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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Stackexchange and the StackOverflow family of sites

I enjoy what I call "My geek sites". I use them for fun and for business. These include Stackexchange.com, Stackoverflow.com, english.stackexchange.com and other subs.

The goal of each sub-site is to become a repository of questions and answers on a given topic. StackOverflow is all about programming. I use it a lot for PHP and a little for Javascript.

A person gains "Reputation points" for asking and answering questions. I reached a milestone today at 2000+ reputation points.

I was already at that level in the English language version, but the programming version is much more important to me.


Friday, December 19, 2014

LED Signs for outdoor advertising.

Last month I wrote about renting Giant Helium Balloons, from Giant Balloon Rental,

Today I'd like to talk about the LED signs offered by the same company. At first, you might wonder what giant helium balloons and LED signs have in common, but with a little thought, they are actually complementary to each other.

The giant balloons get attention from a distance while the LED signs share your message with potential customers once they are nearby.

LED signs are also good inside events to share information with attendees. You can direct people to Lost and Found, or tell them where to park. Choose the full color version to display your logo to further brand the event and any product you are offering.

Make LED Signs from Giant Balloon Rental part of your outdoor advertising campaign.

If you follow that link, you'll notice that my client has chosen to combine LED signs and Spotlight/Searchlight rental.

As with helium balloons, searchlights reach customers at a distance, but are more effective at night.

An effective outdoor advertising strategy might include helium balloons for the daytime, Searchlights for night, LED signs for specific messages and giant character balloons to attract more attention for those customers passing by. Giant Balloon Rental offers all of these products and more.

Call them at 407-968-5139

Monday, December 15, 2014

CPA, Bookkeeping and Tax Prep

Cynthia Alloway, whom I mentioned in another post, also works with Tanya Higginbotham at Accountability Team, LLC.

Tanya is a CPA and Cynthia is a Certified QuickBooks Pro Advisor.

Satisfied customers give praise like the expertise of this pair of professionals allows customers a high level of comfort that all their accounting and bookkeeping are always done correctly. They always work in the best interest of their clients. They are a pleasure to work with.


Business Coach

I have the pleasure to announce another new client,  Cynthia Alloway of Common Sense Business Solutions is a Business Coach, a Financial Counselor, and a QuickBooks Pro advisor.

As a business coach, Cynthia helps you recognize and optimize your strengths and identify and overcome your weaknesses to accomplish the goals of your business.

I have mentioned in previous posts that many of my current clients were previously clients of my former employer. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Cynthia in that regard also. I witnessed her skills and abilities during that time. I am confident that any business would benefit from Cynthia's expertise.

Common Sense Business Solutions:


Sunday, November 30, 2014

PHPMailer

I've been a stubborn hold out for just using the PHP mail() function. It was what I learned early on, and it worked wherever I needed it.

Well, this weekend I needed SMTP, and I decided to use an existing project instead of trying to roll my own. (It would have taken me forever, and probably would have come out pretty shabby too.)

I chose PHPMailer from some recommendations online. Another alternative is SwiftMailer. I couldn't tell you why one is better than the other, just that when I did my searches, PHPMailer seemed like the best choice for me at the time.

I was using this for a form submission, so the first thing I did was create an email address just for this project to use. Then, I put that account's  username and password into the appropriate properties in the script.

You can download the entire project from github.com/PHPMailer/PHPMailer

I only needed four files to make it work for me,

  • PHPMailerAutoload.php (Just to simplify the require statement)
  • class.phpmailer.php
  • class.pop3.php
  • class.smtp.php
Then, in the "examples" folder, I found the pop_before_smtp.phps file. I used this to create a test. I got that working and then tweaked it for my site in production.

