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Love UI/UX Design? Check Out Student-Run FORGE Design Studios

Catalyst 2023 is FORGE Design Studio’s first nationwide virtual designathon, where students compete to build websites and apps that solve real-world problems. Graphic by Jessica Man (ENG’22)


Love UI/UX Design? Check Out Student-Run FORGE Design Studios Club hosts virtual three-day national designathon this weekend

Do your eyes light up when you encounter a sleek user interface? Does a cleverly designed logo leave you feeling oddly satisfied? Have you ever called any part of an app “sexy”?  

FORGE Design Studios, BU’s preprofessional design organization and agency, might be the club for you.

“FORGE acts as a place where students can connect with one another and learn about the incredibly diverse field within design,” regardless of their major or background, says FORGE executive vice president Jessica Man (ENG’22). “Design itself spans so many areas, from graphic design, user interface and user experience [UI/UX] design, and publication design to engineering product design and branding. Resources shouldn’t be limited to just one college or major.”

This weekend (March 26 to 28), the club is hosting Catalyst 2023, a nationwide virtual UI/UX “designathon.” Over the course of three days, participants will compete in teams of two or three to solve a real-world design challenge, build prototypes of an app or website, and present their finished product to industry professionals. There will also be workshops hosted by staffers from Adobe and Sketch—like how to prototype with Adobe—as well as networking sessions and merch. 

The best part: Catalyst 2023 is totally free and open to undergraduates from anywhere in the States, irrespective of design experience. 

“This is a great opportunity to learn about design, collaborate with others, and get experience building a product designed for a specific challenge,” says FORGE founder and executive president Emme Enojado (CAS’21). “I personally found out about UX design from a designathon my sophomore year of college. If I hadn’t attended, I never would have learned about UX design or decided to pursue it as a career. So I’m excited to see how people can learn from Catalyst and get inspired by it as well.” 

The designathon begins at 7 pm sharp Friday. Last year’s inaugural Catalyst was for just the BU community and drew about 30 attendees. So far, more than 200 students are registered for Catalyst this year, Enojado says, and only 40 percent or so are from BU. The other attendees come from schools around the country—including Rice University, Northwestern, Texas A&M, the University of Washington, MIT, and USC. 

Catalyst is just one of the club’s undertakings. Enojado founded FORGE in November 2023 (it was then called the BU Design Club), envisioning it as a “design community” for students to not only learn about the field of design, but also to gain practical design experience. FORGE runs its own apprenticeship and internship program, called FORGE Labs. As apprentices, students are matched with a mentor in the club to learn design basics. As interns, they use their skills to work on projects for actual clients, ranging from web and brand design to graphic and UI/UX design.

Social media imagery created by a FORGE Labs team for their client Mindful Applicant, a college-admissions start-up that focuses on qualitative and emotional skills over test scores. Image courtesy of FORGE Design Studios

Since its launch last summer, FORGE Labs has taken on a dozen clients and produced professional work for businesses from Massachusetts to Georgia. The lab’s repertoire includes all kinds of projects: websites, logos, social media campaigns, educational materials—even product packaging. Several companies have hired FORGE to execute a full suite of services—among them Valiant, a financial-planning service, and Mindful Applicant, a college-admissions start-up. Both have logos, brand guides, social media assets, and redesigned websites courtesy of FORGE.

“The goal for the client work is to give students valuable design and work experience to add to their résumés and portfolios,” Man explains. “It can be hard to get internship experience [as a non–design major], so we really wanted to bridge that gap between students and the design industry itself. 

“Additionally, we offer pro-bono design services for BIPOC-led organizations,” she says, “which allows us to help our communities as college students. We may not always have the monetary funds to support causes that we care about, but we can always use our skills and knowledge to be active members of our community.”

FORGE currently has approximately 200 members, drawn from across the University. Enojado been blown away by how much progress the club has made. “It’s been really amazing to see this club grow,” she says. “Our team has really remained resilient and passionate about the mission that we have to bring skills, knowledge, and community to BU’s design space. So I’m grateful for my team and for the members who supported us—it wouldn’t be anything without the members who have been there along the way.”

