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March 2011

QiSoftware Business Blogging

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Beta Testing New Horoscopes Interface

The last two days, I have been working on a new interface for the WiredPages Arts & Entertainment page.

The new tool provides Daily Horoscopes for the Astrological signs. Before installing on WiredPages, I thought I would beta test "here" using online services. I developed the interface on a Mac-- and used local servers [Tomcat and MySQL] and a local database. I also tested the five browsers I maintain on the Macbook [Safari, Netscape, Opera, Firefox, Flock].

I am still testing browsers for Windows and older Macs, and ensuring online services work the same way my local development environment works. Here is a first look.

Horoscopes

This was a complicated tool to put together, in that previous lessons learned-- dictated I plan ahead for a couple of possible issues. I will provide more detail at a later time.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fixing Favorite Browser

Microsoft's Mac Internet Explorer [MacIE] used to be my favorite browser. I used it all the time and ensured that all of my interfaces and site pages worked with this browser.


Mac IE About Information

Microsoft discontinued support for MacIE in December 2005, however I continued to make a concerted effort to ensure my tools and sites worked with the browser until about 2008. I stopped using and checking for MacIE browser errors-- because at the time new sites being developed or enhanced would not work with the browser.

That said- I did ensure new or updated Java Applets I wrote would work with the browser-- however this was more a function of the older Mac operating system-- rather than specific to the MacIE browser itself.

So why would I spend all day Sunday [yesterday], changing existing interfaces on WiredPages to ensure they work with the browser-- as evidenced by the following MacIE browser screenshots showing WiredPages interfaces?



WiredPages Home Mac IE




WiredPages Jobs Interface on Employment Page




WiredPages BMI on Health Page




WiredPages Best Sellers on Libraries Page




WiredPages CNET Reviews on Technology Page

Because I could fix my Web 2.0 like interfaces to work with this "old" browser [MacIE], unlike most AJax and JQuery interface developers. Also, WiredPages is a useful school site... There maybe a couple of MacIE browsers still around. Mine is.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Blog Monetization

To date I have not done much with monetization for this blog. The blog has been around since last April [2010] and I have decided that I will offer advertising to individual organizations and sponsors-- under the Sponsors heading in the right sidebar. Perhaps even in the upper heading next to the bright image-- under the date.

That said, since this blog's inception, I have placed a couple of affiliate program ads in the sidebar-- for analysis.

In addition, I recently added Quantcast and Compete scripts to the already existing Google Analytic scripts in the underlying code of this blog's pages.

The sponsor ads I intend to place in the sidebar will be handled through a similar interface to that used by WiredPages-- see here. The WiredPages Ad interface is associated with my PayPal account-- as will the interface for this blog. I might even combine them.

In that I do not wish to use affiliate ads nor pay-per-click ads solely- with this blog, I have asked a major advertising network to look over QiSoftware Blogs and WiredPages in hopes of having them handle prepaid ads for these networks. I have not heard anything yet. I think they are going to suggest, I do not have enough traffic. This one of the reasons, I wanted new analysis measurement tools [Quantcast & Compete] added to the mix.

In the meantime-- to either my putting the new sponsor interface in place or the major advertising network agreeing to handle the advertising for these properties- if you wish to run an ad on this blog, you can make your requests here. Suggest a rate.

Quantcast and Compete both offer public data for review as related to qisoftware sites, however because I only recently added the scripts to the site pages-- the data is not thorough. That said, a "free" rate offer to run your ads-- will be rejected and, it assumed you wanted to test the QiSoftware contact form mechanics. Yes, it works. I wonder in this age of "Green" and super fast computers, if it makes sense to abstain from spamming my server?

Friday, March 25, 2011

PHP Source for Valid Blogger Calendar Feed

The following PHP source code can be used to generate a valid blog feed from a Thingamablog generated xml file that has been encoded to also provide data used with the Blogger Calendar.

