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Black Friday + Cyber Monday Deals for Graphic Designers, Developers & Geeks

Black Friday Deals

Below I’ve compiled some of the best online Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals for graphic designers, web designers and geeks at heart, plus some other great sales too!

I personally use / interact with all of these products and companies on a regular basis and can vouch for their awesomeness. I wouldn’t recommend them otherwise.

If you have your own deal to share please do so in the comments below and I’ll update the post with the deal in its own section as the weekend goes on.

Udemy’s 35,000 Online Courses – Just $15

Udemy Black Friday Sale

Udemy’s online course sale actually ends on 12:01am Nov 27 (PDT) so you only have a day left to grab their super discounted online courses (hence listing it here first). Courses start at $14-15 and then return to their full price of $299. See all of their design related courses here. You get lifetime access once enrolled.

The Creative Course by Paul Jarvis – $100 off!

Creative Class Course

Paul Jarvis is a creative I’ve been following for a number of years now and although he wears many hats, he really excels at helping other freelancers become better, especially on the business side. He has an amazing course called The Creative Class that teaches you clients, pricing, business and much more. You can get $100 off the course with the coupon ‘justcreative’.

Premium Mac Software Bundle (Evernote, Parallels, 1Password, Pocket + More) – $49-$79

Premium Mac Apps

Get $500 worth of top Mac software for $79 (or $49 if you’re an existing parallels subscriber). This pack includes Parallels, Evernote Premium, 1Password, Pocket Premium, Snag It, Camtasia and PDFpenpro. Please note I have not personally used PDFpenPro so can’t vouch for this product.

MyFonts Best Sellers & Special Offers

MyFonts Deal

Check out the MyFonts best sellers and special offers page and grab some great deals such as the new digitally optimized Gill Sans Nova font family, including 43 fonts for $99.

20 Pro Font Families (200+ fonts) worth $1721, for $29 (98% off)

Font Geek Bundle

Talking of fonts you should check out the latest font bundle from DesignCuts as I mentioned earlier this week. 20 font families (200+ fonts) worth $1721 for just $29. That’s 98% off. Stay tuned for more quality deals from them even after Black Friday! That’s their speciality after all.

SkillShare Courses – Free Month!

Skillshare Classes

If you’re after short and sweet courses to up your skills as a designer, developer, photographer, etc, you can grab a free month subscription with this great deal.

MediaTemple Hosting – 40% Off!

Media Temple Hosting

If you’re after an awesome web host with great support, then look no further. I even host this website with MediaTemple. I wrote about why I host with them here. You can get 40% off their annual hosting plans with this Black Friday deal from MediaTemple. Enter code ‘cybermonday’. Only valid 11/30.

Shutterstock Stock Photos – 15% off


Shutterstock are providers of premium stock photos and vectors and you can get 15% off subscription plans with the code ‘save15′.

How to Get More Illustration Clients eBook – $28 off

Illustration Clients eBook

Alex Mathers is another creative I’ve been following for a number of years. He specializes in illustration and marketing and he has released an eBook called how to get more illustration clients. The book retails for $47 but you can get the eBook for $19.

Amazon Black Friday Sales

Amazon Black Friday

Amazon have an awesome Black Friday deal page, from electronics, to cameras and everything in between. A popular item on sale is their Kindle Paperwhite for $99 ($120).

More electronic deals from BestBuy, Target, Walmart, Office Depot, Staples, Microsoft, Dell, HP here. 

More Black Friday Deals for Web Designers

For more Black Friday deals for web designers, see this post compiled by GraphicGoo. You can grab WordPress plugins, themes, apps and more.

Thank you!

For those of you in the USA, have a great Thanksgiving! Although I’m not American, I’m thankful for all of you reading and following my blog, it couldn’t be done without you!

