Work at Home, Graphic Design Business Freebies and Discounts

March 31, 2020

By Janet Dodrill


Working at Home? See for this Month’s Freebies and Discounts to Online Courses, Apps and Subscriptions.

Free: 1-Month Trial to Shutterstock

The Digital Marketing Strategy Ebook Freebie

Lessons in Entrepreneurship: Walt Disney Freebie Course

Free: Shopify 14-Day Subscription

The Top 5 Books Every Entrepreneur Should Read, Free

2020 Mac Productivity Essentials Bundle $29.99

Breaks For Eyes for Mac $9.99

PDF Reader Pro For Mac $39.99

ChargeHub X3: 3-Port USB SuperCharger $29.99

WorkspacePro: Multiple App Launcher for Mac $7.99

Old Cleveland Postcards

December 22, 2012

By Janet Dodrill

euclid avenue cleveland ohio postcard

Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, postcard

Recently, by going through family photos, albums and scrapbooks, these three old Cleveland postcards of Euclid Avenue, University Circle and the Hollenden building, were discovered, passed down through our family. I love old Cleveland pictures, and it is even interesting seeing the written correspondence and stamps on some of them.

People crave nostalgia, and Clevelander’s enjoy anything Cleveland! Progress in civilization changes things so quickly, which we can mostly tell by looking back.

I’ve noticed, working in the graphics industry, that back in the day of keylines, typesetting,

university circle cleveland ohio postcard

University Circle, Cleveland, Ohio, postcard

hand-lettering and illustration (for me it was 1970s through early 1990s), we strived to achieve a polished high end look that was difficult to manufacture by hand. Then when the desktop publishing-capable computers were introduced it seemed to be the answer to our hopes. We could generate clean text and grab clip art graphics. However, by the late 1990s fonts were being created with a hand-written or grunge look. Stock illustration was less sleek and more stroked and textured. We sought a more natural look from our computer layouts, and for the visuals to appear to be more authentic.

hollenden building cleveland ohio postcard

Hollenden Building, Cleveland Ohio, postcard

I have found a similar comparison with the direction of cameras and photography. Over time we have made many improvements to cameras and photographic imagery. From tin to plates to film to now digital cameras with ever-increasing megapixels and other features. How ironic that we get software and app filters to give us an old sepia tone or vintage look.

The innovative Instagram, available first, offered a multiple digital image filter app that could be applied from a phone or tablet and posted on the world wide web for millions to see and took off in popularity. And there are many more other apps that now do the same thing, most recently Twitter and Flickr.

Seeing old postcards is still special. That is when the imagery was the best it could be. It brings us back to a time when we had other priorities. You can just tell by these postcards that the fancy architecture shown would have drawn visitors to Cleveland, and that people were out catching cable cars, operating their horse-drawn carriages while going downtown to shop or work at their businesses, and other things of the day. It starts-off our imaginations when we look at them.

euclid avenue cleveland ohio postcard

Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, postcard

university circle cleveland ohio postcard

University Circle, Cleveland, Ohio, postcard

hollenden building cleveland ohio postcard

Hollenden Building, Cleveland, Ohio, postcard

Away at College Then and Now

October 9, 2012

By Janet Dodrill

Then: call home collect only in emergencies – – Now: unlimited calling

Then: say goodbye to your old friends for the quarter or semester and try to contact them when you get home  – – Now: Skype or text them or post to their wall on Facebook or follow them on Twitter

Then: carpool with strangers to get home for the holidays and split the gas – – Now: take a Megabus home for $5-$30

Then: buy a bunch of maps and learn your way around the college town – – Now: Use a navigator or GPS system to find your location or destination

Then: run out of gas, walk to a gas station, rent a gas can, walk back to the car, return the gas can to the station – – Now: call AAA from your car on your cell phone and let them do the rest

Then: go to the library to research every subject, idea or question; interview people – – Now: Google everything from your computer, smartphone or tablet

Anything else? There’s probably an app for it!

Do you get the idea?

