3.28.2010

Tip of the week

For design beginners, or designers on a strict budget, sometimes investing in the adobe creative suite, or even just the Photoshop software, can feel a bit excessive. For those of you where this rings true, I encourage you to check out Act of Rage's article on Freeware Alternatives to Photoshop. Obviously, you will always have to re-evaluate your decision against Photoshop, but in the meantime you can find a pretty good staple to hold you over.

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3.16.2010

Web Design Clients in Real Life

So True

Below is a hysterical video depicting web design clients in real life. The accuracy of this depiction is spot on! Check it out for some good fun.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy:
The Designer's Dilemma
The Microsoft iPod?
Geek Hilarity


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3.10.2010

Resource of the Week

Brochure Remix

When I was working on TDG's latest brochure with our intern, Kendall, I noticed a serious shortage of design inspiration online for brochures. Therefore, when I ran across DesignM.ag's awesome Brochure Showcase , I was super stoked - and I just had to share this classic collection with you. Enjoy!!

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2.28.2010

Tip of the Day

From the Webutante

The Design Group recently added two interns to our team. Looking for tutorials and a list of 'must-haves' is a tough task for me to do. I often find myself reverting back to the tutorials and tools that I used when I was learning web development, not all of which are up to date.

Therefore, today's tip of the day features a great compilation from Download Squad. Their So you want to be a Web Developer Article provides some great web developer tools for beginners to intermediates in the web development realm.



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2.25.2010

Tip of the Day

From the Webutante

To keep things interesting on here (I know they've been getting a little lackluster lately...) I have opted to add tips of the day to theWebutante. I can't guarantee there will be new tips each day, but I will venture to say there will be a couple new tips each week. Today my tip involves two of my favorite applications out there: facebook and google analytics.

For all of you out there that have added pages on Facebook, there is actually a way to track your analytics stats. Check out Web Digi's introduction to utilizing analytics on facebook pages in this great article.


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1.05.2010

TDG Honored for our Work

AEC's Website Recognition

Exciting news for my husband and I's company, The Design Group: One of our most recent projects, Atlantic Edge Credit, has been honored by several sites recently for it's design and semantic structure. Included in the sites recognizing TDG is one of our personal favorites, CSS Mania! Please be sure to check out the AEC website, as well as the sites that recognized our work (listed below). We are stoked to be categorized with some of the most amazing designers in the industry.

CSS MANIA

MOST INSPIRED

CSS IMPRESS

WEB NEWLY


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11.17.2009

Tech News & Design/Development Resources

This months batch of News, Tools & Resources

Here are some of the great news and resources I found over the past month. Some of them will really come in handy for you guys when it comes to designing and/or developing.

Tools & Resources
  • Helllllo Firefox add-ons. Six Revisions certainly does not let down in their new post Top 20 Essential Firefox Add-ons for Web Designers. While the classic Web Developer toolbar will always reign, Six Revisions shows us numerous other beneficial tools for making a web designers life easier that you will not regret downloading. IE Tab anyone?
  • 2 Experts Design blog has gathered24 Creative and Beautiful Logo Designs for designers to reference during logo design. What I really like about this resource is the wide variety of branding that is presented. It will really get the wheels turning.
  • For more logo guidance, be sure to check out 16 Logo Design Processes Of Top Logo Designers from Pixelactic.
  • Logo Design Steps Article
  • For some guidance on what design elements will be prevalent on the web in the next year, check out Web Design Ledger's Web Design Trends for 2010. The examples that are featured are really useful.
  • Spice up your office with some ofthese bold office design ideas gathered by the Modern Office Furniture Design Blog.
  • Modern Furniture Design Modern Furniture Design
  • Noupe knows it is all about the effects when it comes to creating a memorable design. Their recent post features 53 Killer Photoshop Illustrator Effects and Tutorials that will not let you down.
  • Into programming at all? Check out OpenSourceCMS.com , which provides a user demo so you can make an informed decision regarding the CMS system best suits your needs without having to go through the tedious process of installing multiple systems only to find they don't do what you require.
  • Trying to learn programming at all? Then check out PHP Scripts to learn PHP programming and download original PHP scripts
NEWS

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9.28.2009

Facebook Loathers and Lovers

25 things...

Personally, I will admit I tend to be a facebook junkie. No, I am not one of those annoying people who sign up for all sorts of random apps and overwhelm your home screen with invites (no, I do NOT want to start having mafia wars with you. Why do I always get that?) But I love posting pictures, writing on walls, and, of course, regular facebook stalking.

