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Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Spam Links Sent Through Google Maps

Not sure what Google is doing about this, but it appears that some clever script-kiddies have figured out that they can embed their BS spam messages into “refer this map” link on Google Maps. Here is an example of what was sent to me this morning.

google-map-spam

Since the email is coming from “noreply@google.com” it is not getting caught by the various spam filters that exist in each part of the email distribution chain. I found that someone had posted this same problem on the GMaps support forum, but the page was only up for about 11 minutes before it was “removed”??? If I click on the link now it says “Part of this page has been removed”. After more time passes the link will be completely removed from search results for sure.

Here is a screen shot of the search phrase I typed into Google.

google-map-spam2

I have been trying to find the right place to alert Google that they have this problem out in the wild, but the only “spam reporting” you can do is related to someone spamming your business name in local-search results on Google maps. If you have had this same issue it would be interesting to see how prevalent the problem is and what people are trying to do about it.


Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Google Finance iPhone App

I was looking for a replacement to the default stock application for the iPhone. What I really wanted was a way to keep track of profit or loss I made if I bought a stock at X price on X day. For those of you who have never heard of Google Finance, you need to get on it here. Searching through the App store yielding two promising results: GFinance and Mootwin Financials.

GFinance cost $5.99 and I wasn’t that impressed with the user feedback it received.

Mootwin Financials was FREE, but it needed my google account login info to sync with the portfolios that I create at http://www.google.com/finance.

Being cautious (or paranoid) I created a new gmail account just for the purposes of using it with this app. When you first open the app it prompts you that you will be redirected to the google.com website. It opens up a Safari window and you enter in your credentials on google.com .

IMG_0698

I only added the “C” stock symbol to my portfolio on the Google Finance website, so that is all that syncs up.

IMG_0699

This is the screen after you have clicked on a symbol from the above picture.
IMG_0701

I was the first to post any feedback on the application in the app store, so it’s pretty new. It does exactly what I wanted it to do, but there is NO WAY I would enter in my main Google Account login info.


Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

WP Super Cache IE7 Cannot Display Webpage

wp-super-cache

WP Super Cache is an amazing Wordpress plugin for webmasters with large sites or with sites that use a ton of SQL queries to generate the content. When I first installed, everything appeared to be working fine. When I tested the site in Internet Explorer 7 I received the dreaded “Explorer cannot display the webpage” error. There where a couple of things that I needed to change in order to make it work. The first thing was that I had to modify the “/wp-content/cache/.htaccess” file.

Add the following code at the beginning of the htaccess file directly below the “# BEGIN WPSuperCache”

<IfModule mod_mime.c>
AddEncoding gzip .gz
AddType text/html .gz
</IfModule>
<IfModule mod_deflate.c>
SetEnvIfNoCase Request_URI \.gz$ no-gzip
</IfModule>
<IfModule mod_headers.c>
Header set Cache-Control 'max-age=300, must-revalidate'
</IfModule>
<IfModule mod_expires.c>
ExpiresActive On
ExpiresByType text/html A300
</IfModule>

This seemed to fix some bugs I was having with IE6, but IE7 still wouldn’t display the page. I then realized that earlier I had started using PHP gZip compression. So at the top of the header.php file for my theme I had the following line.

ob_start("ob_gzhandler");

Once I removed this then IE7 displayed the page right away.


Saturday, August 29th, 2009

iPhone Exchange Account Verification Failed

After the trouble I went through to get my fellow co-workers iPhones to sync with his Microsoft Exchange Server I thought I would share what worked out for me.

  1. Make sure “Active Sync” is running on your Exchange server.
    We use a “managed Exchange” solution which means that we are renting the server from a third party. I had to log into the control panel for the service and “check box” active sync.
  2. The iPhone might still display “Account Verification Failed”. You will then need to disable SSL for the mailbox connection in the iPhone before it will sync properly.
  3. The only problem is that the SSL “on/off” slider doesn’t appear when you first set up the account.
  4. Enter in the Username and Password (Domain I left blank) and wait for it to fail. Then a new ‘Server’ option will appear.
    The server is the address where the phone should access your Exchange Server. For some people it is simply “mail.example.com”. Others use “owa.example.com”. Our 3rd party Exchange rental company used a long complicated domain name, something like this: EXVB0104-exch02.example.com. You can find this information in the MS Outlook running on a computer already using Exchange.
  5. After entering in the Server info hit “Next” again and wait for it fail. Hit next ONE MORE TIME and it will give you a warning “Are you sure? You will not be able to send or receive email.” I clicked yes. After you do this the “Use SSL” option will appear. Click on it to turn it off. Afterward I was a syncing in style.

iphone_20_activesync_setup


Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

Kitchen Minder Review

kitchen-minder

The basic idea behind the Kitchen Minder is to inform your employees when to cook product. The Kitchen Minder aims to atticipate how much product needs to be prepared ahead of time to allow your crew to serve food fast to customers, but also reduce waste caused by crew members over estimating demand and cooking too much product. It calculates the quantity of each item to be cooked using sales data from your Point of Sale System. The underlying theory behind the KM system is very appealing, but as of this moment there are some notable short comings.

