8 Historic Freelancers Who Changed The World

Posted by Harshad

8 Historic Freelancers Who Changed The World

8 Historic Freelancers Who Changed The World

Posted: 24 Mar 2014 08:01 AM PDT

If Alfred Nobel, Andrew Carnegie, Walt Disney or Ray Kroc were in their 20s today, you’d probably see their profiles on Elance or Freelancer. These historic figures basically started out as freelancers before the word freelancer was even invented – because that’s exactly what they were.

Freelancing is just a word used to describe a state of mind, a state of independence and responsibility for oneself. It requires the same skills and self-belief as entrepreneurship. As you’ll see, the folks below worked their way through different jobs, handled customers and all sorts of things until they found their calling.

Be inspired and have a look at some of the stories behind historic freelancers who changed the world.

Sales & Marketing Freelancer – Ray Kroc

Believe it or not, the Czech-American creator of the largest fast food restaurant chain in the world, McDonald’s Inc., was at one time just a struggling freelancer. He was a paper-cup salesman, an ambulance driver, a real-estate agent and a freelance salesman, offering multi-mixers for blending.

The mixing tool he sold was a machine capable of making 5 milkshakes at a time. It was his own product, sold only by him. He worked directly with clients and personally managed them. Ray Kroc was a sales freelancer with a knack for knowing how the future would unfold.

Description: C:\Users\2\Desktop\Ray Kroc entrepreneur and freelancer who started mcdonalds.jpg
(Image Source: mcdonalds.com/ourstory )

Over-night success? Ray himself said it best, “I was an overnight success all right, but 30 years is a long, long night.”

You could say he was a freelancer from 15, when he joined the Red Cross as an ambulance driver, up until his 53rd birthday. He then started the Big M, after selling his multi-mixer to the McDonald’s brothers before eventually going into business with them. Ray later bought them out and single-handedly built the brand represented by the golden arches.

Photo & Design Freelancer – Walt Disney

When Walt was 4, he was already selling his drawings to a neighbor, a retired doctor named “Doc” Sherwood. The usual subject was the doctor’s horse, Rupert. Walt Disney (D’Isigny, before the anglicization of his French ancestor’s name) was a cartoonist for the school newspaper when he was 15.

He dropped out of school at 16 to join the army, but being underaged was turned away. He chose to join the Red Cross and become an ambulance driver in post-war France.

(Image Source: diytheme.com)

After moving back home, he struggled to sell his drawings, political caricatures and comic strips to newspapers, magazines and movie theaters. Sadly for Disney, there weren’t a lot of ways to make money as a designer back then.

Eventually he got a job as a designer for Pesmen-Rubin Art Studio, where he met Ubbe Iwerks and started “Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists”. The business failed. And so did the next, Laugh-O-Gram, which was meant to sell cartoons at local theaters.

(Image Source: Ed Black)

Walt was freelancing his drawings from this garage turned studio. Frustrated but persistent, Walt became a freelance photographer in order to scrape enough money to get to Hollywood. With the help of his brother, on his third business attempt, the Disney Brothers’ Studio was born.

Product Design Freelancer – Alfred Nobel

Alfred loved writing poetry and inventing things. His Freelancer Profile would probably say: “Always experimenting with product designs.” He is best known for creating dynamite, after years of trial and error. He became interested in nitroglycerine after meeting Ascanio Sobrero, the chemist who invented it.

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(Image Source: wikipedia.org)

He went on to try and sell the substance, to be used for controlled demolitions. After failed sales attempts, he went back to the drawing board. He finally patented his invention in 1867 and started selling it immediately.

During his life, Nobel possessed three hundred and fifty-five patents in the fields of physiology, electrochemistry and biology. Some of them were used by his clients, some were under license agreements while others were sold. He was always looking for people to work with on his patents to commercialize them.

Most of his product designs remain unchanged even today, from the dynamite to the rocket propellant. The Nobel Prizes, instated after his death and funded by him, are usually awarded to freelance writers, scientists or world leaders such as the Dalai Lama.

Writing Freelancer – Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway is a Classic American Author. But this wasn’t always the case. His first freelancing experience started with him submitting different pieces to ‘The Trapeze’, his school newspaper. In 1916, he got his first published article under the pen name, Ring Lardner Jr.

