WordPress-loving Icon Designers and a Small Update

Two short remidners dear WordPress users: the first is a small update to one of the libraries WordPress uses and the secod is a call for help by WordPress for cool icon designers. Read on:

A vulnerability in the Snoopy library was announced today.  WordPress uses Snoopy to fetch the feeds shown in the Dashboard.   Although this seems to be a low risk vulnerability for WordPress users, we wanted to get an update out immediately.  2.6.3 is available for download right now.  If you don’t want to download the whole release to get the security fix, you can download the following two files and copy them over your 2.6.2 installation.

  1. wp-includes/class-snoopy.php
  2. wp-includes/version.php

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The icons: We’ll need icons for each of the main navigation sections, plus a matching pair of list/excerpt view icons for the table screens like Edit Posts. That’s a total of 13, and for the navigation icons we’ll also need a larger size for use in the screen headers. Some of the sections have natural iconography, while others may be more challenging. The sections are: Dashboard, Posts, Media, Links, Pages, Comments, Appearance, Settings, Users, Plugins, Tools.

Interested? Send us an email and tell us why you want to design the icons, and include a link to your portfolio. How we wind up choosing an icon designer will depend on how many people respond, but we’ll keep you posted on the process. For now, send in portfolio links by Saturday night, October 25, 2008. We’ll review them over the weekend and get in touch with people on Monday. Hopefully we can be designing by early next week.

This is it. First update your WordPress installation and second, if you are a great icon designers, than go and tell the WP world that you really are.

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Freelancer’s Great Sales Proposal

As a freelancer you have always to write a sales proposal or at least emails that are a sales proposal in nature. What do you mention on your proposal? How do you explain your product or service to your prospect? How do you present yourself to your prospect? These are crucial questions that Miles Burke has answered on a blog post at SitePoint Blogs. I love that article and I am going to read that time and again for sure. The most significant thing I learned reading that article was this:

Sell benefits, not products. You may have a great content management system, email gateway, or other product, but talk about the benefits of these, not the product features.

Also, another great point to mention is this:

Conclude the proposal with a call to action. Don’t just end it with a price for the job. State what the terms are, and make it easy for the prospect to action the starting process. For example: “Send this page back, signed and dated, and we can commence immediately” is far better than a dollar figure on the last line.

Go to SitePoint and read full article. If you love it too, please let me know through a comment on my blog. Thanks ang good reading!

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The Nightmares of a Freelance Web Designer and Coder

My freelancing adventure came naturally through after I finished university and I did not like at all to become a teacher, I did not find a proper translation job, I had more than one of dilettante web designing experience and I went mad about web designing. Here I am now, not even thinking of doing anything else than freelance web designing. I have gone through several web design project by now and during this time I have had more than a couple of nightmares that has made my life as a freelancer more difficult that it really is.

First Nightmare: By this time I had designed several website at the local market and I had been payed in cash. I didn’t find jobs enough to satisfy my needs for money and work; an website in not yet mandatory for being an successful business in my country. I decided to work abroad and I fond it thrilling. I applied. I was accepted. My fist job was a XHTML/CSS layout fix and we agreed upon that I would be payed $20 for that. It took me about two hours to finish that and I was happy to be payed for that for being the firs job abroad.

I finished the job and I sent to my contractor my PayPal account email. And off course I received the money. No, I am joking, I didn’t and I haven’t yet. No, I was not scammed, it was PayPal, it did not provide money receiving service to Albania, my country. This is not the worst news, the worst is the fact that I did not grasp this immediately, but about 1 month later. During this month, I called PayPal and waited in the line for 10 minutes after I could speak the the first human talking-machine of whom I could not understand a word. Then they made me speak with a more moderate English speaking person. They tried to help me a lot and pissed me off a lot too as they told me to click on links and buttons on my PayPal account which did not exist at all there.

