Recent Meancode Media Posts



July 5, 2010

Best Practices: Creating KML/KMZ; Google Earth Browser Plugin

I have spent the last couple weeks working with KML and KMZ files that were provided by a third party. While most if not all of these suggestions or "Best Practices" may seem like basic knowledge to any web designer/developer, they are not common knowledge to all. My job (one of many) is to make a web site perform well, load fast, and generally not seem "broken" or "buggy" to the user. In this case I had to figure out exactly how to reduce the size of KMZ files, and get them loading propery in Google Earth in the browser.

Through trial and error, and by that I mean a lot of trials, and a lot of errors, I have come to understand that the Desktop version of Google Earth is much more forgiving than its Browser Plugin counterpart. For the project, we are embedding KMZ into a web page, and not providing a link to download and then view in the Desktop version of Google Earth.

Continue reading "Best Practices: Creating KML/KMZ; Google Earth Browser Plugin" »

October 1, 2008

Camo.org Redesigned, Multilingual Site Added

CAMO, or Central American Medical Outreach is a project I got involved with because of my good friend Dan Kelly. The site has been live for over a month now.

It uses MTOS 4.1 and has both Spanish and English sites. Both sides have blogs, too. This means that the people in Honduras can blog in Spanish if they chose to, though I see they have not updated it,

This is another site I only did the coding on, Dan Kelly did the design work. The site is a vast improvement over the existing site, and includes a lot of functions not found on the original site, including a donation form so they can accept credit card donations.

March 13, 2008

Movable Type Community Solution

UPDATE: I do not appreciate being used in some embroiled WP v. MT argument. Thanks but no thanks (for those not playing along at home, I refer you to this post). My point in this post was not to voice frustration, merely point out the differences.

I have been a non-paying, and paying customer for years. Before MT cost money, I donated. Because I did that, I -- like many others who donated -- were given free personal licenses for MT 3 when it came out. That was a very kind gesture for them.

My comments below are a stepping off point, and I am not merely "trying" to use MTCS for a client. I am using MTCS for a client. I have yet to come upon a situation where I am butting heads with the software, the difference in MTCS being that many parts of the coding, specifically the use of many global templates, is not found in MTOS or MT 4.1 Commercial. Movable Type as a whole is very malleable software. I have been successful in using it in very different ways, and that is why I am a huge supporter of the platform.

I have had the opportunity to work with a number of the people at Six Apart, and they are great people to work with. Their paid support is amazing, and fast, and the user community over at the community forums and ProNet are equally amazing.

It is amazing to think that I have been using Movable Type for five years. I have created many sites and blogs in it. Now I am moving on to something bigger, much bigger: Movable Type Community Solution.

I cannot tell you who the client it, but lets go with "big secret client" for "big secret project."

Continue reading "Movable Type Community Solution" »

February 18, 2008

Check Out The Pigskin Podcast

I am now hosting a new podcast, the Pigskin Podcast. Getting them into the iTunes directory wasn't as hard as I thought. The site is using MTOS 4.1, as is clearly evident by the default skin, but the Podcast plugin by Byrne Reese really makes adding a podcast to posts look nice, with a flash widget.

Joel Hammond, one of the four guys who do the Pigskin Podcast, worked at the BG News years ago. You never know when old friends will need blog hosting ;) What a perfect opportunity for a shameless plug: If you are looking for affordable blog hosting with phenomenal support, let me know at ken [at] meancode [dot] com.

February 7, 2008

Stormwire is really starting to irritate me

Take a look at this screen shot:

Picture%202.png

This is a single processor machine and anything over 5.0 and there are problems. So while they tell me my sites are not down, I sure as hell cannot access them -- which means to me that my sites are down.

December 21, 2007

Movable Type Authorized Reseller Program

Six Apart has finally taken their wraps off their MT Reseller program. I have always been a big supporter of the MT platform. I donated to it back in the 1.x days, joined the ProNet when Six Apart launched it, and do quite a bit of MT-based development.

This past week my application was approved for the reseller program, and want to say thanks to Byrne and all that have been working on this, it is great to have such a program. Six Apart has been quite busy lately, MTOS is another recent announcement, too.

So for all my Meancode Media clients, which includes The Flying Olive, this means I can now resell Movable Type for projects that I help develop.

Becoming a MT Reseller comes with some nice perks, too. Not only is there a discount on products, there is a Reseller mailing list, a Movable Type Commercial 5-User License, and technical support.

August 26, 2007

I Am Now Basecamp Free - switched to dotProject

I have said a lot about Basecamp over the past few years. I have been a user for a while now, and the service now is better than ever. Sadly, most of my clients were not using it, so the $50 I was spending per month to organize my projects was not seeing a return on investment beyond personal use (and that does not count in the bottom line).

There is a free, open source, project management tool out there called dotProject. Since it is open source it is quite rought around the edges. It can do so much more than Basecamp, but it is at least 10x more complicated, even to do simple stuff.