For whatever reason, even with debugging set to zero, I was getting success messages echoed on screen. I'll probably go back later and figure out the real fix, but the quick work around was to wrap the whole thing in output buffering and throw away the buffer:

ob_start();
[PHPMailer code here]
ob_end_clean(); 
So, if you're looking for an alternative to the mail() function in PHP, you might want to try PHPMailer or SwiftMailer


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Update on Adf.ly

Well,

I've been on adf.ly for two weeks now. I really haven't tried very hard. I have very few twitter followers, so that's not going to do much for me. I tried a couple of random reddit posts, but /r mods don't appreciate it. It would probably be different if I actually got involved in a sub, then posted a good link.

Speaking of reddit, there's r/HITsWorthTurkingFor where everyone expects your links to be adfly, and they are happy to click them. But, the links need to be to good HITs on Amazon's MTurk.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Cloudbuster Helium Balloons

If you need to rent a Giant Helium Balloon, one of my customers, Giant Balloon Rental,  has exactly what you need.

You've probably seen the giant round helium balloons tethered with flag streamers. They are very popular at car dealerships and grand opening events. There are also blimp shaped helium balloons that can hold a custom printed banner, and we can't forget the Hot Air Ballon shaped Helium balloon.

Maybe you just need a tank full of helium to fill a bunch of party balloons. They offer that as well. If your business or organization has an ongoing need for helium, contact Giant Balloon Rental for a price quote.

Giant Balloon Rental
www.giantballoonrental.com
407-968-5139




Thursday, November 20, 2014

Manifest Inefficiency

I was going to write a great blog post about writing a great blog post, but when I did a quick Google search for a little kick-start to my writing, I stumbled onto a mentioning of Parkinson's Law. The gist of Parkinson's Law is "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion".

This is absolutely true! I am a small business owner. I am the sole employee. I have no supervisor or boss. It's just me. If I give myself all day to get a project done, it will take me all day to do it. It doesn't matter if it was a one or two hour job. There's always something that will come along and make it take longer. Add to that, the so called 80/20 rule, where a person gets about 80% done with a job relatively quickly and spends all the extra time trying to perfect the last 20%, and whole day is consumed. I have a friend who is an excellent artist, and his 80% is better than the 100% of most others, yet it's hard for him to let go of that pursuit of perfection. A loose or distant deadline just exacerbates the issue.

Reading a little more about the origins of this adage shows that it actually came from the writings of Cyril Parkinson, and was describing how bureaucracies tend (always) to expand. Not only do they expand, but they expand themselves into uselessness and powerlessness.

This is not just a symptom of western government. Alessandro Natta, an Italian communist, complained about the growing bureaucracy in Italy, to which Mikhail Gorbachev reportedly replied "Parkinson's law works everywhere".

Take the example of a small council like a Cabinet. Perhaps the Cabinet begins with five or six advisers. Over time, a few more advisers are added until one reaches twenty or so. When the Cabinet is small, it can come to agreement, but there are enough members that a single person does not wield all power. As it grows, it loses the ability to agree, and thereby loses all relevance. Parkinson suggests that the point of manifest inefficiency is around 19 to 23 and that perhaps the optimal membership is 8.

In business, I've heard that if it takes more than one head to make a decision, you're already in trouble.



Monday, November 17, 2014

CloudFlare Scare

One of my clients was getting tens of thousands of pageviews a day, but not getting sales to justify that amount of traffic. I went looking and found a lot of foreign traffic from places where they are not likely to make any sales at all.

I experimented with .htaccess, but this is a shared hosting environment and I wasn't even sure Apache was paying any attention to my custom rules. To make things worse, the shared hosting provider was having a bunch of downtime. Even though my account wasn't being directly effected, it made their ticket system about five times slower than normal. (No exaggeration!)

Then, by fate or divine intervention, I stumbled on someone somewhere talking about CloudFlare. I had never heard of it, but it turns out that my hosting provider includes it in CPanel, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I installed it on my own site, the effected site, and another site that I noticed was going slow.

I used it to block a bunch of regions that I recognize as high risk and for the effected account I set a security level that was labled "I'm under attack".

Check out this graph from their analytics page:



The double peak is because I turned the level down to "High" for a day and then back to "I'm under attack". From 15,000 pageviews down to 100-200 pageviews a day. Much more like this customer should expect. For this, I am very thankful.

