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A new Firefox extension lets anyone sharing an open wireless network at your neighborhood café or workplace easily access your Facebook, Twitter and myriad other online accounts. It’s a terrifying tool designed to highlight a longstanding problem.
Last month, Twitter unveiled a total site redesign. The new Twitter homepage is robust, more like a stand-alone application, and offers support for multimedia, keyboard shortcuts, and easy access to various types of content.
The new design also has different dimensions (originally based on the golden ratio) and treats backgrounds in a slightly different way. The result is that a carefully customized Twitter background that looked fantastic on the old Twitter, may not work so well with the new design. In many cases, the best solution is to create a new color scheme or background design to fit into the new parameters.
As more and more users are gaining access to the new Twitter, we thought it would be a good time to revisit the area of Twitter customizations. Fortunately, Twitter now offers some fantastic theming tools to make the process less of a chore, and we’ve created some Photoshop (PSD) files mapped to the dimensions of the new Twitter to help give you a head start.
Plan Your Layout
The new Twitter utilizes a fluid layout, meaning that the browser window or screen resolution can impact the width of some of the columns, as well as how much of the background image is visible.
Check out this image that we created to show off the layout of the new Twitter. Although resized to fit this blog post, this screenshot was originally taken at a resolution of about 1440 pixels wide.
There are a few points you need to keep in mind when designing or altering your Twitter background to fit into the new site:
- The new design has a constant top toolbar that is 40 pixels tall and spans the entire length of the web page. For most designs, this shouldn’t interfere with any of your elements, but be aware that this bar is always there. Also note that there is a 20 pixel tall space between the toolbar and the start of the two columns.
- The spacing to the right and left of the columns is fluid and will vary based on the resolution and size of the browser window. The spacing is also significantly reduced from the previous design. As an example, in a 1280×800 browsing window, in the old design, there were approximately 251 pixels on each side of the Twitter columns. On the new design, that is reduced to 112 and 113 pixels respectively.
- The Twitter sidebar on the right is now semi-opaque. The opacity is about 75%, which means that depending on what color you choose and the color or style of your background image, that can impact readability.
- The timeline column on the left is always 540 pixels in width, but the sidebar can vary. After a certain resolution (about 1130 pixels), it becomes fixed at 500 pixels wide, but on smaller screens or in smaller browser windows, it can be as small as 380 pixels.
- Because of the way the columns are now laid out, background images should probably only be tiled if they are patterns or seamless. Larger images are much better off transitioning to a solid color rather than repeating.
Use the Built-in Twitter Theme Tool
The excellent Themeleon tool from COLOURlovers has been updated for the new Twitter. You can access the tool by either going directly to the site or by selecting Themeleon from the sidebar in the Design section of the Twitter settings page.
You can login to Twitter in the app and customize your colors and backgrounds on the fly. The great thing about the tool is that until you hit ‘save,’ none of the changes take effect. Think of this as a great way to test out color combinations and various motifs.
COLOURlovers has provided a number of quality pre-built themes using backgrounds and designated color palettes, but you can upload your own background image and set your own color schemes. You can also browse the very large collection of COLOURlovers patterns and tiled background images. One of our favorite features of this tool is that if you use one of the pre-built patterns, you can apply a color scheme that will also change the color setup of that pattern.
COLOURlovers also has a ton of color palettes to choose from and to play with. If you’re already a COLOURlovers member, you can access your own palettes or palettes you follow or have marked as ‘loved.’ It’s a free community, and given the difficulty in actually discovering new color palettes in the theme creator, we recommend signing up so you can favorite your own schemes.
Find Your Perfect Palette
COLOURlovers is a great resource for color fans, but there are tons of other great resources on the web to get the perfect color combination.
We’ve written about some of our favorite web tools for working with color, but here are a few more:
- Color Hunter – This site offers up some palettes based on photographs uploaded on the site. You can also search through palettes and upload your own photograph to find the perfect palette.
- ColorCombos.com – This site has a great listing of user-generated color palettes and you can also test your combinations out to see how well they work together.
- PHOTOCOPA – PHOTOCOPA is another tool from COLOURlovers and it helps pick out the colors that are in an image. What’s great about this tool is that you can not only upload a photo, but you can also link or search for a photo from Flickr. Once you find your colors and create your palette, you can save it in your COLOURlovers library, which can then be accessed in the Themeleon tool.