It can handle time tracking down to the minute detail, and can even do invoicing if you use an older version (that of course I am not using). One thing I miss is the To-Do lists from Basecamp. A third party has developed a To-Do like module called "Action Items" but it, like most of dotProject itself, has a clunky interface.

But in the end it is the bottom line that matters, and saving $50 a month is worth the idiocyncrisies of dotProject. It is a good piece of software and keeps me on task, so in that reguard, it does exactly what I need it to do.

Now I just have to figure out how to create users with limited access! I know it is possible as the software has pretty granular permissions. Thankfully there is an active community forum to answer questions.

May 4, 2007

New Epochal Solutions Site

This past Monday the Epochal Solutions Web site that I have been working on launched. I think it turned out really great. It sells their product far better than their old site.

I still need to get a photo gallery in there, but the site is all there. The next part of this project is to improve upon their HomePort Builder web application.

March 19, 2007

R.I.P. Home Office 2002-2007


R.I.P. Home Office 2002-2007
Originally uploaded by meancode.
I will never forget the memories we had. But it is time to move on... to a better place.

March 14, 2007

Meancode Media Goes Brick and Mortar

As if I needed another reason to be busy this week, I am moving my small business out of my apartment and into an office downtown. It has been a long time coming.

I snapped some quick shots before we started moving in.

Meancode Media, LLC, Martini Creative, and Winged Design will be sharing this office. It is so nice being able to split the rent!

We even have an intern lined up. How cool is that?

We just bought a G4 off of eBay to use as a file server, and I set that up today (OS X Server, of course). Verizon didn't deliver the DSL modem twice this week, it should be here tomorrow. Then I can get the networking going.

Sadly, only one room has a drop ceiling. The rest of them are 1x1 tiles that we will have to carefully pry down to be able to fish all the Ethernet.

Thats gonna be a blast.

February 13, 2007

The Dick Shirt.com

Now, I don't think I have to say it, but this site is not safe for work (NSFW). This is a small PayPal driven site I just completed. Now go over and buy a shirt :)

Mr. Concrete Builders Supply

Just got another site done for Jason Duff. Check out Mr. Concrete, also look at the old site.

September 9, 2006

X2GO Logo, Temp Site

The company logo, and temporary site is live. I feel it was pretty amazing to get a four letter domain name (no, not those four letters, goof ball). Someone was squatting on it of course, but it didn't cost a lot to nab it for the company.

The logo is now final, and so the corporate identity is almost complete as well. I am really happy with how the logo turned out. I will be posting the versions that did not make the cut.

web_c.jpg

I can't wait to see that thing up on the store front, on t-shirts, and everywhere else. We may change the logo color for different aspects of the business, as it has been suggested, such as: blue for water sports, brown for mountain biking, green for hiking, grey for rock climbing, etc…

We shall see. Anyways, I have a new email too, ken at x2go dot com. Nice and short. The Network Solutions webmail application for my business email is pretty sweet as well. I will have to post a screen shot of that.

August 22, 2006

A New Job in Place of College

Fall classes started, and I didn't even go. That's right, I am not even enrolled this semester. I don't know if I can give up my "Professional Student" title. It has served me well over the years.

I was going to take a class or two, but I got a job offer from X2GO a month ago. I jumped at the opportunity, and of course said yes. Sadly, I haven't signed a contract with them yet -- they still do not have the business paperwork back from the government yet.

That has been an excruciatingly long wait. I have been working on a corporate identity for them though, hopefully I will have a logo to post soon.

July 24, 2006

MCM News Update 07-24-06

Wow, it has been since September 12, 2005 since I last posted something on MCM. It makes you wonder if it even still exists! Well, it does, don't worry about that.

I am actually very busy. Web hosting is going well, as I am hosting 31 domains (pick your flavor!) right now. In recent months, four or five new ones were added. This allowed me to purchase a larger plan with more bandwidth and more file space. More is always better!

I am hoping to finish up (this week if possible) a redesign of the NORWELD site. I am also currently working on a new site for GoodLife Inc., as they currently do not have one.

Beyond that, I have been working with some past clients -- updating existing sites and discussing the addition of others.

And the big news, which I have been keeping under my hat for a week now, is that I was offered a job at X2GO in Toledo. I don't want to get into any specifics of it just yet, but so far there is nothing in writing, it is merely verbal at this point. But they did offer, and I did accept. I will wait to celebrate until the ink is dry, as they say.

What will this mean for Meancode Media? It would mean I would be scaling back projects, that is for sure. Right now I am working as many hours as humanly (inhumanly?) possible to get my current projects "out the door" and get ready for the new gig.

More on the new job soon. Hopefully as soon as this week.

September 12, 2005

BGSU Chemistry Department site is live

Just a quick note, BGSU's Department of Chemistry site is now live. It is not in the CMS yet, but it is now in the BGSU site style. It is a huge improvement, and so far I have heard nothing but rave reviews. You can also still look at the old site to compare.

September 7, 2005

Basecamp now offers time tracking

My favorite web application, Basecamp, just got a huge upgrade. Plus and Premium users now have the ability to use time tracking. I was looking at another web based solution, Blinksale, but having time tracking within Basecamp is so much better than using a separate application.

