Join us — new Drupal and Expression Engine Groups

November 20, 2009

Hola! I’m chairing the ATHDrupal group and for now, I am just “helping” the EEATH group (I hope a Chair rises organically in the group).
ATHDrupal is a new regional Drupal group (forming out of the ashes of UGA Drupal Group). We would like to invite anyone interested in Drupal to join us. We hope to have some f2f meetings — perhaps, semesterly (and also, to connect up with DrupalAtlanta at some point).

Drupal is an opensource content management system.
You can join the Drupal group @

Additionally a new regional group has formed for the CMS, Expression Engine

If you have questions, just drop me a line. thanks, robin

Question of the day: My "hand" tool is stuck in Fireworks, Photoshop, etc.?

October 20, 2009

So, I had the dreaded stuck “hand” tool in MXFireworks 2004 (yeah, I know, way behind, I work for the govt….) where I absolutely could do nothing except move around using the hand tool.
After much googling, here are the responses I came up with (and I now share in hopes of helping somebody else) :

The first three are duhs, which didn’t work for me 😉

Turn off conflicting software/clear memory

  • Restart the software (Fireworks, Photoshop, etc.).
  • Restart your computer
  • Turn off any Macro products you might be running

Reset your preferences — Ah -ha!

  • Edit>Preferences>Reset all warning dialogs (Photoshop)
  • Edit>Preferences (Fireworks; save — I didn’t reset my preferences, just re-saved the existing ones and it worked)
  • Commands>Reset Warning Dialogs (Fireworks)

Question of the day: Corrupt PDFs

September 30, 2009

Question of the day: Has anyone seen the following error when you try to open a pdf file:
There was an error opening this document. The file is damaged and could not be repaired.

My answer (I have lots of experience with bad PDF files… long story .. not my fault, though, I was just an innocent bystander… lol):

a few likely reasons:

If the PDF is on the web:

  • The upload process could have hung up, creating an empty or damaged file.
  • The upload could have been in ascii format, but the PDF contained images and should have been uploaded as binary.
  • The file could have been corrupted during the creation process and uploaded (or emailed or saved to a drive) as corrupted.
  • A problem with Adobe

If you can get to the server level where the PDF resides (if it is on the web), you might be able to see if the File size = 0 or see if there are other anomalities. If it was emailed to you or given to you on flashdrive or card, just ask for a new copy.

good luck. It is possible to retrieve and restore some corrupted data but it’s never easy. If you can get the original file and it’s not corrupted, that is the easier answer.

I just accidentally corrupted a 16G SD card (moving between too many cameras too quickly — which wiped out the exif for about 100 images making them unreadable) and was able to restore the CR2s and JPGs without manually rewriting the exif. I’ve also restored deleted images off a SD, but neither was exactly what I would call EASY. 😉

What is on the web and how we use it.

September 29, 2009

Time well spent | Social Signal

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Free tools

August 7, 2009

A few free web tools:

The story behind Chrome (google’s new thang)

September 7, 2008

Are you tired of chrome yet? Not even sure what chrome is?
Here is the story of chrome (google’s new browser): be honest, it looks an awful lot like firefox3…. but no support for RSS Feeds? Are you kidding? Lots of chatter about its TOS, too, but apparently some of that was old verbage and has now been modified, at least, that is the official story. Bottom line is > read the TOS. 😉
The task manager does look cool, though.

More and some how-tos…

How to:

Organize your inbox

July 8, 2008

Well, this only works with outlook email at the moment, but here is the claim:

…information will become much easier to find. When a new email arrives, the sender’s full communication history appears in the Xobni sidebar, including past conversations, attachments and contact details. Xobni also includes a blazing fast email search tool..

I first read about this free software in june’s issue of wired. . Sounds great, hmm? Basically, it helps you manage your inbox — but only in outlook (at least at the moment).

