links for 2010-06-10

  • Comodo Firewall and Antivirus is now Comodo Internet Security. The Latest version of our award-winning Firewall.
  • While the catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has inspired a ton of outrage (and rightfully so!) over the past 45 days, directed primarily at the company responsible for the disaster, BP, a certain grunge band from Seattle has been raging against the Big Oil behemoth for years. As the Phoenix New Times pointed out last week, Pearl Jam were so angered by BP’s pollution of the Great Lakes back in 2007 that they performed an original protest song during their headlining slot at Lollapalooza. As Eddie Vedder knows, the best protest anthems consist of a simple, repeated rhyme, hence his band’s tune, “Don’t Go: BP/Amoco,” which features a basic chord progression behind a chant of the title words with increasing intensity (other lyrics include “no no no no no no…”). Stream Pearl Jam’s anti-Big Oil song below (starts around the 1-minute mark):
  • Being a freelance designer entails more than just the act of designing. Master the business side of design and you’ll thrive. Neglect it and watch your business take a dive. There can be severe consequences for those who mismanage finances, fumble along without a business plan or don’t understand clients. Fortunately, this article will serve as a crash course for beginners who want to learn about the business side of freelance design. In this broad overview, we’ll take a look at creating a business plan, choosing a location to work, determining a going rate, understanding financial information, the importance of insurance, obtaining clients, showing your portfolio, writing proposals, keeping clients happy, writing contracts, understanding copyright laws and finally, taxes. Buckle up!
  • The beauty of typography has no borders. While most of us work with the familiar Latin alphabet, international projects usually require quite extensive knowledge about less familiar writing systems from around the world. The aesthetics and structure of such designs can be strongly related to the shape and legibility of the letterforms, so learning about international writing systems will certainly help you create more attractive and engaging Web designs. Pick any language you like: Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, maybe Nepali? Each is based on a different writing system, which makes it interesting to figure out how they work. Today, we’ll cover five categories of writing systems. This may sound tedious and academic, but it’s not. If you take the time to understand them, you’ll find that they all give us something special. We’ve tried to present at least one special feature of each language from which you can draw inspiration and apply to your own typography work. We’ll cover: East Asian wr
  • CSS has a pretty useful property called white-space that I’m guessing goes unnoticed among CSS beginners. You can probably live without this property for quite some time, but once you learn how to use it, it will come in very handy and you’ll find yourself going back to it over and over again. This article will attempt to describe, in a very practical, no-nonsense way, the different values for the CSS white-space property, and how each one can be used. I’ll do my best to avoid overly-technical jargon, but with this property, it’s not easy to explain without sounding overly-complex.
  • How many times have you picked up a project that someone else started, only to discover that the creator's original code is a mess? Or you work with several team members, each of whom has their own way writing code? Or you revisit a project you created years ago, and you don't remember what you were thinking? It happens to me all the time. In fact, I recently spent almost 300 hours fixing a vendor's facepalm-inducing CSS. Those 300 hours were filled with frustration for not only myself, but other members of my team. And it stole valuable time and resources that would've been better spent on new development. If that vendor had simply followed some basic guidelines in his CSS, precious time and money would've been saved for my employer, not to mention my own sanity would be in a much better state. In this article, you will learn best practices for writing CSS to help you avoid inconsistency and redundancy; in effect, setting standards that streamline team-based development.
  • It is arguable that there is no goal in web design more satisfying than getting a beautiful and intuitive design to look exactly the same in every currently-used browser. Unfortunately, that goal is generally agreed to be almost impossible to attain. Some have even gone on record as stating that perfect, cross-browser compatibility is not necessary. While I agree that creating a consistent experience for every user in every browser (putting aside mobile platforms for the moment) is never going to happen for every project, I believe a near-exact cross-browser experience is attainable in many cases. As developers, our goal should not just be to get it working in every browser; our goal should be to get it working in every browser with a minimal amount of code, allowing future website maintenance to run smoothly. In this article, I’ll be describing what I believe are some of the most important CSS principles and tips that can help both new and experienced front-end developers achieve as
  • As a web community, we’ve made a lot of exciting progress in regards to CSS3. We’ve put properties like text-shadow & border-radius to good use while stepping into background-clip and visual effects like transitions and animations. We’ve also spent a great deal of time debating how and when to implement these properties. Just because a property isn’t widely supported by browsers or fully documented at the moment, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be working with it. In fact, I’d argue the opposite. Best practices for CSS3 usage need to be hashed out in blog posts, during spare time, and outside of client projects. Coming up with creative and sensible ways to get the most out of CSS3 will require the kind of experimentation wherein developers gladly trade ten failures for a single success. Right now, there are tons of property combinations and uses out there waiting to be discovered. All we have to do is connect the dots. It’s time to get your hands dirty and innovate!
  • Have you ever had a DOM element that you wanted lightboxed, but didn't want all the fanciness of all the lightbox-related plug-ins out there? Lightbox_me is for you. Lightbox_me is an essential tool for the jQuery developer's toolbox. Feed it a DOM element wrapped in a jQuery object and it will lightbox it for you, no muss no fuss.
  • Whether it’s textures, Photoshop brushes, or icons, we love finding top notch free files and sharing them with our readers. We try to post at least one collection of freebies every week. We do the searching so you don’t have to. This saves you time and helps you focus on what’s important. This week, we are bringing you elegant fonts for clean design. There are 20 in all and they’re all free. A few require a quick registration, but they’re well worth it.
  • After The Addams Family premiered to big box-office success in 1991, the floodgates opened for classic TV shows to be adapted into movies. While 1993's Beverly Hillbillies movie performed dismally, the success of The Flintstones (1994) and The Brady Bunch (1995) kept the creatively challenged studios raiding TV Land for big-screen bounty. Ultimately, for every Mission: Impossible, audiences also had to endure Car 54, Where Are You?, Sgt. Bilko, Leave it to Beaver, Lost in Space, and McHale's Navy. With The A-Team opening this week, can a deluge of movies based on '80s TV shows be far behind? Should The A-Team become a success, we've compiled a list of small-screen shows from the decade of leather ties and hostile takeovers that we'd actually like to see in theaters.
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