Archive for March, 2012

How to Google it

This infographic is worth sharing.  It is filled with tips and tricks on how to make an effective Google searches by using Google search terms or operators.

Infographic on Google Online Research Tricks

Infographic on Google Online Research Tricks via


A Short Course on Adobe Photoshop and Web Graphic Design – Part 1

Adobe Photoshop & Web Graphic Design Training

Adobe Photoshop & Web Graphic Design Training

I am not artistically inclined, but I do sometimes dream I can create beautiful art someday.

I attended a 2 day course on web graphic design using Adobe Photoshop CS3 at the Philippine Trade Training Center, Philippines. I really do not know how to use Photoshop except use it to crop out pictures for my blog posts or powerpoint presentations. So I was excited to learn more than the usual. Another reason why I took this course is that I was interested how the Photoshop can be used in creating great looking websites.

Judging from the course program, the training is short but compact. First day of the training course is on the interface, and the tools available in Photoshop. In Adobe Photoshop, you work on layers of images. When this concept was discussed on the training, I was imagining a hamburger.

When you view a hamburger from the top, you would only see the bun, but when you view at the side, you could see all the layers of ingredients, i.e., the lettuce, the pickles, the hamburger patty, the cheese, etc. Similarly, the graphic image you create in Photoshop is made up of 2 or more layers stacked on top of one another.

Here are some important action keys and keyboard shortcuts to remember in Adobe Photoshop, I listed them here because I keep on forgetting them during the course.

Action Keys

Free Transform Ctrl+T to edit/resize objects on your layer
Merge Layers Crtl+E to merge one or more layers
Deselect Ctrl+D to deselect active object on your layer
Liquify Filter Ctrl+Shift+X to alter an objects shape on your layer
Invert Ctrl+I to invert an image or object

Shortcut Keys

Ctrl+Z  Redo/Undo
Alt+Ctrl+Z  Step Backward/Undo
Crtl++  Zoom In
Ctrl+-  Zoom Out
]  Increase Brush Size
[  Decrease Brush Size
F8  Object Information Window


As a hands-on exercise, we were asked to replicate an Iphone using Photoshop. I had a headache doing this, but I did learn a lot. Here is my humble attempt. Does it look close to the original?

My Iphone using Adobe Photoshop

Replicating an Iphone using Photoshop

A good tip I learned from the instructor is to always start a project with a clean slate by having only the toolbar and layer panel on your Photoshop screen.  When doing a design project, always breakdown the task into separates. This can be done by doing each objects or tasks in the design into separate layers. That way, your work is organize. Labeling your layers is also a good way in organizing tasks in your project.

To be continued…

Training course information:

Dates: March 26-27, 2012

Registration Fee: PhP 2,250

Instructor: Mr. Martin Cipriano (

Facilitator: Mr. Gerald David, Philippine Trade Training Center (

Tel. No: (632) 468-8962

How to Use Spybot Search & Destroy

Today’s tutorial is about Spybot Search & Destroy. It is my first time to use this program. And true to its name, it already identified 40 spywares in my computer.

40 spyware!!! Yikes!

So that is why my Google Chrome has gotten really slow. It looks like it’s doing a lot of things at the back end before it shows me the web pages I searched.

Spyware are malicious files and programs installed on your computer without your consent. They are also called adware, greyware, and malware. Like a true spy, they are hidden and can be difficult to detect.  Often than not, you don’t know that you already have a spyware in your computer.

Once inside your computer, spyware can collect information about you. Specifically, spyware can record and send your personal information passwords, keystrokes, mouse clicks or any other web browsing activities to other computers. Sometimes they send you pop-up windows, spam e-mails and unwanted web pages.

Spybot Search & Destroy

By Marcelo Alves

Spybot S&D is an online program that can find, discover and eliminate spyware and adware. It is free and useful; something you should not be without.

Find below my tutorial on how to use Spybot S&D.

Good riddance, Spyware!  Thanks to Spybot S&D.

oDesk Skills Test: Microsoft Excel

I took the Microsoft Excel 2007 test at oDesk, thinking I would pass it with flying colors.  I was wrong. It was harder than I thought.

