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:
Sift CEO Ben Heald
So these guys over at Sift Media are heading for £3 million of advertising revenue this year. Probably worth hearing what their CEO has to say about online publishing. The first question is a bit silly:
What levels of participation inequality do you see from forum and community users? What can publishers do to tackle that more effectively?
Ben Heald takes a valiant stab at it:
You probably get about 10% of the audience that you are sending your emails to, contributing to the content in some way.
I don't think usage levels have changed that much. It matches the dynamics of a conference, where out of an audience of 100 people, you will get ten asking a questions and one or two people speaking to you after the presentation. I don't think that will change. We won't all become avid contributors to forums. Some people just want to take stuff.
His answer is basically right - participation will not be level - but at the end he goes seriously astray: "Some people just want to take stuff."
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.
The question is if we need to tell WordPress not to ping again on update? Also, is this WordPress ping listaccurate?
Yet another fake domain renewal notice, this time from Domain Submission Center in Toronto. Learn how not to get ripped off.
Have tech companies gone blue chip: no risk, little reward?
The good news: Tech stocks are the blue chips of today’s economy. The companies are bigger and better run than ever before.
Still not convinced this sector has matured? Today, there are eight U.S. tech companies with market caps greater than $100 billion. Only three U.S. financial institutions are worth that much. Three. Last week, technology surpassed financials as the biggest component of the S&P 500.
The bad news: Tech stocks are the blue chips. Lower risk means lower reward. Are tech investors mentally prepared for the 10% equity return including a 2% dividend
Those are amazing numbers. Tech companies are bigger than banks. Curiously tech - and entertainment and weapon systems - seem to be the only products in which the US is a world leader these days.
Despite the huge market cap of the top tech companies, I think Evan Newmark is off base on the future of tech.
When an article is written, various comments from other people may hold great deal of information regarding the topic. That's why it's very important to open discussion on web pages. In our company we mainly use WordPress, so I'll explain how to properly set up comments on WordPress. Our publishing platform Foliopress is based on WordPress version 2.2.3, so screenshots and settings will apply mainly to these versions, but other versions are surely, not so different.
First order of business is allowing discussion in wordpress. Settings for this are in Administration back-end in Options->Discussion. For our company these settings are preferred:
Information on these settings (from WordPress developers) are here.
Over the last month, the internet has been awash with stories of the fabled New York Times slow demise, as indicated by huge losses and impending layoffs. As the new Wall Street Journal hires, the New York Times fires.
The decline in New York Times revenue and readership surprised me somewhat, but I accepted the decline at face value. Given the New York Times atrocious editorial standards throughout the Bush regime, including aiming and abetting war crimes (Judith Miller), the loss in circulation seemed like just desserts.
But today, Comcast's list of the top 50 websites for March came across my desk. Based on unique visitors, guess who's at number 12 with 47 million unique visitors for the month? For refernce, that's just behind Wikipedia, Amazon and ahead of Facebook, CNET, Adobe, CBS and Craigslist: The New York Times Digital.
Which set me to thinking what kind of second rate media (advertising sales) strategy would it take to lose money with the number 12 website.
For years, I’ve been on the Site Build It list. SBI is the creation of the rather annoyingly gushy Ken Evoy who never stops his carnival barker cries about his one-stop-site-creation tool.
Evoy’s been at it since the bad old days when the internet was a mess and Site Built It! did have the advantage of actually getting a website up in some form – easier than coding html from scratch for the neophyte.
Throughout SBI’s history, Evoy has shrieked about his process and his proprietary tools. On the surface, a clear process and proprietary tools are a good idea. Probably worth the price of admission (or so I thought at the time). The issue with the proprietary tools (which otherwise might be a good deal) is that you can only use them a little bit. Come and play for one hour per week, see you next week. Not exactly inviting brainstorming or creativity.
In contrast, the indepdendent expensive (many of which are free) tools Evoy condemns let you use them as much as you like once you find them.
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.
