UK judges to get scientific guides

A Supreme Court judge launches the first of a series of scientific guides for the UK judiciary.

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No One Trusts Social Media, but They'll Keep Using It Anyway [New Data]

I’ll just come right out and say it: The internet has a massive mess to clean up.
You may have heard about it. For instance, earlier this month, you may have followed the testimony from senior leaders at Facebook, Twitter, and Google that outlined, in detail, the quantity and nature

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Essential Documents for Freelance Web Designers

The act of becoming a freelancer often comes from having a true passion for your work. Many of us are consumed with keeping up with the latest technologies and keeping clients happy. But the fact is that we’re also running a business – something that can be easy to overlook.

My own personal freelance journey started out this way. I had absolutely no idea how to keep things organized or even what responsibilities were involved. My main goal was just to have fun and be creative. Little did I know that I was playing a bit of a dangerous game.

Like many people, I learned as time went on. The downside was that it usually took a mistake or miscommunication to get me to that point. It wasn’t exactly taking the easy route.

Now, I’m here to help you be both better organized and protected against potential problems. Here’s a list of important documents you should be utilizing (like contracts) and ideas for things you should keep track of (like income). Each one represents an important facet of running a freelance design business. Plus, I’ll link to some free resources you can use to get off to a running start.

Proposals

Proposals

Scope creep is one of the most dreaded aspects of doing freelance work. Clients often ask for an inch and then end up taking a mile. So it’s important that you have a well-written proposal that outlines exactly what you’re going to do (and not do) for any given project.

Still, there are times when unexpected things pop up. Quite often a client will fail to mention a certain requirement. You can prepare for those items by stating that anything not mentioned in the proposal will incur extra fees. Just make sure you provide your client with a heads-up before charging extra.

Contracts

Contracts

While it’s great to believe in the honesty and kindness of people, contracts are still a necessity for freelancers. At the very basic level, they create a binding agreement on how much you’ll be paid for a project and the terms of how you will work on that project. Now, from there we can get into all sorts of technicalities and legalese. Anyone who has made a large purchase like a car or a home can attest to how complicated and confusing a contract can be. In fact, that may be what scares many designers away from using them.

But contracts don’t have to be overly complicated. Frankly, they can be as simplistic as you like. Just know that a simple document may not protect you against as many possible scenarios. Leave out the wrong detail and a litigious ex-client could try and take advantage.

So, when deciding on what terms and protections should be included in your contract, it makes sense to consult with a legal expert. Above all, they’re the best resource for knowing what you need. But it’s understandable that expert advice isn’t always within our budgets.

Beyond that, also take a look at the services you offer and think about all of the things that could possibly go wrong. When you know what’s possible, you’ll have a better idea of what you need to protect against.

Accounting Data

Accounting Data

Working on your own is no excuse for not keeping track of finances. You’ll want to keep a running tally of your income, business expenses (hold on to those receipts!) and invoices that you’ve sent out to clients. This information is crucial in several ways.

First, your ability to accurately pay taxes depends upon having the proper records. Second, this data will give you an overall picture of how well you’re doing. You can’t possibly make informed business decisions without first knowing where you stand.

There are a number of ways to organize information. You could go all out on spending for an accounting suite. You’ll find some excellent online services, along with more traditional software that can do the job. However, it could also be as simple as maintaining a few spreadsheets. It might not be as high-tech, but it’s a fairly painless method for maintaining records (that’s how I started out).

Project Notes

Project Notes

One of the great challenges of working on multiple projects is remembering all of the small details when switching from task to task. A busy mind may more easily forget things that are vital to the success of a project.

One sure-fire way to remember it all is by taking notes. If you want to start small, simply type them into a text editor. That way, you’ll have a resource to come back to when you’re ready to pick up where you left off.

If you’re extra busy and need a more robust solution, a task management service like Trello can be your best friend. Not only can you add project notes, but you can also keep up with other important items such as deadlines. Plus, these types of tools often include collaboration features to help you share progress with clients.

Emergency Information

Emergency Information

This is something that we freelancers often ignore. But what happens if something happens to us? Some important information may be stored inside our brains that others will need to access. It’s a sensitive issue but one that a responsible business owner should address.

