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Friday, February 27, 2015

Free Hulkbusters Fonts Keep Bruce Banner From Turning Green With Anger

Download Hulkbusters FontsMany years ago when I was a kid, I remember waiting each week for a new episode of The Incredible Hulk featuring bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno. There have been several movies that have followed, but they just weren't the same to me. Today's free fonts, Hulkbusters, seem to get their name from the popular green superhero. Don't get angry and turn yourself into the Hulk, just download the fonts and start using them in your designs. Get your free copy!

Not sure how to download and install these free fonts? Make sure to read Downloading Fonts, Installing Fonts and Spam Filters for detailed instructions. Need help setting up an account for free stuff? Read Do You Have Account For Free Stuff On Graphics Unleashed?
Download Hulkbusters Fonts

Hulkbusters

Hulkbusters Character Chart

Hulkbusters 3D

Hulkbusters 3D Character Chart Downloadable Product
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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Designing Staff Web Site Requires Information From the Staff

Sometimes I get a really strange request when working on a Web site for a client. One company asked if I could write a bio for each of the employees to put on the "About Us" page. Since I didn't even know the names of the people working for the company, it was impossible for me to write something about them. My suggestion was to ask each employee to write two sentences about themselves. It shouldn't be a request, it should be a requirement!

With that situation, I was also ask to post a headshot of each employee. After several months, several employees still don't have a picture and the rest of the pictures don't follow any specific format.

I am working on another site and the theme it uses allows for a really cool "Staff" page. Below is a screenshot of three employees with the information the client has provided. I've blurred the names and titles for the staff's privacy in this post.

You'll note that there isn't a picture for the person in the middle and the pictures of the other two are radically different. I've suggested to the client to pick a date to have "picture day" so that a picture can be taken of each staff member so they all are similarly formatted. A mobile phone wouldn't be the ideal source for pictures, but it would still provide something superior to what they have.

This theme also allows a bio to be entered for each staff member along with contact information. Each company is different so it doesn't always make sense to provide every single piece of information. Yet adding this information does personalize the business and should be included unless there is a specific reason it shouldn't be posted.

After reporting the lack of photos and information to this client, a plan is already being developed to get the necessary information so the site will look as good as possible.

With any project, the designer can only do so much. Some things must be supplied by the client and that is especially true when trying to portray a group of strangers (to the designer).

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Portable My Passport Drive Makes Backup Easy

WD My Passport Ultra 2TB Portable External USB 3.0 Hard Drive with Auto BackupIt always baffles me when I get yet another e-mail stating "my computer crashed and I lost..." It is so much easier to backup your computer than it was even a couple of years ago. Those e-mails just tell me the person didn't care enough about their data to make any attempt to back it up.

When you don't back up, you'll pay even more. A friend recently had to take their MacBook in for repairs and was charged $250 to backup the data to a drive at the repair shop. They only keep the data for a month and then delete it. Ouch, that's pricey!

Pictured here is a Western Digital My Passport Ultra 2TB Portable External drive. I doubt many users have more than 2 TB of data that needs to be backed up so this should be more than enough. It currently sells for $109 which makes it less than half the cost of what that Mac repair shopped charged...and they didn't even provide the data to the user for that price. I also strongly suggest you get a copy of the GoodSync utility as it makes it extremely easy to keep your data drive synched with a backup drive. Set it and forget it!

If you don't care enough to backup your data, I won't feel too sorry for you when it is gone.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Designing For Very High Resolution Screens - No Perfect Answers

A client had asked me to design some graphics for use in an e-mail signature. Soon after I delivered the graphics, I was told "they look terrible". That's definitely not what any designer wants to hear. Unfortunately it is hard to improve until you understand just what is so terrible. When I asked the follow-up questions, I was told it was because the graphics were blurry. Now at least I had enough information to research the real problem.

Scaled IconsI finally learned the client had just installed some new Macs with "retina" displays. That is just one of Apple's fancy names for a screen with a very high resolution. If these monitors display the graphics at the size used on a regular screen, the graphics are very small and hard to see. To compensate, the operating system or the application will scale the graphics to a larger size. The graphics themselves are not blurry as designed, it is the scaling that causes them to look blurry. In the graphic shown above right, you'll see three variations of a Facebook icon. On the left, it is 48x48 pixels. The middle displays the same 48x48 pixel icon scaled to 96x96 pixels as on a Retina display. The rightmost icon is also 96x96 pixels but it was output to 96x96 so it looks much better.

Note that the MacOS has built-in features for controlling how scaling is used in various situations. Windows 8 also has these type of features with Windows 10 getting even more scaling features. It is also a more common feature in popular software. So the situation is improving, but that improvement hasn't come to e-mail yet.

For this specific situation, I could create the same graphics with a higher number of pixels. This means the graphics have a larger file size and that isn't good for e-mail. It also means they will look really big on typical screens. But the worst part is that the graphics would still be scaled and look blurry. Another potential solution would be to use CSS (cascading style sheet) formatting to take the larger graphic and scale it to a smaller size. While this would theoretically work, many e-mail clients ignore CSS formatting.

The best answer today is simply to ignore the issue as the number of people with the higher-resolution screens is fairly small. As that number increases, the operating systems and applications running on those computers will improve.

Another potential solution is for graphics to be vector based so they can scale to the exact size needed. A great idea, but there is no perfect vector format to use for Web graphics and definitely not for e-mail. SVG is popular, but far from universal.

