I found out last night that I had won PaperbackSwap‘s Twitter background contest. I had submitted a few different designs, but one of them seemed to be a favorite since it won both the People’s Choice award and the PBS Team Choice award! I really could not have done it without my darling Brooke Mello‘s help though, she urged me on after I was going to give up and had me design the background with the packaging motif. PaperbackSwap was really generous with the prizes, so I will definately have plenty to read this summer, and for a couple of years to come. Please check out PaperbackSwap’s Twitter page where the winning backgrounds will be rotated, and here’s the contest results announcement from their blog. If you are not already a member of the used-book-trading website PaperbackSwap.com I highly recommend checking them out. If you more into DVDs or CDs they also have the sister sites SwapaDVD.com and SwapaCD.com.
Microsoft released Internet Explorer 8 today after a somewhat long period of betas and release candidates. After trying out the browser I have to say that I am pretty impressed; the browser has taken a big leap forward since the previous version. There are many great new features, and the support for web standards has increased remarkably. I would seriously consider switching over to IE8 as my primary browser, if Firefox did not have all the great plug-ins I have gotten used to and a great database for bookmarks.
One of the new features that impressed me the most is the new Developer Tools. This feature is heavily inspired by the Firebug plug-in for Firefox, which is essential for web designers. I have not had a chance to play much with this feature yet, but from what I can tell so far it looks like it will be an invaluable tool for debugging websites in IE8. It also seems to have some nice features that Firebug is lacking, one of them being HTML and CSS validation. The Developer Tools also has a great looking CSS view, and finally view source is color-coded which makes code a lot easier to read. The Developer Tools also gives the opportunity to switch to IE7 rendering, but I am not sure if this will replace testing IE7 in a virtual machine. Some features that Microsoft innovated that you might want to check out are Web Slices and Accelerators. And I do love how the search providers have the latest favicons; it always bugged me how Firefox uses an old icon for Google. Another little gem is when you open several bookmarks (favorites in IE parlance) in a Tab Group, all the tabs get a new color, which is different from all other tabs.
Websites I have visited so far seem to render fine in IE8, I have not had any problems so far. I do I remember though the first time when I tried viewing this website in an early beta of IE8, I had some rendering bugs, mostly with margins if I recall correctly. I did not fix these quirks and the final version of the browser renders the website perfectly so it looks like the engineers fixed what was ailing. All in all, IE8 is a great browser with a beautiful GUI, it looks like they drew some inspiration from the upcoming Windows 7.
I thought it was about time to tweak the blog a little bit. So I added some more information to the footer; it now contains a link to the RSS feed that is automatically generated by WordPress and a link to follow me on Twitter. I also added my email address to the footer to make it a little bit easier for people to contact me. To foil spammers I made the email address an image instead of text, but if your typing and spelling skills are up to par you should not have a problem.
Another thing I wanted to update is the pagination of the blog. After some research into WordPress plugins I replaced the standard (pretty horrible) pagination with the WP-PageNavi plugin by Lester Chan. After some CSS styling I ended up with the Digg-like pagination you can see at the bottom of most pages. I might spruce these up some more in the future.
I also updated the neglected “Book of the Moment” section in the sidebar with jQuery in Action by Bear Bibeault and Yehuda Katz. I have enjoyed this book a lot and it has reignited my passion for coding which had faded a lot. I recommend this book to any web designer that wants to take up coding… it’s really not that hard to get started.
Thanks to Paulo from Abduzeedo for adding my blog to their list of 50 Awesome Blog Designs – Part 1. I have been a frequent reader of the Brazilian design site (don’t worry it’s in English) so it is nice little surpise to be included.
My apologies to everybody for not posting in a long while. I will start blogging more again, I promise, and now that I have started using jQuery I might have something interesting to write about. If you are interested in receiving updates to this blog, please subscribe to my RSS feed.
Here are ten of my favorite freeware grunge fonts. Many of them I have used for years and some of them are new finds. The reason why I like the distressed grunge fonts is that they are very versatile and have many uses. They come with built-in personalities and make a design pop. To see under what conditions you can use the fonts (e.g. commercial use), please read the document included in most of the zip files.
Download A Bite | Billy Argel
Download Bill Hicks | Jason Ramirez
Download Copystruct | Heinrich Lischka
Download Depraved | Rob Dobi
Download Dirty Ego | Eduardo Recife
Download Downcome | Eduardo Recife
Download Immoral | Rob Dobi
Download Rez | Faizal Reza
Download Trashed | Gyom Séguin
Download Uncle Typewriter | Germán Olaya