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Facebook is cozying up to small businesses in a big way with a new program that gives away $10 million in free advertising.

Facebook-Fit-small-business

The program, Facebook Marketing Solutions, which includes a partnership with the National Federation of Independent Business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will roll out over the next few months. In early 2012, Facebook will give each qualified business at least $50 of free advertising on Facebook.

The social network also promises free resources and information on how to market your business on Facebook. The company is sending its reps out to meet with small business owners in person. Since Facebook has a self-service ad platform that’s actually geared more to small advertisers than large ones, the program seems to be about building awareness, especially since 64% of small businesses think social media is unnecessary. The company took a similar approach to wooing the advertising industry in April with Facebook Studio, which also offers free resources, though there’s no free advertising component. [ Continue Reading… ]

A quick Google search will pull up a number of Image to CSS conversion tools but we’ve come across none as impressive as Img to CSS.

I’ve personally tried the tool out on a number of complex images and each has resulted in near flawless pure HTML versions of each.

Why would you favor that over an actual image? Well in many cases a CSS/HTML file should be smaller in size. However when you’re converting rather complex images, that isn’t generally the case. So the other reason you would use CSS/HTML over an image is for use within emails. Most email clients will block images for security purposes but if images are in fact pure CSS/HTML, that isn’t the case. It’s worth noting that it’s only worth converting small images like icons and logos as large emails are likely to be blocked by email providers -so this is ideal for use within email signatures for example.

Image to CSS converts all major image types to CSS, it retains transparency (although some email clients might not support it) and the CSS/HTML is in-line, so it won’t be stripped out in emails. Upon signing up for Img to CSS, you get 5 free conversions. Once you’re depleted then 2 conversions will set you back $1. The minimum amount you can spend is $5, so that’s 10 conversions. If you plan on converting a number of images, you can also pay a $30 monthly subscription.

Here’s a generator that’s particularly cool because it emulates the Photoshop layer styles window. If you’re not into design the novelty might escape you, but if you are, here’s a fun way to generate some of that CSS code if you just don’t feel like writing out a million vendor-specific prefixes today.

Here’s a generator that’s particularly cool because it emulates the Photoshop layer styles window. If you’re not into design the novelty might escape you, but if you are, here’s a fun way to generate some of that CSS code if you just don’t feel like writing out a million vendor-specific prefixes today.  Here’s a generator that’s particularly cool because it emulates the Photoshop layer styles window. If you’re not into design the novelty might escape you, but if you are, here’s a fun way to generate some of that CSS code if you just don’t feel like writing out a million vendor-specific prefixes today.

When developers have the ability to craft applications for multiple platforms with little to no barrier, amazing things can happen. 6Wunderkinder is a prime example of this, as it managed to deliver its popular Wunderlist productivity app to additional platforms in short order thanks to a partnership with Appcelerator. But not every developer has the time (or resources) to forge such a relationship, and thanks to Friday’s release of Nitobi’s PhoneGap 1.0, they don’t have to.

PhoneGap is an HTML5 platform that allows developers to use HTML, CSS and JavaScript to create native mobile applications. Now developers can write their app once and deploy it to six major mobile platforms and app stores, including iOS, Android, BlackBerry, WebOS, Bada and Symbian. With the open source code receiving contributions from a dedicated community of developers, PhoneGap has increased in both stability and durability – which has played a large part in the project averaging approximately 40,000 downloads per month at the time of writing.

While PhoneGap 1.0 was officially released by Nitobi at PhoneGap Day in Portland, Oregon on Friday, the company is based in Vancouver, BC. In fact, The Next Web Canada covered PhoneGap’s initial launch late last year. But the building of PhoneGap has been an effort that goes well beyond the team at Nitobi, a fact that is not lost on company CEO Andre Charland.

Today, at the Future of Web Design in New York City, Brooklyn based designer and developer Josh Clark took the stage to discuss the 7 Myths of Mobile Web Design.

“Our jobs are getting harder… We’re inundated by all these different screens. But this is also really exciting. How often do new platforms come around?…We’ve got the coolest job in the world. We have to figure out how to use these platforms. It’s one of the most exciting times in the history of our culture.”

-Josh Clark

According to Clark, designers are anthropologists who should view platforms as if they were cultures. So, what makes a mobile culture different from a desktop culture? “We tend to oversimplify mobile needs. And we risk building dumbed down apps that patronize our users,” he says. Designers have lots of mobile mindsets and cultural presumptions. These are the quick takeaways from Clark’s brilliant breakdown:

  1. Mobile users are rushed and distracted. Wrong. Mobile isn’t just on the go. It’s on the couch, in the kitchen, and during a 3 hour layover. When we’re on mobile, we’re micro-tasking, we’re local and we’re probably bored.
  2. Mobile=Less. Wrong. Mobile is not less. Mobile is not light. Designers make too many assumptions with screen size. Don’t limit functionality based on-screen size alone. “Saying mobile design should have less is like saying paperbacks have smaller pages, so we should remove chapters,” Clark says.
  3. Complexity is a dirty word. Wrong. Complexity is awesome, it gives our lives texture. Designers shouldn’t confuse complexity with complication. They need to manage complexity, not kill it. He cites the new Facebook iOS app as a great example of a complex app done well.
  4. Extra taps and clicks are evil. Wrong. It’s all about Tap Quality > Tap Quantity. Designers can create one big idea per screen instead of one big idea per app. He cites Twitter app’s well designed keyboard that simply slides in and out of view so that secondary tasks are just one tap away.

Now that anyone can learn to code, and probably should, web design and development are becoming more and more personal in both approach and learning curves.

There’s a plethora of ways to tackle web dev and code, and professional designers and developers are no different. We asked several developers from various online publications what their favorite sources are for design and code inspiration, and the results are as varied as the projects these professionals make themselves.

SmashingNico by Nico Lopez

Self Promotion by Heidi Aalerud

Daisy Bank Soap Co. by Passport, Jonathan Finch, and Rosalind Stoughton

Melody / Arguile Identity by Jonny Delap

Visualworx by ATMO Designstudio

The Argonaut by Dawson Beggs

Self Promotion / Stationery by Genevieve Dennis

Stationery / Branding Mock-Up by infostyle.itembridge

Engler Studio Identity by Eight Hour Day

 

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