Deep down, however, I think everyone who signed up on facebook during the time when it was reserved strictly for students... the time when facebook did not own all images you upload... the days when you could still scoff at MySpace users for their utter lack of social networking sophistication and overwhelmingly distracting profiles.... sometimes miss the good ol' days. In honor and appreciation of Mark Zuckerberg's original vision of facebook, yet without complete disappreciation of the new version, check out the video below.


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9.01.2009

Craigslist Junkies

The Best of the Best of Craigslist

While browsing around on Craigslist, an everyday must for any craigslist junkie out there, I came across a great aspect of the website that I feel must be brought to the attention for the sake of all web junkies out there. The Best of Craigslist features a gathering of all the best posts found on Craigslist in chronological order. Bringing the lols and the omg's and even a few awes, The Best of Craigslist has quickly moved up in my everyday browsing radar to compete with my other faves like Perez and Delicious.

Check out some of my favorite 'Best Of's Below and after the jump.

Best of Best of Craigslist - Pick 1
The Truth about Daisy - ItalGreyhound/Chihuahua Mix 4 a Good Home

Date: 2009-07-02, 8:37PM PDT

Okay, so I have tried to get rid of my dog like six times on craigslist over the past few weeks. I tried telling this story of woe about this adorable little dog and how I love her so much and how she was a rescue and all that. I explained that now with a 2 year old daughter it is just too much to have two dogs and how my family and I need to simplify cuase we live in a condo and life is hard -- so sad. All of this is pretty much true and I tried to make the language in my past postings as well without spilling the beans about what the real story is with this dog because if most people knew, there is no way they would take this little freak.

Like I said, everything described above is for the most part true except for the part about me loving her so much; I don't. I hate her. And while many who meet her find her very adorable, the truth is, this dog is seriously problematic.

So after having tried to post something nice about this dog in my attempt to rid myself of her, I am now going to just be brutally honest and hope that there is some freak out there who will find it an appealing prospect to own and care for a poo eating, garbage toppling, pill popping (literally a whole bottle of prescription pain killers), disrespectul, not trained at all, constantly under-foot, marginally violent, always surly, rarely happy, eating and begging machine.

Below I have compiled a list which is only but a sampling of the things Daisy does regularly that makes her truly the worst dog I have ever owned. I would go into detail, but she is not worth the time.

Daisy is the worst dog in part because she:
1. Eats poo -- baby (as in diaper -- see below), chicken, human, cat, dog, etc.
2. Drags poo -- as in she brings it inside, such as the diapers that used to end up shredded to pieces on our bed
3. Eats garbage -- Any trash can and its contents left in her reach will be toppled and destroyed
4. Opens the refrigerator -- I have to have a velcro strap on it to keep her out otherwise she will open the door less than 30 seconds after I leave and eat everything in it
5. Is mean -- Simply put, she has no use for people, unless of course they have food
6. Will not die -- run over by a truck, $2,500 and 8 weeks of intensive recovery, run over by a buick and rolled 7 times right in front of me then got up and ran to my car and hopped in the seat happy as a clam and no injuries
7. Rolls in dead animals -- Seals are her favorite it seems, but dead rotten earthworms are a close second place for her
8. Constantly, constantly, constantly begs -- I cannot write the word constantly enough to adequately make the point
9. Growls, threatens to attack and at times does -- Mainly tied to her small size and constant fear of being squashed, thankfully her teeth are dull as posts and her bite, which is rare, is harmless
10. Not at all obedient -- Will not sit, stay, or come (unless food is involved, but that is hopefully clear by now)
11. Picks fights she cannot finish -- This then puts our other dog at risk cause he goes out to protect her when she has conered a cat, skunk (yes twice) or whatever else she comes across
12. Has serious gastrointestinal issues -- Primarily related to her constant begging and eating of garbage, scraps and poo
13. Injures self often -- In addition to the major issues mentioned above requiring surgery and extended medical care ($6-9K so far) she also has a bad leg which is just an ongoing thing that does not need to be addressed the vet says

I thought it fitting to stop at 13 given how unlucky I have been to have this dog in my life. These are just a few of the key flaws I could come up with off the top of my head. There are many more which I could list, but I am hungry and I need to cook my steak now. It is a steak that she will have no part of, I promise you this.

So there it is. The truth about Daisy. I hate her guts. She has put me through hell in the past couple days especially and I am now at the point to where if I cannot find her a good home by Monday, I am taking her sorry fat ass to the pound and leaving her with a sizeable donation to cover the pain and suffering that they will have to endure by accepting her.

