Forget Millennial Shorthand; Get Grammarly

Have you ever hit the send button, only to realize that your phone had auto-corrected into complete nonsense? What about writing a quick social media post and accidentally using their instead of there?

In today’s world with chat speak and millennial shorthand, it is important to use proper grammar. As an Interactive Student in the IMA program at Assiniboine Community College, I find it essential to be on top of the language I am using, as to keep a professional persona; Therefore, I downloaded Grammarly.

Grammarly is available as a mobile app, a browser extension and a software add-in. They also have an amazing website with added perks. Although the different versions of the application have the same goal, they are all presented in a unique way, maximizing their use on each platform.

 

Mobile App

The mobile app; A personal editor you can take wherever you go. This application not only checks the spelling of singular words, but it also checks for contextual spelling errors, giving you the option to view a short and sweet explanation for the correction. To encourage mistake-free writing, the Grammarly app is presented as a keyboard that integrates smoothly across all other apps on your mobile device.

An intriguing part of the keyboard is the option to add words to your dictionary with a simple touch of the + sign. Another bonus feature is the auto-correct notification: A little teal box pops up on the top of your keyboard every time it auto-corrects, letting you know, just in case.

Browser Extension

Grammarly is also available on your Mac or PC. The browser extension works across the web and is compatible with:

  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • Firefox
  • Internet Explorer
  • Windows
  • Microsoft Office
  • MacOS

Grammarly’s extension harmonizes with your browser, allowing you to use it across the web. From writing important emails to posting a comment on a blog, you’ll eliminate the worry of making mistakes.

Grammarly.com

Signing in to Grammarly.com allows you access to a world of grammatically correct fun. The website allows you to personalize your account for more relevant checks. This includes setting your primary language, your preferred English vocabulary (i.e. United States English vs. Canadian English), and the level of your grammar skills.

As an application, Grammarly has a lot to offer and has become a successful addition to my tool belt as a graphic/web design student.

This post was edited with Grammarly.

Download the app here!

Easier Web Design

Most of us are quite familiar with some of the most popular Adobe software by now, and these programs are great tools for creating a vast number of different projects. However, as technology moves forward and we are required to create better and faster, the usual Abode products are a bit inadequate.

I’ve been using Photoshop and Illustrator for most of my web-based and digital projects until quite recently. I learnt from experienced UX/UI designers that these programs are not ideal for the digital design process. These are some of the reasons why:

  1. They were not created specifically for digital projects (despite the fact that we can optimise and create images with them).
  2. You can’t easily reuse the elements that are repeated over a project preserving its properties.
  3. It is a huge headache separating or selecting each item as we need it for exporting.
  4. You have to choose whether to work with vectors or pixels.

 

Meet Sketch!

Sketch was created specifically for digital design and everything related to it (icons, web interfaces, websites, etc). It provides a huge number of advantages, but here I’ll mention a few to encourage you to take a look at it.

  1. Time-saving. You can reuse elements with similar characteristics throughout your project and store them in your project library so you can use them as many time as you need.
  2. Infinite projects. You can create lots of pages, which at the same time can contain as many artboards as you need so you can keep all the style elements at hand for the whole project!
  3. Text styling. You can create as many text styles as you need and you can apply them with just a click. You can also make changes to the original style, and it will be reflected in all the other elements with it applied. Also, the text will be displayed exactly as it would on the final product.
  4. Mirror. You can see your project on Apple devices so you can see how it actually looks on a determined screen.
  5. Versatile. You can have both vector and pixels working together, and toggle the view of your project.

 

I have a lot more of reasons why I love working on Sketch, but if you want to take a closer look at it, you can do it here. There’s also a discount for students if you feel like getting the license (which you might not have to pay for every year).

NES games basically play themselves

Super Mario Bros for NES

Extreme code enthusiast, Tom Murphy, has developed an interesting and aesthetically pleasing software that plays NES games.

A Graduate of Carnegie Mellon University (School of Computer Science), has shown off a new piece of software he developed back in 2013 known as “Learnfun” and “Playfun”. The project has received little attention until it was further referred to in recent posts on Reddit(post 1785 by user “BulletAllergy”), and other similar sites.

Punch Out

To explain further, “Learnfun” and “Playfun” are AI (artificial intelligence) softwares that are capable of playing NES games via a computer emulator. The AI can understand the objective of the game and utilize controls it creates by itself to progress through, say, a level in Super Mario Brothers. The software at work can be viewed on youtube on Tom’s account known as “suckerpinch”. There are 3 episodes and no lack of analyzation for the viewers; despite Tom’s armada of ongoing projects. Regardless, some of the levels played in games like “Color A Dinosaur”, “Cliffhanger”, and more, are well played… For the most part. The software tends to either to beat the game in perfect rhythm, or completely crash and burn; giving us the fun and the funny in this development.

Cliffhanger

Tom’s research paper talks purely of the science behind the program, and the objective he wishes to achieve. The (FCEUX) emulator NES is developed through “a jillion lines of C++-ish code”. The paper holds every detail of the process, the mathematics, the science, the process, and so much more. Regardless, coding it to predict logical futures in game, having the machine understand what controls to use, the points, the objective, there are quite a lot of things to consider in the case. It’s quite a workload for poor Tom, but since this project has a solid goal and a nearby completion inbound, I have no trouble believing that this can become a stunningly cool visual marvel for the generations to see. I assume that other and more current game ports will be a ways away for us. I for one am seriously anticipating Tom’s work on Learnfun and Playfun softwares.

This neat little invention becomes even more pessimistic as the paper progresses and I continue to watch the demos. No amount of complex computer science can deter that I am a huge fan.