We've been properly labelling and tagging our images for years. Some of our websites get most of their visitors from Google Images.
Google Images is the greatest SEO reserve left in the world. Chris Silver Smith of Netconcepts let the cat out of the bag in 2006 and told the whole world about optimising for Google images. But it's hard work optimising images for Google Images and most webmasters still can't be bothered. There's still gold - or at least visitors - in those hills.
As Chris didn't cover the technical details in-depth, here's a step by step guide for optimising your images for Google images.
Most websites publish their images like this:
<img src="https://foliovision.com/images/192a/986943.jpg" alt="image">
Where's the problem? Missing height and width, meaningless directory name, meaningless file name, generic alt tag.
Here's what a properly formatted image should look like:
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 been wondering about WordPress plugin overhead for some time. How does one keep track of how much processor time and overhead any given plugin requires?
We run fairly streamlined WordPress installs at Foliovision with about 30 active plugins per site. A lot of them are one-trick ponies developed in-house so we know the code isn't creating a huge load.
But anyone who has been working on Macintosh computers from the old days (System 7, 8 & 9) knows very well that every extensions (and some people were running 50 of them) slows down your compuer and increases the chances of a system conflict. There were whole expensive utilities devoted to keeping extensions and control panels under control. Any one else remember long hours spent with Conflict Catcher?
Here's what WPdesigner.com has to say on his own plugin issues:
With the WP Download Monitor plugin, the front page of my blog had to operate with 136 queries on every page load. After uninstalling that plugin, the front page needed only 10 queries to work. 136 versus 10 and all I have to do is give up tracking the downloads, hmmm.. oh what, oh what should I do? I deactivated / uninstalled it, of course.
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.
FAQ-Tastic – a FAQ – Ask Me solution for WordPress. Reviewed in depth.
Update 8 November 2010: Unfortunately neither Adobe PS4 nor PS5 include useful save for web droplets. With the disappearance of ImageReady, these droplets are gone, gone, gone. You can set up actions, but the actions won't use Save for Web but Save As. With Save As your outputted image has a preview as well as metadata baked in taking it from 50KB to 118 KB for instance. Lesson: don't uninstall ImageReady PS3 if you'd like to quickly and easily create really high quality web images. Nothing beats Photoshop as our GD and ImageMagick tests recently proved (ImageMagick came closer). Here's an Adobe forums post with some really tedious workarounds for web image droplets with CS4 and CS5.
If you use Photoshop CS3 and post screenshots to the web, this little droplet will save you a lot of trouble. For some reason it is impossible to convert ImageReady or previous Photoshop versions Droplets to Photoshop CS3.
Installation and Usage Instructions:
- download the zip
- move to the folder of your choice (I have a special folder for Photoshop and Image Ready droplets)
- title your images for upload (spaces are okay - PS3 will convert them to hyphens)
- drop your images on the droplet
- your web ready GIF's will appear in your desktop folder
For equally unknown reasons is also extremely difficult to create a droplet which will actually open your image and resave it as you would like right in the folder where it lies.
Even my version here will save the GIF file to your desktop, rather than the folder where the original lies (my preference). Desktop isn't bad, as you can then upload the image and archive the extra desktop files every couple of days in a date named folder in a desktop archive folder.
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.
I just read the strangest apologia for a new service: Uh, why’s the official Tumblr blog on WordPress? (broken link - http://blog.davidville.com/2007/02/23/why-wordpress/#comments)
Simply - all the CMSy stuff it comes with. Blogs are an awesome platform. WordPress lets our entire staff contribute to the same blog, maintain tags and slugs, save and give feedback on drafts, upload and store media, back and forward publish posts, group our archive by month, lets our audience comment, lists trackbacks, et cetera, et cetera. It’s awesome! Blogs rock! But we knew this. WordPress is the perfect way for a business like ours to communicate with our audience.
Sounds good to me. David Karp goes on to write about the advantages of Tumblr: "posting with zero obligations, little or no comment". Great for wisecracking, difficult for communicating.