While I do very much hate this dog, I do love animals and don't want her to suffer. My daughter who is only 2 also loves her very much and I could not look her in the eye if I did not do a good job of finding this rotten wretch a home that I knew was going to at least care for her and make her comfortable. This is why the pound is my last option.

You however, can be Daisy's hero. Save her from the life which I know I am in many ways at fault for creating. I know it is a life where she is not happy and my family and I certainly are not happier becuase of her. I know I should not have adopted her from that nice animal rescue in Filmore all those years ago. I should have put her in obedience school; should have, could have, would have, oh the regrets! boo hoo.

Be that hero, in the words of Michael Jackson: Make that change. I dare you.

If you can't take her, help me find some poor sap that will. Email me and I will get back to you. Pics are below. She is about 13 pounds and 9 years old. Walks okay on a leash -- at least she's got that going for her.

Best of Best of Craigslist - Pick 2
1958 VW Beetle trade for ?

Date: 2009-07-01, 6:55PM EDT

I have a 1958 VW Beetle, original European car with working semaphores. Plenty of pics available if interested, looking to trade for a daily driver, what have you got ? must get good fuel mileage, prefer automatic, working AC is a must. Jetta, GTI, new Beetle, Prelude, 3000gt, Accord, Civic, or an interesting older car. I'm not picky just need a good daily driver, driving a Suburban 110 miles round trip everyday, gas bill is adding up, while the beetle sits in the garage and gathers dust.

Response has been huge, let me address a few common questions.
1. This is not a show car, it is 51 years old, it has a few spots that could use attention, more pics will be sent to interested parties.
2. Can I drive it home ? it runs and drives fine, it IS a 6 volt 36 horse 1958 VW with a lowered adjustable front beam and lowered one click in the back. If you want to drive it 500 miles home thats up to you.
3. Will I drive/bring the car to you in Texas so you can look at it ?, no, you need to come to me.
4. Does the horn work ? everything except the radio works on the car, even the horn.
5. Will I trade it for an Xbox........nope cant do it.
6. When can I come get it ? I leave for work at 5:am, I get home about 7:00 pm Monday through Saturday. If you want the car and are serious about a trade, the best day to come would be a Thursday our courthouse is open late that day and we will be able to do the transfer that day. I wont trade without going to the courthouse to do the paperwork, got burned a few years ago and wont go down that road again.
7. I'm sorry but you cant write me a check for $5000.00 extra and have me give the difference.
8. Yes you are correct those are not the factory windshield wiper arms, and there are a few other none factory items on the car.
9. No I cant trade it for a plasma TV and a PS3.
10. No I cant let you make payments each week. 11. Keep in mind, if you want to trade you cant have a lien on your car (yes guy with the Accord I am talking about you), if you owe taxes on ANY of the vehicles you own you will have to pay those taxes before they will transfer your car, their rules not mine ( yes guy with the Lexus I'm talking about you), you will have to show proof of insurance (Eclipse guy, you learned that last Friday didnt you).
12. No I wont trade you the Beetle and throw in any cash for your car, I have several offers now that I dont have to throw in any cash on.
13. Will I sell you the car ? Yes, the car has been appraised and is insured by Hagerty for $6500.00, I will take $4500.00 cash, I have already turned down $4000.00 so dont bother with the low balls.
14. No I wont trade it for you 73 Impala, even if it does have 22's and four tv screens.
15. Yes you are correct, a 58 should not have a split rear window, the previous owner grafted that in, he had a split dash as well but it never made it in the car.
16. To the gentleman from TN, when you called I told you $4500.00 and not a penny less, you drove all the way here and tried to get it for $4250.00, then you threw a hissy fit because I wouldnt take it, that was your fault not mine. Stop e-mailing me.
17. The greatest offer yet, No I will not trade you the car for a $1000.00 in gift cards to Best Buy and 50 pounds of frozen steaks........really ? come on.

After reading what I have written here , I sound like a total jerk, but I have had three weeks of people asking the weirdest questions ( how much will my insurance be ?, does the car have AC ?, would you trade it for a registered pitbull?), I wont waste your time please dont waste mine.

Best of Best of Craigslist - Pick 3
Help!! Wife Found Out About Mistress

Date: 2009-06-06, 6:04PM EDT

My Wife Found Out About My Mistress--Now You Can Have Her

Things were going along just fine for the last few years. She and I had occasion to meet regularly, sometimes every evening in a week, if only for a few minutes at a time. We had one of those relationships where everything just seemed to click. It was like she was made for me.

But then my wife found out.

