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Notes from An Event Apart Boston 2012 I had a great time at An Event Apart Boston, 2012. Ill post some photos soon. The conference avoided deep dives into code in favor of showing WHY you would do reactive design. As Eric Meyer said "My...

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Judging the CT Student Innovation Exposition (E-Commerce)... Want to know what the next 10 years will look like? Ask a high school student. Their creativity isnt limited by their knowledge of what we currently call technological limitations. They have a vision of...

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The Value of Feeling Appreciated as an Employee in... Whether you’re a new employee or the vice president of the company, everyone wants to feel valued, even appreciated, in the workplace. Not only does it improve morale and make the workplace a more pleasant...

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The difference between classic and motion tweens in... Here it is: If you're used to doing things "the cs3 way" then you can continue to do so with the classic tween tool. It works the same way as you remember, using key frames as normal, but you cannot...

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PHP: If (equal to AND not equal) - eliminate form spam... Just learned a great function of PHP thats already made my forms a lot better. A while back I wrote an article about eliminating form spam without captchas by using css to hide a text input box for bots...

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Make Twitter 1.1 work on WordPress

Category : Cool Web Programs, Great Tutorials, Technology

Twitter 1.0 has been sunset by Twitter so it is no longer functional. As a result – all plugins and themes which used this API no longer work. You must now use the new v 1.1 API.

The best WordPress Twitter 1.1 solution I have seen so far is this little gem: Twitget by Boštjan Cigan.
Its free, installs easy, and there is a silent yet effective YouTube video to help guide you on your way through the Twitter applet creator.

The widget allows you to add custom html to let you revise the css in ways that actually wern’t possible in any of the tools I saw in 1.0 so kudos to Bostjan for expanding the features and making this problem into an opportunity.

I’m currently using this plugin on another site of mine: http://www.TEDxBushnellPark.com
Hope this help.

Firefox 3: 8 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do

Category : Cool Web Programs, General Web Info

The name says it all. Pay Special attention to the HUGE security problem detailed in number 8. If you read only one… read that one. The fact that it’s number 8 I find comical, as if to suggest almost a reward to those who read the whole thing.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2704,2331278,00.asp

Who blogs near you? Find out with Placeblogger

Category : Around The Office, Around West Hartford, Cool Web Programs

This is a neat concept. You enter a location and it displays a list of blogs that are published in that area. You can also cue the blogs into a single feed and get all the selected posts from a given area.

I can see this as having a professional use for journalists, politically minded people, law enforcement, marketing/PR peopl, and anyone who wants to keep tabs on the pulse of a geographic community. The main drawback being that some people simply wont post their blog because they enjoy the curtain of privacy the internet provides.

On the otherhand, if I was going on vacation in Tokyo and wanted to find some really cool clubs, I could do a survey of blogs in Tokyo and see what the people are saying without ever going there. As an added plus, Id avoid the “top 10″ clubs in the city and hopefully find a comfy dive within walking distance of my hotel.

http://www.placeblogger.com/

DropBox – A New Alternative to MS Mesh

Category : Cool Web Programs

Dropbox is a new easy to use program to help share out and store your files online. DropBox has a lot of similarities to MS Mesh, which I reviewed about six months ago, allowing you to drag and drop files into folders on your desktop which automatically sync out to other computers linked to your account.
Contunue Reading

Find A Web Color Palette – Quick, Easy, and Free

Category : Cool Web Programs, Photoshop

I found a wicked easy to use color palette generator at http://www.colorcombos.com. Besides being free it also has a few features that I like that set it apart from the plethora of other color generator sites I found before getting to this one.

  1. You can type almost any color you want into the box to search their archive or palettes. If that’s not easy enough you can click any of the colors on the right to get a pretty diverse list of related colors. That’s pretty simple.
  2. You can enter a website url and scrape the color palette from another site. This includes the colors designated in the css files.
  3. Once you have selected the color palette you can click the color to be brought a new page to tweak the hex colors and adjust the position inside the palette.
  4. After selecting a color palette you can sue a drop down to find complementary colors, and create those handy little color palette images, like this one:
    Free Web Color Palettes

And did I mention this site is free? Love it…

The Best FireFox Applets You Must Have

Category : Cool Web Programs, Technology

I think everyone has a list of FF applets they recommend. These 6 I would not live without.

1. Plain Text Copy
Allows you to copy just the text from the highlighted selection without any embedded html. Let me say that again: You can copy the text without copying the html code that will screw up the formatting in whatever you’re pasting to. No more weird tables, h1, or links.

Just clean copy, just like the name says. This applet is the reason I wrote this article. When I found this today and I almost started to cry. Do yourself a favor and get it here before even moving on to the rest of the list

If you really like this then you might want to check out Pure Text 2.0, which strips the HTML from any copy and paste function you do on your computer. (Think about not using Word to Notepad to Blogging software)

2. SEO QUAKE

A browser bar that gives you tons of information about the current page. You get Alexa & Google PR and inbound yahoo links on one side, Keyword density and whois info on the other at the click of a button. Awesome.

There is an option to also have the information appear on screen. Generally I have this turned off as it slows page load time but it does provide additional information and PR info for each link on the page.

3. Stumble Upon

Whats not to love about this program? Sure, its a time waster – but depending on how you set it up you’ll find some of the most interesting (and sometimes relevant) tid-bits of information on the web. Click a small button on your task bar to be taken to content other users have previously tagged as worth stumbling on or add your own sites to the growing list. The more people that stumble to your content and give it a thumbs up – the more it will circulate.

