Technology

The geeky route to Nashville: StartupBus North America

Hackathons, those lately ubiquitous marathons of design, tech and inspiration, have always been a fun way to take myself  out of my client mindset. Build an app that begs to be made? Solve a problem with a team thrown together just an hour before? It’s all in a weekend’s work, and the late hours, the wild brainstorming and camaraderie usually stay with me.

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Lisa GhisolfThe geeky route to Nashville: StartupBus North America

Instagram tricks

English: A collage showing a photograph, along...

English: A collage showing a photograph, along with the same photograph processed through all 15 filters in the iOS app Instagram (as of the date of creation in April 2011) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being so visual, I do love Instagram (and have changed my name recently, to WorkTravelTech). Until recently I hadn’t pursued it, especially for growing an audience. Cat Chung spoke on Instagram at SMSS Chicago 2015, and had some brief and fabulous tips:

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Lisa GhisolfInstagram tricks

Pinterest tips from SMSS Chicago 2015

It seems like every other day there’s a new social media outlet and ways to strategize for your business. Pinterest has been around for a while now, and these tips picked up at SMSS Chicago 2015 should fuel your pinning obsession for more than just a wish list. Shared by Cat Chung, these do help systemize Pinterest.

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Lisa GhisolfPinterest tips from SMSS Chicago 2015

Why I’m (still) an Apple fangirl

English: Mosaic of Apple Inc., using: File:App...

Working in the design and tech industries for a while now, I’ve run into a lot of PC v. Mac fights. And I try to stay out of them, mostly because I feel you should use the best tool available to you. Frankly, we’ll never change each other minds anyway.

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Lisa GhisolfWhy I’m (still) an Apple fangirl

Friday picks: Copyright and protecting your content in WordPress

Protecting one’s images and text online is an important topic, and one I tackled at my Chicago Creative Expo WordPress talk in March.

Stolen work

What makes this most relevant is the story of Noam Galai (see it on The Stolen Scream), whose image (a screaming self portrait) has been stolen countless times across the globe. He even submitted it to Getty Images, only to be rejected, but a replica was being sold on its site! Frankly, you can’t be too careful.

No system is foolproof, but there are steps you can take to better protect your content.

Copyright and protecting your content

One of my favorites for searching down copies — and a fun one at that — is TinEye. Taking a Google photo of Michael Jackson as an example, I did a search for similar images. The results were thousands of the same photo plus those “most changed.” This isn’t surprising for a celebrity photo, but if you’re concerned your images are being reproduced without your permission, it’s a fast and amazing engine.

Next up is WP-Copyright Protection. For most browsers, it disables text and image copying (i.e., no selecting or right-clicking) and  keeps your site out of an iframe (another way to grab content). Sort of an all-in-one, it’s effective and lightweight. It’s my favorite free plugin to prevent right-click downloads and copying of text.

Copyright Proof says it has “teeth” and only protects your posts with a digitally signed, time-stamped copyright notice (if you don’t claim authorship, it’s not yours!). It also provides licensing and is more of a deterrent, providing a badge for your site. But, it also provides one free image takedown per year service via the DMCA — otherwise it’s a paid service.

Watermark Reloaded is a customizable watermarking plugin that works directly in WordPress—hence no marring of your originals. There are a lot of watermarking plugins out there so it’s more a question of what you find easiest to work with.

Any favorites?

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Lisa GhisolfFriday picks: Copyright and protecting your content in WordPress

GIF, JPEG, AI, EPS, huh? A guide to graphic file formats

At least once a week I’m sent files that were *gasp* downloaded off the internet, or a tiny, pixelated version of a complicated logo — which, inevitably, falls apart in print or even on the web. This can result in higher printer fees and more time recreating or digging up the right files.

Graphic file formats don’t have to be a mystery once you learn the basics, and your printer will thank you for it!

For print:

  • .AI [Adobe Illustrator]
  • .EPS [Encapsulated PostScript]
  • .TIFF [Tagged Image File Format]
  • .PDF [Printer Document Format]
For web:

  • .JPEG or .JPG
  • .GIF [Graphics Interchange Format]
  • .PNG [Portable Network Graphics]

Vector vs. bitmap

Why the distinction? It’s vector vs. bitmap graphics.

Vector graphics, like those created in Adobe Illustrator, are made of shapes created by mathematical equations, and can be enlarged to pretty much any size with no loss of quality.

On the other hand, graphics created in Adobe Photoshop [and of course photos!] are bitmap, or pixel-based. This isn’t an absolute, but for our purposes it’s a good distinction. When you zoom in on a bitmap, like below, you can start to see the pixels, and the loss of quality of the original graphic is pretty obvious. The JPEG may look all right on screen, but consider handing out materials with a blurry logo—definitely not professional.

vector vs bitmap

By The original uploader was Darth Stabro at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Pbroks13 using CommonsHelper., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15789788

If you do have only a bitmap, it should be at least 150dpi [dots per inch] or, ideally, 300dpi without enlarging it to still look good.

Looking further

Even within these two big distinctions, there are further breakdowns.

TIFFs should only be used at 100% of size or smaller, and a PDF or EPS file is usually ideal for any printing situation. Keep in mind though, if you just re-save a JPEG or other web file as a EPS or other print file, it won’t make that artwork go up in quality! If the data isn’t there, it’s just not there.

Also, GIFs, JPEGs and PNGS exist for a reason. GIFs often create the smallest file sizes, and support transparency, whereas JPEGS do not allow transparency. PNGs are hit or miss, but offer transparency and, to me, a cleaner transparent look since there’s usually more data to give a cleaner transition to transparency.

 

Make sure you have each of these graphic file formats on hand, of your logo and any other critical brand materials—it’ll save time and money!

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Lisa GhisolfGIF, JPEG, AI, EPS, huh? A guide to graphic file formats