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I put this video together to discuss some of the similarities and differences between Joomla, Wordpress, and Drupal.  In particular, I set up some sample content in a "plain vanilla" installation of each platform, and examine the underlying database structure.  Too frequently, I find myself reading peoples' opinions about which of these platforms is better than the other, and I can't help but think to myself, "You're just saying that because you learned (insert platform name here) first." 

If you already have a site built using one of these platforms and want to hire me, I'm happy to play the role of consultant.  If you don't have a site and want to engage me to design & build it, I can do that, too.  (I generally don't find the database structure by itself to be enough of a reason to switch from one platform to the other, but that's also an option if sufficient reasons exist.)  Get in touch today!

A client recently hired me to set up his new laptop for him.  To make a long story short, he needed a Macbook Pro with a non-retina screen.  He wanted something with plenty of storage space.  He also wanted a solid-state hard drive (SSD).  He also wanted a new computer with a warranty.

My solution?  Let's get started.

First, let's take care of the "oh, but this will void your warranty" argument.  No, it won'tHere is another article.  In a nutshell, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975 states that a company can’t require you to upgrade with OEM parts to retain the warranty.

fluxF.lux
(Windows, Mac OS X, Linux)
www.justgetflux.com

Does the computer screen ever hurt your eyes?  Do you have trouble falling asleep after using the computer? That's because your screen settings are optimized for daylight hours.

f.lux fixes this: it lets you control the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day.  It's better for your eyes and sleep cycle.


ublockuBlock
(Firefox, Chrome, Safari)
www.ublock.org

Too many ads on your favorite websites?  Tired of YouTube video ads?  With uBlock, ads are a thing of the past!

Greetings from the Poconos! We have some new features and options we’d like to share with you:

To zoom, or not to zoom?

I recently had a conversation with a client regarding their “responsive” (mobile-friendly) website. They were requesting “pinch and zoom” capabilities to enlarge photos.

I recently received an email that is referenced in this forum thread.  I was going to post my response on this other site but it tried to get me to sign up for a premium plan in order to post a response.  Instead, I am posting it here:

We recently received this announcement from Google, they are replacing the "old" reCaptcha system with a newer, smarter, easier to use system.

Many of our clients have asked about adding a reCaptcha anti-spam mechanism onto their site's contact page (get a quote form, etc) and our advice was typically as follows:

  1. Avoid adding a reCaptcha field at all costs because it makes it more difficult for legitimate people to send messages through your site.
  2. Typically, we start by adding a security mechanism called Project Honeypot onto the site, which blocks malicious visitors based on their IP address. 
  3. If blocking malicious IP addresses still doesn't cut down enough on the amount of spam that is sent through the form, then we look into adding a reCaptcha system.

Building optimized sites has always been a major part of our strategy: they are easier to maintain, easier to upgrade, and they load more quickly.  I have never built a site using only Flash, and have always built sites using HTML-and-CSS based navigation menus.  They are search engine friendly and easy to expand or rearrange.

With that in mind, I have recently come up with a few other ways to speed things up.  A faster site will generally rank better in the search engines, plus it will have less people abandoning the site while waiting for it to load.

A Discussion Drupal vs Joomla Theming

I think this might be my first post specifically about Drupal.  I’ve been using Drupal for a few years now, but as many know, I’ve been a Joomla guy for a lot longer.  One of the nice things about Drupal’s theming structure is their “content” is rendered as a regular block.  So, when you’re managing blocks in the admin panel, you can assign a contact form block to the content area block area, and it shows up right below it.  No need to tweak the template files create a new block area (in Joomla speak, a module position).

First, a bit of clarification because my clients frequently ask this question: what’s the difference between "social icons" and "social sharing icons”?  Social icons are links to your company’s social pages, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN.  On these pages, people can directly engage with your organization by posting photos, asking questions, and the like.  

Social SHARING icons are visually similar as well, they will typically include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, Google+, Pinterest… these are used for sharing content from your company’s website on your site visitors’ social media accounts (newsfeeds, or pages).  When your site’s visitors share your content throughout their social circles, it translates into free exposure for your content.  Assuming that you are producing relevant, high-quality content, this should translate into increased revenues, profits, and market share for your organization.

Before we begin, yes, K2 does have its own, built-in comment functionality.  And yes, there are plugins already built and available for this.  The reason I like this solution is twofold:

  1. K2's comment functionality, while has many useful features (Captcha anti-spam, email notifications, admin approval process), people seem to like using Disqus because it supports logins from multiple accounts (Disqus, Facebook, Google, Twitter).  K2's inbuilt commenting feature can be set up to allow comments from anonymous visitors, which opens up your site to comment spam.
  2. I don't like installing an entire plugin just to accomplish one little thing.  While I'm sure the plugin works, you have more customization / control when you handle the actual code.  This is similar to the plugins that allow you to add Google Analytics to your site - maybe it's just a pet peeve of mine - but I'd rather edit a (single, easy) file than install a new extension, which is a potential security risk.
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