Pumpkin Carving Party!

Every year we host a pumpkin carving party at our home and this year was lots of fun! Of course Southern California, where I live, has basically been on fire, so when it began to rain before the party it was hard to be upset. But the rain let up, lots of people showed up (60+), great food, lots of time with friends and the pumpkins were great!

– Troy @ TLC

Personal Resource/Misc

Should have waited for 24″ monitors

Here is an interesting graph showing the market price for 24″ LCD monitors over the past year.

I have found running two widescreen monitors (shown here is my main work area with 21″ monitors) makes design work much more efficiant – but I should have held out for the 24″ monitors!

– Troy @ TLC

Portfolio Templates/Assets

3 Screen Show Template

One of my recent projects was developing a 3 screen presentation for a large corporate event. Each screen was widescreen format (16×9). My goal was to create flowing template art that visually radiates from the center screen to the outer screens. Here are all three screens:

Here is a bit closer look at the left screen:

– Troy @ TLC


ClickArt online royalty free art

Many years ago for images in our projects we relied on $300-500 per disk photo CDs and for vector art things like the 20 CD ClickArt 1 Million collection. Well, ClickArt is back – and now online.

Although it features lots of photo images, they are relatively small at 800px wide and 72 dpi. The offering is wide, with many having those same 80/90’s fashions I remember from use years ago. But many are ultra new and even the same images I have pulled from sources like (of course much smaller file size here).

And if you need vector art (aka: clip art or line art), having a searchable database and unlimited downloads for a year is worth the price!

As for price, they are currently offering a 1 year, unlimited download for only $40.00!!

Click here to check out all the details.

– Troy @ TLC


Make All Files Have SameTime Stamp

When working on multiple computers it is critical to be able to tell which files are new, or old, based on their time stamp. The solution is to run an application that updates the computer clock to an atomic clock through the internet.

I run SYNCIT With Atom on all of my computers, but there are tons of applications available. I have mine set to update/verifty clock accuracy every 45 seconds. And guarantee I know which file is the latest-and-greatest based on the time stamp – no matter what computer I was working on.

Click here to go to info/download page.

– Troy @ TLC


Make Text MORE Legible

Another free application from Microsoft that ranges from good-to-great depending on your monitor is the CLEARTYPE TUNER. It basically tweaks the way Windows displays text on an LCD monitor.

It does not hinder, or noticably improve, displaying through a projector – and depending on your monitor it may or may not make a noticeable difference (on my 1900×1200 WXGA monitor it made a very noticeable effect, on a 1440×900 monitor it gave no noticeable difference).

Click here to go to download page

– Troy @ TLC


Be Visual with Active Apps

Being a graphic designer I admit that I understand things better when I can see them. One of the great features of the new Vista OS (and on Macs for awhile) is the ability to rollover the taskbar tab and see a thumbnail of the current application content. If you are running XP you can add this type feature to the Alt-Tab method of choosing your application.

With the Free Microsoft ALT-TAB tweak installed instead of seeing just the application/file name as you alt-tab through the active items, you see a thumbnail of the current content.

Click here to go to the download page at Microsoft.

– Troy @ TLC


Download More

I often, as I am sure you do, have to download lots of files for a project (PowerPoint, Photoshop, images, PDFs, etc.). Unless all are on an FTP site I can access with an FTP application your browser limits you to 2 simultaneous downloads. Great if I was on a bandwidth limited dial-up modem, but I have a 15mb/s connection and want to download more.

The good news is this limitation can be overcome, but you have to do a bit of digging and adding values. I have all of my computers set to allow up to 10 simultaneous downloads. Here’s how:

1. Go to START >> RUN >> REGEDIT
3. Click USER
6. Click WINDOWS

Now that you have burrowed deep into the OS, you need to add to new values (the ones that say let me download up to 10 files simultaneously).
9. Right-click anywhere in the right pane
10. Select NEW
11. Select DWORD VALUE

These next steps you will repeat twice, once for each needed value.
12. Double-click the newly created NEW VALUE #1 icon
13. In the Value Name area type “MaxConnectionsPerServer”
14. In the Value Date area type “10”
15. In the Base area click DECIMAL
16. Click okay

Do it again.
17. Repeat #12-16, but in the Value Name area type “MaxConnectionsPer1_OServer”

You are now free to download up to 10 files simultaneously (provided you have enough bandwidth with your internet connection)!

– Troy @ TLC


Make Your Desktop Presentation Worthy

This is one of the nifty features of Windows (XP) that no one seems to know about. Before a presentation, I use the “show/hide desktop icons” feature to hide every single item on my desktop. That way if I need to exit a presentation for any reason, the only thing projected is a my desktop wallpaper. After the presentation, I restore all in just one click.

1. Right-click desktop
2. Go to Arrange Icons By
3. Select Show Desktop Icons
4. Let the screen refresh (may take a few moments) and you are left with a completely clutter free view!

– Troy @ TLC


Reorganize the Task Bar

If you have multiple presentations, several applications and numerous windows explorers open – the task bar becomes crowded and confusing. For just situations, I use the free application ‘Task Arrange.’

This lets me group all of my presentations together, slide outlook to the far left, etc. Or another practical use (this week in particular) is designing a multi-screen show and being able to move the presentation tabs to the visual order (ie. left screen appears on the left, center in the center and right screen presentation is the right tab).

Click here to go to Task Arrange’s download page.

– Troy @ TLC