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Adobe Redoubles Ux Design Focus With Free Xd Starter Plan, New Design Fund, More

As part of a larger philosophical goal to empower designers and propel entrepreneurs and creative teams forward, Adobe today announced several new tools for user experience design and a significant financial investment into the future of the creative community. 9to5Mac talked with Khoi Vinh, Adobe’s principle designer, and Cisco Guzman, group product manager for Adobe XD about the announcements and Adobe’s vision for the future of the design industry.

While Adobe continues to direct a significant amount of energy toward building digital tools for artists of many disciplines, an increasingly important aspect of the company’s work relates to empowering and educating creative professionals outside of an app. The Adobe Fund for Design is a new, $10 million initiative to support teams that are building creative products and services that shape the future of their industries.

“We have to engage designers and those who build on top of XD and Creative Cloud to transform it into a world-class platform for UX design,” said Vinh, speaking about the fund’s goals. Adobe is seeking out talented individuals and early-stage companies that demonstrate their commitment to empowering the creative world as ideal candidates to benefit from the fund. Resources will be distributed throughout the community in the form of grants and investments, and Adobe encourages customers, developers, and entrepreneurs to apply today.

As competition in the space of creative applications becomes increasingly crowded, Adobe’s scale enables it to serve the market in a way other companies simply can’t. While the company has plans to expand the fund’s scope in the future, it launches today with an initial focus on a relatively new tool, Adobe XD. The decision to pour resources into user experience design was informed, in part, by a survey of 251 hiring managers conducted by Adobe last year. Vinh noted “The survey found that nearly 9 in 10 said that adding more UX design expertise to their organization was a top priority.”

It is perhaps then of little surprise to learn that Adobe has also announced several new features and enhancements for Adobe XD CC, and given us a little sneak peek into the future of the software. “Prior to officially releasing XD, we incubated the tool for nearly two years in the design community,” said Guzman.

Adobe XD was first previewed in October 2024 and initially called Project Comet. A series of public previews throughout 2024 and 2023 helped Adobe gather user feedback before formally releasing XD at last fall’s Adobe MAX conference. In the months that followed, regular updates have added features like Design Specs and third-party integrations.

Swap Symbols: You can now swap symbols on the design canvas by dragging a symbol from the assets panel and dropping it directly onto the symbol you want to replace. From there, all copies of the symbol on the canvas will automatically be replaced.

Paste to Multiple Artboards: Simply copy any object to the clipboard, select one or more target artboards and paste. Your content will be placed in the same X and Y location on the target locations. If the target artboard is smaller than the source artboard the content will be centered.

Password Protected Design Specs: Further adding support for password protection on prototypes in our last release, we’ve extended this to published Design Specs (Beta), so now you can share both prototypes and design specs with a password being required to view them by stakeholders.

For many, the most significant addition in May’s update will be a new, free Starter Plan that makes available XD’s core features to everyone on both macOS and Windows. Free users will receive a small amount of cloud storage and be limited to sharing one prototype and one design spec at a time, with an upgrade option available.

One of Adobe’s new Font Packs.

Vinh points to the Adobe blog and tutorial websites for examples of the company’s dedication to education, specifically in UX design. The company also offers an annual Creative Residency Program to support talented, young individuals. In addition, Adobe is today releasing five free UI design resources for XD and six new Font Packs available with every Creative Cloud subscription.

For existing Creative Cloud subscribers, the May update to XD will be rolling out shortly. New members can now choose from Adobe XD’s free tier, a single app subscription for $9.99/mo, or the full Creative Cloud plan for $52.99/mo. Registration for Adobe MAX 2023 is also now open. This year’s creativity conference will be held from October 15-17th in Los Angeles.

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Shapr, Statmuse, Check, And Other Apps To Check Out This Weekend

This week’s edition of our Apps of the Week roundup features a Tinder-like app for networking with like-minded people, an engaging sports app, and an ephemeral todo/task manager. And as always, we’ve picked two great new games for you to check out.