The idea is to pick a trusted source or two and create a document that contains the things they will need to know if you’re unable to run your business. I know, people tell you never share passwords, etc. That’s understandable. But when you work alone, there has to be a safe way to share vital information in the case of an emergency.

You could keep a paper document in a safe place like a lockbox or a bank’s safe deposit box. If you want to handle things digitally, an encrypted file (to which only your trusted source(s) have the key) is also a viable option. Either way, provide the information they’ll need to help your clients access anything you are currently managing.

Free Resources

Now that you know what type of documents are essential to running a freelance design business, here are some free resources to get you on the right track. Just remember – they’re not a substitute for professional advice. But they can help you get where you want to go.

A Freelancer’s Guide to Basic Bookkeeping
This resource will show you what you should keep track of and how to do so efficiently.

Contract Killer
An open source contract geared towards web design projects. Bonus points for being written in plain English.

Design Contracts for Freelance Web Designers
Includes a customizable proposal, terms and conditions, invoice, past due and collections letter.

Docracy Web Design Documents
Docracy is a treasure trove of open source legal documents. You’ll find plenty of options for whatever you need. Also see their Freelance and Designer topics for more guidance.

The Freelance Contract
A contract generator that also enables you to manage the entire process online, this tool requires a free account with Freelancers Union. Also check out the Limited Use Contract Template.

Your Business: Documented

Your Business: Documented

Being a freelancer can be a very fulfilling experience. But it’s not always fun and games. To do it right, you need to take responsibility for your business. Keeping it well-documented will help you stay organized and protect you from worst-case scenarios. It may take some extra effort to get things started, but the process quickly becomes second nature.

It’s worthwhile to review your business practices and make sure that you’re doing all you can to stay safe and efficient. Making positive changes can result in a less stressful, more successful freelance business.

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Modine puts out equipment checklist

The three-page document covers general maintenance, gas supply, gas controls, air movers, condensate removal and disposal systems, thermostats, etc.

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Albatrosses hit by fishing and climate

The spectacular albatrosses featured in the BBC’s Blue Planet series have seen a big slump in numbers.

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The 20 Best Websites for Wasting Time on the Internet in 2018

There’s a lot of content out there about productivity — everything from hacks to shortcuts to tips and tricks for how to get more done in less time. It’s all about the sprint, the checking things off the lists as quickly as possible, and the downloading of software that’ll block out any

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2 Crew Falls Short in Finale at Homestead

Brad Keselowski and the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion team did all they could to battle for their second championship on Sunday afternoon, but without elite speed, they fell short of their title hopes at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Kes earned a spot as one of the Championship 4 alongside Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick, giving him a shot at his second title at the Monster Energy Cup Series level. Unfortunately, his White Lite

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AHRI urges support for tax reform bill

Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute President and CEO Stephen Yurek said his group supports many of the bill’s key provisions.

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Bosnia's silent killer: The coal industry

The Balkan country has the world’s second highest death rate caused by air pollution.

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Top 10 Free Bootstrap UI Kits For Customizing Your Layouts

You can build some incredible stuff with Bootstrap. If you search the web, you’ll find hundreds of code snippets, addons, and starter templates to help you craft amazing layouts.

But the default Bootstrap design is dull and overused. Why not add a custom UI kit into the mix?

You’ll be running on Bootstrap while also re-styling your site with a unique look. This collection should get you started with some kick-ass open source Bootstrap UI kits for that custom aesthetic you always wanted.

1. Material Design for Bootstrap

material design bs3 uikit

If you’ve been keeping up with design news then you’ll know material design is huge. And what a better way to use material design than by combining it with Bootstrap?

Thankfully other designers had the exact same thought and built Material Design for Bootstrap.

This open-source toolkit lets you quickly prototype material web apps using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript all running on top of the Bootstrap foundation.

You have full access to BS3 Sass mixins, custom code libraries, and components, all of which are restyled for a material design slant. Pretty cool if you’re into Google’s design patterns.

2. Bootflat

bootflat ui kit

Here’s a UI kit similar to material design but without all the material-y UX stuff.

Bootflat is quite possibly the cleanest CSS kit you’ll find. It works on top of the latest version of Bootstrap 3.x and may be updated for the newer BS4.

With Bootflat you have full access to all page elements & components, plus this works in all major browsers with legacy support dating back to IE8.

