Daily Roundup! 8/23/2011! WOOT!

Hey all,
Sorry I’ve been away.  Work’s been keeping me busy!  That is a good thing, I suppose.  I chose some information relating to my work. Here’s the Daily Roundup of yesterday:

  • Lifehacker – Why you can’t truly know people (and what you can do about it)
    • Very good article for those interested in seeing how well they know their friends, how well you can analyze someone from their actions or emotions, etc..  Also a very good tool for up-and-coming marketers.
  • COMPUTERWORLD – Hands on: Adobe Muse
    • When I saw this article, I will admit that it has daunted me with a modicum of anxiety.  Web Design is my profession, and seeing WYSIWYG becoming more prevalent in these times means that I may go the way of the dinosaur.  I look on the bright side of things, however, and see all the good web designers may benefit from it.
  • IT Treats – Fresh Examples of HTML5 Websites
    • I absolutely love HTML5 and CSS3, but as my current work project has brought forth to me, there are problems.  As Adobe Site Catalyst Netaverages pointed out to me yesterday, about 30 percent of computer users still use IE8.  IE8 is notorious for not supporting HTML5 or CSS3.  Help me wage the war on bad browsers!  Download Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or even Opera.  All of these browsers (as with any) are free. [Pro-Tip:  If a browser asks for you to purchase it, don’t!]
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August 2nd, 2011 Daily Roundup

Greetings to you, reader!  I hope your weekend great and Rainmeter-enriched.  Here’s what I thought was cool today:

  • Lifehacker – Lifehacker Pack for Windows
    • I always look forward to this.  If you’re new to the tech circle and/or want to improve your computer/web capabilities, then look no further than the Lifehacker pack.  These people chart the best software (normally free in some form or another) that comes out throughout the year.  They’ve partnered with Ninite to bundle all of it together under one installer so that you can enjoy it all without the hassle of individually downloading and installing the products.  Pretty neat, if I do say so myself.
  • DesignBeep – Weekly Web Design Inspiration #36
    • Some of the pictures in here are just fantastic.  I like the integrated menu-bars on these.  Tip to all consumers of Web Designs – pretty pictures does NOT mean pretty website.  It is an element that needs to be incorporated.
  • Lifehacker – The Island Paradise Desktop
    • Lifehacker, why do you have to be so awesome?  Check out this awesome desktop example using Rainmeter 2.1 (we installed 2.0, so you’d need the newer one), Windows 7 start button changer, Omnimo UI, Eclipse 2/B.W.C. Icon Packs.  Check out the article for more links and screencap!

No Daily Roundup today (8/1). Instead, all hail the Hypnocube!

Sorry readers, no Daily Roundup today, as I spent most of today away from the computer.  However, I did not want to leave you all hanging.  I introduce to you…The Hypnocube!  The Hypnocube can be bought over at ThinkGeek.  Great to watch while falling asleep.  Tomorrow:  More work, but I can say that work is truly rewarding in knowing YOU were the one to make things work.  To me, that’s worth more than gold.  Bed time now.  See you tomorrow, readers!

By the way, the part 2 of How-To Tweakend was put on hold due to technical difficulties.  Rest assured it will be appearing around holiday time.

How-to Tweakend, Part 1: Rainmeter

Rainmeter

Changing up the desktop of a computer is nothing new.  Resolutions, background, and taskbar color are all common switch-ups.  However, there is one specific tweak one can do to their desktop to make it quite a display.

1. Rainmeter
rainmeter.net 

This is a completely customizable User Interface (UI).  What you do with it is up to your skills and your vision.  That statement may seem intimidating to someone who doesn’t even know what a UI is, but don’t let that stop you from trying it out.  There are many pre-made skins and tons of tutorials on how to do a myriad of things.  I’ll run you through the installation.

  1. go to rainmeter.net.  Find the ‘Download’ section on this page, which is located about mid-way down the page.
  2. Find the ‘Rainmeter x.x Release’ and click on either the direct download link or the mirror link.
  3. The download should occur if you have no security requests.  Find and open the file.
  4. Follow the installation instructions.  When presented with Standard or Portable Installation, choose Standard.  Choose shortcut options and auto-start options as you want.
  5. Continue with the instructions and installation up to the ‘completing rainmeter x.x setup.  Make sure that ‘Run Rainmeter x.x” and “Download recommended skins” checkboxes are marked.  Hit ‘Finish’
  6. If a prompt shows up asking if you would like to add different configs to your library, select ‘Yes’.
  7. You should now have Rainmeter running with your new skin.  The one that loaded up with mine was ‘Illustro’ but it may vary.  There should be a ‘Welcome to Rainmeter!’ box explaining on how to get things started.

Well done, you have installed Rainmeter!  Certain vocabulary you should know is that each gadget that is running is called a ‘Skin’.  Each is thoroughly customizable.  A group of skins saved together is called a ‘Theme’.  I will run you through the basics of customizing a skin, but first, let us make sure we are on the same Theme.

