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10 Inventions that Changed the World

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10 Inventions that changed the world

In the past century alone, there have been countless innovations that have drastically improved our lives. Improvements in transportation through the invention of planes, cars, and even rockets. Improvements to healthcare, communication, and  entertainment have also been developed. In the past 20 years alone, we have innovated at such a rapid pace in so many different areas and industries. Trying to pick just the top ten would be difficult, so that’s why we have compiled a list of the ten innovations that have changed the world. Without these, life as we know it wouldn’t exist.

10 Inventions that Changed the World

A Quick Guide to Choosing the Right Images for Your Website

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You know the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Well, that definitely holds true for your website and and blog as well. One way to increase engagement and conversions on your website is by using images. However, it is only certain types of images that will be effective in doing so.  Choosing the right images for your website can often prove to be a difficult and time consuming process.

Here are a few simple guidelines to help you choose the right images to help engage your audience:

Natural Vs. Staged

I suppose there was a time back in the day, when artificially lit sets and over bright smiling people were considered a great idea, but that time has definitely passed. Today’s potential customer has been over-saturated with too perfect and staged stock shots. What people are looking for these days is honesty. The natural/candid style of shot is quickly becoming the preferred style of image for many sites. The reason for this is not just a contrary swing in style; it’s a natural choice for those who are looking for authenticity. If you’re using stock photos that are too polished and insincere looking, it casts a poor light on to your business. It gives off a feeling of insincerity and falseness that may drive potential clients away.

Out of date

When you’ve perused the millions of photos on either pay or free stock sites, you’ll see that some have aged gracefully, and some have not.

If you’re showing a scene with someone at a computer screen, be sure it is a recent image. Nothing says ‘I’m not current’ like an old fashioned monitor sitting on a desk. Or, someone using a 10 year old flip-phone. Images of a family can be timeless, but watch out for telltale signs of family photos that are clearly from years ago.

Seen this one before

Last but not least, we should talk about popular stock images.

When you’re using a site like ‘istock’ or ‘Getty’, one of the filters you can use is ‘popularity’. This means that you can select photos based on how often they’ve been used before. I would advise against that, unless the image is for something benign like a photo of a calculator or something inconsequential.

If you’re looking for anything that will be used as a feature image, remember, someone somewhere has possibly chosen the same image. There is nothing quite as awkward as seeing an image you’re using for your site, also being used by the dentist down the street, or in a piece of junk-mail, or worse, on your competitors site.

Be original. Try and use images that you’re confident your competition isn’t using.

Hiring a photographer and getting original photos is always the best solution, but second best is using something that both looks good and is singular to your site alone.

…But where do I find the right images?

1) Sources for Free Images

Once upon a time, all photos had to be purchased, but things have changed in recent years. There are many sources for photographs and images that cost you nothing, or very little (sometimes just a link to the photographers webpage).

www.freeimages.com

This site has been around now for a very long time, and you can find a lot of great images here. The main difficulty with this (as with other free sites) is quality. For every fantastic photo, there can often be quite a large number of not-so-great photos. As with anything else in life, you sometimes have to search for a bit to find the gold.

https://pixabay.com

Another great site for free images is Pixabay.com. I’ve personally had a lot of success finding great images here. If you’re looking for something here, whether it’s images of luxury, happy families or shots of business people, you’ll find lots of great shots here.

http://compfight.com/

This site is a bit different. Compfight sources all of its photos from flickr.com. For this site, you need to tweak the settings from ‘any license’ to ‘commercial’. Once that is done, search away. You’ll find the photos here are of a much higher caliber than some of the other free sites, and that’s due to Flickr’s reputation as one of the leading photography portals in the world.

Rather than payment, use of these photos is by accreditation. You simply need to include a link on your page to the photographer’s Flickr page; this is shown to you when you click the photo.

