Here take a look at my Freelancing portfolio as a Graphic & Web Designer: Patrick Mann Portfolio


When you’re a freelancer, need a modern way to write down notes! I personally use both Evernote, OneNote and 2Do (iPad App) to notetake whenever I need to. Here are some options for PC’s for recording notes.

1. A.nnotate


A.nnotate is a web service that allows making text notes, adding sticky notes to documents like PDFs or images. It enables you to create snapshots of favorite websites. Besides, you can share your notes with your fellow workers. Thanks to A.nnotate web nature, you have freedom to make notes from PC or your mobile device. Initially, you set a free account; later on you may switch to a paid version.


2. CintaNotes


CintaNotes is desktop freeware for making small notes. The software has web clipping functionality to save pieces of web pages and the document URL. CintaNotes organizes all notes according to categories and dates. Besides, the software suggests adding tags for each note to make search easier.

3. Diigo


Diigo is a web app to make notes and web clippings. Add Diigo to your web browsers and start organizing your ideas while surfing the Internet. Make bookmarks, highlight most important content, add text hints and share your Diigo notes with your team. Diigo is available for Android gadgets, iPad, iPhone or computer.

4. Evernote


Evernote is a top note taking solution. You make notes, web clippings, photo messages on the go or from your computer. All notes are synchronized in an online account. Evernote add-ons base – Trunk, enriches your note taking experience with lots of handy apps and tools. Thus, you always keep all ideas, inspirations and new knowledge at your fingertips.

5. GloboNote


GloboNote is open source note taking software. It’s a cross-platform tool designed as sticky notes. The software is easy to use. Put a yellow sticker on the desktop while working. You can freely move your stickers, edit or delete them. GloboNote is a perfect thing for plain text reminders.

6. Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft One Note is a full-featured note taking tool. As a part of Microsoft Office suite, OneNote helps to add notes fast and develop fresh ideas. OneNote is a real digital notebook with bookmarks, structure, advanced text style formatting and image editing options. Now Microsoft OneNote works on mobile devices and PC.

7. PNotes


Pnotes is open source software for small notes. Pnotes organizes text notes into a structured notebook. Write a note, flag it or star it to work on the message later. Besides, there is an option to email a note if you plan to work on the go.

8. Tomboy


Tomboy is open source note making program provided by Gnome, who makes popular open source software like GIMP and InkScape. The tool is as simple as can be: write a note, link to another note to make connected content. Tomboy allows searching notes. However, note style editing is rather limited.

9. Xournal


Xournal is open source desktop software created in a diary format. Xournal helps to make drawings and text notes. Thus, you can express your fresh ideas in any manner you like. Xournal can be installed on Windows, Mac or Linux OS.

10. Zoho Notebook

Zoho Notebook

Zoho Notebooks is more than a note app. The web service allows you to make notes, web clippings, audio and video notes. You can share your Zoho notes and collaborate with partners on them. Besides, Zoho Notebooks allows importing Google Notebooks. Thus, Zoho is a useful app for those who want to still enjoy old Google Notebooks content since Google plans to shut down its Notebook service.

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I stumbled upon this article, so I hope you find it as interesting as did I.

And you thought $25 checked luggage fees and charges for carry-ons were bad.

When it comes to baggage fees, fee-crazed Spirit Airlines might come to mind. More than 20 percent of revenues brought in by the airline, which was the first American carrier to charge for carry-ons, comes in the form of ancillary (a.k.a. not regular old airfare) fees.

Yet, as USA Today reports, arguably the most absurd, off-the-charts expensive baggage fees are now being charged by the “legacy” carriers American, Continental, and United. To check a bag categorized as overweight (between 70 and 100 lbs.), a passenger can expect to pay $400 on international flights with Continental and United, which are now sister carriers after a merger, and $450 on American’s routes to Asia.

Delta, by contrast, charges a comparatively cheap overweight checked baggage fee of $200 on most international flights.

It’s fees like these that make it increasingly worth your while to consider shipping your bags as an alternative to checking them on flights.

Other ways to avoid these fees should be fairly obvious. Two ideas:

1) Pack less.

2) Pack in multiple bags rather than one overweight bag.

On international flights, for instance, Continental allows one bag under 50 lbs. for free, charges between $40 and $70 for a second bag in the same weight category, and charges $100 for the third. Add that up and it comes to a total of up to 150 lbs. of baggage for under $200: That’s less than half the price of a single checked bag weighing 99 lbs. ($400) on an international flight with Continental.

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I stumbled upon the internet today a tool made by FreelanceSwitch to determine how much you should be aiming for when charging for your freelancing. I’ve talked many times on my blog My Gap Year RTW about freelancing, but one of the many issues newcomers face is charging the right price.

Take a look here: Freelancer Hourly Rates Calculator.

Want to stand out from those competing for the same job. Here are some stunning examples of people using their creativity and Photoshop to create a visually appealling resume.


Read the rest of this entry »

Remember the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Japan earlier in March this year? Because of that the number of foreign tourists has dropped by over 35%. The Japanese Government is now trying to conivnce them that their country in now “Open for Business” and that the country is safe for travel. There have been serious discounts being offered at this time by most hotels but few have yet to take them up on their offers.