This isn’t a new app, but it’s an interesting concept that I think is worth checking out if you haven’t yet. Shapr is a personalized, mindful way of networking. Based on your interests and experience, the app provides a daily dose of inspiring, like-minded people to meet nearby in your area. Whether you’re seeking friends or employees, each swipe is a new opportunity and a new discovery. Think of it like a dating app, but for professional networking. Kind of cool, right? Shapr is available for free.


Sports fans looking for a new way to follow and learn about their favorite teams and players may want to check out StatMuse. This app allows you to talk with your favorite players and personalities for your daily sports conversations. Keep up with the latest scores, stats and original content about the teams you love through personalized musings, and get instant NBA, NFL and MLB trivia answers dating back to 1876. Features the real voices of greats like Peyton Manning, Jerry Rice, Drew Brees, and more. StatMuse is available for free.


Now I know what you’re thinking: great, ANOTHER todo list app. But I like options, and for the folks out there in search of more options for todo list apps, this one might be worth Check-ing out (see what I did there?). Check is an ephemeral to-do list app of sorts. You can rapidly create new tasks and add a duration period. At the end of that duration, your todos will expire and disappear. Ultimately you can revive the tasks you don’t finish from your “task graveyard” but the whole concept of getting your tasks done before they’re gone is the motivation here. Maybe this works for you, maybe it doesn’t. Either way, Check….it out. Check is available for free.

Iron Marines

From the creators of the award winner Kingdom Rush trilogy comes the most extraordinary space odyssey. A real-time, dynamic and deep strategy game that will transport you to amazing and unknown planets. Immersive, engaging gameplay, ridiculously appealing art, and a touch of silly humor. Brave soldiers, mighty mechas and powerful aliens await your command to face the greatest challenges. Yes this is a trashy freemium game with tons of IAPs, on top of an initial purchase price, but early reviews are through the roof. Iron Marines is available for $5 (with several IAPs).


In Drag’n’Boom, you play as a rebellious teenage dragon and burn everything your path! Roast the neighboring lords and steal their gold in order to mass the greatest treasure ever held by a dragon. It’s a unique mobile gaming experience. The left side of the screen controls your movement: jump, fly and charge your prey, and the right side lets you spit fireballs: pillage, burn and ransack. There are over 50 levels to power through and a leaderboard, so you can challenge your friends for high score. Drag’n’Boom is available for free.

More apps to check out

Apple’s free app of the week: INKS.

Automatically download fresh desktop wallpapers every hour with Irvue

Check Out The Best Usb Encryption Software

Check Out The Best USB Encryption Software in 2023 Best USB Encryption Software in 2023 1. VeraCrypt

Arguably one of the best USB encryption software, VeraCrypt lets you encrypt hard disks easier than ever before. The simple process lets you plug-in the drive & follow the steps that’s been told in the prompt.

2. AxCrypt

Apart from the partition & system data, if you wish to encrypt your USB drive data (folders & files), AxCrypt is the right tool for you. Irrespective of the fact that you are a pro or a beginner, the USB encryption tool doesn’t diffrenciate because of the simplest user interface.

Now, the app will auto display the list of folders (left side) you have on your system & all you need to do is select the path (file/folder) you want to encrypt.

3. BitLocker

Instead of relying on a third party tool, many of us are quite comfortable using the in-built software if it serves the purpose once & for all. Similarly, BitLocker is an in-built encryption tool you can use to password protect any USB drive, however, it’s compatible with Windows only.

Once you have encrypted any device, data, or folder on your Windows PC, no one else can access the same path apart from the authorized users. From Windows 7 to Windows 10, BitLocker has seen many changes & now you have the liberty to encrypt almost every drive on your PC with BitLocker.

In order to know the exact process of using BitLocker encryption tool on your Windows PC, check out the detailed description here.