Basecamp is a web based project management application. It has an elegant design that is easy to understand by my clients, and extends beyond the web with support for RSS, iCal and FTP.

Continue reading "Basecamp now offers time tracking" »

Department of Chemistry Web site

For a short time only, you can see the old site, and here is the new site. We have been talking about going live since Friday, but there is still some content to add to the new site.

This is a two step process, and the first step is all but complete. First I am putting the site in the University's Dreamweaver templates. This has taken little time at all. Step two will be putting the site into the Content Management System that the university owns. This on the other hand is gonna take a lot longer.

I have used their CMS, Rythmix Percussion, for the Student Publications site. Student Publications is a small site, less then 10 pages, and it took me an unexpedify long time to put into the CMS. I can only guess as to how long it will take to get the Department of Chemistry site into the CMS.

We shall see.

July 18, 2005

Photochemical Outreach site complete

If I had the time, I would be drinking to celebrate. Unfortunately, I have a paper due tomorrow.

Today marks the completion of this Photochemical Outreach site that started in February. February 3rd to be exact.

This has been a big project, with a designer, coder, multimedia author, and videographer. I was the coder, if you hadn't guessed. I also am hosting the site.

The client is happy with the site, and for that, I am happy as well.

May 8, 2005

Embedding QuickTime into web pages

Why would Apple move the location of such important information as the fun OBJECT code needed because of WinIE 5.5 SP2 so WMP doesn't hijack QuickTime? Well they did. And it took some searching, but here is something like the old one.

It has been a while since I have dealt with QT, the last time I was still working at CTLT, and Apple had just posted the ActiveX/ anti-hijacking code. Well I am back to QT for this Photochemical Sciences Outreach site. Fun stuff.

I also found some QuickTime detection scripts, but I cannot find the same page with the ActiveX code that I had bookmarked years ago. So here it is:

<object classid="clsid:02BF25D5-8C17-4B23-BC80-D3488ABDDC6B" codebase="http://www.apple.com/qtactivex/qtplugin.cab" height="256" width="320"><param name="src" value="posterframe.mov">

<embed src="posterframe.mov" width="320" height="256" PLUGINSPAGE="http://quicktime.apple.com" type="video/quicktime" CONTROLLER=false LOOP=false AUTOPLAY=false href="movie.mov" target=myself></embed></object>
To clarify, this snippet includes the code needed to prevent WMP hijacking, as well as how to use a poster frame correctly. A note about using a poster frame: the web page, movie, and poster frame must live in the same directory. I don't know why, it just does.

Apple has added some great pages on their QuickTime Tutorials section, I just wish it was organized a little better. I can't imagine the page with this code is NOT on their site anymore, I just cannot find it.

May 7, 2005

Basecamp: Project Management Utopia

That is what it says atop the Basecamp web site: Project Management Utopia. And they are not kidding.

I tried the free trial and bought a plan within the same day. Not only is this the cheapest web based project management app I have seen, it is also the easiest to use. The interface the 37signals created for Basecamp is down right elegant.

Continue reading "Basecamp: Project Management Utopia" »

April 28, 2005

Busy with web development

Wow have I been busy since getting back from my birthday weekend. Let me tell you, that was not the weekend to take off. Any other weekend would have been better. But I am not about to not enjoy my birthday. More on my birthday later, including a crazy ending to the weekend.

Right now I am working on a web site for the Center for Photochemical Sciences at BGSU. This has been a pretty big project. There is a designer, web developer (me), videographer, and a Flash developer. Getting to the final design has been a long road, to say the least.

I am also working on this site for the BG News Alumni Society. They need a message board and a content management system. I found MyBulletinBoard a very good rip off of vBulletinBoard. vBB is very good, but costs close to $200. I mainly wanted the ability to have customizable fields for the user profile page. vBB has this feature, but so does MyBB. For the CMS I am using Movable Type, of course. I thought of using Word Press because it is free, but MT is so low cost and I have years experience with it.

Other then that, I haven't even unpacked from my weekend at home. NBA Street Showdown arrived for PSP. I had that pre-ordered since March. Its a great game. But I haven't had time to play it for more then maybe 30 minutes.

So if you are looking for a reason for no new posts from me, those two web sites are pretty good examples.

November 7, 2004

From Earth(link) and back again, and other annoyances

I meant to pen this months ago, but you know how it is, you get busy. Lately I had another wonderful issue with Earthlink, so that prompted me to write about both incidents.

One general statement before I begin: I used to have a fairly high opinion of Earthlink. That opinion has been tarnished like old silver in the last few months. The ISP part of their business may be very good, I do not know. From what I have seen their web mail is good, if not a little paranoid. My beef is not with the ISP part of their services, well, not entirely. I have heard both good and bad things about their ISP services, but I cannot pass judgment on that because I do not have first hand knowledge of it.

My problem is with Earthlink's web hosting services, specifically their small business web hosting services.