Excerpts from an interiew with Shigeki Takizaki, the minister for public affairs for the Embassy of Japan:

How has the disaster affected tourism?

Visitors have been declining dramatically. It is very serious now, and the Japanese government is committed to a kind of campaign in which we’re insisting that Japan is open for business and travel. In autumn, the season in Japan is the best. Most of Japan is quite safe, and even surrounding areas, except for 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) around nuclear facilities, are now safe. We’d like as many foreigners as possible to go to Tohoku (the region where Fukushima is located). It has a lot of nice scenery and hot springs and people are very kind.

Are there any specific precautions that travelers should take if they visit Japan?

The Japanese government asks people not to enter a 20 kilometer (12.4 mile) zone [around nuclear facilities]. The American government issues a different warning. The U.S. government asks citizens not to enter a 50-mile zone.

How should travelers reconcile those two differing warnings?

Most areas that are attractive to foreigners are quite far away [from these zones]. If any person is very concerned with the situation, they can check with the Japanese government.

Every government has a responsibility to its citizens. The U.S. stance is understandable. The Japanese government warning is based on scientific figures and research, while the U.S. government warning is based on their data and research.


In the Lonely Planet Forums, I came across this article posted by someone about paying to volunteer overseas. During my Gap Year Around the World I was even considering undertaking volunteer work, but this article has opened my eyes It talked about how those who pay for it are damaging the people of the country rather than helping it. Its key points include how it has become a raging industry, guilt has become a major commodity and how many westerners are doing it soley for self-fullfillment. Here are some excerpts from the article from The Guardian:
By 10pm, the aptly named Bar Street is pulsating with tourists drawn to Siem Reap by the famous Cambodian ruins of Angkor Wat. As hip-hop blares from clubs, children playing traditional instruments are led along by men with placards reading: "Support our orphans." The kids offer sweet smiles to the diners and drinkers and anyone making a donation is invited to visit the nearby orphanage, one of several in the city, and perhaps spend time working there.
This is the most direct attempt to lure tourists, seducing them with wide eyes and heart-wrenching stories of abandonment. Other orphanages rely on websites filled with pictures of happy children. Some have hooked up with guest-houses, taxi drivers and, best of all, western tour companies that offer voluntary work alongside the holiday of a lifetime.
But behind those smiles can lie untold misery. For in Cambodia, as in other parts of the globe, orphanages are a booming business trading on guilt. Some are even said to be kept deliberately squalid. Westerners take pity on the children and end up creating a grotesque market that capitalises on their concerns. This is the dark side of our desire to help the developing world.
Look again at those cute children. Those "orphans" might have been bought from impoverished parents, coerced from loving families or simply rented for the night. An official study found just a quarter of children in these so-called orphanages have actually lost both parents. And these private ventures are proliferating fast: the numbers increased by 65% in just three years.
Once again, clumsy attempts to do good end up harming communities we want to help. We have seen it with foreign aid, corrosive in so many countries by propping up despots, fostering corruption and destroying local enterprises. We have seen it with the dumping of cheap food and clothes, devastating industries and encouraging a dependency culture. And now we see it with "voluntourism", the fastest-growing sector of one of the fastest-growing industries on the planet.
Insiders call them guilt trips. All those teenagers heading off on gap years, fired up with enthusiasm. Those middle-aged professionals spending a small fortune to give something back to society. And those new retirees determined to spend their downtime spreading a little happiness.
In recent years, a disturbing form of slum tourism has taken off, with rich visitors sold a glimpse into the lives of the very poor. In Asia, unbelievably, tourists pay for trips to hand out food to impoverished rural families. In Africa, tour firms throw in a visit to an orphanage alongside a few days on the beach or watching wild animals. Critics argue that dropping in to take photographs of orphaned children, who may have seen parents recently waste to death, reduces them to the status of lions and zebras on the veld.
Many orphanages let tourists work with children. But what would we say if unchecked foreigners went into our children's homes to cuddle and care for the kids? We would be shocked, so why should standards be lowered in the developing world? Yes, resources might be in short supply, but just as here, experts want children in the family environment or fostered in loving homes, not in the exploding number of substandard institutions.
As the authors of this report point out, the harsh truth is that "voluntourism" is more about the self-fulfilment of westerners than the needs of developing nations. Perhaps this is unsurprising in a world in which Madonna thinks it is fine to take children from African families.
In Ghana, just as in South Africa and Cambodia, there has been a boom in unregistered orphanages. Last year, police investigated one after the rape of an eight-month-old boy and discovered 27 of the 32 children were not orphans. A government study found up to 90% of the estimated 4,500 children in orphanages had at least one parent and only eight of the 148 orphanages were licensed. Unicef officials said children's welfare was secondary to profits and it is thought less than one-third of income goes on child care.
Every one of us has a financial dream of some sort, “To become independent,” to “pay off all my debts,” “to own a large business”. However some financial dreams are fool’s gold, best kept as a dream. For example a distant uncle of mine was anticipating a grand life when he would receive the families inheritance. However he died before them! 

