Google Docs to Get New Look

New Google Docs Look

Google Docs has started to allow users to test out the new look that integrates the user interface with the rest of the redesigned Google websites. More padding to given to the document list and a move towards the new Google color scheme of grey text and orange highlights for the buttons.

To activate the new look click on ‘Try the new look’ near the gear icon in the top-left of the screen. Google staff said that the new look would be rolled out to “users over the next few days”.

The redesign will also include keyboard shortcuts which will make it possible to browse the Google Docs interface without a mouse. Pressing the question mark key will bring up and list of the new shortcuts including Shift+t to start a new text document, this changes for the starting letter of each file-type, for example a presentation is Shift+p.

Google has also started a feedback form for submitting comments. The dense view can decrease the padding by clicking on the gear icon then selecting document settings.

Draw Your Own ASCII Art Using JavE

ASCII art (made using Jave)

If you’ve browsed the internet for a while you have may have seen the often intricate ASCII art, if you haven’t ASCII art is the use of text to create art. Although ASCII art can be created using a text editor and lots of time, JavE can speed up the design process by using a mouse to draw and create elements such as text boxes for annotations.

JavE is a free editor that runs using Java to create ASCII art and requires Java Runtime Environment to start the program if you haven’t installed it already. This powerful editor includes the ability to convert images to text, crash recovery and a paint brush which automatically fills in defined characters. JavE can also be used for manually typing in letters if you prefer to create your own ASCII art without any of the added features.

The download for JavE is tiny, just over 1 MB but if you just want to convert an image to text without downloading the application try PicASCII which converts images to ASCII.

Hunting Arrows is a Fun Flash Experiment

Hunting Arrows Flash Game

It’s very rare for Linear Fix to feature any type of game, but this little flash game by Eric Ishii Eckhardt called Hunting Arrows (also called ‘Predator & Prey Arrows’) is a great five-minute time waster. The game is made up of black arrows (predators) which consume the colorful arrows (prey), leaving behind a splash of paint behind.

To play, click on the edges of the game to get more of each type of arrows and move your mouse to control them. To get an entire swarm of arrows click and drag on the edges.

Via Wirtaz on Reddit

ABC’s Hungry Beast Showcases Excellent Animation

Here is some fantastic animation from The Hungry Beast, a popular Australian television program on ABC (Australia’s national public broadcaster).The television show goes on to describe a powerful root-kit virus called Stuxnet which was discovered last year and was created to spy on industrial technology.

The program uploads most of their segments onto YouTube with focuses on investigative journalism combined with excellent animation and jokes with hints of satire. Here’s another impressive animation made last year on Google:

Google Tests New ‘Cosmic Panda’ UI for YouTube

New YouTube 'Cosmic Panda' UI with Video

YouTube is testing a new unified look with a new coat of black paint, greater interactivity and better tools for editing profiles. The new design can be tested out by going to the Cosmic Panda test ground. Suggested videos are given more prominence by switching from the comments view to suggested videos view as well as video size, which will change the container of the video without changing the resolution of the video.

Channel branding in YouTube

One of the most impressive features is the new channel editor. The old channel designs are replaced with a cleaner look, with descriptions in a grey box on the side and videos taking a large component of the default profile view option (it can be changed to compact versions). Gone are the options to customize channel colors, though the channel editor as with all new design features are yet to be nailed down.

Noam Lovinsky and Alex Nicksay wrote on the YouTube blog that ‘we’re eager to hear your feedback as it’s a great chance for us to incorporate your ideas into future designs for YouTube,’ the feedback option is accessible from the blue bar on the side of videos.

The design coincides with a push from Google to re-brand services for Google+1. GMail, Search and Calendar are some of the most popular services which have already received a redesign. According to Mashable, Picasa will be renamed Google Photos and Blogger as Google Blogs.

Google to Redesign Search User Interface

New Google Interface
Click for larger image of the new Google interface

Google has started the roll-out of a new user interface will be used across Google products (we’ve spotted the interface in Google Maps Canada above). As part of the redesign, the Google homepage will also change to allow for a cleaner look, visible in a screenshot from the Google blog.

