Happy Halloween

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It’s my job to hand out candy tonight, while Kim brings Tyler over to see her family. I volunteered to be on candy duty. So, here I am sitting on my front porch, laptop in hand, seasonal music playing… and I’m waiting. We’ve had a few children come by, but not many at all. I blame the poor turn-out thusfar on a couple of things…

  1. We’re a new section of the neighborhood. Many people might not know where we live.
  2. Our street is poorly lit.
  3. It’s still early.

Perhaps I am over-reacting a bit, who knows?

Regardless… Halloween used to be one of my favorite holidays. This was partly due to my dad’s extreme dislike of it. Growing up in the Bronx, he had heard more than enough horror stories about sicko’s giving kids needles, bad candy, and the like. So his distrust of Halloween was understandable – at least now, anyways. As a kid I didn’t understand that he was just trying to protect me and my brothers.

The times I went trick-or-treating were great though… I remember when I was around 10 or 11 and me and my friend Tory Richardson went around the neighborhood we lived in in Karlsruhe, Germany and amassed an amazing amount of candy. We went from door to door like mad men. I swear we both filled up around three pillow cases each filled to the brim with candy. Man, I miss those days.

Nowadays, kids can’t really go off and do that sort of thing. You never know who is out there, or what ulterior motives they might have. I worry for the day when Tyler asks to go off on his own and Kim and I will have to make a decision regarding whether we’ll let him or not.

I know that day will come soon enough. Until then, I’ll be happy to just hang out here, on my front porch, passing out candy.

Internet Explorer 7

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Internet Explorer 7 Logo

I bit the bullet and loaded IE7 on my laptop this morning. I figure that I have avoided it long enough. I’m not certain that I will load it on my production machine here at the office… but I have a feeling that I will be making that change sooner rather than later. If you’re interested in picking it up, head on over to Microsoft’s IE page to update your computer

What’s IE7 mean for us at PowerServe? Hopefully not much… IE7 won’t be pushed out via Automatic Update until November 1st. Between now and then, we’ll be checking sites out in the new browser and make sure nothing breaks. Already this morning we’ve been through dozens of client sites making sure that nothing goofy happens to the layouts, that scripting still works, etc. And, as luck would have it, nothings been broken (yet).

What’s IE7 mean for our customers? A better more consistent internet browsing experience. The technology built into IE6 was buggy and problematic. Sites rendered properly, but didn’t adhere to standards that well. This meant extra work for our developers in trying to create a site that worked in multiple browsers because code that worked well in most browsers didn’t render well in IE. IE7 should solve this…

IE7 will also bring RSS feeds to the masses. What’s an RSS feed? It stands for Really Simple Syndication. Think of all the time you spend visiting your favorite websites checking for updates. If those sites offered an RSS feed (like our blog does!) you wouldn’t have to visit the site to know if new content was added. Using an RSS reader (like the one built into IE7) you’ll get notified when sites you frequent are updated. It’s not a new technology… but it’ll be new to a lot of people who’ve never even heard of them before.

IE7 also has a number of security improvements, including a Phishing Filter. The Phishing Filter checks sites to see if they match fraudelent websites. Ever get an email that looks like it was from eBay, PayPal, or a Bank asking you login to their site and update your personal information? Chances are that email was a scammer trying to get your personal information – social security number, credit card number(s), bank account info, etc. IE7 will (hopefully) protect you from these malicious activities by warning you when you visit a site that is not to be trusted.

I could go on, but I’ll save you the trouble. If you’d like to learn more about the browser, and download a copy for yourself, head on over to the Windows Internet Explorer 7 website for more info.

Tinkering

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I mentioned it a couple of weeks ago (or has it been longer?), but I’ve been tinkering with some new design directions for a while now. I’ve put some basic changes in places for now… but more will be on the way.

One of the areas where I’ve been trying to pay close attention to is the custom options available to templates in WordPress. There are lots of customization possibilities available… and I have started to explore alternate formats for Single Entries, Pages, and more.

It’s been several months since I migrated the site to WordPress from Blogger, and I haven’t looked back. As a matter of fact, I’ve started recommending the software to clients… One installation we recently launched is a new site for First Baptist Church of Augusta. It’s an evolving project, which is why I hadn’t formally announced its launch until now… but the site has been live for over a month now. WordPress’ flexibility and extensibility make it an ideal platform for blogging or as a CMS…

Anyway… that’s all for now. Move along now, there’s nothing to see here. ;)

Google ♥s YouTube

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Ah, there’s nothing quite like waking up to news that two of your favorite websites are getting hitched. Google confirmed that it is buying YouTube for $1.65 Billion in stock yesterday.

