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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Jobs, Events, Real Estate--- Hanover, MD- Happening...

Those who read my personal blog [It's Personal], know that I maintain a Facebook Page for Hanover, MD Businesses which attempts to highlight the many businesses & happenings in my hometown.

Hanover, Maryland these days seems more like an ever growing metropolis, rather than the mid-size town I moved to in 1996.

There are several reasons for this...

  • Arundel Mills [huge outlet mall that hosts big outlets for major retailers like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Ave] opened in 2000. See a complete list here.
  • Maryland Live! Casino opened in 2012
  • Proximity to Fort Meade and the National Security Agency.
  • It also does not hurt that an international airport, BWI is less than 5 miles away.

When I started the FB Hanover, MD Business Page in 2010, I thought I would connect with other business owners in the area, even though my business, QiSoftware is listed with a Columbia address.

In 2013 or so, I started listing websites and Facebook pages for the businesses or events in the area.

New features that I want to add to the pages include:

  • Hanover, MD Jobs, currently the "Use App" button on the Facebook page
  • Area Events, The Casino and RamsHead Stage often offer headliners.
  • Real Estate, another area that has grown quite a bit.

To that end, today, I built two new interfaces that I will eventually integrate as page tabs for the FB Hanover MD Business page. One offering, area jobs as provided by Indeed, and the other, area events offered by Eventful.

Shown below, the new servlets running in stand-alone mode on my Macbook. Just behind the two windows showing the output from each, is the Netbeans IDE which is providing the local server I use for implementation, testing and debug for most of the software I develop.

There are several restrictions when integrating widgets and interfaces on Facebook pages, including size restrictions and using resources from secure sites. Neither of my sites, qisoftware.com nor hosting-q.com uses SSL certifications, however I hope to incorporate this feature to one or both of the sites- sometime in the future.

In the meantime, I do have other options for installing the new interfaces to the Hanover MD Business Page-- as a tab on the Facebook page, however want to hold off to investigate as many options as possible. Hopefully, I will have these new interfaces in place in the near future.


Friday, September 30, 2016

New Celebrity Birthday Interface & Issues...

Last week I finished populating the Celebrity Birthday Database I maintain locally on my Macbook. It was a manual process, in that I no longer maintain the database online for security reasons.

In the past, the WiredPages Style and Events page used the data within a Java Applet to provide visitors with the current Celebrity Birthdays.

Initially, I developed a JDBC servlet which on a daily basis- extracted the data from a source and then inserted the data to my online database. About 3 months before retrieving all of the data for a complete year of celebrity birthdays- I made a mistake and deleted most of the records. The most recent backup was missing about a month of the records.

Also when I checked the online database, I found the data was corrupt. Birthdays that I had intentionally deleted, [that first year I checked every day to insure the data being inserted would be useful to WiredPages visitors and therefore manually deleted some of the records my software inserted]-- were somehow reinserted. I know this was malicious because of the birthdays selected for reinsertion.

I maintain several databases I custom built for WiredPages, and the Celebrity Birthday Database perhaps the most valuable in that the data was mined from a credible source-- initially with software.

Because of the security issues with both the idea of theft of the database and the insertion of data I did not want, I chose not to leave a credible database online at the current location.

My plan was/is to move the entire site to a more secure host and create and build the new version online from the Celebrity Birthday Database I maintain on my Macbook.

I have been planning this move for awhile. Right now, mainly hoping that DOJ and others help with the resolution of the many legal issues involved with my business and personal affairs.

So though I try to do very little in the way of coding, and even less in the way of updating anything online-- I did do a little work today.

I am moving away from the Java Applet and starting to work on new interfaces that provide the same data to WiredPages' visitors without the Applet. In the future, I will continue to use Java-- however mostly only Java Servlet technology. This will be more friendly for mobile devices and the newer browsers being used with the latest releases of operating systems, i.e., Windows 10, Chrome, etc..

Shown below-- my work environment today, including my IDE, local Database Management Software and a Firefox browser window showing how the new Celebrity Birthday Interface will look. The interface is shown in stand alone mode-- however will be easy to integrate on the WiredPages Style & Events Page when I decide to move everything online.


I was so pleased to complete the insertion of the remaining records to the local Celebrity Birthday Database earlier in the week, I could not wait to rewrite the JDBC Servlet interface to access the data. I really miss coding and researching new ideas for WiredPages. I hope to get moving on other updates in the near future, however wanted to provide some of the details involved.


Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Amazon Associates: New Tools & Services

Over the past year or so, Amazon has added new incentives to its Associates Program, as well as discontinuing some of the services that have been around for awhile.

Some of these changes include:

  • Native Shopping Ads
  • Amazon CPM Ads have been around since 2014.
  • Amazon Widgets are no longer available.
  • Listmania Lists are no long available for incorporation in an aStore Category.
  • Since the Spring 2015, Amazon has been offering "Home Services" giving associates a wider range of products to offer- that may require additional servicing after delivery. See more on Amazon Home Services here.

Recently, I took the opportunity to look into the Amazon CPM Ad Network and integrated specified ad codes in more popular areas of the qisoftware.com site, i.e., the blogs.

The ads have been running for about a day, however I was able to review performance reports based on almost "real time" [delayed in most cases by no more than 4 hours] reporting.

I also use the Amazon Product Advertising API, however because of a security risk with triggers I build into my code/widgets, I have discontinued their use for now. Sometime in the future, I hope to re-establish this important monetization feature for the WiredPages area [sub-domain] of qisoftware.com.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Remix now reporting its own Google Analytics

qisoftware.com and the associated sub-domains use several metric services to measure site analytics and traffic, including:

  • Google Analytics
  • Quantcast
  • Compete
  • ShareThis-- recently stopped offering analytics services, however qisoftware.com source pages still show the old scripts.
  • Alexa

I have been using these services for some time, however tend to get around to adding new definitions or isolation parameters in a haphazard non-timely manner, especially where Google Analytics is concerned.

For instance, most sub-domains of qisoftware.com- gather and report information using the same top-level Analytics tracking code as that used by the main domain- www.qisoftware.com.

What this means? It is harder to separate and visualize www.qisoftware.com traffic from let's say- traffic to this blog [remix.qisoftware.com].

Sometime ago, I added a separate tracking code for "It's Personal", my personal blog at personal.qisoftware.com mainly to experiment. Up until recently, I had separate tracking codes for the following qisoftware properties:

  • qisoftware.com
  • hosting-q.com
  • personal.qisoftware.com
  • qisoftware.tumblr.com

As noted by the following illustrations, a couple of days ago [Wednesday, Sept 16, 2015], I added a separate tracking code for Remix the sub-domain remix.qisoftware.com [this blog].



I also had to make minor updates to the underlying theme for my Thingamablog Template and update one of the Custom Tags. Illustration shows the Thingamablog application where these updates are used:

Remix [this blog], is not as popular as some of the other areas of qisoftware.com, and as of today, showing "temporarily unavailable" for data being received by Google Analytics. Below, I am showing illustrations from the Google Analytics App of both It's Personal tracking and the new Remix.



When I move the site, and make necessary changes to both WiredPages and the NS&J Forums, I will add separate tracking codes for these areas too. Most of my site's [qisoftware.com] areas use ecommerce ads and tools-- so I am hoping these more specific tracking codes for each area will help to produce more insights for better site monetization.


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.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's Personal Installed

Installed my new personal blog- "It's Personal". Here is a screen shot--

Features include:

  • Thingamablog
  • Blogger Calendar -- no server side Java required.
  • Archives
  • No comments.
  • Fast loading

Q's Wire- will remain online for the foreseeable future, however will not be updated on a regular basis-- other than the current updates I am providing concerning a business issue.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Open Source Flash Player.. a reason to learn ActionScript

Lately, aside from worrying about a business banking issue, and implementing updates to some of the WiredPages interfaces and programs, I have been playing around with HaXe and an Open Source Flash player I recently found.

I am pretty excited about this Flash player because it gives me an opportunity to look into ActionScript3 and Flash in terms of a development vehicle.

I have a Flash Integrated Development Environment (IDE) installed on my Netbook-- and have found it relatively easy to come up to speed with the concepts. It does not hurt that Flash concepts are similar to Java GUI [the Flash backend- is Java].

Why am I not providing links for this Open Source Flash Player? It is not that I think it will hurt my core business to provide the links. I promote services like Java GUI, JDBC and J2EE-- it is more, I am too noticed and feel too many already feel they have a reason to be angry with QiSoftware and its business interests.

In other words- "real" Flash developers might consider it a serious problem for their core businesses. I will let the group doing the development work take all of the credit. Sorry, I think the product is great, actually too good for open source and I already have too many wanting to blame me for things I had nothing to do with {an apology of sorts to the group offering this work}. That said, it is my belief-- HTML5 is going to hurt a lot of core Flash development efforts.