Google says the interface will have three components: focus, elasticity and effortlessness. The first, focus, relates to removing clutter to find better results. Elasticity relates to the webpage being re-sizable from large screen to small screen devices whilst effortlessness relates to the usage of HTML5 and WebGL to ‘combine power with simplicity.’

The redesign is expected to combine components from the new Google+ Project and newly redesigned icons.

Edit: Here is an image of the new interface when searching:Google's new interface in Search mode

What Was the ‘S’ Thing We All Drew?

Remember this logo? More than 450,000 people remember it and have liked the Facebook page called “That ‘S’ Thing We All Drew In School“. How did the ‘S’ thing, sometimes known as ‘Super S’  or the Stussy symbol come about?

Many internet boards and Reddit have discussion on the topic in multiple posts. There is a general consensus that this is the logo of Stussy, a popular clothing company which originated in the United States. However, there appears to be no real example of Stussy ever using the logo. Some users even commented that the logo was banned in their school due to connections to gangs.

It is likely that the ‘S’ thing was spread simply because it looked interesting and was later given the name of Stussy, even if it didn’t have a connection to the brand.

Know of its origin? Remember drawing it? Comment below.

Gawker Media Page Views Dive After Redesign

Statistics publicly released on Gawker media blogs including Lifehacker, Gawker, i09, Gizmodo, Kotaku, Jezebel, Jalopnik and Deadspin, show an increasing downwards trend in unique views after questionable redesign. The February 2011 redesign on the Gawker blog shows the January 2011 high of 8,871,678 to 2,153,178 during the redesign and down to 631,825 in April 2011 (see below graph).

Statistics for Gawker Media after Redesign

The same unique page-views is true for Gizmodo, a popular technology blog run by Gawker media. Views have fallen from the January 2011 high of around 16 million to 4.5 millon in February to the low of 1.3 million in April.

Gizmodo Views after Redesign

The redesign has been highly controversial with many users unhappy with the new redesign with many taking it to the forums for the redesign. The redesign takes the format of the magazine and makes it extremely hard to view older articles which are in a small scrolling area.  Gawker has attempted to fix some issues, such as incompatibility, adding a ‘blog view’ option.

How to Find Fonts Used on Book Covers

To Sir with Love Cover

Yesterday, I managed to pick up an old copy of To Sir with Love, written by E. R. Braithwaite. The 1978 edition features a wonderful font on the back and front cover (see first right). Finding the font used was made very easy with WhatTheFont and a photograph of the front cover.

Try cropping a segment of the text in the photo and upload the website for best results, I cropped the text using XnView but almost any other image program is up the job even Microsoft Paint.

Once you have uploaded the segment of the image on WhatTheFont, check that they got the characters in the font correct; the OCR text recognition software mistook the ‘S’ as a ‘5’ so check the results.

Font Selecting in What The FontA list of results will come up with the best results for your image. A font match was around half way down the page: Windsor Extra Bold Condensed. To double-check click on the font and change the sample text to the text you are looking for (see below) to check the accuracy. WhatTheFont also provides information on where to buy the font and pricing.

Testing the font 'Windsor Extra Bold Condensed'

How to Make a Business Card in Inkscape

Today we will be using Inkscape, a free vector image editor, to create a business card.

1. Click on File>New>business_card_85x54mm to get the inbuilt blank template for creating a business card. 90x50mm is also available directly below the first option.

Selecting the business card template in Inkscape

2. Change your background color by editing the document properties (Shift+Ctrl+D/ File menu) and clicking background. I have selected a red color and turned off the transparency, this will be my solid color of the business card.

Changing the background color using Document Properties

3. Now it is time for some text; use the text tool (F8) by clicking on the icon of the ‘A’. I have used Prociono, a free font from The League of Moveable Type; this font was also chosen as of our favorite ‘classic’ typefaces.

Text on a Business Card mockup

4. Notice how all the text is not aligned if you have created the text boxes separately, select all the text boxes use Align and Distribute (Ctrl+Shift+A/ Object menu) and select a option to align your text.

Align and Distribute in Inkscape

5. To add an image just drag and drop an image from a folder or use File>Import. I have added the Linear Fix logo and downloaded a icon set from OpenClipArt to serve as the mail, phone, address icons and made some finishing resizing of text.

Logo and icons on a business card