current location of my train. That determines if I need to run or sprint to catch the train. The other commuters heading to the platform may look at me weird, but thanks to MBTAtrains.com, I know how much time I have.
I have found that the MBTAtrains.com site to be accurate and reliable. They use the train GPS locations and predict when the train will arrive at the next station.
MBTAtrains.com is currently a free service.
Evernote is a cross-platform, freemium app designed for note taking, organizing, and archiving. As one workspace that lives across your phone, tablet, and computer, Evernote is the place you write free from distraction, collect information, find what you need, and present your ideas to the world.
I use Evernote on my Kindle Tablet for reading and writing. I also have it on my iPhone 6s Plus, but I find my Kindle HD 7 to be the perfect size for reading and writing.
I upgraded to Evernote Plus ($24.99 per year) so that I can read notebooks offline. While other people on the train are playing Candy Crush, I am reading the latest technical information on the just announced iPhone. This is the advantage of using EverNote Web Clipper.
How to Scan to Evernote on a Mac
If you do a search around the internet for instructions on scanning documents directly to Evernote on a Macintosh, you'll find that many are out of date. You may think it's no longer possible. Well it still is...and it's very easy to set up.
Here's my simple instructions on how to capture scan images and put them directly into Evernote using Image Capture version 6.7 (OS X El Capitan)
- Open Image Capture
- Click on the "Show Details" button on the bottom right window
- On the pull down menu next to the "Scan To: text, Select "Other..."
- Select the 'Applications' Folder and then find 'Evernote'
- Click 'Open'
- You'll see the EverNote now appears in the pull down menu
Scan file items will appear as individual notes in Evernote. Immediately after the scan, you will have an opportunity to make some notes. This is a good time to comment on why you scan the item.
Evernote recommends to use Color as the "Kind:" and to scan at 72 dpi resolution. (See the example screenshot)
If you have Evernote Premium, the text in the scan items will be searchable. This includes photos. This means if you have a photo with an inspirational quote, you can search for it.
Note: This is backward compatible, which means that if you upgrade to Premium today, anything that you already have in Evernote account will be searchable. Make sure to give Evernote some time to scan and index all your document and photos after you upgrade.