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.

The abbreviation FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. FTP is a system that enables website owners to upload and delete files easily on web servers. Typically, the website owner downloads ‘client’ software, and uses this to connect to a server, the details of which are most always provided by the host of the site.

However, there are many different FTP client software packages. Some of them are paid, while some of them are free. This list will narrow all the tools down to five which you should really consider using.

FileZilla

FileZilla is one of the most popular FTP clients. One great thing about it is that it’s cross platform, meaning that it is available for a number of operating systems. FileZilla has some cool features, such as “Site Manager”. Site Manager allows you to save all of your FTP details, rather than having to re enter details every time you want to connect to an FTP server. There is also a log shown at the top of the screen, and a transfer queue at the bottom. The transfer queue allows you to see failed and complete transfers, as well as how many files are left to be transferred. Finally, FileZilla has a File and Folder view, which shows the folders of the PC you are using on the left, and the folders of the web server you are connected to on the right. FileZilla was originally started as a class project in 2001, and it has clearly evolved a lot since then.

Notepad++

Notepad++ is a great free source code editor. It has many great features, but one of the lesser known is the fact that you can easily install a plugin which will integrate an FTP client in to the software. The plugin can be downloaded free here. Many other free plugins can be downloaded for Notepad++, all completely free of charge.

FireFTP

FireFTP is an FTP plugin for FireFox. It’s available in over 20 languages, has support for a large number of character sets and has many other features. However, my favourite feature about it is the fact that it can be opened in a tab and you can run it while you’re surfing the net, meaning directories can be in synch without having to have 2 windows open. It is built for seamless integration and is available for all operating systems.

Cyberduck

Cyberduck is a Mac only FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, Mosso Cloud Files and Amazon S3 browser. It features a slick interface, with file editing features, as well as a bookmarking system. You can synchronize the bookmarks with your Mac iDisk if you wish, as well. Best of all, it’s open source. A great option for Mac users.

Coffee Cup FTP

Coffee Cup FTP is very similar to FileZilla. What sets it apart however, is the user interface. It’s very friendly and easy to use. With big status panes, as well as a ‘shiny’ feel, it makes for a better experience. It has a very “Apple” feel; works right out of the box.

Dropbox

If you are looking for a great way to share or store files, Dropbox is an easy way to do this. Using software as well as a simple online interface, Dropbox enables you to drag and drop files from the web to your computer and vice versa. It also gives you the ability to store files privately or share them publicly. I use it all the time!

What’s your favourite FTP client or transfer tool? Let us know!

In 1991, the very first web browser was released. Named ‘Nexus’, it had very basic capabilities, and could not display much more than the most simple stylesheet.

Thankfully, technology has evolved a long way and there are now many options depending on your surfing preferences. Browsers are now able to display everything from a spreadsheet to a feature-length movie. While evolution brings choice, this is not necessarily a good thing. Now, we are faced with the problem of choosing and recommending a browser which is intuitive for both developers and users. Firefox or Internet Explorer? Chrome or Safari? Opera or Netscape? Flock? Camino? Sea Monkey? It certainly is a difficult choice. However, this article should help you to weigh out the Pros and Cons of each browser.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome was released by Google in December 2008, with promises that it would load websites significantly faster, and only one tab would crash, not the entire window.

One largely significant downfall to the browser, however, is the fact that it has no built in RSS reader. If you are rely a lot on your RSS for daily information, be warned that Chrome may not be for you. For example, when reading an RSS feed, the user is presented with many lines of text in a single block, with no spaces, which makes for a rather unpleasant reading experience.

Security is obviously paramount to any developer. Chrome regularly downloads blacklists of malicious websites, to protect the user from viruses and malware.

The user interface is very plain and simple, and there is currently no possibility to expand Chrome with plugins.
In conclusion, Google Chrome should be recommended to users of a website, but I would not recommend it for use by developers.

Development Tools: 2/10
Security: 6/10
Speed: 8/10
Reliability: 7/10
Interface: 5/10

This means that Google Chrome has scored 28/50, but how will it fare against Firefox and Internet Explorer?

Firefox

Firefox is a development-focused browser which was created by Mozilla. The browser is open source, which means users and developers had a say in how it was made. The best thing about Firefox is that it has many development tools built in, such as an expanded page source viewer, a javascript debugging tool and a real-time DOM inspector/editor. However, if the standard tools do not quench your development thirst, then Firefox has literally hundreds of “add-ons” which can be installed to your requirement.

The security for Firefox is standard for most browsers, but again, there are many plugins which can be downloaded to enhance the security of the browser. Firefox is well laid out, but the top quarter of the screen is dominated with toolbars and such, but these can easily be removed.
All in all, Firefox is a useful tool for the developer, and comes with some great stuff as standard.

Development Tools: 8/10
Security: 5/10
Speed: 6/10
Reliability: 7/10
Interface: 6/10

This means that Firefox has scored 32/50. How will Internet Explorer fare against this score?

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer is the default browser packaged with Microsoft Operating System. It is certainly not renowned for its development tools, and offers only a ‘developer toolbar’ download. The developer toolbar includes the tools which Firefox has generically. Many security vulnerabilities have been associated with Internet Explorer. The main way that hackers exploit the browser is through the ActiveX controls that it routinely uses. All a hacker has to do is write a malicious ActiveX control and then they can access all of your files.

Internet Explorer also includes a tool called the ‘Favorites Center’, which is a glorified version of the favorites toolbar.
The browser is typically very slow to load, and with security vulnerabilities, it’s not the ideal developers browser.

Development Tools: 6/10
Security: 3/10
Speed: 5/10
Reliability: 7/10
Interface: 7/10

Internet Explorer has scored 28/50, meaning that Firefox is most likely the best browser to use as a web developer or a graphic designer.

We’ve talked about Firefox tools before on Elbowruminations but if you are looking for more, check out this post by Speckyboy.

If you’re looking for an easy way to make sure your page looks good across all browsers or platforms, check out Browsershots.

And finally, for an exhaustive list of browsers and their history, wikipedia is the place to go.

Knowing your way around keyboard shortcuts can make every digital design task approximately a billion times faster. When in situations where I’m training another computer user, I often notice that even the most basic shortcuts are ignored, adding chunks of seconds to every minute: switching applications, copying-and-pasting data opening new documents. The seconds add up over a career’s length, and your keyboard inefficiency becomes like a lead weight.

Sometimes, though, I can’t remember a keyboard shortcut no matter how hard I try. That’s where PhotoJojo’s keyboard shortcut skins come in: they help designers learn photo-editing shortcuts visually. Simply put, they’re amazing and I want one.