WordCamp Miami 2016 Tech Gear Packing List

WordCamp Miami 2016 Tech Gear Packing List

WordCamp Miami is just a few days away and we’re really excited here at Design Theory. I’m taking the whole family down, which includes my kids so that they can experience their first conference and kick start their own web and internet journey of creativity and creation.

Below is a list of tech things we’re packing to make the trip and stay as productive and comfortable as possible:

  • Macbook chargers and extension cables. Power is always a big thing at conferences. It’s just as important as having a reliable wifi signal.
  • Smart phone and tablet chargers and portable chargers. This little $10 and $20 portable chargers can usually recharge your device 2 or more times from a dead charge.
  • Macbook Pro laptop. Because I’m going to get ideas on things I’m going to want to implement right when I hear it. So having my laptop will be essential.
  • Tablet/iPad. Having this as a second input device is rather helpful and lightweight. Easy to carry around and setup on a small desk surface.
  • A comfortable backpack, rolling case, or messenger bag. Carrying all of your gadgets and hardware can get heavy or cumbersome.
  • Business cards. This should go without saying, but it’s a good way to quickly give out your contact information while in passing or like a secret note in class during sessions.
  • GoPro. This is a really small and easy to use video camera that I can also take stills on. On one charge it can last me up to 3+ hours and I can control it from my phone.
  • Nikon DSLR. This one is a bit heavier because I have a few lenses that I like to use for various situations. But capturing some great speaker profile pictures, or scenes of packed out rooms where lighting is really low, my Nikon comes in really handy.
  • Extension cord and/or power strip. If you’re going to be staying in a certain track for a few sessions in a row, it helps to secure a seat where you can plug in your power strip and multiple devices to charge all at once.
  • A notebook and pencils. In case you run out of charge on all of your devices, having a good old pencil and paper for note writing is really handy.

So those are the things I’m bring with me. What are some things you plan to pack with you? Add to the conversation below or on Twitter with me and the hashtag #WCMIA

How Stable Is Your FREE Online Photo Storage?

Being a photographer, I tend to back up my photos in multiple locations. I have them on my laptop, a backup USB drive, then another USB drive that is stored in a safe. I sometimes save my best photos online on Flickr since I have about 2 terabytes in storage, as well as my other online portfolio site of 500px.

All of these locations are part of my process to have some piece of mind if in case something goes wrong. Well today I saw in article on WebDesignLedger where they were claiming that Yahoo is downsizing. You can read the full article here. My concern with this feels falls first to my “free” account with Flickr. Yahoo purchased Flickr in 2005, so about 11 years ago. I won’t go into the changes and improvements of Flickr since, but the ability to store 2tb of photos online is great, I am aware that Yahoo’s financial performance has been declining so how they decide to deal with the picture website will be closely watched.

For those of you like me, it may be a good time to take stock of what you have loaded to Flickr, and be sure you have your originals saved somewhere in your library. If you don’t be sure to download your photos and save them as well as connect with your followers on other means like their other social media websites and online groups.

Here are a list of alternatives you may want to consider should you need another online repository:

Google PhotosGoogle Photos – While this offers unlimited “high quality” photo uploads. Uploading RAW files will count agains a 1.5Gb storage quota.

Amazon StorageAmazon Cloud Storage – Offers unlimited cloud storage for about $60.00 a year. There is an inexpensive option for still unlimited photos, but a 5gb limit on video files. This plan is about $12.00 a year.

DropboxDropbox – While you do get up to 5g of free storage, you will then need to pay for an upgraded annual account. $10 a month for up to 1tb, or $15 a month for unlimited storage and managed file and folder permission controls.

Have more questions on this? Or do you have some great other options for online storage? Let us know in the comments below.


More colors; hue, saturation and value

Color is a complex concept,  can have a lot of properties; hue, saturation and value are some of the most important characteristics of color. We usually refer to colors by simple names such as red or blue. Are there more precise and descriptive ways to talk about colors? There are many terms which are used to describe colors, and often there is some confusion as to what each of the terms mean. Here I will try to explain some of the most common terms use in color theory.


Hue is somewhat synonymous to what we usually refer to as “colors”. Red, green, blue, yellow, and orange are a few examples of different hues. The different hues have different wave lengths in the spectrum. Hue is expressed as a number from 0 to 360 degrees representing hues of red (starts at 0), yellow (starts at 60), green (starts at 120), cyan (starts at 180), blue (starts at 240), and magenta (starts at 300).


The color is completely pure. Saturation can also be called a color’s intensity. It is a measurement of how different from pure grey the color is. Saturation is not really a matter of light and dark, but rather how pale or strong the color is. The saturation of a color is not constant, but it varies depending on the surroundings and what light the color is seen in. Saturation is the amount of gray (0% to 100%) in the color.


Value (lightness) describes overall intensity to how light or dark a color is. It is the only dimension of color that may exist by itself. The value is a measurement of the brightness of a color. The brighter a color is, the higher is its value and the more light it emits. For instance, a vivid yellow is brighter than dark blue, therefore its value is higher than that of the blue. A good way to see the difference in the values of colors is to look at the corresponding greyscale version. Value works in conjunction with saturation and describes the brightness or intensity of the color from 0% to 100%.

