Infographic: Global Cell Phone Statistics

The post title pretty much sums this one up. CouponAudit produced, with a little help from longren.org, an infographic showing Global Cell Phone Statistics. I’m not usually a fan of infographics but this one appealed to me due to it’s simplicity and the fact that I am pretty obsessed with smartphones, tablets, and other portable devices.

There’s not too many surprising things in it, but it’s interesting to note that older age groups (30+) have a higher percentage of e-readers compared with their younger (16 to 29) peers. I guess that makes sense, people like my mom and aunt are more likely to buy a Kindle or similar device than I am. I always go Android, unless I’m gifted an iOS device. Some e-readers just don’t have the flexibility that they should.

Somewhat surprisingly, only 25.6% of people in the 25 to 34 age group have smartphones. 25.6% is the highest percent from all the age groups, too. Every meatspace friend that I can think of owns a smartphone, so I’m not sure I totally agree with those numbers. Actually, there’s one friend who doesn’t own a smartphone, and he is probably the only IT Director in the country without a smartphone, but he refuses to get one. Most of my friends are in the 25 to 34 age range, with some quite older friends who even have smartphones. Perhaps it’s just due to the company I keep, who knows.

More interesting facts:

1. More than $150 billion was spent on mobile media globally in 2013.

2. The average american household spent, on average, $1,226 in 2013 for phone services. In 2007 it was $1,110 a year.

3. Samsung continues to be the most prolific manufacturers of smartphones and dumb phones.

4. 68% of smartphones run some version of Android, with 16.9% running Apple’s iOS.

5. Android recently hit 50 billion downloads on the Play Store.

6. The Apple AppStore hit 50 billion downloads 6 months earlier, but I think it had a considerable head-start with a well established app ecosystem from the git-go.

You can download the infographic right here. The link will open in a new tab. I’ve also included it after the break, if you’re reading from the frontpage, click the “Continue reading” link below to see the infographic embedded into this post. There’s also code you can copy to include the infographic on your website.

Continue reading

My 10 Favorite Image Placeholder Services and Why

Boring but Useful Image Placeholders

There’s all types of image placeholder sites. Think of image placeholders as lorem ipsum, but for images instead of text. Some popular image placeholder services are Dummy Image and placehold.it. Both of those sites let you specify your image dimensions in the URL and then they will spit out an image in the requested dimensions.

Both are good services, and I’ve used Dummy Image extensively, especially while working for the Ames Tribune. As a newspaper, we used the IAB standard ad sizes, which Dummy Image has built-in. So all we needed to do for a standard 300x250px IAB placeholder ad image is this:

Dummy Image

That’ll produce the image below.
Dummy Image
Background color of the image is #222222 and the text color is set to #eeeeee.

The Problem and Solutions

That’s fine and dandy, but what if we need placeholder images that give more life to our mockups? Like actual people, objects, and other organic stuff you find in the meatspace. Having dull placeholder images can give a bad first impression when meeting with new clients. Why not spice it up a bit and add some placeholder images that are somewhat relevant to the project at hand?

Also, flat, plain images simply don’t fit with some designs. Thankfully, this is where sites like placekitten, PlaceBeard.it and placezombie.com come in.

These sites will give you actual photos for placeholder images, not just plain boxes with the image dimensions inside. The image attached to this post is a placeholder image from Fill Murray. Here’s a smaller placeholder image from Fill Murray, accomplished with this

Placekitten 700x300px

Placekitten 700x300px

My Absolute Favorite Image Placeholder Service

Placezombie.com. I like zombies, my oldest daughter loves zombies. So, I decided to revived the now dead placezombies.com and got a new domain for it at placezombie.com. The original placezombies.com domain expired and someone else picked it up, unfortunately. I maintain placezombie.com and use it everywhere, I could be a bit partial to it, I suppose. 🙂

Placezombie.com does color placeholder images and greyscale placeholder images.

Color Image Placeholder

Color Image Placeholder

Greyscale Image Placeholder

Greyscale Image Placeholder

Genre-Specific Image Placeholder Services

1. PlaceBeard.it

Only because I’ll be giving them a photo of me soon.

2. Placekitten

Kittens just bring a certain, I dunno, something to your early designs. They’re cute and usually quite fluffy.

3. Flickrholdr

There’s a ton of great photos on Flickr, so this isn’t really genre-specific, but it needs mentioned. Pull images based on tags to simplify finding images that are relevant to your current project.

4. Placezombie.com

I now maintain this site at https://placezombie.com. This one is a must if you’re building a horror or zombie related site. Some of the images might even be useful as production pieces.

