Archive for the ‘Tech Tips’ Category
Thursday, September 22nd, 2011
That’s right. On average, I’d say that most programming languages consist of only 30 or so (probably even less) of actual useable keywords. As well, most programming languages use roughly similar syntaxes, making it incredibly easy to learn an entire “new” language in a day or two. So really, why are there SO many. Answer is complicated, but it’s my belief that it all narrows down to a single feature: functionality. Each language has been designed with a purpose in mind, and it is this purpose that drives the development of the libraries upon libraries its functions. So I suggest to all you would-be programmers, to study the syntax of the language briefly and the functions available within the language more. That’s where you can delve into the true power of any language.
Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
My week got off to a craptastic, wonderful beginning when I tried to start my car and the engine wouldn’t turn over. The first images in my mind was seeing 5 Benjamin Franklin’s with wings floating away, laughing at me as I would be forced to pay the mechanic for parts, labor and not to mention towing. I was fortunate to know that my problem was most likely that my ignition switch had failed. So I went on Google and typed in “Replacing Ignition switch Do it yourself”. I found multiple forums explaining how to do this, but for a mechanic newbie like myself, most of this was Greek to me. I’ve always learned something better if shown a visual of how to do it, than explained. So my next step was youtube. I type in the same search perimeters and I find this little gem.
Replacing Ignition switch
What could have potentially cost 500 dollars plus who knows how long I would have been without a car, turned into $80.00 for the part and only 5 hours without a car. Ignition switch was replaced and I was back in business.
You tend to hear about videos going “viral” on youtube that help businesses get instant recognition and marketing companies promising you they will help you create the next internet craze video. The truth is, no one really knows the reasons what makes one simple little $25 budget video explode over the net while a $500,000 mass marketed version fails. Generally humor is used but if you are using 80% comedy and 20% trying to sell something, you are already at a disadvantage.
As you can see with the video I posted, it was a simple how to video. It was from a company that markets certain parts for GM models. From their viewed list you will notice that it has received over 17k views. While this is no where considered “viral”, that is indeed a healthy number. If you go by the traditional 10% model that out of 10 potentials, 1 person buys, this potentially nets you 1,700 sales for a product that costs $80.00. This equal outs to $136,000. The cost to make this video was probably $500-1000 range. So as you can see, the return on investment here is huge! So instead of wasting time and energy on making the next viral video, try focusing on simple how to videos explaining your niche product or service.
At Visionary Web, we are all about the return on investment for your website and development. We will work with you to help you reach your targeted audience beginning with a small website package, and as your website traffic grows, we will help you with what steps you can do next to expand your website. Whether it is a simple website update with a content management system that allows for you to embed how to videos, to blogs and shopping carts.
Don’t worry, I was able to put it all back together again.
Monday, April 6th, 2009
Friday, November 2nd, 2007
PHP made me upset today. I’ve noticed this issue for a while, and it’s been addressed in forums, but few know of what seems to be the second most common reason for it. First, check the symptoms of you ill-returned web document. Does it ever popup as a download dialog box instead of the usual I-trust-you-Zend handling? Did you then download it only to find it is nothing more than a blank page? Stop sifting through your http.conf file! Stop changing those permissions! Well, you could do all this, but it’s most likely not the problem. For me, it was the amount of memory I had allocated to PHP script execution, specifically the memory_limit value. Oddly as it sounds, sometimes giving your PHP a little more memory seems to clear up this problem right away. Works so far for me with all the times I’ve seen this issue. You can either change the value in your ini file as:
memory_limit = 32M
…in your .htaccess file like…
php_value memory_limit = 32M
…or directly in your PHP file if you wanted to.
Hopefully, this can help someone out there.
Wednesday, February 28th, 2007
One of the most singularly powerful and useful aspects of Adobe Photoshop is the brush sets. What makes this so portent is the dynamics that are possible with many of the tools when paired with the stylus of a WACOM. The size adjustment and opacity changes that occur depending on the pressure you apply to the pen makes for a near perfect imitation of traditional art techniques. Brush sets however are the patterns in which you are laying your strokes down with, regardless of the tool you use to do this. These brush sets are typically just referred to as brushes though they can be applied to many of the tools in Photoshop. The default brush is some size of rounded pattern with either a hard or soft edge. This default brush is usually enough to suit most situation you are dealing with, but if you are trying to imitate a paintbrush, pallet knife, chalk/charcoal, pastels, etc. it is often not acceptable. The best ways to mimic these mediums is to use differently textured brushes.
In traditional art these methods are also affected by what you are applying them to. Wood obviously would cause a different effect than paper should you write on it with a pen. The same applies to different grades of paper, boards, canvases, etc. to mimic this typically some sort of patterned or faux texture is applied to the layer beneath the one that the actual â€œartâ€? is being produced on to simulate the correct canvas type. Generally though, the brush itself can produce the desired effect. Because of this versatility and flexibility the brush is, in my opinion, the most important aspect of Photoshop. Knowing how and when to use it is the next.
