1.28.2009

Geek Hilarity

Old School Love Connection with Steve Jobs and Bill Gates

The funniest thing..! Does anyone else notice how Bill Gates sounds like Kermit the Frog?

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1.24.2009

Development/Design Resources

My Latest Faves

Lately, in an effort to develop my blog audience by offering helpful tips and information, I have spent quite a bit of my free time scanning the internet. In doing so I have compiled several valuable websites that offer useful resources for individuals in the tech industry. These are some of the latest to be added to my collection of bookmarks.

  1. As a repository of Sifr fonts, sIFR Vault offers quite a selection of sIFR fonts and font inspiration. The 'Resources' page will also familiarize you with sIFR if you have not yet had experience using it.
  2. With information on the latest calendars/date picker features, resources for the cleanest sliders, and the most beautiful web UI galleries, Italian blog woork has helpful resources that every web developer could appreciate.
  3. Designer Folio (a helpful website all around) recently posted an excellent Free Flash Gallery with cool effects and great versatility features web developers will love to toy with.
  4. For those people who desire to be known as one of the CSS Elite, web developer Adam Oliver compiled a few Useful CSS Tips that are sure to come in handy.
  5. From SEO, to PHP, Devlisting links to an expansive collection of web resources for web developers to utilize. While some are better than others, the large variety makes the website useful for a broad spectrum of beginners and professionals.
  6. Delicious is a great tool to discover the latest hot topics spanning the entire web. It also serves as a handy organizational tool for bookmarks.
  7. Finally, for website form advocates, Feckless Mind shares Purified Form Mark-Up for anyone to use on the web.

I will try to post a few more of these beneficial websites and articles each week, so be sure to check back again soon for updates.

UPDATE: I discovered this late, but just could not leave it out: 30 Useful Open Source Apps for Web Designers

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1.23.2009

My Gift to You

20 Free & Open Source Image Galleries for Web Developers

Website image of CMD+Shift Design blog - web development resources

I found probably one of the most useful articles I have ever come across on CMD+SHIFT Design Blog, and I could not resist sharing it with you: 20 Free & Open Source Image Galleries for Web Designers.

I tested out a couple of the galleries mentioned as I was so excited, and they seem to work quite well. I especially like the Space Gallery which mimics the effect of Mac OSX's Time Machine feature. Another gallery I enjoyed was Hideslide. The Hideslide website offers quite a few pretty sweet lightbox manipulation features, although there is a small fee associated with its commercial use.

This article should definitely be bookmarked for future use. Enjoy!

UPDATE: I found another great article with 57+ (!) Free Image Gallery, Slideshow And Lightbox Solutions. It covers some of the same territory as CMD+Shift, but also expands on it quite a bit.

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1.22.2009

We are the Web

It's Inevitable.

I spotted this vid after spending too much time browsing through the internet looking for something to spark my interest. It reminds me of my adventures in a college class called 'Communication, Technology and the Internet,' and it is definitely worth a peek.

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10 Reasons to Start a Company

The Advantages of Being Driven

Today I'm going to offer some motivation to anyone who has pondered beginning their own company but has yet to get on it.

  1. You can be your own boss... and, let's face it, your present boss sucks!
  2. Creative Freedom
  3. Owning your own company offers a large degree of Self Gratification.
  4. Watching other successful moguls and entrepreneurs is inspiring.
  5. You can do it your way.
  6. You get to choose your own title. I prefer: 'Kaylee Walters, Entrepreneur'
  7. Because it's worth the effort. At least you can say you tried.
  8. Your in desperate need of something to be passionate about
  9. Deep down, everyone wants to own an island like Richard Branson.
  10. Because you can. Isn't that a good enough reason alone?

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The Message Behind the Words

Cindy? Really?

After a streak of boredom, I googled the Webutante. I found a great definition in the Urban Dictionary:

WEBUTANTE:
A combination of the word web (as in the world wide web) and debutante. Closely related to celebutante.
Cindy Margolis is a washed up webutante.
celebrity debutante celebutante media whore internet

Laughing out Loud.