5. Placebear

Like bears? So do I. As with most of these services, you can get your images in full color or in greyscale, and Placebear is no exception.

See below for a Placezombie example.

Placezombie 700x250px

Placezombie 700x250px

Novelty Image Placeholder Services

1. Placecage

Who doesn’t like Nick Cage? I particularly like this one.

2. Placesheen

Charlie Sheen was everywhere a few months ago, why not memorialize him with an image placeholder service?

3. Fill Murray

I really like Bill Murray, so I could actually see myself using this service for personal projects where I don’t necessarily care if the images are of a certain genre.

4. Nice Nice JPG!

Can you guess who’s featured in this image placeholder service? Unfortunately, yes, the always pleasant Vanilla Ice. Reminds me of the good old days.

5. Steven SeGALLERY

I would never use this for anything, ever. And neither should you. But, if you must, don’t come bitching when you start dreaming of Steven, with hair slicked back, pointing a gun at you due to overexposure to Mr. Segal.

6. Morgan Fillman

You can never have enough Morgan Freeman in your sites. Just specify any size as per the examples below and make your website Mogan Freeman-tastic.
I know Steven Segal has a pretty loyal following, but I think his followers even look at him as a joke, his acting career for sure. Since I’ve hated on Steven so much, here’s a placeholder image just for him, because I secretly watch his movies every chance I get.

Steven Segallery 650x300px

Steven Segallery 650x300px

Use Unsplash.com Images for Placeholders

Sellaphix mentioned in the comments an image placeholder service that’s driven by Unsplash.com, called Unsplash.it. Pretty cool, definitely worth checking out. Unsplash.it even has the code that drives the site available on GitHub! You could roll your own, basically.

There’s a TON of image placeholder services around, there’s probably a few new ones being built right now. Google “image placeholders” and you could probably spend a few hours looking at various image placeholder services.

The ones I’ve listed are extremely easy to use and don’t require you to download anything. Just format your img tag as explained at each service and you’ll be set.

A Quick Note

If you’re switching image placeholder services around, beware that some use different URL formats. For example, image URL’s at Placezombie are https://placezombie.com/700×250. While others, like Fill Murray are formatted with a slash, like so http://www.fillmurray.com/700/250. So make sure you know what format the service you’re using is expecting.

End

If you have any other image placeholder services that you use that weren’t mentioned, I’d love to hear what they are. You can comment below or start a discussion at Hacker News.

Update

In the comments, Babak mentioned Loremflickr.com, and I love it! Check out Loremflickr.com.

Flickr: Unexpected Downtime

The main Flickr site is down, but it looks like all of the relatively new photos are still showing without problems. They had a “temporary storage failure”, which affected about 20 terabytes of older photos. That’s a freakin amazing amount of photos. And to add to that, they’re transferring that 20 terabytes from one of their datacenters to another, a few thousand miles away. That’s some serious data transfer right there, but probably not a whole lot more than Flickr sees on a normal day.

It sounds like they’re gonna be bringing the site back online shortly, just so they’re “up”. They say some photos will be “unavailable”. Those photos will show up once they’ve all made it to the other datacenter. Here’s an update from the Flickr blog:

UPDATE [4:59pm, pacific time (GMT-8)]: Weather report – everything is still cool. We’re going to try to bring the site back online shortly (there will still be photos which appear as unavailable, and they will gradually fill in – no need to do anything on your part, dear user).

In the meantime, Flickr is running a contest. All you need to do is print the circles seen temporarily on the flickr homepage, color them in some neat way, and upload back to flickr once it’s back up. If your “coloring” gets picked you’ll get a free Flickr Pro account:

Because this sucks*, we thought you might like to enter an impromptu competition to win a FREE PRO ACCOUNT!

Just print out this page and colour in the dots. When the site’s back up, take a photo of your creation and post it to Flickr, tagged with “flickrcolourcontest”.

Team Flickr will pick a winner in the next couple of days, and that lucky duck will get a free year of Pro.

I won’t be participating as I purchased my pro account quite some time ago. I miss you Flickr! Please come back soon, I got some new photos for ya!

UPDATE: Looks like they’re having some issues with bringing the site back online, but the photos are still nice and safe:

UPDATE 2 [5:52pm, pacific time (GMT-8)]: We’ve had some issues bringing the site back online without this storage system but everything is still quite safe and we are working hard to get back as soon as humanly possible. One thousand apologies!

UPDATE 2: Looks like Flickr is back.