Animated Christmas Cards

Written: December 20, 2013

I have a web client that runs 13 businesses, and they’ve had me create animated Christmas cards for the past three years. The requirements are:

Here’s a snapshot of what the 2013 card looks like:

animated christmas card

 

 

Animations include:

For the technical readers, this animation uses jQuery effects.

To watch this animation click here, and enjoy.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you in 2014.

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Windows 8 on a Mac

Written: December 8, 2013

A few years ago I started using Windows 7 on my Mac with software called Parallels. This allowed my to run Internet Explorer and Quicken in Windows, on my MacBook Pro laptop, something very convenient because I didn’t want two separate computers in my office – one for Windows and one for Mac.

All went well until last week, when all of a sudden I was getting no audio on the Windows side, only the Mac side. Since I had just upgraded to Parallels Desktop for Mac version 9, I was entitled to 30 days of support. My first support phone call lasted 90 minutes and they couldn’t fix the audio issue. This morning I received a follow-up email from the folks at Parallels and they said that I should just upgrade to the latest version of Desktop 9 for Mac. Thankfully, this latest version 9.0.24172 fixed the audio bug and I can now listen to audio again.

Parallels 9

The hallmark of a successful company is to keep the customer happy and fix whatever is broken. Parallels did that for me.

An alternative to using Parallels is virtualization software called vmware. I chose Parallels over vmware because it looked easier to use and install.

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Two Annoyances with Microsoft

Written: November 22, 2013

I use and install a lot of software each month, and for some reason Microsoft tends to annoy me the most. Why is that you may ask? Well, let me share two things that happened this week to me. First off, I was trying to login at my Microsoft Live account while using Firefox as my browser. During login the page had a secure address of https://login.live.com/, however the login form was sending my credentials insecurely which means that a bad guy could read my login info and take over my account. Here’s what the security warning looks like with Firefox:

Security Warning

Security Warning

I had expected a large company like Microsoft to have their security act together and not use a broken login page like this.

Secondly, I wanted to install a trial version of Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 to use Publisher to migrate a document to JPG format. During the installation process Microsoft insists that I close two non-Microsoft products: Firefox and Google Chrome.

Close These

Close These

Why in the world does Microsoft care if two other web browsers are running? I cannot recall any other software vendor that forces me to close other apps, just to install their app.

The business world continues to buy and use Microsoft products, and I make sure that my client web sites look good and work well with Internet Explorer, however I stopped using Microsoft apps in favor of all things Google, free, open source or cloud-based instead.

Talking To Your Phone or Tablet

Written: November 15, 2013

Our tablets and smart phones have this nifty feature known as “voice input”, so on an Apple device it’s called Siri and Android hasn’t really given it a marketing name. Just today I was interested in the weather, so I asked both my Android phone and iPad tablet the same question, “What is the weather like right now?”

The good news is that both devices understood exactly what I asked for and presented me answers within a few seconds:

The bad news is that Apple’s weather answer was wrong, because it stated, “It seems to be a bit windy out there”. I wouldn’t consider 3mph to be windy.

Another thing that I use voice input for is when I want to respond to a Text Message. It is much quicker to use voice input instead of hunting and pecking on the tiny virtual keyboard of a smart phone.

Enjoy using voice input on your phone and tablet devices, it works and will save you time.

 


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