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Defining Web Standards

The Business behind the Web

I don't understand the way people devalue technology careers and businesses due to their lack of understanding. I have met all too many clients that will try too negotiate prices with me, as if I can wave a magic wand and make the exact same project take half of the time... or maybe they just want me to cut my hourly rate in half... I'm always tempted to ask if they negotiate prices at the gas pump.

One of the most difficult aspects a web development company inevitably faces involves establishing standards. Standards being how much time to bill for various aspects of production, which aspects are somewhat flexible, and when to draw a line with a client.

Web development companies vary drastically amongst themselves. There are the template guys: the ones who will give you a pre-fabricated site for you to fill in the blanks. There are the inexperienced guys: The ones who will promise you the world, but will never actually be able to get there. There are the bang-em-out guys: These guys are just trying to get paid; they usually have very limited design ability but somewhere along the line figured out how to use Dreamweaver. There are the corporate guys: Those guys who will provide you with a pretty decent website, after countless drawn out meetings, numerous worksheets and a highly over-structured contractual agreement. There are the outsources: These actually can be any of the above, but they are distinguished by their web inexperience and careless sort of business mentality. And then there are the freelancers. The Design Group, for example, is a network of freelancers.

All these different types of web development businesses make it very difficult to create unified standards. The template guy will sell you a pretty cheap website, but he will not tell you that eight other companies like yours share the exact same site, and he certainly does not offer any customer service. The inexperienced guy will probably give you an alright deal on a website, but you will definitely not get what you expect, and you may not get what you want. The bang-em-out guy will tend to limit client input on the website for the sake of speed and will likely charge too much for what he is producing. For a price, the corporate guys will usually get you a pretty good website, so long as you can endure all the rules and the semi-overbearing development process. The outsources can potentially produce an alright website, however the standards will not be up-to-date in a year or two, and they may not understand that if you are a dentist you don't want a giant picture of a needle as your home page banner.

Freelancers usually will give you a pretty good website for a decent price. By decent, I mean more than the template guys guys, but less than the corporate guys. They may be slightly slower than, say, the bang-em-out guys, but with a sensible price, an impressive design, and a laid back development process, it's usually worth the wait.

A professor of mine in college started numerous businesses in his life, which was why I asked him be my mentor when I began my own. He once told me a rule of thumb for businesses that I will never ever forget: Price. Quality. Service... Pick Two.

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The Slippery Slope at Work

It's not like I mentioned JavaScript...

It's funny, I never in a million years would have thought that I, Kaylee Walters, would find myself at age 22 embracing the tech world, much less becoming a web developer and designer. So, even though it kind of embarrasses me, you can say I understand pretty well some people's frustration with technology. It can feel quite intimidating.

I think the lack of knowledge in the technology realm makes people naive and unaware of what they are getting when they work with a company, unknowing as to if they are getting screwed or not. After watching people in meetings, I realized I can actually pinpoint the moment in their mind that they decide everything that is being spoken of is completely over their head. It's usually when someone accidentally lets some technical jargon slip. Words like 'web development process,' 'SEO' and anything that ends with 'byte' will cause complete system meltdown to this type of person. After one of these terms are dropped, it's like staring at a blue PC screen, a Sad Mac (think Sex and the City when Aiden has to buy Carrie a new computer), or any other screen of death.

The worst part of it all is the inability to turn back from that point. You can only quietly scorn the person responsible for the technical word vomit, and wait for the complete system meltdown to finalize. This person will now be unable to think with an open mind. Simple directions will seem like mazes to them and their frustration will begin to build. Instead of seeing calm web developers chatting around them, this client will see night-spawned gremlins running around in a circle chanting terms like 'server,' 'bandwidth,' and the ever dreaded 'Cascading Style Sheets.'

Although this person is lost in their own minds misery, their own stubbornness is what landed them there. Soon enough, most people on this earth will be able to handle this sort of jargon without enduring complete system meltdown. Soon only a mildly distressed functioning will occur, and this effect will become more and more benign as time goes by. Eventually Bill Gates will become less and less of a thought in our head, and Internet Explorer will be just a fragment of a memory of time passed. And everyone will all join together in a field with flowers and fresh grass chanting terms like 'server', 'bandwidth', and 'Cascading Style Sheets'...

