design, design events, images, Productivity, Programming, Web Development

Happy New Year!…Let’s Start Designing

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“Image courtesy of Staurt Miles /www. FreeDigitalPhotos.net”



Let me first take a minute to wish everyone…. Happy Holidays!
I hope your holiday was filled with family, friends and good times. Of course this time of the year is always a reflection of what we have accomplished and what we are looking forward to achieving with the new year. On that note I wanted to fill you in on some of the great online learning sites that can definitely help you on your way with your New Years resolutions if they involve coding and design.

I have been learning Ruby at Code Academy for the last few months. They have many other great free hands-on courses like CSS, Javascript, and Jquery. I like the fact that they keep in touch with you, ask you about your progress and offer help. That makes me feel like they really want me to succeed. They even give out badges along the way so you can see your progress and keep yourself motivated. I recently joined a Meetup in my city with other Ruby friends so we can learn together. I have found other great Meetup groups that get together monthly which make learning code fun as well as informative. Check for groups in your city.

If databases are your thing, Code School has a great Try R introductory course that can get you started learning this new language right away. But if your not really sure what interests you right now and want to try something new, give Udemy a look. They have courses on just about everything: Photography, Coding, Excel, and Adobe just to name a few.

I also wanted to mention a few design conferences starting in the New Year in case you can make one of them.

Mobile and Web Devicon San Francisco – Jan 29-31, 2013  http://www.mobilewebdevconference.com/

Style Frames NYC – Feb 7-8th, 2013  http://www.styleframes.tv/newyork/

An Event Apart Atlanta – Feb 18-20, 2013  http://aneventapart.com/event/atlanta-2013?/2013/atlanta/

SXSW Interactive Austin TX – March 8-12, 2013  http://sxsw.com/interactive


Please share any design conferences in your area as well.
Ok..so let’s get those creative juices flowing!..Happy New Year!

Photos, Productivity, technology, video

Free Programs That Can Make Your Life Easier

Everyday I come across tons of free programs that can definitely make your life easier if you have the patience to learn how to use them. Having a computer background I often wonder how easy these programs would actually be for someone who might not have the time to learn an extensive program with a lot of bells and whistles. I came across 2 that are very easy to use right away but offer tons of great features that you can discover at your own pace.

Open Office

This program is like a free version of Microsoft Office with all the same features that you would pay hundreds of dollars for. You can create documents, spreadsheets and presentations very quickly. I tried this one out a couple of months ago because I wanted a doc editing program for my laptop that I could use on the go. Without reading any of the tutorials I was able to create a document in about 5 minutes and save it into my docs folder. I don’t use spreadsheets very often but I was able to create a simple table in about 10 minutes. I honestly thought that there would be a major learning curve here but if you know anything about Microsoft Office this wont be a painful switch at all. The only thing that I had to remember was to save my file to a .doc format so that I could read it in Microsoft Office on my desktop. Here is an example of Open Office:

 

Gimp

Gimp is the closest free program that I have found to Photoshop. There is a download available for Macintosh as well (http://www.gimp.org/macintosh/ ). Gimp lets you do simple photo alterations, create web pages and brochures, as well as draw and paint with text just as easily as Photoshop without the major expense. Yes, there is a bit of a learning curve, but I was able to put together a simple one-page brochure in about 30 minutes my first time using it. There are also numerous tutorials available on line and at Gimps official website to get you up to speed fairly quickly. Then you can take your time becoming a pro. I’m sure I will be using this one a lot more often since I realized how extensive the program actually is. It’s definitely worth the effort of learning. A quick review of of Gimp:

Do you know of any other free programs that are fairly easy to learn? Please share them with me.