Thursday, 23 December 2010

Comic Sans Appraised

Amusing and thoughtful site that focusses on the history, use and misuse of this much maligned font, along with a selection of free alternatives.

Thanks to Julie for the link

Monday, 6 December 2010 reports: [edited] uses optimization techniques specific to image format to remove unnecessary bytes from image files. It is a lossless tool, which means it optimizes the images without changing their look or visual quality. runs on a web page it reports how many bytes would be saved by optimizing the page's images and provides a downloadable zip file with the minimized image files.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Free Font - Classic Round

My Fonts reports: [edited]

Classic Round. It’s classic. It’s round. Classic design; present-day roundness. Versatile. Soft. Warm. Peaceful. For text and display use.

Medium and Medium Italic versions available for nowt.

via Font Squirrel

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Free Font - Days

Days is a contemporary-looking, sans-serif headline face with a reasonably full character set (no £ sign). Designed by Aleksey Maslov, Ivan Gladkikh, Alexandr Kalachëv, it is available for download via this link.

(Tip: to avoid downloading a massive ascii text file, right-click on the link, 'save to downloads', then delete the '.html' from the file's name).

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Free Font - Veggieburger

This clean, well-balanced typeface is an excellent answer to the, 'I know I shouldn't use Comic Sans, but what else is available?' question.

Available in three weights from Font Squirrel.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Top 10 Amazon etexts outsell books by 2-1

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

In July Amazon said that digital editions were outselling paper books overall, but now the top 1,000 books are selling more digital editions than hard copies, with the ratio being more than two to one for the top 10 titles.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

New stuff from Apple

Mr Jobs announced a slew of new products yesterday including:

- 11" & 13" MacBook Airs: lighter, faster, sexier and more bettererer
- iLife 11: (see above)
- Mac OS X Lion: (see above)
- FaceTime for Mac: *meh, whatever...*

The MacBook Airs and iLife 11 are available now. Lion is promised for Summer 2011. Facetime is available as a beta download, if anyone is bothered.

To find out more click here.

Apple obsessives can watch the entire keynote address, but if you've only got time to watch one of the videos, take a look at the iMovie demo. I don't 'do' video, but this made me want to.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Colour Basics

Apartment Therapy reports: [edited]

You may know your colour wheel — you may even know your ROY G BIV — but when it comes time to talk about colour, do you know your hue from your value? Your shade from your tone? Whether you are in the middle of a colour crisis or paint chip madness we are here to help.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

KeyCase iPad Folio Deluxe

GearZap reports: [edited]

With an integrated Bluetooth keyboard this innovative folio case is ideal for people who regularly use their iPad for e-mailing, making notes and writing documents. If you don't need the keyboard it folds behind the iPad.

Price: £59.95 inc. VAT

Monday, 27 September 2010

LaCie Wireless Space

LaCie reports: [edited]

The LaCie Wireless Space makes it easy for you to access your files, no matter where they are in your house. It has three pre-configured modes that allow you to create a Wi-Fi access point, a Wi-Fi Ethernet extender to connect your printers or computers, or even use it as a Gigabit router. If you already have a Wi-Fi network, you can use the LaCie Wireless Space as wireless storage.

With capacities of 1 and 2TB, it holds all of your music, movies, and photos, helping you to access and share them on any computer on your home network. You can even stream movies from the Wireless Space to any UPnP/DLNA compatible device, and it works in tandem with iTunes & Time Machine. Now, it’s simple to organize your files in a central location and play them on all your devices.

Use it as your network router - with static and dynamic port forwarding and PPoE connections, the Wireless Space performs even better than most cable routers, thanks to Wi-Fi n and Gigabit Ethernet performance.

Price: 1TB: £179.90 · 2TB: £249.90

- - - - -

Brett's 2p'orth:

Apple Time Capsule:

Price: 1TB: £234.00 · 2TB: £388.00

Monday, 20 September 2010

Spiderpodium reports: [edited]

Spiderpodium has been designed to accommodate virtually every handheld portable device available. The hole in the body is designed to allow most proprietary chargers to fit.

Available in White or Black. £14.99 + £2.75pp

Thanks to Mel for the link.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

10 Free iPad Wallpapers

Michael Paukner has created a range of tastefully faded iPad wallpapers. They will, of course, work fine on your iPhone or iPod touch.