Now for the scary part.
I went to log in to my own site by FTP. In my FTP program, I had used "www.tecbrat.com" where one might put the domain name or IP. My FTP program was failing to connect and I didn't recognize the IP it was trying to connect to. I was starting to think my router had been hacked, or that I had some other DNS problem. I opened a windows command prompt and pinged my domain "tecbrat.com" and it gave the expected IP. I changed my FTP program to "tecbrat.com" and it connected just fine.
I pinged "www.tecbrat.com"  and THERE WAS MY ANSWER. No hack, just

"Pinging www.tecbrat.com.cdn.cloudflare.net"

Phew! Now I understand. The "www" subdomain was being re-directed to Cloudflare, and they were not passing on the FTP traffic. Don't know if it's even possible that they could. I'm one or two college degrees short on that issue.

So, if you're using CloudFlare AND you use your domain name in your FTP program, AND you see an unfamiliar IP in your FTP console, try removing the "www." or directly providing the IP of your server.

I hope this helps someone. :D

Friday, November 14, 2014

Another monitization attempt

I'm trying adf.ly, a URL shortening service that puts an ad between the link and the destination.

Here are the links I have shortened so far:

Russian Drivers
MMA KOs
People falling down
MTurk home page
MTURK Search Result
Mturk Forum
HitsWorthTurkingFor
Turker Nation
Adfly advertiser review
Adfly Content Provider review

The only thing i don't like is that it's not obvious to the user what they should do after they click the link.

If you'd like to give it a try, Here's my referral link: ADF.LY

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

MTurk revisited

A couple of years ago, I tried a work at home program called Mechanical Turk, or MTurk, through Amazon.com. I blogged about it at mymturkexperience and finished with a fairly unfavorable opinion.

I never thought it was an outright scam. Certainly Amazon's participation in it and the part they directly control is on the up and up. But, a worker or "turker" is actually working for a third party, a "requester". Even then, I'd say that most requesters are legitimate.  It's just that there are too many jobs, called "HITs", that expect a turker to do 10 minutes work for a penny. (just an example)

But, as I talked about when I broke my personal ban on surveys I found a helpful forum (actually a sub-reddit) called HitsWorthTurkingFor that helped me find HITs that actually pay a decent amount.

So, I have revisited my opinion on MTurk and continue to blog about my experience there.
I think I earned as much yesterday as I had in my entire MTurk experience leading up to it.

Monday, November 3, 2014

OEMR

I have the privilege of working on the open source project, OpenEMR or OEMR. It is an Electronic Medical Records system for doctor's offices and clinics to keep track of their patience and their procedures.

Specifically, I am working with Adoption Related Services of Pinellas (ARSP), and organization dedicated to helping some of the most at risk children get the physical and psychiatric care they need. I haven't contributed much code yet, but I am at least getting familiar with the team.

I'm supposed to be working on a batch email system, but I never seem to have the time to devote to it, so instead I'm going to work on a bit of front-end stuff on their main site (The part that is not related to OEMR) Hopefully I'll be able to post some progress soon.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Giant Motorcycle Balloon

I've talked a little about a client of mine that rents / sells giant balloons and provides other outdoor advertising services like professional searchlights like you see at movie premiers and LED signs (both the plain orange text like you see on the highway, and full color version like the electronic billboards)

Well, today I made a page for him about a specific balloon. It's shaped like a Suzuki motorcycle. This thing is HUGE! It's 11' high and 25' long. It's a perfect match for the street bike it represents.

Whether to check out my work, or to check out his products, Visit the Giant Motorcycle Balloon page.

Avoid BidVertiser!

I did a search for "Alternative to Adsense" and one of the articles I found suggested BidVertiser. I decided to give it a try.

I like the fact that they offered payouts as low as $10 if you used PayPal, and the setup process was relatively simple.

