Friday, October 28, 2011

A Visual Guide To Facebook Security [INFOGRAPHIC]

There has been a LOT of press about Facebook security - both good and bad. If you've ever wondered what really goes on behind the scenes - then check out this infographic by the good folks at PC Magazine:

A Visual Guide To Facebook Security

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How To Avoid Abandoned Shopping Carts [INFOGRAPHIC]

If you have any kind of online commerce site - you know the problem - abandoned shopping carts. This is really a bummer since you've managed to get people to your site, presented something they are interested in, written your copy and done your photography in such a way as to convince them to hit the "Add To Cart" button - and then, just when they're ready to checkout - they get distracted, or grok at the shipping charges or SOMETHING - but they never complete the transaction.

Here's some tips to help minimize shopping cart abandonment:

Infographic - How To Avoid Abandoned Shopping Carts


Monday, October 24, 2011

By The Number - Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]

Feeling a little "Facebook-ed out"? Well, no wonder! You've probably spending waaayyyy too much time on there (along with everyone else):


Thursday, October 20, 2011


If you work in IT in whatever capacity - you inevitably have to work with others who are also in IT. Depending on your role - getting along with others can sometimes be a "challenge."

Here's a great graphic on how people in different roles see others in different roles:


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Goodbye Bookstores - Hello... book "stores"

Yesterday I went to a strip mall that used to have a Borders bookstore in it. It was sort of sad - I had frequented it more than a few times - just browsing the latest releases, looking over the titles in the technology "section", maybe taking one or two volumes back to a reading table with a cup of coffee...

Ah, yes - the "good old days."

As I was reading the Google blog - they had a short video about a new Chrome experiment they were toying around with - a virtual bookshelf application. The idea is that you have an infinite, virtual bookcase that shows (literally) hundreds of thousands of books - organized by one of 28 categories.

You can choose a category - and the bookcase zooms into position. You can then "spin" the thing and because it's like a coiled double helix (think Slinkee) - you can just go round and round and move the entire thing up and down to browse to your heart's content.

When you see a book you would like more information on - simply click it, and you'll see the front cover. When you click the book - it opens (like a real book) to reveal a synopsis and a QR code (those strange barcodes you see everywhere) so that you can open the title on your device.

Now, it's still in the "experimental" stage - and they recommend you use Google's Chrome browser (naturally) and a "powerful computer with a good graphics card" - and there are plenty "your mileage may vary" disclaimers - but it's still well worth a look-see.

They are visually presenting a lot of information that could be (and is) presented in the typical "list" format. I mean, you've seen the listing of books with covers but it just lacks the brevity and excitement of looking through a bookstore shelf.

Apple was at the forefront of this type of visualization - but they did it with your music collection. Their "Cover Flow" technology allows you to "flip through" your collection of "albums" by displaying the cover artwork - rather than a listing (like a playlist).

I think this is where the future of software and user interfaces is going - especially given the fact that our devices are getting smaller (less screen real estate) and there is more information. This type of visual paradigm is perfect for displaying huge amounts of information in an itty bitty space.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wordstream On Facebook's Epic FAILS [INFOGRAPHIC]

Seems that the good folks over at Wordstream are a little pissed off at Facebook... so, what better than to create a huge infographic taking their complaints to the masses?

Yeah, let me get some popcorn, this is gonna' be fun:

Facebook Epic Fails


Monday, October 17, 2011

Moving To OS X Lion - The Way OS Upgrades SHOULD Be

With the release of  OS X 10.7.2 (aka "Lion") - I decided it was time to make the jump from Snow Leopard (aka 10.6.x) to the new OS.

Now, I'm not a huge fan of major updates to any operating system. I dreaded going from Windows XP to Windows 7, and although it was less painful jumping from Leopard (10.5) to Snow Leopard - I still had to update a bunch of applications so they would work properly.

Plus, there are only two ways you can update to Lion - download the updater from the Apple App Store application for $30 - or buy a thumb drive at an Apple Store for $70.

I decided to go with the all-digital version - and downloaded the 3.3GB(!) update from the App Store application on my MacBook Pro.

After it completed the download, it took about 5 minutes to install some installer files - asked to reboot, and then there was simply a splash screen with a progress bar telling me it would be about 33 minutes.

Uh oh.

I know that when XP installs - it also gives a time "estimate" as well. It'll say 20 minutes, then jumps to 40 minutes, then 5 minutes, then 18 minutes then it finishes. I was ready for more of the same...


33 minutes - and it was done. Just like the progress indicator showed.

And everything was where it was before. All my desktop icons were exactly where I put them (no auto "helpful" clean up and reorganization), all my shortcuts worked, everything was smooth as silk.

Then, ever a glutton for punishment, I upgraded my iPhone to iOS 5.0... it was the same kind of thing. Download, push down to the phone, phone restarts itself, done.

To be fair there were a couple of moved icons - it tried to put the bookshelf in the lower left of the first screen, so it moved the icon that was there to a (new) blank page 2 - and added the new icon for the video application on to page 2 as well... but that was easy to change in iTunes.

Then I decided to update Quickbooks on my virtual machine (running XP) - from QB 2008 to QB 2012.

What an utter nightmare.

I had to up the memory allocation (which mean re-booting XP), then I had to free disk space, then run the installer. So the installer first checks the download (4 minutes), unpacks the installer stuff (5 minutes), prompts for the registration code (in step 2), installs .NET Framework 4 (15 minutes) - and then crashes because of some unintelligible error it hit when installing the .NET framework.

Restart XP again, restart installer - goes through the download check (4 minutes), unpacks the installer (5 minutes), prompts for registration code, installs .NET Framework (10 minutes), installs who-the-hell-knows what else (10 minutes) - and then it says it needs to reboot (!).

