Recent The Flying Olive Posts

October 1, 2008

Gems on Display Site and Newsletter Redesigned

Gems on Display has been a big project. The site got a major overhaul graphically, and a number of the shopping cart functions were tweaked, changed, or removed for usability. Haley did the design and Dacor, who hosts the site, made all the shopping cart modifications.

That leaves me in the middle of taking the design from Illustrator and making it work in HTML, adding some nice Jquery effects along the way. The new site is really sharp and something I am very proud of.

Even more proud, however, is the new newsletter, which gets sent to quite a few people monthly. For that we are using PHPList on a dedicated server. It handles the task with ease. I am most proud of this because I was able to get the newsletter to look 99% the same in GMail, Yahoo! Mail, MSN Mail, Apple Mail, Outlook, Entourage, and pretty much any other POP/IMAP mail client.

That is no small feat. It takes a very odd assortment of old school HTML tricks (think nested tables and transparent .gif images) and very basic CSS to pull off and work in all the major free webmail and desktop email clients.

Add to that the fact that PHPList automatically sends out text-based versions for those who do not have (or have it turned off) HTML capabilities in their email client, and this is a vast improvement. The design of the new newsletter mirrors that of the new site design.

Pro Wedding Entertainent Site Redesigned, Photo Gallery Added

Pro Wedding Entertainment recently relaunched with a new design and new photo gallery. One of the few sites we do in good old Dreamweaver, no CMS to speak of. Gallery added is done in Gallery, which is a nice lightweight photo gallery app.

This is the first time I tried out the Spry validation included in Dreamweaver CS3, and it works pretty easily. Makes for a nice looking form.

Haley Wilkins designed the site, I just did the DW templates. Home page took a bit of work because of the image in the footer, other than that, nothing too fancy. Nice simple site, much easier to read than the one it replaced.

June 5, 2008

Geralyn Brock Site Complete

This is another site Haley designed and I produced, once again in Movable Type. The site is made up of a couple categories to keep everything organized. I am really amazed as to how fast I can produce sites in Movable Type these days. I am getting much faster at it.

Body By Burdo Site Complete

I think I completed this site a month ago or so, I just have been too busy to post. The site was designed by Haley and I developed it in Movable Type 4. It uses some QuickTime and Flash. Since it uses MT, the user can update the text whenever they want.

Nothing mind shattering here, just a simple site. Pretty basic MT coding as well. It turned out looking good. 

April 20, 2008

New Intern & My Renewed Hatred of Windows

Friday our new intern started at the office, which meant Thursday I had to get Haley's old PC cleaned up and ready for the new guy to use. Its not that we wanted to give him a hard time, it's just that we don't have another Mac in the office.

There is a major difference between using a five year old Dell and a five year old Apple computer. I have a 1 Ghz PowerBook G4 that is seven years old and it does not behave as badly as this Dell. To make a really long story short, I spent half the day friday trying to get everything working for him to use Illustrator -- which I thought I had done Thursday before I left the office.

We then spent about a half hour and purchased a referbished iMac from Apple for $999. We looked on Crag's List and eBay, and finally decided on a Certified Referb from Apple. 

The Dell was going to need more RAM, a complete re-install of XP, and a lot of my time. In the end it was fonts that was the bottleneck that made us decide to get a Mac. We do not exclusivly work with OpenType fonts, so going between Mac and Windows would truely be a pain.

The intern is not a Mac person, but we will change that.

Since the "new" iMac is an Intel, I can get the Dell out of the office for good, installing Parallels and XP on it, as there are a couple programs we need Windows for. It arrives by Thursday, and I can't wait.

So to recap we got a new intern and a new Mac on Friday. 

April 18, 2008

iPower Hosted Site Hacked with .htaccess Modification

You can bet I will be posting this on Web Hosting Talk later. I already do not like iPower as a host. They suck, simply put. One of our last sites on iPower, one that was not on our iPower reseller, had been the target of a rather malicious and nasty .htaccess hack.

Not only is it irritating that the site got hacked and iPower did not notice or inform us, when we called to tell them they did not sound one bit alerted to the seriousness of the issue. Really bad host.