Friday, 10 September 2010

$1500 3D Printer

The nearest thing to magic I've seen for a while. Let's hope they don't start building themselves...

For a review, click here.

For the manufacturer's website, click here.

For opensource stuff on 3D printing, visit RepRap and/or MakerBot.

Monday, 6 September 2010

LaCie MosKeyto

LaCie reports: [edited]

The LaCie MosKeyto [Geddit? Ed.] measures less than 20mm and weighs 10 grams, making it one of the smallest USB keys on the market. It offers capacities up to 8GB, and becomes nearly invisible when plugged into your computer, and can even travel alongside it in a protective sleeve or briefcase – just plug it, and forget it.

Since it lies flush against your device, you’ll never lose it, and there is no risk of damage to the USB port, computer or key if the drive is knocked or bumped.

Additionally, LaCie has integrated an extra 4GB secure online storage from Wuala into the MosKeyto, making storage and sharing your files, photos, or videos easier than ever.

Price: 4GB: £15.90 · 8GB: £24.90

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Seashore reports: [edited]

Seashore is an open source image editor for Mac OS X's Cocoa framework. It features gradients, textures and anti-aliasing for both text and brush strokes. It supports multiple layers and alpha channel editing. It is based around the GIMP's technology and uses the same native file format.

However, unlike the GIMP, Seashore aims to serve the basic image editing needs of most computer users, not to provide a replacement for professional image editing products. Also, unlike GIMP, Seashore has an all-new Cocoa UI that will fit right in on Mac OS X. Seashore was created by Mark Pazolli who led the project until the end of 2009.

For a designer's perspective on the program, click here

Friday, 27 August 2010

Sony SLT Alpha A55

Digital Photography Review has published an in-depth review of Sony's latest 'mini-DSLR'.

Excerpts from the conclusion follow:

The A55's 16.2MP CMOS sensor is new, and in collaboration with the camera's image processing, it offers excellent image quality. JPEG image quality is promising, and - for normal viewing magnifications, remains useable up to ISO 12,800.

At lower ISO settings the A55 is able to resolve almost the same amount of visible detail as the Canon EOS 550D, which is currently the highest resolution camera in its class. Dynamic range is excellent too, at almost 9EV, which matches the best of the competition.

In use, the A55 feels like a cross between a good midrange DSLR and a high-end 'bridge' model, but its focus system and large, high-resolution viewfinder surpass our expectations of both types of camera. Because the A55's EVF is so large, it easily matches most optical viewfinders for clarity.

Price: US: $749 • EU: €850

Thursday, 26 August 2010

First Digital Camera reports: [edited]

In December of 1975, after a year of piecing together a bunch of new technology in a back lab at the Elmgrove Plant in Rochester, we were ready to try it. “It” being a rather odd-looking collection of digital circuits that we desperately tried to convince ourselves was a portable camera.

It had a lens that we took from a used parts bin from the Super 8 movie camera production line downstairs from our little lab on the second floor in Bldg 4. On the side of our portable contraption, we shoehorned in a portable digital cassette instrumentation recorder.

Add to that 16 nickel cadmium batteries, a highly temperamental new type of CCD imaging area array, an a/d converter implementation stolen from a digital voltmeter application, several dozen digital and analog circuits all wired together on half a dozen circuit boards, and you have our interpretation of what a portable all electronic still camera might look like.

It took 23 seconds to record the digitized image to the cassette. The image was viewed by removing the cassette from the camera and placing it in a custom playback device. This playback device incorporated a cassette reader and a specially built frame store. This custom frame store received the data from the tape, interpolated the 100 captured lines to 400 lines, and generated a standard NTSC video signal, which was then sent to a television set.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Nikon D3100

Digital Photography Review have published a preview of Nikon's major update to the entry-level D3000.


"The D3100 is built around a 14.2 megapixel CMOS sensor (quite possibly the one seen in Sony's NEX cameras), bringing not only live view but also Full HD video capture to Nikon's entry-level model. This not only makes it the company's second-highest pixel-count SLR (after the D3X) but also makes it the first to offer 1920x1080 movie recording."

Price (Body + 18-55mm VR Lens): £580

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Free Icons

Web Designer Depot reports: [edited]

Today we release a new set of icons which we call “Reflection”. You’ll find these icons great to use at small sizes, such as for website navigation, menus and more. Both vector and raster versions are included.