2) Sources for Paid Images

http://www.istockphoto.com/

This site is a great source for photos and images. Years ago, it was much like Flickr, but has since been bought by Getty Images, the leading stock company in the world…. which leads us to…

http://www.gettyimages.com

The big time. Getty is just about the biggest player on the block for photography. They also own most of the other stock companies…

http://www.thinkstockphotos.ca

This is another site owned by Getty images. This is the site that I would use the most often and would recommend to anyone. It compiles all the stock companies owned by Getty, so you’re getting the best of the best.

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Now that you know where to find the images and have an understanding of what constitutes a great modern and engaging photo, all it takes now is some time. Although you’re not supposed to judge a book by it cover, we all know that we do. Take the time to properly choose the right images that best represent your business to your customers and prospects. A well-picked image will be remembered and will reflect well on you, but a poorly chosen image will also be remembered, and potentially reflect negatively on your business.

 

Advisors: Choosing the right images for your website

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Including images and photography on your websites and blogs is something most people tend to do. Using the right images can help you to connect and engage with your target audience. The old saying ‘an image is worth a thousands words’ definitely applies here. However, choosing the most appropriate image can often prove to be difficult and time consuming.

Here are a few simple guidelines to help you choose the right image to help better engage your audience:

Natural Vs. Staged

I suppose there was a time back in the day, when artificially lit sets and over bright smiling people were considered a great idea, but that time has definitely passed. Today’s potential customer has been over-saturated with too perfect and staged stock shots. What people are looking for these days is honesty. The natural/candid style of shot is quickly becoming the preferred style of image for many sites. The reason for this is not just a contrary swing in style; it’s a natural choice for those who are looking for authenticity. If you’re using stock photos that are too polished and insincere looking, it casts a poor light on to your business. It gives off a feeling of insincerity and falseness that may drive potential clients away.

Out of date

When you’ve perused the millions of photos on either pay or free stock sites, you’ll see that some have aged gracefully, and some have not.

If you’re showing a scene with someone at a computer screen, be sure it is a recent image. Nothing says ‘I’m not current’ like an old fashioned monitor sitting on a desk. Or, someone using a 10 year old flip-phone. Images of a family can be timeless, but watch out for telltale signs of family photos that are clearly from years ago.

Seen this one before

Last but not least, we should talk about popular stock images.

When you’re using a site like ‘istock’ or ‘Getty’, one of the filters you can use is ‘popularity’. This means that you can select photos based on how often they’ve been used before. I would advise against that, unless the image is for something benign like a photo of a calculator or something inconsequential.

If you’re looking for anything that will be used as a feature image, remember, someone somewhere has possibly chosen the same image. There is nothing quite as awkward as seeing an image you’re using for your site, also being used by the dentist down the street, or in a piece of junk-mail, or worse, on your competitors site.

Be original. Try and use images that you’re confident your competition isn’t using.

Hiring a photographer and getting original photos is always the best solution, but second best is using something that both looks good and is singular to your site alone.

…But where do I find the right images?

1) Sources for Free Images

Once upon a time, all photos had to be purchased, but things have changed in recent years. There are many sources for photographs and images that cost you nothing, or very little (sometimes just a link to the photographers webpage).

www.freeimages.com

This site has been around now for a very long time, and you can find a lot of great images here. The main difficulty with this (as with other free sites) is quality. For every fantastic photo, there can often be quite a large number of not-so-great photos. As with anything else in life, you sometimes have to search for a bit to find the gold.

https://pixabay.com

Another great site for free images is Pixabay.com. I’ve personally had a lot of success finding great images here. If you’re looking for something here, whether it’s images of luxury, happy families or shots of business people, you’ll find lots of great shots here.

http://compfight.com/

This site is a bit different. Compfight sources all of its photos from flickr.com. For this site, you need to tweak the settings from ‘any license’ to ‘commercial’. Once that is done, search away. You’ll find the photos here are of a much higher caliber than some of the other free sites, and that’s due to Flickr’s reputation as one of the leading photography portals in the world.

