Generally Speaking With A Client

Earth from space - Generally Speaking With A Client - Small Business, marketing and web design blog There is this phrase that I use like it’s a word parasite – “generally speaking”. I use it quite often when I need to point to a big picture. Get on a same page. Explain something in general or layman terms. Simplify things.

Interesting enough, most clients don’t quite get that big picture. Like for example this guy who wanted a six-page web site to sell about 2000 items of merchandise. Not a biggie. Or another group of partners who calculated the industry’s average price per page, then rearranged the information on the site so it would fit into their budget. Then started calling web design studios (us included) to ask for a quote on few pages worth of web site. Turned out they were trying to get a system the size of a Amazon into those few pages.

If you look at any advertising – you can also see what I mean. For example, look at any shampoo ad. You can see a bottle of product, the hair (that most likely belongs to an attractive woman), the zoomed animation that shows how hair is restored by use of shampoo, and all the other stuff. But you are not being sold the bottle of shampoo. Ad doesn’t even try to sell you that bottle, rather it sells you the ability to be attractive, to get that sex appeal. In other words – it sells you happiness, achievable easier than ever by purchasing just that one bottle. If you buy two – there’s a discount available, so it comes with even more happiness. Generally speaking – by buying a bottle of shampoo you are buying happiness. There, now you have it.

Ability to be “generally speaking” is quite rare, as I have found out. Most of the times when I hear someone “generally speaking” I tend to get very quiet and listen. It’s about the big picture, so it must be important.


Hacking WordPress theme – external URL for post title

Sometimes something weird happens – I demand something that isn’t available. With software it’s easy (that’s how I got into computers), you dig in the code and you tweak and hack around until it does what you want.

When I just started this blog on Blogger quite a while ago, there was this feature that allowed to set up a link for your title – in case if you don’t want the title of the post to link to external resource. Why would you do it – whole another story, but it was just possible. With WordPress, even matured to version 2.3, it is still not.

I have decided to dig in and figure out how to do it with as least effort as possible. I have no idea how to build a WordPress plugin yet and I didn’t really have time to figure that out. So I decided to go hacking. Through various resources on the web I figured what needed to be hacked and how. Initial idea was to leave core files untouched and hack the theme only, so any time you upgrade your WordPress installation the feature remained untouched.

The only two places you will need to touch are functions.php and main index file of your template. This is such an easy process that almost any can do it in under 15 minutes.


Home Surveillance System (Part 2)

Panasonic BB-HGW700A Network Camera Router (Home Surveillance System – Part 1)

The good thing about Linksys router is that it still shows all the reserved IPs, even without the actual name of the device. So with only two unnamed devices (somehow iPhone didn’t get a name on the connected devices list) it was pretty easy to figure out what is what. Overall process of setting up three cameras for camera portal was pretty easy, but I stumbled on getting to view cameras from Internet. The default setting that is being picked up by the camera is that of the network you are setting the whole system up. Which basically means – your local network. So whenever I was trying to access the camera from outside I was still being thrown to 192.168.1.something address.

With some additional tweaking (your settings could be different, so I am not posting mine here) I was able to get everything to work together. Because of firewall restrictions at work I was not able to utilize Camera Portal to its full extent. Instead, I keep accessing all three cameras individually, at the same address with different port numbers. Initially, the ActiveX component wasn’t favoring Internet Explorer 7 (no problems with IE 6 though, strange), but it seem to be working alright lately. For Firefox/Opera browsers the Java applet used instead. I had mixed results with it as it could work and fail on a same computer at different times.

So the whole set up is now consists of:

Cameras transmit video in up to 640×480 resolution, but 320×240 is preferred. Camera’s also have built-in microphone, so mind the bandwidth if you go with higher quality settings for both video and audio. The quality is on par with or a little below regular cell phone camera, but you didn’t expect to make movies with these cameras, didn’t you?

Two of the cameras are set up on the tabletop tripod with mini ball head – I got the cheapest they had. Just make sure the camera stands firmly on it. Third camera doesn’t have any stand and just sits on the shelf. Thanks to the large dip in the back, wires don’t get in a way.

Overall I am very happy with my system. There are some glitches, though. Sometimes the video just freezes completely, although sound is coming though. Panning or zoom don’t work altogether, so you have to reload the page to get video right.

Panasonic also has a recording software that works with their cameras, but since I didn’t really need it yet – I can’t justify the cost of buying it.