For Web graphics, ideas have been proposed that allow multiple resolutions of a bitmap to be supplied and the correct size will be chosen based on the screen viewing the graphic. This situation is likely to be improved greatly in the next year, but there is no perfect solution today. It also wouldn't address e-mail which was the problem in this case.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

ROMCat and Working With Clipart From CorelDRAW X7

I recently got an e-mail from someone who is not a native English speaker who wondered if ROMCat would work with clipart from CorelDRAW X7. Absolutely!

The issue is that CorelDRAW X7 does not supply any clipart on the DVD and therefore there is no pre-built catalog supplied with CorelDRAW X7 artwork. We can't build a catalog when there is no art available from which to create it.

Where many users fail to get the most from ROMCat is in building their own catalogs from artwork stored on your own system. If you've downloaded clipart for CorelDRAW X7, then you can build your own catalog. The process of creating a catalog is described on the ROMCat page.

I strongly suggest you add keywords to every file you create (File | Document Properties to get the dialog box). Then use ROMCat to catalog the files you have created. This will make it much easier to find them in the future. We also make sure to include keywords in the Clipart Unleashed artwork we provide. Find the artwork you want and expand your library knowing that you can easily search it with ROMCat (or Corel CONNECT).

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

System Mechanic® 14.5 Delivers New Ways to Accelerate Internet Speed

iolo System Mechanic® - Fix, Speed Up Your PCA few months back I wrote iolo System Mechanic 14 Professional Revisited to share my experiences with the latest version of the system maintenance software. As part of purchasing the software, you receive one year of updates included. A new version, System Mechanic 14.5 Pro was just released and I've gotten it installed on my machine already.

Since my time with the new version is very limited, I don't have a lot of personal experiences to share right now. I noticed the new version wanted to help me eliminate some of the software than runs automatically when I start my computer. It showed me a list of each startup program, a description of what it does and the impact it has on my computer speed. Most of this stuff isn't important at all and I eliminated at least 15 programs that were taking my time and using memory on the computer.

Below is a link to a special coupon code that allows you to get System Mechanic 14.5 or System Mechanic 14.5 Pro at a deep discount. I've also included the press release for the new version so you can read all about the new features included.

Get 50% off System Mechanic, or go Pro for just $5 more i.e. $29.95. [Save $40!]

System Mechanic® 14.5 Delivers New Ways to Accelerate Internet Speed

New version speeds up online streaming and gaming with next-gen NetBooster® automated Internet optimization

LOS ANGELES (PRWEB) January 29, 2015

iolo technologies, recognized globally as the leading source for innovative computer optimization solutions, today unveiled System Mechanic 14.5, the newest version of its flagship PC performance optimization software. System Mechanic 14.5 deploys re-engineered versions of the fan favorite NetBooster® feature that has been proven by iolo Labs to boost Internet download speeds by up to 30 percent.

Exclusive to System Mechanic, NetBooster® automatically optimizes Internet settings and connections to improve overall Internet speed. Understanding that Internet speed is one of the most crucial factors in any PC user's computing experience, iolo re-tooled NetBooster® to maximize performance in the modern Internet landscape.

NetBooster® achieves optimal Internet speed by allowing users to adjust several hidden TCP/IP settings automatically or manually. Another NetBooster optimization tests a user's current DNS server speed versus other available DNS servers and recommends the faster one. These adjustments also increase bit rate and resolution of videos when streaming and reduce latency in online games that are TCP bound.

"Through exhaustive testing in iolo Labs, we were able to isolate and adjust key hidden Windows network settings that ultimately led to sizably faster download benchmarks on CNET, AT&T and Speedtest's Internet benchmarking tests," said Dennis Bottrell, iolo's Executive Director of Engineering. "That along with our new DNS optimization makes for a highly promising Internet accelerator."

System Mechanic 14.5 also introduces a number of other new features and improvements, including:

More Processor Control — PowerSense technology dynamically adjusts the computer's processor cores and speed based on user needs, and has been updated with:
  • Quick Controls — Easy-access system tray buttons for manually switching PowerSense Modes right from the desktop.
  • Customize Your Own — The built-in PowerSense Modes are designed specifically for video and music editing, gaming, graphic design and other common activities that demand different degrees of system speed and stamina. Now, PC users can create new, customized versions of these modes.
Early Warning System for Hard Drive Failure — DriveSense helps PC users avoid catastrophic crashes with diagnostics that automatically alert users when a hard drive failure is imminent so they can better protect data.

Re-engineered Deep Memory Mode: Re-architected for System Mechanic 14.5, Memory Mechanic® deep cleaning mode returns with improved RAM optimization.

Fully Integrated LiveBoost - System Mechanic's command center for real-time processor, memory and hard drive performance-boosting is now smartly integrated into the main System Mechanic interface, with streamlined status reporting and new Windows system tray quick controls.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Don't Be Scared by the Everyday Ghost Free Font

Download Everyday Ghost FontWhen I wrote the Beautiful Scenes From Different Parts of the Arizona Desert post, I mentioned the large number of ghost towns found in Arizona. That got me thinking about giving you all a ghost and hopefully you'll get the free Everyday Ghost font. Don't worry, it won't haunt your designs. Just use it for a headline where you are needing a distressed look. Get your free copy!

Not sure how to download and install these free fonts? Make sure to read Downloading Fonts, Installing Fonts and Spam Filters for detailed instructions. Need help setting up an account for free stuff? Read Do You Have Account For Free Stuff On Graphics Unleashed?
Download Everyday Ghost Font

Everyday Ghost

Everyday Ghost Character Chart Downloadable Product
Download Free Fonts

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