As the new year is approaching, I have a Mac app giveaway that can perhaps make your freelance management less stressful. It is an app called Billings that allows you to track working time, invoice clients, manage projects, and keep track of your earnings, etc. Simply enter a comment in this post before Jan 3, 2010 for your chance to win one of the three license keys. If you are would like to buy the app, enter coupon code "webwall" to save 15% (valid until Jan 16, 2010).

Update: The winners are: 91, 403, and 212.

Since 2007, every year I do a round up of best of CSS from Best Web Gallery (check out 07 and 08 collection). Well, it is the time of the year again — Best of CSS Design 2009. This year I’ve selected another 50 nicely designed web sites. Among the list, I notice a lot of them are minimalistic design with beautiful serif fonts. The grungy and sketchy styles are still strong. However, the large background is no longer as hot as in 2008, instead, texturized background is popular in 2009.

If you been following my twitter @nickla, you should probably know that I’ve been busy working on the redesign of N.Design Studio. After two months of designing and coding, I have finally launched the new design. Now it is running on WordPress 2.8 which supports a threaded commenting system. I will write a design process about the new site. For the time being, please check out the site and let me know your thoughts. You are welcome to post comments on this post or tweet @nickla.

I recently spotted an iPhone ad which inspired me to write this tutorial. It is a gift ribbon, consisting of various app icons, wrapped around an iPhone. This effect can be easily achieved with Photoshop Warp transform tool. Christmas is around the corner and I hope you may find this tutorial useful for upcoming projects. If you are not familar with the Warp tool, I sugest you read my Photo Strip tutorial first.

If you are the guy who uses <div> tag for everything, this post is for you. It focuses on how you can write clean HTML code by using semantic markups and minimize the use of <div> tag. Have you ever edited someone’s templates, don’t those messy tags drive you crazy? Not only writing clean templates can benefit yourself, but your team as well. It will save you time when you have to debug and edit (particularly the large projects).

This post is about 5 useful CSS properties that you should be very familiar with, but will most likely rarely use. I’m not talking about the new fancy CSS3 properties. I’m referring to the old CSS2 properties such as: clip, min-height, white-space, cursor, and display that are widely supported by all browsers. So, don’t miss this post because you might be surprised how useful they are.

Surprisingly enough, based on the findings from my recent survey there are quite a bit of Fireworks users. Personally, I never used Fireworks. Photoshop is alway my first choice for designing—from image editing to designing mock-ups. But, did you know that Fireworks is way better than Photoshop in term of image compression? I’m not a software engineer, I can’t explain why Fireworks can compress better. But I can prove it to you by showing a series of experiments I did.