Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

How to disaster-proof your photos, music and important documents

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    A very easy way to make sure all your files are backed-up

    A very easy way to make sure all your files are backed-up

    You should always have at least 3 copies of your important files, the mantra says, but it’s not as simple as you’d think!

    If you’ve never had a digital disaster that has meant you’ve lost something important then you’re either very savvy or very lucky as there are a whole host of potential disasters that could mean you lose something important forever.

    The most common potential problem is a ‘dead’ hard drive. The ‘knock of death’ (as it’s known, referring to the clicking noises a dying hard drive makes) might give you a few hours or so notice to get everything backed-up, however, that’s a very risky position to leave yourself in!

    Trying to get information back from a ‘dead’ hard drive is also very expensive and not particularly likely to work either!

    Fires, floods or thefts, etc. are probably less likely but they still mean those important documents are probably gone forever.

    So how do you make sure everything is backed up to the most recent version?

    If you’re mitigating for the worst you’re obviously going to need an offsite copy of everything and an external hard drive seems like the logical solution, doesn’t it? The problem comes when you have to get into a routine of backing up every-day and, besides the time that would take, you still run the risk of the hard drive dying or you still not having the most recent versions of your documents.

    Emailing the documents to yourself is obviously not an option due to the volume of documents and making your computer accessible outside of your office network is a very risky thing to consider!

    The best solution, therefore, is a real-time, off-site, secure backup. This is where Backblaze comes in.

    Backblaze is a little application that sits on your computer and constantly backs up your photos, documents and files in real-time to a secure off-site data centre.

    No need to have any involvement anymore – it just happily sits there checking for new documents, photos and files and then simply transfers them to their secure off-site data centre.

    And if the worst happens, simply log into their site and get your files back.

    The best bit is, however, there is no limit of the amount of storage meaning you’ll never need to worry again!

    I’ve been using automatic off-site backups for years and I can honestly say that Backblaze is the best in terms of price and reliability.

    Backblaze is only £3.25 per month  ($5 USD) complete with unlimited backup and tools to help find your computer in the event of it being stolen.

    Visit this link for more information or to try out Backblaze

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      Written by Chris

      July 4th, 2013 at 10:13 am

      How to reset your Zen Cart ecommerce admin password manually

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        Disclaimer and warning: manually editing your Zen Cart database runs the risk of corrupting your site and losing everything so only attempt this if you’re confident you know what you’re doing and are happy to take the risk. This tutorial is intended as a quick guide and relates for standard Zen Cart installations only. If you have any concerns or are not experienced with PHP MyAdmin, MD5 hashes or editing a database, please ask an expert to do this for you instead. We can’t be held responsible for anything that might go wrong as a result of attempting to fix this yourself.

        If you’d prefer us to manually reset your Zen cart password, get in touch.

        If you’re using Zen Cart and lose your password, for whatever reason, and the ‘resend password’ option isn’t working, it is possible to manually reset your password directly through the database.

        Here is how you do it:

        1. Log in to your Zen Cart database using PHP MyAdmin
        2. Find the ‘admin’ table
        3. Replace the MD5 hash with the following: 351683ea4e19efe34874b501fdbf9792:9b
        4. Go back to the login page on your Zen Cart site and login again using the password ‘admin’

        Once you’re logged in to your site again you’ll need to reset the password straight away to something more secure. Good luck!

        More information on Zen Cart passwords

        An MD5 hash is an algorithm generally to encrypt a password. This algorithm is one-way meaning you can’t de-encrypt the phrase or word from the hash.

        There are, however, several openly available databases allowing you to look up an MD5 hash to find the corresponding word or phrase so this is why it’s very important to choose a complicated string when you pick your password. All the commonly occurring words and common passwords can be easily found but a password that is long, unique and complex will be almost impossible to discover.