4. EncryptStick

Another addition to the list, EncryptStick offers the same kind of services where it would help you encrypt your USB drives & data. Additionally, you’d be able to password protect these data & files under virtual vaults with the help of this compatible tool on Windows, Mac, & Linux.

With the drag & drop functionality, EncryptStick does make sure that your encrypted device doesn’t get sabotaged. Additionally, in case your USB drive goes into the wrong hands, putting in wrong login credentials for more than 10 times will lock out the intruder.

With the FREE trial of 14 days, one of the best USB encryption software comes with a premium fee that’s totally worth buying.

6. DriveCrypt

Always look for something that can offer you more than you wanted & that’s how you get to explore the capability of the same. Since we are talking about the USB data encryption, we mustn’t be limited to USB drives only. & that’s what DriveCrypt software concept is based on. Apart from your USB drive, the encryption tool lets you encrypt the fixed hard drives as well.

So if you are someone who deals in quite confidential info (own or client), the one stop solution for you can be DriveCrypt. When the whole experience goes from good to best & best to delightful, you get a hold on it tightly.

DriveCrypt helps you disguise the files (encrypted ones) into fake disks or music files so that no intruder can guess on it.

In the list of best USB encrypted software tools, DriveCrypt is compatible with Windows 7 & later editions.

6. DiskCryptor

An absolutely FREE & open sourced encryption software for your Windows PC, DiskCryptor lets you encrypt every hard drive on your computer. You can also select the partitions that need to be encrypted & you won’t go dissatisfied with the tool’s capability.

Solely dedicated to the Windows operating system, DiskCryptor helps your confidential data encrypted seamlessly. There won’t be any loophole that can sabotage your data security by any means. So download DiskCryptor now on your Windows PC & start encrypting the data.

7. Rohos Disk Encryption

How about if I tell you that there is a tool that can help you encrypt your data in the best possible size? Well, I’ll be excited!! Rohos Disk Encryption does the same when it comes to USB encryption using additional features including the encrypted data’s file location, volume size, and etc.

A lightweight app that functions like a pro works easier than other apps in the same field in its comparison. Rohos Disk Encryption provides so many extra features that it will take you a lot of time to explore almost everything while encrypting data.

Wrapping Up

As we mentioned above, for every problem, there are 100s of different solutions you may find today. & since the only thing we should care about is the security of our data, let’s start encrypting it on our devices. Start using the above USB encryption tools (compatibility, reliability, user interface, & effective) & you never have to worry about someone sabotaging your confidential info.

So without delaying much, let’s start using these simple yet effective encryption tools & you never need to think about the data security again.

Next Read

Best Free Encrypted Messaging Apps for Android & iOS

How To Install Windows 10 From USB Drive

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About the author

Ankit Agarwal

17 Best Minecraft Servers You Must Check Out

The majority of the Minecraft community agrees that the game’s experience is based online. Whether it’s the fun parkour Minecraft servers or just the experience of playing with your friends, the multiplayer world has something for everyone. Expanding on the same point, we are here to share a list of the best Minecraft servers that you have to play on to fully grasp the power of online multiplayer gameplay. They have everything from amazing house ideas to powerful modpacks that bring world-level changes to the game. All you need is the latest Minecraft 1.18 update installed on your device. Though, many servers even allow players on older versions to join without any issues. Moreover, did you know that all of these amazing servers are free to join and play on? Yeah, with that great news, let’s not waste any time and look at the best Minecraft servers you should try in 2023.

Best Free Minecraft Servers (2023)

Our choice of each server is based on its uniqueness, active community, and the overall experience one can expect. But the list isn’t ranked in any way. You can use the table below to explore each Minecraft server at your convenience.

1. Brawl

There’s even a dedicated creative mode with all the help you need to build your next masterpiece. And to top it all off, Brawl offers a Party zone with quick but exciting mini-games for you to enjoy.