You could say she wasn't very happy with how I was spending my time. You could also say the Grand Canyon is a good-sized hole in the ground. So now I'm left with the unpleasant task of having to find a new companion for my mistress. Normally I'd just walk away, no strings, no fuss. But I just can't br /ing myself to do that to her. It's a curious thing, but once you meet her I'm sure you'll understand. Let me tell you a little bit about her.

She's blonde, but not one of those blondes you see on the street every day. No bottled, bleached, fakey blonde here. Just beautiful, natural, rich blonde of the most enticing hues. In sunlight it's almost mesmerizing.

I've never been anywhere with her that people didn't comment on how beautiful she is--women as well as men. It's just how she is--it's like people can't help but say something when they see her. I know how they feel. I've felt that way ever since I first saw her.

How did we meet? Well, that's a story all in itself. Funny thing is, she comes from a family of beauties. Before I met her, I saw one of her sisters out with a friend of mine. Being the witty guy I imagine myself to be, I asked that ever-original question, "Does she have a sister?" My friend, enjoying a good laugh at my expense, asked what I would like if I could have anything I wanted. I told him, but it wasn't until over a year later that I found out I had described her to a T. I was stunned the first time I saw her--even more stunned when he told me she was willing to go home with me.

Well, I couldn't take her home, of course, and so started our clandestine relationship. We would never be seen in public by anyone who knew me. I much preferred to stay in with her anyway--who needs a smoky night club when you have companionship like her?

And what companionship! Words can hardly describe her. Slender, with curves in all the right places--if you know what I mean. Her favorite outfit is nothing but a little gold above the neck and around her waist. Seductive doesn't even begin to describe the nature of that look!

Speaking of looks, here are a few pictures so you can have a look at her. If you're interested in taking her home with you, please contact me. I won't let her go with just anyone, but if the terms are right, I'm sure we can come to an agreement. Just do youself a favor: if you're married, don't let your wife find out. On the other hand, I'm told there are women who would love to have her in their house, too. I don't know about any of that, but as long as it's a good home, I'll be happy for her.

Now that I have your attention, here are the details. This is a custom-ordered 2002 Paul Reed Smith McCarty Hollowbody II. I really did wait 13 months for delivery. Why am I selling? I'm shifting away from instruments (of course I have too many!) and into my recording studio gear. This guitar has never been played out. It's in beautiful condition. Here are some features:
- Carved flame maple top and back. I didn't order a 10 top, but I've never seen closer to perfect with better flame--front or back. The clear natural finish really shows the wood off, and with the gold hardware it has a very unique character.
- Mahogany sides and neck (wide fat)
- 22 frets; 25-inch scale length
- Rosewood fingerboard
- Abalone bird inlays (added option)
- Archtop Treble and Archtop Bass humbucker pickups with gold covers
- 3-way toggle, volume and tone knobs
- Stoptail
- Locking gold tuners with ebony knobs (added option)
- Gold hardware (added option)
- Leather archtop hard case
- All original tags and paper included

I'd like to find a home for this guitar that would put her in the hands of a player who can do her justice. That's not me. I once had a conceit that my playing would rise to the quality of the guitar, but I've had to face the hard truth that I'm a techie and a voice guy, not a player. If you're the player for her, let me know. Serious inquiries only. Cash, money order or PayPal only. $4100.00

Best of Best of Craigslist - Pick 4
10 YEARS AGO AT THE HUMANE SOCIETY

Date: 2009-06-17, 3:38PM PDT

Ten years ago, in tears, you turned your beloved dog over to the Bellevue Humane Society. You had to move and your 3 year old dog could not go with you. The workers said that you (a man) cried as you left her there. You even told the folks at the humane society that she was half chow, half lab...One look at this fuzzy brindle pooch and you knew there was no such thing as a brindle chow OR lab..but there are brindle pitbulls...with a pit face, funny looking tiger stripes and lots of fur, I'm certain you thought this was going to be the end of the line for her.

What you need to know is that my best friend adopted her. My friend called me and said, "now, you have to get past her looks...she REALLY is sweet." Sure enough, she was sweet and for the next 10 years of her life lived the life you had hoped she would have. Her life was filled with swims, playmates, early morning walks, car rides, hikes and lots of love. She died in her bereaved owner's arms last Saturday, succumbing to the affects of advanced liver disease.

When she was adopted, it was obvious she had been loved and cared for..impeccible manners, good basic training and she really wanted to please. I hope you see this post so that you know that you did the right thing in surrendering her and can stop wondering. She lived the life she deserved.

MORE AFTER THE JUMP!