At 18, he served on the Italian front as an ambulance driver, just like Ray Kroc and Walt Disney. Perhaps predestined, he would later win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

(Image Source: wikipedia.org)

During his 2 years as an ambulance driver, he experienced his first love with Agnes von Kurowsky (who later rejected him), won the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery and almost lost his legs due to several shrapnel wounds. After coming back home, he returned to freelance writing and got his articles published in the Toronto Star Weekly.

Hemmingway eventually started working as a hired foreign correspondent for the publication, after moving to Paris. Below is Hemingway’s parisian apartment from where he wrote his first book.

(Image Source: eatingbender.com)

In Paris, he started networking and became friends with the likes of Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, Ezra Pound and other established writers. He became a full-fledged writer, after freelancing his first book “Three Stories and Ten Poems”, which was eventually published by “Contact Publishing”.

Journalist/Writing Freelancer – Charles Dickens

Dickens is known as one of the greatest novelists who ever lived. But you couldn’t possibly envy him for his early years. With his parents and brother imprisoned when he was 12 because of unpaid debts, Charles was left to fend for himself.

He lived in the house of Elizabeth Roylance, a family friend, and later in a back-attic. He left school to work at a boot-blacking factory, in order to help with family debts. Eventually, the family got out of jail, thanks to an inheritance of £450, bequeathed by the death of Charles great-grandmother.

Description: C:\Users\emp_073\Desktop\Marshalsea-plaque-December2007.jpg
(Image Source: Wikipedia.org)

His only option was to become a journalist freelancer, a job he had seen practiced by Thomas Charlton, a distant relative of the family. He reported on different legal proceedings at a society of lawyers called Doctors’ Commons. At 21, he submitted his first published story, “A Dinner at Poplar Walk” to the London periodical, Monthly Magazine.

From then on, he became a real journalist freelancer, traveling Britain, reporting parliamentary debates and freelancing his articles to the likes of the Morning Chronicle journal. He also wrote short sketches in different periodicals, and was eventually approached by publishers Chapman and Hall to write short paragraphs for a set of engraved illustrations.

Description: C:\Users\emp_073\Desktop\15 - Historic Freelancers Who Changed The World - Part 1 April 08\CharlesDickens.jpg
(Image Source: wikipedia.org)

This was Charles’ first publishing success. The resulting novel, called The Pickwick Papers, sold 40,000 units. He went on and accepted a normal job as an editor at a literary magazine. But secretly, he became a freelance writer creating Oliver Twist and four plays while working for the magazine.


How to Build a Fully Customized WordPress Login Page

Posted: 24 Mar 2014 06:01 AM PDT

Many of you, I believe, are familiar with the WordPress login page at wp-login.php. It looks nice, and works fine. But when it comes to creating a website for clients, you might want a more customized login page, so that it integrates nicely with the website design as a whole. In addition, having a customized login page could also give your clients a good impression of your skills.

If this is something that you want to achieve on your site, here’s how you can build a fully customized WordPress login page.

Custom Login Page

First, we need to create a custom page template for the login page. To do so, you can create a new page template and name it – for example – page-login.php. Then, create a new Page from the WordPress backend and set the permalink to login so that WordPress will automatically take the page-login.php template for the page.

The Login Form

Put the wp_login_form tag in the page-login.php page template to display the login form.

 <?php wp_login_form(); ?> 

The following is optional, but could be useful in certain cases. You can configure a few things for the login form, like specifying the redirecting of URL after the user has successfully logged in, changing the ID of the username, and the password input field.

 <?php $args = array( 'redirect' => home_url(), 'id_username' => 'user', 'id_password' => 'pass', ) ;?> <?php wp_login_form( $args ); ?> 

Furthermore, you can also add something aside. It could be your logo and a little description of your site, for example.

 <div class="login-branding"> <a href="#" class="login-logo">Hongkiat.com</a> <p class="login-desc"> Hongkiat.com is a design weblog dedicated to designers and bloggers. We constantly publish useful tricks, tools, tutorials and inspirational artworks. </p> </div> <div class="login-form"> <?php $args = array( 'redirect' => home_url(), 'id_username' => 'user', 'id_password' => 'pass', ) ;?> <?php wp_login_form( $args ); ?> </div> 

Now, let’s make the form nicer with CSS. You can make the CSS up on your own as per your site requirements. In this example, here is how my login form looks like. It has black background, with a blue button, which fits quite well with the Hongkiat.com site theme.


