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Smashing Newsletter: Issue #61

This newsletter issue was sent out to 107,681 newsletter subscribers on Tuesday, June 12th 2012. If you are not subscribed yet, feel free to subscribe to our email newsletter1 anytime.


When you stumble upon a Twitter account with a relatively large following, you might be wondering whether someone would actually read a tweet that you send them. Should you care about answering a question? Should you participate in a poll or survey? Is there any reason to get involved in a conversation if there is little chance of getting a reply?

Probably not. However, at our @smashingmag2 and Facebook page3, we care a lot about the feedback coming from our readers and fans. In fact, we read and care about every single tweet, and we do our best to reply to all the mentions, links, suggestions, photos, videos—whatever you can think of. We take our time to engage, to discuss and to help you out with a tweet or two—because your feedback is important to us. So feel free to send questions, suggestions and your general thoughts @smashingmag—we are reading and watching out for mentions and replies.

In this email newsletter we present a free font, useful jQuery libraries, keyboard shortcuts trainer and a SLR camera simulator. Also, we’re giving away two tickets to the Media Evolution conference4 taking place in Malmö, Sweden. If you’d like to win a ticket, tweet us why you’d like to go there and don’t forget to use the hashtag #smmeconf!

— The Smashing Team

Table of Contents

  1. Train Your SLR Camera Skills With CameraSim5
  2. Free Quality Font: Bariol6
  3. Make Things With WordPress? Code Poet Knows It All!7
  4. The Trouble Solver: 50 Problems In 50 Days8
  5. Beautiful HD Retina Wallpapers By Simon C Page9
  6. An Advanced Replacement For Select Element10
  7. Discover Obscure Keyboard Shortcuts11
  8. Share Wonder, Discover Wonder.12
  9. Museum Of Endangered Sounds13

1. Train Your SLR Camera Skills With CameraSim

Learning how to handle a SLR camera has never been easier or more comfortable. Developed by Jon Arnold, CameraSim14 gives you the opportunity to virtually try and learn how to use a SLR camera. For now you can experiment with lighting, distance, focal lengths, ISO, shutter and aperture, but more features are promised to be available in the future.

Train Your SLR Camera Skills With CameraSim15

CameraSim is a valuable tool for those of us who only use our SLR cameras in “automatic” mode or want to explore more possibilities before purchasing one. You might want to look into the desktop version (available for both Mac and Windows through the “pay-what-you-want” price), as it makes experimenting much easier. (ml)

2. Free Quality Font: Bariol

Free quality fonts are always difficult to come by—designing a typeface is a very time-consuming task which requires thoroughness and an attention to detail. Spanish designers from the design agency Atipo have recently released a playful, half grotesk and half rounded sans-serif typeface with curves—for free.

Free Quality Font: Bariol16

By default, Bariol Regular17 is available for free download, but you have to tweet about it first (which requires giving access to your Twitter data to—make sure to revoke the access after the download). The font can be used for personal as well as commercial work, and can be used with the @font-face-attribute. The complete family also includes Bariol Thin, Light and Bold, which are available as the “pick-your-price”-model, starting with 3 Euros per bundle. (vf)

3. Make Things With WordPress? Code Poet Knows It All!

WordPress has a very robust and active community surrounding it, which means there are constantly new books, interviews, articles and valuable resources coming out on it on a daily basis. Now you can keep up to date with all of it using WordPress Code Poet18.

Make Things With WordPress? Code Poet Knows It All!19

The new website provides you with updates about everything happening in the world of WordPress, including information about books, resources, and even exclusive sneak previews. Code Poet aims to be your go-to source for expanding your WordPress know-how. The website already has a remarkable collection of their favorite resources, adding new content to it all the time. (cc)

4. The Trouble Solver: 50 Problems In 50 Days

Design has many functions: aesthetics, ergonomics, functionality, and practical solutions for our everyday lives. Maybe one of the most important things is not even the most evident: the social function of design. Peter Smart proved this statement right through his project 50 Problems in 50 Days20.