Rather than payment, use of these photos is by accreditation. You simply need to include a link on your page to the photographer’s Flickr page; this is shown to you when you click the photo.

2) Sources for Paid Images

http://www.istockphoto.com/

This site is a great source for photos and images. Years ago, it was much like Flickr, but has since been bought by Getty Images, the leading stock company in the world…. which leads us to…

http://www.gettyimages.com

The big time. Getty is just about the biggest player on the block for photography. They also own most of the other stock companies…

http://www.thinkstockphotos.ca

This is another site owned by Getty images. This is the site that I would use the most often and would recommend to anyone. It compiles all the stock companies owned by Getty, so you’re getting the best of the best.

—————————————-

Now that you know where to find the images and have an understanding of what constitutes a great modern and engaging photo, all it takes now is some time. Although you’re not supposed to judge a book by it cover, we all know that we do. Take the time to properly choose the right images that best represent your business to your customers and prospects. A well-picked image will be remembered and will reflect well on you, but a poorly chosen image will also be remembered, and potentially reflect negatively on your business.

The Top 4 ‘In-Browser’ Front End Development Tools of 2015

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It wasn’t that long ago that we depended solely on photoshop as a means to design the visual look of a website. That of course meant that someone (usually someone else) was tasked with the job of coding it. This usually lead to more than a few headaches along the way as the designer tries to visually describe and detail exactly how the webpages should come together, look, animate, etc. The developer was then obliged to describe and detail how none of that was either possible, useful or likely to happen.

It’s not always quite so dramatic, but as you can see, it can lead to some problems.

In the past 2 or so years, a few tools have come together to bring the two worlds together. Why not create an application that sort functions like Adobe Photoshop but instead of creating an image that looks like a website, it is actually building a ‘real’ website?

Let’s take a look at some of the leading applications in the field:

1. Froont

froont-editor-open-show.jpg_1600x1006(2)

Froont was the first version I had a chance to try.  I have had the opportunity to chat a few times with one of the developers, Sandijs Ruluks. The app is everything one could hope for. I still have some issues moving content around as easily as I’d like, but that is likely due to the fact that I haven’t learned the app well enough yet. Aside from a few simple issues like that, Froont is a fantastic application.

 2. Webflow

webflow

Webflow is probably the biggest player on the block for in-browser web development. It is sophisticated, detailed, and can be a bit of a steep learning curve for some. It is also pricey. I’ve had some success with using this app, but frankly, the price is a bit too steep for me to use it as much as I’d like to. All that aside, it is the tool of choice for someone with the pockets to choose the best. I would consider this application as the Photoshop of the pack.

3. Stackhive

stackhive

Stackhive started its existence as ‘dockPHP’….”lets code websites visually”. A very noble idea.  This is exactly what we’re talking about here today.

However, it seems somewhere along the way, they decided to re-brand as Stackhive. Along with their re-branding, it appears that they decided to pivot exactly what their app would look like. Some argue that they pivoted a little too close to Webflow.

I, however, am not going to enter this debate. I will, however, say that I find Stackhive to be every bit as sophisticated and detailed as Webflow is and in some ways, a bit easier to work with. It is also much more accessible for the pocketbook. The regular account has cost me nothing so far, and I can already do a few more things with it than I can with the free account on Webflow. All of the power of Webflow, some extra tools and gimmicks but for less money, makes me a happy camper.

I’ve noticed one or two bugs with Stackhive, but with any luck, they’ll sort that out.  The main bug being that you can download a zip of the project that you’re currently working on but unfortunately the zip comes up with errors, making it useless.

4. Generator

generator

Generator is quite possibly the easiest to use, and the simplest version of these apps. It is also one of my favourites. It allows you to quickly put together a simple page by dragging and dropping simple template pieces. Once the page is complete, you can simply output the the html/css code and save it. The beauty of this for me, is that I can use it to quickly throw the basics of a page together in a few minutes, then spit out the html/css to then go further and tweak and expand upon the page. It’s a really fantastic way to get a project started quickly.

