Best ways to discover new music online

With the hyper-production of music that technology has enabled over the last decade, the Internet has also enabled people to not only share their music easily and find fans worldwide with little problem, it has also made it much easier for fans of music to seek out new and interesting artists that might appeal to them. There are literally hundreds of ways to find out about new music these days on the Web – whether you are reading blogs, getting recommendations from friends on Facebook or listening to Internet radio stations, it has never been easier to find mew music.

Discover New Music Online
Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to find new music on the Internet:

Last.fm

Last.fm is a social networking site that is geared towards people who are obsessed with music. You can install their scrobbler and link it to whatever program or device you are using to listen to music and it will keep track of what you have been listening to, whether its at home on Winamp or Windows Media Player or on your iPod. It displays this information on your personal page, and shares your music listening habits with the world. You can add friends just like you can on any other social networking site, and post on their walls as well. Using Last.fm, there are many different ways for you to discover music. For example, when you visit another person’s page, Last.fm will tell you the level of similarity you have with any given user and it will also list what artists you have in common in your listening library. If you have a high similarity with a person, you can look at their charts and see if there are any artists there that sound interesting to you, or you can even ask the person for some personal recommendations based on the artists that you have in common. Also, if you visit the official page of a band you enjoy, listed under the band’s description and biography is a group of similar artists that you can check out. You can also browse music by genres, since users on Last.fm are able to tag each artist as being part of a specific genre that they deem fit. Last.fm has a paid radio service as well that lets you listen to its enormous database of artists in high quality streaming audio, but also, there is a free music player that you can download and use with the Google Chrome browser. Once you download and install the player, you can go to any artist’s page and listen to their songs free of charge. The opportunities for discovering new music through Last.fm are truly limitless.

Amazon

The opportunities for listening to new music are fairly limited on Amazon. They do have streaming audio, but the site only offers you short snippets of songs to check out. However, there are other ways that Amazon can help you discover new music. If you click on an album that you know you love, listed under the album are users who have purchased this album from Amazon. Amazon also lists other albums that these customers have bought, which serves as a recommendation, since the person who bought an album that you love probably has similar tastes in music. You can literally spend hours on Amazon going from album to album and customer to customer, checking out what they have bought and seeking out these different albums if they sound interesting to you. Amazon also allows its customers and users to write reviews of the music that they have purchased. The users who purchased the music are able to write a review, many write small blurbs, but others go into great detail when they write reviews, and they also rank the album by way of a five-star system. Amazon does a great job of creating a multifaceted service that will not only allow you to seek out new music, read in-depth reviews of albums and songs, and see what else people who have bought an album you like have bought, but it also allows you to purchase the music right there on the site without having to search any further.

The Hype Machine

This site is very unique and much different for the first two mentioned. This site is not specifically for people who are looking for recommendations based no their tastes, it is more for people who are just looking to hear new things and to stay on top of all the latest trends in popular music. The Hype Machine is a music site for people who are fans of Reddit and Tumblr – sites that have constant streams of new information coming in at all times. The site actually aggregates all types of different blogs that offer mp3 into one location. It takes songs that were posted on a selection of about 1,500 different music blogs and it lists them on the main page of the site. After listening to a song, you can click on a button that says you “love“ it, and at the end of the week, the site will show its popular list that shows which songs received the most “love“ that week from users. There is also a Listening History section, which allows users to see what songs their friends have recently listened to as well. Also, above every song you will find links to online music retailers from which you can purchase the track. The site operates thanks to the commissions it receives from these sales. If you are someone who loves staying on top of all of the latest trends in music and you are interested in what critics and fans are enjoying the most currently, then this is the site for you.

Forums and Message Boards

No matter what kind of music you enjoy, there are found to be dozens, if not hundreds, of forums and discussion boards where people with similar tastes hang out daily and discuss music. Chances are, you will probably be able to find local message boards for any type of music you like as well, no matter what country you live in. Message boards are fun because they are highly interactive and also very helpful. You can discuss topics with people in real time and you can hear various opinions on any specific band or album from a large group of people who still represent one community. If you are interested in hearing a variety of opinions because taking the plunge and buying an album, then forums and message boards are the places to be. Once you have spent some time as a new member observing the discussions, feel free to join and give your opinions on bands and artists you are familiar with. Forums and message boards are also great places to ask for recommendations based on music you already like. Once you have spent some time on a certain message board and you are familiar with the personalities that post there, you will know who the experts are on certain topics, and who the people are on the board who have the most in common with you as far as musical tastes are concerned. Once you have located these people who share similar tastes with you and are clearly well-informed, checking out albums and artists they are excited about is usually a great way to find out about new music that might be right up your alley.

