The Tech I Love: Post #1 – General utility sites

Me & Eric at the Grand Canyon, Hopi Point, before sunset (facing west)

Ends up that when I went on vacation in mid-February, I got engaged. Upon returning home there was a lot of celebrating with friends and family!

This picture is my fiancé Eric and myself at the Grand Canyon, where we got engaged. So for once I have a decent explanation for my blogging-lateness. :)

Anyway, down to business!

General utility sites I love most
MoodShare
Before there was Pinterest, there were a heck of a lot of other sites. MoodShare.co has been my tool of choice since it first went beta. Much like fashionista site Polyvore has been the tool of choice to help assemble stylish looks, MoodShare is a solid go-to to communicate a creative concept, like the inspiration for a website redesign or the key elements of a promotional campaign.

The core idea of MoodShare is the good ol’ physical inspiration/concept board, for those of us who remember (or still do save) magazine clippings, random postcards or flyers, and group them together on pinboards. But MoodShare lets you gather the internet equivalents of all those random little findings–not just images, but videos, color swatches, even tweets. Anything that helps you communicate an idea, no matter how ephemeral, is something you can paste onto your MoodShare board.

A sample board I created on MoodShare.co
Above is an example MoodShare board I put together for a blog redesign concept I was toying with, one that took inspiration from my love of the video game Secret of Mana and the beauty of Saipan.

What’s lovely about MoodShare is they know a lot of creative professionals use this tool–as their landing page says, it’s “built for agencies”–so privacy levels can get incredibly granular. If you don’t want to share your board with the world, no problem. You can grant access to just to the people whose emails you add, letting you get really collaborative with just the right people.

Kuler, by Adobe
As much as I love, love, LOVE ColourLovers as a tool for web design, you’re at the mercy of other peoples’ tastes for the color palletes they generate. Sometimes unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, ColourLovers can be a bit too much.

Enter Kuler. Say you know you want to create a webpage and you know you want the primary color to be blue. But what about highlights? Links? Text? There are go-to complementary schemes for blue, but if you want it to look something all your own, and you’re not a colorwheel genius, this can get tough.

Kuler generates color palettes based on a primary color (one or several) you name and the kind of scheme you want to create — variations on a shade, complementary colors, monochrome, analogous, et cetera. For those of us who need a design and color help, Kuler really comes to the rescue.

Definitely click around and explore the lovely interactivity Kuler provides — and don’t miss out on Kuler Pulse, which showcases popular colors and schemes over a range of time spans. Fascinating stuff.

Dropbox
It’s storage! In ~*~*the cloud~**~~!

I lose some serious nerd cred for admitting that while I have my own server, I still prefer to use Dropbox for storing photos and documents I need easy and frequent access to.

Can you blame me though? The Dropbox mobile apps make photo uploading completely painless, and the cross-platform programs (Mac! Windows! You name it!) let me sync all my files, everywhere, all the time.

Long gone are my days of emailing myself important documents back and forth. Gmail, you know I love you and will never leave you, but you are not a good document storage solution! When I see the little spinny Dropbox icon, I know that file I uploaded at home is now on my work computer, on my home laptop, on my home editing station/Mac, on remote storage, and easily accessed on my phone. It’s fantastically reassuring and it’s free. Can’t beat that.

Honorable mention: Delicious. Yep, I still use it. I may be the only person who still does, but the one thing it really only does, it does really well.

What’s this post all about? Read the introductory post here.