2. Hypixel – Best Minecraft Server

Java Server Address:

If you wish to become a part of an ever-growing community, the world’s largest Minecraft server is a good place to start from. With weekly tournaments, regularly updated fresh content, and an unlimited number of things to try, Hypixel has it all. In many ways, you can expect Hypixel to feel like an autonomous game based on Minecraft because of the exclusive maps, purchasable items, and an independent community.

From Bedwars, murder-mystery, and vampires to paintball, this has almost every fun Minecraft mini-games you can wish for. If nothing else interests you, it has plenty of customized Minecraft biomes for you to explore.

3. Among Us Performium

Java Server Address:

This Minecraft server is a tribute to one of the most talked-about games of the pandemic era. In recent times the fame of Among Us might have been on a decline, but this server’s player count is proof that it just isn’t over yet. The server has a mode designed based on the game, but that’s not all.

4. MineHeroes

Java Server Address:

Bedrock Server Address:

Next on our list of best Minecraft servers is one of the few servers that work on both Bedrock & Java editions of the game. The best part of this server is the regularly released custom Minecraft maps, with each of them leaving the players in awe. There are multiple game modes to choose from, including prison and survival, beyond those maps.

If roleplay isn’t your style, there’s also a unique world of structures, sky blocks, and bizarre creatures to explore. You can also purchase in-game items from their store to unlock exclusive experiences.

5. Pixelmon on PocketPixel

Java Server Address:

Other than the online server, Pixelmon is also one of the best Minecraft mods if you want to run it offline. Not to forget, the Pokemons on this server aren’t in the generic Minecraft block build, so you can easily recognize them.

6. Roleplay-Hub

There’s also a creative mod for people who want a break from roleplaying and want to interact with a friendly community. It works on both Bedrock and Java editions, but the world may look slightly different.

7. SkyBlock Network

This is one of the best Minecraft servers and offers everything good that other servers have, ranging from beautiful structures and unique mobs to fun minigames. But all of that is located on the edges of blocks flying in the sky all the time. As a Skyblock player, you have to be cautious not to fall off.

Though, once you have that figured out, the rest of the world is very engaging. For some additional help, you might want to check our guide on how to avoid fall damage in Minecraft before you hop onto this server.

8. Mineplex

Mineplex is one of the most popular online servers on both Minecraft Bedrock and Java. There are always enough players online and tons of games to choose from. There are sky-wars, survival games, cake wars, and even games around building stuff with other players. So, if a community-based server is your major focus, this is built particularly for players like you.

9. OmegaCraft

Java Address:

You can even form a group or faction with the players you meet online to compete in group-based events. But if you are worried about the language barrier, you can either use apps like Duolingo or the basic English instructions on the server.

10. Grand Theft Minecraft

Java Address:

Bedrock Address:

If you look around for the largest online communities, GTA online and Minecraft will come up as the leaders. This server takes that fact seriously to bring you the GTA world build into a Minecraft server for you to explore. There isn’t much information regarding the active community around the server but if you loved the GTA series, exploring the memorable Los Santos locations in Minecraft is absolutely delightful.

It even has an underground network for you to discover and explore. If nothing else impresses you, the option to climb Vinewood mountain to look at the beautiful city is always there.

11. BrokenLens Games

Java Address:

If you want a wide range of game options, try this server right away. To make things even better, this server offers some level of cross-play between different editions of Minecraft.

12. LiberCraft

Java Address:

LiberCraft is a survival PVP server that isn’t big on mods. Its aim is to offer a fun interactive area where people can experience Minecraft as it’s meant to be. The simple server is easy on your PC, making it the perfect choice even for lower-end PC gamers. If you just want to have a good time with your friends in Minecraft, this is the server you should go for.

There are certainly some unique structures and game mechanics in play here, including a Minecraft resource pack, but nothing that will shake the foundations of the Vanilla Minecraft experience.

13. LemonCloud

Java Address:

As a Java-exclusive Minecraft server, LemonCloud is home to a fun and respectful community. Due to their servers not being too busy most of the time, you can use it to play with your group of friends with little to no intervention from strangers. It offers you access to almost all the best game mods from the bigger servers, including Skyblock, Skywars, Prison, PvP, and more.

