Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Down the Foxhole - ActiveDen

Down the Foxhole - ActiveDen

Link to Envato Notes

Featured Site: Envato Marketplace Wiki

Posted: 30 Nov 2010 06:13 PM PST

If you’re a marketplace author (or regular buyer) and haven’t visited the wiki yet, well… shame on you! Drop what you’re doing and head over to wiki.envato.com right now.

The Envato Marketplace Wiki is the best place to learn almost everything to do with our marketplaces. It starts with the basics, and will take you a long way towards becoming a successful author. The articles are sprinkled with humor, great advice, and useful warnings about what can go wrong (that hopefully you’ll take note of before they go wrong!).

You’ll also discover:

Have you visited the wiki? What are your favorite pages?

Author Interview: Raincutter

Posted: 30 Nov 2010 02:00 AM PST

Today we meet Anand (Raincutter) from GraphicRiver.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from, what do you do for a living?

My name is Anand and obviously I'm the real face of Raincutter. I'm 19 and currently residing in Ahmedabad, in the state of Gujarat in India. I'm a student, a freelancer and of course, a GraphicRiver author.

Which marketplaces do you belong to? What types of files do you sell?

At the moment I only create files for GraphicRiver and have 38 items in my portfolio. I've always indulged in creating backgrounds and business cards. My portfolio features a variety of other stuff as well. Recently I also started taking interest in bigger items such as flyers and Powerpoint presentations as well as many other categories I didn't tried out before.

How did you get started? Have you had any formal training?

I don't have any formal training. I was interested in art since I was a child. I guess that influenced me over time and made me take interest in designing when I got PC back in 2005. It wasn't too long when I found myself amidst a crowd of teens who loved creating forum signatures and similar small stuff. That was perhaps the beginning point to develop my skills in this particular field. So my first pieces of graphics were actually some shiny and brushy forum signatures.

After sometime I started dealing with it seriously and took some technical knowledge behind print, web and graphic designing through various resources on internet. I joined GraphicRiver in August 2009 but couldn't really concentrate on my work seriously until March of 2010. The awesome GR reviewers, community, and the encouragement of our Site Manager Amanda and Scott helped me further in understanding the standards and needs of design industry eventually leading me to freelance internationally after two years of local work.

Describe your home workspace.

Sigh… My workspace isn't really that great at the moment and not as professional as other authors. It's kind of congested due to the fact I had to recently change my monitor with a new one. My stuff has really been good value for me. I have an Acer v173 monitor and CPU with following basic specs:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E7500 @ 2.93 GHz
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • Nvidia GeForce GT 240 video card

Also I have my plastic lizard companion which soothes my soul if my items get rejected. :D

Describe your creative process. What steps do you normally follow to create your files?

It usually starts with some random idea popping in my head. It can be at anytime. It might either be while browsing inspirational work or even on my regular hike. Inspiration for me is something which stirs my creativity with awe. It forces me to try creating an item of that high quality but not necessarily the same visual style.

After I get hold of what I really need to create, I quickly open Photoshop and save a basic layout of the idea. I usually remember my ideas so whenever I feel like the atmosphere is perfect, I sit down in front of my PC and begin to give final shape to it. This is perhaps how I go basically creating files for my beloved marketplace. :)

However, if it's some new category I'm trying, I create basic items for it first so that I can understand the technical and aesthetic standard to pass it through the queue. Apart than that, there are times when your surroundings just aren't right to innovate anything at all. At that time, I shut down my PC, and either go out to take some fresh air or just take a little nap. The latter seems best though.

What is your advice to other authors regarding how to create a successful portfolio?

That's kind of really heavy question. I'd just state it as my opinion because I'm myself trying to stick to these points as much as I can.

  • First and foremost, quality beats quantity. No matter what, try to make quality and unique items. It will eventually pay off.
  • Constantly update your existing items and keep adding new ones to your portfolio. Exposure on the front page is a must if you want buyers to keep looking for your items. Eliminate unneeded items from your portfolio from time to time if they make it look poor. Think of Envato as a base to your future portfolio rather than just an earning machine.
  • Be active on the forums. You can gain a lot of knowledge about design trends and what's hot and what's not.
  • Give proper support to your buyers. Buyers at GraphicRiver don’t need much support if you have good documentation with your item and they can mostly be resolved in item comments. Remember, your buyers can be your potential clients.

What do you do to market your files?

I haven't really put much effort in marketing my files till now, but since my studies are almost over I'm heading towards its beginning. Presently I use Twitter to promote my files. Other than that I don't use any big medium except for the presence on marketplace forums.

What are your three favorite files, and why do you like them?

It's really hard to choose from my own files because I don't know which of my files do I consider my favorite. Anyways here are some which I really like:

Glowing Abstract Background: It's my top selling item. The reason for choosing it is whenever I see that preview, it just seems really cold and smooth with that blue version on the top.

Fusion Vibrant Flyer: It's my recently produced flyer and I love it because of the vivid colors and the way it went out in the end. I also love the glasses on this flyer.

Creative Pro Mega Pack: It's one of my 'most worked on' product and the reason I included it is its flexibility to suit any business or work field. It has a corporate plus a stylish look. It was also included in the birthday bundle of Envato.

Apart from yourself, who is your favorite marketplace author, and why do you like them?

Once again it will be really hard to choose from such a talented mass of authors.

