Ian Hoar – Passion for Technology – Geeking Out - Technology, Web, Toys, Games, Design, Entertainment, Gadgets, & Geeking Out

Moving your Drupal site and breaking all the links

DrupalThis is a quick tip for anyone moving their Drupal site. I recently moved a development site to a live site and have done this on several occasions only to be left sitting their scratching my head wondering why only the home page of my Drupal site works. Each time after a few minutes it hits me that the .htaccess file is the culprit and that I did not move it. Often if you upload your files via some ftp programs you may not actually be able to see the .htaccess file to upload it. To see it on a Linux/UNIX box type ls -la and it will show up. FileZilla is an open source FTP program that will also do the trick.

So remember after you upload the files to your new server, import your database data and change your database credentials to also bring along your .htaccess file or just grab it from a Drupal package. Hope this saves some of you some head scratching.

Zen Coding – a new way to write HTML lightning fast

Zen BonsaiThe other day I purchased a new editor called Coda. I might review this fantastic little piece of software at a later date, but one of the reasons I purchased it was to use some of the many plugins the community has created for it. One of these plugins has been produced for several editors and could change how you code. It’s called Zen Coding, and it will make you write large chunks of HTML a lighting speeds.

What is Zen Coding?

Zen Coding is hard to explain, but if you have been working with HTML and CSS for awhile now you should be able to pick it up very quickly. It’s easy to learn and best shown by example, so lets start with an example.

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How to fix floated images and list overlap

BugThe other day I was looking at my blog and saw that one of the posts had a left floated image followed by a bulleted list. The problem was that the list was not indenting properly the way it did when next to a paragraph without a floated element. After a bit of searching and hair pulling I found a discussion that solved my problem.

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Anchor links in Gmail and email newsletters

I usually recommend against using anchor links in email newsletters; the reason for this is twofold.

First, when someone is viewing a newsletter their attention span is probably extremely short. They probably want to get onto their next email, but something has triggered their interest in your newsletter. Why waste that interest on jumping them further down the email, this is your chance to grab their attention and hook them into your website. It may be your last chance before they click onto their next email and your website is probably a much richer web experience anyway.

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Photoshop tip: Duplicating Smart Objects

When you duplicate a smart object the way you would duplicate a regular layer, you are not actually making a unique copy of that smart object. Instead you are making a reference to the original smart object. What this means is that if you change the duplicated smart object, the original will change too. This can throw off a lot of people, and even lead one to keep multiple layers in one smart object and toggle the layers as needed.

There is however a simple solution for this. In the layers pallet right click the smart object and instead of clicking Duplicate Layer, click “New Smart Object via Copy” and voila!

New Smart Object via Copy

My own opinion is that it would have been smarter for Adobe to have a “New smart Object via Reference” and have the “Duplicate Layer” act as a unique layer, but maybe there’s a good reason for it being the way it is.

Mac OS X tip: Why can’t I free up space on my USB drive?

Here’s a quick Mac OS X tip: If you fill up your USB drive on a Mac and then delete some files, the Mac OS will not show that space as free and leave you stumped. The reason for this is because the files are still there. This is good, because if you accidentally deleted them you can get them back from your trash bin. If you want to permanently free up this space up for other files, simply empty the files from your trash and voila!

Yahoo! mail paragraph spacing still broken

Yahoo broke it’s paragraph spacing in HTML newsletters a long time ago and still hasn’t fixed it. Usually it’s Hotmail or Outlook 2007 that get all the flack for their wacky email newsletter behavior, but dropping paragraph spacing all together really takes the cake, that’s just bizarre. There’s the age old debate on email newsletters and whether they should even exist, but like it or not they are here to stay and there’s obviously a demand for them. Email clients should at least show the basic tags properly. That said if you make email newsletters like I do, you probably want to know how to fix this.

Styling the paragraph tags

Luckily at least with my tests you don’t need inline styles, so you can use an embedded style sheet at the top of the newsletter. If you have worked with email newsletters for awhile you probably already know that most styles should be made inline, but inlining paragraph tags can be tedious depending how man you have. This fix should work either embedded or inline, so it’s up to you which method you choose.

p {

Option 2:

<p style="margin-bottom:1em;">Your paragraph</p>

This should fix your Yahoo mail paragraph woes, at least until they break change something else.

Could your Gmail account get hacked?

This may be old news to some of people, but it struck me today how much I rely on Gmail and if my account were to be hacked it would be a very painful event. Apparently there are tools that allow people to hack into Google accounts via sniffing cookies. I am really not one to be paranoid about security for the most part. Out of billions of connections per day to a site like Google, the chances of mine be jeopardized are low, but that said, if there is a simple way to make the process safer, why not?
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Document formats like odt and docx and what to do when they won’t open

For as long as I can remember doc format has always been around. The format didn’t really follow any open standards and was even used by WordPerfect in the 1980s. There were compatibility issues from one word processor to another, but for the most part they would open, even if there were formatting errors and everyone was happy.

Over the past couple of years two new open formats have appeared on the scene and they are causing confusion. OpenDocument also known as ODF or by it’s extension odt and Office Open XML or by it’s extension docx. Now in a perfect world you think one of these standards could have been decided on and transferred to the doc extension to make everyone’s life easier, but it’s not a perfect world.

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The mailto syntax; A comma may not work in Outlook Web Access

The mailto syntax is pretty simple, but sometimes you might run into problems with some mail clients (AKA Outlook Web Access). Most of them are very forgiving and you can drop a comma for example right into the body of the mailto and have no problems, but it’s better not to do that. It’s much safer if you use hexadecimal numeric values for your special characters. For example a comma is %2c and a space is %20.

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