The HSV scale clearly stands for “Hue, Saturation, Value.” It does a better job at visually explaining the concept of light, and it is a very useful one to comprehend, as it is what most sophisticated digital color pickers are based on (including all Adobe software). Not only do graphic designers need to understand this color construct, but fine artists do as well since digital art and rendering has become such an integral part of art processes.


Print it! Flying on an airplane with 3D printed parts

Today we are taking our Print It! series to the sky where a group of designers, engineers and big companies are working hard to take the 3D printing process to a whole new level.

Many people still struggle with the idea of “printing” things by adding one layer of material on top of another, but Michael Idelchik, who runs GE’s advanced technologies research, is already talking about “printing large portions of jet engines.”

A full aircraft engine is still a tall order but printed jet engine parts are already here. The newest GE jet engines like the CFM LEAP, which GE Aviation makes in a joint venture with France’s Snecma, will have printed combustion system components and other parts inside. Michael Idelchik, who runs GE’s advanced technologies research, has stated that he and his colleagues already know this it is possible, so now it is a case of honing the process.

“Now we want to develop an ecosystem of designers, engineers, materials scientists, and other partners who can learn with us. We have a number of products that we are going to be launching and we want to challenge people to get into business with us. If the ecosystem grows, the entire industry will grow,” Mr Idelchik remarked.

GE recently announced a pair of global “additive manufacturing quests” challenging innovators and entrepreneurs to design a light-weight bracket and hangers for a jet engine.


3D Printing Design Quest

  • Participants will create the best 3D-printable design for an aircraft engine bracket.
  • The top ten designs will win $1,000 each and will be additively manufactured and tested by GE during phase two.
  • The top 8 designs in the second phase will be awarded from a total prize pool of $20,000.
  • GE has partnered with GrabCAD to launch the design quest. During the quest, GrabCAD’s online community of more than 650,000 global engineers will have a chance to submit their CAD design solutions to a panel including some of GE’s brightest engineers.
  • Today, creative makers worldwide are invited to apply here.

Mr Idelchik explained: “You need to understand software and creative design, the unique properties of the printing machines, and meet the functional requirements of the parts like strength and the ability to handle vibrations”

Are you submitting your design? What do you think about using additive manufacturing in the airplane industry?


Print it! More on the magic of 3D printing

Last week we talk about the benefits, concepts and development of 3D printing. We learned that:

  • Charles Hull is the inventor of the modern 3D printer
  • The first published account of a printed solid model was made in 1981 by Hideo Kodama of Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute
  • Printer resolution describes layer thickness and X-Y resolution in dpi (dots per inch),or micrometers

Today we will talk more about this topic, we will see one of the cases that are trending in the 3D printing arena.

Industries and big companies are taking advantage of 3D printing. We all know that this is a decades-old technology that has increased in popularity over the past few years as the prices of printing machines and materials have come down. A big, solid company like Ford is using 3D printing to cut costs and production times during the prototyping phase.

The  “rapid manufacturing” process has played a key role in the production of the Explorer and its EcoBoost engine. It uses software to render photos into designs that can “print” physical objects.

Ford uses the technology to create prototype parts like:

  • cylinder heads
  • brake rotors
  • rear axels

Production time for one type is cut down from four to five months to three in some cases, shaving 25% to 40% off production time. Earlier casting methods required that the mold be cut from sand; 3D printing allows Ford to skip the cutting process and pour the metal directly into the molds.

With 3-D’s rapid evolution, including possible home use, Ford aficionados can dream of one day custom-making their own creative part  in their garage or home office. Ford believes that in the future customers will be able to print replacement parts for their vehicles at a local 3D printer in a matter of hours or even minutes.

How cool will be to be able to print your own car parts? Would you do it?

Print it! The magic of 3D printing

An ear replacement? Print it

A replacement for you car taillight? Print it

Your wedding dress, picture frames, furniture or maybe, a bone?  Print it

3D Printer

3D printing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital model. The product is achieved using additive processes, where an object is created by laying down successive layers of material. This practice is considered distinct from traditional techniques (subtractive processes) which mostly rely on the removal of material by drilling, cutting etc.


A materials printer usually performs 3D printing processes using digital technology. Since the start of the twenty-first century there has been a large growth in the sales of these machines, and their price has dropped substantially.

The technology is used for both prototyping and distributed manufacturing in jewelry, footwear, industrial design, architecture, engineering and construction, automotive, aerospace, dental and medical industries, education, geographic information systems, civil engineering, and many other fields.

3d shoes

Some facts

  • Charles Hull is the inventor of the modern 3D printer
  • The first published account of a printed solid model was made in 1981 by Hideo Kodama of Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute
  • Printer resolution describes layer thickness and X-Y resolution in dpi (dots per inch),or micrometres.

3D Printing is a technology that’s been around for a while but lately, with price reduction and mass accessibility, they are developing fast and a vast array of people are using it for many different purposes. In the next couple weeks we will se various commercial and personal uses people are giving to 3D printing.

What would you print if you had a 3D printer?