The set contains 208 icons and is available free of charge for personal and commercial projects, with attribution required.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Apple Magic Trackpad

Apple reports: [edited]

Magic Trackpad is just like the trackpad on the MacBook Pro — but bigger. With nearly 80 percent more area, it’s the largest multi-touch trackpad made by Apple. So there’s even more room for you to scroll, swipe, pinch, and rotate to your fingers’ content. And since the entire surface is a button that clicks, you can use it in place of a mouse.

It features the same sculpted aluminum design as the Apple Wireless Keyboard, and side by side the two sit flush at the same angle and height. Go from typing to gesturing in one motion, or do both at the same time.

It connects to your Mac via Bluetooth. Use it in conjunction with the Apple Wireless Keyboard for a cable-free, uncluttered workspace. And if you feel like venturing away from your desk, Magic Trackpad maintains a reliable and secure connection up to 10 metres away from your Mac.

Price £59.00

For a 'first-impressions' review, click here.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

E-books outselling hardback equivalents

Wired reports: [edited]

E-books have hit the mainstream, and for the first time are consistently outselling their pulp-and-ink brethren, according to

Amazon hit a symbolic milestone last holiday season, when for one day its sales of e-books exceeded the number of dead-tree books it had sold.

Now the company has hit a more significant milestone, selling 143 e-books for every 100 hardcover books sold over the course of the second quarter. The rate is accelerating: For the past month, Amazon sold 180 e-books for every 100 hardcovers, and it sold three times as many e-books in the first six months of this year as it did in the first half of 2009.

Amazon’s Kindle bookstore now offers more than 630,000 books, Amazon says, plus 1.8 million free, out-of-copyright titles.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Free Font - Franchise

Derek Weathersbie reports: [edited]

Franchise is at home on the front of a donut shop and the scoreboard at a football stadium. The face was created & kerned by someone who deals with type every day, so with Franchise, you won’t be spending all day fixing the space between As and Ys.

(Email address required before download)

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Free Font - Kilogram

Kilogram is a super-heavy, caps-only display font with a useful range of alternate characters. Designed by Karl Martin Sætren, based on Nick Curtis' Anagram typeface.

To view examples click here

To download click here

Monday, 12 July 2010

Samsung TL500/EX1

Digital Photography Review have published a full review of Samsung's 'LX3 beater.

Precised conclusions:

The Samsung TL500 is a very good camera - it takes good images, has a great lens, flexible feature set and, unlike most mirrorless cameras, it maintains its go-anywhere, shoot anytime capability when slipped into a jacket or coat pocket.

Its few quirks are not significant enough that we'd consider it massively less desirable than the slightly more polished LX3, but its advantages over the LX3 are similarly marginal - only if you think you're going to use the Samsung's superb articulated OLED screen is there any real deciding factor (and, even then, the Panasonic's multi-aspect ratio shooting and 720p video might help tip the balance in the other direction).

Of the two cameras, the more consistent metering and slightly faster RAW performance would still push us towards the Panasonic, but the Samsung only loses out by a whisker.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Super zoom compacts review

Digital Photography Review have published a group review of 9 compact super zoom cameras.

Summary of the summary:
The Panasonic FZ35 and the Canon SX20 IS perform very well in most areas. With its excellent viewfinder and well designed control layout the Canon is arguably more of a 'photographer's camera' while the Panasonic is ideal if you need bags of zoom in a small package. Which one is better for you depends entirely on your requirements but in any case you can't go wrong with either of these cameras.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Iomega Prestige Portable 1TB

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

The front and back are plastic, but with a thick terabyte 2.5in drive on board and the metal wrapped around it, the Prestige has a solid feel, weighty but not heavy.

This is really a desktop drive that's small for convenience and portability (116 x 80 x 20mm, 275g) rather than a drive you'll want to carry around with you.

Iomega bundles a cable with the drive. It's 'double-headed' in case you need two USB ports' worth of power.

The Prestige is priced at around £130.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

4 days with the iPhone 4


Speed: Noticeably quicker than the 3GS.

WiFi/3G reception: 1-bar better than the 3GS.

Battery life: 20% better.

Screen: Clear, readable in sunlight, excellent colour range.

Build: Rock-solid.

Camera: Capable of producing usable images.

Phone: Better noise cancelling.


Speed: Icons react faster, leading to more 'false selections' than 3GS.

Camera: Needs an analogue shutter release.

