Category Archives: Technology

Design and technology. Friends forever. The technology category is full of gadgets and gizmos that have proven to improve our work and life.

Whether you are a freelance Graphic Designer or a business professional in any field, your dependence on technology to get things done better and faster is an important aspect of your daily routine. Here at Elbowruminations, we’d like to share some of the technology we use on a regular basis to streamline work flow and improve productivity.

Logitech Keyboard and Mouse

The Logitech diNovo Edge and the MX1000 Laser Cordless Mouse are both great peripherals that combine the convenience of wireless connectivity and a smooth user experience. The diNovo keyboard in addition to being sleek and modern in it’s design complete with touch sensitive navigation, is also equipped with bluetooth wireless technology and is fully rechargeable. The MX1000 is dependable, accurate and has a long battery life. I have two!

Another Logitech product that you might find helpful is the Logitech NuLOOQ Navigator which is not a mouse or a keyboard but simply a an ambidextrously alternative to the traditional navigation peripheral. It uses a navring that you push or pull in different directions and four customizable buttons for programmable functionality. It’s a non-dominant hand option for multitaskers.

Samsung SyncMaster Monitor

The Samsung Syncmaster 943SWX is a 18.5 inch monitor that provides the on screen space needed to run multiple windows and look good doing it. The screen’s matte finish is easy on the eyes and so is the glossy finish that surrounds it. It’s great for any design application and the price is attractive as well.

M-Audio Speakers

If you’re not rockin’ K-OS in itunes, you might not be taking full advantage of your music collection for the benefit of your portfolio. M-Audio Studiophile AV 30 is a set of highly rated compact powered speakers from a company that designed with the same critically acclaimed technology that has made M-Audio monitors popular in recording studios. These speakers are loud and clear when they need to be and small enough to stay out of the way in your office.

Wacom Bamboo

The Wacom Bamboo tablet turns your monitor into a notepad. Useful for designers and photographers alike, it’s a customizable and convenient way of touching up photos, bringing illustrations to life, and navigating between tools. It takes some time to get the hang of but those that acquire the required skills swear by it’s functionality.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H20

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H20 is an 10MB camera with a price tag that will make you smile. Combining Sony’s practical rechargeable battery and a 720p HD-quality movie capture with a 10x zoom lens, this camera is full of practical features and it’s easy to use.

Drobo Storage Robot

Data back-up is everything. Data Robotics Drobo makes redundancy new and exciting. We don’t have one but we want one. This storage robot is a fully automated, hot-swappable, RAID back-up system that can be modified for Network Attached Storage (NAS). It runs quietly and offers an informative dashboard and simple light notification system to provide data security.

Synology DS209

Comparable to the Drobo is the Synology DS209 Network Attached Storage. If the Drobo is a one trick pony, the DS209 is a thousand trick pony or a herd of a thousand ponies each with a unique trick. This unit does everything! Offering file sharing, scheduled back-up, a mail server, built-in PHP+MySQL, hosting with FTP access, itunes server, and even remote camera management, what’s not to love?

Western Digital External Hard drive

The Western Digital My Passport External Hard Drive is a great external drive for portability. It uses one foot-long USB connector that phantom powers the drive. The Passport comes in sizes up to 500GB and is competitively priced. From our perspective, it has no drawbacks.

D-Link DIR-655 Xtreme N Gigabit Router

Don’t forget the internet! The D-Link DIR-655 Xtreme N Gigabit Router is a super fast router that is easy to set-up, Gigabit LAN ports and the latest in wireless security. Dlink’s router interface is simple and straight-forward which makes it easy to get back to what you do best.

What do you use on a daily basis that you can’t imagine living without?

Is the economy letting you down because the economy getting your clients down? If this is the case, you might be looking for other means of employment. Even if you are not in a position where you need to look for new work, this post provides some hot tips where to look and where not to.

Recruiters
Graphic Designers don’t fit the mold, they tend to run solo or congregate in like-minded groups. With this being the case, recruiters don’t typically deal with designers on a regular basis and as a result, don’t understand how to find work for them. Unless you are lucky enough to have a good connection with a recruiter who knows you personally and feels confident placing you, don’t bother going this route.

Job boards
Your first stop when visiting online job boards should be The Society of Graphic Designers of Canada. Jobs from across Canada are available from a variety of industries. You will also be assured that the design of this website is pleasing to the eye which I’m sure is something you’ll appreciate. Continuing on the tour of job boards, be sure to drop by Freelanceswitch.com and Krop. Both of these sites list design opportunities, however they may or not have local relevance for you.

The Classifieds
It’s important to scour the classifieds, as archaic as that practice may sound, some of your best leads could come from kijiji.ca or craigslist.org. On Kijiji, you will discover the best results by searching your city for graphic design positions. On Craigslist, the well organized categories will allow you to visit art/media/design or web/info design for jobs that may be up your alley.

Career Finders
Perhaps the most traditional of online sources for jobs of any sort are websites like monster.ca, workopolis.com, and regionalhelpwanted.com. Monster.ca is seemingly the most useful of these as it provides you with the ability to save searches and receive frequent email updates that match your specifications.

Outsourcing Sites
The ubiquity of world wide internet accessibility has given rise to the concept of easy online outsourcing. Finding work, or finding talent is as easy as visiting sites like getafreelancer.com, elance.com, and odesk.com or even crowdspring.com (which is more a contest website than a job website). You will find a lot of work on these websites but you will also find a tremendous amount of competition as you are bidding against like minded professionals from many different economic situations . If you are planning on finding work via any of these sites, be prepared to work for a lot less than you may be accustomed to.

Aggregation Sites
Without a doubt, your most useful tool in fighting unemployment is the rise of aggregators in popularity and functionality. These are websites that do the searching for you, visiting all the websites you’d want to check and assembling the results for your review. There are three websites that do this job quite nicely. SimplyHired.ca, Indeed.ca, and Eluta.ca are great places to continue your search without expending the effort of clicking from site to site.

Good luck! Your dream job is out there somewhere, you just have to find it.

See that little icon at the left side of your URL bar? What you’re looking at is a favicon.

The word ‘favicon’ is short for ‘favorites icon’. Favicons were originally introduced with Internet Explorer 5. To install a favicon, developers could place an image file in the root of their web server with a specific name. This image file would then be used as the favicon for the website, and would be displayed in the user’s ‘favorites’ toolbar alongside the domain of the website.

But why?, I hear you ask.

There are many reasons why you may want to upload a favicon for your website. Firstly, if your site will be aggregated by content providers, or if your sites main feature is RSS, the favicon you upload will be displayed by your RSS feed, making it easy for users to identify your website quickly. It’s also the same case in a user’s favorites list, where there are many sites. You to stand out in that list and provide a quick graphical reminder of your sites.

Also, people DO notice favicons. For example, when Google recently changed there favicon, the blogosphere picked up and all of a sudden there were hundreds upon thousands of posts about the switch.

Your next question will most likely be: How do I create a favicon?

One of the best ways to create a favicon is to visit a website such as Favicon.cc. Favicon.cc provides you with a large square, comprising of 256 smaller squares. On the right hand side of the page there is a Color Picker box, which allows you to choose a color for the box you are about to fill in.
Then, once a color is selected, hover over a box and click it to fill it with that color. You can fill all the boxes with colors of your choice, and when you are finished, click the ‘Download Favicon’ button at the bottom of the page. This will download a file named “favicon.ico” to your computer.

Now, all you have to do is upload this file in to the root of your site’s web server. Once you have done this, the favicon will be available in the URL bar, beside the web address of the site.

Favicon.cc also has a gallery of the top rated user created favicons. The gallery can be viewed here.