Test Your Resolution
Because the new Twitter layout is fluid, how things look can vary based on the size of your browsing window. It’s a good idea to test how your background or color scheme looks at different screen sizes.
Fortunately, there are free extensions available for all the major browsers that make resizing your browser window a snap.
- Firesizer for Firefox – Firesizer is a simple add-on that shows up in the bottom status bar of the Firefox browser. Not only does it show you the current dimensions of your browser window, but right-clicking the resolution lets you select a pre-defined browser size. Your window will be resized as soon as you select your choice. You can customize the extension to add your own pre-set sizes.
- ResizeMe for Safari – ResizeMe lets you quickly change the size of your browser window. It works as a toolbar button and clicking the button can either auto-change the size to a selection of your choice or give you the option to select various sizes.
- Window Resizer for Chrome – This extension shows up in the Chrome toolbar. Clicking the button lets you select from a dropdown list of various browser sizes or device types. You can customize this listing. It’s got a great interface and is really easy to use.
Test it Out in Photoshop
Lots of designers like to manipulate their backgrounds or color schemes in Photoshop or other image editing programs. We understand. While there are plenty of PSD files created for the old Twitter layout, we had a hard time finding any good PSDs for the new Twitter.
Thus, we rolled up our sleeves and created this collection of PSD files. They are in resolutions of 1024×768, 1280×800, 1440×900 and 1600×1200. If you need a different variation, let us know in the comments and we’ll see what we can do. The guides and layers are all editable so you can customize these files for your own uses.
You can download these files at http://drop.io/mashnewtwitter.
Below, we’ve collected some great Social Media stories about how to win an SEO battle for your name, or a list of words that Google Instant blacklists. Tech & Mobile can help you get a job in social gaming or reveal which Sci-Fi predictions actually came true. Business comes loaded with productivity tips, ways to use Google Voice for your business, and some emerging trends in online brand campaigns.
Looking for even more social media resources? This guide appears every weekend, and you can check out all the lists-gone-by here any time.
- Exclusive: Trent Reznor on ‘The Social Network’ [INTERVIEW]
As the premiere of ‘The Social Network’ approaches, we decided to talk with Reznor about scoring a movie in its entirety, among other things.
- How and Why PepsiCo Engages in Social Good [VIDEO]
We had an opportunity to chat more in-depth with Bough about how Refresh is going, what it means for PepsiCo and its various brands, and what’s next for the project.
- ‘The Social Network’: Mashable’s Complete Movie Review
‘The Social Network’ is more than just the story of one website; it is both a micro and macro look at success, failure and the trappings of ego and greed.
- Which Words Does Google Instant Blacklist?
You have to hit enter to confirm, yes, you really do want to know about something in some way related to bisexuals or lesbians.
- Tech Entrepreneurs Discuss ‘The Social Network’ [VIDEO]
We followed up our Mashable New York screening of ‘The Social Network’ with a panel that discussed several of the prominent themes of the film.
- The Case For Social Media in Schools
Teachers and parents are often wary about using social media in the classroom. Here’s why the benefits outweigh the risks.
- 9 Creative Social Good Campaigns Worth Recognizing [Mashable Awards]
Many causes have leveraged the power of social media in some incredibly creative ways. In connection with the Mashable Awards nominations, we’ve highlighted the standouts.
- How NPR Is Leveraging the Twitter Generation [STATS]
NPR has just released a fascinating set of stats about its Twitter followers.
- HOW TO: Win the Search Rank Race for Your Name
In a world where almost 80% of hiring managers Google job candidates, it’s important to make sure that people can find the right ‘you.’ These tips can help.
- Minecraft: How Social Media Spawned a Gaming Sensation
The sandbox building and exploring game Minecraft has taken the web by storm, and it couldn’t have happened without social media. Here’s a look at its recent meteoric rise.
Tech & Mobile
- HOW TO: Score a Job in Social Gaming
Social gaming can be a tough industry to break into. We spoke with some pros to get a few tips on tackling the social gaming job market.
- 11 Astounding Sci-Fi Predictions That Came True
Decades, even centuries ago, some of literature’s most creative minds imagined — with eerie accuracy — some of the high technology many of us take for granted today.
- 7 Ways Mobile Apps are Enriching Historical Tourism
Wish you could get more out of sightseeing without expensive books and hired guides? Mobile apps are changing historical tourism, and these 7 are particularly intriguing.
