2 Excellent (and Free) Text Editors

Since any basic text editor can write HTML, CSS, and various scripting languages, I like to let my students know which I recommend and why.

I have two favorites. Both are free. Both use color coding and indentation to make reading and troubleshooting easier. Both provide line numbering. One is for Mac and one is for Windows.

For the Mac, I like TextWrangler. TextWrangler is a “lite” version of BBEdit. Many Mac users may already own BBEdit, but if you aren’t in that position, you should get TextWranger.

For Windows, I like Notepad++.

Both these editors allow you to have multiple tabbed windows open at once a number of helpful functions for dealing with code and for general editing. I’m not sure about Notepad++, but I know that TextWrangler has FTP built in.

I consider a good text editor an essential, even if you use a tool like Dreamweaver to do most of your work. I find, for the way I work, that I often open up pages in a text editor for various chores instead of using Dreamweaver – or in addition to using Dreamweaver.

Useful links: SVG, Programmers, Old Electronics, Fonts

Usage of SVG for websites. I saw a link to this post and discovered there’s a website measuring all sorts of stuff about web traffic and usage.

We need a digital first curriculum to teach modern journalism. All journalism students must be programmers is among the provocative statements in this article.

Old Cellphones, Once Bound for Landfills, Now Bring Colleges Money. If your college isn’t using Funding Factory, you might want to check this out and let them know about it.

Type Wonder claims to be able to get you fonts from any available site with ease. I didn’t dig into the details about cost and copyrights, I am just passing along the info for any of you looking for fonts right now.

Useful links: female game characters, 3D transforms, Yahoo email

I was impressed by this headline, People Want Female Warrior Gaming Miniatures So Much That They Funded This Kickstarter Campaign In 30 Seconds. After I read the amazing story I went to the actual Kickstarter page for Raging Heroes to see what the total raised was. Then I was really amazed. Game makers, if you think there’s no support for women in gaming, you’re either in denial or throwing away a ton of profit.

Understanding 3D Transforms is from Opera Dev.

Do you have a Yahoo email address? I do. I have it set to forward to my regular email, however, so I almost never sign in to Yahoo to look at it. If you haven’t signed in to your Yahoo email within the last 12 months, you will lose your account. Log In to Your Yahoo! Mail Address or Lose it On July 15th. When signing in to Yahoo to let Yahoo know I want to maintain that account, I noticed they are using two-step verification now.

Useful Links: Web Developer Toolbar, Pinterest, WCAG levels, Responsive Images

I urge all my students to use Chris Pederick’s Web Developer Toolbar. Recently Cynthia Says, which the toolbar uses for a number of tests, added CAPTCHA. Here’s an article that tells you how to replace Cynthia Says with the WAVE tool in the Web Developer Toolbar. Since WAVE is a far better tool than Cynthia Says, this is a good idea for everyone anyway, even if Cynthia Says hadn’t suddenly rendered itself inaccessible.

Pinterest for Designers has tips for getting started with Pinterest and using it to support your brand. The part of the article I found most interesting was the list of boards to follow for ideas about typography, print design, web design, package design, color, logos, and general inspiration.

Responsive Images – Interim Report from Bruce Lawson lays out the current state of things.

Understanding WCAG Level from Karl Groves can help you come to grips with WCAG priority levels.


Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom

Skype is a free, ubiquitous peer-to-peer (P2P) Internet based telephone system that was created by the same company that developed kaZaa in 2003. Unlike other instant message applications such as Yahoo and MSN, Skype works seamlessly across firewalls and has more refined voice and video quality. It uses voice over Internet protocol technology (VoIP) which converts and encrypts voice signals into data streams that are sent over the internet and converted back into voice on the other end. Making record of the data streams for future reference through Skype is possible. With Skype, a person can communicate with anyone else across the globe without the need of expensive tele collaboration equipment. This is because the VoIP application has in-built capabilities to support instant messaging and teleconferencing.
Nobumi and Yukari on Skype

Being relatively easy to use and to set up, Skype has provided students in the classroom with a wide range of opportunities with which to improve learner comprehension and engagement.

Meet With Other Classes

A tutor can provide his or her students with the experience of traveling overseas over the comfort of their chairs through Skype. The tutor can arrange for teleconferences through Skype with foreign students located in different parts of the globe. This provides the students with the opportunity of interacting with foreign nationals and exchange of ideas becomes possible. According to college paper experts at SolidEssay.com, discussions concerning mundane subjects and assignments can lead to cultural exchanges among students located in different parts of the world.

Practice Foreign Language

Language students benefit the most since they can easily initiate a live correspondence with a native speaker of the language that they are undertaking. A student can record his or her audio conversations with a foreign colleague who is native to the language. Replaying the conversation later can help the student improve his or her grammar and pronunciation skills. It goes without saying that the student acquires all these benefits without actually having to pay for airplane tickets whose cost can be quite prohibitive.