The first thing I saw that I didn't like wasn't a deal breaker. My confirmation email had my password in PLAIN TEXT! Plaintext password storage and retrieval is a HORRIBLE IDEA. If they can send me my password in plaintext, that means that someone there is able to access and read my password in plaintext. Why is that a problem? I mean, come-on, it's their site. What's it matter that they know your password? Well, the problem is that people tend to re-use passwords and if they have a bad actor in their company, or they get hacked, the malicious party will have your email address and a good idea of a starting point for breaking into your other accounts.

What actually killed it for me was the first ad that showed up on my site.
I had chosen a full banner. It came up and the image was made to look like a broken embed with text that said something like "Java Not Installed" or similar, and a video popped up that was about three times bigger than the ad was supposed to be. I made the  mistake of clicking on the video and I immediately recognized what was going on. I was being coaxed into installing ransomware or similar attacks. I disabled my network adapter, closed the offending browser windows/tabs and re-enabled my adapter.

Since I was trying this on a blogger account, I went and removed the HTML gadget ("widget", to non-blogger users) and will NOT be using BidVertiser again.

My guess is that it's not BidVertiser directly that is to blame, but indirectly because this type of ad should be disallowed and aggressively defended against on their side.

That's my rant on why I will avoid BidVertiser.

If I find a good alternative or supplement to Adsense, I'll consider writing another article about it.

Why do I want an alternative?
1) Payout threshold.
2) Too many eggs in one proverbial basket.
3) Practice and experience.
4) Adsense may not be available on brand new blogspot blogs or may show blank ads for whatever reason (back when they did PSAs, this would happen to me if I let a site get stale.)

Update:
I wanted to make sure I wasn't over-reacting, so I did some Google searches and came up with this thread where other publishers experienced the same problem.
 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Yet another blog

I started a new blog, Living In Florida (http://notjustbeaches.blogspot.com/) I plan on having a lot of photos on it. Today I posted some pictures of the sun shining through some clouds and a few pictures of traffic. Both subjects are part of my Florida experience.

The Sunshine State

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The wayback machine, aka: The internet archive

I thought I had checked before and not found my main website, www.tecbrat.com in the wayback machine. I was very glad today to find out it really is there.

I needed to resurrect a dead page about using cURL to upload files, and the internet archive saved the day.

If you're curious what my main site looked like long, long ago, follow this link.

It's completely unattractive and some of the programming items I mentioned were pretty naive, but it's good to see where I was so I get a better idea of the progress I've made as a true web developer.

What links to me?

http://lists.osgeo.org/pipermail/mapbender_commits/2011-October/008052.html Links to what was a dead page. I put up a little explanation and linked to someone else's explanation of the same thing, How to upload a file using cURL.

http://english.stackexchange.com/users/20504/tecbrat links to my home page.
Because I have a reputation (aka "fake internet points") there , they removed "nofollow", so it is what we call a "quality link back".

http://www.webdeveloper.com/forum/showthread.php?283177-Learn-web-design-and-web-development-via-online-resources Also links to my home page. Even though it has "nofollow", This is the ONE page that Google reports when I ask it for my links back.

http://forum.qbasicnews.com/index.php?topic=10805.msg123139 Links to my business page too. Not much call for qbasic programming on the web. :P But, it was a fun way to play around with programming when I first got myself back in the game 10 or so years ago.

I'll probably update this from time to time, or add similar posts.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The irony of blogs that talk about "do follow" links.

I have seen so many blogs recently talking about how to get do follow links and talking about making quality comments on relevant blogs. The ironic part is that all of those blog posts I've been finding have their comment links as rel="external nofollow" or rel="nofollow", OR have comments disabled.

I wrote a quick post the other day about What does Google do with "nofollow" links, and I determined that whatever else they MIGHT do with them, they certainly do not ignore them.

But, it seems that links without the no follow attribute are still coveted by webmasters and SEO experts. Google apparently still gives weight to links from high PR sites, especially related sites, if the no follow attribute is missing.