4. Download StatusBar

I don’t even remember how Firefox did with downloads before, but I LOVE how it handles them with this add on installed. Downloads appear at the bottom of the browser window and track the percent complete. Once downloaded you can open the file, the container directory, or clear the item from the list. Otherwise you can continue to access the file in following sessions, and files even continue to download from one session to the next if they did not finish.

5. PDF Download

Simple popup that allows firefox to open a PDF directly from the website, without having to download it first. This might not seem like much, but I get sent a lot of pdfs and this is a handy way to check the file out quickly and then decide where to save it. Its a better order of opperations for me – I dont know what Id do without it.

6. Web Devlopers Toolbar – A few tips I’ve learned

Everyone has the WebDev toolbar on their “must have” lists. What they dont have are these tips:

* Press Alt-E to open the CSS of any page. You can edit it here on the fly and it will render as newly written in the content area above. Once you’re done with it you can save the CSS file locally and then open the page with dreamweaver.
Vuala! CSS is done. (For FF – make sure to test in IE & good luck with that!)

* You can edit the HTML of any page by going to Miscellaneous drop down menu. Why these two are not closer together I don’t know, but they appear as a tabbed interface at the bottom of the browser. Very handy to have them both open when you’re trying to do build outs. Doesn’t auto complete like dreamweaver, not for the novice.

* Stick and Unstick – Once you have written your code you can “stick” it. Normally if the CSS of a page chages so does the code you can edit. If you make changes and the page refreshes or reloads, your code is lost. This prevents that and you can refresh the css to reload the content from the current page.

* Press Ctrl Shift F to open the Element Info panel. This thing rules. Not only does it tell you the type, class and id of the element you select, it also tell you the width and height, plus parent and child elements. This is hugely useful for trying to decode the miles of css rules accompanying most wordpress, sharepoint, or similar template driven services. There is a window which displays the css path to get to an element. If you copy and paste this line into your CSS file you WILL select that element. Trouble is: The only way you can copy it is to get to field without overlapping any other elements. On a mac  you can use spaces to trick the mac into letting you move screens and come back with your cursor near the top. Coming down from the top allows you get to copy the text without rolling over another element and resetting this field. PC users can use another window over the content (or alt-crt-delete – not kidding you) to move over inactive content and selected the text.

Why is this useful:

Say you wanted to select a specific link in your WP template and dont have a clue how the author wrote the template, you can either spend an hour going back and forth trying to find the rule for comment h2 links from new users alternating between even and odd posts OR look at the string:

html > body > div #frame > div #container > div #content > div .left_side > div .entry > div #end > ul .related > li > a

which becomes:

html body div#frame div#container div#content div.left_side div.entry div#end ul.related li a

and now it targets that element exactly. You can slim it down and it should still work fine. Too far though and you’ll start selecting other elements, which may or may not be your intent.

Good luck with these tips.
Hope they save you some time and aggravation.

Thanks going to Porto, that last bit was almost all you.

Introducing Microsoft Mesh

Category : Cool Web Programs, Technology

Brace yourself; this is a cool application. Taking cues from PC Anywhere and Goto My PC, Mesh allows you to access your computers, devices, programs, and files, from any computer that has an internet connection. All you have to do is previously download and set up their software on your PC and then you can get access just by logging into mesh.com.

You can allow other Windows Live users to access certain parts of your mesh. Each time they open, save, or upload a file a history tab is updated, this information is also visible on the Task manager.

You also have 5 gb of space on the virtual desktop to use as you want. No more emailing yourself a file, no more thumb drives that never have enough space for that big file…

The rest of the folders and devices in your mesh are set up like a shared network – except they’re accessible by anyone on the mesh from anywhere on the mesh. Unlike network shared locations, or firewalls this is built into the browser using ssl, the same scripts your online bank uses, so the information is secure.

I installed and started working with mesh yesterday and am pretty darn impressed. So far the only hitch I’ve seen so far is some weird things happen when I’m remotely connected to a PC with 2 monitors from a PC with 1. Im guessing once I connect the second monitor to the other it will be fine and scale without issue.

However, for a free application in beta testing, this is pretty good.

See the into video that will explain a lot more about how mesh works
Go to their website.

Update on HitTails

Category : Cool Web Programs, SEO / SEM, Technology

Update on HitTails:

Wow. This program is awesome. It analyzes the data in real time and makes logical suggestions of relevant word groups or phases based upon your site’s long tail. It has a pretty narrow focus, I mean its sort of a one trick pony, but it’s a heck of a trick.

The program has given me all the ammo I need to convince one of my clients to change his URL as his name is attracting the wrong type of viewer and contributing to his high bounce rate. Hit Tails has given me some great ideas for blogs and highlighted some of the cpc terms that are doing us no good what so ever.

I also like the tab that let you review the incoming link top your site. By clicking on the search engine name Hit Tails opens a search with the keyword used by your potential customer. If you do this within a short enough time you have a very good chance to actually seeing your add exactly as it was shown to your customer.

WOW! For small and medium sized advertisement campaigns this is MUST HAVE program.
I consider HitTails an important addition to a coherent SEO package, and in short order I will have this installed on all my client’s sites.

HitTails Website