Data Fees Everywhere; For Tablet Add Another

September 30, 2011

By Janet Dodrill

Someday soon I would like an iPad or tablet, however I do not want to pay for another data plan. I pay for one for my computer internet service, I pay for one for my smart phone, and am looking at paying for one with a tablet. I would like to take the tablet traveling and have access anywhere, hence I would need more than a wireless capability. The computer DSL, smartphone, and potential iPad could currently not be combined by one carrier. Does anyone else suffer from this dilemma?

Amazon is releasing a new tablet, Kindle Fire, available this fall. It is said to be half the size and less than have the price of an Apple iPad [read the Kindle Fire article]. It’s cute [see the Kindle Fire product]. It has web, and the capacity for movies, apps, games and reading (Does it really need a camera?).

What are the ways people justify it as a business expense? I know it would make a great traveling portfolio for any graphic designer or web designer.

Roku: Entertaining Tech Gadget

January 12, 2011

By Janet Dodrill

rokuRecently, I obtained a Roku XDS internet TV box and my friends have been generating a lot of questions. I have been enjoying it from day one.

I cannot compare it to cable, as I am not a cable subscriber. I signed up for a one month free trial of Netflix streaming ($7.99 per month). The streaming selection is very limited, especially for new releases. However, in order to run it at the best quality you need to have an internet connection between 3-5 Mbps. Mine runs at 1.5 Mbps and the quality is acceptable but not good. On a large 720 or 1080p HD TV the quality may be unacceptable to some. The additional connection speed would cost me an extra $10-$15 per month. There is a quality meter bar with four circles which appears when retreaving a stream (four being the highest) and mine has not reached four yet. Some additional cables may be required to work with your set-up (I had to purchase HDMI and ethernet cables.). Despite these things, it is fun and easy to use.

Roku is available in three models starting at $59, which can accommodate customers with analog TVs and those with 1080p HD TVs.

The unit comes with a variety of view ready free and premium viewing channels. Add Roku channels in your online account at or once in the interface through the Channel Store. Find ways to add private channels (like at or at the Roku channel database

Recently, CNET reviewed Roku XDS vs. Apple TV. Play the video and click on the ‘Next Round’ button. Roku came out ahead overall as compared to Apple TV. Also, read the reader/user comments.

Fox news announced in a video that Roku has reached 1 million customers. Anthony Wood,  Founder and CEO of Roku says that 12% of their customers end their cable subscriptions and 12% reduce their cable plans, after purchasing Roku.

Some preparatory questions may be answered on the company’s support page, or type their name in Google to read some reviews. For those who already own a Roku, follow their Tweets and ‘Like’ them on Facebook to hear the latest news.

Choosing Passwords

June 11, 2009

By Janet Dodrill

Coming up with a formula for choosing passwords and remembering them can be a good idea. I once met someone who, when ask to register on a web site with a username and password, would use their initials, followed by the name of the site they were visiting. That way they could memorize all their passwords. The same system could apply when choosing a username.

I dislike when I am given an auto-generated password where letters and numbers are combined, and I cannot tell if an “0” is the number zero or the letter “O”. Or if an “l” is an uppercase “i” or a lowercase “L”.

In the wikiHow article “How to Choose a Secure Password“, it discusses ways to choose a strong password that you can remember, by doing things like mixing letters, numbers and symbols and by choosing long combinations of characters. Perhaps develop a sentence that you can remember and abbreviating it by first letters and word substitutes (i.e. “2” for “to”). It claims that it is important to have at least 6 characters in a password, and to change passwords every 60 to 90 days.

It is never a good idea to leave your password(s) on a Post-It® note stuck to the front of your computer monitor, for the whole world to see! Believe it or not, people do this.

In the past I have kept password info in a text file that has a not-so-obvious name (i.e. not naming the file ‘passwords’), so I could just copy and paste the login information for sites I would frequent, primarily at work, but not anymore. Now, I write all my passwords in a notebook, and do not keep them on my computer system. This may seem ‘old school’ to some, but it works for me. I am able to memorize the ones I use regularly.