When asked if they could look into the log files, as I knew the exact date and time it happened, they said that would not lead to much. He would not even transfer me to a Tier 2 tech. I did not push the matter, as I was about to ring his neck. I had already fixed the problem and I could tell the tech was not concerned at all in the matter.

As a matter of fact, he said a "hack" usually happens when a new or old web guy is involved. Well, I work for the old web guy and I am the new web guy, so I don't think so buddy.

This was an genius little hack, some script kiddie must be so proud. They used RewriteCond statements in the .htaccess file to redirect all search traffic from about 20 different search engines to a porn site script that sent you to a random site, oh and 301 redirects to boot. There were also ErrorDocument scripts as well.

Once I looked into the matter the first thing I noticed was the Index and the .htaccess files were modified on April 11. That means the site has been like this for six bleeping days.

The most shocking thing to note here is that "this is not the first time this has happened to one of my client sites," as I am told by coworker. HUH?

Needless to say I changed the password on the account and am moving them to our new reseller on Liquid Web. Hit the jump if you are interested in the code from the little hack.

Continue reading "iPower Hosted Site Hacked with .htaccess Modification" »

March 1, 2008

Radiant Mind and Body

Radiant is the latest site I have completely developed in Movable Type. It is also the last site I create in MT 3.3. Shortly after starting production on this site, two other sites went into production, and I have started them out with MT 4.1 and man I love it.

The process of developing a web site using 4.1 is miles ahead of what it was with 3.3. It is truely outstanding how far Movable Type has come.

This site utilizes a message board and a mailing list. And it has a light-weight events calendar that I coded in MT

Continue reading "Radiant Mind and Body" »

September 16, 2007

Heartandsoul Site Live

I forgot to mention it, but a couple weeks ago the new Heartandsoul site is live. This site came together very well, though slowly to be sure. It is comprised of a Movable Type-based site and PHPList for the newsletter, plus SMF for the forums. The site also uses Calabunga, but it always did, we just put it into an IFRAME so it was branded and not just a new window.

I did not produce the Flash for the home page -- Michelle and Haley did -- but I did polish it off in the end, and I am quite happy how that turned out.

The Flying Olive Site is Live

We have only been in the office for six months, but we finally got the site online. It is mostly complete, including a portfolio gallery. Verizon was (once again) conspiring against us, and so we did not have Internet on-and-off for two days last week, so it is all up as a static site -- we had wanted to set the site up in Movable Type. I will put the site into MT later, right now the site is online.

You may notice there is a right column that has nothing in it. That is not a mistake, we will be putting something in that column, I just have no content for that yet.

I see I forgot to make a Favicon for the site, I will have to do that Monday.

Be sure and read my bio on the site, Haley and I had a lot of fun writing it.

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.

August 6, 2007

Soft Launch for The Grand Scene

I got The Grand Scene off the ground early last week. It is a soft launch, a very soft launch. This is an events calendar powered by Helios Calendar, which I have a lot of the templates customized for our design.

I still have some work to do, however. As I want the event listings and detail pages to look better, have more information.

I have OpenAds installed to handle the banner rotation, though I do not have that setup yet. All the articles on the site will be in Movable Type, so I have to integrate Helios with Movable Type.

Then there is the software for the classifieds section. Like I said, this is a soft launch. The events listings work, and the informational pages are up, which is what we were aiming for when things went live last week.

July 28, 2007

cube. Marketing Site Live

Be sure and check out the cube. web site. The site design went back-and-forth a bit, which made this project take a while to get finished. But it is live! As with most of the work I do with TFO, I did not do the design, just a suggestion or two.

I really like just handling the web production of the site. There is much less stress involved.

I am happy with how it turned out, and so is the client.

July 4, 2007

The Flying Olive Has a Splash Screen

Back in March I posted about getting an office in downtown Bowling Green. So far it has been great.

The Flying Olive, which you can guess comes from the names Martini Creative and Winged Design, has a splash page up. Hopefully we will have the complete site up soon.

The Flying Olive, or TFO for short, is the new partnership. It was better than "two designers and a web guy."

