Reading this article about Android color apps for designers a few days ago, I discovered the awesome little ColorGuide app for Android.

ColorGuide screenshotColorGuide

Although very twitchy (i.e., you have to hold it almost impossibly steady to save the current palette without it changing), it’s fun tool for walking through a store or down a street and capturing color palettes off displays, clothes, packaging, buildings, you name it.

Point the camera at anything and you’ll see a 5-color palette displayed on the screen. Click the Menu button and you can save it to the gallery. That’s all it does; pretty simple.

The photo at right shows a sample live view and the generated palette below. Click the camera icon on the left to freeze the palette, then the Menu button to save it.

Real Colors

Real Colors exampleIf you need something a little more stable, try Real Colors.

Take a photo or choose one from your Gallery and Real Colors will generate a palette – see the image at right, it’s a photo I took.

You can edit the palette in HSB or RGB modes, export or share it, or (with the Pro version) create wallpaper for your device.

The Pro version is available for $3.99 and is worth it if you’re a professional designer. It will allow you to export palettes to Adobe Swatch Exchange files, plus it automatically generates palettes using color theory rules (complementary, analogous, monochromatic, triad, tetrad and split complementary).

I really like that it provides hex values for each color. Real Colors is a well-put-together app that I’ll be using a lot.

I used to use a few different contact form plugins (most often Contact Form 7) that did the job, but more recently have started using Gravity Forms for all forms needed on client sites. It’s just easier to style one plugin’s elements with CSS than having to support several, and GF can handle anything from complex multi-page forms down to the simplest contact form.

Gravity Forms isn’t free, but it’s worth every penny. For an individual website it’s $39, but I’ve had a Developer License ($199) for over a year that allows me to install it in unlimited sites.

What I love about Gravity Forms:

  • It has a clean, simple interface out of the box;  a lot of CSS styling isn’t necessary, but it’s set up with classes to make it easy if you do need to do extensive styling;
  • Conditional sections (that appear only when certain conditions in the form are met) are easy to set up;
  • WordPress user registration can be included in any form;
  • Has a pretty nice form widget;
  • Supports auto-responders;
  • Export entries to Excel/csv without an additional plugin;
  • Integrates with Mailchimp, Aweber and Campaign Monitor (pro and business versions);
  • Accepts payments by integrating with Paypal, Authorize.net or Freshbooks (pro and business versions);
  • Has new features coming out fairly regularly (most recently – signatures through touch-screen devices, polls, and SMS notifications for form submittals;
  • Has great tech support and user community.

That last list item is the reason I decided to go with a Developer license. I’ve gotten very detailed help from the support community on a number of projects.

If you’ve used a number of different form or form widget plugins and are looking for one stable and comprehensive one that can do it all, I’d recommend checking out Gravity Forms. It’s definitely worth the cost.

This series is for helping fellow WordPress designers add useful  functionality to their websites by pointing out some of the great plugins I run across while building client websites. I hope this helps you!

BlueGate Bluetooth Receiver & Adapter with A2DP Wireless Technology for Portable Speakers , Headphones , Home and Car Stereo Music Systems - by GOgroove Audio

I have a 3-year-old Kenwood receiver in my car that has iPod support, but no way (I thought) to connect my Android phone. I read something somewhere a few weeks ago about Bluetooth receivers and went to Amazon to check them out.

I wound up buying this GOGroove BlueGate receiver – it’s tiny, only about 1/4″ thick and less than 2″ long. It plugs into the AUX jack on the front (thankfully) of my stereo; then I turn on Bluetooth on my phone and pair the devices and suddenly I can listen to the ShopTalk and The Instance podcasts in the car. Excellent. And cheap, too, it was about $30 at Amazon last week.