Apple TV apps can now use Facebook for logging in

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 4.10.26 PM
Apple TV is fantastic for playing games or viewing media. When it comes to text entry, the set-top box falls short. Next time you log into an app on your TV, it may be with Facebook. Today, Facebook made an SDK available for Apple TV apps, meaning developers can allow users to authenticate themselves via a social log-in. The tvOS SDK is roughly the same framework as its iOS counterpart, making it fairly easy to implement, but uses Apple TV’s process of forcing you have to visit a website to verify your initial session. In addition to log-in, the SDK could…

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Anonymous trolls ISIS by removing darknet site, replacing it with Prozac ad

GhostSec, a group that affiliates itself with Anonymous, took to the darknet today for some lulz by removing an ISIS propaganda site and replacing it with a Prozac advertisement and the following message: Enhance your calm. Too many people are into this ISIS-stuff. Please gaze upon this lovely ad so we can upgrade our infrastructure to give you ISIS content you all so desperately crave. The ad points to CoinRx an online pharmacy that bills itself as “the number one bitcoin online pharmacy” and sells everything from Viagra to Xanax without asking for a prescription. This is one of the hundreds…

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Phuc Dat Bich’s viral Facebook story is a phucking hoax

If you can’t trust a man named Phuc Dat Bich, who can you trust? For those following this story, you’re probably already well-versed in the saga that is Phuc Dat Bich, but for everyone else, here’s a quick primer. The story of a Vietnamese-Australian man with an unfortunate name emerged in January after Phuc Dat Bich, Joe Carr, Thien Nguyen, Tin Le he posted a photo of his passport online to “prove” that he was indeed named Phuc Dat Bich. The photo was necessary to prove to Facebook that his name wasn’t a violation of its real name policy and that it should quit removing his…

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A livestreamed attempt to build the world’s largest Rubik’s Cube did not end well

giant rubik cube
Some people have very specific passions – take, for example, the folks at Coren Puzzle who are super into all things cubic. Browse its catalogue of YouTube videos and you’ll find tons of variations of the Rubik’s Cube. Things were peachy until yesterday, Coren Puzzle decided to livestream the creation of large 3D-printed Rubik’s Cube measuring 22 by 22 by 22 cm. Spoiler alert: It did not end well. You can watch the full 90-minute version of the clip if that’s your thing, but here it is cut to the moment before the devastation. If it makes you feel any…

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Which coast prefers spicier food? Graze thinks it knows how Americans snack based on region

There’s been a lot of talk about how algorithms might know you better than anything – just yesterday, researchers claim computers can predict relationships better than a human therapist. So it comes as no surprise that when it comes to something as simple as snacking, algorithms, too, want to predict my favorite foods. The way Graze, a subscription-based snack box service, does it, however, is not just by your indicated preferences – but also through your demographics. Using a database of 500 million customer ratings, Graze predicts the snacks that you might like based on common tastes in your region. “Snacking…

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These defiant robots are learning to reject human orders

Robots that we interact with in today’s society are programmed to carry out tasks without deviation. The robots of the future might just be a little more defiant. Researchers at the Tufts University Human-Robot Interaction Lab in Massachusetts are trying something that many-a-science fiction movie warned against — teaching a robot to say “no.” As humans, when we’re asked to do something we evaluate the command using “felicity conditions.” Simply put, felicity conditions are the processes we run through to determine context, capacity and trustworthiness of the person giving the command. According to IEEE Spectrum, felicity conditions for a robot could look…

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Publisher Blocking: How the Web Was Lost

Streaming Apps

Google recently announced app streaming, where they can showcase & deep link into apps in the search results even if users do not have those apps installed. How it works is rather than users installing the app, Google has the app installed on a computer in their cloud & then shows users a video of the app. Click targets, ads, etc. remain the same.

In writing about the new feature, Danny Sullivan wrote a section on "How The Web Could Have Been Lost"

Imagine if, in order to use the web, you had to download an app for each website you wanted to visit. To find news from the New York Times, you had to install an app that let you access the site through your web browser. To purchase from Amazon, you first needed to install an Amazon app for your browser. To share on Facebook, installation of the Facebook app for your browser would be required. That would be a nightmare.
The web put an end to this. More specifically, the web browser did. The web browser became a universal app that let anyone open anything on the web.

To meaningfully participate on those sorts of sites you still need an account. You are not going to be able to buy on Amazon without registration. Any popular social network which allows third party IDs to take the place of first party IDs will quickly become a den of spam until they close that loophole.

In short, you still have to register with sites to get real value out of them if you are doing much beyond reading an article. Without registration it is hard for them to personalize your experience & recommend relevant content.