The Trouble Solver: 50 Problems In 50 Days21

During his adventure, the designer traveled 50 days through diverse cities in Europe, with the intention to solve 50 social problems with design. Click through his itinerary and you’ll see the details for each of his solutions. There are valuable ideas offered that could be adopted by anyone, which would make a big difference in our everyday life. Hats off to you, Peter… that’s an inspiring project! (tts)

5. Beautiful HD Retina Wallpapers By Simon C Page

The Retina Wallpapers for iPad 3 are part of Simon C Page’s geometric CUBEN 12 series. The wallpapers give the impression of a very time-consuming piece of work, however they “actually didn’t take long to create”, as the designer states. The pattern was created through repetitions of one shape, equally spaced with a double-sized version over the top.

Beautiful HD Retina Wallpapers By Simon C Page22

As a second step, the designer picked out vibrant colors, ran a random color and transparency script, and added some noise as the final step. You can download these wallpapers from Simon’s page23 and if you’re looking for colorful inspiration, you might want to check Veerle Pieters’ inspiration stream24 as well. (ml)

6. An Advanced Replacement For Select Element

The good ol’ <select> controls are a common design element which is often used to provide users with a selection of navigation options or a value in a Web form. However, <select> can do much more than that.

An Advanced Replacement For Select Element25

Select226 is a jQuery-based replacement for the <select> element that supports search, remote data sets and infinite scrolling of results. With the library, users can type the first letters of the option they are looking for (e.g. the country) and select it from the updated list of items. You can also define a minimum input setting, a placeholder value and template options for customizing the display options (e.g. you can add a flag to the country’s overview). The library provides a plethora of further features, all tested with IE8+, Chrome, Firefox 3.5+, Safari 3+ and Opera 10.6+. The script works with IE7, too, but has some minor issues with z-index. Now, that’s a helpful addition for your toolbox! (vf)

7. Discover Obscure Keyboard Shortcuts

Everybody loves keyboard shortcuts… after all, they are those few helpful little time-savers that can significantly boost your productivity while making it easier to perform those mundane regular tasks. Every application has its obscure yet valuable shortcuts and Shortcutfoo27 helps you discover and effectively learn the right shortcuts for your favorite text-editing program. It works similarly to interactive websites that train vocabulary. The tool shows an action and your task is to type in the matching shortcut. There are one-minute sessions for several shortcut groups, and the it measures the time and accuracy of the right answers given.

Discover Obscure Keyboard Shortcuts28

Currently you can learn shortcuts from Vim, Sublime, Emacs, TextMate, Visual Studio, XCode and command line. If your enthusiasm for shortcuts goes even further, you might want to consider downloading the free CheatSheet app29 as well (available only for Mac). Once you’ve installed it, you can just hold the Cmd key a bit longer to get a list of all active shortcuts for the current application. Now you are armed with powerful tools to help you become quicker with your work! (ml)

8. Share Wonder, Discover Wonder.

In today’s Web, we often find ourselves buried in a wasteland of silly videos, YouTube comments and Twitter spam. It really is a challenge to find content of great value, even if you know where to look for it. Organized Wonder30 helps to separate the good stuff from all that noise out there.

Share Wonder, Discover Wonder.31

Organized Wonder is a platform to share and discover the best talks, documentaries, interviews, short films and various other videos across the Web. You can follow people you admire and share the content you value with others. Organized Wonder is a true oasis to find great content—let’s help to keep it that way. (ml)

9. Museum Of Endangered Sounds

Do you remember how your first mobile phone used to ring? What about the starting melody from Windows 95, or the background noises from the popular games Pac-Man and Tamagotchi? If these lines have awoken your nostalgic senses, you can remember these special sounds again in the Museum of Endangered Sounds32.

Museum Of Endangered Sounds33

Brendan Chilcutt selected samples of old technologies and electronic equipment and decided to create a museum for the sounds offered by these objects. He tries to explain that these noises also have musical value. Whether you agree or not, it’s up to you, but at least it’s entertaining to hear those forgotten tones that once used to be a part of our lives. (tts)

The authors in this newsletter are: Melanie Lang (ml), Cameron Chapman (cc), Talita Telma Stöckle (tts), Iris Lješnjanin (il), Vitaly Friedman (vf), Sven Lennartz (sl), Christiane Rosenberger (research), Elja Friedman (tools), John von Bergen (proofreading).


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The Smashing Editorial prepares bi-weekly newsletter issues with lots of love and appreciation for the good ol' web with the latest tips and tricks for designers and web developers. Vitaly Friedman, Smashing Magazine's editor-in-chief, started this project back in early 2010. Today, we can't imagine a better way of informing and communicating with our fans and readers!

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