Category Archives: Online


This edition of TrendWatch holds observations about topics and brands including Lego, air travel, chatbots, Chinese mobile payments and Google.

There’s also a slide linking to information about Costco’s ‘end of the world’ food kits, top food trends for 2018 and a company that’s making realistic fake leather out of mushrooms.

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How to add hand-drawn elements to your site using

Sometimes it’s nice to add a personal touch, for example your own handwriting, to your website or other digital media, such as photos. There’s a great instruction post on Skillcrush that guides you how to do this on Photoshop, but even if you don’t have Photoshop, it’s easy with the free web-based

1. Draw or write a message on a blank piece of paper

2. Take a photo and download it/email it to yourself

3. Go to, open Pixlr Editor Advanced, go to File, and open the image. You can resize it under ‘Image’ and ‘Image size…’

4. Go to ‘Layer’ and select ‘New layer’

5. In the ‘Layers’ toolbox on the right, unlock the original layer (double-click on the lock symbol) and then select that layer by holding your mouse over it, clicking and dragging it up so that moves up in the layers toolbox. It’s now placed above the new layer

6. Use the Wand tool (third from the top in ‘Tools’) to select the white area

7. Delete the white area by hitting ‘Delete’ on your keyboard (or go to ‘Edit’ and select ‘Cut’)
8. The white area will now be checkered grey and white, which means it’s transparent. Keep doing this until all the white areas have been removed. You might need to use the ‘Eraser’ tool to get rid of any extra bits

9. Save as a .png file and voila!

You now have a hand-drawn element that you can incorporate into your website design! Check out the Skillcrush post to see examples of how they’ve done this. You can still see some dots where the white hasn’t been completely removed, so I would spend more time on fixing that up. But here’s my (almost) final .png image that I can now use:

Hello there

A cool idea is to incorporate hand-written components onto images, or use elements in your website background.

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Poem: Fast Company’s ‘The world’s 50 most innovative companies’

When I came across Fast Company’s ‘The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies 2013‘ list, I realised that I was familiar with 22 of them, but didn’t know the others or what they do. So, I decided to create a few verses to summarise them. Here goes!

Fast Company’s ‘The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies 2013’ – in rhyme

With Nike, apparel and tech are a match here to stay
E-retailer Amazon has long paved the way
Mobile payments are made easier with Square
Splunk and big data are a heavenly pair

Designware desires? Head straight to Fab
Uber – could it mean the end of the cab?
Fraudulent sellers – from Sproxil you’ll hide
Pinterest is popular with many a bride

Safaricom gets callers and doctors connected
Target’s smaller stores are far less rejected
Life before Google – do you remember?
With Airbnb it pays to be a member

Apple has mastered retina display
Shareable content is Coke’s social way
Pig Newton sells comedy to fans direct
Tencent‘s ‘WeChat’ helps China connect

With Samsung, Apple may have met its match
Buzzfeed informs but also helps you detach
Online fashion companies – making over fashion and beauty
SeeChange Health is ‘making people healthy’ its duty

Oxitec engineer bugs to help save human lives
Electric cars – what my great-granddaughter drives
Drink carbonation – stuff the team at SodaStream do
OpenGamma‘s analysing financial risk for you

D-Rev wants better third world healthcare
Rovio made Angry Birds – are you aware?
Cars with smart software is how Ford design
Western Governers is changing education online

Creative advertising is a speciality of Droga5
Yelp‘s user reviews are well and truly alive
BitTorrent‘s taking charge of delivering the world’s content
While software development middlemen are on the ascent

Nest‘s making energy savings real, not just in your dreams
These biotech companies want to study our bloodstreams
Oktogo‘s changing Russia’s online travel booking scene
Your smartphone probably has a Corning‘s Gorilla Glass screen

NBA‘s producing sports content – they’re on a roll
Making the toilet of the future is Landwasher‘s goal
Evernote helps users be more productive, no sweat
Coursera gets University courses on the net

Elevating digital/physical play is up to Activision
Roku‘s revolutionising how we consume television
Enalta‘s making Brazil’s farm crops abundant
These robotics companies might make humans redundant!

