Apr 30 2012

The lure of wordpress

The lure of WordPress is that the common folk, so to speak, can put up their website and maintain it, with ease.

I fell for that hype, and didn’t offer WordPress websites for quite some time for my clients, preferring to build them in css and html, as though that was better.  I thought anything that simple would only bread simple looking sites, and some sites you can spot as WordPress, even today, as though whomever put up the site didn’t bother to make any changes to the basic theme.

But, as WordPress got better and better, I no longer  ask if they would like it in WordPress, I just give it to them that way, and let them know they can have a blog, or they don’t have to have a blog, almost as though the blog is an afterthought of the whole site.

We are now up to 3.3.2, and each update has made it easier for my clients to maintain their own site, if they want to, or just turn it over to me to maintain because they don’t have the time.


Jun 4 2010

It’s all been said before

I was getting ready to write  a post about how clients don’t understand the difference between stock photography and the images that they find when they search on Google. Not that I thought it was going to be brilliant, but I hadn’t run into it before. Then I cam across Clients from Hell. My gosh, I am so glad I have good clients. Even the client that asked about using the Google images was asking because he didn’t know any better, and was ok once he was told about copyright.

If nothing else, reading some of these makes me realize just how pleasant and reasonable my clients really are. :)

Jul 16 2009

Rule of 4, or you can’t print 9 pages of a brochure

The problem with people coming into graphic design through the web is that they never have to formally print out a document, with a printing press, bound and scored and stitched, and all that stuff.

Before I sat down to write this post, I did a quick search to see if anyone had written about this. Strangely, the things I came up with were other problems people have had getting stuff ready for print, but not this one, such as on this blog for 5 rules of for the common man. Yes, you need to have at least 300 dpi, yes you need fonts, but heck, you can’t break the laws of physics, as I kept trying to explain with a recent client who kept insisting he could do the impossible.

So, what is the rule of 4? Take a piece of paper and fold it in half. How many sides do you have? Don’t come back and tell me two or three. You have four, and each page that you want to print must have four sides, as the brochure will be printed in spreads. This page, of “ask andy” explains it well, showing which pages go to which pages.

My main point, is that, if you want to, you can print 10 pages, but that would mean one page would be loose, and would not bind into the brochure, and most people don’t want that. They do not want a brochure to have pages flying out of them.

I spent the better part of 15 minutes or so trying to explain this to my client, and he insisted he would find a printer would would give him his 9 page brochure.

He came back later, and said, eh, I think I’ll go with your idea of 8 pages.

Guess he spoke to a printer.

Jun 29 2009

Hey, Amazon, I don’t want to buy a book about WordPress 2.7

Usually Amazon follows what I have bought, and gets it mostly right. The other day, I got a notice that, wow, a book on WordPress 2.7 was coming out soon, would I like it.

There are several things wrong here, but the main thing is…Wordpress 2.8 is out already. It came out shortly after WordCamp, back a few weeks ago. Most books get written while the product is in alpha or beta (as I did when I wrote a book about PageMaker, low those many years ago when it was the big thing.) I am a little surprised that someone wrote a WordPress book without speaking to the people at wordpress, at least to get copies of the latest and greatest.

But, no, doing a search of Amazon brings up not only books about 2.7, but second edition books about 2.7. And I suppose most people won’t notice that it is the not the latest version, and although there are major changes, the look of the dashboard is pretty much the same.

WordPress, a non-profit, could probably make a lot of money if they came out with books when the versions were released, but on the other hand, people who would be most interested wouldn’t think about buying those books, they would rather just read what they can on-line.

Me, I do like to have a reference guide around, I have several about CSS, but sometimes I wonder if it wouldn’t be easier just to have something bookmarked.

Apr 26 2009

Stores are gone, when you don’t support and them, and even when you do

Even before the economy started going south, it was hard for small businesses to survive. My favorite bookstore closed a few years back, and I still miss it. A Habitat for Humanity is in the same space now. One of the things the owner reminded me, when she was closing down, was that if every person who walked into the store just bought one thing, she might still have been in business.

Since then, I have made sure that if I walk into a store I want to remain, I busy something. Only thing is, having me as a patron is not enough. My favorite yarn store closed in January. I spent quite a bit of time and money there, and miss it horribly. It is odd to think that I can't just run down and buy new yarn any time I want. I now have to drive all the way into Santa Cruz to find what I want.