Continue reading "From Earth(link) and back again, and other annoyances" »

September 19, 2004

Synergy blew up

Synergy, otherwise known as the QuickTime Streaming Server (QTSS) for the School of Art, blew up the other week. Every time you would reboot this 733 Mhz Quicksilver you would get a ugly looking Kernel Panic (KP). What is amazing is that I installed this QTSS a while ago, and it has had no problems up until now. Oh and by the way, this machine was running Mac OS X 10.0.3. That is why I am amazed it ran for so long. It has been running for years with no problems. Mac OS X 10.0.x, Server or Client, was not the most stable of Mac OS's.

I am just very impressed that it ran for that long.

Now it is running Mac OS X Server 10.2.8 as they had a copy of 10.2 Server and did not need to spend the $500 for 10.3 Server.

No amount of fsck'ing helped. I just had to backup the data and install a clean OS. Of course considering the OS on the drive was so old, I wouldn't think of doing anything else.

July 4, 2004

Robin For Congress Site

robin_congress_small.gifIn a joint venture between Meancode Media and Unigraphics this site was started and finished within a week. I am pretty happy about that. Paul, at Unigraphics, has handled all the print work for Robin's campaign. That sure makes the process of building a web site a lot faster. Sure, print graphics need work to be used for the web, but its still great to have the design and typography set. Hopefully I will get more web work in the future from Unigraphics. The old site was framed, and the images were huge and constrained in HTML. So load times were really bad. This site loads pretty good on a dial-up with the exception of the header graphic, but I cannot make that any smaller then it already is. The site also works pretty good to excellent in older browsers. You can view a screen shot of the old home page here. It is a big improvement, and my client is very pleased. For the calendar page of Robin's site I used Calendars.net. I am really impressed with this service, and will have to devote a full post for it. Calendars.net is a great online calendar.

New Logos for Meancode Media

Thanks to a college friend Justin Winget, I have a great new logo. Thanks Justin! I think they came out great. Tell me what you think.
mcm_logo1.gif mcm_logo2.gif mcm_logo3.gif mcm_logo4.gif

June 9, 2004

Multiple Power Outages at TCP Today

TCP.gifI got a call this morning in the middle of my Geology class from the TCP today. They have been having power outages and brown outs all morning. Air conditioning is off. Editorial cannot connect to the server. Layout/Production can connect, but cannot print. Deadline is 3 PM. Sounds like a blast! "We heard a couple cracks and then a pop" says two sales reps as I start looking at the "networking wall" (they do not have a networking closet). Those pops and cracks came when the power went out apparently. As far as I can tell nothing got zapped. Which is a small miracle as there is no UPS on the networking equipment. The file server has a small UPS that kept it up and running during outages, but the network backbone kept going down. By noon or so the outages stopped. I don't like to give away all my secrets, but to get everyone back on the network and printing again, I just powered off all networking and then turned it back on again after a minute. Just don't tell them that (No no, I explained this to the publisher). Nothing is getting backed up yet. They got a zip drive in to backup the paper daily, but do not have zip disks yet. I have learned over the years that when Quark (and many other apps) loose their network connection, files get corrupt and FUBAR'd really quick. I have seen this many times working at The BG News and Unigraphics. I have seen this in OS 9 a lot over the years. Luckily this did not happen today. And with no backups, I am really glad it didn't happen that way today! I am suggesting battery backup for their hubs and router. All they have is a basic surge protector right now. That is better then nothing, but it is insufficient. It was very hot today. Air conditioning was started back up as I left. It was getting rather warm in there.

May 13, 2004

More RAM for the Toledo City Paper

TCP.gifThe file/print/backup server had 128 MB of RAM. Thats not enough for Retrospect to run well. They are running ASIP (AppleShare IP) on OS 9 so 128 MB is not horrible, but for a file/print/backup server it is not enough. I added 1 GB of RAM today and it took little time to see improvements across the board. They have a DDS-4 tape backup that is all messed up. I keep getting error 206 in Retrospect, dirty heads. After talking to Lacie tech support they suggest an company that does out of warranty repairs. It would cost a lot though, half the cost of the drive bought new. Their advertising department use a Zip drive to do daily and weekly backups. As much as I do not like Iomega (because of the "click of death") we are going to do the same for editorial. Getting a Zip drive and a pack of Zip disks is a lot less then getting the tape backup drive repaired. Also TCP's requirements do not require backing up gigs of data. They do not even back up 1 GB of data. So a Zip 750 will be enough for them now, and allow them a lot of room to grow. The next task is to get a workable font solution. Right now there is no way to mirror all needed fonts on all workstations. There is Extensis Suitcase Server, but that costs $1000. They already own Extensis Suitcase Desktop Edition for all workstations though. After some thought, it will be cheaper to use Retrospect to mirror a master font folder to all the clients. Also having Retrospect on all clients will allow for backing up workstation files, something they are not doing. I found Retrospect Workgroup (good for 20 clients and 1 server) for a great price at MacMall (much better then buying from Dantz). And since we are buying everything else from MacMall, its easier then finding the absolute lowest price from a no name store. I am now going to use Retrospect at Student Publications to blast out a master font folder for Unigraphics, Production, and all the other publications. We already use Retrospect Workgroup at Student Publications, I just never thought of using it this way. I must say this was not something I thought of, but something that came out of brainstorming at the TCP office. It was a happy little revelation.