New shape: means buying a slew of new accessories, case, dock, etc.

Bluetooth: regular 'cut-outs' with my Bluetrek headset.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Tin Eye

Tin Eye reports: [edited]

TinEye is a reverse image search engine. You can submit an image to TinEye to find out where it came from, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or to find higher resolution versions.

TinEye is the first image search engine on the web to use image identification technology rather than keywords, metadata or watermarks. It is free to use for non-commercial searching.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Apple Mac mini

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

Apple has sliced roughly half of the metal off the Mac mini and re-released the starter computer as a box that now looks a lot like the Apple TV. And it has an HDMI port.

Like the Apple TV, the mini has an built-in power brick. It measures 197 x 197 x 36mm. The basic model has a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of 1067MHz DDR 3 memory, 320GB Sata hard drive and Nvidia GeForce 320M graphics.

There's an SD card slot on the back, plus four USB 2.0 ports and a Firewire 800 connector, Gigabit Ethernet and Mini DisplayPort. The machine has 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1 too.

The machine costs £649, and there's a server version for £929. The latter lacks an optical drive, but contains two 500GB HDDs, 4GB of Ram and a 2.66GHz Core 2 Duo.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Newlink USB SATA Drive Dock

For £15.28 (inc. postage), the NEWLink Docking Station allows 2.5" and 3.5" SATA hard drives to be connected to your computer via a USB 2.0 Interface. It supports 2.5" drives up to 500Gb and 3.5" drives up to 1Tb.

- - - - -

Brett's 2p'orth: Works as advertised, and is supplied with a USB cable. 'Naked' hard drives are much cheaper than their 'cased' equivalents, so this could provide the basis for an economical backup system.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

iPhone 4, the video

For a 6-minute, expensively-produced, borderline puke-worthy, very informative video on the iPhone 4 click here

Monday, 7 June 2010

iPhone 4

It looks just like the one that was 'lost'. It is less than 10mm thick, it has a 960 x 640 pixel screen. It will be available in the UK from June 24.

For more info, click here

Friday, 4 June 2010

HTML5 Showcase

Apple reports: [edited]

Every new Apple mobile device and every new Mac — along with the latest version of Apple’s Safari web browser — supports web standards including HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. These web standards are open, reliable, highly secure, and efficient. They allow web designers and developers to create advanced graphics, typography, animations, and transitions. Standards aren’t add-ons to the web. They are the web. And you can start using them today.

- - - - -

Brett's 2p'orth: As the arguments about whether Apple's decision not to support Flash on the iPhone and iPad drag on, the demo sites on this page demonstrate that HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript are capable of competing with Flash at producing interactive, graphics-heavy web content.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX70

Register Hardware reports: [edited]

Featuring a ultra wide angle 24mm lens from Leica, the FX70 captures more than double the viewing space at the same distance of its 35mm predecessor.

The lens has a brightness of F2.2 and incorporates something called Intelligent Resolution that extends the zoom ratio without diminishing quality.

The F2.2 lens is approximately 1.6x brighter than a F2.8 lens, itself generally considered a bright lens, and allows the FX70 to shoot at higher shutter speed and capture stunningly clear, sharp, blur-free images in lower lighting situations.

Other added features include a de-blur setting, which tracks the focal point of your image and ensures it stays sharp.

In addition to conventional Motion JPEG video capture, the camera records HD video in AVCHD Lite, doubling the recording time. Video can be edited live on the 3in Hi-res touch screen display.

No pricing yet, but you can snap up the FX70 in August.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Canon IXUS 300HS

Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

Canon has released the IXUS 300HS (International: PowerShot SD4000 IS) ultra-compact camera. It features the company's new 'HS' system that promises better low-light performance and high-speed photography through a combination of a 10MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4 processor.

It sports a 28-105mm equivalent f/2.0-5.3 stabilized zoom lens (much like that seen on the S90), 3 inch LCD and P/A/S/M shooting modes. The camera also features a Super Slow Motion movie mode that records 340x240 movies at 240fps, as well as 720p HD movies capture.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Google Font Directory

Google reports: [edited]

The Google Font Directory lets you browse all the fonts available via the Google Font API. All fonts in the directory are available for use on your website under an open source license and served by Google servers.

View font details to get the code needed to embed the font on your web site. Please also visit our quick start guide and FAQ page.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010


Source Forge reports: [edited]

There are a lot of ways to approach burning discs. Burn (for Mac OSX) keeps it simple, but still offers a lot of advanced options.

