While developing the Foliopress WYSIWYG we decided to create the images management on the basis of Kae Veren's excellent KFM file manager. While we are totally happy with how KFM handles the images itself, we were unable to work with images uploaded via ftp.
Uploading images one by one through an image editor is fine, uploading twenty that way is annoying. One of the reasons to prefer WordPress over Typepad is that you do have direct access to the server via ftp. So this was clearly not acceptable. It wasn't even possible to change the file ownership of httpd via SSH (without root permissions).
Ever have the experience that you send someone the wrong message in Skype or worse yet, you send the right message but to the wrong person?
It happened to me today when I wanted to send one of my staff my client's contact info. Instead I sent him his own contact info.
But he was offline at the time. So the message showed as pending.
Is there anyway to cancel a pending Skype message?
I don’t know how many hard drives you have but as a photographer and filmmaker I have over a dozen hard drives, scattered across three computers.
It used to be enough just to pair up some hard drives and move a few files around.
No more. Each computer needs its own backup drive/system.
I’ve just been through cleaning up duplicate backups and freeing up about five drives.
While doing so, I had to come up with some principles of backup, which I will call the backup manifesto. Here they are:
I was reluctant to try mobile internet. I was worried that mobile internet on my Macbook would:
- be clumsy in use
- cause unexplained crashes
- require lots of troubleshooting
- be unreliable
Well unfortunately my concerns were justified.
Over the last few days since I picked up my trial Vodafone modem at A1 in Vienna, I've had to:
- restart my Macbook a dozen times to get the modem running again
- endure Skype flaking out on me six times while speaking with both clients and staff
- hard restart the computer after kernel panic
- uninstall and reinstall the VodafoneMCInstaller.2.09.01.00 five times
- spend hours finding and diagnosing the problem
This post is to help you avoid these issues and to enjoy troublefree use of your modem.
Just ran into a time consuming hiccup trying to work with a Clone CD Image. I hope the rather detailed explanation below will help someone else deal with a Clone CD Image faster on his Mac.
I’d downloaded a 600 MB disk image to use with Parallels. The disk image came wrapped in a .rar format.
Unpacking the .rar file was very difficult.
- StuffitExpander crashed
- Forklift couldn’t handle it
- Archive Utility just wanted to compress it further.
Finally I was able to unpack it with IAarchiver, slowly but certainly.
After unpacking, I was offered a directory with three files in it:
I had no idea Windows used the archaic Mac .img format. It turns out that Windows doesn’t. What I’d inadvertently downloaded is what is known as a Clone CD image. I was unable to mount it on my Macbook. No known solution or software for Mac OS X can handle Clone CD images. BIN and CUE files are no problem, but CCD files – there’s nothing out there.
Over at LifeHacker a fascinating discussion of monitor size and productivity. It caught my eye as I’ve recently moved from a 30" monitor to a 24" and 12" setup. Strangely I find I’m more productive on the second setup.
In any case, people have all kinds of strange setups including one guy with six 15" LCD’s all on a special mount. I think he’s onto something. As I said, I’ve gone from a single 30" to a 24" (1920 x 1200) plus a 12" (1280 x 960). At home I now have 20" (1680 x 1050) plus the same 12" (Macbook).
I stopped running the 30" as my Macbook can’t do Dual-Link DVI.
I thought my productivity would go down. No way. Substantially up. Managing the windows and flipping between applications was a hassle on the 30".
With a dual monitor setup, all the distractions on small monitor. Work on big monitor.
That said, I much prefer the 24" as a main monitor. I am less productive by an order of magnitude except when web browsing and writing on the 20". It’s just not big enough to handle two full size documents (without having 8 or 9 pt antialiased type to squint at). 24" is the sweet spot.
Finally, if you can avoid TN screens on your main screen. Sometimes you want to stand up and look at your work. Sometimes you want to lean back and look at your work. You can’t do it. The colours go all wonky. Things get dark. The monitor distracts.
I’ve just been debugging display issues in the CSS in Knowlege Constructs FAQ-Tastic tonight. Firefox and Safari on Mac were a breeze to get right: just pull all the margins and padding off of
ol.faq with a
.nonumbers ol class that I’d already been using. It was especially easy to figure it out with the Web Developer’s Toolbar on Firefox.
Unfortunately a quick excursion over to the Darkside and Internet Explorer (the blinkers through which 92% of the visitors to our clients still see the web – among Folivision vistors Internet Explorer users are a minority), showed that the CSS code just wasn’t working. Indentation had gone totally astray.
In the absence of Web Developer’s Toolbar for Internet Explorer, there is no way to get instant Internet Explorer preview. The closest thing is to open up the file directly from the server and save it back to the server. Usually, I am set up with two monitors on my desk, a 20″ Samsung 205B for the Windows box and an HP LP3065 for the Mac work station. It’s just a matter of editing in CSSEdit or BBedit on the Mac, saving onto the server and pressing F5 on the PC keyboard.
We’ve installed a Linux machine now – the first of many – and I had to give up my 20″ Samsung 205B and plug the Windows box back into the HP LP3065. (Both monitors are highly recommended, btw.)