The top 10 Innovations of all time

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The means to make Fire

Let’s not kid ourselves. This is the big one. Without this, nothing. While not truly a human invention (more of a discovery) controlling fire is one of the cornerstones of what separated us from the animals. It lit our nights. It kept the predators away. It cooked our food, helped us cure meats, and kept us warm.

The Lever

thelever

“Give me a place to stand, and I shall move the Earth with it”. One of the original ‘six simple machines’ as defined by the scientist of the Renaissance era.  The Egyptians were known to use it as far back as the 3rd century BC; often to move blocks weighing up to 100 tons.

The Plough

theplough

When humans made the big switch from hunter-gatherer to simple agriculture, the Plough lead the revolution. Well, when I say ‘lead’ what I really mean is followed…from behind an ox.

Bricks

thebrick

More than just an inspiration for a great song by Jethro Tull, bricks allowed humans to build. And build we did. The earliest known bricks have been found in the region of what is now Turkey, and have been dated to 7500 BC.  As you can see, each invention brings us closer to an ideal. Fire kept us warm, the Plough kept us fed. The brick let us build everything from simple huts and houses to pyramids.

The Wheel

thewheel

It’s inception is placed in about the 4th millenium BC, in several areas.  It’s impossible to determine who invented it first. The wheel is thought to have brought us not only the beginning of transportation, but also Industry. From water wheels and mills, to chariots and tires, the wheel is roundly (get it?) considered to be a pretty big deal.

Writing

thewriting

The beginnings of written and recorded information date to around 8000BC Mesopotamia. Today, we consider writing to be the very identifiable distinction between history and prehistory. Written communication is, by and large, what defines us as species. It’s how we exchange our ideas, hopes and dreams. It’s also the basis of how we attempt to influence those around us.

Metallurgy

themetal

The first evidence of this extractive metallurgy dates from the 5th and 6th millennium BC and was found in the archaeological sites of Serbia. As in many of the previous inventions, Metallurgy wasn’t an end in itself, but was generally an improvement upon what came before. Prior to this invention, we still had arrows, axes, and other tools.  But, with the introduction of metallurgy we are now able to produce superior tools made of metal.

Gutenberg’s Press

thepress

Johaness Gutenberg began working on his breakthrough invention in approximately 1436. We know this because he was subsequently sued. Ah…Innovation. Within a few short decades, there was a huge increase in the circulation of books, as printing presses began popping up in every town. As production increased, the unit costs fell, which gave rise to inventions like the ‘Newspaper’.  Suddenly the masses at large had increased access to news, information, and advertising.

The Harnessing of Electricity

theelectric

When Ben Franklin went out to fly a kite in a thunderstorm little did he know what would follow. Simple advancements such as public Gas lighting making way for electric light made a huge improvement in the lives of millions of people. Suddenly the turbines and engines of the industrial revolution were being turned by electric power, and not the spindly little arms of Oliver Twist. Which is all to the good. Little Oliver never deserved that sort of thing.

The Computer / Internet

theweb

And here we are today. The Computer allowed humans to figure out math equations and logistics at a previously unheard of rate. Coupled with Moors law (which states that computer performance would double every year), we went from computers that were the size of a grocery store to slick little laptops that are as thin as a magazine. Along side (almost parallel) is the development of the Internet. Now that we have all of these personal computers, tying them all together seemed like the logical next step. Then Tim Berners-Lee developed the protocols to build what we call ‘websites’. Now, here we are in what is certainly a new golden-age, the age of the world wide web. People around the world not only have access to the web (and thus the combined human knowledge of all time) but the means to communicate with each other 24/7 despite geographical location. At first the barrier to entry was the ability to write computer code to create your own websites but now, thanks to programs like Digital Agent, anyone can build and write a well designed website of their very own.