        Long, complex passwords are, however, not very user friendly for us humans so many people still decide to go against the advice and choose something simple for their password so one way to get round this problem is by using a ‘salt’

        A ‘salt’ is a word or phrase that is combined with the required password to create the MD5 hash. When you log into your website, this is how the site checked you’ve entered the right password:

        1. Combines what you’ve entered in the ‘password’ field with the predefined ‘salt’
        2. Creates an MD5 hash from this combination
        3. Compares this hash with the correct password hash stored in the database
        4. Match means the password is correct

        Let us know if you need any help with your Zen Cart passwords

         

         

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          Written by Chris

          March 8th, 2013 at 12:33 pm

          Posted in Software,Tutorial

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          How to factory reset your iPhone to erase all data and return to factory settings

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            Tutorial about how to factory reset your iPhone and erase all data (iPhone factory reset)

            Tutorial about how to factory reset your iPhone and erase all data (iPhone factory reset)

            If you’re planning parting company with your iPhone, for whatever reason, you’ll want to erase all the data on it and reset to factory settings. Luckily, the iPhone allows you to this very easily. Read on…

            Tutorial on factory resetting your iPhone to erase all data and return to its factory settings (otherwise known as a ‘factory reset’ to erase all content and settings)

            Warning: this will erase everything including photos, apps and accounts and it’s not possible to undo this. If you do choose to reset your iPhone, I would recommend making sure that everything is backup first!!!

            Here goes…

            1. from your iPhone’s home-screen Go to ‘settings’
            2. Click on ‘general’
            3. At the bottom of the ‘general’ menu click on ‘reset’
            4. Click on ‘erase all content and settings’
            5. If you have a ‘passcode’ you will be prompted to enter it now
            6. Confirm the reset by clicking ‘erase iPhone’

            This process may take up to 2 hours depending on the iPhone version so it may need to plugged in while you reset it

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              Written by Chris

              December 18th, 2012 at 2:26 pm

              R.I.P Adobe Flash Player – August 15th 2012

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                Adobe Flash Player meets it's demise

                Adobe Flash Player meets it’s demise

                Not so long ago, the only way to have a half-decent looking animation on a website was using Adobe Flash.

                Movement and interactive images could help sites engage with their customers and it was therefore a useful tool for some sites.

                Because, at Seven Creative, we have always focussed on creating usable and optimised websites without sacrificing anything to ‘floweriness’, we’ve generally always avoided using Flash or, at least, only ever used it where appropriate. We could see the usefulness of the software for some niche sites, however, the negatives always outweighed any potential gains.

                This is why we could see the impending end of Flash when most of the industry was still using this technology.

                One of the main issues with Flash is that it can’t be read by search engines. Sites that are built this way – or even have areas like their navigation in Flash – will not index for these generally highly important site elements. Opportunities are lost as function is sacrificed to form.

                One of our other main bug niggles with Flash is that you can’t edit it in the way that you can easily edit HTML using a WYSIWYG editor which is why it’s not something we would feel comfortable providing to our customers. Technology has evolved and there are newer and better methods for providing the same level of animation and interaction but with easily editable content.

                Roll on a few years and Apple release their range of mobile devices that don’t support Flash. Suddenly, there are a lot of websites that won’t display properly – if at all – on some mobile devices.

                This shook the industry and signalled the beginning of the end.

                Android – Google’s operating system – is released and initially supported Flash, however, they’ve recently said that, from version 4.1, they’ll no longer be supporting this anachronistic technology.  So, from August 15th 2012, any Android device that does not currently have Flash Player installed will never be able to install it.

                There is no doubt that other browsers will also begin to end support for this technology over the next few years.

                Good news for us and our customers but bad news for the hundreds of thousands of websites out there that rely on Flash.

                You might think that we’re still OK at the moment as this currently only really effects mobile devices, however, they already account for a good chunk of the visitors to most websites and this is only set to increase. This is before you get us started on the missed opportunities in search engine optimisation terms!

                If you want our advice, act now. Dumping Flash might not be such a big issue for most sites and may not require a full rebuild.

                If digital marketing is all about spotting and taking opportunities, seeing an opportunity and ignoring it is madness!

