Art Institute’s Parent Company, EDMC, Sued by Government

EDMC, which is the parent company of The Art Ainstitutes, is being being sued due to an investigation that began in 2008 of their unlawful recruiting practices. Here’s what The Huffington Post is reporting:

“The U.S. Justice Department and four states sued the nation’s second-largest for-profit college corporation on Monday, alleging in a wide-ranging complaint that Education Management Corp. violated federal laws by giving bonuses and raises to college recruiters based entirely on the number of students they enrolled.”

If you have seen any of the 100+ comments on the article about the Pros and Cons of The Art Institute Online, then this probably comes as no surprise.

Numerous students have commented about the “predatory” tactics of recruiters from The Art Institute that have coerced them into getting financial aid and signed up for classes quickly. This investigation reveals why that was the case.

If The Art Institutes do successfully get sued by the government, does that mean that the government and lawyers will benefit from it financially and not the students who were the ones directly affected? How do you feel about all of this?

Click here to view the full article on the Huffington Post website

How to Create a Great Website Portfolio

If you have or are planning to build a website portfolio, there are definitely some things you’ll want to include. While attending the Art Institute Online of Pittsburgh, I came across a wide gamut of student portfolios. Some stuck out as amazing and were immediately bookmarked…while the others…well, let’s just say they weren’t bookmarked. I had created a folder of portfolio & inspirational sites that I’d turn to and keep track of when needing some ideas. I never really put a finger on what caught my eye about these sites, but an article was just written on Smashing Magazine’s website called “10 Steps To The Perfect Portfolio Website” by Lee Munroe. It’s amazing and I highly suggest you drop what you’re doing and head over there to check out this article. It not only gives you some great advice, but it also includes a ginormous list of websites for some inspiration.

So go check it out!
10 Steps To The Perfect Portfolio Website

Pros and Cons of The Art Institute Online

I often get asked if I enjoyed attending school online or if I would still do it if I had to do it all over again. I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Interactive Media Design from the Art Institute Online, which is actually the “online division” of The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. As I finished my degree in 2006, I decided to ask fellow students for some pros & cons of attending The Art Institute Online (AIO). Let me start by saying that this website is not sponsored nor endorsed by The Art Institutes so everything you read here are honest opinions and will not be sugarcoated. Students just tell it like it is on this site. So here is a list of their most popular responses in no particular order (keep in mind this is a collection of actual comments from students as described in August 2006):


  • Flexible Schedule – Do assignments and read lectures, books, websites, etc whenever and wherever you want
  • Learn Anywhere – Wherever there is an internet connection, you can be in class.
  • Few “tests” – Most grades are based on projects that help show individual talent and understanding rather than simple memorization.
  • Convenience & Flexibility – It’s good for those that prefer to work independently, but it does require a bit of discipline.
  • Convenience – Don’t have to worry about weather issues (like snow).
  • Anonymity – Because this is somewhat anonymous, people may participate more than they probably would in a traditional classroom setting where they would shy away from discussions.
  • Dealing with professionals in my line of work – Most everyone is already in the creative field in one way or another, so we can relate.

Continue reading ‘Pros and Cons of The Art Institute Online’

Javascript Inserted into the Footer of all Webpages

Recently I had an issue with my Windows XP machine where I noticed advertisements such as Google Adsense and Yahoo ads were being replaced with different types of ads.  I then noticed weird behavior with Firefox 3 and Internet Explorer 7 where pages were taking forever to load and then popups started to show up at random.  Curious as to what was going on, I took a look under the hood at the HTML and noticed a nasty, long javascript being inserted into every single page that I viewed.  It had numerous calls to an IP of and it was then I knew I had a virus, spyware, malware, or some other unwanted junk on my machine.  I immediately searched the internet for what it could be and how to get rid of it.  This seems to be fairly new, and I tried all sorts of things to get rid of it.  I tried AVG, Ad-Aware, Hijack This, and more…nothing worked…until I found this post in which a guy figured it out himself.If you find unwanted javascript inserted into the footer (or injected into the footer) of all of the pages your viewing, then go to and download Anti_Malware.  It’s free and it’s the only thing that fixed it for me.  It also found a couple of other things on my system that I didn’t want.  I tracked the virus down to an email that a family member opened, which was thought to be a Hallmark ecard.  The problem was that the “Hallmark greeting” was an attachment called .  When that attachment was opened, it injected the virus.  So this gets back to the old rules of thumb when it comes to email.  If you don’t know who sent the email (or even if you have suspicions), don’t open the attachments!  If you get an ecard notification such as this, make sure it at least includes the name/email of someone you know.  All major ecard websites require that info.  If you don’t see a name you recognize…delete it.  Secret admirers can be a pain in the butt anyway.

Fixing Flash Player Plugin for Internet Explorer Issue

If you have been having issues getting the Flash Player Plugin to work in Internet Explorer 7 or 6, then I might have a solution that works…at least it did for me! I gathered the following steps from various Adobe technotes and have rearranged the order of them finally worked on my setup with Windows XP.

My original pain began when I upgraded to Adobe CS3 Master Collection. As soon as I upgraded to CS3, Flash Player stopped working in Internet Explorer while it worked perfectly in Firefox…..aaaahhhhh Firefox….how I love thee. So my search began for a fix. I uninstalled, reinstalled, clean uninstalled, removed the ActiveX control, etc etc. I scoured forums, blogs, technotes, etc only to end up with the same result…Flash player working perfectly in Firefox but not Internet Explorer 7.

