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Smashing Newsletter: Issue #78

This newsletter issue was sent out to 131,392 newsletter subscribers on Tuesday, February 19th 2013. If you are not subscribed yet, feel free to subscribe to our email newsletter1 anytime.


Back in 2006, Smashing Magazine started out as a random blogging experiment initiated by two like-minded lovers of the Web, which has now become one of the world’s leading online publishing companies in the field of Web design and Web development. We think it is high time that we present to you a Smashing mascot that represents our passion and what we stand for today. Ladies and gentlemen, please meet Cody!


Cody is a passionate little book that cares a lot about top-notch content just as much as we do. Perhaps some of you have already noticed: Cody is now to be seen in Smashing Magazine’s footer, and also to be found in many other places—but we’ll let you discover his hiding places yourself ;-)

If you enjoy reading our articles, you’ll love the Smashing eBook Library3, where you can get immediate access to all the Smashing eBooks (70% off the regular prices!) and vote on the topics you’d like to learn more about. Subscribe today4!

All the best,
The Smashing Editorial Team

Table of Contents

01. Freebie: Kitchen Cooking Vector Set5
02. Designing An Underground Map: Moscow Metro (Case-Study)6
03. Celebrating Every Minute Spent Outside7
04. Seeking New Adventures In 20138
05. Manufacturing Processes Showcase9
06. Blacklisting Malicious Code, With 5G Blacklist10
07. A Mild Case Of Borderitis11
08. Docverter: Converting Text Documents On The Fly12
09. Cancel Your Account Or Subscription For Good: WikiCancel13
10. Trails In The ‘Star Wars’ Galaxy14

151. Freebie: Kitchen Cooking Vector Set

If you find yourself working on a project that could use vector illustrations of kitchen utensils, the search for good ones might turn out to be quite time-consuming. Well, not if you know exactly where to look for them.

Freebie: Kitchen Cooking Vector Set

James Michael Viola has been releasing a series of free vector illustrations on his blog, and next to a wilderness survival kit, a sci-fi pack, a bicycle set and a nautical set, he released a Kitchen Cooking Vector Set with common utensils such as cheese grater, knives, rolling pin, egg beaters and pasta strainer. All vectors are available in .EPS and .AI formats and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. You don’t really have to search for a similar set ever again, do you? (vf)

162. Designing An Underground Map: Moscow Metro (Case-Study)

How would you design an… underground map? Well, drawing maps per se can be a quite sophisticated task, and if you consider designing metro maps, you can easily add a few levels of difficulty to it. Not only the “visible” parts of the network have to be shown on the map, but also their connection to an invisible counterpart, the underground city area, which has to be clearly presented on a very compact area with a relatively small size.

Designing An Underground Map: Moscow Metro (Case-Study)17

The design case study on Moscow Metro Map 2.018, by the well-known Russian design agency Lebedev Studio, shows the steps of the elaborate process of designing an underground map, including small decisions on which angles, lines, connectors and colors to use and how to represent rivers, tourist attractions and even a bit of the landscape. The designers briefly discuss decisions made and rejected and explain how the design evolved through a series of iterations. An inspiring process worth looking into, with the map’s evolution shown in 95 images. (tts)

193. Celebrating Every Minute Spent Outside

The moment you are reading this might be on a Tuesday at 11:44 am. It might be any other day and time. You might be inside. Do you have the slightest idea of what other people are experiencing, right now, beyond the borders of your own microcosm, outside? If you think you are ready to find out, then have a look at the REI 1440 Project.

Celebrating Every Minute Spent Outside

As you explore this interactive 24-hour timeline, the likelihood is high that you will get itchy feet and a serious thirst for adventure. The REI 1440 Project features photos of people in the outdoors — based on the minute of the day the shots were taken. It’s a place of happy, shiny moments from all kinds of people hiking, snorkeling, jumping, playing or doing whatever else — outside. Feel like taking part? You can submit your picture directly from your mobile device or from Instagram or Facebook. (ea)

204. Seeking New Adventures In 2013

What other better way is there to spend the long cold winter evenings than to watch a movie or (even better!) listen to a conference talk from your very own living room couch. We have released some more Smashing Conference 201221 talks: You can now watch Lea Verou, Andy Clarke, Josh Brewer, Stephen Hay, Rachel Andrew, Jeremy Keith and Brad Frost in action on stage!

Seeking New Adventures In 201322

This year, we’ll also be running a series of full-day Smashing Workshops in our home town Freiburg (Germany) with the most talented, skilled and passionate experts in the field of Web design. Here’s a quick overview of the upcoming workshops in early 2013:

The workshops will convey practical tips and techniques that will prove to be very useful and valuable in your regular work. Trust us—you won’t be disappointed. (il)

255. Manufacturing Processes Showcase

When you see a handmade object, a piece of art or a drawing do you ever wonder about it came to be, and what its production process was like? Are you eager to know what techniques the manufacturer applied to achieve the final product design? If the answer is yes, then Kontribit Documentaries Videos26 might help you satisfy your curiosity.