The other issue I am kind of concerned with about Flash? Security, de-compilation, unauthorized usage and the ability to change [or replace] software once installed on servers. In my opinion, Java gives me more security options insofar as these issues. And yes, it does appear a little hypocritical that I would want to prevent others from using customized players I develop using this open source resource.

If you want to learn more-- use my contact page

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

No Server Side Java Required.

Most of QiSoftware Java tools and interfaces require server side Java support or what is known as JSP supported web hosting. Demonstrations of some of those interfaces are provided on WiredPages and in the QiSoftware Product Catalog.

That said, some of the tools like the WordPress or MovableType versions of the Blogger Calendar do not require server side JSP support-- but currently do use the server side interface. The Blogger Calendar installed on this blog- is not powered by a server side servlet-- only a Java applet.

Why do I not need a Java Servlet for Blogging platforms using local MySQL databases? Because a Java Applet can connect directly to a local database sitting on the same server.

Why did I not develop the WordPress and MovableType versions of the Blogger Calendar sans the servlet in the first place? I developed the Blogger version of the calendar [September 2004] first, and to convince other bloggers that were using the blogspot servers- I had to use the Java Servlet back-end.

The first QiSoftware Business Blog was powered by Blogger however I used FTP to host the blog on my server [qisoftware.com]. So, like this blog-- I really did not require the back-end servlet. When I later developed the WordPress and MovableType versions-- I kept the same architecture- but really did not need too. In other words-- if you are hosting your own WordPress or Movable Type blog-- you can run a Blogger Calendar without server side support. I cannot support WordPress.com hosted blogs because I cannot access their databases with either a servlet nor applet.

Another tool that no longer requires a server side-- servlet, the Celebrity Birthday Interface I maintain on the Wiredpages Style & Events page.

The reason? To populate the database, each new day of the year-- the program inserted the celebrity birthdays for that day to the database. The database now has an entire year of birthdays. A stand alone Java Applet can now-- connect directly with the database sitting on my server-- negating the need for server side Java [Servlet] support.

Today, if someone wanted a similar tool what would I need to do? Provide detailed instructions on installing the MySQL database [that I provide] or provide me with access so that I can install the database on their server and supply them with a custom Celebrity Birthday Applet that runs from their site. I would also provide a PHP script to allow automated updates with a non transferable maintenance support agreement for as long as you use the tool.

Applets are like Flash or image files. Most browsers run Applets like they run Flash.

The other great thing about Java Applets? They are compact. QiSoftware Applets are normally about 8000 bytes in size. Less than most graphic or image files.

The cost for a custom Applet? The Birthday Applet-- about $25.00 which includes the database. Others- contact me or see the QiSoftware Pricing information which I provide via the Hosting-Q.com site.

QiSoftware offers custom tools for almost any platform using most forms of provider data. See my contact page for more info.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

API Usage Architecture: Why This and Not That.

The following illustration shows the current weather forecast for Wadenswil, Switzerland as provided by the WeatherBug Rest API offering.

Recently, while rewriting the World Weather Tool I maintain on WiredPages- I considered using this Rest API offering.

The reason I did not use the WeatherBug API offering? The explanation is a little detailed. The short response-- I had to rewrite the interface quickly and chose to keep the software architecture I used for the original. The more detailed explanation is provided so potential clients understand their options.

I developed the original World Weather Tool in 2003 when the WeatherChannel first began offering the API XML feed. At the time they also offered a Software Developer Kit (SDK) which included weather image icons. This enabled me to efficiently use Java Applet technology to render the images quickly.

Since then I have developed any number of interfaces powered by API offerings using Java Servlet technology [sans the front end Applet GUI].

Today, most API services-- provide pointers and links to image files [or other resource files], as illustrated above or demonstrated on the WiredPages Technology page where the CNET interface is installed.

I am using local [hosted on my server] weather image icons for the World Weather Tool illustrated below. Originally and still today.

More often today-- I request the image resources directly from the API provider's site. Rendering remote images with a Java Applet would be a little more time consuming [the amount of time the server side Java Servlet would need to process each request and transfer the raw image data to the applet] and in my opinion, inefficient. The Java Applet does not allow direct import of remote resources as a security precaution.

So recently, why did I use Java Applet and Servlet technology for the Eventful Events Interface? I wanted to use the list feature the Java Applet technology offered.