- The Evolution of the Apple Mouse [PICS]
We’ve taken a look at Apple’s input device — the humble mouse — to see how the design has changed from way back in the early 80s right up to today.
- A Detailed Look at Apple and Google’s Fight for Mobile Developer Attention
Google’s Android platform continues to be where developers see the most longterm potential, especially when powering multiple types of devices.
- 11 Trends in Web Logo Design: The Good, the Bad and the Overused
Good design, like any art or fashion, has roots. What’s hot in web logos right now, and what’s been done to death? Check out this detailed rundown of the biggest trends.
- How Popular Is the iPhone, Really? [INFOGRAPHIC]
While the iPhone is a very popular smartphone, Apple’s overall share in the mobile phone market is still very low compared to giants such as Nokia and Samsung.
- 10 iPhone Apps for the Global Foodie
Let your taste buds rejoice! We’ve found 10 iPhone apps to help adventurous foodies explore and enjoy the best international dishes.
- 10 Killer Firefox Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts
These simple but powerful tips and tricks for the open source browser will have you cruising the web faster and smarter in no time.
- How the iPad Is Transforming Web Design
In the last few months, several high-profile websites have adjusted their designs to look and feel more like the iPad. We’re dubbing this, the ‘iPadification of the web.’
- DROID R2-D2: The Unboxing [VIDEO]
The DROID R2-D2 is here and Mashable has a rundown of the all the special features that will make any ‘Star Wars’ fan swoon.
- 10 Incredible Inventions from The World Maker Faire [PICS]
The World Maker Faire is an impossible density of coolness, but these 10 exhibits stood out.
- 10 Stories Beautifully Told with Animated Typography [VIDEOS]
Moving type, or ‘kinetic typography,’ is a clever way to make simple text cut through the visual clutter of today’s online world. We’ve hand-picked 10 great video examples.
- Connected TV: The New Battle for Your Living Room [INFOGRAPHIC]
Apple TV, the Boxee Box, and Roku are finally bringing web entertainment to the living room. How do these products stack up? Check out this detailed price and feature comparison chart.
- 3 Business Tools to Spice Up Boring Work Tasks
While there’s no escaping boring work tasks, newer web and mobile apps, like Prezi, inDinero and Expensify, make the time spent doing them much less arduous.
- 37 Productivity Tips for Working From Anywhere
These days, your office is your laptop, whether you’re in a cubicle, a coffee shop, or on a plane. We asked professionals for their best advice on getting things done no matter where you work.
- 6 Free Web Tools for Managing Time Differences
Conducting business with international clients can mean more than just a language barrier — there can be a time barrier as well. These web apps can keep your biz organized across time zones.
- HOW TO: Advertise Inside Social Games on Facebook
One of the most effective new ways for companies to reach consumers on Facebook is to advertise inside social games. Check out these key strategies.
- Top 5 Emerging Brand Trends on Facebook
Big brands are finally keyed in to the power of social marketing on Facebook, and they’re launching some impressive campaigns. Keep an eye on these five important trends.
- 5 Ways to Use Google Voice for Your Business
Google Voice can greatly improve the efficiency of your business’s phone communications, and save you money. Check out 5 easy implementations for the office.
- Why We Need to Reframe the ‘Women in Tech’ Debate
While the media decry the lack of women in tech, the numbers paint a different picture. It’s time to change the discussion around female entrepreneurship.
- How Social Media Marketers Can Convert Attention Into Action
It’s one thing to start a conversation on the social web. It’s another to convert that into a sale for your business. But keen analysis of your strategy can boost the odds.
- Why Product Reviews Can Drive Group Buying Success for Retailers
Group buying sites like Groupon represent a major potential market for small businesses, but with money lost on every sale, it takes something special to succeed.
Are you a Twitter addict who owns an Apple device? If yes, then undoubtedly you regularly use Twitter’s official iPhone app. You will be glad to know that the app now has a wonderful new improvement.
Currently the app has a number of cool features which facilitate Twitter usage on the iPhone. Some of the app’s standard features include real-time search, top Tweets, trending topics, and maps that show whatever is currently happening nearby and everywhere else.
All these features, while great, have not left the Twitter developers complacent. In order to keep their app on top, they need to regularly update it to take advantage of the new OS’s abilities. They have done exactly this to integrate iOS’s most important feature, multitasking, in their app.