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                  Short-cut to easily clear formatting from text in a Word document

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                    Clearing formatting from a Word document

                    Clearing formatting from a Word document

                    Here is a really simple and easy way to clear formatting from text in a Microsoft Word document, for example, when you’ve cut and pasted from a website or another document

                    Very simply highlight the text, press and hold CTRL then press the ‘space bar’

                    Highlighting the text can be done easily in one of three ways:

                    1. Press CTRL + A to select all
                    2. place the cursor just before the text you’d like to highlight, press and hold the left-mouse button and drag the hightlighted area over the text you’d like to highlight
                    3. Place the cursor at the start of the text you’d like to highlight, press and hold the ‘SHIFT’ button and use the arrow keys to move the highlighted area to the right place
                    Please note, if you’d like to select non-adjoining areas of text at the same time, press and hold the ‘CTRL’ key while you’re selecting text
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                      Written by Chris

                      September 21st, 2011 at 3:00 pm

                      My 3 favourite Chrome extensions (plug-ins)

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                        Here is a list of my 3 favourite Chrome Plug-ins

                        1. Hover Zoom – no need to click on that thumbnail to view it large. Simply install Hover Zoom then all you have to do is hover over the picture and you get a large version. Great for Reddit. Click here: http://bit.ly/ks6NXj

                          Hover Zoom
                          Hover Zoom
                        2. Awesome Screenshot: Capture & Annotate – allows you to capture either the visible area of your screen or the full webpage. You can then annotate it. Very useful for describing  what you can see on your screen to someone else like tech support. Download it from here: http://bit.ly/jqIWEd

                          Awesome Screenshot: Capture & Annotate
                          Awesome Screenshot: Capture & Annotate

                          3. Delicious Tools – sure makes adding a bookmark to Delicious a whole lot easier and quicker. Simply click the button and add the tags. Download it from here: http://bit.ly/kPPFdx

                          Delicious Tools

                          Delicious Tools

                           

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                          Written by Chris

                          June 17th, 2011 at 1:56 pm

                          How to create an RSS feed from your Facebook Page or Facebook Profile

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                            How to create an RSS feed from your Facebook Page or Facebook Profile

                            Here is a quick guide to creating an RSS feed (or ATOM feed) from your Facebook Group or Profile

                            Facebook change this sort of thing regularly, however, at the tome of writing, it is working RSS feed from a Facebook Group


                            1. Go to the Facebook Group page and get the group ID. It should be in the URL as a number or query – looking something like this: id=13503181319671 – however, if you can’t see it, try clicking on the profile image to get the ID in the URL.
                            2. For an RSS, put the ID it at the end of this URL after the ‘=’: http://www.facebook.com/feeds/page.php?format=rss20&id=
                            3. For an ATOM feed, put the ID at the end of this URL after the ‘=’: http://www.facebook.com/feeds/page.php?format=atom10&id=

                            You should now be able to receive the status update via an RSS or ATOM feed

                            To get an RSS feed of the notifications from your Facebook Profile:

                            Log into Facebook

                            1. Go to http://www.facebook.com/notifications.php
                            2. Click the RSS feed button at the top which will give you a URL looking something like this: http://www.facebook.com/feeds/notifications.php?id=<your profile ID here>&viewer=623861399&key=69891f07ce&format=rss20


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                              Written by Chris

                              January 21st, 2011 at 1:13 pm

                              Posted in Software,Tutorial

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                              Instructions about how to back up and export webmail emails from Horde

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                                Instructions about how to back up and export webmail emails from Horde

                                Instructions about how to back up and export webmail emails from Horde

                                Instructions about how to back up and export webmail emails from Horde

                                If you’re using Horde to manage your webmail emails and want to back them up, you may have realised that it seems to be not as easy to do as you’d hope without going through and forwarding email groups individually

                                Fortunately, it is actually pretty simple if you know how to do it and here’s how:

                                1. Click on ‘mail’ on the left menu
                                2. Click on ‘folders’ from the top menu
                                3. Tick the boxes of the folders you’d like to export
                                4. From the drop-down box ‘actions’ select ‘download’

                                This will download your emails in an ‘MBOX’ container file format

                                Alternatively, if you want to forward your messages in groups; view the emails you’d like to forward, tick the box next to them and then click on ‘forward’ which should be just above the top email

                                Horde

                                Horde

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                                  Written by Chris