Here are 4 financial dreams to avoid pursuing, thanks to ChristianPF:

1. Making money with a website with little to no effort.

I’m here to tell you, making money on the internet isn’t easy!  Although I have a blog that is pretty successful, it took around 6 months to make the first few dollars!  Anyone trying to strike it rich within the internet arena is in for a rough surprise.  The only way to make it big online is to devote a large chunk of your time and dedication.  It will take time and tons of patience.  Making money online is not for the faint of heart, and it’s definitely not a way to make money fast.  It’s a fantasy to think that an online business will get you rich quick.  However, if you’re willing to put the work in, then yes, you can reap the rewards, but those will come with time! 

2. “The chances aren’t that bad, I’ll win the lottery!”

It’s flat out stupid to think you’re going to win the lottery.  You’d probably get more satisfaction out of buying candy instead.  I’ve seen the financial devastation in people’s lives by placing their hope in the lottery.  I’ve seen some people spend an entire week’s paycheck on the lottery.  It’s a losing strategy and you should avoid this fantasy at all costs.  Even if you did win, studies show that most who win the lottery lose it all anyways and aren’t happy.  Lesson here is this: if you can’t budget and manage your money now, how can you expect to be responsible with winning the lottery?

3. Banking on an Inheritance.

I used to think about this one as a kid.  How cool would it be to receive an inheritance when your parents passed?  As I’ve grown older, I have seen people keep this mentality within their financial lives.  I’ve seen people spend recklessly thinking that an inheritance is around the corner.  How do you know if there is as much as you think?  And what if your parents decided to give the money away?  You should never put your eggs in one basket.  This fantasy is not only selfish but can be a real downer when it never happens.

4. “I will make a killing with an IPO”

Oh boy, this one sends shills down my spine.  You’ve seen it in movies and TV shows.  An excited husband gets word of mouth about a new and up and coming company.  He takes his entire fortune and puts it all on one company’s IPO.  The IPO goes sour on the first day and the husband loses everything.  This fantasy is beyond flawed.  It may seem like a logical way to make a killing, but you’re just playing with fire.  First off, you need money to invest with.  Even if you have the money to do so, it’s hard to made a lot off an IPO.  For example, if you have $50 and it doubles, now you have $100.  Depending on how much you invest, this is not a quick way to make money.  Also, you risk the IPO flopping and losing all your money.

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I am sure that anyone who travels wants to keep those memories in photo form with a camera. But it ain't nice when your photography skills aren't up to scratch. When I head on my Round the World Trip I'll be wanting that perfect, inspirational shot every time. To start off here are some tips, courtesy of

A Focus on Composition

The rule of thirds

The rule of thirds divides up the image by thirds horizontally and vertically. The crosshairs identify the key points of interest for placing an object.

How to Take Good Pictures

Illinois State House – ISO 80 f/4.8 1/296

When applying the rule of thirds in this photo, we create a better picture by sitting the statue off to the right. This draws the eye to not only the statue of Senator Stephen Douglas, but also the Illinois State House. If the statue were to be placed front and center, you would subconsciously pay little attention to the building. The eye wouldn’t sense the need to scan the image with the target front and center. The image is now more complex allowing me to share various aspects of what we saw.

How to Take Better Pictures

Lincoln's Tomb – ISO 80 f/4.8 1/600

Again we apply the basic rule of thirds creating various points of interest in the photo.

Depth of Field

Using a shallow depth of field

Depth of field is the range of sharpness in your image. At what point is the image in focus and at what point does it blur? The aperture, or f/stop, you choose controls your depth of field. The larger your aperture (smaller f/stop reading) the less range of focus your photo will have. This section in her book is laid out in very good detail. The methods Beth choose to help you understand f/stop are brilliant. The images below from me show you what different depth of field ranges look like.

How to Take Good Photos

Outdoor Chandelier Key West – ISO 200 f/3.5 1/160

The focus of this image is on the Chandelier, however it’s important that the floral surrounding the chandelier be a part of the image to enhance color and character. With a low f/stop, the range of focus doesn’t stretch far beyond where our camera is focused, the chandelier. If we had increased our f/stop, the range of focus increases, creating sharper surroundings.

How to Take Better Photos

Restaurant on Culebra Island – ISO 1600 f/5 1/25

Again, we use a limited depth range in order to draw attention to the lights illuminating the bamboo wall.

Using a larger depth of field

How to Take Good Pictures

Miami – ISO 125 f/10 1/160

In a Miami marina, we desire a large depth of field, enabling all objects in the foreground and background to remain in focus. We do this with a higher f/stop.


Adding impact and drawing attention

Color can create sudden impact and draw great attention to an object in a photo.

How to Take Good Pictures

Illinois State Fairgrounds – smart phone, boosted color in editing

Taken with a smart phone, we decide to center the main object of focus. That object also has tremendous color – bright blue. Without having to look at the rest of the image, you focus on the robust color and read, “Scrambler.” The blue base sits well below the sign, but it does lead you up to it rather easily, since the sign stands out against a white sky.

The full article is at