Archive for the 'Tips and Tricks' Category

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 85.12.43.83 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 http://www.malwarebytes.org/ 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 postcard.zip .  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!
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Create Free Flow Charts and Diagrams

Free Flow Charts and Diagrams There are numerous times that The Art Institute Online requires students to create flowcharts or diagrams for projects, which leaves a student wondering what to use. I have been known to just use Photoshop and create my own from scratch, but there is an easier way to create flowcharts and diagrams…and it’s FREE! I came across Gliffy.com recently and it seems to be a easy to use and free website that can get the job done. The tools to create the diagrams and flow charts are easy to use and it allows you to print, save as a file, and share your designs.

So if you’re needing a quick, easy and free way to put some charts or diagrams together, check out Gliffy.com!

Amazon.com Customer Service Phone Number

If you have ever tried finding Amazon.com’s customer service phone number, you probably know that it’s harder to find than an honest politician. I needed to speak to a human at Amazon a few months back and went digging for the elusive Amazon.com phone number. Luckily I found it and was able to get a human…who spoke my language…clearly! I’ve had to call Amazon.com twice since then and each call has been among the best customer service experiences that I’ve dealt with lately. Save this number somewhere safe and hope that you never need it!

800-201-7575

Google Introduces Picasa Web

Picasa LogoGoogle has just released a web companion to their popular Picasa software, which looks to be a competitor to Yahoo!’s flickr. The new service is called Picasa Web and is available for free by invitation only at the moment. If you have a Gmail account, you can request an invitation at the Picasa Web site.

Some of the features that Google mentions are:

  • One-click web upload using Picasa’s new “Web Albumâ€? button
  • Free storage space to post and share approximately 1000 photos, with the option to upgrade to more space
  • High-quality photos, automatically resized and optimized to fill available screen space
  • Pre-loaded images enable quick scrolling using arrow keys, and mimic a desktop experience of “flippingâ€? through photos, even on the web
  • End-to-end photo management that makes it easy to download uploaded photos back to your computer

Google even has a sample web album available to see what it looks like.

Picasa Web

I noticed the ability to add comments to photos, show camera data, view as slideshow, download images, and even subscribe to RSS feeds of albums. I have always loved Picasa and I think this will be a great addition to Google’s apps. I’m not sure how many people will abandon flickr, but this is a great starting point for Google to test the waters.

If you don’t have Picasa, I highly recommend it. You can download it by clicking the “Get Google’s Photo Software” button on the right of this page.

If any of you have an account with Picasa Web and have given it a try please share your thoughts!

The Website Marketing Bible

Website Marketing BibleThose of you that know me, trust that I would not feed you a bunch of junk to waste your time and money. So please trust me as I checked this out thoroughly before posting it. Having gone through the bachelor program of Interactive Media Design at The Art Institute Online, I felt like they left one key ingredient out of their curriculum: Marketing. Some classes may have an assignment or two that touch on it, but there just was not enough information to really create successful websites. I’ve somewhat learned on my own through the years with the help of websites, books, forums, friends, etc, but there was always a lack of one really good source of information it seemed. I came across something this week that I wish I had seen years ago. It’s called the Website Marketing Bible and was created by Michael Cheney (a wiry, British guy who knows his stuff). I’m one of the biggest skeptics in the world (especially when it comes to products online), but I have to give this guy and his products a hand…they contain a lot of killer information…if you can ignore the design of his loooooong home pages.

The best part of it is, a lot of it is free! He has seven free videos that you can watch online and all of them are worth your time if you’re serious about creating successful websites. He even has AdSense videos available if you’re into that as well!

I’m not the “know-it-all” type of guy, but I really thought I knew most of the basics for website marketing. I watched his videos, though, and walked away humbled and energized about the possibilities of what I’ve been missing out on. I’ve immediately applied some of the information he offers to the websites for my employer and have already seen an increase in traffic. This is simply something that should be included in a class at The Art Institute Online, because this is arguably some of the most valuable information for any successful website.