Burn your files to a disc so you can access them later on. Choose different filesystems so you can share your files with people with different operating systems.

Change advanced settings like, file permissions, the disc icon, file dates and more on the fly in Burn's inspector.

Create standard Audio-CD discs. Just drop your audio files in Burns audio list. Want more music on your disc, Burn can create MP3 discs. Burn can also create DVD-Audio discs. Burn offers advanced options like CD-Text and mp3 tag editing to personalize your disc.

Burn can create a wide range of video discs. From VideoCD to DVD-Video discs. And DivX discs to fit more of your videos on a disc. Burn can create interactive menus. Choose a theme in Burn or create your own.

Burn can copy discs or use disk images to recreate your discs.

Burn will take your video and audio files and turns them in the right format.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

33 Places to Find High-Quality Vectors

Design Feed reports: [edited]

Last month we published a post that showcased 35 free vector packs. If you’re in need of quality vectors but those particular packs are not what you’re looking for, we thought it would be helpful to point out some of the best places to find vectors. This post includes 16 of the best sources of free vectors and 17 sources of high-quality, premium vectors.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010


If only all spoof/ad sites were this slick.

For more info, click here.

Thanks to Brook for the link

Monday, 10 May 2010

Uni-ball Impact 1.0mm RT Gel Pen

My usual pen-of-choice is the Zebra Sarasa 1.0mm gel pen. I'm not sure if they have been discontinued, or whether Staples have stopped stocking them, but they were absent from the rack the last time I visited the aforementioned emporium.

Decided to try the Uni-ball equivalent, and I am very pleased with it. The pen feels good in my hand, with more 'heft' than the Zebra, and the nib writes smoothly with good ink flow.

Price: £2.66 for a pack of two.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

The Rob Roy Kelly Wood Type Collection

The Rob Roy Kelly American Wood Type Collection reports: [edited]

The Rob Roy Kelly Wood Type Collection is a comprehensive collection of wood type manufactured and used for printing in America during the nineteenth century.

It is comprised of nearly 150 faces of various sizes and styles, including examples of the most popular printing types in use between 1828 and 1900, and represents a period of history marked by a rapid transition to new printing technologies.

This change precipitated a radical shift away from traditional hand production—which involved creating type with soft calligraphic forms—to a completely industrialized manufacturing process—which produced type constructed with hard angular forms that reflect mechanical origins.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Western Digital release 750GB laptop drive

ZDNet reports: [edited]

The new Scorpio Blue 750GB SATA hard drive from Western Digital (model WD7500BPVT, ~ $120) is the new mac daddy in mobile hard drives, raising the bar for 9.5mm, 2.5-inch mechanisms to a massive 750GB. Previous 9.5mm high, 2.5-inch hard drives maxxed out at 640GB. The new WD drive spins at 5400 RPM and features a 3Gb/second SATA interface and 8MB of cache.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

YemuZip reports: [edited]

Drag, drop, done. Making zip files cannot be any easier.

YemuZip is an easy-to-use Mac application for making zip files. Just drag, drop, name your zip file and you're done.

The Finder's Archive function makes zip files that contains Mac-specific information that, when extracted on a PC, looks like garbage. YemuZip lets you choose between a PC-compatible format and a Mac format that preserves all the Mac-specific metadata.

YemuZip is free for personal use.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Adobe Creative Suite CS5

Adobe's latest upgrades to Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, etc... have just been officially released. For more information, click here.

Visit Terry White's Tech Blog for videos featuring his top five new features on each of the suite's programs.

iPad illustrations reports: [edited]

Three illustrations for an article in best-selling Greek computer magazine RAM about the future of publishing and media in the new era of iPad, iPhone and the other new smart devices.

Made with Synthetik StudioArtist and Adobe Photoshop with custom developed techniques and scripts.

- - - - -

Brett's 2p'orth: make sure to scroll down to the bottom of the article to check out the 'zoomed-in' images.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Free font - Raleway

Font Squirrel reports: [edited]

Raleway is an elegant sans-serif typeface, designed in a single thin weight. It is a display face that features both old style and lining numerals, standard and discretionary ligatures, a pretty complete set of diacritics, as well as a stylistic alternate inspired by more geometric sans-serif typefaces than its neo-grotesque inspired default character set.