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<?php
$ch = curl_init();
$url="http://blog.yourdomain.com/rss.xml";
curl_setopt ($ch, CURLOPT_URL,$url);
curl_setopt ($ch, CURLOPT_HEADER, 0);
curl_setopt($ch, CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER,1);
$result=curl_exec ($ch);
curl_close ($ch);
$result=get_between($result,"<?xml","<BeginCalSec>");
echo "<?xml".$result."</channel></rss>";
?>
<?php
function get_between($input, $start, $end)
{
  $substr = substr($input, strlen($start)+strpos($input, $start), (strlen($input) - strpos($input, $end))*(-1));
 return $substr;
}
?>

You would place the php file "blogrss.php" in the appropriate directory, where "blogrss" is anything you specify. Then use a url similar to this: http://blog.yourdomain.com/blogrss.php when your blog feed URL is requested by services like, NetworkedBlogs or Feedburner.

This fix negates the need for server side Java support with the Thingamablog version of the Blogger Calendar.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Validating Blogger Calendar Feed

Automatic generation of blog post entry data required for use with the Thingamablog version of the Blogger Calendar, was achieved by writing the data to the lower half of the xml feed file when a post is published-- or when the entire blog is republished.

This is not as complicated as it sounds and is achieved entirely through option settings within Thingamablog or template pages. That said, the new section to the xml file invalidates the feed. I discovered this awhile back when I was trying to setup this blog [Remix] in the Facebook app-- NetworkedBlogs.

Last night I implemented a workaround-- because things like this bother me. The fix? I rewrite the feed on the fly with a Java Servlet-- you can click here to test.

The Thingamablog version of the Blogger Calendar does not require server side Java support- and this fix does require that support. So I will also create a PHP version of the on-the-fly blog feed.

I am a big fan of Thingamablog. Options available allow for almost any workaround-- especially for someone well versed in web development. The control that this blogging platform also provides in republishing masters to the web is the feature I most love. I would recommend this blogging platform for anyone that does not want to use an online database through their site and wants more control over their master posts. The database is on your hard drive-- and is easily republished with the click of a button.

I needed an html solution that would not have my web host screaming. Thingamablog is perfect for my needs. Want to join the Thingamablog Facebook Group?

Comments. I still do not allow comments on this blog. Yes, there is a workaround-- several in fact, however I am not interested.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

PlaceFinder

While researching for another project, I discovered I needed the United States Zip+4 postal code to enable retrieval of a more precise level of results data. The Zip Code retriever I have installed on the WiredPages Business & Markets page, [currently] only returns the 5 digit code.

Last evening, I found a more precise data set-- demonstrated below.

The interface utilizes Java Servlet technology. Also required-- a developer relationship with the data provider.

Want something similar-- customized for your site? Contact me here.

Yes, I plan to update the Zip Code Retriever interface used on WiredPages. Currently, the interface allows the user to link to the USPS web site based on [assumed U.S.] postal code results. Since the new service will produce postal codes for most countries-- I will have to rethink the linking feature. No big deal, just not sure what I want to do at this time.

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Argument for non-readable CSS

Web developers have long understood that a lot of their hard work is free for the taking. This because most of the files generated to create sites are ASCII/UTF-8 open-source files. Included:

  • html
  • css
  • JavaScript
  • and anyone with access to your server can review, copy or even change-- PHP, Python, JSP, Perl, ASP, AJax and most other open script server files.

This one of the reasons-- I have not done a lot with scripting languages, though I think them very powerful. I often tweak-- PHP and have created one or two functions-- for use with my showcase site-- WiredPages, however, I work mostly with Java, which is not open source-- in the context of my use.

Have I benefitted from the mostly open source world of website development? Yes, though not as much as you might think. Most of my work is original-- or an idea based on something else-- but an entirely different methodology used to achieve the same look or concept.

That said, someone with my skills-- could greatly benefit from the open source world of HTML/CSS, especially in the web design environment-- even though I consider myself more a web developer than a web designer.

Another area- that has has benefitted me because of open source web design? My extensive collection of free templates. Some very nice templates. One of my latest finds, which I tweaked quite a bit is used for a WordPress demonstration blog I maintain on Hosting-Q, here.