  1. Importing your product mix into the PC Minder software is a painful process.  If your QSR concept has multiple dayparts, there is a bug in the import process where you have to add lunch items to the breakfast day-part in order to then be able to add them to the lunch day-part. At the end of the process you then need to go back and delete your lunch items from the breakfast day-part.
  2. The Kitchen Minder software can only communicate over serial connection using COM ports 1-6. When testing the connectivity between the BOH computer and the Kitchen Minder, if you choose the wrong COM port and attempt to send the programming, the software will freeze up for several minutes before it finally gives you a “cables not connected” message.
  3. The way the product sales projections are calculated is weak. At the beginning of each day you are supposed to import sales data from the previous week into the system. This sounds simple enough, but what happens if last Monday it was raining? or a school bus full of kids ate at your restaurant? This will affect what the Kitchen Minder thinks you should be cooking today. In the real world you will have too many Store Managers working on different shifts for anyone to remember that maybe last weeks data isn’t likely to reflect todays sales.

There is allegedly an update to the software on the horizon that should address points 1 and 2, but I have yet to hear anything about improvements to the sales projections algorithm.


Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Get Menulink Working on Windows Vista

menulink-vista

If you are a restaurant owner and use Radiant Systems Menulink program with your point of sale system you might run into problems trying to get Menulink to work with Windows Vista. Occasionaly everything will work just fine after the install. Many times however you will wind up getting a strange error. Something like “xml parse error at root level 0″.  What is happening is that when Menulink is installed the “menulink.config” file is set with too high a security level. When you run the Menulink program for the first time it is supposed to write and save the proper connection information to this file, but it cannot because of the file permissions. The first thing you will need to do is change the permissions on the file. Navigate to:

C:Program FilesMenulink

In the folder will be a file called “menulink.config”. Depending on how your computer is set up you may not see the “.config”. Right click on the file and click on ‘properties’ then click on the ’security’ tab. In the top field click on the “All/User” or “Administrator” level then click the ‘edit permissions’ button. In the bottom field check all of the “Allow” boxes. Without this step you will not be able to make changes to the file which is what we are going to do next.
Find and open the “menulink.config” file on a different computer that is running Menulink without any issues. You may have to right click on the file and choose “Open With” or “Open” and then choose “Notepad” to view it. Copy everything that is in the good configuration file and paste it into your Vista configuration file and save it. Now try running Menulink like you normally would.

VOILA!


Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Regex Tutorial preg_match preg_replace

Understanding Regular Expressions can be a real pain, but they are a very powerful tool. I use them in Apaches mod_rewrite to create SEO friendly URL’s and to screen scrape content from sites. Here is a web site with excellent step by step broken down explanations as to how common regex engines work.


Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

GoDaddy .com Domain Promo Code

OYH3 - $2.50 off / $7.45 any .COM . I use this every time I register a new domain. Just used it yesterday so I can verify that it works.

GoDaddy Promo Discount Code

GoDaddy Promo Discount Code


Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Multiple Internet Explorers

Ever wanted to test out a website with IE6 AND IE7 at the same time? Here’s a link to a program that I use to install IE3 - IE7 on the same computer to test out my web sites.
http://tredosoft.com/Multiple_IE


Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Image Resizing in Internet Explorer 7 and IE6

I’ve always been annoyed with how IE7 does image scaling. If you have an image that’s 100 X 100 and resize/scale it with HTML to 70 X 70 Internet Explorer doesn’t resample the image so it winds up looking “blocky”. I ran across a page on Flickr’s Developer Blog that describes a little known CSS command that will cause IE7 to do bicubic resampling of HTML scaled images. If you use a Mac, both Firefox and Safari do bicubic resizing automatically…. The way to apply this to every image on your page in CSS:

<style>

img{-ms-interpolation-mode:bicubic;}

</style>

IE7 example:

Original Image Size

Image Scaled with HTML to 100px width:


Image Scaled with HTML to 100px - Bicubic Resampling:

For IE6 You have to get a little crazy for minor improvement…


<span style="position: absolute; z-index: 100; width: 100px; display: inline-block; filter:progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.AlphaImageLoader(src='http://www.google.com/intl/en_ALL/images/logo.gif',sizingMethod='scale');"><img style=" filter:progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Alpha(opacity=0);" src="http://www.google.com/intl/en_ALL/images/logo.gif" border="0" alt="" width="100" /></span>

For more information on this IE6 fix check out Microsofts site: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms532969.aspx

@Alex Glover
Full Size:


Bicubic is not working because the image you are using is a PNG:

Image saved as GIF:
nopicture
Image saved as JPG:

You will need to save all your “spotlight” images as JPG and make the background color the same as the background of the site, or re-size the image to the exact dimensions you need.