April 30, 2004

Freelance For The Toledo City Paper

TCP.gifYesterday and today I have spent about a 12 hrs. working at the Toledo City Paper (it is a weekly paper). My boss (thanks!) at The BG News gave my name to the publisher of the TCP, and the rest is history. This is the first time I have gone into and had to assess a network (that was not on campus). It was actually fun and I found that I have a pretty good grasp on discovering the strengths and weaknesses in the network and in the workflow. After all my campus related experience, it is nice to see how "the real world" does things. The art director had a list of issues to tackle, so this made my job a little "easier." I like lists. Its fun to cross stuff off when you are done. The reason I went back today was because I did not finish all the work I thought I did yesterday before leaving, oops! No biggie, I knew how to fix the problem (that I made) before I drove up to Toledo. Its nice to know that my knowledge of Mac networks + print publishing workflow might get me a job some day. For now I am rather happy being a network geek for hire.

March 30, 2004

FileMaker Developer 7

The new FileMaker is out! I got my shiny box last week, it came when I was in Detroit. I have been playing around and am about to post a First Look article. I want to go through the changes in ScriptMaker, then I will post it. So stay tuned. I am not going to be using FileMaker 7 for any of the solutions I have created for Student Publications. So why did I buy it? Because I need to be ahead of the curve. I need to know about all the changes. And eventually I will be moving the Unigraphics invoicing system, the KEY Yearbook purchasing database, etc, over to FMP 7, but not right this minute. They have changed too many variables. And since it is a new file format, we would need to upgrade to FileMaker Server 7 which comes out this summer. That being said, I could do a lot more with 7, and it is well worth the work, in my opinion, to port everything to 7. The one glaring omission I see is no "import file/table" feature in the Define Database dialog. FileMaker now acts like a SQL database, or day I say MS Access, you now have multiple tables in one file. Before v. 7 you had one table per file. FMI could have been nice and included a consolidation feature. That would have been great. Well leave it to the plugin community to fill a void. Both New Millennium and .com Solutions has tools out to help move a multi file solution into a single file, multi table solution. FM Robot from New Millennium is a table consolidation utility. It takes the Database Design Report (so you need Developer, not just Pro) and consolidates all your files into one multi table file. I might invest in this tool. New Millennium makes good software, so it looks like it would be worth it. Only the Windows version is available right now, so I think I will wait until they release a Mac version. Although I might just get the PC version to have it now, I do as much developing in FileMaker on Windows these days as I do on the Mac. What really makes sense about FM Robot is its ability to duplicate tables within a FileMaker 7 file. You can also build a "library" of "template tables" which you can transfer into any new solution. Very cool. FmPro Migrator from .com Solutions does not look like it as easy to use, as you need to install ActiveState Perl on Windows (although I have used ActiveState's Perl before and it is a breeze to setup). FmPro Migrator has a much broader scope then FM Robot though. FmPro Migrator will migrate FileMaker Pro databases to MySQL, Oracle, Access, SQL Server, Sybase and DB2. It now includes a FileMaker 3,4,5,6,7 to FileMaker 7 table consolidation feature, and Microsoft Access to FileMaker 7 migration feature. Both sites have detailed feature pages and screenshots available, so check them out. There is a demos to try as well. I can't say anything for the accuracy of either of these tools, but considering how much different FileMaker 7 is from v. 6, I can't see either tools being 100% accurate with regards to calculations, scripts, privileges, and relationships. I will have to buy one and see how it fairs. FM Robot looks like an easier to use tool, but FmPro Migrator has a much more robust feature set.

March 16, 2004

Apple seminar reveals Pixar's switch to OS X, G5s

Pixar is switching to Mac OS X and will be using Power Mac G5s for its work, according to a MacNN reader who attended Apple's Uncompressed for Final Cut Pro seminar in New York on Wednesday morning. In his Keynote presentation, Apple's Don Peebeles said that Pixar has used Linux and Intel-based architecture in 2003, but that Pixar was switching to Mac OS X and G5 workstations for its production work: "Peebles went on to say that this switch was 'a move that no doubt made common CEO Steve Jobs very happy.' According to Peebles, Pixar challenged Apple to come up with a way to review HD quality video on the desktop at a reduced file size but keeping the quality. Of course the technology they developed (with Pixar) was based on Wavelet compression and named accordingly, 'Pixlet'. With this impressive technology, the new G5 systems and OS X's Unix underpinning, all the pieces were in place." Source: MacNN So they may be switching to Mac OS X and the G5 for their post stuff. Final Cut Pro with the new pixlet codec. I bet they are not gonna change their animation workstations. Thanks to my Dad for the link :)

