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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Thingamablog Facebook Group

Sometime ago, the official forums for Thingamablog were closed.

I myself know- that forums are an expensive resource to maintain online, so it was with sadness I learned this resource would no longer be available for Thingamablog users.

Novice users of the blogging platform may have been especially put off by this turn of events, in that- Thingamablog is blogging software that is maintained on a user's personal computer and all issues with its operation are left to the user. That said, it is not hard to put the software into operation [Linux, Mac, Windows] nor maintain once operational, however issues do arise.

This is why I am excited to announce- the Thingamablog Wiki page now lists the Thingamablog Facebook Group amongst the External Links.

This is a forum group, I hope will help users of this blogging software with all sorts of issues.

I have been contacting others to ask for their support of this group, including:

  • Users of the Blogging Platform
  • Web Designers
  • Software Experts and Consultants

If you know of others that maybe interested in joining the Thingamablog Facebook Group, please let them know.


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Monday, August 12, 2013

Business Support-- Lessons Learned...

I am a software consultant with lots of experience with computer hardware and software. So when I began my business in early 2000, the issues that most have insofar as what to get in terms of hardware and software to help run the business-- were thankfully not mine.

Over the years, I have made some good decisions in terms of computing support and hope to share with others my lessons learned. To that end, I have added a link to an Amazon aStore in this blog's sidebar-- that offers some help with computing and other business solutions for small and home businesses.


For those interested in Amazon's Affiliate program, I have written several articles on Amazon's Listmania feature [which I use on It's Personal]-- however this time I used the aStore feature and added individual products to a category list.

The difference in the two approaches in creating an Amazon aStore?

  • I do not need to be logged into my Associates account to update and publish a Listmania list. And when an updated list is published it is immediately reflected in my online store..
  • It is actually easier to create an aStore using a category and adding products-- but only because it is a bit confusing on how to setup a Listmania and associate it with an aStore.

My rumor mill suggests Amazon's Listmania feature may soon be obsolete -- and currently there is a problem updating the Listmania powering the It's Personal Store. I have a support email in the pipeline to Amazon on this issue. I will provide more details as I get them.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Amazon Listmania-- Ad Publishing Gift for Affiliates

I belong to some of the largest affiliate programs on the internet- so I have experience with quite a few tools these programs offer to its publishers. Of course, I am a software consultant so I also look into API offerings of these programs.

That said-- a week or two ago, I created my first Listmania and aStore under the Amazon program and I have to say- it is by far the easiest ad publishing tool I have worked with. I like this program so much-- that I wrote a brief article on a community site I have a membership with-- detailing some of the reasons I do.



The article on Skirt--


If you are into affiliate sales for online content-- you really should check out this option. Further details about setting up a Listmania are found here.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tablets, SmartPhones, Netbooks, Notebooks, Desktops-- I'll take one of each.

I have been curious about the number of notebooks, netbooks, tablets and desktops consumers are purchasing especially with the new school year upon us.

Why? I own a netbook, macbook and several desktops [including a Mac]-- and feel I cannot live without these types of computers. That said, I am a software consultant, so my need for desktops and notebooks with various built-in or peripheral drives-- is not surprising.

I have analyzed a family member's tablet [Christmas gift in 2010], and though not an iPad, have found it cannot replace the uses I have for my netbook, and certainly not my other computers. The tablet, also does not support Java or Flash. Surprisingly, neither does iPad as of February of this year [the latest report I found on the topic for the iPad platform].

Though the tablet reader can access email accounts and surf the web-- its best uses are for those applications that it came with. It is too cumbersome, in my opinion to really use as a way to surf the net.

So herein lies my issues with tablets and why I am researching these trends. I am wondering who is using what. Most tablets do not support client side Java which includes the Java applet technology I utilize quite a bit on WiredPages.

Here is a comparative chart of computer types purchased [shipped] between 2005 and 2010 by onlinemarketing-trends.com.