I don't know if this is an oversight, (not likely), or by choice. It seems to me that those who write about these things would expect quality links back and be willing to give a little in hopes to get a little.

That's where I stand. I hope that the content of my site is helpful and informative. I hope it is well written with good grammar, spelling and punctuation. It would be even better if it were considered authoritative and engaging.

With this excellent content, if there is someone who takes the time to make a productive comment to my blog, I'll gladly set their link(s) as "do-follow".

Sincerly,
TecBrat
TecBrat.com LLC

p.s.
I could give you definitions of nofollow or do follow and talk about the importance or irrelevance of building backlinks, but if you don't already have that knowledge, then you probably aren't all that interested in this post anyway.

Cold Air Balloons

I mentioned my customer, Giant Balloon Rental, in another post, but I thought it worth bringing up again. A lot of people that might find this blog are likely to be small business owners.

In business, you learn very quickly the importance of advertising. You can put an ad in the paper, but is anyone going to read it? You can send out postcards, or put get included in one of those coupon envelope mailers, but will people actually open it?

Sometimes, the best publicity is on the spot advertisement with Giant Cold Air Balloons. I don't have an on-site type of business, so I can't give my own personal testimony, but I'll see if I can get some from my client. I'm sure with clients like Wendy's, Taco Bell & McDonald's he MUST be doing something right.

Check him out again: Orlando Outdoor Advertising, Giant Balloon Rental.

Friday, October 3, 2014

WordPress starter

Just watched a very long, very informative video on YouTube that helped me get a real good start on customizing a wordpress site. I skipped some because he covered how to buy a domain name, how to purchase hosting and how to use that particular host's quick installer.

Once he got into the meat of it, it was extremely helpful. He had some good suggestions for background tiles (subtlepatterns.com) and for free stock images (sxc.hu which now re-directs to http://www.freeimages.com)

If you don't have Photoshop or Gimp, or need his guidance, follow him though the use of pixlr.com to prepare your images to be added to your blog.

You can see the results I got by visiting KyMystery.com. Obviously, as time passes I'll be developing that site more, but at least in the short term, you'll get the idea of what his tutorial can do for your WordPress blog.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Blogs with DoFollow links

I had done this before, or at least I thought I had. I even posted that I had. That was a long time ago though.

If anyone cares to take the time to make a comment on my blog, and that comment adds value to the post, I will gladly allow their author name link to be a quality backlink. (That is, I removed "rel='nofollow'" from my template in the appropriate place as suggested by MytricksYard.com

Quality backlinks that actually pass page rank juice can be hard to come by. While this blog is still in the early stages, a link added now may end up being very valuable in the future.

All my comments are moderated, so don't bother me with spam. I'll just delete your garbage.

Sincerly,
TecBrat

aka Corry Wauford.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What does Google do with "nofollow" links

The short answer to the question in the title is a big "WHO KNOWS?!" The longer answer has been batted around other blogs for a while. I just noticed something I found interesting. I have owned tecbrat.com for quite a while, but never tried to optimize it. I have not set out to do any link-building. I put my link in forum signatures and such, but that's about it. I did a "link:" search today for my website and it only came up with one link. When I followed that link, it was a page that I thought for sure had 'rel="nofollow"' on all their links. See this screen shot:
I cropped it and circled a few things. Somehow, the only page that a "link:" search brings up only links to me twice, and both of those with a "nofollow" attribute. Whatever Google does with nofollow links, it does NOT ignore them.

Amazon Mechanical Turk - Google pageviews

I was somewhat surprised today when I was looking at the performance of a couple of my blogs. This one is getting some page views, like about a pageview per day. It's not a steady flow, but it was actually nearly 40 in the last 30 days.

Considering that I don't write with great authority and I have almost no SEO done to the site, those few pageviews are a success in my eyes.

