Friday, December 26, 2008

The Miracle of Aviary !

Ok. When I first heard of Aviary I really thought that this would be another brilliant idea that simply couldn't work as it was promised... I was so wrong.

The idea of an online creative suite for digital image editing is not new, but you MUST try Aviary to see what is all about. Rich in features, fast, super quality results and clever design make everybody re-think about the future of processor-intensive software and realise that it is possible to be done online.

Supported by one of the most active and well-respected creative communities, worth1000  the suite has gained popularity.

Meanwhile, what makes aviary truly special (except of the features that are light-years ahead of competition) is that that the whole suite is offered absolutely free to the public (is kinda "trust-ware" i.e. they trust you will pay for the software you are using whenever you think that you are ready to produce serious work with it, but no one is going to bother you if you don't.

At the time I am writing these lines, Aviary offers 3 online tools:

But the guys are currently working on some more...

So, Phoenix is your photo editor (and believe me it can be a PERFECT substitute of Photoshop for beginners or even semi-professional users. Supports all goodies such as layers, adjustments etc and of course is non destructive.), Toucan is your colour manager (believe me is one of the best you can find [free or commercial] and last but not least Peacock is your effects generator. You actually have to use it to believe it. It's a clever node-based workframe that can produce mind blowing effects. Everything is parametric here and can be connected, combined and interact with everything for endless possibilities (trivia: it even supports capture from your webcam!).

Finally the open-source-minded community on their site offers every project created online so that everyone can have access to the "source files".

Is truly an amazing achievement and I just thought that this probably will be the future of software in the years to come.

Give it a try and I can assure you that you will be not disappointed.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Free pack of Christmas Holiday icons

Dear Diary,

I just found a free pack of vector icons for Christmas Holidays, provided by I think it could be useful for many of us :)

(includes PNG, GIF, ICON, EPS files)

Download it here

Monday, December 15, 2008


Dear Diary,

Watching all this situation in Greece these days, made me think of a photo that I took some years ago while walking in the heart of the city... I still believe that the person who did the painting made a great artistic statement, even if he didn't do it on purpose...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The picture of Everything

Dear Diary,

When great ideas blend with hard work and patience, the results are just amazing!

So, this guy (Howard Hallis) is making a super-picture that contains a few thousand "Easter-eggs".

Definitely worth a visit.

Ps. He is now preparing version 2, so hang on...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The 1$ Camera Stabilizer

Dear Diary,

While drinking my afternoon coffee saw this very clever idea on Metacafe. I thought it would be interesting for some people...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Hand or the Eye ? [Light Games]

Dear Diary,

Sometimes I wonder... 

What can produce more dramatic effect, in creativity means? The actual work of a creative artist or the way that this very work is presented ?

(In this particular example of course the "Hand" and the "Eye" belong to the same artist probably, but you get the idea...)

[copyright © Joe Baran - Source: Joe Baran's Website]

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How do Geckos adhere to walls ?

Dear Diary,

Yesterday while travelling I was watching some TED talks into my iphone as I am usually doing.
Although almost every talk fascinates me, I was most astonished by one simple question that Dr Robert Full asked during his talk on "How engineers learn from evolution".
This was - "How do Geckos adhere to walls ?"

Until that very moment, I always imagined that they must be using some kind of organic glue or maybe they exploit vacuum.

The possible answers (and why after scientific examination could not be true) that presented by the host were:

  1. Friction model
    Reject: Friction forces too low
  2. Electrostatics
    Reject: Use anti-static gun and still hold on
  3. Interlocking
    Reject: Used molecularly smooth surface
  4. Suction model
    Reject: Greater than 1 atm pressure and works in vacuum
  5. Wet (capillary) adhesion
    Reject: No glue glands. Sticks underwater and in dry air
I felt my jaw dropping !
How on earth these creatures are able to run through a vertical surface in full speed then ???
The surprise reached maximum levels when the right answer popped on the screen...

They use Intermolecular or Van Der Waals Force !!!!

Believe it or not, these little guys work on molecular level...

You can watch the full talk below

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

QuickTips - Illustrator Tip #1

So, how many times we would like to create a circular mask on top of a reference source and we are close enough but not "pixel perfect" ?

One quick way for doing this is easily is to select the Ellipse tool (L) and start drawing a circle on top of our reference photo (remember that we must not release the left mouse button during the whole operation). By holding down Shift key, we constrain its dimensions to a perfect circle. Now all we have to do, is simply hold Space Bar (is the same principle as if we were about to pan into our document) at the same time so we are able to move our object and re-place it. At the time that we release the Space Bar, we can continue to change its dimensions of course.

Ps. This is a global tip and works with any kind of object.

Monday, December 1, 2008

QuickTips - iCal Tip #1

Dear Diary,

A couple of days ago while reading my RSS feeds I found something interesting...

If you double-click an event in the 10.5 version of iCal, you get a little pop-up window with some details and Edit and Done buttons, as you probably already know. This window might look worthless for editing, but even if you don't press the Edit button, if you drag and drop some text onto this pop-up window, the text will be added to the notes field of the displayed event. 

I did this by accident and was surprised it happened, so I tried a few more things. Drag and drop a file, and it is added as an attachment. Drag and drop a person from Address Book, and they are added as an attendee. You can also drag multiple people, or an existing group, to have them all added as attendees. Drag a URL, and its added as a clickable URL. So despite appearances, you can actually do some basic editing in the event info pop-up window. 

[robg adds: If the event has an existing URL, it will be replaced with what you drag into the window. You can also add to an existing attendee list when dropping contacts. However, if the event has an existing Note, you won't be able to drag and drop text onto this window -- it will just 'bounce back' when dropped.]

Friday, November 28, 2008

Unicode Madness

Dear Diary,

I have spent almost an hour this morning, trying to receive data from an Excel file, in order to print labels on another program (the program is called "Mail Factory" and believe me is the best one out there for doing the job), so that I could mail Christmas cards to customers.

What I found out is that when I tried to import the data, all text was corrupted. What I didn't know was that Excel actually does not export UTF-8 text (since my customers are actually Greek I obviously need to get unicode text).

So, I managed to find a solution and maybe I can help others to avoid this problem (I forgot to say that I work on Macintosh).

The solution is pretty simple: Open your Excel file in NeoOffice (free opensource suite. You can download it here --> and export it as .CSV file (comma separated values). Then the application finally lets you choose your preferred encoding, so you set it on Unicode UTF-8 and all your text will appear properly.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Loneliness in the Digital Age

Dear Diary,

I just found a way by which loneliness can be illustrated in modern times...
(it's a pity though that I couldn't track the photographer's name. If anybody knows, please throw a comment)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I am a big fan of TED.

What I see into all these people is a part of myself... not the lazy one... the creative one that is obstructed by the lazy one.

The first thought on this diary, has to be about music. Music and genuine passion about it.

It was one of the very few moments in my recent infinite-loop-life that someone got 100% of my attention...

Thank you very much Mr Zander...


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