Tech Tips: cool software and other stuff

 

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Software

macheistbundle Tech Tips: cool software and other stuff

One of the best software bundles released for Mac users over the years has been the MacHeist Bundle. Pretty much on an annual basis MacHeist pulls together the best and most user friendly applications for the Mac for a “Fire” sale which really isn’t one but it seems like it. You can always count on at least one extremely saught high priced app to be included. This time around they have out done themselves by including six applications over $50.00, the total actual cost of the bundle if bought separately is $930.00. The bundle cost is $39.00…not a bad deal. The really great thing is that they donate 25% of every purchase to the following charities:

  • Action against Hunger
  • AIDS Research Alliance
  • Alliance For Climate Protection
  • Direct Relief International
  • Humane Society International
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Save the Children
  • Save Darfur
  • Prevent Cancer Foundation
  • World Wildlife Fund

Here are some of the applications that I think will really be useful especially for artists

Picturesque

A simple photo editing software that is almost like a scaled down Photoshop. While its’ tool set is limited it does seem to give you the ability to make your photos pop and it includes some batch actions that allow you to apply the same treatment to more than one image. I’ll be testing the software so check back for my full evaluation.

Acorn

Is another very promising graphic editor that goes a little further than Picturesque.  Acorn’s feature set includes many of the same tools in Photoshop but much more oriented to the non-photoshop user.

Kinematic

If you have ever wanted to make a really cool presentation that screams professionalism this is the tool. Kinematic gives you 3D animation tools that can turn any 2d presentation into something extremely unboring!

Wire Tap Studio

If you have ever had a hankering for recording well…anything you can hear this is the tool. Audio clips are extremely important for anyone who blogs or has a web presence because they can easily become viral, meaning lots of traffic back to your site. Of course you can use Garage Band but I find it extremely counter intuitive and not very user friendly and I’m kind of a Geek!

BoinxTV

I haven’t tested this application yet but it looks promising if you want to easily make professional “how-To” videos of your work, or if you just want to show a tour of your studio.

Espresso

For the Code Geeks or “I know enough to be dangerous..” types this application helps you create,find and save code for web applications.

The bundle has only 8 days left before it goes off the market, to read more and purchase the bundle go to http://www.macheist.com/

Tips & Tricks

Favicon

the artistscenter e280ba edit post e28094 wordpress 1 Tech Tips: cool software and other stuffHow do you get that little image thingy to show up on your browser, you know the one that always shows up for most web sites? What’s it for anyway..?

Well that thing is called a favicon and is basically an image that is sized anywhere from 16×16 to 32×32 pixels.

Having a favicon is very important because it shows up in bookmark lists and helps identify a site if you use tabs in your browser. More importantly it is one of those small things that lets people know you are serious about what you are doing. As artists every little thing that can help us be seen as professional is one more thing that moves us up a notch in our buyers minds.

Anyway, before I show you how to do it there is one caveat, you will need to be able access the root folder that holds your site or blog. If you are using a service like TypePad, you will be able to access this folder in the “files” tab of the control panel.

typepad control panel Tech Tips: cool software and other stuff

typepad files 1 Tech Tips: cool software and other stuff

If you are using a self hosted Word Press site like this one, you’ll need an FTP program or other back end access to your server.

So to make your favicon first create a square image using a photo or other graphic then go to one of the favicon creating sites like this one  favicon maker. You can upload your image and the site will generate the appropriate size choices which you can then download.

To upload access the first level directory that holds your site and upload the generated favicon into that directory.

Important:

Make sure that the file is named “favicon.ico” otherwise it won’t work. Next just sit back and wait it can take a few hours before the image starts to show up.

There is another way for self hosted Word Press sites to get a favicon and that is by using the MaxBlogPress Favicon plugin it pretty much does it all for you.


Universal Avatar

With so many sites asking for your mug shot one of the easiest ways to only do it once is to use Gravatar a service similar to OpenID. Gravatar allows you to upload you mug shot or avatar image and then autmatically distributes it to when you make a comment on a blog, sign up for a social networking site or anything else that is linked up with Gravatar.

Here is what you do:

Go to the Gravatar site sign-up and Select the location of your avatar

gravatar globally recognized avatars Tech Tips: cool software and other stuff

Upload it or insert the requested info

gravatar globally recognized avatars 1 Tech Tips: cool software and other stuff

Crop your image

gravatar globally recognized avatars 2 Tech Tips: cool software and other stuff

Select and confirm it

gravatar globally recognized avatars 3 Tech Tips: cool software and other stuff

That’s it and your mug/avatar will be automatically used wherever it is needed!

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