I was reminded of vanishing stores when my morris team was creating our new vests. We had thought we had many shops to choose from for material, but found that all but a few had closed, so we didn't have quite the variety in vests that we had wanted. One member said that an auto shop that he liked to go to had closed as well.

There is no real solution, other then to shop local, something I believed in even before the recession, and believe in even more these days.

Apr 14 2009

Office Max and prices

OK, I'm sure there is a reason for this, such a cookies, or some such stuff, and perhaps this is the way the internet is, but I still think it is sneaky and underhanded.

I got a coupon in the mail, you know, the deadtree version, and it gave me a $30 off my next order from OfficeMax. Oh, boy, I thought.I need a new printer cartridge, I'll order that and get it sent with my coupon. So I logged onto OfficeMax, and got ready to place my order, when I thought, that is odd, it seems more expensive then I recall it being, and got ready to place my order, when my browser crashed, so I went to my laptop, and logged in, and noticed the price was less expensive, because I had not logged in. I was ordering an HP Color LaserJet 06570A Black Toner Cartridge that had been $161 when I was logged in, and was now $154.99. 

What kind of sh*t is that? When I logged in, the price jumped up to the $161, but since I had a coupon for $30 off, I at least paid less then the $154.99, but why give me a false sense of savings?  I would still have gotten the free shipping, either way.

I would rather that they played fair instead of pulling this kind of thing on me. 

It will think twice before I order again from them.

Nov 15 2004

Doing chores when you have a home office

I love reading Jeff Opdyke’s Sunday column from the Wall Street Journal. His advice is very common place, not telling you to invest a million dollars here or there, but things like starting a college account for your kid. This weeks column was talking about something that I have had to struggle with since I went freelance, i.e. how many chores should you do when you are working at home? How do you balance work and home chores?

I first ran into this when I was on maternity leave. I worked part time, for about half of the leave, because I couldn’t afford to go on disability. It didn’t pay well enough. While I worked at home, for those eight weeks or so, I did the chores, because I could and I was there. When I went back to working full time, in an office, we noticed that things were getting done. That’s when we brought in a housekeeper. When I went full-time freelance about 2 and a half years later, we still had the housekeeper, so I could concentrate on my work, and not on my house-hold chores.

Jeff writes (and the Wall Street Journal is subscription only, or I would link to it here) that when he started working at home, his wife expected him to pick up the slack, to do the things like laundry and cooking that he wouldn’t have had time to do or been able to do if he were working in an office away from home. He hasn’t even gotten to teachers expecting that he can go on field trips with their kids, or doing volunteer work in the classroom for them. He just mentioned doing the shopping or starting dinner.

It is a hard call. He said if it couldn’t be done in an office, he shouldn’t have to do it. I think if it takes all of five minutes, it’s OK. I don’t believe in going shopping during the day, as that takes away too much time, but running the laundry, or starting dinner, that is easy and can be started and left alone so you can go back to work.

He argues that if it is something like a sick child that the balance should be whomever has the less hectic day. But for me, I don’t mind having my sick kid at home with me when I work, as it isn’t that much trouble.

Apr 20 2004

Junk Fax

Did you think you were the only one getting all those junk faxes? No you are not alone, according to an Action Line column in the San Jose Mercury News. I get about five or six a week, but just thought, oh that is annoying. It is the price I pay for having a home business and a home fax, but this article opened my eyes. Dennis Rockstroh said he felt our pain, and that it was against the law to send junk faxes, but we are up against a big machine, so he suggested we check out the website called “Junk Fax“.

This is a scary site, because it basically says we are at war with an enemy that has an automatic dial that adds you to their list if their fax meets your fax. According to the site’s FAQs, you should save every junk fax you get. This is because most faxes came from one company and if you save them you can sue them to stop them. This is a fascinating part of the site, and I had one fax (as I keep throwing them away) and sure enough, it did come from Fax.com. Action Line, as well as the Junk Fax website, both suggest you resister with the Junk Fax site to help stop getting junk fax.

And you thought Spam was bad. Faxes are bad because they use up your toner and your paper, and are just annoying. I have had times when a fax is sitting in front of one from a client, so I don’t see it, because I didn’t remove it, expecting to just throw it away.

So save your junk faxes, and sue the SOBs.