At this point, the login page is already functional. We can try logging in, and if suceeded we will be redirected to the URL that we have specified in the redirect parameter above. But, there is something that we need to address.

First, the wp-login.php page is still accessible. It would be better to redirect the wp-login.php to our new login page to deliver a unified experience to our clients.

To do so, you can add the following codes in the functions.php of your theme.

 function redirect_login_page() { $login_page = home_url( '/login/' ); $page_viewed = basename($_SERVER['REQUEST_URI']); if( $page_viewed == "wp-login.php" && $_SERVER['REQUEST_METHOD'] == 'GET') { wp_redirect($login_page); exit; } } add_action('init','redirect_login_page'); 

Remember to change the $login_page variable to your own login page (thanks to Montana Flynn for the tip).

Second, the login page can work as expected when we are successfully logged in. But if an error occurs like when submiting invalid user and password combinations, or submitting an empty field, we will also be thrown away to wp-login.php. To solve this issue, add the following functions in the functions.php.

 function login_failed() { $login_page = home_url( '/login/' ); wp_redirect( $login_page . '?login=failed' ); exit; } add_action( 'wp_login_failed', 'login_failed' ); function verify_username_password( $user, $username, $password ) { $login_page = home_url( '/login/' ); if( $username == "" || $password == "" ) { wp_redirect( $login_page . "?login=empty" ); exit; } } add_filter( 'authenticate', 'verify_username_password', 1, 3); 

These two functions perform two tasks. They will redirect the user upon failing, and append a login query string to the URL with the value of either failed or empty.

The last problem is we will also be redirected to wp-login.php when we have logged out from the site. So, we also need to specify the redirecting URL upon logging out, like so.

 function logout_page() { $login_page = home_url( '/login/' ); wp_redirect( $login_page . "?login=false" ); exit; } add_action('wp_logout','logout_page'); 

Error Message

We will display an error message, showing the user when the error occurred, and when they have logged out by using the query string that we have put in the URL. To get the value from the login query string above, we can use $_GET.

Put this code below in the login page template.

 $login = (isset($_GET['login']) ) ? $_GET['login'] : 0; 

The above code will check whether the login variable contains value, otherwise it will set to 0. Then we will display different notification messages based on the value of $error, like so.

 if ( $login === "failed" ) { echo '<p class="login-msg"><strong>ERROR:</strong> Invalid username and/or password.</p>'; } elseif ( $login === "empty" ) { echo '<p class="login-msg"><strong>ERROR:</strong> Username and/or Password is empty.</p>'; } elseif ( $login === "false" ) { echo '<p class="login-msg"><strong>ERROR:</strong> You are logged out.</p>'; } 

And below is what the error message looks like.


There are several things that we could do to improve our login page such as adding Lost Password link, Register Link, and a personalized error message. But, at this point it is now functioning well enough for our users to login and logout, and it could also be a good start to create a more advanced login page.

We hope that you find this tutorial useful.


12 Mac OS X App Web Developers Must Know

Posted: 24 Mar 2014 03:01 AM PDT

For web developers, applications are important factors to better productivity; without having the right ones, developing a single website could take up a lot of a developer’s time. There are many applications for web development for every platform.

In this post, we will put together the best OS X Applications that you should include in your Web Development toolbox. All the following Applications are free, and we believe that everyone love free stuff. Without further ado, let’s check them out:

Web Sharing

Apple removed the Web Sharing option from OS X System preference (from OS X Mountain Lion). This option lets you turn on and off the built-in OS X Apache Serve , where you can host your local websites under the localhost address.

If you want this back, get the Web Sharing plugin. Once installed, it adds a new pane in System Preference, where you can switch the service on and off. It also shows the PHP status and the registered VirtualHosts in the system.


Anvil is a free application that allows you to create a .dev domain. It turns up as a new icon at the OS X menu bar, where you can add your projects, create domain, and turn the service on and. It’s a handy tiny OS X application for managing and developing your local websites.