Best web authoring tools for new web editors

November 12, 2007

Occasionally, I answer a question and I think, hmmm… maybe I should turn that into a blog post…

In response to a question on the best web authoring tool for someone just getting started — under consideration – a content management system (CMS) such as drupal as well as creating individual webpages.

To CMS or not?
I think it depends on several factors: access authority to the website server and whether the server meets the minimum requirements of a particular CMS (very important), as well as the purpose of the website, the size of the website, and a consideration for the content and number of contributors/authors to a website.

The advantage to using any CMS is that it is relatively easy to generate content for the general user, there are often built in extensions/modules to provide dynamic content, and these usually work well for larger sites (but can be used by small sites, too.) Installation, configuration and design can be sticky points, depending on the installer’s experience, access to site server, etc.

Individual pages + templates
For a small mostly static site with limited access to a server or run by a small number of web editors, writing or generating code + CSS is probably the easiest. Dreamweaver is certainly popular in terms of generating webpages and CSS. Templates can be created to minimize maintenance work.

Dreamweaver can also work with php, asp, etc. to incorporate in dynamic content (such as RSS feeds, etc.). Dreamweaver has the option of a graphical, code, or a combination of both interface, which is nice for those who are just learning code. I know quite a few happy Dreamweaver users. I haven’t used the latest version of Dreamweaver, but I have found previous versions a little clunky when editing an existing page that was not created by Dreamweaver, especially when importing CSS (I confess, I don’t use Dreamweaver on a regular basis).

As for free (or opensource) webpage generators, I would check out Nvu (which is based on Mozilla Composer code base). It looks very interesting. I used Netscape Composer eons ago. It was easy to use, but I’m not sure how the code quality and coding capability have held up over time.

Amaya is also an opensource web editor which can generate xml. Another project which looks interesting.

In short, web design is about developing and implementing a plan using appropriate tools (software, databases, coding/scripting, etc.) and resources to create a web site meeting the content, design, and user needs for a particular person or group while providing the greatest ease of maintenance.

There are many different kinds of tools out there to create code for websites; it’s just determining the best fit (and hopefully adherence to code standards, too!). I do think that all web designers should have a fundamental knowledge of basic html and CSS, so that they can at least control the layout and design of their websites (i.e., keep them from looking so ‘out of the box’ and perhaps, correct problems, if/when they arise).

a better notepad.

November 11, 2007

wow, a much better notepad than notepad! this thing rocks.

opensource alternatives to common commercial products

September 13, 2007

Although the introduction of this article is overly simplified in terms of the changes in library technology (I couldn’t help but laugh a little in a couple of places) , once you’re past that, the rest is a good little overview of some of the more popular opensource products. I’ve hotlinked and listed the products below, the article gives a more indepth overview.

The products are:
ubuntu (ms windows alternative based on linux)
firefox (web browser; ms internet explorer alternative)
openoffice (productivity suite with wordprocessing, presentation, and spreadsheets; ms office alternative)
thunderbird (e-mail + rss reader; ms outlook express alternative)
songbird ( media player; windows media player alternative?)
gimpshop (image editing; adobe photoshop alternative)
pdfcreator (pdf creator; adobe acrobat alternative)
Audacity (audio burning software)
avidemux (video creation)

Other stuff (web publishing, etc.):
mediawiki and also twiki.

As far as libraries go, there is

I’ve talked a little about evergreen and vufind here. At home, I still run MS for the operating system and commercial stuff for my server; but then everything else is opensource or web based services (Firefox, gimp, ghostwriter+pdf, openoffice, etc.) Setting up these products on a small personal computer is fairly easy (really!). I’m not sure how that would translate to a large network, which could possibly be a hidden cost factor: installing these, configuring them as needed, and upgrading. Of course, admins already have to do that for any programs that they support. Training issues (oh the fun of trying to teach a group of web editors to use Drupal…) as well as potential security risks given the opensource nature would be other potential costs.