Pushing input and switching keyboards was not efficient (3 movements instead of one, along with a screenflash each time).
So I decided to take the plunge and go looking for a Windows XHTML/CSS editor which would allow me to open up files from the server. It was either that or move a monitor.
All software documentation should be written by Germans. Here is a thorougly Teutonic guide to detoxing a Window's box. It could only be a friend's home computer.
- no right minded developer would ever let his computer get to this state.
- no competent sysadmin would give employees the leeway to do this on the corporate network
Some good pointers and getting the invevitable Autorun out of there - which is something which will be useful for us at Foliovision:
Using Sysinternals' AutoRuns tool I had a look at all the different places that can be used for running software on logon or boot, and apart from all the (presumably) tiny gadgets and widgets I also found a lot of the ubiquitous pre-loading parts of all sorts of common software: Adobe's PDF Reader, Microsoft Office, something from iTunes and several others....
Nobody in their right minds would boot their machine in the morning and manually launch Acrobat Reader, all MS office apps and every application they might possible use that day just to have them ready. It is immediately apparent to even the novice user that this is probably not making the machine more responsive.
But this is - almost - exactly what happens with all the auto run entries: You just don't see them on the screen immediately. So one thing I always do after installing any software is double-check whether it just registered some sort of auto run and if so remove it.
This is the result you are aiming for at the end:
Normally we do all this by hand, but I am going to try the Autoruns tool. It looks like a great way to speed up the cleaning process. Check Daniel's article for how to detox an XP computer without formatting the drive. Frankly, I think if I was going to go to this much trouble I would just move the data off and format and then back. There are too many things that can go wrong if you don't format the drive. But in these days of 500 GB standard hard drives, his tips willl become more valuable.
One of my clients recently moved to Google Apps as their full time email solution.
I had my reservations at the time, but more on privacy grounds than technology ones. It turns out there are technology issues as well. My client was very excited about improved spam filtering from Postini. After the move he told me right away that he was getting a lot less spam.
This same client runs an insurance business with online application forms. Those forms go to special unfiltered email boxes. Of course those addresses aren't released publicly.
So they get all their forms and don't have to worry about miscreant insurance filters (most of my other clients are in real estate and we have filtering issues in real estate and mortgages as well).
Over the holidays, we couldn't figure out why Adwords was sometimes claiming more completed applications than the client was receiving. My tests were working. Finally we compared lists.
My client wasn't getting all the completed applications that were going into the database.
It turns out that Google Apps/Mail were deleting quotations (even though they were coming from his own domain).
What's the solution?
We have occasionally - say about once a month - had small problems with our cable internet (Chello.sk). We've been lucky - the longest we've been down is one and a half hours and most of the time it's less than this.
Even a single day with internet down for a whole day would cost the company three times more in lost productivity than the cost of the second high speed connection for the year.
So we've done what every modern business should do. We now have redundant high speed internet from T-Com.
Which is a good thing as our cable internet is down today. But no big deal, I just swapped the router over to the DSL connection and we were all ready to get back to work. Well, almost.
When I wrote my last post I thought some people might be curious about the tools we are using to run Foliovision. As I started to write a short list it was quickly apparent that this is a subject of its own.
The list will mainly focus on online applications, as they are the primary tools in our kit. Online applications allow people to work from different computers and for new works to get up to speed more quickly. They are also wonderful for remote workers, of which we have always had a few.
What are we now using includes:
Firefox has a great search feature based on Command-F (Mac) or Control-F (Windows).
You get a cute little text box at the bottom of the screen which allows you to search the whole page.
Firefox Find - Command-F
Subsequently Command-G works just fine to take you down through the page.
Just ' (apostrophe) alone will bring up the Quick Find box. It looks almost the same but isn't. Quick Find only searches URLs (a nice extra almost undocumented feature).
We needed to add four new workstations to our Foliovision office in Bratislava. In my experience working on quiet computers really increases the productivity, so originally we were considering laptops. After quite a bit of thinking and research we’ve made the decisions to base our computers on Intel’s Core 2 Duo chipsets, as they’re fast and cool (they run almost at half of the temperature of their AMD alternatives).
WHY DUAL CORE
I’ve found dual processors to be great for design and internet related tasks, as you can leave an upload running in the background while still working at full speed in a text editor or browser. If the Core 2 Duo is good enough for Apple, we decided it was the choice for us. Going with a budget chip would save you a $100 or $150 on the unit but at the cost of additional heat, noise and problems.
After doing up a budget for Intel Core 2 Duo laptops and desktops, we found laptops would have:
- smaller screens (1440×990 versus 1680×1050)
- smaller and slower hard drives (80 GB versus 200 GB)
- much higher price tag (25,000 SKK ~ $900 versus 17,000 SKK ~ $625, including Samsung 20” 205 monitors)
- would be much harder/more expensive to repair
We also thought long and hard about whether we needed or wanted to be moving our computers around. We already have three laptops in the company so we already have some portable units – if we need them. And we found that portability was a small concern. The guys didn’t feel like taking their work home for the weekend or to Switzerland for holiday. Why should they? Always having your work with you can be the bane of one’s life, costing peace of mind and whole relationships.