Category Archives: Technology

Design and technology. Friends forever. The technology category is full of gadgets and gizmos that have proven to improve our work and life.

If you’ve read this blog, you know I rarely rave or try to sell you something. I usually just report the facts, tell you what I think it means and let you decide if the information is useful.

Today I am raving. Sorry in advance.

The Problem

I’ve recently started using 1Password to store all my information. As a freelancer as well as a full-time employee, I have a similar set-up in my home office and at work. I use the same hardware and software, and access the same servers and require the same information from both locations. This information is now available to me anywhere and it’s changed the way I work.

1password Welcome Screen



Previous to using 1Password, I stored hosting information and CMS logins for all my clients, third-party web application passwords, and anything of historical importance in a secret binder locked away in the filing cabinet. To access it was painful, to access it remotely was impossible. I needed a solution.

The solution I was looking for needed to be digital so I could access and copy/paste usernames and passwords quickly. The solution needed to be secure and it needed to be accessible online.

The Solution

1password is a traditional software application for Mac or Windows with browser extensions (and mobile apps). The software is a repository for everything you use online and off. It stores website logins, FTP servers, secure notes, payment information and even software licenses. You can add this information manually or let it capture the information the first time you login to a website. When you need a password, either auto-fill your information in your browser or copy and paste the hidden information from the application itself.

This is not only a solution for daily access issues but it’s also a long term storage application for information you never want to lose. 1password information is encrypted and stored locally. For remote access to your data, you can easily sync with Dropbox which opens up an HTML based interface that is very similar to the look and feel of the application – which is super nice.

At first I was wary about security, but as I considered the digital alternatives to printed information, there were no better options than what I’ve found using this solution. Agile offers another application called Knox – a military grade vault creator which can go the extra mile to alleviate security concerns if you are looking for extra peace of mind. Using the secure password generator that comes with the application to create passwords, is one of the best things you can do to prevent thievery.

Stored Passwords



Browser Extensions/Auto-fill options



The End

1Password has a retail price of $39.95 and gives the option of a free 30 day trial. This is the best investment in software I’ve made in a long time. Knowing I can access the keys to my digital life any time I need them is something I can’t put a price on.

If you have any questions, comment away! Sorry for raving. Goodbye.

If you are working on installing WordPress on an ICDSoft hosted website and are carefully following the steps of the 5 minute installation, you will have no doubt run into a Cannot Connect to Database error.

If you have indeed followed all of the instructions up to this point, you would have created a MYSQL database and ensured the user of this database has sufficient access privileges. The reason you are seeing this error is because the path to the Database host on ICDSoft is not the standard path suggested by WordPress.

Ironically, in earlier version of the wp-config file, there is a comment beside the DB_HOST field that says there is a 99% chance you won’t need to change this value. Well, ICDSoft users fall into the 1% category that will have to change this value. The code from the wp-config file is displayed below:

// ** MySQL settings ** //

define(‘DB_NAME’, ‘database_name’); // The name of the database

define(‘DB_USER’, ‘username’); // Your MySQL username

define(‘DB_PASSWORD’, ‘password’); // …and password

define(‘DB_HOST’, ‘localhost:/tmp/mysql5.sock‘); // 99% chance you won’t need to change this value

define(‘DB_CHARSET’, ‘utf8′);

define(‘DB_COLLATE’, ”);

As highlighted in bold, the correct path for the DB_HOST is not localhost, it’s localhost:/tmp/mysql5.sock

Add this to your config file, revisit wp-admin/install.php and you are good to go!

Here’s a promo code for 20% your hosting package if you want: http://www.icdsoft.com/promo-code/ICDsoft20

You don’t need to be a Graphic or Web Designer to appreciate this list of mostly free tools you can use to transfer files, tracks stats, and interact online. Check out this list and add what’s missing.

Mozy

I personally cannot recommend this online back-up service to more people. Mozy is an easy to install program that syncs your computer or multiple computers to a remote server. With unlimited data transfer for $4.95/mo. and the unlimited peace of mind that comes with knowing all your artwork is safe from disaster is a deal you can’t refuse. And if you do refuse this deal, they have a FREE 2GB storage account as well. How can you refuse free?

Dropbox and Dropio

Both Dropbox and Dropio offer you the ability to share files with other people and users. Dropbox gives you the ability to sync files between multiple computers. I use the free 2GB account on a regular basis as I’m typically working between various work stations around the office. Both are easy to use and offer a great way to get your print ready files to the printer.

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Firefox/ColorZilla/Measureit

I’m almost positive that you’ve heard of these extensions for Firefox. Measureit gives you the ability to size up any on-screen object that needs to outfitted with a specific graphic element. Just drag the ruler and take your dimensions to Photoshop. Colorzilla is another useful tool that picks a color off a website for you. Great for matching specific shades.

OpenX

Similar to Google Ad Planner, OpenX is built by a well supported community of open source developers who have created an awesome ad sever for the web environment. Host affiliate ads or paid ads on your site with full control over how often an advertisement displays and to whom it displays. OpenX has been configured to serve ads for our advertising purposes and it comes highly recommended.

Woopra and Click Density

In addition to the mainstay of Analytic world, that being Google Analytics, there are a variety of up and comers that offer stats and behavioral tracking for your websites. Woopra is a free option which offers WordPress implementation through a plug-in. Click Density is another that shows heat map overlays for your sites in an effort to help you discover what content you have is hot and which is not.

Hootsuite

If keeping in touch with tweeps is a priority, check out HootSuite. It’s a Twitter management application that gives you the flexibility to tweet to multiple accounts at once or at a time. You can also track the actions of your followers and create nice looking charts and graphs to put up on your filing cabinet.

TinyChat

Have you been looking for an easy way to video conference or chat with colleagues and clients in a private online environment? Well you’re reading the right post. TinyChat supplies the world with free, disposable online chatrooms. When used carefully, this can be a great tool for video conferencing with a number of people at once. Be forewarned however, that the public chat rooms are unsupervised and can contain some strange and perhaps disturbing behavior.

ProofHQ

Go green, save paper and impress your clients with this online proofing platform. ProofHQ can provide the tools you need to collaborate, revise and approve print proofs or online mock-ups. It’s full of a wide array of functionality that will make you wonder why you didn’t use this service sooner.

What the Font/Font Burner

Met your match with a font that will not be identified? Try uploading it to What the Font. It will detect its distinct characteristics and render a verdict. If this does not provide the desired result you can also post your mystery font to the forum where a number of font enthusiasts will solve the case before you can say “Arial Rounded MT Bold.” Another useful font site is FontBurner which is a service that embeds non web-friendly fonts for easy inclusion on your website.

Icon Finder

If you are on the hunt for an icon, start your search at IconFinder.com. Recently outfitted with a shiny new robot mascot, this site will locate the icon of your dreams in seconds.

Please feel free to make additions to this list in the comments!