February 22, 2004

BBEdit 7.1

I have been a very long time BBEdit user. I have used it since about version 2.0. I have been doing OK, but not great without BBEdit 7 (or 6 for that matter). The last version I bought was 5. I have been using DW and/or SimpleText (yes it still lives, in the Developer Tools install) up untill now. I have had it tho! I broke down and got the upgreade to BBEdit 7.1. Now I work so much faster, I do not have to go to DW when I just want to edit code. The new Preview in BBEdit has got to be the best new feature! It automatically updates when the code is changed. This is the reason I own a wide screen laptop! The feature requires Safari, so I assume it uses WebKit to do the rendering in BBEdit. I chose electronic download, and was not given an option to buy a printed manual. I wonder if you get one if you were to choose the boxed version? I really liked the BBEdit 5 manual, why is it that no one sells manuals with their products anymore? Is it just me that likes to have a reference around to look at when I need info on x feature? I know I should have upgraded BBEdit long ago, it was just one of those things that I "got by" with just using DW for coding. Once again I am glad to have BBEdit. It is such an indispensable app. (This was written weeks ago, and has been in my "for blog" folder just waiting for the right time (read: any time at all) to post.

February 21, 2004

COMSTOR Site Done

The Community Storage & Property site is done. I need a few more PDF files from the client, and then it is a done deal. Next up are a couple more projects from this same client, which sure is a nice thing. I will keep you posted.

February 13, 2004

Pixel Fonts

I am in the process of overhauling my identity. HA HA, now stop snickering! I am refering to my corporate identity. To be honest I designed the logo on my Meancode site in about no time flat. And it shows. Since I don't have time (I am too busy working on too many others sites and projects) the second best thing is to pay someone else to do it. They just hope I do not become the client from hell, as I am very specific as to what I want. I want some pixel fonts for my logo type, letterhead, web site, etc, etc. and they are not easy to find. Great ones are not easy to find. Three sites that have some some good ones (specificly for small font sizes) are FontsForFlash.com (FFF), Fonts by Cal Henderson, and MiniFonts.com. I actually suggest MiniFonts.com fonts for fonts that look good under 9 point. But I need some great pixel fonts. Who better then T.26? I mean T.26 is the foundry of choice for cool fonts. I have decided on the font B Positive for my logo type. These fonts are so cheap ($29 to $49 a typeface, including all variants. More if you want both Mac & PC versions) though so I bought Cellular Three, Synkro, and Bit Kit as well. Now to craft a logo I like, biz card, letter head, and then a web site.

January 18, 2004

Giving Product Recommendations

One of the hidden, unwritten rules of being a geek is giving product, and services reviews. It is great telling other people what they should buy, and why. I wish I got payed for it. Its also great when you are at a point where you can recommend products and services at work. More times than not I have had first hand experience, but I also make it a point of read multiple reviews. Giving this advice is more or less a ancillary effect to being a geek. A ripe example of this, stemming from a current consulting job, has to do with email. General Email Tips Use a bayesian filter for your email. SpamSieve is the easiest to use on OS X, POPFile works on all platforms (Mac OS X, Windows, Linux(s) etc.). Outlook 2003 has built in bayesian filtering, and it works great! Unfortunately Apple's Panther Mail's junk mail filtering is sub par. You would do better getting SpamSieve and turning off the junk mail filter. Turn of image viewing, or turn off HTML rendering all together. In Apple Mail you can turn off image viewing in the Viewing portion of the Preferences. You can turn of HTML preview in Outlook 2003, and you can hack 2002 to turn it off. The last thing I would do is turn off message preview. I like how Outlook 2002 and 2003 handles this, as it will display the first 3 lines of text from and email. That is just enough to tell if it is SPAM or not. You do not want to view SPAM, and by clicking on it and seeing it (even if you are clicking to delete it) you are "viewing" it. There is no 3 line preview in OS X Mail, but you can turn off the preview pane. Double click the resize handle in between the list pane and the preview pane. Some people might not want to go as far as disabling the preview pane, but to each his own. BTW, to re-enable the preview pane in OS X Mail, double click the resize handle that is now at the very bottom of the window. UPDATE I agree with Dave (see his comment) but only to a point. Using a whitelist is a great idea. Unfortunately it is not always implemented well. If you only allow emails from your whitelist you will be missing a lot of good mail. And this is a problem for more then just a business, as Dave points out. I have the same problem with whitelisting as I do with challenge-response services. They block legit email. What about the email confirmation for that plane ticket you just bought? I could come up with a number of other "what ifs" that whitelisting and challenge-response services would block. Apple's junk mail filter (if you use it) does have options to exempt address book entries from the junk filter. SpamSieve has this same type of option. POPFile uses something called "Buckets" which is a whitelist and a blacklist, but does the same as Mail and SpamSieve. This is the way to use a whitelist. You should not except ONLY the addresses in your whitelist. Going further here, I don't like making addresses in my address book exempt from my whitelist. This is especially true if you are a Windows user, as many security threats on Windows reck their havoc using your address book. But Mac users have to deal with this as well, mainly because of those Windows born viruses and trojans. A few months ago a couple viruses went through our university email system, and I "got" so much mail from BGSU contacts in my address book. Of course it was all spam mail generated from a Windows born virus. So I do not include my address book in my whitelists.