Mobile ads that people want? Kiip‘ll make them be seen
While fashion conglomerate, PPR‘s going green
AngelList is where startups and investors meet
Microsoft‘s ‘digital living room’ is the word on the street

QCue‘s filling empty seats with dynamic pricing
Tumblr makes social media and content enticing
With that we’ve reached fifty – that’s much innovation
Now go forth and relish in the inspiration!

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Instagram hashtag tips for Sydney, Australia photos

Some of the most popular Sydney, Australia related tags to use for your photos are:

#SurryHills, #Darlinghurst, #Glebe, etc
#SydneyOperaHouse, #SydneyHarbourBridge, etc
#summer (or appropriate season)
#sun, #moon, #sunrise, #sunset #sky, #night, etc
#nature, #wildlife, #animal, #mountain, #waterfall, etc

Tags that are super popular and can still be applied to Sydney/Australia scenery photos include:

#photooftheday, #picoftheday and #bestoftheday (if it’s a super good photo!)

You can also follow these Sydney accounts and use their hashtags:

@CityofSydney – #CityofSydney
@SeeAustralia – #SeeAustralia
@Australiagram – #Australiagram
@BestofAustralia – #BestofAustralia
@Instralia – #Instralia
@iPhoneographyOz – #iOz

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Instagram hashtag tips for food photos

One of my girlfriends is a complete foodie and she recently got into Instagram. I sent her some tips on how to tag her food photos to help increase her follower base, so I thought I’d share them here, too.

Some of the most popular food-related tags to use for your photos are:


Tags that are super popular and can still be applied to food include:

#photooftheday, #picoftheday and #bestoftheday (if it’s a super good photo!)

You can also tag specific ingredients or the type of food, for example:


Lastly, follow your favourite chefs and some popular foodie accounts and learn from the experts:


Now, I don’t believe in Instagramming everything you eat, but some dishes are too good not to share!

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My Ultimate Best Websites List

This is a collection of pretty much all my favourite websites. The ones I get my news from. The ones I retweet from. The ones I get stories/recipes/advice/knowledge that I share with friends. I hope you enjoy the selection!

Internet Tech, Business and Entrepreneurship
Fast Company –
Inc. –
The Next Web –
Mashable –
Cnet –
Smartbrief –
ReadWriteWeb –
TechCrunch –
Digital Trends –
Gizmodo –
Harvard Business Review –
Forbes –
Entrepreneur –
Wired –
Strategy+Business (Booz & Company) –

Teach Yourself Tech & Design
Codeacademy – –

News & Business
The Economist –
The Guardian –
AlJazeera –
The New Yorker –
Time –
The Wall Street Journal –
Bloomberg Businessweek –
Forrester –
New York Times –

Marketing & Advertising
B&T –
Mumbrella –
Marketing Profs –
Business Insider –
Campaign Brief –
Experian –
Marketo –
Salesforce –
Radian6 –
IAB. Australia –

Home, Lifestyle & Culture
More Intelligent Life –
The Gloss –
Daily Life –
Huffington Post –
Apartment Therapy –

Ideas & Creativity / Business Inspiration
Springwise – –
Idealog –

The Oatmeal –
The Onion –

Information Learning & Sharing
Slideshare –
Quora –

Wolfram Alpha –

Productivity, Lifestyle, Career & Personal Development
Lifehack –
The Daily Muse –
Chris Guillebeau’s Blog –
Marc and Angel Hack Life
Leaving Work Behind –
Seth Godin’s Blog –

Hype Machine –
Tastekid –
Grooveshark –
Soundcloud –
22Tracks –
Musicovery –
Noisetrade –

Punchfork –
The Patterned Plate –
Rasberri Cupcakes –
In Pursuit of More –
Turntable Kitchen –
Stonesoup –
Nigella –
Maggie Beer –

Broadsheet –
Daily Addict –
Sydney TimeOut –

Photography & Editing
Pixlr – and
Photo –
Stuck in Customs –

I’ll add more as they come up.

What are your best go-to sites?

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