The Making of Autochrome v3

Autochrome v3

Autochrome v2

It all started with an eagerness to create one of the simplest WordPress Photoblog. After a rough work with the first version of Autochrome, the second version saw a huge improvement in speed, crispness and a clear focus to the photos. Autochrome v2 leveraged the powers of WordPress while achieving minimalism and simplicity to give users a no-nonsense WordPress Photography Theme.

What we wanted to achieve with Autochrome v3

We really wanted to push the limit with Autochrome v3. We knew we needed to do something different so users can achieve more with the third version. There were few interim version of Autochrome which were never published but rather thrown away because they were not good enough, not worthy to be the successor of Autochrome v2.

While continuing and even pushing the envelope on minimalism and simplicity, we knew Autochrome v3 have to be faster, way faster, and have a laser focus on the Photographs and nothing else.

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Introducing Acorn WordPress Theme at Theme6

Acorn Wordpress Theme

After multiple delays and hesitations, I have finally released Theme6, a site dedicated to carefully crafted and well designed themes and templates. I’m lucky to have partnered with an awesome designer – Saneef Ansari. Our first release is a Typographically tailored theme for WordPress – Acorn.

Acorn is a mobile-first, retina-ready responsive theme focused on typography and content. It is designed to be clean, simple, minimal and to stay out of the way to focus full attention to your blog posts, articles and content.

Our idea is to keep it as simple as possible, without the need for any additional plugins nor custom fields. It would work without any special need to add/edit the contents of the blog posts or articles.

We are thrilled and would be adding more well designed themes in future.

Bulletproof your self-hosted WordPress blog: how to survive traffic spikes

There is a rather complex, long and detailed article on how to Bulletproof your blog: a guide for surviving traffic spikes, but for all the other self-hosted WordPress blogs out there, here is a simple non-geeky solution suited for most of us. You don’t need to edit anything, pull or push anything – you’ve to just worry about your actual writing/blogging.

Note: Recently one of my article, Desingineer – the mythical person every Startups are looking for, stayed on the frontpage of HackerNews for about 24 hours and it held up without any problem. Here is the video of the traffic onslaught.

Hosting

Host with a service provider who can scale up when you get a traffic spike. These days, there are WordPress speciality hosting providers. If yours is WordPress, why not host with them. I’ve hosted with both WPEngine and Page.ly and they’re equally good – go ahead and pick one.

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Nishita Photo theme on WordPress.com, another Photography theme, Autochrome, released

Autochrome Wordpress Theme

About a month ago, I got an email from Lance Willett of Automattic that they would be launching Nishita WordPress theme on WordPress.com. That was great news!

Honestly, I had not really been maintaining the theme though it turn out be a rather popular theme. The wordpress.com version was released sometime back – Nishita Theme on WordPress.com (theme showcase).

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Free CSS3 Videos, Startup Marriage, Effective Minimalism in Design, Free WordPress themes of 2011 and more

Looks like I spend quite a bit of my time reading news and information on the Internet. Here are few good ones that I found today.

Effective Minimalism in Experience Design

Tara Hornor writes about the strength of Minimalism which can bring forth clarity of form; clean lines, ample white space, and how minimal graphical elements can lend an air of simplicity to even the most confounding subject matter.

Minimalism is the act of stripping the form to its very basic, necessary elements, the keyword here being “necessary.” No true minimalist would approve of those designs that leave the audience confused or unsure. The idea is to make the message more clear, not more hidden.

Read the article at UXBooth – Effective Minimalism in Experience Design.

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The best blog platforms of 2011

Now that blogging has firmly entered the mainstream of online activities, the number of blogging services seems to be increasing by the day. But there are a few platforms out there that are miles ahead of the competition, offering the perfect mix of basic functionality and advanced features. These blog hosts each have their own unique take on just what blogging should be, so it’s important to consider their differences as well as their unifying characteristics.

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How about an Open Sourced office?

Open Sourced Notebook

Photo by Unseend

Open Sourced NotebookHow much does it cost you?

If you’re looking forward to start up a small business enterprise, investment happens to be a key concern. How much, how less and where exactly; these are the preliminary encounters.

Open source software has a lot of options for the business world, alongside the home user bandwagon. Apart from the other generic features, Open Source Software at times have a greater degree of customization as compared to their proprietary counterparts. This very fact is pretty evident with the fact that several large companies like — Google, Amazon, Yahoo, et al run their servers on Linux, again an Open Source OS.

The idea behind this article is not to force start you to follow the Open Source path, but to make you look at the same as an alternative before you shell out a few hundred or thousand dollars for a close
source and non-free product which does pretty much the same as it’s Open Source and free alternative.

Before we move on, I would like to clear out that free software and Open Source Software are two different entities, though they often come as a bundle!

Today, we shall have a look at a few Open Source Software which may just help you kick start your business.