Restart XP again. I've just spent a little less than an hour to install one application - versus 33 minutes to install a major OS update (plus about the same amount of time downloading the huge OS X installer).

My experience with the Apple stuff remains consistently good. I'm not saying Apple is 100% - there have been some "fails" as well - but they have been few and in between - versus consistently constant on the Windows side of the house. What's your experience been?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Servoy TIP: Next Work Day Function

I needed a simple function that would return the next working day (Monday - Friday) from the date that was passed in. So here it is - it's simple, but it works:

function getNextWorkDay(myDate){

   var dow = myDate.getDay();
   var daysToAdd = 1;
   //remember JS days start at 0!
   if(dow >= 5 ) { daysToAdd = 8 - dow; }
   return new Date(myDate.getFullYear(), myDate.getMonth(), myDate.getDate() + daysToAdd);


FileMaker TIP: Next Work Day

I needed a function to find the next work day (excluding weekends). I came up with a pretty simple function that I like to call "NextWorkDay" - it takes any date as the parameter (theDate). You can use this as a function, or as a calculation (just replace "theDate" below with the field name).

Let ( [ dow = DayOfWeek ( theDate ); daysToAdd = Case ( dow >= 6; 9 - dow; 1)] ;
Date ( Month ( theDate ); Day ( theDate ) + daysToAdd; Year ( theDate )) )

Pretty simple - but it works well...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Java Still The #1 Programming Language - Barely

According to the October 2011 TIOBE Programming Community Index - Java is still the #1 programming language out there - even though it slipped 1% from September. Hot on its heels is the old standby C.

Java has been the top language for over 10 years (except a few months were C took over). This makes total sense. The thing that really surprised me was the fact that Objective-C (the language used by Apple and iOS) came in at... #6. #6! For a language that is really only useful for building native Apple OS (OS X and iOS) applications.

That means that Objective-C beats out (in order): Visual Basic, Python, Pearl, JavaScript and Ruby.


Talk about marketplace "disruption."

Now, Android is based on Java - but so are a LOT of other internal and external applications - so it's sort of hard to extract the mobile developers from that total.

However, since Objective-C is really only widely used in Apple products - it's pretty significant. I wonder if it's because other than Java and PHP (#4), the other top languages are C-derivatives: C (#2), C++ (#3), and C# (#5).

So if you're a developer - or you're in school studying Computer Science - brush up on your C pointers and memory management - because it looks like that's where the money will be for the immediate future:

Monday, October 10, 2011

When 1 Terabyte Just Isn't Enough [INFOGRAPHIC]

So I got a message the other day that my 1 terabyte drive that I use for automated backups was almost full.

Yeah, my 1 TERABYTE hard drive! What the???

I remember buying a 20 MEGAbyte hard drive and just shaking my head - knowing that surely I would NEVER fill that thing up in a lifetime.


Here's a cool infographic about the history of storage:

History of computer storage devices


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Apple, Samsung - Knock It Off!

If you have kids - you are well-versed in this quotation: "You kids stop fighting - don't make me pull over." Well, at least I am.

There's nothing more annoying than two kids (any age) who are picking on each other. One says "Don't touch me", and the other one has their finger about 1/8 of an inch (15mm for my metric friends) away from the other one protesting: "I'm NOT touching you!"

"Yes you are!"

"NO, I'm NOT!"

"Are TOO!"

"Am NOT!"

Me: "OK, kids - knock it off."

"HE started it!"

"Nuh uh! SHE DID!"

"Did NOT!"


Me. "I'm serious. KNOCK. IT. OFF."

(one child sticks tongue out at the other)

"Daaaaad - she stuck her tongue out at me..."

"Well, he stuck out his tongue first..."


This is exactly what Apple and Samsung are doing - but in public. And loudly. And with lots of PR.

Apple "started it" back in April 2011 by suing Samsung (a long time supplier of screens) for patent infringement. It seems that Samsung's (about to be released) Galaxy Tablet and Galaxy S phone bore too close of a resemblance to the iconic iPad and iPhone cash cows for Apple's liking (e.g. "He's copying me" - "NO, I'm NOT")

Now, it's rumored that El Heffe Jobs himself went over to meet with the Samsung folks - but when they couldn't reach an agreement - all the stops were pulled out. (e.g "Stop it!" - "I don't have to, you can't make me!")

Apple got an injunction against Samsung - so they couldn't even sell the Galaxy Tablet in both Germany and Australia. To add insult to injury, the timing of the injunction was just as a big German trade show was under way - where Samsung was going to officially announce the product. (e.g. "Ouch! [crying] he HIT me!" - "SHE hit ME first!")

Now it's basically just a huge mess. They're both suing the crap out of each other in every single country that they can... both trying to get the others' products banned from the marketplace.


Apple! Samsung! DO NOT make me pull over!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Patent Trolls Are Screwing Up Everything [INFOGRAPHIC]

Now, don't get me wrong - I firmly believe that inventors of cool stuff should get paid for their inventions. I also firmly believe that patents are a good thing - provided they are used for truly novel inventions.

I don't, however, believe that a "process" should be able to be patented. OK, well maybe some processes - like Pasteurization - or the vulcanization of rubber - or the algorithm used to encrypt data.

However, software is not one of those things. A software language, maybe. But not software, in general. There are just too many outstanding patents for vague, wide-ranging, processes that are stifling innovation. For example, here's one for "A Method, Process, and System for Searching and Identifying Sources of Goods and/or Services Over the Internet".

Really. It's a REAL patent.

Or how about the fact that in 2010 Facebook received a patent (7,669,123) for the news feed. Yeah. Hopefully Twitter got their license already...


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