Impressive Leaf Art By Lorenzo Manuel Durán

Posted by Harshad

Impressive Leaf Art By Lorenzo Manuel Durán

Impressive Leaf Art By Lorenzo Manuel Durán

Posted: 11 Apr 2014 08:01 AM PDT

Lorenzo Manuel Durán is a self-taught artist from Spain that started off with oil paintings on canvas. One day he was inspired by a leaf-eating caterpillar to switch to leaf canvases instead! Initial trials ended up with a lot of "wounded" leaves that end up in the trash but after a while, Lorenzo could create surgical-level leafy masterpieces with just dental utilities, a scalpel, and his hands (find out more on the process he uses here).

Lorenzo has taken part in solo and group exhibitions in the last few years, and is constantly looking for ideas for new leaf art pieces. His work is available for purchase on his website and Facebook profile. The following showcase of leaf cutting art by Lorenzo Manuel Durán serves as a reminder that anything is possible if you follow your dreams.

MARÍA (inspired by his daughter)






























Marketing Yourself – Tips On How To Leverage Your Weak Points

Posted: 11 Apr 2014 06:01 AM PDT

Nobody’s perfect. Nobody needs to be. We all have weaknesses. Those weaknesses are the very fuel that can drive us forward. Humankind has done this for thousands of years. We invented spears to overcome our agility weaknesses and be able to hunt much faster animals.

We’ve got planes that help us soar hundreds of times faster than the fastest eagle. We can explore the depths of the darkest oceans, thanks to good strategies and correct implementation of those strategies. So you don’t need to be perfect. You just need to constantly improve yourself. Applied to the business world, that just means good marketing.

Marketing makes all the difference

Marketing sells. Before this, marketing used to be all about emphasizing your strong points. Basically, listing all the benefits of your product and trying to convince your client about what you’re selling. Today’s business environment is just too crammed of a space for that to work. There aren’t enough idle ears. In fact, there are none.

Everyone’s a client and a seller at the same time. What makes the difference now is the ability to hint at your expertise without actually stating it out loud.

That’s intriguing. That stirs emotion. That will get you clients. Here’s how this applies to freelancers and small business owners.

Weakness 1: Not Enough Time

Clients love experts. I’ve recently started outsourcing some coding jobs through sites such as oDesk and Freelancer. The competition in any freelancing domain, be it coding, design or video editing, is high nowadays.

However, clients are still very much willing to pay top dollar for an expert. But experts are busy people — make sure you come across as one, leverage the fact that you are freelancing partime and don’t have enough time for all your projects in your benefit.

When writing a letter to apply for a job, make sure you do mention the fact that your time is valuable and you don’t intend to waste it nor do you intend to waste the client’s time. You’ll work hard and fast, but only within the space of the job description. Such a blunt, aggressive letter is something that will catch the eye of the client, in the sea of willingful and timid freelancers.

You’ve just turned your weakness into an asset!

Weakness 2: Not Enough Skill

Experts are a bit arrogant. You should be too. Not over the top, and not at the price of honesty, but you should come across as someone who carries himself well. Let’s say your primary weakness is a lack of skill in a certain area. Leverage that to your benefit. Be honest, but cocky at the same time.

Here’s an example:

“My Java knowledge is limited and as such, I’m sure I’ll be able to develop a more simple, more compact and robust app, because I’ll be thinking from my VB Studio perspective. That means I’ll create a more unique, more innovative backstage solution (e.g. unseen coding patterns) which other specialized full time Java programmers couldn’t come up with. Sometimes thinking outside the box helps.

Are you willing to think outside the box with your app?”

Would you hire somebody who sells himself like that? I know I would.

The only thing is, you have to truly believe in what you are saying, in order to make anybody else believe it. The truth is in today’s world, a particular skill is something easily attainable. You can get a full expert course on just about anything for just a few hundred dollars. Check out sites like Udemy for that.

Weakness 3: No Experience

Well first, you have to admit that you lack experience in that particular field. Let’s say you’ve just made a new profile on a freelancing site. It’s understandable that you’d have no ratings and no job experience there. What’s not understandable is selling yourself short.

So if you’ve applied for a job you don’t have any experience (but you do know how to achieve the objective), try to tie in your other work experience in other fields with this particular work.

As an example, let’s say you’re a freelance writer trying to get into Photoshop Design. You’ve just bought an online course and feel confident in your designs skills thanks to it, but you aren’t getting any jobs, because of your lack of experience. Talk about how writing connects to design. Be honest about your lack of ratings, but shift the conversation towards your strong points.