Operating System

Fedora

The first need shall be to have a robust, secure and customizable operating system, both for the server(s) and the workstation(s). There are a lot of options available when it comes to Linux. Have a look at them at one of our previous posts – Which Linux distro is right for you?

I would recommend Fedora for free, or RedHat, if you can pay a bit for a great enterprise support. They have a cutting edge robustness and come with a lot of applications like OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, etc. as pre-loaded, catering your major necessities.

Office Suite

The next big thing is an office suite which shall help you with word processing, spreadsheets, presentation, databases, vector drawing, mathematical formulas, etc. OpenOffice is the best of all under this segment.

Email/IM

Fedora

You’ll be looking for a good Instant Messaging client for your Internet chat and of course a good Email application for your official mail domain.

Evolution is one of the best email clients available as free and Open Source. It provides you with an integrated email, an address book and calender to mark your appointments/schedules.

Thunderbird is a another cool desktop email client from Mozilla. It supports great customization, easy search, and enhanced security and privacy measures that keeps your information safe.

Jabber is the best known open source instant messenger. Apart from generic chat features, it gives you the ability to have VoIP conversations and transfer files.

Productivity Apps

Simple Note-Taking. Powerful Ideas.They shall help your work get easier than otherwise.

Tomboy is one tool which I love a lot! It makes taking and tracking notes pretty easily. It can help people at work while looking for websites, emails or a few striking ideas during the day as they may jot them down by using Tomboy notes. One push and the Tomboy pops out!

Desktop search helps you find a document/email/note/music or a calender entry in a jiffy! Beagle is one such desktop search application which may help people at work. Thus making a disorganized desktop belong to an organized executive!

Though not always, but you might need to burn some DVD’s once in a while to backup your data. K3B shall help your business with an easy and free way to burn those disks.

Thinking of an sharing your desktop remotely? I know that’s a much desired feature in today’s connected world. RDesktop is a popular remote desktop client. It lets you share information remotely, or access your own workstation while being away from the office. What more, it can help interface Linux with desktops that are still running Windows!

PDF’s, you’ll need to read them every now and then! Evince provides an open source alternative to the propriety softwares, allowing you to view documents in a wide variety of formats in a much lighter and quicker way.

Imaging and Design

Gimp

Depending on the kind of work you’re involved with, you might need to edit a few images at times.

GIMP is the Photoshop of open source world, though it is not as feature rich and friendly as Photoshop. Though it lacks some of the more advanced productivity tools found in Photoshop, but comes without the frills or a heavy price tag!

Inkscape is a great open source program for vector drawing, with its capabilities comparable to those of Illustrator or CorelDraw.

Content Management

Wordpress

Once you look up to have an organized data flow in office, you need a Content Management System. We shall look for some good options under this segment.

Joomla! is an open source content management software (CMS), that allows easily upload and creation a variety of web pages. Features include page caching, RSS feeds, blogs, polls, website search, news flashes, making it a great tool for entrepreneurs doing business on the web.

Exponent is a good solution for the technologically challenged entrepreneurs. One can make great websites using Exponent. You don’t need to code web pages or manage site navigation directly. Instead, you can create a web page as you would see it on the web by typing, editing and rearranging the options in a window.

WordPress! I can not miss this. One tool that has changed the way people look into the web. A robust, neat and fast growing CMS built on php, which again is an Open Source scripting language. The kind of support WordPress has, both official and unofficial is matchless.

Network and Server Management

Zabbix

When we talk about communication within an office, we need to look at the network management. Let’s figure it out the open source way!

Asterisk is a PBX (Private Branch eXchange) software that can facilitates an easily and cheaply control of the telephone system in your office. It works with both VoIP telephony as well as generic telephone systems with the addition of some inexpensive hardware. It has some great features which you might get on heavy shelling of cash, otherwise.

Zabbix Zabbix lets you easily monitor and track the status of network services, servers, and other network based hardware. If your business needs to track and report status on network systems, Zabbix’s easy-to-use mapping and graphing visualizations shall by no means disappoint you.

Apache supports a large number of web servers, worldwide, in an open source fashion. It provides some of the most widely used and stable HTTP servers available . It supports a lot of features including virtual hosting, SSL and TSL support, custom log files, proxy module, etc. It can be used as a secure server for web pages or to safely share files across the Internet.

Miscellaneous

GNUCash

GnuCash helps you keep track of your finances easily and efficiently. This free tool allows you to track bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses with a lot of features to create reports, make calculations, schedule transactions, etc.

SureInvoice facilitates an easy system for creating and managing invoices. You will find it useful in time entry, automated invoice generation, customer self-service, etc.

These were a few inevitable tools for your office from the Open Source world. I would like to repeat that OSS is an alternative to the propriety softwares, you may not necessarily stick to them or follow an OSS regime.

Stay tuned for more!