Monday, January 29th, 2007
A lot of my friends tell me that my job sounds easy (that’s the job of programming if you don’t know who I am), and I happily nod and smile. Because friends just don’t know any better. Sure, anyone can program like anyone can perform open-heart surgery or fight a bear, but like anything, there’s a lot more to it to become a professional at it. In fact, the more-of-it is what keeps a lot of people from programming in the first place. Programming is a blend of art and math, but it also is anal-retentive. A single character will throw off the entire program and you will (yes, you WILL) be racking your head around a single line of code for most of your time working on that program. But that is programming, so what I say to you would-be programmers is to relax and have patience when you program, because it can get nerve-racking.
Monday, January 22nd, 2007
As promised, here is more on CSS techniques and graphic element implementations. To start I would like to explain what â€œSliding Doorsâ€? are that I mentioned in my last post.
Simply it is a method of using CSS positioning to fake a rollover with one image that has both instances of the button and there by on the rollover it slides the image over to show the other state of the button. This greatly reduces loading time because there is no preloading required and you only have one image that you are working with instead of a separate instance for each button. The drawback is that you cannot use styled fonts. If you want a non-standard font (e.g. serif or sans serif along with the classic Arial, Helvetica, Veranda, Times New Roman, etc.) this is not the way you want to go because this effect is made by changing the a:link, a:visited, and a:hover background-image position.
I am impatiently awaiting a full support for CSS 3. Just some of the nifty things the newest version of CSS can do is rounded corners through the definition of only two numbers you can define an elliptical radii and thereby set the curvature of your container. This will also set the background to a rounded state even it you have your border set to none. Speaking of borders, CSS 3 has a new â€œwavyâ€? boarder style that applies a wavy line to the boarder. You can also define images to your borders now just to increase the customization that so many designers have been using hacks and other less desirable methods to achieve the aesthetic quality they demand in their work. Unfortunately this presents us the same problem that exists now with the IE (Internet Explorer) browser support of the PNG file format. IE 6 does not support the alpha channel required to correctly display transparent PNG images. IE 7 however does. Because IE 6 does not we still must avoid the PNG and settle for the GIF format because IE 6 is still widely in use. If we were to try to use a PNG image then we would not be able to make a good design for IE 6, so for now we must ignore the advancements made in IE 7. So Until CSS 3 becomes supported by all browsers we will still have to use our workaround methods and hacks to get a display that will work for everyone. Even CSS 2 isnâ€™t fully supported by all the browsers, or it is rendered differently because of the functionality of that particular browsers interpretation of the CSS.
Some CSS 3 properties are supported by some browsers, but not all. Transparency is one such property. One of the main focuses of CSS 3 was better text / font control for the designers that have wanted to implement some more typographical elements into their web designs. These text / font properties are almost all fully supported, but some workarounds are required still.
To take a look at the new CSS 3 properties for backgrounds and borders follow this link. http://www.w3.org/TR/css3-background/
To view a tutorial for the â€œSliding Doorâ€? technique follow this link. http://www.expertsrt.com/tutorials/Cd/CSSrollovers.shtml
Thursday, December 14th, 2006
When most people ponder over bugs, glitches, and weekends with the in-laws, they tend to look unfavorably upon them. But that doesn’t mean you should (speaking for the first two at least), because they help us learn to become better programmers. Everyone’s heard before on how Edison found out how to make the light bulb after a hundred or so ways on how to make it not work. Well, the same applies to coding. Errors, although malicious time-consuming devils, can tell us what we’ve done wrong, so we can attempt to learn from these mistakes and understand more about the nuisances of the language itself. In effect, it makes us better programmers by forcing us to correct our flaws IN our coding. To me, that just seems to be more beneficial than just learning to code well alone.
Thursday, December 14th, 2006
Wednesday, December 6th, 2006
Recently while browsing through good-tutorials.com for inspiration with a possible tip or trick to add to my skill-set, I came across a nifty little tutorial about using the “Golden Ratio” or “Golden Proportion” in layouts. For those who donâ€™t know what the Golden Ratio is. I have started subtly implementing this ratio into my designs and have found 2 things about this technique. First, the banners tend to be a little too large. Not grossly overstated, but just a slight bit uncomfortable for the content body of text. The second is that even though this ratio does help the natural aesthetics of the layout. it tends to not lend it’s self well to multiple column layouts. I am still using the Golden Proportion in my layouts but much more sparingly and only as a subtle addition. I am not trying to rely on it to be a rule or a guide to build the layouts from as a quick or easy tool. Rather I am happy to say that it has merely made me that much more conscience of how the sizes and proportions of the layout can effect the emotions of the viewer. One more step toward being the best designer has just been taken!