QiSoftware offers custom tools for almost any platform using most forms of provider data. See my contact page for more info.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Custom API Interfaces- Weather Demo.

QiSoftware offers custom interfaces that use popular APIs from various major networks. I plan to add the following demonstration to the QiSoftware Solutions Catalog.

This demonstration uses the WeatherChannel API however, I also have experience with The WeatherBug API.

I have used a myriad of APIs offered by organizations who want developers and site owners to take advantage of their data offerings.

I have not yet provided more detailed descriptions within the QiSoftware Solutions Catalog-- however wish to assure those wanting a custom interface [which adds dynamic depth to a site using API resources]-- QiSoftware probably has the experience you want.

See my contact page for more info.

Note: This version of my JMF Video Applet Player will not work with older Mac operating systems and Java JVM versions.

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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 12, 2011

itunes issues corrected...

The itunes API which I access through an affiliate network--was not working on WiredPages this morning. The interfaces are located on the WiredPages Arts & Entertainment page.

Actually, the problem may have started yesterday afternoon, however because I was a little under the weather [something I ate], I did not notice until this morning.

This morning, because my access pulls were working correctly when requested directly via the browser-- I waited until about an hour ago to investigate further the problem with the interfaces. The results, I have updated the pulls within the code to reflect new methods offered by the iTunes API.

I have also noticed intermittent problems with the live Sports Scores on the WiredPages Sports page-- however have not found a solution that will provide more stable results. Still researching.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Dictionary Project Alpha Testing

I began working on a dictionary interface for the WiredPages Reference page- sometime ago.

The following illustrates what the tool will look like.


Illustration Only


A couple of months ago-- I synced the audio portion of the task-- which was rather complicated. After I finished, I put off further work- because quite frankly-- the audio was complicated-- and for some reason I did not want the class files made available online for closer inspection.

The interface is Java Servlet and an Applet for sound.

Here is another illustration:


Illustration Only


I have a bit more testing to do [ensure I am getting what I need from the xml file insofar as definitions]-- but for reasons already provided, just in no real hurry to install. There is also a small timing problem with words like interesting where the sound is concerned. Not enough of a problem to keep from installing but an issue I want to look into further.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New WordPress themes in my collection...

As many of you know I collect plugins and templates for WordPress. Every once in awhile I like showing the latest additions to my collection.

I tend to like less fussy blog templates and this GridFocus template, which also has a 3 column option, is something I like a lot.


GridFocus ScreenShot


Another I recently downloaded-- but have noticed before, this Connections template.


WordPress Connections ScreenShot


I have been working on a new header graphic for this theme-- to make it more unique-- because a lot of folks like this theme. If you look at its details, you will find it has some very nice features.

Here is another shades of gray theme [Tweaker2]:


WordPress Tweaker ScreenShot


I also added Property-Press to my WordPress plugins collection. Property-Press highlights:

Turn your Wordpress installation into a feature-rich Real Estate website. This plugin creates a custom post type for property listings with added fields for price, address, city, bedrooms, bathrooms, floor space, and much more. It also offers automatic geocoding on save, based upon the address. Using the coordinates,

I can customize any look or add any features/plugins to suit your needs...

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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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Sunday, February 20, 2011

something to think about...

Recently, while perusing Freelancer.com gigs I noticed a project poster who wanted a WordPress expert to convert his web site to that environment.

The thing is-- his site was really very nice. The problem? It was entirely Flash. If he wanted to add a page-- he needed a Flash developer. If he wanted to change a menu item-- he needed a Flash developer

Yes, Flash can add some really neat effects. And media players developed using Flash are some of the best on the web.

I have seen a lot of requests on Freelancer.com like the one I referenced above. The project posters want something they can easily change if they have to-- without hiring a Flash or ColdFusion developer.

WordPress does make it easy for a site owner to add a page or change a menu item-- if the right template is selected.

Using animated gifs, JavaScript, DHMTL or JQuery functions-- can add special effects to a web page-- that are easier to change than Flash. That said, my caution-- JQuery has some very nice features-- however many are not supported with older platforms [i.e., Browsers/Operating Systems]. Browsers even two years old may not work with some JQuery functions-- and unless you purchase new hardware and operating systems often-- and hope those visiting your sites do as well-- JQuery may not always be the best solution.

Media Players? Flash is still the one to beat-- but these players are really Java players that hook into the Flash Player download that most web surfers use.

Think carefully before signing up to have a site developed that you cannot maintain yourself.

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