Also this comes with a free PSD of all the Bootflat elements. You can use this to mockup a design in Photoshop before ever touching a line of code.

3. Drunken Parrot Lite

drunken parrot ui kit

With a name like Drunken Parrot you may not know what to expect. But this free Bootstrap theme is actually pretty cool with loads of incredible components at your disposal.

This also comes with a free PSD kit along with the HTML/CSS code so you can mockup your layout first. I definitely like the aesthetics because they feel so natural. I’d say they can work on basically any website.

Only downside? Drunken Parrot is a freemium kit meaning it offers a free version with fewer features, and a pro version with everything. But don’t let this stop you from testing the free version. It’s got a beautiful design that’s hard to find elsewhere.

4. Flat UI

flat ui kit

Designmodo’s Flat UI kit offers a unique take on flat design with Bootstrap. This comes as part of Designmodo’s library of resources, many of which cost money. But Flat UI is their freebie release.

You’ll find custom design styles for everything: on/off switches, tabbed widgets, dropdowns, checkboxes, form fields, you name it.

The demo page has everything in the kit so you can see how it looks. To grab a copy for yourself just visit the GitHub repo.

5. Metro UI

metro ui kit bootstrap

Along with Google’s material style is the Microsoft metro style. It’s another newer design language that works on the typical “windows” design with flat panes for interface elements.

With the Metro UI library you’ll have full access to a customizable set of components for your Bootstrap layouts. These can work for practically any page, and they’re super easy to use.

Take a peek at the examples page to see how this looks. You’ll also notice the project’s navigation mimics the traditional Bootstrap nav with pages for components and base CSS styles.

6. Design Blocks

froala bootstrap kit

The Froala Design Blocks kit works a little differently than most. This works on little block elements for pages that use Bootstrap, so it’s like an open source library of BS3/BS4 code components.

These “blocks” are really just custom page elements with different styles. Footers, headers, navigation menus, forms, plus a bunch of other categories.

This works well for building a widgetized Bootstrap layout, but it’s not a cohesive theme.

Still an awesome project and 100% free for life.

7. Get Shit Done

get shit done ui kit bootstrap

The team at Creative Tim often release crazy freebies for the design community. One of the best is the Get Shit Done UI kit designed for Bootstrap.

It currently sits at over 40,000 downloads and gets infrequent updates to go along with changes to the Bootstrap library.

Take a peek at the live examples page to see how all the components look together. It’s a beautiful design that feels so far away from Bootstrap it’s almost like a completely custom UI kit!

8. Now UI Kit

now ui kit framework

Here’s another gorgeous UI kit designed by the folks at Creative Tim. With the Now UI Kit you get a bunch of awesome features and a stellar aesthetic, but this one’s designed specifically for BS4.

I haven’t found a BS3 version of this kit, so it’s pretty much solely for the newest version of Bootstrap. You can tell it’s already got quite a following with 20k total downloads in less than a year.

Again this has a live preview page showcasing all the custom elements like on/off switches, checkboxes, radios, tabs, nav menus, everything.

Note Creative Tim does run this as a freemium kit, so it has a pro version with hundreds of extra components. But if you don’t need all that extra stuff you can totally get by with the free version.

9. Flatto UI Kit

flatto ui kit bootstrap

I rarely find UI kits for the web that support mobile interfaces. But the Flatto UI Kit is one such example that’s absolutely phenomenal.

If you take a look at the preview page you’ll find a bunch of custom mobile UI elements like title bars, back buttons, and sliding hamburger menus.

The flat design style is really cool and feels unique compared to the other flat UI kits. Check it out if you’re looking for a mix of mobile and web styles all running on Bootstrap.

10. Availity

availity ui kit webapp

Currently the Availity UI kit is made for all BS3 layouts. But with the beta release of Bootstrap it’s likely that Availity will be updated to support BS4 too.

It’s a pretty small framework, and it comes with a unique design. It mimics a lot of Bootstrap traits like gradients and semi-3D styles on buttons, while also restyling them for a refreshing twist.

You can see more on the components page inside the Availity documentation. This even comes with extra icon webfonts and custom JS scripts all packaged together.

Availity isn’t the prettiest UI kit for Bootstrap, but it is one of the most comprehensive with support for every page element you can imagine.

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