In other news, Google Video feels embarassed and alone. How could Google do this to her? She thought what Google and Google Video had together was special.

But seriously… why would Google want to buy YouTube? Sure, YouTube has a large audience. Sure, YouTube has lots of content (much of it breaking copyright laws). Sure, YouTube has…. wait, that’s all they have. Hmm… Is YouTube making money yet? No? But, admittedly, there is some potential there…

But this deal seems odd to me. News circulated a few months about a possible Google-MySpace acquisition, but Google opted out because of the advertising possibilities to be had on MySpace.com. I’m wondering why they didn’t act the same way with YouTube?

Add IAB Ad Sizes to Photoshop CS2 Defaults

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I’ve been working on banner ads for a client for several weeks now and found the following modification to Photoshop CS2 to be a HUGE timesaver. You can use this tip to create any sort of page size defaults, if you wish!Obviously, this tip is for the Windows version of Photoshop…

  1. Go to: C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS2\Required
  2. Open: Default New Doc Sizes.txt
  3. Add the following somewhere in the file:
    ; Standard IAB web banner sizes"Button 1"			120	90	pixels		screen dpi RGB 8 1.0"Button 2"			120	60	pixels		screen dpi RGB 8 1.0"Full Banner"			468	68	pixels		screen dpi RGB 8 1.0"Half Banner"			234	60	pixels		screen dpi RGB 8 1.0"Half Page Ad"			300	600	pixels		screen dpi RGB 8 1.0"Large Rectangle"		336	280	pixels		screen dpi RGB 8 1.0"Leaderboard"			728	90	pixels		screen dpi RGB 8 1.0"Medium Rectangle"		300	250	pixels		screen dpi RGB 8 1.0"Micro Bar"			88	31	pixels		screen dpi RGB 8 1.0"Rectangle"			180	150	pixels		screen dpi RGB 8 1.0"Skyscraper"			120	600	pixels		screen dpi RGB 8 1.0"Square Button"			125	125	pixels		screen dpi RGB 8 1.0"Square Pop-Up"			250	250	pixels		screen dpi RGB 8 1.0"Vertical Banner"		120	240	pixels		screen dpi RGB 8 1.0"Vertical Rectangle"		240	400	pixels		screen dpi RGB 8 1.0"Wide Skyscraper"		160	600	pixels		screen dpi RGB 8 1.0"separator"
  4. Restart Photoshop CS2.

Now, when you want to create a new document, you’ll have all of the IAB standard sizes at your disposal.

Pink for October

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of that, I’ve gone Pink for October.

Breast cancer is a cancer of breast tissue. Worldwide, it is the most common form of cancer in females, affecting approximately one out of nine to thirteen women who reach age ninety at some stage of their life in the Western world. It is (after lung cancer) the second most fatal cancer in women, and the number of cases has significantly increased since the 1970s, a phenomenon partly blamed on modern lifestyles in the Western world. Because the breast is composed of identical tissues in males and females, breast cancer can also occur in males, but here the incidence is very low.

More resources:

  • National Breast Cancer Awareness Month – For more than two decades, the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month has educated women about breast cancer, especially the importance of detecting the disease in its earliest stages through screening mammography, clinical breast examination, and for women 20 years of age and older, breast self-examination.
  • The Breast Cancer Site
  • – Your click on the “Fund Free Mammograms” button helps fund free mammograms, paid for by site sponsors whose ads appear after you click and provided to women in need through the efforts of the National Breast Cancer Foundation to low-income, inner-city and minority women, whose awareness of breast cancer and opportunity for help is often limited.

  • The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation – For more than 20 years, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation has been a global leader in the fight against breast cancer through its support of innovative research and community-based outreach programs. Working through a network of U.S. and international Affiliates and events like the Komen Race for the CureĀ®, the Komen Foundation is fighting to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease by funding research grants and supporting education, screening and treatment projects in communities around the world.
  • The National Breast Cancer Foundation – The National Breast Cancer Foundation mission is to save lives by increasing awareness of breast cancer through education and by providing mammograms for those in need.