14. OP Legends

They don’t only have popular game modes like Prison, but they also level them up by including, say Jurassic World, in the Prison game mode. Such innovations pave way for a fun online Minecraft experience.

15. Westeroscraft

This server is an epic way, to sum up, our list of the best Minecraft servers. If you like Game of Thrones, you will love Westeroscraft. It has been covered by the media and is one of the best exploration servers for Minecraft players. You have over 400 locations to explore in this accurate recreation of the Game of Thrones world.

From castles to iron islands, there’s plenty to remind you of the episodes of the popular series. Then there are also the breathtaking royal interiors that are just mind-blowing to look at.

Bonus Minecraft Servers 16. 2b2t – The Best Anarchy Server

Java Address:

With dedicated lore, community, and a bunch of conspiracy theories, 2b2t is probably the most powerful PvP Minecraft server. It is definitely not made for beginners and if you want to meet the most ruthless Minecraft players then it’s definitely a bucket destination. Though, we can’t guarantee your base surviving more than a week.

17. Minr – The Oldest Parkour Server

Java Address: 

Not to forget, unlike other old servers, Minr isn’t running on outdated versions of the game. They update their server as soon as the new stable version of the game comes out. So, if you somehow end up running out of parkour challenges, you can create your own with the new blocks of each update.

Start Playing on Top Minecraft Servers with Your Friends

Doppler, Feedeos, Nutritrack, And Other Apps To Check Out This Weekend

This week’s edition of our Apps of the Week roundup features a beautiful new music player, a Pinterest-for-video app, and a new health and food tracker. And as always, we’ve selected two great new games for you to check out.


Doppler is a new, beautifully designed music player for iPhone. It doesn’t replace Apple Music or iTunes, but for folks who have a lot of locally stored music, you can import the tracks into this app and experience your library in a whole new way. The design adapts to match your music and offers quick access to your now playing queue. Features include full search, offline playback, import existing albums and playlists, and quick sharing of album info. Looking for a better third party music player? Check out Doppler.

Download for $2.99


Feedeos is essentially Flipboard for video. All of your favorite video publishers in one beautiful and easy to use app. Features include six second previews, auto looping, instant video playback, trending videos, and a wonderful swipe-based interface. There is no longing or account credentials required and tons of sources are available like CNN, BBC, VOX, ESPN, VEVO, HBO, TMZ and popular YouTube channels. No, Feedeos isn’t trying to give you more content, just an easier way to find the stuff you already watch.

Download for free


Thinking about switching calorie-counting apps after the whole My Fitness Pal debacle? Check out Nutritrack. It tracks calories in both food and recipes, macronutrients like carbs, proteins and fats, barcode scanning, recipe creation, and food creation. It has over a million foods in its database and integrates with your workout information. Now this is a freemium app, so you’ll have to sign up for a subscription plan to get access to all the features. But for folks looking for a new health-food tracker, this seems like a good one to check out.

Download for free

Backgammon Machine

I know what you’re thinking. Really, Cody? A simple Backgammon game made your Apps of the Week list? Well this isn’t just any old board game. Backgammon Machine is the first Backgammon game for iOS with built-in neural network-trained artificial intelligence. It uses Apple’s new CoreML machine learning framework and techniques based on the ground-breaking research of Gerald Tesauro to create a fast and challenging opponent at different skill levels. If you’re not a Backgammon fan, just take this as a solid sign of cool AI-related things to come.

Download for free


Vandals is an infiltration game that will transport you to the most emblematic cities of street art. In this turn-based game, the goal is to sneak around police surveillance and spray walls that grow harder and harder to access. From Paris to Tokyo, follow in the the wake of ultra-famous street artists like Belk Le Rat and Keith Haring. Rock to the rhythm of an original soundtrack and share your most awesome creations on your social network of choice. If you find yourself with nothing to do this weekend, Vandals seems like an interesting game to check out.

Download for $3.99

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