Tablets are replacing netbooks? I can hook anything up to a usb port on my netbook and also surf the web with relative ease via my netbook. I can also run Java and Flash applications with my netbook and have Microsoft Office Professional installed on my netbook. How are tablets replacing netbooks? How are businesses using tablets? How are students using tablets?

Do not get me wrong. I would love to have a tablet, specially an iPad. Am I going to worry about developing software tools, websites or running my business from an iPad? No. Why am I not more concerned with mobile computing? I think desktops, notebooks and even netbooks are really not going anywhere-- and though a lot of my software tools would make excellent stand alone tools for mobile devices [i.e., smartphones and tablets]- I love developing for the web page-- and think my services will remain in demand even with the ever increasing popularity of tablets and smartphones.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

HTML5 Video Support

I am pretty excited about HTML5 video support. I have been researching and testing video examples using HTML5 video with different browsers and platforms and though most are not supported [yet]-- this new feature still looks promising.

You can test for yourself on the W3schools Tutorial site.

Useful links I have found on this topic:

[Current] Browser Support Information for HTML5 Video:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

USB Fax Modem

I have one of the best broadband services around-- Verizon FiOS. I have no plans to return to a dial-up internet service-- however last winter with the many power outages, I wished on more than one occasion that I had access to a dial-up service. The dedicated fax landline remained available throughout most of the power outages, while the mainline only remained available as long as the Verizon backup power supply lasted-- which was about 8 hours or so.

When I tested the Apple USB Fax-Modem that I have owned since getting my Macbook several years ago, I found it would not work with my Netbook. So recently, I ordered a generic USB Fax-Modem to use with the netbook in case of emergencies and it arrived today.

The photo shows the new Fax-Modem [black] and the old Apple Fax-Modem [white]:

I had no problems installing the USB Fax-Modem software on an old Windows SE platform- [yes, it already has a Fax-Modem half card on the motherboard-- however, I wanted to test on that old system first]. The following shows the 3" CDROM with the software drivers for the old Windows 98se platform [and others] that came with the modem.

I was able to use Windows Update with the Netbook instead of the CDROM and that too, worked. I was able to fax and dial landlines with no problems.

Here is the netbook connected to the internet via NetZero using the new modem.

NetZero offers some pretty reasonable plans if you are looking for a similar solution in case of an emergency. Keep in mind-- you will need a landline that either has an independent power supply or does not require power.

Why not use the Macbook for emergencies-- since I already had the modem? Reluctant to install new software on my main software development platform. It is also where I maintain other work and ideas. I cannot work without my Macbook- though I backup the files regularly. The software installed to do my work-- is invaluable to me. These days, I rarely install any new software on that system. Not even a more recent version of the operating system that I own.

Monday, February 07, 2011

FindIcons

I love the FindIcons site. You can find every imaginable icon you will ever need and they come in many sizes negating the need to manipulate them with graphics software.

Here are several I found for popular online services and requests.

I am not a web designer-- but feel along with my web development skills-- and ability to find the best resources for those wanting new or revamped online presences-- I can more than fit the bill.

Contact me if you want to add or revamp an online presence.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

New York Times X-Word API

New York Times Crossword API from xwordinfo.com. Warning: The following shows the answers to the current day's puzzle.

Another one of those Freelancer.com gig research finds. Is this fair use? At this time-- this is all I am doing with this api.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Growing WordPress Theme Collection

I collect WordPress themes. All sorts of WordPress themes. Themes for:

  • Photographers
  • Real Estate Agents
  • Food Enthusiasts
  • etc.

Here are screenshots of three WordPress themes I downloaded this morning:


WordPress Photo Journalism Theme


WordPress Real Estate Theme


WordPress Pets Theme

QiSoftware can customize any theme to specification. Even taking WordPress themes and converting them to Thingamablog themes. This blog is a Thingamablog, however the template is based on the Hosting-Q Blog WordPress Theme.

