Monday, August 29, 2011

Google Doc Embedder

When I moved to Wordpress v3, I broke the code for the imbedded pdf files in various Wordpress pages. Since the hard links worked and the page threw an error "plug-in needed", I thought it was Safari and/or Adobe pdf reader that was at fault.

Not so. Tonight I switched to "Google Doc Embedder" and this code works. The related pdf file must be accessible via a URL, not simply stored in the Wordpress media database. Now all the forms show once again.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Lion Roars...

Well I was one of a million plus who downloaded Lion (OS X 10.7) the latest version of the Mac OS the first day it was offered. It was a first in many ways. The first OS to be downloaded from the new App Store. The OS installs itself and reboots your system for you. It has many refinements. It is a closer match to iOS with the use of gestures on the trackpad.

This version won’t run on hardware older than my August 2008 iMac. It will not run old PowerPC apps that once ran under Rosetta. While it has a number of modern UI features, you can change some back to the old style - like the scroll direction, whether you use full screen or not, etc. It took me just two hours to download and install.

Very few problems so far. Magic Prefs tangled with my touchpad. My dot mac email wouldn’t work until I reset its password. My MobileMe remote disk disappeared from the desktop until I changed the prefs to add a local disk - the content of the local disk I had before was saved for me in a folder on my desktop. And Safari dropped my ClickToFlash plug-in. The replacement was an updated version which I tracked down. The old Quicken doesn’t work but Quicken Express, which I use, is fine. The Adobe programs work (CS5) as far as I have tested. I am pleased with how smooth it installed and once again it scoots along fast on this 3 year old system of mine.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hype Animation Program

Hype is a new app for web design animations. It uses the “HTML5” tags, CSS3 tags, and a generous dollop of javascript as an alternative to Flash which is presently in Apple’s bad books. Compared to Adobe Flash, it is much cheaper, has a very user friendly UI, and apparently a lower overhead. It is currently the top grossing app in the Apple OS X App Store.

And I can see why after making my first simple slideshow with it this week. And the resulting file runs on any platform including my iPod Touch. Look for my post on Amanda Rataj at to view the slideshow which was my first use of Hype. If you use a Mac and need an animation tool that is less daunting than Flash, give it a whirl - its well worth the few dollars.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A New Printer - Kodak ESP7250

I was shocked when I went to buy ink for my Canon MP510 printer this week. It cost $82.79 for the four inks - $93.55 with HST. The US price was $63.90 - $18.89 less. I guess no one told Staples/Canon that our dollar has been at or above par the past couple of years...

By coincidence, my MP510 committed hari-kari the next day. It sounded like something broke off inside. This is the second Canon printer to die on me, although the i5000 did last longer. My two previous HP printers became obsolete long before they suffered mechanical failure (old parallel port machines).

I looked at a number of alternatives. Still smarting from the high price of ink for Canon, and their indifference to the dollar parity, I ruled them out. Of the others, I chose Kodak. The ink was the least expensive and according to industry tests the best of the current 3 colour lot. And for me the difference in price here vs the States was miniscule. The printer, an ESP7250, was not perfect - it was slower and MUCH noisier than some competitors and with the 180 degree paper path, prone to paper jams. But for me the image quality and economy of materials won out.

Yes, I am now using a KODAK printer - who would have thought it possible?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A New Day

March 21st, 2011 I went live with a new look for our web site. I put the home page and some key pages up in Wordpress. The new layout links to other pages previously generated with Dreamweaver or earlier with GoLive and even earlier with Front Page.

This change was prompted for a few reasons. I wanted to give the site a face lift and a fresh look. I wanted to have the means to add in items without firing up Dreamweaver. I wanted to move to a less techie regime to maintain and update the site so at some future time the site could be managed by a less technical volunteer. And finally, to add some password protected pages for executive use.

While I chose to use Wordpress on my shared server, I kept this little blog on Blogger because I like its look and simplicity.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Russian Hackers

“The Russians are coming the Russians are coming” was a very funny movie in 1966. Today not so funny. This fall, some Cyrillic scumbags hacked our web site. How do I know they were Russian? Because one php script I found was a notorious r57shell with all the box captions in cyrillic.

I found three scripts and dozens of phony html pages and images of luxury goods. Most of the pages were buried umpteen folders deep. You may recall getting spam offering fabulous deals on luxury goods. The links take you to these hidden pages on sites like ours and work away at separating you and your money.

If the thieves had broken into my store and stolen goods I could call the police. Not so with cybercrime. This hopefully starts changing this coming September 2011 when we catch up with the rest of the G8 countries and activate an anti-spam law - Bill C-28.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

NEX-5 Caps Arrive

They arrived today - two soft grey caps for my Sony NEX-5 - about four weeks from Hong Kong through the Christmas season. And they fit correctly. While third-party as expected, the caps are marked "for SONY" with the "for" in a very small font size. And they fit (Did I mention that?). Imagine, the caps cost me far less than buying the official Sony models, including shipping half-way around the world. IF Sony Canada had offered the real McCoy for $5.99 - the same as Sony USA - and not the terribly inflated $11.99, I would have the black authentic rear cap on my lens instead of this neat grey third-party cap from China.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Thoughts on Marketing

Some companies seem unaware of Google and the Web as tool for the consumer. This December, body and rear lens caps for the E-mount (used by the popular NEX cameras and lenses) arrived at the North American Sony stores. advertised the caps at a price of $5.99 US each while offered them for $11.99 each - TWICE the price in spite of our dollar being at PARITY with the greenback over the past 12 plus months!

Think of it - our Canadian branch of Sony feels it is necessary to sell the same bit of “made in China” plastic for DOUBLE the US price to make a profit.

I wrote Sony Canada Customer Service an email and received a very polite personal response. Unfortunately, it offered the usual bromides about the cost of doing business in Canada - high taxes, small market, regulations, rental costs, lower volume than the American Sony, hence smaller price breaks, etc., etc. I considered suggesting it is time for Sony to reorganize and eliminate the various geographic fiefdoms. In the end, I decided it was not worthwhile to get into a debate with customer service at this level.

Instead, I went online, Googled “NEX body caps”, and bought TWO caps from FotoForEasy in Hong Kong at a price of $7.21 Canadian including shipping...