Here’s how the letter of intent should sound:

I’m happy to design your website in Photoshop. I’ll bring all my fresh expertise in, and we’ll create the best custom site for your business. Please note I don’t have any job experience or ratings on this site. But I have all the necessary skills for the job.

So that’s why I’m the guy to pick!

Design is the most creative work on the Internet, isn’t it?

Because this will be the first job on this site for me, I won’t come with any restrictions in my creative way of thinking. As such, you’ll get the benefit of skill, without the troublesome hardships of working with an old style designer who isn’t willing to adapt, and just designs like a robot.

Here’s why I’m qualified to do the job:

I’ve done this before as a writer, writing for … and doing...”

And go on just listing your achievements as a writer.

Weakness 4: Not Big Enough

You should be proud that you are a small company. If you’re just one person, all the better! That can be easily leveraged into a benefit. When you’re small you can:

  • Give each client more attention
  • Provide faster, more personalized customer care
  • Be cheaper, because of lower overhead
  • Be more dynamic and more inventive

So make sure you convey all these points to your client. Nobody really wants to work with a big company nowadays, as everybody is aware of how they treat their clients. They don’t give the required attention to specific needs.

All that goes away when you’re small and you’re personally handling business for a client. So make that client feel special, make him feel cherished, as he should be. Be wary of rapid company growth. That may sometimes lead to disturbed clients, because of the attention they were used to getting.

Wrap Up

So there you have it. Your profile on freelancing sites, your own site, your mobile app, heck, everything visible by others, should be a weakness polished and turned into an obvious benefit. That’s good marketing.

Formatting Numbers with Accounting.js

Posted: 11 Apr 2014 03:01 AM PDT

While on the Web we use numbers to show unread messages, comments, likes, tweets, and bunch of other item counts, when it comes to formatting numbers for use in a bank or a financial institution, displaying a number may require some workarounds.

If you need numbers to appear in currency format or split with commas or decimal points, then you will love using Accounting.js, a JavaScript library for Money and Currency formatting.

In this article, we are going to show you some of its basic functionalities, then we will utilize it in an actual example to showcase how it works. Let’s get started.

Getting Started

Accounting.js is a JavaScript library with no dependencies. You don’t need jQuery to use it; it can run on its own. Download the source code from the Github repository, put it in an appropriate directory, and link the file in the HTML document.

 <script src="js/accounting.js"></script> 

Basic Formatting

Accounting.js offers a few methods for formatting numbers. And the first one that we are going to take a look at is formatMoney(). This method is the basic function to turn numbers into currency. To use it, each method is intialized by accounting and then followed by the method’s name. For example:


In the default settings, Accounting.js will display the above example with the dollar symbol, separate each three digit with a comma, and use a decimal point to separate dollars from cents.


Some countries use different separators for every three digits (thousands) and decimal. Accounting.js is fully localisable. If the default output is not the way your local currency displayed, you can make changes with Options.

Below, we take German as an the example, which uses dot separators for thousand and comma for decimal:

 accounting.formatMoney(2000000, { symbol : "€", thousand : ".", decimal : ",", }); 

This will output:


If you would like to format the number without the currency symbol, you can use formatNumber() method.

Rounding Number

Currencies may have decimals. But we usually round them up or down to the nearest value to make the number simpler to remember or guess. In Accounting.js, we can use .toFixed() to do so. This example shows how we remove the decimal digits as well as round them to the nearest tenth:

 accounting.toFixed(102.58, 0); 

The output is:


Building a Simple Currency Converter

In this section, we will be using those functions mentioned above to build a currency converter. We won’t be building an extensive converter, just a simple one to illustrate what Accounting.js can do.

In the exercise, we will convert USD to 2 currencies namely KRW (Korean Won) and JPY (Japanese Yen).

Let’s layout the document structure as follows:

 <div class="currency-option"> <div class="row"> <h4 class="heading">From</h4> <select id="input-currency" disabled> <option value="USD" data-symbol="$" selected>US Dollar</option> </select> <span id="input-symbol">$</span> <input id="input-number" class="input" type="number" min="0"> </div> <div class="row"> <h4 class="heading">To</h4> <select id="output-currency"> <option value="krw" data-symbol="₩" selected>Korean Won</option> <option value="jpy" data-symbol="¥">Japanese Yen</option> </select> <span id="output-number">₩ 0</span> </div> </div> 

As we can see above, we have two rows of div. The first row contains a dropdown option which is set to USD, and disabled so the user won’t be able to select the other option. This row also contains an number type input field where we will enter the amount of USD to convert.