How to Optimize Images for the Web with Adobe Photoshop

What do people mean when they say that images have been optimized for the web? The basic principle of optimization, as far as images are concerned, is to have the images look good while also loading quickly at the same time. You want your images to be small and able to load fast when someone enters your site, but still, you want them to be high-quality pictures that look sharp and detailed.

One of the most common mistakes people make is that they decrease the size of the image within their website creation program, not in an image editing program like Adobe Photoshop. You know this is the case when the page is mostly text with only a couple of pictures, but it still takes a long time to load. In order to have a successful website, it is vital for it to be able to load quickly, regardless of how much content is being displayed on it.

When you are resizing your image in a website creation program, you are not decreasing the file size of the image, just the scale of the image being displayed on the website. When you decrease the size of the image in the website creation program, what you are basically doing is that you are telling the browser to rescale the image while it is loading the page, which is additional and completely unnecessary work for the browser to be doing. So, even though it appears to be really small once the page has finally loaded, the actual file size of the image remains the same.

What you really need to do is to first resize the image in an image creation and editing program like Adobe Photoshop, where you will actually be changing the file size of the image before uploading it to your website. This is actually a quick and easy process and you don’t have to be a professional web designer or a Photoshop ace to do it.

There are dozens of different ways to resize images while keeping them clear and detailed, but let’s just look at the most simple and effective one for starters.

Using Adobe Photoshop’s “Save For Web“ feature

The two most common image formats that are used on the web are JPEG and GIF. Let’s see what each format is about.

JPEG

The JPEG is used most commonly when the image is a photograph, because it is able to represent images that use millions of colors and preserve the variations of continuous-tone images.

GIF

The GIF format works best when when compressing solid-color images and images with repetitive colors. This format is used most with logos, illustrations, line art and fonts, things of that nature.

Optimizing Images in 4 Easy Steps

Novices who are not that familiar with Adobe Photoshop might not know about the “Save For Web“ option, which makes optimizing an image for the web a lot easier than when you are saving images in Photoshop with the regular “Save As“ command.

The “Save For Web and Devices“ command and accompanying dialogue box makes it very easy for you to compare the original image and the compressed alternatives you have to choose from when you are resizing your images. Here’s what you do.

1. Open your image in Adobe Photoshop and then choose File > Save For Web And Devices.

2. When the dialogue box appears, click on the 4-Up tab. On the Preset drop-down menu, choose the file format you want, whether it is JPEG or GIF. In the upper left preview, you can see the original image. Photoshop automatically renders three alternatives to your current image, there is a high, medium and low-quality alternative available for both JPEGs and GIFs. Under each of the preview windows, you will be able to see the file size, the quality of the image, and how long the image will take to load on a given modem speed.

3. This is the part where you fool around with the options a little. Try out all of the alternatives and see what  they look like. See how the quality of the image corresponds to the file size of the image and then use your eye to make a decision and pick what you believe would be optimal for your website. The goal is to have the best possible image quality in the smallest possible file size.

4. When you have made your decision and you are happy with both the size of the file and the quality of the image, click Save and give the file a name. It’s as simple as that.


The JavaScript Toolbox

JavaScript is one of the most versatile scripting languages used on the web. So it isn’t surprising that many developers, who are interested in web design, are trying to learn it. If you’re one of them, then keep reading. Below, we’ve put together a list of the handy tools and resources that allow you to create, design, and customize your website using JavaScript. With these resources, you can easily enjoy the full functionality and great design of JavaScript.

 

TOOLS ANS UTILITIES

1) Minimee

Minimee can help you will CSS and JavaScript files for automatic minimization, combining and caching CSS and JS files.

2) DoctorJS

DoctorJS is a great tool for analyzing your script code.

3) MicroJS

MicroJS provides JavaScript code snippet for most common tasks

4) Diva.js

Diva.js (Document Image Viewer with AJAX) is a Javascript frontend for viewing documents, designed to work with digital libraries to present multi-page documents as a single, continuous item.

5) Bookmarklet Generator

An extremely easy ti use boorkmaklet generator.

6) TestSwarm

TestSwarm is an open source project by Mozilla Labs which simplifies and shortens the process of running JavaScript test suites in multiple browsers.

7) JSConsole

This is an online console tool, for testing JavaScript, debugging and presentation.

8) JavaScript Library Boilerplate

A great tool for creating Javascript libraries.

9) JQapi

jQuery help, a great documentation tool.

10) Heatmap.js

Heatmap.js is a JavaScript library that can be used to generate web heatmaps with the html5canvas element based on your data.

11) Respond.js

Respond.js is a small script that allow you to use CSS3 media queries on browsers that do not support it yet

12) JsDoc Toolkit

JsDoc Toolkit is an application, for automatically generating template-formatted, multi-page HTML (or XML, JSON, or any other text-based) documentation from commented JavaScript source code.

13) Modernizr

Modernizr Modernizr is an open-source JavaScript library that helps you build the next generation of HTML5 and CSS3-powered websites.