Manufacturing Processes Showcase27

In this growing video collection, you will be able to watch short, concise films about the production of screen printing, letterpress, drawing with dots, design prototyping, woodturning, shaping of knives and swords, designing a photo camera case, among others. And, if you are an artisan yourself, you might as well add a documentary of your own working process! (tts)

286. Blacklisting Malicious Code, With 5G Blacklist

If you take a couple of minutes to look into the logs on your server, chances are high that you’ll discover some quite surprising and… exotic URL requests that hit your website. Spammers and hackers are becoming better at finding and targeting evil exploits, bad requests and other nefarious garbage with the purpose of getting their hands on your data. Well, you can make it more difficult for them with a couple of extra directives in the .htaccess file.

Blacklisting Malicious Code, With 5G Blacklist29

Jeff Starr’s 5G Blacklist 201330 is a simple, flexible blacklist that checks all URI requests against a series of carefully constructed directives. It works well with WordPress, helping conserve bandwidth and server resources while protecting against malicious activity. To use it, include the entire 5G Blacklist in the root .htaccess file of your site. Make sure to backup your original file before making any changes.

If your site runs on Apache and you’re familiar with .htaccess, the 5G is an effective way to secure your site against malicious HTTP activity. (vf)

317. A Mild Case Of Borderitis

The use of boxes and borders is a popular and common visual technique for structuring content on a website or showing hierarchy and relationships of items. These boxes usually serve their purpose very well, yet sometimes they can be counter-productive and create new design issues rather than solve them. And before you know it, your usability tests might suddenly diagnose your site with borderitis, a layout that is more complex and difficult to scan than necessary — just because too many boxes and borders are visible.

A Mild Case Of Borderitis 32

In the article “A Mild Case Of Borderitis33,” Dmitry Fadeyev raises a point about visual clutter often being introduced by too many boxes and borders converging, and he takes a closer look at solutions to this issue. By taking the example of Gandi’s website34, Fadeyev discusses how we can avoid border overkill and keep the website’s interface lighter and less cluttered, as well as how to simplify the structuring of sections without losing any information. Agree? How many converging borders have you had in your recent design projects? (ea)

358. Docverter: Converting Text Documents On The Fly

If you ever needed to quickly convert a text document into a different format, you might have stumbled upon this open source tool that can save you lots of headaches and time. With Docverter36, you can convert text documents into advanced formats with simple REST API calls. Essentially, it’s a document conversion server with an HTTP interface.

Docverter: Converting Text Documents On The Fly37

The tool wraps several popular open source projects such as pandoc, calibre and Flying Saucer. Among the input formats are HTML, Textile, Markdown or LaTeX. The library can convert input files into PDF, Microsoft Docx, OpenOffice ODT, ePUB, Mobi and MediaWiki, just to name a few. Conversion normally takes less then ten seconds depending on the output format.

But how does it work? Easy. When making an API request, Docverter runs your input documents through pandoc. Depending on your output selection, it then runs it through the particular converter (HTML → PDF or an eBook converter) and — voilá — a beautiful rendered document is generated and delivered to you. Worth bookmarking. (ml)

389. Cancel Your Account Or Subscription For Good: WikiCancel

In our industry, there is a tendency to subscribe to pretty much everything and then keep your account, even if you don’t actively use it. After all, you never know where your next big project or contract will come from. Meanwhile, in the real world, people join LinkedIn or on a lark, but realize after a month that they don’t use it. Or they want to finally remove their Facebook account for good. Then after an hour of attempting to close their account, they call you, their Web geek BFF. Now, you could try your hand at the labyrinthine unsubscription process, or you could just take a look at WikiCancel for the easiest way to go about it.

Cancel Your Account Or Subscription For Good: WikiCancel

This wiki project’s goal is to make unsubscribing from newsletters, closing accounts and cancelling contracts much easier. The website already has the step-by-step process for some of the bigger companies, but your additions to the list will be greatly appreciated. So be a hero to your friends and either pass on the link or reap all the glory and describe how they can finally close that Facebook account once and for all. The project is a work in progress and contributions are welcome and encouraged. (jc)

3910. Trails In The ‘Star Wars’ Galaxy

“That’s right, Artoo. We’re going to the Dagobah system. I have a promise to keep… to an old friend.” For those of you this quote just sent on a quick jaunt to Never Never Land, there’s a new, wonderfully detailed map of the “Star Wars” Galaxy40.

Trails In The 'Star Wars' Galaxy41

Reddit user DrPoole42 has created a (very) detailed and quite comprehensive digital map of the Star Wars Universe (2400 — 1695 pixels). Track the epic journey of Han, Luke, Chewie, Leia and the other heroes of George Lucas’s galactic saga. The map also shows the routes taken by the characters in each movie sequel. Now, if this wouldn’t make a great wallpaper for every Star Wars fan, what would?! (jc)

The contributors in this newsletter are: Talita Telma Stöckle (tts), Esther Arends (ea), Melanie Lang (ml), Jan Constantin (jc), Iris Ljesnjanin (il), Vitaly Friedman (vf), Sven Lennartz (sl), Christiane Rosenberger (research), Elja Friedman (tools), Clarissa Peterson (proofreading), Ricardo Gimenes (graphics).


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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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    Thank you so much for featuring zomgimbored in your newsletter! I am truly honored and humbled!


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