I FINALLY got everything working perfectly after a few simple steps, which I outline below, but I will say that I uninstalled IE7 and did the steps with IE6 and then reinstalled IE7 after everything was working. I don’t know if this helped to fix the situation, but I wanted to mention that before we get started. If the following steps don’t work, then try uninstalling IE7 (by going to Add/Remove Programs and removing Internet Explorer 7 from there).

Alright…here we go!
Continue reading ‘Fixing Flash Player Plugin for Internet Explorer Issue’

PHP & mySQL Ecommerce Software

I’ve worked on quite a few ecommerce and have used numerous software packages to set them up such as miva, candypress, zen cart, osCommerce, etc. What has frustrated me to no end is that there has never been a solid php & mysql shopping cart available…that I could find and be happy with. Well…it looks like my search is coming to an end! I’ve been tracking a new shopping cart software by Interspire that looks to be everything I have been looking for in a shopping cart package. It is currently in beta, but they constantly update their StoreSuite Blog with updates, videos, feedback, and all sorts of stuff that has me itchin’ like a kid counting down to Christmas.

Some of the features I’m stoked about are:

  • php & mysql!
  • Sweet Drag & Drop design mode
  • Shipping integration
  • Template driven to separate the content from design
  • SEO Friendly!!!! The URLs it generate are simply…yummy
  • AJAX used to enhance experience
  • Even the default layout they show blows away just about every other shopping cart software package I’ve ever seen

StoreSuite Shopping Cart Software
If you have an Ecommerce project coming up, I highly suggest you bookmark the StoreSuite shopping cart software by Interspire. You’ll be seeing a lot of websites using this in the near future. I can’t wait to set some of my own projects up with this!

Your Digital Resume Can Make or Break You

This is something that needs to be taught in grade school these days. I have seen many careers created and destroyed because of this issue and many people still go through their lives blissfully ignorant to how this will affect them down the road.

What am I talking about? Your digital resume. “What is a digital resume?” you might ask. Well, think of it as everything you do online that can be viewed by others. This includes MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, forums, websites where you leave comments, etc. ANYthing of yours online that can be seen by others is your digital resume. It is you and how your employers, clients, and customers will perceive you whether it’s the “real” you or not…to them it’s the real you. Period.

I’ve unfortunately worked on projects in the past where people were either fired or not hired based on certain activities they were involved in online. How were they discovered? Simple…just searched for their name on various sites. You might think you can be sneaky and use a nickname, but you’re going to slip up somewhere and that nickname is going to be linked to your real name…then the trail starts. It’s up to you how that trail looks. I can’t stress it enough to be conscious of what you do online. You may not give a hoot what people think about you and you may make a living going through life with that attitude, but just be aware that you’re not “hiding behind a computer screen” lobbing out an “online lifestyle” that is “different” that your real life. To people that come in your life down the road…the two are the same.

On the other hand…use your “digital resume” as a tool to build a foundation for where you want to be down the road. Participate on sites, forums, groups, etc that parallel your plans. Leave a trail that shows how you got to where you are today. The people you communicate with and that see your activity may end up being the people who pay for that roof over your head and the food on your table. Don’t lose site of that.

Remember this…perception is reality…especially in the online world. What you do will be seen by someone important to you down the road. It’s up to you as to how they will react.

The Future of AiO Students

Some of you may have wondered what has happened to this site as it was a great hangout for the students of The Art Institute Online. Well, the sad truth is that I got my degree, moved to a new state, started a new job, got married, bought a house, fixed up said house, and now my wife and I are expecting our first child! WHEW. So yeah, all of that happened in about 6 months. Needless to say, I’ve neglected this site and everything I had planned for it…BUT…I didn’t forget about it.

I have closed the forum off to new registrations, but I’ve left it open to view as it has a lot of great info about The Art Institute Online and the various fields of study. I don’t know what type of forum the Art Institute offers the students outside of class these days, but hopefully there’s something. I started the forums here simply because AiO didn’t offer anything like it at the time. They have since started Talk-On (the official school forums) and I hope it’s still up…because I’m retiring these forums. This was the first forum up and I like to think it sparked AiO’s desire to put together an official one…if not…oh well, let me think that anyway.

What I do have planned for this site, though, is something I hope many people will benefit from. I’ve been in the multimedia industry since around 1996 and have learned quite a bit that I want to share…specifically about interactive media. I’m going to share a ton of information moving forward that will definitely help anyone interested in interactive media and internet marketing.

If you’re thinking of attending The Art Institute Online…scan these articles and browse the forums to get the full scoop.

If you’re already attending…well…get your degree there and I’ll help you get an education. 😉

If you’re an alumni…CONGRATS! Now the real fun begins.

Buckle up with me and hang on…this will be a fun ride.

Plan and Track Assignments in Classes

Most students at The Art Institute Online have hectic lives outside of class, which makes it difficult to keep track of all of the assignments, due dates, and whether or not they have even been done! If you suffer from icantkeeptrackofmyassignmentsphobia then this little application may be just what you need. Logan Rockmore has developed Assignment Planner, which lets you…well…track assignments. His site says:

Assignment Planner is an application which allows you to keep track of homework assignments for a number of different courses. It includes features that allow you to display only those assignments that are yet to be completed, add information to all your assignments, courses and textbooks for reference, filter assignments by their type, color code assignments by a number of different criteria, and much more. you can also export your assignments to a text file or to iCal, to easily view your assignments from your iPod.

Assignment Planner

Swing on over to and check out a nice way to keep track of your assignments in classes.

10,000 Free Fonts

Better Fonts – Great collection of 10,000 free fonts