The following snapshot is the top level folder of my Wordpress Theme Collection. This is only a partial list. I have a whole folder dedicated to newspaper and magazine themes.


WordPress Theme Collection-- Partial Listing

Click here to see the latest theme activated for the WordPress Support Blog, or this top level directory of 3 themes I maintain online. These themes are not WordPress themes, however could easily be adapted for use with the popular blogging content management software [cms] platform. All of these demonstrations are maintained on hosting-q.com.

I also collect neat utilities and plugins that can be used with themes, either WordPress or plain sites. Utilities include:
  • Ecommerce Plugins
  • WordPress Code Colorer [programmer utility]
  • Faders
  • Lite Boxes
  • etc.

Would love to help you find and customize a blog theme for your site- Contact.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

research finds: jBilling, JW Player

Recently, while watching projects on Freelancer.com I found two great software applications that also provide source code.

jBilling

When it comes to features, scalability, robustness and flexibility, jBilling places itself first in its class. It is the only open source billing system listed in the catalog of the largest consulting companies.

JW Player

With over one million active users, the JW Playerâ„¢ is the Internet's most popular open source video player. It supports playback of any format the Adobe Flash Player can handle (FLV, MP4, MP3, AAC, JPG, PNG and GIF) and now supports HTML5 too.

Both applications offer source code so for developers-- these are really great finds. I am considering installing JBilling on Hosting-Q to provide a more robust billing system for web hosting clients.

Currently, Hosting-Q does not have web hosting clients-- [sometime ago-- I determined it was not a good idea to host qisoftware.com with Hosting-Q-- hoping to keep others more honest where my interests are concerned], but I am hoping that many will realize the benefits of server side Java support-- even if they themselves are not Java developers.

  • Java is less resource intensive than most server script languages [i.e., PHP, Perl, etc.]
  • Java class files are not open source, therefore harder to tamper with by those with access to your server. Ecommerce site owners should really start to look at non-opensource solutions wherever possible for their sites. That said, JSP which is Java server side script that is converted to servlet class files at "runtime"-- is less tamper proof than Java class files [servlets/beans].

Why would I, as a Java developer-- in this case provide the benefits of my research? [1] Supposedly, I have a rather small audience base, [2] as a Java developer I can help with custom installations of these products-- which is the reason I found them in the first place and [3] these are Java based tools and I like promoting this software environment. Server side Java is used by a lot of large sites and companies. It is more efficient than server script languages. Java hosting is a bit more-- but worth the faster execution and non-opensource benefits.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Creating Custom Graphics

Like most, I am not a graphic artist, however I have learned some tricks over the years that enabled me-- to manipulate vector graphics to use in printed material-- and today, in sites.

Keep in mind, I developed software that manipulated and rendered vector [meta] graphics so I had a good understanding of the difference between bitmap and vector graphics. I am not going to bore you with those details here-- however do want to offer some tricks I use to create my own graphics.

When I was still with Rockwell, I purchased my first Corel Gallery Clipart CD along with the corresponding manual. Some of the manuals and specifications I delivered to the US Navy [along with software code and programs]-- included clipart images from that CD.

To manipulate graphics you need a gallery of clipart-- like Corel's, ensuring that the data can be copied or exported to other programs as meta or vector data.

Here are two clipart images I copied and pasted to Microsoft Power Point for further manipulation.

In Power Point- I changed the color of the moon disc in the black cat's background from white to a two color gradient. I also used the same gradient tool to change the pumpkin from gray to the color you see in the image below. The outline around the cat's tail and paws was also lost when I copied to ImageComposer so I changed the outline point size so that it could be seen when copied. Adding the drop shadow also emphasized these lines.

Here is the final image [png file] I exported from Microsoft's ImageComposer.

I added the annotation "Happy Halloween" and the drop shadow to give everything a 3D look. If you have the time to play with things like this -- it can be lots of fun.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Finally-- Previous Posts From the Main Page

The Thingamablog blogging platform-- in my opinion offers interesting challenges. WordPress spoils, because of the number of plugins available-- however hacks or plugins for Thingamablog are not as readily available.