July 2, 2007

It's All Greek To Me

So, I got through college* without a Greek bone in my body, but it seems that all I am working on now is updating or coding Greek sites for BGSU. Lately I have done the coding for the Toledo Kappa Kappa Gamma Alumnae Association and BGSU Zeta Kappa Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma. I have also been updating the Kappa Sigma Fraternity site.

Now that I think about it, I host a couple Greek sites too: Zeta Kappa Chapter 25th Anniversary, Tau Beta Sigma Alpha Xi, and Kappa Kappa Psi Beta Kappa sites. What does all that mean again?

* Almost got through college.

June 16, 2007

dotProject's Yahoo! Widget

For those of you that remember, Konfabulator was the original widget API for OS X. Yahoo! bought it out, and it now lives on alongside the built in widgets in OS X.

I finally have a reason to install the Yahoo! Widget Engine, and that is the TaskTracker.

I have been evaluating dotProject (open source project management) as a replacement for Basecamp. So far, so good, too. This widget for dotProject is another bullet point for bullet point feature, and another reason to stop paying a monthly fee for Basecamp.

While the Basecamp Dashboard widget does show you more, the dotProject widget comes with one handy feature: It has a stop watch that allows you to track the time it takes for each task you have.

Major kudos to the developer of this widget.

May 4, 2007

New Site for JEM Photography

There is so much you can do with a photographer's web site. The possibilities are almost endless. But not when they need the site done the next day, and it is already 6 PM.

Though their new site is simple, it loads fast, and looks clean. And the client loves it, she was crying on the phone. Thats a first.

April 13, 2007

Stupid C5150n Printer Driver, Stupid Windows

We have an OKIDATA C5150n printer in the office. It is a nice printer, even has Bonjour (Zeroconf). Setting it up on the Mac was a breeze, even without using Bonjour. Download the driver, go to Print Center, click More Printers, choose OKI TCP/IP and pop in the printer's IP address, and you are done. Or just use Bonjour and you are done in one step. But I explained the "hard" way to prove a point.

We have a couple Windows XP-based computers in the office. Installing this printer on Windows, not very strait-forward. No instructions or FAQ on the OKI site had a shred of help either. I am not joking.

Continue reading "Stupid C5150n Printer Driver, Stupid Windows" »

April 6, 2007

Update Webmonkey (and I hate GoLive, part XVII)

The first thing I am doing for Haley is web updates on a couple sites, nothing terribly exciting, or even worth posting about - except that I am now using Adobe GoLive on a production basis.

I have used every version of GoLive, even before Adobe owned it. When GoLive owned it, GoLive CyberStudio was a pretty good product, even though it was more a designer tool than a coder tool.

Continue reading "Update Webmonkey (and I hate GoLive, part XVII)" »

And He said, let there be upload speed, and there was, and it was good

Not exactly The Book of Genesis, but I think you get my drift. Sadly, my post of April 1 was no joke. I counted, and for 20 days (and 20 nights) we had no upload speed, yet Verizon did nothing but give me excuses.

Why they could not have re-routed our Internet almost a month ago is beyond me, because it is obvious that was the issue from the start. As soon as we were back online I was getting my full upload speed, I didn't even have to reboot anything.

So we finally got work done at work. We also got a nice credit on our next bill.

April 2, 2007

Verizon DSL Is Infuriating

I cannot tell you how much time I have lost in the last week or two because of our Verizon DSL at work. I spent no less than six hours on the phone with them this weekend.

Our download speeds are fine, at 3 MB, our upload speeds are next to nothing, and should be 768 KB.

This makes for non working conditions. It takes literally five minutes to upload a 70 KB file, as the file starts to upload, then the connection just drops out, and will not complete the request for minutes.

Continue reading "Verizon DSL Is Infuriating" »

March 20, 2007

My New Office!

Here it is, all setup. What do you think? All it needs now is some Ethernet, a phone (no jack in the room, grrr) and we will be in business!

Until we run wires through the ceilings, I will have to make due with an Ethernet cord running all the way down the hallway.

I am quite happy with this setup. Need a few things, but I am flat broke from buying furniture for the office. Guess I have to work on a few web sites now...

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