The surprise came when I noticed that mymturkexperience.blogspot.com had just over 60 pageviews for that same time period. I hardly touch that now because I gave up on MTurk a long time ago. I left the experience blog up in the hopes that it might be helpful, and in the hopes it might be successful with Google ads. I wish I knew what caused a spike. I got about 40 hits on just one day. If I could do that every day, maybe I'd actually make a few bucks! :-)

I'll keep an eye on it.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Multi-Tork Pool Maintenance Tools

My most recently acquired client is Multi-Tork.com.

This is another client that I've actually been working with for a few years, but just recently took on as my own client directly.

Multi-tork began with an idea of creating a socket to fit certain hard to work with closures such as heater plugs and filter cover clamps. Now it has expanded to several geometries to work with a huge selection of industry closures.

Now there is the Klorkinator for opening valves and removing various stars, covers and rings, and the Button Hook for a variety of plugs.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wordpress replaces html comment end
"-->" with –>

While working on a "Page" in a WordPress site, I wanted to turn off some code overnight that I was going back to in the morning.

I wrapped it in "<!-- -->".

When I loaded the page, it looked okay, but I checked the source and I noticed that my syntax highlighting continued green (html comments) beyond where it should have. When I inspected the code a little closer, I realized it had converted my double dash into a hex code "–"

I found the solution in a comment here: Visual Editor now strips HTML comments where someone mentioned "Raw" I rememebered seeing a button at the top right side of the editing window.

raw button


It puts a bit of markdown code "[raw]" in your page and becomes a
"/raw" button that then puts "[/raw]" on your page.

The result was that anything inside [raw] [/raw] gets rendered to the browser exactly as it is saved in "Text" view.

Problem solved!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

PHP auto_append_file

Quick and dirty footer (PHP auto_append_file)

I inherited an existing site that was built as a bunch of static HTML files.
I wanted to add a footer (or sub footer) to them without needing to edit something like 50 files.

I was familiar with Apache being able to append a file, but I hadn't used it much so I had to hack away at it until I got it working right.

First thing. I had to get my *.htm files to be treated like PHP files. (get the server to parse them)

Guides online alternatively suggest AddType, AddHandler or a combination of the two.
I am hosted at HostGator and they suggested

AddHandler application/x-httpd-php54 .html .htm

be added to the .htaccess file.

There's one problem down.

I saw conflicting information about whether auto_append_file is allowed in the .htaccess file. I kept getting 500 Internal Server error when I tried it, so I moved it to php.ini

Here's the line I put in there:
auto_append_file = '/home/[MY USER'S USERNAME]/public_html/sub_footer.php'

Then formatted my subfooter to fit properly at the bottom of all the existing pages.

SUCCESS!

I should point out that this is not an ideal solution, but rather a quick and dirty work around until I can actually re-build the site in php. You're likely to run into exceptions and edge cases if you try to use this on an ongoing basis.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Choices Psychotherapy St Louis Park, MN

Choices Psychotherapy St Louis Park, MN

I am very happy to announce that I have been given the opportunity to work with Choices Psychotherapy, hosting and continuing to maintain their website.

Choices Psychotherapy is a mental health provider in the Minneapolis, St Paul area, actually located in St. Louis Park.

715 Florida Avenue South
Suite 307
St. Louis Park, MN 55426
http://choicespsychotherapy.net/


The mental health professionals at Choices  Psychotherapy offer Dialectical Behavior Training (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Solveig, an intensive outpatient program as well as helping clients cope with various issues including Grief Management, Attachment Issues, Chronic Illness and Pain, Bipolar Disorder as well as anixiety, defiance and anger.

Friday, September 19, 2014

HTML WYSIWYG (Drag and drop) editor

When I am writing PHP, I have settled on Sublime Text 2. (Why 2 and not 3? I have NO idea. It's just what someone suggested and I haven't bothered to upgrade.) I was using TextPad, but I like the syntax highlighting and some of the editing features (Multi-select, for example) that Sublime Text has. Seriously, if you do any coding, you'll fall in LOVE with this editor!

