This is a quick tip. If you experience too much jaggies or pixelation when scaling a bitmap image up or down, try Perfect Resize from OnOneSoftware. It comes either as a stand alone program or as a plugin for Photoshop and other graphics software. In some instances, it does a much better job than Photoshop’s resizing feature. The company offers a 30 day fully functional download.
The other day I was shopping online for a specific type of a sweatshirt. I typically do not buy clothes or shoes online. I have to see them, feel them and try them on. I am pretty particular of what I wear. Most importantly, the item has to be comfortable. I can’t determine this by shopping online.
The sweatshirt I wanted is a microfleece, full zip, with zipped side pockets. I couldn’t find one in local stores so I went online. I like microfleece because it’s warm but not too warm like a regular fleece and it’s thinner which is more comfortable to wear. It’s full zip because if I am cold, the full zip is on and if I feel too warm, I can unzip it to let more air in. I need side pockets because I prefer to put my stuff (cell phone, MP3 player and earphone, car keys.. etc.) in them instead of in my pants pockets which I prefer to have them empty. The pockets have a zipper so nothing falls off when I take the sweatshirt off and on. I find the whole set up pretty handy, accessible and comfortable.
Anyway, let’s get into the purpose of this post. I came across some shopping sites which have issues in their way of displaying an item which is in stock but have certain colors/styles/sizes which are not. My favorite ecommerce site, Amazon.com, wasn’t clear about the availability of different sizes. For an item of interest, all I saw was a single size, small. I wasn’t sure if the item is offered in that size only, or if the other sizes are out of stock and that’s why they don’t show up. Should I check again later? I would have preferred if they displayed all the sizes and for the ones which are out of stock, they could have displayed some kind of notification. Example shown below.
Sears.com has the same issue. Only one size showing and no additional information about other size availability.
In my search among ecommerce sites, I came across a site which, in my opinion, did it correctly. All the information is presented upfront. No guessing or ambiguous information. If shipping will be late or a size is out of stock, this information is presented in the style/size/color selection dialog. Very well done. One of the main tenants of good web usability is presenting all necessary information clearly.
I was researching some commercial Magento themes (templates) this week. Magento is a PHP based e-commerce (shopping cart) solution. My favorite site for providing templates is Themeforest. They have affordable high quality mostly web 2.0 style themes. The site itself is very clean, high quality, simple yet very usable. I sorted the Magento themes by number of sales. This usually means the first themes in the result listing are of polished high quality themes and that’s why they sell well. One statistic Themeforest provides for each theme is the number of sales. I looked at the first theme, Fortis and quickly determined the revenue:
Price $80 x # sold 1639 (as of now) = $131,120. Wow! That’s a lot of money from selling a single digital product. The template was added to Themeforest on March 6th, 2012. Not bad for less than a year display and more to come.
minus Themeforest’s average commission, say 35%, what’s left is $85,228 (rates schedule)
minus taxes, pure profit is at least $50,000.
What do I do to reward myself from a side job which put $50,000 in my pocket?
A brand new exciting Tesla model S car!
So if you want to make some extra money and you’re a good web designer, consider selling templates. Not just html templates but a full theme for a CMS or shopping cart or platform. These templates sell for more and have less competition.
In this post I will describe how to unbend those tiny hard to see pins on an LGA 2011 motherboard socket. I accidently pressed down a few pins on a LGA 2011 socket. When looking at all pins, I noticed a group of pins had a slightly different color from the rest of the pins. This is due to the different position of the pins and how they reflect light.I noticed this and but went ahead placing the CPU in the socket hoping everything would still go fine and the computer start up as normal. Sadly, this didn’t happen.
The computer kept rebooting every 10 seconds after startup. I figured this had to do with socket's pins being not in full contact with the contacts on the CPU. The pins on the sockets are very small and hard to see with the naked eye. I decided I needed a magnifier and a tool to work on each tiny pin individually.
Tools for the job:
1- 30x magnifier. The pins are so small that your typical 3-5x magnifier won't be enough to see them. I got the ‘SE 10X 20X 30X 21mm Chrome Loupes Pocket Magnifier New 3Pc’ from Amazon for $6.99. Great price!