The result, FAILED!

oDesk Excel 2007 Test

oDesk Excel 2007 Test Results

I am not proud of it. It is not something you brag about. But I have this need to blog about it. Familiarity breeds complacency. That’s what happened to me.

I thought I knew MS Excel since I have been using it for almost 15 years. I had done many things with MS Excel, from the simple, like creating tables and charts; to the complex, like managing large database. I even used Excel in designing a survey questionnaire; and that was not an easy task either.

Looking on the bright side, I have a chance to improve myself. Taking a test is not only about achieving a high score. We take a skills test so that we could gauge our current skill level. My oDesk test results below shows the percentage of correct answers by topics.

oDesk Excel 2007 Test Results by Topic

oDesk Excel 2007 Test Results by Topic

From here, I could see what my weak areas are. This gives me direction where I need to work on. It turns out; I do have a lot to learn. There are still a lot of topics and features  in MS Excel that I don’t know about.

Good thing oDesk allows you to retake a test.  My rematch with MS Excel is on May 23, 2012.  I’ll be back with a vengeance!

How to Use oDesk Team Application

To be oDesk ready, you need to learn the oDesk Team Application. This in-house application of oDesk was designed so that employers and contractors can connect and collaborate online.

How to Use oDesk Team Application

By lumaxart

Having oDesk Team application is like having a virtual office where all team members can chat and work together on a project at hand. Employers can monitor and manage their ongoing projects online. Contractors can also log into the oDesk Team Application and have record of their work, thus ensuring payment for every hours work.

So, before taking the oDesk readiness test, make sure to install and learn the oDesk Team Application. When you pass this exam, your job application quota at oDesk will increase from 3 to 20 per week. Just follow this step by step tutorial on how to install and use oDesk Team Application.

My BrainBench Games Test Results

BrainBench Games is over. I took 9 tests and here are the results:

Skills Test



Written English 



Word Processing Fundamentals



Internet Concepts



Math Fundamentals (Metric)



Math Fundamentals



English Vocabulary



Computer Literacy (Windows 7)



Computer Fundamentals (Win 7) 



Web Design Concepts



*Score higher than ___% of all previous test takers.

Not bad, huh? I wish I could have taken more test.

Taking these timed tests has been a thrill. Usually, a question is timed 180 seconds to answer (if I recall correctly, only 40 seconds were allotted for math questions). It was pleasing when I beat the clock; on the other hand, it was infuriating when the clock beats me.

BrainBench Games

By pasukaru76

Passing score is 2.75. This means you get a certification from BrainBench. When you get a score of 4.0 and up, you are dubbed a master. Aside from this, the test results lets you know how you fare from other test takers. For instance, my score of 3.42 in the Written English is higher than the score of 75% of those who previously took the test.  The results also show your strong and weak areas in a particular test or a subject matter of a skill. Certainly, the results I got gave me some directions in terms of the subject matter I need to improve on.

Thanks and more power to BrainBench. I hope there would be more BrainBench Games in the future.

PS: Kudos to the Philippines for being in the top 10 countries in the BrainBench Games. The Philippines placed 5th and 7th in the Most Certified Citizens and the Most MASTER LEVEL Certified Nation, respectively.  See complete results here.

How to Use oDesk

If you want to be a virtual assistant, having an oDesk account is a must.

How to Use oDesk

by AlexPears

oDesk is one of the more popular online job market platform that connects remote skilled workers or contractors with employers who are hiring.  What is good about oDesk is that you can apply for job posts on oDesk for free.

Nowadays, there been a lot of employers outsourcing their business operations and projects to freelance contractors no matter where they are. All they seek are the right skills at the right price. At oDesk, you can work anywhere and anytime. You can take in any job you want, whether it is per project or a job which pays by the hour.

So, go ahead and put forth your resume online. Just open your oDesk account today and start getting gigs online. Here is an easy to follow guide for you.

Note: The oDesk account featured here in this tutorial is made only as an example. The account has been disabled since this blogpost was published.