Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

9 August, 2013 — Blogging, Reviews

Free Stock Images for your blog!

A few months ago I published a post about how to find free stock images for your blog or website. You can find that here. However I have just come across a website that has some stunning imagery on it – and best of all its free!

Tell Me Who!

Pixabay is a user generated free stock image website. At the time of writing this post, the website stats say it has a huge 93,683 images in there library all free to download and can be used freely in digital and printed format, for personal and commercial use. Attribution to the original author is also not required. All you need to do is create an account and you can begin downloading right away.

The website does have adverts on until you upload at least 10 images into the library. Once you have done that all adverts disappear. I know what you might be thinking – user uploaded photos.. they must be very poor quality. Well this is where you are wrong. Yes there are some rubbish images however a very high percentage are amazing quality as they have a review process for every image uploaded. Images are available to download in multiple sizes.

Pixabay is available in 20 languages making it accessible to people around the world, meaning they can build a bigger and bigger repository.

Is There A WordPress Plugin?

Pixabay has a WordPress plugin that you can install to add images with one click – you can read more about this plugin on there blog.

Features include:

  • Search Pixabay’s public domain pictures via the “Add Media” button inside your post editor, or find it attached as new tab to WordPress’ new Media Manager.
  • Filter search results by image type (clipart, photo) and/or orientation (landscape, portrait).
  • Preview images in paginated search results.
  • Direct image uploads to WordPress’ media library.
  • Use of standard media dialogues for editing and inserting images.

Once you install and activate the free plugin, you’ll have access to 90,000+ quality images.

9 August, 2013 — Blogging, Reviews

Introducing Debitoor – Free Invoicing & Accounting Software

I know how annoying accounting may be for some people, other’s like me might love it! However whether you love it or hate it, it needs to be simple. Before switching to Debitoor I was using FreeAgent – FreeAgent wasn’t bad, but it was over complicated for my needs and most of all it was costing me £15 a month to do the odd bit of invoicing here and there. This was when I started looking around. First I found something called Wave Accounting – Wave is 100% free like Debitoor however they have adverts. Something I don’t mind, but again it started to get complicated for no reason… then finally I stumbled across Debitoor.

What is Debitoor?

Debitoor is a 100% free invoicing and accounting application which helps freelancers and small businesses produce easy and professional invoices.

The company was launched in April 2012 by the international online accounting software company e-conomic. Realising that the self-employed people need less functionality and even easier-to-use interfaces.

The application is available in seven languages and localised to over 40 countries around the world.

Really? 100% Free?

Really its 100% free for basic invoicing and accounting functionality. They do offer a Premium service at a reasonable €5 /month which includes; Quotes, Reminders (Scheduled Invoices) & Document Handling. So you can upload all your receipts into one secure environment.

What Do I Think?

I like Debitoor a lot and I use it more and more now. I like the way its clean and simple. They even have a user feedback form where users can request features to be included in later version of Debitoor.

Why don’t you give Debitoor a go? It’s free after all! I would be keen to hear your comments and experience with Debitoor in the comments below.

Amazon Web Services
30 April, 2013 — Development, Hosting, Reviews, Tech

Amazon S3 Review 2013

Below is my Amazon S3 Review for 2013.

What is Amazon S3

S3 stands for Simple Storage Service and is exactly that. S3 is storage that is located in Amazons large data centres across the world, designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers. Amazon S3 provides a simple web services interface that can be used to store and retrieve any amount of data, at any time, from anywhere on the web.

I was sceptical when I first started looking into S3 as I didn’t believe it was as cheap as people said it was. After using it for the past 4 months I know now why people love it! The clue really is in the name “Simple”. The user interface is easy to use and is clean, the pricing again is simple and easy to understand. Keep on reading below, where I will go into more detail about why I love S3.

Amazon S3 Dashboard

Amazon S3 Dashboard

S3 Pricing

S3 operates on a basis of paying only for what you use, with separate fees for storage and data requests. The fees break down as follows:

Storage

5GB FREE (for the first year), then $0.095/GB per month (100GB = $9.50)

Data Transfer (Upload)

$0.00/GB Yes FREE for the first 1TB of data

Data Transfer (Download)

$0.00/GB Yes FREE for the first 1TB of data

PUT, COPY, POST, or LIST Requests

$0.005/1000 Requests

Find out more about the prices here.

No-one can really argue with these prices, and yet Amazon keeps dropping there prices! Only a few years ago S3 storage was priced at $0.15/GB and people thought that was cheap, now with it at an all time low of $0.095/GB people are wondering just how cheaper it can go.

Glacier

I know this is an S3 review but I wanted to bring your attention to a similar service as part of Amazons Web Services and almost a brother to S3 – Glacier.

Glacier is one of Amazons other 25 web service products that is designed to be used for large amounts of data you want to archive away and not touch very often. This is known as Cold Storage. This is because the data is stored deep inside Amazon’s servers where you know its safe but unlike S3 you have less of a need to keep dipping into your data. If you suddenly have the need to access your data you can, however it takes anywhere between 3 to 5 hours to retrieve your data from the Glacier servers. Almost think of Glacier like storing something in a freezer for years until that one day when you need it and you have to wait for it to defrost before using it.

Amazons Glacier’s pricing is as little as $0.01 per GB / month!

Conclusion

Its very hard to find something wrong to write about Amazon S3 because its just so easy and simple to use. You know how much your bill will be at the end of each month and you know the bill will be lower than you think it will be (I know I did). I even managed to not pay a penny for 3 of the 4 months I have been using S3.

Give Amazon S3 a go, I think you will be surprised.
If you already use S3 or any other often Amazon’s web services I’d love to hear your experience.