Desktop Friendly Design

App indexing & deep linking of apps is a step in the opposite direction of the open web. It is supporting proprietary non-web channels which don't link out. Further, if you thought keyword (not provided) heavily obfuscated user data, how much will data be obfuscated if the user isn't even using your site or app, but rather is interacting via a Google cloud computer?

  • Who visited your app? Not sure. It was a Google cloud computer.
  • Where were they located? Not sure. It was a Google cloud computer.
  • Did they have problems using your app? Not sure. It was a Google cloud computer.
  • What did they look at? Can you retarget them? Not sure. It was a Google cloud computer.

Is an app maker too lazy to create a web equivalent version of their content? If so, let them be at a strategic disadvantage to everyone who put in the extra effort to publish their content online.

If Google has their remote quality raters consider a site as not meeting users needs because they don't publish a "mobile friendly" version of their site, how can one consider a publisher who creates "app only" content as an entity which is trying hard to meet end user needs?

We know Google hates app install interstitials (unless they are sold by Google), thus the only reason Google would have for wanting to promote these sorts of services would be to justify owning, controlling & monetizing the user experience.

App-solutely Not The Answer

Apps are sold as a way to lower channel risk & gain direct access to users, but the companies owning the app stores are firmly in control.

Everyone wants to "own" the user, but none of the platforms bother to ask if the user wants to be owned:

We’re rapidly moving from an internet where computers are ‘peers’ (equals) to one where there are consumers and ‘data owners’, silos of end user data that work as hard as they can to stop you from communicating with other, similar silos.
If the current trend persists we’re heading straight for AOL 2.0, only now with a slick user interface, a couple more features and more users.

You've Got AOL

The AOL analogy is widely used:

Katz of Gogobot says that “SEO is a dying field” as Google uses its “monopoly” power to turn the field of search into Google’s own walled garden like AOL did in the age of dial-up modems.

Almost 4 years ago a Google engineer described SEO as a bug. He suggested one shouldn't be able to rank highly without paying.

It looks like he was right. Google's aggressive ad placement on mobile SERPs "has broken the will of users who would have clicked on an organic link if they could find one at the top of the page but are instead just clicking ads because they don’t want to scroll down."

In the years since then we've learned Google's "algorithm" has concurrent ranking signals & other forms of home cooking which guarantees success for Google's vertical search offerings. The "reasonable" barrier to entry which applies to third parties does not apply to any new Google offerings.

And "bugs" keep appearing in those "algorithms," which deliver a steady stream of harm to competing businesses.

From Indy to Brand

The waves of algorithm updates have in effect increased the barrier to entry, along with the cost needed to maintain rankings. The stresses and financial impacts that puts on small businesses makes many of them not worth running. Look no further than MetaFilter's founder seeing a psychologist, then quitting because he couldn't handle the process.

When Google engineers are not focused on "breaking spirits" they emphasize the importance of happiness.

The ecosystem instability has made smaller sites effectively disappear while delivering a bland and soulless result set which is heavy on brand:

there’s no reason why the internet couldn’t keep on its present course for years to come. Under those circumstances, it would shed most of the features that make it popular with today’s avant-garde, and become one more centralized, regulated, vacuous mass medium, packed to the bursting point with corporate advertising and lowest-common-denominator content, with dissenting voices and alternative culture shut out or shoved into corners where nobody ever looks. That’s the normal trajectory of an information technology in today’s industrial civilization, after all; it’s what happened with radio and television in their day, as the gaudy and grandiose claims of the early years gave way to the crass commercial realities of the mature forms of each medium.

If you participate on the web daily, the change washes over you slowly, and the cumulative effects can be imperceptible. But if you were locked in an Iranian jail for years the change is hard to miss.

These sorts of problems not only impact search, but have an impact on all the major tech channels.

If you live in Goole, these issues strike close to home.

And there are almost no counter-forces to the well established trend:

Eventually they might even symbolically close their websites, finishing the job they started when they all stopped paying attention to what their front pages looked like. Then, they will do a whole lot of what they already do, according to the demands of their new venues. They will report news and tell stories and post garbage and make mistakes. They will be given new metrics that are both more shallow and more urgent than ever before; they will adapt to them, all the while avoiding, as is tradition, honest discussions about the relationship between success and quality and self-respect.
If in five years I’m just watching NFL-endorsed ESPN clips through a syndication deal with a messaging app, and Vice is just an age-skewed Viacom with better audience data, and I’m looking up the same trivia on Genius instead of Wikipedia, and “publications” are just content agencies that solve temporary optimization issues for much larger platforms, what will have been point of the last twenty years of creating things for the web?