Multitasking lets you use multiple applications simultaneously. Twitter was smart enough to update their app in order for it to support multitasking on iOS 4. This new version of the app is compatible with iPod Touch, iPhone, and the iPad; the OS requirement is iOS 3.0 or later. These requirements let any modern Apple device owners take advantage of the app and all its great features, including multitasking.
Check out the official Twitter iPhone app HERE
Between Twitter, Facebook, and Googles new social networking tool, Buzz, its hard to turn a corner without running into another social network. But how do you know which networking tool fits you best? Were here—with big charts and all—to help.
Last week Google Buzz made us ask ourselves what we wanted out of social networking. To answer that question, we charted what we liked and disliked about setup, privacy, usability, and other aspects of Buzz, Twitter, and Facebook. Here’s the result.
This chart doesn’t cover everything about every network out there. MySpace is (seemingly) on the decline or, at best, re-purposing itself. LinkedIn is really a business contact pool, FourSquare a geo-location game, and other networks generally too niche to be compared in the same aspects and categories.
For the simple read, here’s the full chart of our Buzz, Twitter, and Facebook comparison. We color-coded each answer to give a context of where it stood, in comparison to what we know is possible and what a smart user would like to see. Red means that you can’t rely on this network for this feature. Yellow indicates that the network offers it or makes due, but could definitely be better. Green means something works, and can be considered a selling point.
Google may have finally figured out social media, even if there have been some major slip-ups in the way. The implications of that realization could dramatically change social media as a tool and as an industry.
On Tuesday, February 9th, Google launched Buzz for Gmail, a service for sharing thoughts, multimedia, and your social media feeds with your friends utilizing Gmail as the conduit. The result: over 160,000 Google Buzz posts and comments per hour.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that Google didn’t launch a small addition to Gmail — no, it has dropped a nuclear bomb whose fallout will permanently alter the social media landscape. I could never have predicted that it would become so popular so fast when I first learned about it.
Why? Why has it grown so rapidly? Why has it riled up such strong emotions on both sides? Are the privacy issues going to permanently damage Google? And most of all, what does Google Buzz mean for Twitter, Facebook, and the rest of the social media world?
It’s been a month since the iTunes App Store went live, and in an interview with the Wall St Journal, Steve Jobs has put the apps downloads figure at over 60 million. With the mix of free and paid apps, that brought Apple around $30 million. That’s obviously encouraged Steve: He’s enthusiastic that maybe ‘it will be a $1 billion marketplace at some point in time’ adding that he’s ‘never seen anything like this in my career for software.’
And in a slightly unusual candid comment, for Steve anyway, he’s admitted that the apps won’t be making Apple much profit—instead future sales hopes are pinned on the applications tempting people to buy more iPhones and iPod touches. ‘Phone differentiation used to be about radios and antennas and things like that,’ he argues, suggesting that now the differentiation is about software.
Clearly the app store has been a success so far for Apple and the developers: The top 10 made close to $9 million in one month. What about the infamous ‘I Am Rich’ app? Apple decided to pull it as the result of a ‘judgment call.’
Steve also confirmed the existence of the kill switch for malicious apps, despite last week’s news to the contrary. ‘Hopefully we never have to pull that lever, but we would be irresponsible not to have a lever like that to pull.’ And you can’t argue with that logic. [WSJ]
Twitter may be experimenting with a new design, but even its new interface still leaves something to be desired. Tweenky, a new mashup that launched in private beta last week, is looking to offer Twitter users an alternative. The site sports an AJAX-heavy design that borrows heavily from Gmail (which isn’t a bad thing), and integrates a number of features that should appeal to Twitter powerusers. To get one of 200 invites, go here and enter the word ‘techcrunch’ as the invite code.
Users send new tweets from a form at the top of the page that includes integration with link-shortening sites snipurl.com and is.gd. The familiar left sidebar is broken into shortcuts, folders, and a list of hot topics taken from search.twitter.com (formerly Summize). Each folder represents a collapsible lists of keywords and Twitter users that you’ve subscribed to. The site also emulates Twitter’s Track function, which lets you keep tabs on a certain keyword over IM or SMS (Twitter used to have this feature, but disabled it earlier this year).
Tweenky isn’t doing anything revolutionary – all of its features are available elsewhere, either from twitter.com or TwitterSpy, which also provides Twitter’s lost tracking feature. But it brings everything together in a cohesive package that is much more intutive than most other attempts we’ve seen. For more information, check out Orli Yakuel’s introduction to the site.