When I'm coding new pages, I find myself starting with some plain text boilerplate, and putting in my styles and what-not to make it look the way I want. But, sometimes I want a mouse driven interface. This is especially true when I am editing some really old site that I haven't taken the time to re-factor, and it's layout is tables nested inside nested tables... A good WYSIWYG editor can help dig through the clutter. That being said, I didn't have such an editor on my developing machine, so I went looking for one today. I did very quick tests on a couple. I started with an ancient version of FPXpress. I had messed with it years ago, and I have experience with it's big brother, MS Frontpage. I couldn't get it to open my PHP files, and when I just created a blank file to mess with, it just didn't feel right. There's probably an issue with that dinosaur on a newer system. (Win7)

Next, I tried PageBreeze.  If I remember correctly, it choked on my PHP file as well. When I started a blank document I tried my litmus test for any mouse driven HTML editor: Create a table. A GUI HTML editor should provide a dragable grid where you can choose the number of rows and columns. This one gave a dialog box to type (or select with increment / decrement buttons) the number of each. UNINSTALL

Then, I tried amaya, from w3c. Still not happy (similar to what I experienced with PageBreeze) UNINSTALL

THEN another search revealed that MS has made Expression Web 4 available for free. I know, I know; I expect it to make UGLY code, but FINALLY the GUI does what I expect it to. If the code is too bad, I can tweak it after the fact. The job that sent me on this chase was pulling a nested table out of one document to use in another similar one. It was a good way to ensure the formatting of the two documents would match. Could I have done it in a text editor? Sure! Would it have been faster than finding a new editor? Almost certainly. But, in the long run, I think it was worth it.

I do miss "CRTL + /" from Frontpage, (Show tags) but there's a decent alternative where the current cursor focus generates a breadcrumb style tag list at the top of the page, in nesting order. That makes it easy to select children and parents of a given element.

Where is this legacy code?
On a page all about outdoor advertising:
Giant Balloon Rental
Advertising Balloons

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Google Ads

It's interesting that with the little bit I've been posting lately that my pageviews have gone up pretty well. I'm not getting any clicks on my google ads yet, but that's not the biggest goal for this blog anyway.

I'm not saying I expect to be the go-to source for any of the topics I write about, but it's still enjoyable to see a little spike on my Blogger stats.

My key takeaway from this so far: Post frequently!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Hooray! and Praise God!

TecBrat.com would like to announce the re-release of 5 websites:

Giant Balloon Rental
Skytracker Florida
It's sister site Sky Tracker
Florida LED Signs and
Commercial Landscaping by Orlando Outdoors

More information will come soon as I re-develop or re-factor various aspects of these sites.

A huge thank you to the A1 Balloon Rental family and related companies for giving me the opportunity to serve your web hosting, maintenance and developing needs.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

NO WAY! There is no way I'm giving my bank username and passcode to paypal!

I was appalled when PayPal gave me this screen:



They give the option of using your account number, and I CERTAINLY will take the optional approach. I don't care HOW MUCH you trust PayPal, or if they SAY "It's safe to share this information. PayPal doesn't save it." It SHOULD BE ILLEGAL!

\rant

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

New Web Developer in town!

I'm official!

My LLC is formed, I have my county license, my EIN and I have a checking account for my business!

Now I need clients!

Check out my site: www.tecbrat.com to learn more about me and my company.

I'll plan on an update here very soon about a client that will be hosting multiple sites with me, and possibly a couple other clients that host one site each.

I'll be doing SEO for myself and my clients. I'll probably talk a little about my success in that area on this blog too.

Corry Wauford
aka TecBrat
Tecbrat.com LLC
www.tecbrat.com

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

HostGator

I have had more than my share of frustrations with HostGator as I was the lead web developer at my previous employer. Their servers would run excellently for a long time, then be down for 6, 12 or 24 hours with little to no explanation, only apologies.

I seriously considered going with Liquid Web for my new venture, but they don't have the kind of reseller hosting that I'm looking for. The closest they have is what HG sells as "Hatchling, Baby and Business" shared hosting.