                                  January 7th, 2011 at 4:17 pm

                                  Posted in Software,Tutorial

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                                  How to add or edit your email signature in Outlook 2007

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                                    Step 1 - select 'tools' then 'options' from the top menu

                                    Step 1 - select 'tools' then 'options' from the top menu

                                    Step 1 – select ‘tools’ from the top menu (or press ALT+T then ‘o’)

                                    Step 2 – select the ‘mail format’ tab from the dialogue window then select ‘signatures’

                                    Step 3 – click new to create a new signature and give it a name – you may need two so it might be a good idea to call one something along the lines of ‘new email sig’ and the other one ‘email reply sig’

                                    Step 4 – create your signature then press ‘save’ (tips on how to create your new signature below). Go back to step 3 to create your reply signature then press save again. You should now have 2 signatures in the left-hand ‘select’ box

                                    Step 5 – select the email account you’d like to apply the new signature to from the top-right drop-down menu.

                                    Step 6 – from the second drop-down menu, choose the signature you’d like to apply to new emails

                                    Step 7 – from the third drop-down menu, choose the signature you’d like to apply to reply emails

                                    This procedure can be repeated for multiple email accounts on the same client

                                    Step 5 - select the email account you'd like to add the signature to

                                    Step 5 - select the email account you'd like to add the signature to

                                    Email signature etiquette and tips for creating an effective email signature

                                    Firstly, Email signatures are similar to a business card in the ways that they are personal and provide your contact information. Sending an introductory email to someone should give them the information they need to get in touch with you or your company. Not everyone prefers to email so you should provide all your primary contact details.

                                    Secondly, there is an intuitive order to the information presented in your signature. For example, people expect to be able to find your phone number in the ‘usual’ place.

                                    Thirdly, include as few links as possible. Emails with many links may be viewed as spam by many spam filters to keep them to a minimum. You company website address needs to be there but that should be about it!

                                    Logical order

                                    The first block of included information should be your name, your company and your position within the company.

                                    After that, include your contact details and website address

                                    Use the standard email signature delimiter to differentiate between everything you’d like to be included if the email is printed and the less important stuff, such as, the disclaimer. This is two dashes followed by a space i.e. ‘– ’

                                    The signature in a ‘first’ email (as opposed to a reply) give you the opportunity to create a non-intrusive area at the bottom of your message to display anything you’d like to tell people about so it’s acceptable to use this area for, for example, Twitter, Facebook, affiliation badges or award logos

                                    Reply email signatures should be concise to avoid interfering with the dialogue

                                    The CAN-SPAM act dictates you should include your physical address in commercial emails which is also a good idea anyway to avoid creating suspicion about the validity of your email

                                    Follow this with a standard disclaimer if required

                                    Here is an example of a good email signature format:

                                    Your name

                                    Your job title

                                    Your company

                                    << break >>

                                    Your landline number (or general office number)

                                    Your mobile number (if required)

                                    Your website address

                                    << Email delimiter >>

                                    Extra information including disclaimer

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                                      Written by Chris

                                      October 26th, 2010 at 7:34 pm

                                      Posted in Software,Tutorial

                                      HTC Desire HD crashing when making calls

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                                        HTC Desire HD crashes when making calls

                                        HTC Desire HD crashes when making calls

                                        If you’re one of the lucky ones with a new HTC Desire HD phone you may have noticed there is a rather annoying bug related to the proximity sensor.

                                        Basically, you make a call and the screen immediately turns off and becomes unresponsive

                                        It seems like the phone has crashed but it continues to stay connected and make the call. None of the buttons work such as the ‘home’ button and the only way to ‘wake up’ the phone is to plug in a 3.5mm jack to wake the screen up or just take the battery out

                                        In the longer term, you should update the software. To do this, connect to a WI-FI network then:

                                        Go to ‘Applications’ > ‘settings’ > ‘about phone’ > ‘System software updates’

                                        ‘Check now’ for updates then install any available software updates.

                                        The phone will download and install the update then restart after a few minutes.

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                                          Written by Chris

                                          October 24th, 2010 at 3:28 pm