In the second row, we have a dropdown option too, containing two currency options: Korean Won and Japanese Yen. Each option has a value attribute, and a data-symbol attribute to store the currency symbol. We use a span element to output the converted result.

Exchange Rate

At the time of this writing 1 USD is equal to KRW1077.80 and JPY102.24. We can retrieve these exchange rate values in real time from Open Exchange Rate. But, for now, we simply put the value in a variable with .toFixed() method to round up the number:

 var jpy = accounting.toFixed(102.24, 0), krw = accounting.toFixed(1077.80, 0), 

Get the Option

Next, we will create a new function to get the value from the value and data-symbol attribute from the dropdown option. The values then are stored in an Array.

 var getCurrency = function(elem) { var $curAbbr = elem.find(':selected').val(), $curSign = elem.find(':selected').data('symbol'); return { 'symbol' : $curSign, 'value' : $curAbbr, }; }; 

The Conversion Function

We want the conversion to occur in real time. It means that it will happen as the user is typing within the input field or switching between currencies.

To achieve this idea, we will assign #output-currency as well as #input-number with three JavaScript Events namely change, keyup, and keydown this way:

 $('#output-currency, #input-number').on('change keyup keydown', function() { // the stuff } 

Then, we will retrieve the value from the dropdown option, #output-currency, by using the getCurrency function that we created above. The values are separated within two different variables namely $symbol and $val, as follows.

 var $currency = getCurrency($('#output-currency')), $symbol = $currency['symbol'], $val = $currency['value']; 

We also need to get the number from the input field, and the current exchange rate value that we have set in jpy and krw variable; using the conditional function we can decide which currency rate (krw or jpy) to use.

 // get number var mulitplyNum = ($val == 'jpy') ? jpy : krw; var $getInput = $('#input-number').val(); 

With those number above, we can calculate the result.

 var $getTotal = ($getInput * mulitplyNum); 

But, before we output the number, let’s wrap it in a proper format using .formatMoney() method:

 var number = accounting.formatMoney($getTotal, { symbol : $symbol, precision : 0, thousand : ',' }); 

And lastly, we output the final formatted number.


And we’re done. You can see the demo in action below.

You can also try it yourself from our demo page.

Final Thought

Formatting plain number into currency is not as hard as you might have thought. Using Accounting.js, this thing becomes very easy. And we have also shown you how to implement the functions to build a simple working currency converter. Give it a go.

How to Insert File Path Quickly in Sublime Text [Quicktip]

Posted: 10 Apr 2014 10:01 PM PDT

Sublime Text is a very minimal code editor. It comes without much of a GUI; even the settings are done in text-based fashion. This minimalism helps us to focus more on writing the codes rather being distracted with the code editor’s dressing. But this also comes with one question in mind: How do we insert a file path?

Other code editors, like Coda for example, allow you to insert a file path for images, or stylesheets by simple drag-n-drop — just drop the file onto the working area.

Sublime Text, on the other hand, does not have such a feature. You might have to type the path in – which is no fun. Here’s an alternative that will make inserting file paths easier and more streamlined.

My First Solution

My first solution was using a plugin called SidebarEnhancement. This plugins adds some extra items to the contextual menu of the sidebar including Copy Path. Option, right-click on one of the files in your project, right-click, and select the Copy Path option.

There you have the path of the selected file. And this way is better than having to set down the file path with your hands. Not good enough? There is another better plugin for the job.

A Better Solution

This second plugin is called AutoFileName. You might be familiar with the code auto-completion feature in Sublime Text — this plugin brings a similar auto-complete functionality for file name. You can install this plugin via Package Control.

Assuming that your project has an HTML file, and two folders; one for storing stylesheets and another for images, within the <head> tag of the HTML file, you may want to link a stylesheet. With this plugin installed, you can simply put the cursor in the href, and it will show a list of files and folders that are at the same directory level.

Then, selecting the css will list the files and folders in it.

Looks more efficient and streamlined, right? You don’t have to repeatedly “copy and paste” every time you need to insert a file path. This plugin does the guess work for us.

Inserting Image Path

This is, I think, is the most helpful feature from AutoFileName. When you insert an image, it will identify the image size, the width and the height. Then it will also automatically populate the image width and height attribute with the identified size. Perfect!

Final Thought

These are the two plugins that regularly accompany my daily work. But I now use SidebarEnhancement primarily to manage the projects that are attached in the Sublime Text sidebar. For inserting file path, I use AutoFileName which does the job perfectly. Lastly, I hope you find this quicktip useful, and that it will help increase your productivity.


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