Best of Best of Craigslist - Pick 5
Daughter getting morning after pill at RiteAid - m4w

Date: 2009-05-25, 2:23PM EDT

Looking for the daughter half that was in Rite Aid with her mother (I assume) getting the morning after pill today in Finksburg. You had an amazing body and I would love to be the next reason you have to get another dose of said pill! Hit me up if you're looking for another go round.

Best of Best of Craigslist - Pick 6
Briefcase full of money

Date: 2009-06-25, 4:09PM EDT

Hello,

I'm looking for a briefcase full of hundred dollar bills. I'm willing to accept larger types of bags with smaller denominations as well. Willing to travel. In fact, I have a large pickup truck that could reasonably accomodate several large bags of any kind of cash. If you are in the position to help me out with this, please drop me a note (pun intended).

* Location: Anywhere

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7.30.2009

7 Tips for Optimizing your Google Local Profile

Free Advertising: Utilizing Google Local to Maximize Search Engine Traffic

Many businesses pay SEO companies thousands of dollars to increase their company's search engine ranking and subsequently their potential client base. While I am a fairly solid believer in Search Engine Optimization, I am also a do-it-myself-er, and thus I have a complex about hiring an outside company to manipulate my website coding, tags and content to (hopefully, mind you, no guarantees) increase my rankings in search engines.

My partner and I both have been periodically working on our own website's SEO for our company, The Design Group. While doing so, we have found that one of our most successful SEO tactics we have come across utilizes a slightly different method of SEO than the norm usually takes you: Google Local.

After a little analysis and tweaking, our Google local profile has begun popping up all over searches. Check out what pops up when I type The Design Group charleston into Google below:

And what about Graphic Design companies charleston sc?

So how do you create a successful Google Local Profile? The real key with Google Local is to build a profile that encompasses all the important aspects of your business without overloading anyone with too much information and fluff and while somehow successfully getting them to call you. Below are a couple of tips for maximizing your Google Local potential:

  • 1.) Fill out as much as you can! Of course if you have a website, that is #1 (and if you don't - be sure to call me), but don't forget the small stuff, like hours, how to contact, etc. The Design Group's google local profile includes all sorts of information that people can use to get in touch with us or simply learn more about who we are and what we do.
  • 2.) Have a call to action. Call now. Set up an appointment. Tell people to do something - make them want to take action.
  • 3.) Include an address...even if it is at your home!! Some of you are probably saying 'Duh' to yourselves. Others, however, are saying 'Do we have to? What if they come to our home?" Answer: They won't. But if they do try, I think they'll get it. You are no Britney Spears, and there will be no paps at your doorstep with a giant camera when you wake up in the morning. Besides, ever heard of Google maps? Yeah, it's important. I know MapQuest was cool a long time ago, but who really uses it now? Theres nothing better than seeing a little melon colored marker pop up right on top of your office on Google Maps. Better than chocolate.
  • 4.) Use your description text wisely. Don't bore people. That's a fundamental. Briefly tell me what you do, where you are, and how I can get started working with you.
  • 5.) Order the specialties and services you offer in order of importance. If you are a custom home builder, but you have a garden that you like to work on on the side, please do not put 'Landscaping' first under services. Think. You are a custom home builder. Keep it at that and you are much better off.
  • 6.) Use your cell phone only if there are no other options. C'mon guys, I already told you about Magic Jack, now just get it together. Besides there is nothing more uncomfortable then calling a business you see online and them answering the phone at a bar/restaurant/other with a simple 'Hello...' or even throwing a 'who's this?' out there. If your cell phone is solely a business line, do it. Otherwise, keep the cell for personal use only.
  • 7.) Offer free quotes, free consultations, etc. Whatever might make a potential client less tense about the repercussions of picking up the phone and calling. But be sure not to come across as scammy by doing so. Keep the class. Keep the business sense. Lose the stinge.
  • 8.) Throw in a coupon. Believe it or not, there are a lot of budgeters in business. Sometimes a coupon serves as an excellent persuasion tool. If you do hair, throw in a free cut with highlights. If you sell books, make a buy one get one for 50% off coupon. Don't just give stuff away, now, but do offer a deal that you would give to your friend or acquaintance.
  • 9.) List your website in other business directories. It's fairly accepted knowledge that the amount of directories one is listed in is related closely to that one's rank in Google Local. List yourself on Yahoo, CitySearch, InsiderPages, HotFrog, etc. This will not only help your Google Local ranking, but it will also help your SEO campaign overall.

For an interesting look at Google's other popular free service, Google Analytics, check out this recent post.


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