Most file packages that we download are compressed either in zip, rar, or tar format, allowing for multiple-file delivery. Even though the Mac has a built-in feature to extract these formats, it is rather limited. Keka is a free open-source OS X application for file compression and extraction. It supports the three formats above and various compression formats including 7z, Gzip, Tar, DMG, and ISO, and it can extract RAR, EXE, CAB, and PAX format as well.

With Keka, you can also apply password restriction to the compressed file, split the compressed file in multiple parts at specified size threshold, automatically delete the source file after compression or extraction, and choose the compression method for for much smaller file output. Keka also integrates with OS X Notification Center to put failure and success notification.

Compressing files

There are two ways to compress files with Keka. First, you can download and install the Services contextual menu.

Second, you can drag and drop your files onto the Keka application window, as shown below. The files will be compressed as the specified default setting.

Sequel Pro

MySQL could be the most popular open-source database used worldwide. There are many websites including open source projects like WordPress that rely on MySQL for storing its databases. We need a tool for managing databases in MySQL. If you are on OS X, Sequel Pro is the best option for the job.

Sequel Pro is a native OS X application, built with Cocoa, and it has a nicer GUI compared to similar applications. In it, you can create, remove, export, import, filter databases, create MySQL users, as well execute MySQL query through the app.

SourceTree & Github

Whether you build a small or a large-scale website, you should incorporate a control version system to keep track of the changes and revisions of the codes in the projects. Today, with Git being the most popular system for version control, you can install SourceTree or Github application for OS X to use and operate Git in more convenient way through GUI. Both applications are free.


Koala is a tool to compile LESS, Sass, Compass, and CoffeeScript into browser-compliant format. Are you using one of these trendy technologies? Then Koala is one app to install in your Mac.

iPhone Emulator

Today, developing and addressing websites for mobile platform is inevitable. Many people are going online from their mobile devices, and you certainly need the tool to test your websites for the platform. You can use a physical mobile phone and tablet, or simply use a simulator application like iPhone Simulator.

To get the iPhone Simulator, install Xcode from the AppStore.

The iPhone Simulator is deeply buried within the Xcode application. For easy access, you can run the following command so that you can launch it right from the Application folder instead.

 ln -s /Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer/Platforms/iPhoneSimulator.platform/Developer/Applications/iPhone\ Simulator.app ~/Applications 


Needs icons? Look no further, just install Icons8. Once installed, Icons8 adds a new icon at the menu bar where you can search through its 2800 collections of icons. Then, you can place the selected icon on any application like Photoshop, Xcode, and Finder.


It’s obvious, we need a Browser to view the websites we’ve developed. However, since you are a developer, you may need to go the extra mile, testing your website for various Browser versions including the Nightly Builds and Beta versions. So apart from the regular Browsers, you may also need Firefox Nightly, Firefox Aurora, Chrome Canary, Chromium, and Opera Next.


Poedit is an editor for .po file that is widely used for internationalizing websites; translating the website user interface into multiple languages. If you are developing websites or products like WordPress themes and plugins for international audience, then Poedit is a must-install app.


If memorizing code syntax from all languages sounds impossible to you, you may need to install Dash. Dash collects Documentation for HTML5, CSS3, jQUery, Sass, LESS, and a bunch of other programming languages. You can search through their documentation, finding codes, syntax, functions, as well as code snippets, all in one place.


Automator has been pre-installed with OS X. This application allows you to automate tasks, for example: you can create a contextual menu for renaming files in batch, change file extensions, creating thumbnail images, and crop multiple images at once Assigned to those features, Automator could be a great companion tool for streamlining your web development workflow.


10 Bluetooth-Tracking Devices To Keep Your Belongings Safe

Posted: 24 Mar 2014 12:01 AM PDT

The difference between misplacing your phone and your keys / wallets / remote control is that you can only call your phone and follow the ringtone to locate it. There are also apps that let you find your device if it is lost in a public place.

For the other items however, you’d probably need to clean your room or home to find them, or prepare a designated place to leave your essentials so you can find them easily before leaving the home. Alernatively, you can use Bluetooth to help you make sure you never lose any of your items again.

PebbleBee Bluetooth Tracking Device

We’re going to show you 10 Bluetooth-tracking devices which you can use to keep your bare essentials close to you. They come in many shapes and sizes, made to fit in with your lifestyle rather than appear like a house arrest bracelet. Tag, clip or slot it into the item you want to keep safe and do your thing. Most comes with an iOS or Android app and some have a community of fellow users that can help you locate any missing items.