One problem I have meaning to look into? The absence of a Previous Post navigation tool for the main page of this blog. Other Thingamablog template pages, i.e., category, time archive pages or individual post pages-- can be set up to use something similar to the following as provided by the the Thingamablog Help file:

This afternoon, after a bit of JavaScript tweaking-- found a solution. It is relatively straight forward- I request the latest posts twice-- however with the second request-- add one to the limit. This allows me to write the link for the 7th post as the "Previous Post" [anchor text] and skip any writes for the 6 most recent-- which have already been written in full to the HTML file. Six-- the upper limit-- of the number of posts written to the page-- author settable.

You can check the code for this "hack" by reviewing source on the main page of this blog or contact me for more details.

See the "« Previous Post" link on the lower main page of this blog [just under the other posts] to see how it works.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Programming Language Popularity

My first programming language was Basic. When I began using C in the late eighties-- I believe, I found the most important language that I would need. I have used others since learning C-- however, I consider C to be the most important.

The internet has made it so easy to gather usage statistics for almost anything. One of my favorite tools is Google Trends. That said- ambiguity often makes it difficult to get a good read-- especially when trying to gather stats for today's programming languages, i.e., Java, Ruby on Rails.

So when I happened on tiobe.com which maintains popularity stats for programming languages-- I was quite pleased and thought I would share-- see this page.

Partial table showing current programming language trends:

Freelancer.com project listings another good resource for statistics on software development languages and usage.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Thingamablog, a winner...

I have found the right solution for my needs-- insofar as a new business blog platform.

To recap-- Blogger decided to discontinue FTP support and I did not want to use the "domain switching" service they offer-- which "pretends" a blog is being hosted on a private domain, when it is really hosted on blogger servers.

So, the problem? I have two applications that use MySQL databases and PHP and both heavy resource consumers on my server. I reference Q's Wire and the News, Software and Java forums.

The original QiSoftware Business Blog- consisted of static html files sitting on qisoftware.com. These were the files ftp'd to my domain each time I published a new blog post. Static html files are less resource intensive than MySQL and php [WordPress].

I also have a problem with unauthorized changes to my publications. Sitting on my domain- a lot of folks are going to be in trouble for changing my published words. Technically as related to legalities, Blogger can say-- your words belong to me-- if I publish to their servers.

So what was I left with? I needed a service that would allow me to publish to my site, static html files. I queried Google [cannot remember the exact search term now], and Thingamablog was one of the first results.

No database and you publish from a private offline source? I was sold. It was a good pick for my needs.

The only negative many will have-- [but not me]? No comments. I do not mind. I am in love with this software and this solution.

I do not want to provide too many details as to how to setup the service. I think this is a good candidate for -- yes, it can be done-- and you should figure out how. Why? This software sits on your private computer and you will need to understand the inner workings.

That said, it is not hard to setup. Really. I created a new blog template-- so that is why I spent a lot of time with it yesterday. It comes with about 10 templates that are pretty good-- and I have found one or two developers that offer free ones. I will be more than happy to setup a custom design for you-- however I am not free-- consulting@qisoftware.com.

Yes, Thingamablog is a winner.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Remix

The original QiSoftware Business Blog [started June 2004], used the Blogger platform. I used FTP to port blog posts to my private domain-- qisoftware.com. As of May 1, 2010, Blogger will discontinue support of FTP for their service. I decided to "retire" that blog.

I had not decided what I was going to do about a new blogging platform until last night. I went in search of a blog I could maintain on a local computer which did not require a database, i.e., MySQL. I found Thingamablog, so I thought I would give it a try.

I installed the software on both my MacBook and Acer Netbook. I am currently setting up the MacBook version and will provide full details once I complete my review.

Very impressed with this software....



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