2- Wiha 44501 Stainless Steel Fine Point Professional ESD Precision Tech Tweezers with Static Dissipative Grip and Hypo Allergenic, 130mm Overall Length
from Amazon for $13.79.
I used the magnifier and tweezers to raise and unbend each of those pins. I put the CPU back and started the computer.
The computer never rebooted by itself and I was happy my first troubleshooting fixed it. I was worried I had to get another motherboard.
I upgraded BlogEngine, the software which runs the blog, to the latest v2.7. The major enhancement is the extension-less URLs. So no more .aspx extension. The BlogEngine website mentions a security fix also.
The look of the website is still the same.
I haven’t been blogging since May (about 7 months) and I got a new computer since then. I use Microsoft Live Writer for writing this blog. When I tried to install Windows Essentials, and chose Live Writer only, I got an error during installation. It was error 0x80040605 and the source was wllogin-amd64. I looked at the installation log at C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\WLSetup\Logs and looked for the first occurrence of an error and it was error downloading wllogin-amd64 file. I am running the offline installer which means all files should be included in the msi file. Downloading in a log file sometimes does not mean doing an actual download of a file over the Internet. It could mean searching and getting the file locally.
I did some research on the web and read about similar issues and tried some troubleshooting tips. The annoying part is I would the same error every time I repeat the install but with a different source! Sometimes it’s crt110-i386 or Watson-x64 or d3dx10-i386. This is confusing when the source changes randomly. It’s not straightforward to troubleshoot when different errors occur for the same action. One time it was another error than 0x80040605.
I decided that doing research and reading a lot will be more productive. When I do a web research, I include Chinese pages translated into English. Google automatically provides translated web pages in their search results. I came across a tip which solved my problem which I found in one of the Chinese sites.
I logged in using a different admin user and the installation went through without a hitch. I relogged in into my normal admin account and Live Writer worked just fine. I don't have an explanation why the earlier installation didn't finish properly other than something running under my regular account was inteferring with the installation.
The above picture is a form with two text boxes. The email one should be longer to accommodate longer email addresses. This form had nothing to its right side, just empty space. There was no reason to not give it some extra width so that most email addresses can be shown fully.
I learned about B_Kam.com, an Egyptian comparison shopping site, through an article on ArabCrunch. I decided to check it out. I wasn’t surprised to find many usability issues with the site.
If you are building a website, you should avoid these common mistakes:
- Forcing iPad users to go to the mobile site version. I used an iPad to go to the site and the first thing I saw was a settings page which was developed using jQuery Mobile, a UI Framework for mobile devices. There was no option to use the full site version. When I chose English and hit ‘Save’, the page didn’t redirect. Treat iPad users as non mobile users. The iPad is not a mobile phone device or treated like one. It has a much larger screen. Many small netbooks have similar sized screens and no site treats them with mobile versions. A users should always be able to switch between the full (desktop) and mobile versions at will. Most smart phones have full browsers HTML5 capable browsers. The fact that a mobile version can have severe limitations where many functionalities are not present does not help.
- Grammar and spelling mistakes. This shows poor quality and unprofessional look. You should have a QA person or a reviewer who checks every page and functionality and test as many edge cases as possible. The text in this dialog box has 3 issues.
I prefer to leave the search keyword in the textbox after displaying the search results. I would have it highlighted with focus. This way it serves it could serve the whole audience. For the user who wants to enter a new word, they can start typing and the old word is deleted. For the user who mistyped a long word, they can fix the mistyping instead of retyping the word.
I spend a lot of development time in Visual Studio (VS) and I am a fan of using any product which increases my productivity and makes my work more fun. That's why I use products like Resharper, Tabs Studio & Mole 2010. These are commercial products I purchased. I also use some free add-ons like RightHand Dataset Visualizer which is the best dataset visualizer around. (Even though it's 35M! The author uses third party components which are packaged into a single dll)
Recently I came across a new add-on called BugAid from bugaidsoftware.com. It's an add-on for Visual Studio's debugger inline watch and adds some nice features to it. It's still in beta and this review is based on version 0.5.1206.6134_456.
Some of the features which BugAid adds:
- Star important members. Show properties you're interested in at the top of the watch window including properties from base classes. More...