Let’s Get Digital

Let's Get Digital

This might need to be renamed Let’s Get Digital (And Other Stories), because, as ever, I get drawn to stories about work, income, creativity and lifestyle. That’s no bad thing.

  • Gemma Hinnett has written about how apps make her morning more efficient – I can definitely relate to this! Thank the traffic gods for Citymapper – it saves my commute every morning.
  • Fun fact time: Facebook Live now has an audio-only mode for all the podcasters (face-shy people) out there. I see this as a fantastic opportunity to connect with screen-free smart devices such as the Amazon Echo.
  • What Homer Simpson’s 100+ jobs tell us about America’s middle class – I love this analysis. Interestingly the top four highest paid jobs are all STEM related, and Homer’s stint as a webmaster comes in at number 20 on the pay-scale.
  • What non design skills helped you develop as a designer (or coder or artist or scientist)?
  •  The State of Social Media in 2016 – a year in review by Callum McCahon. There is some food for thought here – namely with regards to Twitter (no, my beloved, don’t die!) – so worth a read.
  • Some interesting thoughts on 2017 retail trends from appear here: however in my mind they are all key to doing well in any sector this year. Community. Humanity. Integration.
  • Start 2017 right with good tunes – connect your Shazam account to your Spotify and auto-build a playlist of new discoveries. Simply head to your Shazam account settings page and link them up.  [via Michael Moran]
  • TIP: Ban Word bugs from your WordPress posts! Sick of cutting and pasting from Word, only for formatting gremlins to appear? plain-text-copyUse the ‘Paste as text’ button to ensure everything is pasted everything as plain text. Prefer a more permanent solution? Install this plugin.

 

Let’s Get Digital

Let's Get Digital

Karen Walker of the eponymous brand
Karen Walker of the eponymous brand.

Let’s Get Digital

Let's Get Digital

Pokemon arranged by colour
Gotta catch them all – Pokemon arranged by colour.

Fancy Hands: virtual assistance of the fanciest kind

Fancy Hands is a team of assistants who can help you do your work. Start knocking things off your to do list by assigning them to your own, living, breathing, Fancy Hands assistant.

Doesn’t it sound like a compelling offer? A digital right hand man or woman, ready to respond at a moment’s notice.

The assistants are all based in the US, but the service is available all over the world – as long as they can use a computer or a phone to achieve it – they can do it. I’ve had no problem being on the other side of the pond; in fact I’ve had help on both local tasks and even a task which require making a phone call to New Zealand.

Here are some of the tasks I’ve had the wonderful assistants help out with:

  • Find interviews/articles on souschef.co.uk
  • Find cool cases for my Nexus 5 phone
  • What are some cocktails with milk?
  • Edit Google Docs spreadsheet
  • Call Private Box and cancel mail holding service
  • Reccomend me three email marketing books
  • Research three savoury pie recipes
  • Look up tide times (for mudlarking!)
  • Research vintage stores in Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Screengrab social media accounts for the following brands

To date I have made 107 requests, had 61 calls made on my behalf and scheduled one event… saving approximately 1.5 days of time. When creating task requests you do have to be a bit prescriptive, but I take it on the chin as practice in the fine art of writing a brief.

Get Fancy, save some of your precious time. This is a referral link, but I would only recommend things I truly love, so trust me on this one. Plus, you’ll get half price on the first month.

Learning to code

How would you instruct someone to make a cup of tea if they had never done it before? This was a logic exercise we tackled in the very first session of 23 Code Street.

It sounds like a rather random activity on first consideration, but making a cup of tea, switching on a light or firing up your favourite website… These are all things we take for granted in our everyday life. But how does it all work?

Enter: the coding class – 12 weeks of getting to grips with HTML5, CSS3, Javascript, JQuery, SQL and an introduction to Python. All in the company of a great group of women who are also starting at the beginning.

As I’ve been declining any social invitations for Monday and Thursday nights, people inevitably ask, ‘Why do you want to learn to code’? Good question. Code is at the heart of what I do for a living – taking people’s ideas and bringing them to life online. Let’s be honest, I spend most of my working hours on the internet and embarrassed to say my coding experience ended about the same time MySpace fell out of fashion!

So far the bits and pieces of HTML and CSS I’ve gleaned I have been able to instantly implement: I’ve edited my employer’s website to use HTML class attributes and change font specifications with one line of code, and made sense of a website brief with regards to being mobile adaptive vs responsive.

Responsive - Adaptive

 

It’s said that “Diversity increases innovation and success,” and innovation is something that really motivates me. I also hope that learning the mechanics will help me bridge the knowledge gap for my clients and be a better part of my team.

At the end of the course I also would like to create a website/service for my industry that I’ve spotted a gap for, as well as an online portfolio… Watch this space!

Let’s Get Digital

Let's Get Digital

The actual photo, taken by Ted Thai in 1981. Ted Thai / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty

 

 

Let’s get digital

Let's Get Digital

Let’s get digital

Let's Get Digital
Let me hear your body talk, your body talk
Let me hear your body talk

And my favourite Instagram account of the moment – @paleyphoto from Matthieu Paley. I am lapping up all of his road trip photos – driving around India with two kids in a van, inspiring.

 

Let’s get digital

Let's Get Digital

Photoshop skills to pay the bills

Pitfield Cafe FlowersLike many people of a certain age, my experience with Photoshop began with a little experimentation here and there, correcting the blemishes of ones fifteen year old face, and cropping my parents out of pictures where I looked REALLY GOOD. Since then, I’ve never really bothered with any formal training, despite the fact I use the programme every day at work. This of course has pros, such as helping me develop a mindset of experimentation, and cons, like not knowing many time-saving hot keys.

Enter Adobe Knowhow. They have produced a 100% free Photoshop course designed for the total beginner. It promises that ‘you will learn Adobe Photoshop CC from the ground up, with no prior experience required’.

Over thirteen hours of bite-sized lessons, you’ll learn to create and manage colour in an image, use layers and work with filters. You’ll also get a resoundingly good overview of all the little tools and options available to you in the work space. I really recommend it for anyone who is starting from scratch, or has just been playing around by themselves for years… Within the first few lessons I learned how to make all my windows the same zoom % – which is a total game-changer!

Plus at the end you’ll get a little badge of achievement which you can use on your LinkedIn profile, or simply list the course on your resume. Sounds like an excellent deal to me.