  1. Go to your system tray (lower right on windows machines) and find the rainmeter logo which should look like a raindrop.  Right-click on it.
  2. Go to the Themes option and hover over it.  A drop-down menu should appear.  Choose ‘illustro default’.

Good, we should all have the same theme now.  We will now go into a Skin, deactivate it, and then reactivate it.

  1. Right click on the the ‘Welcome to Rainmeter!’ Skin, and select close skin.  It should disappear.
  2. With that gone, lets find out how to get it back.  Go back to your system tray and find the Rainmeter Logo again.  Right-click and the menu should appear.
  3. This time, we’re going to hover over ‘illustro\System’.  Once the drop down menu appears, hover over the ‘illustro’ item.
  4. A new drop down menu should appear.  Hover over ‘Welcome’ and ‘welcome.ini’ should appear.  Left-click on ‘welcome.ini’.  Your ‘Welcome to Rainmeter!’ Skin should reappear.  Well done!

Now that we know how to do that, close out the Welcome skin again.  I will teach you how to customize a skin.

  1. Go over to the ‘Lifehacker’ rss feed skin and Right-click on it.  Find and Left-Click ‘Edit Skin’.
  2. A notepad document should appear.  For those who panic about large amounts of text, don’t panic,  We are simply changing the RSS feed.
  3. Go to Designmodo, find their orange icon with three with lines and a white dot.  That is the logo of an RSS Feed and is generally the indicator that a website is RSS capable.  Click on the icon.
  4. You will be taken to a new page, copy (right-click and select ‘Copy’ or ctrl+c works) the address of the site.  Go back to the notepad document.
  5. Look for the [Variables] section.  It is the third section at the top.  Under that section, find feedURL.  After that, there should be an address for Lifehacker.
  6. Clear out ALL of this address:  http://feeds.gawker.com/lifehacker/full, so that only feedURL= remains.
  7. Paste (right-click and select Paste or ctrl+v) the address bar which we copied right after ‘feedURL=’.
  8. Save, either from the ‘File’ section on the menu located at the top of a screen, or use the command ctrl+s.  Close the document.
  9. Go back to the ‘LIFEHACKER’ skin and right-click on it.  Select ‘Refresh Skin’.  Do not fear if N/A shows up at first, as it’s changing over.  You should see DESIGNMODO now.

NOTE:  Should you want the address for Lifehacker (I know I love that site!) again, it is http://feeds.gawker.com/lifehacker/full

Congratulations are in store for you!  You have just begun your journey in Rainmeter.

This concludes Part 1 of this weekend’s How-to projects.  Tomorrow I will be going over a unique way to ‘wrap’ a gift.  When I say unique, I mean very, very unique.  Until tomorrow, adios!

Feel free to leave any questions or comments in this page or tweet me over on twitter @rordesigns.  Thank you for reading and you’ve just been Tweaked.

July 29th, 2011 Daily Roundup: Internet Snooping Bill and what you need to know, 30 cool logos, and Google Hotel Finder

T.G.I.F., everybody!  Look for my first actual article, How-To Tweakend, tomorrow.  I still haven’t fully decided on what it should be, but I have a few ideas.  Anyways, before I let my mind wander off anymore, here is what’s new today:

That’s it for today!  Look for How-to Tweakend’s part 1 tomorrow!

July 28th, 2011 Daily Roundup: Ben Heckendorn on Home Automation, Web Design inspired from Modern Art, and should Facebook be worried?

Happy Thursday, my readers!  Today on the Daily Roundup:

July 27, 2011: Tips to the web designer on getting local business, wallpapers, and a paper wallet.

Hi everybody, hope you had a great day!  Take a look at today’s roundup of interesting articles.

  • Tech King – How Web Designers Can Find Local Business
    • Now I like this kind of article because it helps new web designers understand on how to spread their business name.  I support a lot of these techniques and can vouch for their successes.  One thing I cannot stress enough is that through personal experience and through consumer-end experience, attending events is a big to-do if you’re wanting to get your name out there fast.
  • Lifehacker – Give Your Desktop an Extreme Close-Up with these Macro Wallpapers
    • Part of being a graphic designer is to garner inspiration from different things, and we graphic designers love to share.  My favorite wallpaper out them all is “Drinking Straws” from Jeff Turner.  It looks to me like a bunch of PVC piping in a semi’s cargo.
  • How-To Geek – Create A Wallet from a Single Piece of Paper
    • I already have a pretty decent wallet, but could come in handy should you ever find the need of a wallet.  Also, look up “Druggist Fold” on Google.  That’s a mighty handy way to carrry small and fine things.
  • Dead End Thrills – Mirror’s Edge Desktop Collection
    • For those of you like me who LOVED Mirror’s Edge and love pretty video game snapshots, this 150-picture collection is right down your alley.  With enhancements and (obviously) no HUD, these desktops have been wonderful to stare at for hours this past week.