Tech, Tips, and Tutorials.
Reviews, News, and Rants.

Is the Nike Swoosh Important to you?

I recently purchased a pair of classic Nike Capri shoes, with a brown leather finish. I’m a huge fan.

Examining the design and the stitching, I can’t help but feel that without the signature Nike “Swoosh”, they’d lose a lot of the design quality. For fun, I made a mockup of what it would look like without the swoosh, and the result isn’t so impressive.

As predicted, the shoes end up losing that special design quality. While the look may be more plain and therefore lends to the retro look, they just don’t look cool anymore.

What do you think? Do they still look good without the swoosh?

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Cell Citation Notepad to Enforce Cell Phone Laws

I can't think of a better way to do a service for you and those around you than to punish/embarass rude mobile phone users.

These Cell Citation Notes are a great way to do just that - and in no uncertain terms too. While the notes themselves cost $4.50USD for a set of 50, it should also be possible to print them yourself at home.

It should be pretty fun to write up a ticket to give to the offender, detailing what they were doing wrong (the conversation section is pretty funny!).

Would you buy it? More importantly, would you ever pluck up the courage to hand these out? (via)

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2 Blogger Hacks to Enhance its Functionality

I’ll get this out of the way early: I love Blogger. It’s a great blogging platform. I’ve often been tempted to switch over to, but quite frankly, Blogger’s simplicity is hard to beat.

However, simplicity very often means a missing feature or two. Blogger is no exception. Its main problem is a lack of extendibility – and that it offers lesser functionality out of the box than other blogging platforms like WordPress.

So, below are two hacks that utilise jQuery, and provide some extra functionality to your Blogger-powered blog.

  1. Styling Author Comments

    Author comments need to be styled differently, period. Sadly, Blogger doesn’t provide us with any way in which we can style author comments using CSS selectors. It would add a nice touch to your blog if you could style author comments differently from the rest.

    Luckily, Jeremy Martin has produced some JavaScript code which is really easy to implement and will in turn allow us to style our author comment using typical CSS selectors.

    He’s published an easy-to-follow tutorial to get this job done. See it here. I’ve published two test comments on this post to check whether it works as advertised.

    Note: make sure you have enabled the Profile Widget. Go to your blog in Blogger, click Layout, and then Page Elements. Add the profile widget to your sidebar (not sure how?).

    Make sure that “Share This Profile” is ticked, otherwise the script won't be able to work.

    Like it or not, you have to enable the profile widget. Luckily it's trivial to hide it. Simply add the following line of code in the style section of your template:

    #Profile1{ display:none }
  2. Post Summaries

    Blogger has been neglecting this feature addition for a while, and I (along with many others) regard it as essential. The helpful team at BloggerBuster have come up with a very easy way to implement this feature using some more jQuery.

    Advantages include being able to adjust the length of the excerpt, and a customisable way of showing the rest of the post (either using an expander or using linking to the post page). Also, you don't need to go through the tedious process of editing every single post on your blog. This plug in works with what you've already got.

These two hacks will hopefully go some way to extending the functionality of your Blogger-powered weblog. Please note that too much JavaScript on a page can slow down its loading time somewhat.

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Win a $25 voucher to spend in ThemeForest

Enter a competition where you can win an instant $25 to spend in the marvelous new ThemeForest. Right here on Astute Photo!

ThemeForest is a brand new marketplace for buying and selling website templates and CMS themes for all sorts of products, including WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla.

Guised under the Envato umbrella, ThemeForest is destined to become one of the very best places to find all things “themey” (to use their terminology).

I recently got in touch with Collis (one of the founders) about covering his ThemeForest’s launch. He was nice enough to offer me a $25 voucher to give away to Astute Photo readers (in US currency).

I decided to host a competition to determine the winner of this voucher.

The Competition

I’ll pick a winner based on the best suggestion they can offer to help me improve Astute Photo. I have a special Suggestion Box set up just for this.

How To Enter

  1. Go through the blog and its articles
  2. Think up a suggestion
  3. Add a comment in the Suggestion Box, clearly stating that it’s an entry for this competition.

For me to count your suggestion, simply copy-and-paste this somewhere in your suggestion-comment:

Entry for ThemeForest competition: Best Suggestion

In more Detail

Here are the same steps in more detail, including some helpful tips

  1. Go through the blog
    1. Read a few articles and establish the type of posts I like to write about (got any great article ideas?)
    2. Look at the design:
      1. Form (how is it aesthetically?)
      2. Function (is the site functional?)
  2. Think up a suggestion
    1. Think about exactly what you would like to suggest (pin it down, don’t be vague)
  3. Write it in the Suggestion Box
    1. You have to submit it via a comment.
    2. Word it carefully, so that you leave me in no doubt what your suggestion is about.
    3. Make sure to mention the magic 6 words: “Entry for ThemeForest competition: Best Suggestion

What are the Rules?