Here are some topics that are covered:

  • Search Engine Optimization (Keywords, Content, etc)
  • Reciprocal Links (The importance of having websites link to you)
  • Monetizing Your Website
  • Marketing Trends

As basic as those sound, they have tons of small details in each that you probably don’t know about (I didn’t). The free videos are a taste of his Website Marketing Bible that he sells for $97. That’s less than 10% of a single Art Institute Online class and it has a ton of much more useful information about marketing! Believe me…I’ve experienced both! If you’re creating any website, you really can’t afford to not watch the free videos. It’s the perfect compliment to the Interactive Media Design program…and is a perfect tool for anyone working with website marketing.

Web Development Cheat Sheets

Pete Freitag has put together an awesome list of cheat sheets for just about anything dealing with web development. Some of the lists are:

  • CSS
  • HTML
  • XHTML
  • Javascript
  • MySQL

There are a lot more listed, so check out his site to see the list and grab the cheat sheets.

Easy MLA and APA Citation Generators

Sometimes the most difficult part of writing a paper is citing the sources properly in the end. First you have to decide whether it’s MLA or APA citations and then try and remember what format goes with which. You may have written the best essay in the world only to get docked points for incorrectly citing sources. Luckily the internet has once again come to the rescue. There are two great cites that will help you generate proper citations for both MLA and APA formats. All you have to do is put the info of your source into some form fields and it spits out the proper citation in an instant…for free!

Citation Machine provides an easy way to quickly create both MLA and APA citations. They have updated the generator and dubbed it “Son of Citation Machine” and it now includes support for multiple authors. This is my personal recommendation for MLA and APA citation generators as it is easy, accurate, and FREE!

EasyBib helps you create a bibliography in MLA format and allows you to add multiple authors, which is a plus. They have a “pro” version that provides more features and even does APA style citations. It’s only $7.99 a year, so it may be worth it to those you that have to write a lot of papers.

Both sites are great for taking the drag out creating citations. They provide both MLA and APA citation formats for citing books, magazines, movies, websites, interviews, and so much more. If you know of any others, share them in the comments below!

Ultimate Spell Check Tool for Classes

The new eCollege platform provides a nifty little spell check tool to use when creating posts, but many of you have said that it is weak a bit lacking. Well, fortunately there is a better tool available! Google’s toolbar available for Firefox and Internet Explorer provides an excellent way to spell check your posts. I created a simple video demonstration of how it works, which you can check out below. You basically type up your post, click the little “ABC” button on the Google toolbar and it will “highlight” all of the words that it thinks is spelled wrong. You then click on the word and it has a dropdown menu of suggestions. You can either select a word from the list or tell it that the word is actually spelled correctly so that it doesn’t highlight it any more. It’s the best and fastest way (that I have found) to spell check posts.
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Officially Boot Windows XP on a Mac

Boot Windows on a MacApple has released a beta application dubbed “Boot Camp” that will officially allow owners of the new Intel-powered Macs to boot Windows XP. This opens up a whole new market for Apple as their hardware will now run Windows XP and Windows-based applications. As a developer/designer I am often switching between my Mac and PC to test out designs, scripts, etc to make certain they look and work the same on both platforms. I also use applications that either run on just a Mac or a PC, but now I can have the best of both worlds…on one computer!

This is a huge move by Apple that is certain to appeal to many people that haven’t gotten their feet wet with Macs yet. The word on the street is extremely positive as well as Apple stock is currently up 9% today as of this writing with almost double the volume that it normally has in a single day.

Here are some links to other articles about Boot Camp:

Apple also mentions this on the Boot Camp page about running Windows XP on a Mac:

Word to the Wise
Windows running on a Mac is like Windows running on a PC. That means it’ll be subject to the same attacks that plague the Windows world. So be sure to keep it updated with the latest Microsoft Windows security fixes.

In other words…Apple isn’t going to help you deal with the junk that infects Windows computers…you’re on your own! Enjoy!

Boot Windows on a Mac