Free June Calendar Wallpaper: Spacecat!

I was working on an esoteric website design when I stumbled across this awesome cat.  So, obviously we needed to put this cat in space, right?  Am I right? This wallpaper has a little bit of everything for texture lovers, sci-fi geeks and fans of surrealism.  But the star of the wallpaper is, of course, the cat, with an expression that says “don’t make me hurt you.”  The wallpaper is presented in standard, widescreen, iPhone and iPad sizes under a Creative Commons License in the following resolutions:

Widescreen
1920×1200
1440×900
1280×800

Standard
1600×1200
1280×960
1024×768

iPad
768×1024

iPhone
320×480

download Spacecat! 26.7MB
downloaded 4 times

Free Calendar Wallpaper: May Flowers

The weather here in Salt Lake City has been a little crazy.  We’ll have sun for a few days, then — suddenly — it snows.  In the morning, the snow from the previous night melts slowly off the new flowers as the birds sing and make nests in the trees.  In short, it’s Spring.  And we thought we’d share the joy of Spring with a wallpaper that reflected the season.  This wallpaper features some tulips from our garden on a marbled rock texture.  As always, we have resolutions for standard, widescreen, and i-devices.

Standard
1600×1200
1280×960
1024×768

Widescreen

1920×1200
1440×900
1280×800

iPhone
320×480

iPad
768×1024

download May Flowers 8.08MB
downloaded 3 times

Free Facebook Fan Box Widget PSD Template

As designers, we often find ourselves spending exorbitant amounts of time working on fake content.  It’s hard to describe something to some people without being able to show it to them.  Facebook fan page widgets are something you see everywhere, and yet, how do you incorporate them into a mockup without using someone else’s box or resizing it to fit into dimensions that fit your new design but aren’t the original widget’s proportions?  I have found myself in this position many times and, yesterday, set out to find a PSD solution.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t exist.  There are a couple really good Facebook UI templates (like this one from Fuel Your Creativity which has you covered on everything you need for an actual fan page, or this one that was featured on Smashing Magazine and includes everything else, from pop up messages to chat boxes to “loading” boxes), but nothing — nothing — for fan boxes.  This was a bit surprising considering the depth and detail of what was offered in those links above, but changing my query around got me no closer to a solution for what I was looking for.

So, I decided to make my own.

This Facebook Fan Box widget is fully layered and editable, down to the dividers inside the box.  The background is a shape with a stroke applied to reproduce the border around the Facebook widget’s iframe.  The size of the widget is 237 x 300 — which is what I generally use when I add fan boxes to sites I’m working on because it gives enough room to have an equal amount of padding on both sides around four columns of user photos.  The photos themselves are generic Facebook avatars that can be swapped with any image you want (or not).  All the text is editable and in Lucida Sans (which can be substituted with Lucida Grande for Mac-users).

This is version 1.0 of this PSD template, designed specifically for our own typical needs when we are designing mockups for clients.  It only includes the face-box-style fan box, but leave your comments below, and we might consider updating the template to accomodate different sizes or fanbox styles.

Download Facebook Fan Box Widget PSD Template 2.05MB
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Free Texture Pack: Grunge

There are a lot of grunge texture packs.  And there are a lot of ways of creating grunge textures.  That’s why our Grunge texture pack includes 22 unique grunge textures, from light experiments to dirty windows, shadows, spiderwebs and paint drips.

All our textures are released under a Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution Share-Alike license. Click the license badge below for more information about usage.

88x31 Free Texture Pack: Grunge
Arcane Palette textures by Arcane Palette Creative Design is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.arcanepalette.com.

To download this pack, click the link underneath the previews below.






















Download APmisc-grunge 22MB
downloaded 54 times

technology so cheap, it’s disposable

the other day i tweeted about a recent acquisition.  i found a computer lying in the street in the universal, “take this, it’s free” position.  i had little doubt that was actually the intent because the moisture underneath the pc case told me it had probably been out overnight.  i took it home figuring it looked decent enough that i could probably scavenge it for parts.

after getting it home, taking it inside, and finally turning it on, i realized something — this thing works!  it loaded windows xp just fine and brought up a logon screen for the previous owner.  note to anyone who may want to leave their computer on the street for someone to pick up: do a format first.  or at least secure your logon with a password. this pc had no password, so i was able to load up the desktop fine.  were i a less noble man than i am, i would have scoured the pc for personal information that i could potentially use for fun and/or profit.  i’m not that person, so i didn’t. but they loaded it with a lot of educational software, so i created a backup of everything in the off-chance i ever want to go through it all for the kids.

the pc is an emachines t2245.  it has an intel 845 chipset which i’m familiar with, having bought an asus motherboard a few years ago with the same chipset.  it’s got a 2.2gb celeron cpu, and a humble 256mb of ram, which i upgraded to 2gb with some ram i had lying around the house.  (literally, it was in the junk — or rather, use for art — pile along with said asus mobo with the same chipset.)  the pc is fully functional with one catch: the onboard network card is fried.

i can imagine the scenario: they’ve had this computer for a while.  one day, they can’t get their email.  they can’t browse the web.  it was never a top-of-the-line machine to begin with — in fact, being an emachines pc, it was probably pretty cheap — so, rather than taking it to some computer guy to pay to get it fixed, the previous owner figured it was just time to upgrade.

it makes perfect sense.  except to me, who is that computer guy, and realizes that buying a new network adapter would cost about 8 bucks.  with the ram upgrade, a bigger hard drive, and a new video card, it would be a new computer. (and again, these are things i have lying around the house.)  the rate at which processors have increased in capacity hasn’t increased nearly in line with the rate at which hard drives have gotten bigger and cheaper, so there’s not really much loss in getting a computer with a processor that’s a couple years old.

this makes me think about the rate at which technology is accelerating (and has been for years and years; long enough for this to not be news).  technology, particularly pc technology, has gotten is so cheap that it seems cheaper — and certainly easier — to throw away a perfectly good pc (with one minor deficiency), than to keep it and fix it.

on some level, it baffles me that people would just throw something that is still useful away, especially considering that the specs on this machine are no worse than a midgrade netbook.  throwing away a computer because of what could possibly be the cheapest piece of hardware on the pc fails would have been completely ludicrous 20 years ago, and still unheard-of even 10 years ago.  however, i realize they have a point — gadgets are becoming cheap enough that they are expendable.  and that’s okay.  by the time one piece of hardware fails, the technology has progressed enough that, yeah, it probably is time to upgrade to a new machine (if you’re inclined to do so), and not just fix the part.

at the end of the day, the real point is, your loss is my gain, so if there’s anyone else who has any technology they’re just offloading, let me know — i’d be more than happy to find some use for it.