January 16, 2004

The Moose Has Moved

Moose, otherwise known as Maury Mountain, a very good friend of mine, has moved hosts. I am now hosting his site. He was getting fed up with the uptime (or rather lack thereof) of his last host. I am now hosting enough sites that I can now get a larger reseller account, so I will be able to host even more sites. My host that I have my reseller account with is Cybrisk. At the time I signed up, they were running a sale, unfortunately they are not having that sale. Breaking Windows is closing in on one year old (yay!) and I started hosting here when Breaking Windows was born. I have since moved my other sites here, and I have been very happy. So if you are looking for a reseller host, I highly recommend Cybrisk.

October 9, 2003

Free Upgrade to Adobe CS

I bought the Adobe Design Collection on September 9th. By the end of the month Adobe announced Adobe Creative Suite. I called support and sure enough I get a free upgrade! If not I was gonna do some bitching, thats for sure. I hear rumors of Adobe CS shipping in November, and I will be one of the first to get it, which just rocks. I cannot wait to see all the new improvements. Since the apps are going to be OS X only I hope they will show better performance then the current versions do. Photoshop 7 runs a bit faster in OS 9 then it does in OS X on my TiBook. I figured I would get the free upgrade to the Premium Edition, but no, I get the Standard Edition. This means I do not get Acrobat 6 Pro, but I already own that, and I do not get GoLive CS, oh darn! I am not gonna complain though, the upgrade to Standard Edition which includes Photoshop CS, InDesign CS, and Illustrator CS is $550. That is money I do not have to spend, which sure is nice :-D.

September 26, 2003

COMSTOR Site Template

comstor.gifThe Template for the COMSTOR template is all but complete. The last thing I need to do is add the DW specific tags. Take a look at how the template looks. I am using the Menu Magic II extension from Project Seven, partly to cut down on development time, and partly to help keep my sanity. I once taught at CTLT how to make a full blown menu system like this with nested submenus and all, its a lot of work to do by hand, and for the most part DW is not much help for layers based work. With the Menu Magic II extension you can select which menu is in the down state (the black "Self Storage" section when the page loads) and which link is in the down state (the Past Clients link in the Commercial Property section) and both are handled in JS parameters in the BODY OnLoad property. That is a very efficient way of handling it, and makes it look even better. Those are JS functions I would rather not code myself that is for sure!

September 15, 2003

New Client: Grad Student

Thanks to another Art Grad Student, Walter, I have a new client. Isn't word of mouth wonderful! My new client has one of those nice 17" flat panel iMac's, they are so purdy. We got a lot accomplished in two days. Starting from scratch is usually the best bet when a Mac OS has things missing that shouldn't be. So I started by backing up her data to CD, then installed OS 9.2.2 and OS 10.2.6. Hopefully she can stay in OS X, it makes things less confusing, but just in case OS 9 is installed as well. I also got her Epson all-in-one installed and working, and Microsoft Office X installed. Next time I will start teaching how Mac OS X works and installing more of her software, and training her on how to use that as well. Funny thing about the MS Office X install. I will have to make that a separate post. I think I need to advertise in the two local papers about doing this kind of work. It is really easy as I have been training people how to use computers and peripherals for years now.

September 11, 2003

Macromedia Studio MX 2004

What a name huh? Lets just call it Dreamweaver 7. Anyway. The Studio shipped today. This morning I got an email with my serial number and link to download a huge 191 MB stuffit file. I really feel bad for those on narrowband. One thing though, what happened to physical books, you know, the user manual? Oh well, no one reads those anyways right? Like a kid in a candy store I dove into Dreamweaver MX 2004 (DW 2004) right away. The changes are outstanding. Well worth the price tag. When I have time I will post my first impressions and some screen shots.

September 9, 2003

Adobe Design Collection

In no less then two days I recieved my copy of the Adobe Design Collection. One nice thing about buying this software so late is I get Acrobat 6 instead of Acrobat 5 (when we bought 2 copies of the Design Collection for Unigraphics Acrobat 6 was not out). I also get updated installers, so I do not have to upgrade, I can just install Photoshop 7.0.1, Illustrator 10.0.3, and InDesign 2.0.2. It saves some time at least.

September 8, 2003

Software Purchases

Purchasing software hurts, all that money gone from my wallet. But since I make money off of the software, the hurt is a bit less. I pre-ordered an upgrade to Studio MX 2004. I cannot wait to get my hands on Dreamweaver MX 2004. The new features in DW really look nice, really nice. It is such a big step to base the entire layout engine on CSS-P. I imagine this will quell my problems with the current version of DW MX. I can't say I like the name, "Dreamweaver MX 2004" doesn't exactly flow. Why not just call it Dreamweaver 7? Ahh well. The Studio is such a great deal though, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash and FreeHand. I also ordered the Adobe Design Collection. That is Photoshop 7, Illustrator 10, InDesign 2, and Acrobat 6 Pro. Now that I have finally bought Photoshop 7, they can release Photoshop 8. Isn't that how it always works? Buying the Design Collection is also such a great deal. Photoshop alone is $609. And for what platform did I buy this software for? Macintosh. I have given up on Windows and am selling my Alienware rig. No more Educational Discounts. This is the first time I have bought Macromedia or Adobe software without an educational discount. What a difference that makes.