1. PROTAG Elite

PROTAG Elite is a sleek and slim credit card-sized Bluetooth tracking device which automatically alerts you whenever you are out of the specified safezone. You can set the distance settings easily via WiFi networks. Just slide this into your purse or wallet and be on your way. It uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology that can run on both iOS and Android platforms, and its USB-chargeable battery can last 18 months. [$59.99]


2. BluTracker

Here’s one in the size of a USB flash drive. You can attach BluTracker onto your child’s backpack, your bicycle, your pet’s collar or anything that you want to keep track of. By using the free BluTracker app, you can easily locate your device through a feature called Radar Screen. It shows you the distance between you and the BluTracker. It also has a motion detector that informs you if someone’s touching your belongings. The battery lasts for 2 months and a full charge takes just 1 hour. [$69.00]


3. StickNFind

StickNFind is a trackable coin-sized sticker that helps you track your belongings via a smartphone app. It lasts up to a year so you can drop it in your suitcase if you travel a lot. It also has a built-in speaker and tiny LED lights to help you locate it. When in a deep mess, you can activate the "lost sticker" feature which informs any user using StickNFind to help you locate your item. The location of the lost item will then be emailed to you. [$49.99]


4. PebbleBee

PebbleBee is a Bluetooth-enabled tracking tag. It sends alerts to your smartphone when it exceeds a certain distance from the phone. It is also able to relay temperature alerts and has a 9-axis motion tracker. It is small, but carries a battery that can last up to 3 years. PebbleBee is water-resistant and utilizes Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy to connect to your iOS or Android phone. Its range goes as far as 150 ft, depending on the environment and interference. [$16.00-$40.00]


5. XY Find-It

Sync your XY to your smartphone and attach it to any of your items like your purse, tablet or even your luggage. As long you’re within its 150 ft range (not including physical interferences), you can detect the distance between your phone and the item you have XY attached to. If you lose an item, mark it as lost and the app will inform the XY community so they can help search for your lost tag. The battery life can last up to 6 months and the developer is working hard to improve it so it to last for a year. [$17-$35]

XY Find-It]

6. Bringrr & BringTags

Attach these small BringTags to any of your belongings to easily track it via its app. BringTags have inbuilt speakers to help you locate your missing item, in case you still can’t find it with the directions from the app. It also has the community support of fellow users that can help notify you if your item is near them. Also in the mix is a car charger, Bringrr which will help you check to see that all your tagged items are with you when you start your car engine. [$19-$109]

Bringrr & BringTags

7. Tile

Tile is an attachable tracking device that uses Bluetooth low energy to help track any item that you’ve paired Tile with. Tile’s Last Place Seen is a GPS location feature that allows you to recall its location easily for quick retrieval. It comes with an iOS Tile app, and you can also share your Tile with people that you trust. You can mark missing Tiles so fellow users can help you search for it. The device can last a year. [$19.95]


8. Find’Em Tracking

The Find’Em Tracking card is a handy and important card that can help locate your missing wallet. The app will alert you when you are too far from the pre-determined range of the card. Besides that, you can also put the card in any of your belongings (as long as it fits), so that your items can easily be tracked. It comes with a mobile app that has a hot and cold radar features to detect your Find’Em Tracking card. The card can be detected from as far as 150 ft away. [$24.99]

Find'Em Tracking

9. Linquet

Linquet alerts you if you have moved too far from your tagged item, via alarms. It can also tell you the distance between you and your Linquet, via its Android or iOS app. The app uses Cloud to keep a backup of your Linquet tag locations, in case you lose it. You can set the Linquet alarm profile for silent, short and long alarms depending on the time and your location. This way you can prevent it from going off at work, when you need to be away for a while. Even with daily use, Linquet battery can last up to 1 year. [$2.99/month]


10. Lupo

Lupo can be secured to almost anything important to you but is more than just an item finder. It’s powerful enough to keep you in touch with your items, lock your laptop, sound an alarm to prevent thieves from stealing your belongings and much more. The battery lasts on average a year (or more based on usage). It can also be used as a controller to snap photos, or as a mouse for a slide presentation. [$33.25-$173.17]




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