There aren’t a lot of rules to follow. Just these:

  1. You have to write any entries for this competition in the Suggestion Box. I cannot accept entries to the competition anywhere else, not even in this very post.
  2. In order for your suggestion to be counted, you need to include this somewhere in your comment:
    Entry for ThemeForest competition: Best Suggestion
  3. You may make more than one suggestion. No limits on the amount of suggestions.
  4. Please sign the comment with your full name, and include some way I can contact you. Sadly Blogger doesn’t allow you to post your email address so it’s up to you. You can, for example, list your Twitter, WordPress, TypePad, AIM, LiveJournal, or your Google accounts.

Get suggesting now! Visit the Suggestion Box and leave a comment!

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Google Chrome gets an Update

Google Chrome, the newest web browser on the block has just received its first update.

There aren’t any technical details to be found about what the update brings. However on first impression it seems to be a bit more responsive. It’s also fixed the ‘:%’ crash which plagued the first public release.

If you entered colon sign followed by a percentage sign into the address bar, then Chrome used to instantly crash. Even hovering over a link containing the infamous ‘:%’ would cause it to crash. Thankfully the new build (Build 1798) fixes this issue.

There is still no fix, however, for the annoying trackpad-scroller problem. Basically, you can scroll down just fine, however it’s impossible to scroll up using the same method. This problem only exists on laptop trackpads – it works perfectly fine with a regular USB or PS/2 mouse.

How to Update Chrome

  1. Click the wrench icon (top right corner)
  2. Go to About Google Chrome.
  3. If your version is outdated, you should have an Update Now button next to the OK button. Click that to initiate the update.

No word on the Google Chrome blog yet about this update.

Note: An in-depth review of Google Chrome is coming up. I’m giving it a bit of time to sort out the kinks, growing pains, and fix a couple of known issues.

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Google enters browser wars with Google Chrome

As I write this, it’s just hit midnight over here and so today is the official release date of Google Chrome (it’s not, see update 2). Google Chrome is a new open source web browser.

Update: Chrome now available. See update 3.

Developed completely in-house, Google Chrome makes some pretty bold claims about being faster, better, and being built for the future.

They’ve also released an entertaining comic book to guide us through some of the amazing new features that Google Chrome is planning to offer:

  • A multi-threaded approach, similar to the way modern operating systems work. This will mean faster page loads.
  • Running each tab in a separate process, therefore it promises to be more memory efficient.
  • A task-manager for handling different tabs. This will enable you to see which tabs are using the most memory.
  • An advanced rendering engine, combining the best of both Firefox’s Gecko and Safari’s webkit technologies – regarded to be the best in the business of rendering web pages.
  • A completely redone JavaScript engine called V8, which promises blazingly fast JavaScript rendering. Firefox 3 is currently the fastest renderer, will Google Chrome beat it?
  • An intelligent URL bar, called the “Omnibox” – similar to Firefox 3’s awesome bar.
  • Each tab is sandboxed, meaning that a tab cannot by itself initiate commands and execute software. This is a nice improvement in security and should result in safer, more secure browsing.

There are a couple of features I haven't mentioned. I recommend you give the comic a good read through to find out about all the new features.

I’m personally very interested in this. As much as I love using Firefox and all its extensions and skins, it does get to be a memory hog at times. Plus I always appreciate faster page loads.

I’ll update when Google Chrome becomes available for public testing, which should be in a few hours. This software is at this point for Windows only.

Update: Google had posted screenshots at However this was quickly taken down and now redirects to the Google homepage.
Update 2: Just read that the official release date is slated for the 3rd of September. It’ll also be released to just 100 countries worldwide. So not only do we have to wait for at another day, but it might not even be available here in Malta. Boo!
Update 3: GOOGLE CHROME NOW AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD… and it’s everything I hoped for. Initial speed tests place it far above even Firefox and Safari.

Download at

If that doesn’t work for you, I’ve set up a temporary mirror which you can download Chrome from. To download click here.

It imported all my Firefox bookmarks and settings seamlessly. It even placed the stuff in its own bookmarks toolbar just like the way I’m used to from Firefox. It also imported the home page, and all my saved passwords.

A full review is forthcoming.
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