If I talk about from overall marketplace, I particularly love the hellicious style of devilcantburn. The way he use dark color themes with beautifully carved web elements make his items really awe-inspiring and professional.

If it's particularly for GraphicRiver, then Sevenstyles is someone who has inspired me a lot lately. He produced some really great flyers and posters. Once you look at his work you probably cannot stop yourself checking out his portfolio every few days.

There are probably hundred more but I can't list them all here now, can I?

What do you do in your spare time?

I usually spend my spare time reading quotes. You can often find me playing RPG or RTS on my PC or either watching action/fantasy movies or listening to music. :D

7 iPhone Apps to Check Your Envato Marketplace Stats

Posted: 29 Nov 2010 09:31 PM PST

If you don’t regularly visit our Appstorm sites (and why not?!), you may have missed a great post featuring some awesome marketplace stats resources. Joshua Johnson recently ran a post on iPhone.Appstorm listing 7 iPhone Apps to Check Your Envato Marketplace Stats.

As an Envato Marketplace author, you frequently have to stop by a site to check in on your earnings, comments, etc. Recently, Envato released an API for the marketplaces that has led to a sudden crop of awesome apps allowing you to perform this task right on your iPhone. Below we'll take a look at all the apps currently available for marketplace authors so you can decide which is right for you.

Are you a marketplace author? Do you have an iPhone? Well, what are you waiting for? Hit this link, check out the apps, and buy the one that jumps out at you. Or buy all seven and be the envy of the next Envato meetup!

Latest From : CleanTechnica

Latest From : CleanTechnica

Indian School Kids Testing Solar-Powered Computer Tablet

Posted: 30 Nov 2010 04:00 AM PST

Indian schoolchildren testing out the I-slate

About 100 million Indian children do not have electricity in their schools. Of course, this means they are without computers, too. However, this may soon be changing.

“Students in rural Indian villages are now in the process of testing the I-Slate, a solar-powered tablet PC developed by Rice University and Singapore's Nanyang Tech University,” CalFinder Solar reports.

The I-slate is the brainchild of Rice University’s Krishna Palem and is reportedly “the first of a series of electronic notepads being built around a new class of low-energy-consumption microchips that use a fraction of the electricity of today’s computer chips.” Along with Rice University, this technology and project is being worked on by researchers at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Indian non-profit Villages for Development and Learning Foundation (ViDAL), and Switzerland’s Center for Electronics and Microtechnology.

The I-slate is expected to be able to run on the solar power of panels similar to those in hand-held calculators due to these new microchips.

Testing Out the I-Slate in Indian Schools

So far, Indian schoolchildren (mostly age 10-13) in a school near Hyderabad have tried out early prototypes of this technology.

Most of these children never saw a computer or video game before, but they were apparently very curious and eager to learn about and use the technology.

“Children in Indian village schools are just like their peers anywhere in the world: eager to learn, tech savvy, and willing to try new pedagogical tools that engage their creative minds,” says Rajeswari Pingali, ViDAL president.

“They immediately picked up on the technology,” says Rice undergraduate Lauren Pemberton. “They clearly didn’t like some of the things we expected to work really well, like the button placement, but they loved the scratch-pad application which was added at the last minute.”

Such a technology would, of course, do wonders to improve India’s economic advancement.

“President Obama’s visit to India this week highlights Indian economic achievements, but India’s full economic potential will only be realized with sustainable, low-cost technologies that benefit all segments of the population,” says Palem.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) apparently has faith in the technology. In 2009, it was one of seven technologies the IEEE believed would “have world-changing implications on the way humans interact with machines, the world and each other” in the years to come.

Looks like a fun project and one that could do much for India and other low-income countries.

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Photo Credit: TG Daily

Chevy Volt Plays Santa with Green Jobs

Posted: 29 Nov 2010 10:00 AM PST

chevy announces rehiring workers for Volt manufacturingJust in time for the holidays, GM has announced that it is investing $162 million more in three of small-car its manufacturing plants, including one that makes the generator for its Chevy Volt electric/gasoline vehicle, which Motor Trend has named 2011 Car of the Year. The investment means that GM will rehire laid-off workers as well as retain workers and create new hires, and it appears that more Volt-related green jobs are in the works for next year.

More Volt Engines in the U.S.

Of the three factories, GM’s engine operations in Flint will get the largest slice of the pie. This is the facility that builds the generator for the Volt, and it will also build engines for other compact models. According to GM, Volt engines are being built in Austria and shipped to the U.S., but the company expects to ramp up its domestic production to 800 per day (yes, per day) by the end of 2011, and possibly to 1200 by the next year.

More Green Jobs in the U.S.

Between the Volt and its focus on compact models, GM is heading in a greener direction, and Motor Trend’s seal of approval is the icing on the cake. GM has also gone out of its way to promote the Volt as an all-American car for all Americans, not just the “real” ones. Of course, not everyone is happy. There is still at least one self-proclaimed automotive expert out there in the talk show world who seems to have made a new career out of hating the Volt, despite its promise of job creation and a cleaner environment. In fact, there seems to be a whole trend brewing out there to punish companies that create new green jobs and bring new green products to the market, such as General Electric and Johnson & Johnson. Oh well, what would Christmas be without Scrooge?

Image: Christmas tree by sociotard on flickr.com.