But until that day, system meltdowns will endure. I always try to encourage clients to make changes to their computer/technological routines to avoid this fear of the unknown. Utilizing different browsers, like Mozilla Firefox or Safari, is often a moderate change that can be a real step in the right direction. Buying software programs like Quicken or downloading trial applications to toy with are often other ways to break through to the tech un-savvy. Making their own PDF's or printing pictures can also do the trick. It's important to remember that you will encounter resistance. However, if you can break one person in twelve's negligible technological habits, we are all the more closer to our field chanting existence that we techies dream of at night.

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1.20.2009

Keeping it Real...

iPhones... A dime a dozen?

There is a new phone on the market. It will cost you a nice chunk of change (anywhere from $150 to $250). This phone has a camera, voicemail and text messaging. It comes in a sealed black box. It has a 3.5 inch touch screen. It is shiny, black, plays slideshows, videos and mp3s. Could it be an iPhone, perhaps?

Unfortunately, I am not talking about the iPhone. The new phone I am referring to is a FAKE iPhone! The phone is an expensive (?) iPhone knockoff, and what I would consider a cheap marketing ploy. Although I have contemplated why Apple has not yet stepped in and halted the production of this product, I have come to the conclusion that since Steve Jobs took his leave of absence, they have encountered a lot of other even more pressing issues preventing them from dealing with this imitation iPhone shenanigans.

What I really don't understand is the motive any consumer has to actually buy a knock-off version of the iPhone. Buying a fake iPhone is like buying a fake designer purse. You know which ones I'm talking about - the counterfeit purses with "Burberry" labels glued on crooked to hasten the production process. The ones made with pleather rather than leather and are usually encountered in bulk quantities in semi-shady places (like in the trunk of someones car). But buying a fake iPhone is not just any knock-off purchase. It is not like buying an adorable Jackie O. inspired clutch for $60 that just happens to have a counterfeit Kate Spade label on it, no. Buying the iPhone knock-off is like buying a $200 knock-off "Coach" wallet when the real thing runs $195 at the Coach store two doors down.

There is also the sheer guilt and self-loathing that comes with purchasing a knock-off. It never feels the same to go to the market downtown and pay for what the sketchy salesman persuades you is a 'high quality' knock off of the Marc Jacobs purse you have been idolizing all season. You will always know the truth deep down inside. You will always know you didn't stop by Saks and spend an hour a day for weeks on end admiring the way the purse seems to match everything you own, until you got that paycheck you desperately needed to buy it. No, instead you made a gut decision to purchase the knock-off after a long hard day and the 'No Returns Policy' locked you into your decision.

Fake iPhone image

You never want to whip the fake out and show it off, after all, pretty much everyone else you know has the real one. The knock-off will never last as long as the real one. There are no warranties, no guarantees, nor any sort of buyers protection. The fake will never resell on eBay for nearly the same price you bought it for. The fake is nothing but a disgraced item that remains hidden from speculation, and becomes your little shameful secret with yourself. Eventually, the fakes always end up in the Goodwill pile that collects in the bottom of your closet.

So why pay $200+ for a guilt trip? Why pay for a tactless ploy to mess with your sacred emotions? Is it because you don't have AT&T? Check out celltradeusa.com. Cell Trade is a website that allows you to get rid of your cellular contract by pawning it off on someone else who actually wants your cellular plan. It saves you deactivation fees and if you decide to then switch to AT&T, it gets you a real, new 3G iPhone for just $200. If your one of those people who can't bear to part with your contract, you probably ought to just consider settling for one of the phones offered by your own carrier company. At least those phones are genuine, not made-in-china knock-offs like those sold at your local grocery store.

Besides, everyone knows (at least by now you should know) that no knock-off Louis Vuitton will ever compare to the genuine Fendi you keep next to your security blanket and cautiously guard with your life.

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1.19.2009

Best Job in the World...Really.

Credentials, Please?

