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No man (or woman) is an island – and this statement can’t be any truer if you’re a designer or developer. Though paid/subscription services like Basecamp and Zimbra are great, individuals strapped for cash have a ton of alternatives that provide similar (if not better) features.

In this article, you’ll find 15 free tools to help you facilitate remote/web-based collaboration. Whether you need basic whiteboarding/brainstorming tools or fully-featured project management applications – you should be able to find a tool or two that’s worth checking out.

Google Docs

Google Docs - screen shot.

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With grunge/textured designs being popular, I thought it would be worthwhile to provide some free textures that you can use in your designs. This set consists of 15 free, high resolution rough textures (2,500px x 1,950px dimensions). I took them from rock and stone formations on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Free High Res Rough Textures

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FreshBooks was kind enough to provide a one-year Shuttle Bus subscription worth $168 in this giveaway.

All you have to do to for a chance to win is leave a comment about one of the following topics:

  1. Share a humorous anecdote about working with clients.
  2. Share a time-management or time-tracking tip.
  3. Name one invaluable tool that you use daily to get your work done more efficiently.

This giveaway ends on November 3, 2008 after which the comments section on this post will be closed. We’ll use your email address to contact you if you win. The winners will be randomly selected and announced on a separate post. Please note that comments that don’t follow the instructions on how to participate (described above) may not be published.

Selecting colors for a site is one of the most crucial parts of web design. The color palette can evoke certain types of emotions in a user and sets the tone for the user’s experience while perusing the site. Websites with dark colors can represent "non-mainstream", "elite", and "unconventional".

The use of dark backgrounds also centers the attention towards the content, making it an effective theme for portfolios, image galleries, and design-centered sites.

In this collection, you’ll find some of the best dark-themed web designs. This is the second part of the "Beautiful Web Designs" series that starts off at "30 Beautifully Blue Web Designs".

Starbucks Coffee At Home

Starbucks Coffee At Home - screen shot.

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CSS doesn’t always have to be serious business. In this article, you’ll see 25 fun, novel, and experimental CSS techniques and demonstrations.

Note: some of the techniques and examples discussed here may not validate, cannot be rendered correctly by some browsers, and may not conform with standards-based design and development. Many of the techniques shown here are for exploration only.

Transparent CSS Menu Drop-down

Transparent CSS Menu Drop-down screen shot.

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Adobe Illustrator is the industry-standard when it comes to scalable vector artwork. As a designer, Illustrator is the right tool for graphics that need to be scaled. A prime example are logos which often need to be adapted for small mediums such as business cards, larger mediums like billboard signs, and converted to grayscale or black and white for mediums such as newspapers.

In this collection, you’ll find 20 excellent websites and blogs that provide high-quality tutorials and information on vector illustration and Adobe Illustrator.

1. Vectips

Vectips - screen shot.

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As web technologies progress, websites and web applications are becoming more responsive, providing us with more ways and techniques to interact with the users. Form, more than ever, has been superseded by function.

The following websites deal with interface design, user experience, user-centered design, usability, and everything in between – all with the goal of enhancing the user’s interface.

1. Boxes and Arrows

Boxes and Arrows - screen shot.

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