Every time I made a change into my Paypal account, I asked my Australian contractor to make a try to send me the $20. More was I interested to make sure that my PayPal account worked, than I was interested in the money itself. And every time he tried, and I thank him a lot for that, he could not do it. This situation went on until one day when I decided to upgrade to Business package at PayPal. I did it and, as always, I asked my contractor to make another try. He did and copy-pasted to me the following code: “Currently PayPal accounts in Albania are only able to send payments. This recipient is not eligible to receive funds.” I sent another email to PayPal with the above statement in it and at last they said to me that I could not receive money in Albania with PayPal. This as a really painful relief for me.

Second Nightmare: During the time I had been fighting to make PayPal work, I was considering other payment methods rather than bank transfer, as it was too slow and to expensive comparing to PayPal. I made several searches and concluded that I would be using MoneyBookers. I registered even there and I really liked the way it worked, but I had to receive a snail mail letter with a code in it in order to fully activate my account. This was a bad news for me as my house has no address, I mean, it is somewhere, but it has no official location because this is how my country is, full of new buildings everywhere and which have no address because they are built privately without having an legal permission in advance.

Being it this situation, I decided to receive the letter at my university’s address where I have received several letters during my studding there. They said that the letter will be arriving within 2-3 days and this was fear enough for me. But the other bad news is that I am now in the second month of waiting and no letter has yet arrived, this is at least what my fellow students say to me, as they check if it has arrived or not regularly. I am still hoping it is on its way …

Third Nightmare: People in my think I am jobless. Well, I keep saying them I do web design, but they keep asking “Who do you work for?” or “Who is your employer?“. They think that having a jobs means being employed by someone or having a shop and stay all day inside it, no matter what you earn. This has been a problem even with my parents, as they expecting me to have a regular job after graduating, but when they saw I earned something, they realized that I was serious about it. Others still do not grasp what I do as the culture of freelancing is completely unknown in Albania, especially the web freelancing because internet is not that widespread yet.

These are my obstacles in my freelance career that many of you do not have or even imagine to have. Let’s say I am a little less fortunate at this point. This was my story, thanks you for reading it.

PS: Please keep in mind that I suffered these problems at the time I began freelancing in web desing and development abroad. Right now I have overcomed most of these problems and things are going fine. 🙂

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Microsoft Supports Open Source Financially and More

As a Open Source guy I found this a great news and could not resist sharing it. Microsoft is supporting Apache Software Foundation financially and a numerous other Open Source projects in other various ways.

Yahoo News says:

Microsoft on Friday expanded its support for the open-source community by giving money to the Apache Software Foundation, the first time it has given money to the long-standing open-source project.

Microsoft also said it is contributing code to support a PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) project and committing to offer royalty-free specifications for Windows Server and.NET Framework protocols as part of its expanded support for the open-source community. The company announced its plans at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) now being held in Portland, Oregon.

Read more at Yahoo News

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Design Prinicples

Hi guys! I just couldn’t resist to share with you something I read at SitePoint Forums.

1) Knowledge of Photoshop or other software techniques does not make you a designer. Techniques are simply tools. A talented sculptor does not need the best tools. Having the best tools simply helps the sculptor.

2) There are no “rules” in design. There are only problems and solutions. How you go about finding the latter to solve the former is up to you.

3) Schools teach you techniques, give you ideas, and help inform you of approaches, beliefs, and theories. You can learn all this yourself if you’re passionate about what you do.

4) Design isn’t something you can “learn” like a skill set (e.g. plumbing). It’s like music. Either you have it or you don’t (as American Idol has showed all of us). If you have no passion for it, you will never succeed.

Basically – if you’re doing it for the money or the fame, prepare to fail, badly. No successful artist / designer ever worked for financial stability. They did it out of love / passion for it. The money just came later.

5) The competition is very, very, very fierce. I’ve heard lots of sob stories about “wannabe” artists giving up because they couldn’t match the current level of design a good number of people are producing. Know what you’re getting into first, because you realize very early on that it’s not going to be a walk in the park.

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