Okay, so I am doing my normal 'Digging' today, and I came across this article that, well, made me feel a little crazy inside. In fact, I was really tempted to keep this information to myself, but then I realized 'hey, hardly anyone actually reads my blog yet, what's the harm?'

the webutante dreaming up her blog post on the beach

Picture this: You are vacationing on an island off the coast of Australia. There is breathtaking scenery surrounding you in every direction. There are beautiful white beaches next to your doorstep. There is an adventure at every angle. To die for sunsets, clear water snorkeling, elaborate fine dining, infinity pools that go on forever, relaxing spas overlooking the beach, and the list goes on. You can go sailing at your leisure. There is oceanfront Yoga on demand. And if all this adventure gets you worn out, well, just rest in the hammock on the beach and soak up the sun. On this island amidst the great barrier reefs, you are truly in a tropical paradise.

Hopefully you have a pretty elaborate image in your head of this lavish island stay. Excited? I'm not done. Add this to your picture: Not only do you get this amazing island stay for free(!!!), it lasts six (6) full months! No strings attached, no pain for gain, simply free.

Still not convinced that this is the best deal ever? Would $100,000 do the trick? That's right. The people over at the tourism department of Australia's Queensland state are paying one lucky person $100,000 to live the life of luxury on their islands for six months. Their job? To blog about their experience.

So, are you as stoked as I am now? Too bad, it's mine. I totally called it and there is nothing you can do about it. So now that that is established, we can move onto more important things.

Like... how the heck I will be considered at all. There are already over 2,000 applications (a portion of which is a 60second video created by the applicant) that have flooded into the department. Another 10,000(+) of these are expected to come in before the application deadline - one of which will be my own.

I suppose only time will tell. But be sure to let me know if you have any ideas. :)

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1.18.2009

The Dudemeister

For my own selfish entertainment. :)

Dude on a Mac - Dude the Apple Junkie

I am not the only Mac-addict in the house. My partner, Brent, and namely Dude the dog, also share my technological passion. Great minds think alike, I suppose.

Dude on a Mac - Dude the webutante Junkie

Big Webutante Fan. Sometimes I have to physically peel him off of the computer. Down boy.

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"It's the meta-data."

My American Idol

If you know me at all, you would know that my obsession with Apple's CEO, Steve Jobs, is a noteworthy element of my life. He is, after all, the Brett Favre (in his Packer days, of course) of Apple. He is the fire of inspiration burning behind every iPhone, PowerBook, and iTunes download. And I shall be anguished during his leave of absence from the company

Apple CEO Steve Jobs for President T-Shirt

This was why I was so stoked to see a great article on Marketing Nirvana regarding the Top Ten Steve Jobs Quotes. Although I could definitely add a few more (namely from his Stanford Commencement Speech), I think the article offers a pretty decent selection. Even if you are not a SJ fanatic, as I am, you can definitely pick up some great inspiration from these quotes, if nothing else.

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1.16.2009

The New Beginning...

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

So today I decided to begin my first blog. After four years in the internet field, I think it is about time! After all, as a self-proclaimed 'web junkie,' I have come to realize that you really are no one on the web until you are a blogger (!).

Let's see if that's the case...

A little about me... I am a web developer in Charleston, SC. My fiance and I run a company known as TDG, or The Design Group, and it has been quite an experience to have this opportunity. We specialize in web design & development, graphic design, and photography. To view some of our work you can visit my personal portfolio website, www.kayleewalters.com. We are working on our new company website, but in the meantime we have been living with the (somewhat pathetic) website built in a huge hurry four years ago, available for viewing at www.thedesigngrouponline.com.

Kaylee, the webutante, mac fiend, web developer, graphic designer and dude the dog lover

My fiance and business partner, Brent, and I are getting married in Charleston on the thirtieth of April this year, and we are getting pretty excited about it. Today, we live together in Mount Pleasant, SC, with our adorable Pekingese, Dude, whom we hope will be able to join us as an honorary groomsman on our wedding day

Thats about all the action in our lives, although I'm sure it sounds pretty mundane. I guess only time will tell with this thing!

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