Holding debates through Skype saves the students and teachers a lot of time and money by minimizing physical movement. Being a computer based application, students can peruse for facts over the internet to strengthen their point of view. This way, students improve their communication and critical thinking skills quite fast.

Practice Job Interviews

Naturally, most students perform poorly when it comes to interviews. Technical skills and knowledge alone do not guarantee automatic acceptance into the market. Skype enables teachers to help their students with this crucial stage by providing them with mock job interviews. A teacher can make arrangements with a real life human resource manager to conduct interviews with his or her students over Skype. If that is not possible, then the teacher can make arrangements with an authority figure such as a counselor or fellow teachers to help with the mock interview process from their office.

The foregoing is not exhaustive of how Skype can help students improve their learning. Skype can indirectly support a student’s learning by enabling teachers to conduct conferences with parents via Skype. This saves the parents and teachers’ time, energy and costs associated with gas. The convenience of the application encourages parents to interact with teachers from time to time. Skype enables students to meet with mentors who can help them make appropriate career choices. Most important, Skype can be used as a reliable platform to share presentations, provide tutoring and conduct lessons. Skype recordings help students who are unable to attend classes for various reasons to catch up with their peers.

Author bio: Craig R. is an experienced college paper writing expert having worked for a number of educational companies, including SolidEssay.com where he helps students advance in their academic life.

10 Best Design Freebies of January 2013

Designers make their mark by staying one step ahead of the pack. Itís your job to be design-savvy, so don’t let clients catch you using last year’s tools and
templates. Thankfully, there are plenty of successful (and generous) designers out there willing to throw you a bone. The following 10 design freebies were
released this month so you can stay competitive without breaking the bank.

1. Simple Icon Set by Joshua Andrew Davies

When it comes to design, the devil’s in the details. These eye-catching icons will instantly give your work a fresh, modern feel. Clean. Simple. Free.

Simple Icon Set

2. Leo Restro Joomla Template by LeoTheme

This template is the ultimate time-saver. The themes adapt to smartphones, tablets, and desktop screens, reaching a broader audience with your portfolios,
blogs and project sites.

Leo Restro Joomla Template

3. Insect Photoshop Brushes by Lileya Brogu

These 42 realistic insect brushes will make your skin crawl. The detail in these illustrations really stand out, down to the veins in a fly’s wings.

Insect Photoshop Brushes

4. Hand Drawn Speech Bubble Photoshop Brushes by Kerby Rosanes

Get 30 unique speech bubble shapes in one download. Use these brushes when you want a hand-made, personalized design that still pops.

Whether it’s an advertisement, web site or comic, there’s a speech bubble to fit.

Speech Bubble

5. Free WordPress Theme: AyoShop by AyoThemes

WordPress is still the go-to platform for personal and professional sites. Unique, user-friendly themes are in high demand.

This one fits the bill without sacrificing quality, contemporary design.

Free WordPress Theme

6. Responsive Blog/Magazine Themes by Design Bolts

More WordPress themes! A handful of basic themes that can help you transition to responsive design. Think of them as one-size-fits-all templates for when you
need to get your client up and blogging fast.

Responsive Themes

7. Portfolio Layout Template by Bloom Web Design

Online portfolios aren’t just for designers. Artists and professionals of all kinds want to showcase their talents. This template is simple enough to be versatile, yet bold enough to make an impression.

Portfolio Layout Template

8. Wispy Fire Brushes by Dustin Schmieding

These five abstract brushes will inspire you. Do you see wispy fire or squid ink?

Fire Brushes

9. Responsive HTML5 Template: TXT by n33

If you’re using HTML5 Up!, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better starting point than TXT. It’s fully responsive and works across mobile, tablet and desktop.

Responsive HTML5 Template

10. Gemicon Icon Set by Turqois

Dig into more than 600 fresh icons in one place. When you need an ultra-specific icon (Cassette tape? Chicken leg?) Gemicon saves you from scouring the
internet — a designer’s most dreaded time-suck.

Gemicon Icon Set

Writer Brian Morris writes for the PsPrint Design & Printing Blog. PsPrint is an online commercial printing company. Follow PsPrint on Twitter @PsPrint and Facebook.

Useful links: a quiz, voice computing, programming for politics

You have until Jan. 29 to get in on the fun at Simplequiz #7: Pinterest. How should a pin be marked up in HTML5?

Any Eureka fans out there? Check out this article: Siri Jokes Aside, Voice Control will Make Computing Better.

As Obama heads back to office, a battle rages over the tech that got him reelected. This is potentially a very important question regarding building on open source. The tech community should be discussing this issue everywhere.

At issue is the code created during the Obama for America (OFA) 2012 campaign: the digital architecture behind the campaign’s website, its system for collecting donations, its email operation, and its mobile app. When the campaign ended, these programmers wanted to put their work back into the coding community for other developers to study and improve upon. Politicians in the Democratic party felt otherwise, arguing that sharing the tech would give away a key advantage to the Republicans.