A Deal With the Devil

As ad blocking has grown more pervasive, some publishers believe the solution to the problem is through gaining distribution through the channels which are exempt from the impacts of ad blocking. However those channels have no incentive to offer exceptional payouts. They make more by showing fewer ads within featured content from partners (where they must share ad revenues) and showing more ads elsewhere (where they keep all the ad revenues).

So far publishers have been underwhelmed with both Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News. The former for stringent ad restrictions, and the latter for providing limited user data. Google Now is also increasing the number of news stories they show. And next year Google will roll out their accelerated mobile pages offering.

The problem is if you don't control the publishing you don't control the monetization and you don't control the data flow.

Your website helps make the knowledge graph (and other forms of vertical search) possible. But you are paid nothing when your content appears in the knowledge graph. And the knowledge graph now has a number of ad units embedded in it.

A decade ago, when Google pushed autolink to automatically insert links in publisher's content, webmasters had enough leverage to "just say no." But now? Not so much. Google considers in-text ad networks spam & embeds their own search in third party apps. As the terms of deals change, and what is considered "best for users" changes, content creators quietly accept, or quit.

Many video sites lost their rich snippets, while YouTube got larger snippets in the search results. Google pays YouTube content creators a far lower revenue share than even the default AdSense agreement offers. And those creators have restrictions which prevent them from using some forms of monetization while forces them to accept other types of bundling.

The most recent leaked Google rater documents suggested the justification for featured answers was to make mobile search quick, but if that were the extent of it then it still doesn't explain why they also appear on desktop search results. It also doesn't explain why the publisher credit links were originally a light gray.

With Google everything comes down to speed, speed, speed. But then they offer interstitial ad units, lock content behind surveys, and transform the user intent behind queries in a way that leads them astray.

As Google obfuscates more data & increasingly redirects and monetizes user intent, they promise to offer advertisers better integration of online to offline conversion data.

At the same time, as Google "speeds up" your site for you, they may break it with GoogleWebLight.

If you don't host & control the user experience you are at the whim of (at best, morally agnostic) self-serving platforms which could care less if any individual publication dies.

It's White Hat or Bust...

What was that old white hat SEO adage? I forget the precise wording, but I think it went something like...

Don't buy links, it is too risky & too uncertain. Guarantee strong returns like Google does, by investing directly into undermining the political process by hiring lobbyists, heavy political donations, skirting political donation rules, regularly setting policy, inserting your agents in government, and sponsoring bogus "academic research" without disclosing the payments.

Focus on the user. Put them first. Right behind money.

Ideal Gifts: Chromecast Audio lets old speakers tap into Spotify, Pandora and more

Chromecast Audio
In the Ideal Gifts series, The Next Web team shares personal recommendations for gifts to give this holiday season. Google made streaming video to your TV accessible to many people for the first time with Chromecast, and it’s now doing the same with home audio. At just $35, Chromecast Audio is a no-brainer for anyone who likes music but hasn’t bothered to upgrade to an audio system that can tune into services like Spotify, Pandora or Google Play Music. It can turn pretty much any old pair speakers into a full-fledged connected sound system. Because it works with pretty much any app Google Cast supports – whether…

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Cheerleaders bring more confusion than cheer to startup pitch day in London

Cheerleaders edit
The crowd at Telefónica’s Wayra accelerator Demo Day 2015 in London was rather bizarrely treated to a midway cheerleading show before the second half of 16 startups pitching their winning ideas today. On Twitter at least, the event very easily looked like it had descended into a how-could-you-not-forsee-this, very-stereotypically-gendered tech event, with one audience member, who runs an all-female social enterprise, tweeting: And so begins 2nd half #WayraDD15 catering for the lads, when tech is 50/50 can we have male cheerleaders too pls?! — Kathy Smart (@smartredkitty) November 25, 2015 Having got in touch with Wayra for clarification, a spokesperson said: “This has…

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