August 24, 2003

Unigraphics Web Site

Wow. Unigraphics has a web site after all these years! And I am hosting it. Kurt Cruse has done a great job at putting together a Flash web site. I still have to install a FormMail CGI and there are other things that Kurt has to finish with the site but it is well on its way to get finished. Personally I would not create a Flash only site. We all know how I feel about Flash, and having ONLY a Flash based web site is something that scores a thumbs down with me. Nonetheless it has turned out to be a very nice Flash site. It would have been nice to get unigraphics.com but EDS owns the site and uses it to redirect to this. :sad: On the bright side its nice having "BGSU" in the URL. So they finally decided on bgsugraphics.com.

COMSTOR: A New Client

comstor.gifAfter months of talking and designing the site I have a new client (I am not designing the site, just coding it, which I have no complaints about one bit). COMSTOR is my 4th client with Meancode Media, LLC. The list is growing which is great! (My past and/or current clients are Chapman Learning Community, The BG News, and Unigraphics). If you would like to employ my services, please contact me :-P. I couldn't resist, after all this is my site. COMSTOR (Community Storage & Properties LTD) provides a number of services including Real Estate Development, Outdoor Advertising, Self-Storage, Property Management, Residential Rentals and Investment Consulting. Since I have had such good luck with Cybrisk, the first thing to do for COMSTOR is setup a reseller account for all of Jason Duff's web sites. Hopefully this is the beginning of a great business relationship as there are other web sites to develop for Jason.

July 3, 2003

Introducing JDPooley.com!

My most recent client, JD Pooley, Sentinel-Tribune Photographer, has chosen me to design and host his site. There is not much to look at right now, the DNS just resolved. More on this as I design the site. I will take this opportunity for a bit of blatant (yet effective I think) advertising. I am (finally) at a stable host and am now reselling space. I have plenty of server space and bandwidth to spare. So if you are looking for a good deal on web space send me an email, ken[at]meancode[dot]com. The more I resell the more bandwidth I can afford each month. So let me know if you are in need of web space. I won't charge a setup fee and you will be up and running as soon as your DNS resolves (one to two days for that).

June 3, 2003

Resume 2.0

There is a good reason I have not been posting much lately. I have been hard at work on my resume. I came upon a job that I would fit just right. One small problem though - I could not find my resume. Anywhere. It was no where to be found. And naturally the deadline for sending in a resume for this job was in a day! Yea, fun. But I did get resume in the mail. Check it out if you like (pdf) and leave some feedback. This resume is looking a lot better then the last. I now plan to take my resume to the Writing Lab on campus and get it tweaked a bit. I will then post the revised copy.

February 27, 2003

Almost finished with Chapman site

I did a lot of work on the Chapman Site in the past couple days. I have started to add all the stuff for section 508 compatibilities. I also added a bunch of photos and pull quotes to the pages to break them up a bit. I a different way toI handle the Faculty section so it is not so text heavy. so they are going to go take a bunch of photos of the faculty with students, then I will be reworking that section. next on the agenda is to polish off the Photo Gallery section.

February 24, 2003

Chapman Site Goes Live

GoLive hmmm I hate that program. anyway, the site I have been working on for a couple months went live this morning. all I need to do is get the photo gallery into the new template. that and some minor things, but all the content is there. I still need to put some photos on the pages it is still a bit text heavy. these are the next things to do. if this sounds like a grocery list, it is :) if you would like to leave me feedback on this site please do. I enjoy constructive criticism.

February 16, 2003

Chapman Web Site

For the last month and a half i have been working on a redesign for the Chapman Community site. I have all the content now and am working on text changes, and adding photos. but it is in its final stages. here is the redesign. there are some issues with NN 4.7 i am getting irritated with, well there are actually a lot of things to get irritated at NN 4.7 with, but my latest is how it renders text with the style of font-size:xx-small on it. it comes out as looking like 5 pt type when in NN 6+ and IE 5+ it looks like 9 pt type. and unfortunatly i have to still take into consideration NN 4.7. it sucks cuz it means there are A LOT of things i have had to do differently in this site that has made the development LONGER. gotta love doing things the hard way. it is so much easier to code for the newer standards complient web browsers. oh well thats life.

February 6, 2003

FileMaker Pro Development

For about a year now i have been working on this from-scratch invoicing and project management system for Unigraphics that ties into the University's Bursar billing system. what started out as a very small scope of functions has ballooned into a very robust system. that is why this has taken so long. both my boss and the creative director of Unigraphics have had me add more and more functionality. currently this system includes these modules, and here are some screen shots of some of them:

Main Menu
Clients
Clients Contacts
Vendors
Vendors Contacts
Employees
Past Employees
Archive
Help
Reports
Preferences
Administration
Invoice
     Search
     List View
     Media Line Items
     Production Line Items
     Ancillary Line Items




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