Oregon Visual Arts Ecology Project

Written: October 7, 2016

I got a phone call from Mike Matthews, owner of Measured Marketing Solutions awhile back and he wanted a better way to enter over 1,000 art portfolios into a web site for the Oregon Visual Arts Ecology Project. My first action was to browse the web site and see what it looked like:

Oregon Visual Arts

It was a WordPress site and they were using a popular commercial Theme called Avada that supported the concept of a Portfolio. Oddly enough there was no way to bulk import a list of Portfolios, so Mike wanted to know if it were possible to use an Excel spreadsheet to define all of the Portfolios, then import them somehow into WordPress. My reply, “Yes, of course that can be coded.”

On the Home page there are several Featured Portfolios on display, so when you click the thumbnail then you get linked to a detailed page like this one:

Oregon Visual Arts - detailed portfolio page

Notice that on the right-hand side there are clickable links for:

All of this visual, text and link information had to be imported from an Excel file into WordPress and then create a new Portfolio for each line of the spreadsheet. I coded a custom Plugin just for this one task, tested it out, and saved Mike much time from having to manually create over 1,000 portfolios.


WordPress is a very powerful and extendable Content Management System (CMS) that allows organizations to show the world what they are all about using an intuitive visual medium. WordPress may be customized to do something special with off-the-shelf Themes, saving you valuable time and manual typing effort.

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Commercial Web Sites with Bugs

Written: September 27, 2016

I often read the OregonLive.com web site for local news and today I found an interesting article about an eLearning company in Portland called OpenSesame, so I browsed over to their web site. The site is well-designed and full of interesting content, so I wondered about how many WordPress classes that they offered, so I clicked on a button for Browse Classes. Then it happened, the dreaded pop-up dialog with an error message:

OpenSesame error message

It’s never a good idea to have your web site throw error messages, because it makes the visitor suspicious about how viable your company, products or services may be. I clicked the OK button and continued to look at the search results for WordPress and found a handful, so obviously this platform is not a big one for the 100,000,000 users of WordPress. Most of us just visit Google and find plenty of free WordPress tutorials out there instead of paying for training.

I did continue on the OpenSesame site to use their Chat feature and they responding quickly, asking me to email a screenshot of the error message to their support department. I wish OpenSesame much success, however they really should be doing more QA work on their web site by having testers click every button and link to double-check that all is working OK, instead of letting a hapless, first-time visitor stumble onto errors.


Running Windows 10 on a Mac

Written: September 26, 2016

In my web development business I have a need to use both Mac and Windows operating systems for browsing web sites, so one way to do that is by using a MacBook Pro with a version of Windows running virtually. What does virtual mean? Even though my hardware is a Mac, there’s a software company called Parallels that offers a product to let you install and use Windows on your Mac, although it won’t be running at full speed like on a dedicated PC. For web browsing this virtual solution is just fine for me, plus I get to continue using the Quicken software for my business accounting.

As Windows keeps upgrading versions and also Mac, I eventually have to upgrade my version of the Parallels software, so today I upgraded to version 12 of Parallels:

Parallels 12

The upgrade process was pretty straight forward and I could download and start installing the software right away:

Install Parallels 12

To keep me honest the install process has an activation code that is unique to my computer, so I don’t go around sharing commercial software:

Activate Parallels 12

Invoking Parallels version 12 there is one last app to install, Parallels Tools:

Parallels Tools

There you have it, Parallels 12 is all updated and I can use the latest version to run Windows 10 on my Mac:

Windows 10 on a Mac

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Even PayPal Has Bugs

Written: September 7, 2016

I use PayPal both in my business and for personal financial transactions because it is so easy to use, especially compared to a credit card. With PayPal I can checkout with just my email and password, however with a credit card I need to supply much more information:

So just from a pure typing viewpoint using PayPal will save you time over using a credit card with every use.

Is PayPal perfect? No. Just today I received a $400 payment, so I logged in and planned to transfer that money into my bank account but was greeted with an odd sight because my balance should’ve said $400, instead it showed no balance:



I’ve never seen this bug before, so I went looking for support and a phone number to call:



I was on hold for just a few minutes and then the support person listened to my bug report, acknowledged that it was a real bug and that PayPal engineers were working to fix the bug, so I just get to wait for my account balance to appear again.

After one day of patiently waiting the techs at PayPal have fixed the bug and my account balance is now correct. See, patience is a virtue..

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