14) Yepnope.js

Yepnope is an asynchronous conditional resource loader.

15) Jasmine

Jasmine is a very useful framework for testing Javascript code.

16) ObfuscateJS

 ObfuscateJS is a tool for compression of Javascript files.

17) PegJS

PEG.js is a simple parser generator for JavaScript that produces fast parsers with excellent error reporting.

18) JSONView

JSONView is a Firefox extension that helps you view JSON documents in the browser.

19) JSonduit

JSonduit is a service that converts web page content into a JSON feed that any website or mobile app can consume.

20) jsPlumb

jsPlumb provides a means for a developer to visually connect elements on their web pages.

21) Helma

Helma is a server-side Javascript environment and web application framework for fast and efficient scripting and serving of your websites and Internet applications.

22) HTML + JSON ReportOnline

HTML5 JSON Report format to view any JSON data in a human-readable HTML view

23) JSON Editor

The editor can help you edit JSON strings.

24) Ligature.js

Ligature.js will go through the text on a web-page, and insert ligatures where appropriate.

25) FitText

FitText makes font-sizes flexible.

26) SyntaxHighlighter

SyntaxHighlighter is a fully functional self-contained code syntax highlighter developed in JavaScript.

27) Js-test-driver

Js-test-driver is a remote javascript console.

28) jsPerf

jsPerf aims to provide an easy way to create and share test cases, comparing the performance of different JavaScript snippets by running benchmarks.

29) Jsbeautifier

Jsbeautifier is a tool for beautifying javascript code.

WEBSITES AND RESOURCES

 

30) JavaScript-reference.info

As its title implies, this is a website that teaches programmers how to effectively read and code in JavaScript.

31) Devguru

A very helpful tool that defines all terms found in JavaScript and then provides code samples of what the code does.

32) JavaScript Kit

Here’s a list of JavaScript objects, its methods, and properties. You can also find helpful examples that lets you see what it does.

33) WebAIM

Here’s a good reference point with tips on how to make your JavaScript accessible to all users.

34) w3schools.com

Among programmers, w3schools.com is a renowned resource. Everything you need to know about JavaScript can be seen here.

35) Javascript resources

A handy list of 100 Javascript tutorials.

36)Dzone

Look no further than JavaLobby if you’re looking to join a community that offers Java-related advice, tip, and stories.

37) Javascript

This site features a ton of resources that are related to JavaScript. If you’re looking to solve any Java-related issue, be sure to check out this site.

38) WebDeveloper

Aside from its extensive section about JavaScript, WebDeveloper.com also provides a variety of resources on other programming language.

39) AjaxDaddy

Ajax Daddy is a site that definitely should be appreciated. Containing a large number of Web 2.0 demos, it’s helpful to all programmers.

40) JSON

JSON is a data-interchange format that’s easy for both humans and machines to understand. It’s also built on two structures including a collection of name/value pairs and an ordered list of values.

41) Mozilla Developer Network

MDN is an excellent resouce for both beginners and advanced programmers.

42) Eloquent JavaScript

Eloquent JavaScript is a book providing an introduction to the JavaScript programming language and programming in general.

43) JSFiddle

JSFiddle is a great tool for collaborative debugging.

44) Douglas Crockford’s tutorials

Amazing JavaScript video tutorials.

45) How to Node

How to Node is a community supported blog about Node.js


The Ultimate Mobile Productivity Catalogue

A cell phone is no longer a cell phone. It’s a mobile phone, an office application and gaming system all rolled into one. Today’s mobile phones have the capability to running applications that used to be only available on computers. And now, being able to do business on the go is the order of the day.Whether you have an iPhone, a Blackberry, or one that works on the Palm, Android or Windows Mobile platform, you need to look for the applications that can get things done.The hardest part is tracking down the best ones. So we’ve compiled a one-stop shopping list of some of the best in productivity apps. The best part about this list is that most of these applications and tools can work on more than one platform, giving you more options and more functionality.All you have to do is browse around for the right tools, and you can turn your phone into a modem, a home computer remote, a conference calling device, and even a real estate management tool. So read on, download and enjoy the convenience!

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The Open Source Toolbox For WebDesigners

With other companies providing the same goods or services as you are, the competition to reach a large target audience increases greatly and with it, the need for Web designers who can deliver new ideas on web quickly and efficiently.To do this a Web designer needs the right tools. There are loads of such tools available. Unfortunately, most of them are under copyright law and come with a high price tag.The solution for this dilemma? Open Source. Such tools provide another approach to web design. It becomes easier as Open Source tools give Web designers practical access to the source code, which means you can customize the tools as needed.

Today we take a look at some of these tools which can ease the job of a Web designer immensely. From text editors and templates to websites and communities, these Open Source resources are some of the finest in the field of Web design. Take a look.

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