So why would I ask-- is it time to make internet ascii/utf-8 files-- binary files? The files I am talking about? HTML, CSS, JavaScript. What would this entail? Making these compiled files-- so they are not easily read by the naked eye-- and producing browsers that are able to read both ascii and binary files. This should be a very easy thing for browser developers... My servlets that read XML data-- I include a switch to check the type of file being read so that it automatically reads the correct format.

Why might HTML and CSS have been UTF-8 in the first place? The learning curve. I feel it was thought that many would need examples for web design/development to catch on-- and making it as accessible as possible when the Internet was first coming on line-- made it much easier to learn.

Another argument for compiled versus non-compiled files? Compiled files are normally smaller in size and take less time to download and execute. Sometimes getting the required .js [external Javascript] files to enable that fancy site menu takes longer than it should.

Today-- a lot of hard work is being given away. I believe HTML and CSS will someday have the option of being compiled versus-- open source. I am not sure when. Searching the internet for topics related to this area-- I did not find many. Not sure why.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

for css?

Emily Chang is someone I noticed several years ago-- doing something similar to the SiteFinds category of my personal blog. I started the category based on the FoodNetwork show- Food Finds. eHub-- Emily Chang's offering, was on a much larger scale than my SiteFinds and in July 2007 when I removed most of the posts from the original blog-- many of my original entries for the category were also removed.

A cable news reporter with the same name reminded me-- and last night I went to see what Emily Chang has been up to. While researching, I found a great article about several well known female developers from almost every corner of the globe-- that I am sharing.

I read many of their bios, researched Django [one was into this python developer environment], tested projects and watched this video.

I once said to a Rockwell male coworker-- I wish that was all I had to worry about. He barely spoke to me after that.

About 7 minutes and 15 seconds into the video I referenced -- I stopped the video and said "no wonder". Nicole Sullivan is a CSS expert. I have worked with CSS. I am no expert-- however I can make it work with most environments. What amazed me about her interview? I have worked with a lot of smart men-- and never had to put up with silly questions like the one presented to her. CSS is something I believe many use. Including a lot of women. The guy asking-- does not have to speak to me.

Why bother with school or CSS when we can find amazed men to be amazed? Just give me my grade... I am sorry.. CSS is not C. Are you really amazed? I am allowed one negative post over here.

How to make friends and influence people? I like smart people. Raise your hand if you are female and work with CSS. What was the point of this?

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

In Business

I am an entrepreneur. I love business. I love coming up with ideas to generate business as well as implementing the ideas. I also love coming up with ways to streamline business. I am truly an entrepreneur.

In addition, I have a good eye for those with good business ideas. That is one of the reasons I am starting a new feature on this blog-- that will list in the sidebar, businesses I think worth noting-- called "In Business".

There are several reasons I am doing this. One, I want to show others "QiSoftware Reach"-- which I believe is under reported, two-- some of these businesses I want to both publicize and offer technical services and three, they really are worth noting.

These are not sponsored business entries. These are businesses I have noticed. The list will be ever changing-- and if I have listed you and you wish to be de-listed-- contact thomas@qisoftware.com and I will remove your business listing immediately.

If you are listed and want to ask about ideas I have for your business, you can contact me at thomas@qisoftware.com or 443.393.6650.

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Sunday, March 06, 2011

Video Ads

A new service offering of the WiredPages Business Directory allows advertisers to provide videos or screen shows for their products and services.

I came up with this new offering-- while researching tree services in the area. I found a service that had a video of their services- using a video player offered by a popular nationwide directory service. Visitors to the site could also embed the video and player on other sites-- similar to the YouTube offering. Why would you embed someone else's video on your site? Advertisement.

This offering is on a first come basis-- and right now-- the same cost as a non-video advertisement listing in the WiredPages Business Directory. Existing terms and conditions apply.

Contact-- wiredPages@qisoftware.com for more information.



Business Directory

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