So, I'm back at HostGator. I had a question and clicked on their "Live Chat" button. Wouldn't you know it, they gave an estimated response time of 30 minutes!

If you have a decent alternative, I'd suggest something besides HG. I was pretty satisfied with LW for the few months I used them.

NOT AN AFFILIATE WITH EITHER. JUST AND HONEST OPINION.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Free Cloud Service as a mapped network drive: WebDAV

I have two computers sitting at one desk. They share a keyboard and monitor with a nifty $16 device that switches with a button. (I just checked. It went up to $19.99) Often, I'll be working on one and need to switch over to the other. Subconsciously, I want to use the clipboard, but I know better. I thought I'd just share a folder and pass text documents through it as a fairly simple work around. It would be better than emailing myself, and would allow me to pass images and other files easily as well.

One of them is running Windows 7 Home Premium. The other is running Windows 7 Professional. The Professional one is also joined to a domain, and that causes confusion when trying to do file shares with a homegroup. (This article will tell you how to convert / copy your domain profile to local) When I began to run into trouble getting this to work, I started looking at ways to map Google Drive as a network drive. I found a service that does exactly that, and supports other cloud services, but they charge a fee. I'm fine with someone making a buck, but I have a saying "If it's free, it's for me.", so I went looking for a free option.
In my searching up to this point, I learned an important vocabulary term "Web DAV".
From Wikipedia: Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) is an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) that facilitates collaboration between users in editing and managing documents and files stored on World Wide Web servers

What I found was "Box" or "Box.com". (formerly box.net) You get a free account with 10G storage and 10G transfer.  Visit their site for premium options. (no affiliation and too soon to review)

Once I created and verified my account, I simply mapped a network drive.

Box.com will provide you with the link to put in the "Folder" field.
In the dialog, I had to check the "Connect using different credentials" option.
Whatever email address you use to create your box.com account will be the user name and your box.com password will be used here as well.

My Home premium system shows the drive being nearly full, but my Professional one shows it much larger than my actual quota. If that's the worst problem with it, then it's functional enough for my immediate needs.

YMMV!

Amazing what happens when you take a day off from Facebook

So, I recently became unemployed. Instead of job hunting, which I hate, I'm starting my own web development company. Being home, alone, with no boss or supervisor has its own challenges: Facebook!

If it wasn't Facebook, it would have been something else like Pogo, Mindjolt or PopCap, but at this time in my life it's Facebook. Most recently, it has been Pool Arena. I can literally play it for hours on end. Then, when I think, "I better get off this game and get some stuff done", I check my feed "one more time" and scroll and scroll and scroll...

Today, I decided to take a day off from Facebook. I am considering an even longer fast, but let's start with just one day. (I even gave myself permission to go on tonight, to check for updates from my daughter.)

It's bizarre to me how strong the pull is to go log back in to Facebook. It's like a mild (or maybe not so mild) addiction. But, so far I haven't broken my goal to stay off for a day.

What have I accomplished?
1) I reviewed the art file for my new mascot / character. It's not ready, but getting closer.

2) I figured out how to use a free cloud hosting plan to make a shared drive between two windows machines that didn't want to talk to each other. I consider this more progress than it sounds like because first I had to realize that the two systems were not going to work together the way I wanted them to.

3) I added a post 2 posts to my blog which sits idle way too much. I hope to become more active in blogging now that I'm on my own time and not my boss's time. I'll probably do what I did a little bit before, and that's talk about my website clients, and any interesting programming bits I work on.

4) I developed an a la carte and packaged price-list for a subset of the services that will be offered by TecBrat.com LLC

5) I actually cooked myself some food instead of just eating whatever I could grab out of the cupboards or 'fridge.

6) I did some housework. My wife usually does most of the housework, but unless I am swamped with customer requests, I might as well get some of it done during the day.

7) I read a little bit about a couple of other blogging platforms. I'm not ready to jump into them, but I'd like to have options.

8) I sent a proposal to a potential client who may host several sites with my new company.

I hope tomorrow is similarly productive.