Client Representation

The guaranteed followers on twitter game — Block or Ignore?

For the past several months, when it comes to the guaranteed followers on Twitter game, I’ve played along by blocking them all and reporting them to Twitter as spam accounts.

I have no idea whether that’s helping or the bots that are targeting my Twitter accounts know they’ve been blocked and thereby have an algorithm written to have another fake account follow me and repeat the cycle all over again. Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 11.36.57 AM Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 11.36.49 AM

The past week or two, I’ve just been ignoring them.

I’m not going to pay to have additional fake Twitter followers just so my account numbers rise.

No, I’ve done well with @DaddyClaxton since 2008 to get it above 13.8 followers and even the @ClaxtonCreative account above 3,500.

Yes, I’ve followed some strategies, like following certain foke and them following back. But I’ve done it honestly, with the truest intentions of being connected to like-minded foke on Twitter.

The @DaddyClaxton Twitter handle largely follows dads, moms, and many of the brands I’ve ever personally worked with or had considerable issues with, like Firehouse Subs. The @ClaxtonCreative Twitter handle has been largely reserved for things associated with the publishing industry, the Internet, and books for iPad, our specialty.

Why on earth would I want to artificially inflate my account following with followers that really aren’t real? Ultimately, that gets me nowhere in the true mission of trying to connect, share like ideas, and grow to something new.

So how do you treat Twitter followers that promise you thousands of followers for $29? Same for Facebook, YouTube and Instagram?

Google, Chase, AT&T, Geico, etc, Video Web Commercials Suck

Google, Chase, AT&T, Geico, etc, Video Web Commercials Suck

You shouldn't have to watch a commercial to see every new story on a website.

You shouldn’t have to watch a commercial to see every new story on a website.

It’s the latest advertising model–you go to almost any news website and click on a story that has video and a commercial from Google, Chase, AT&T, Geico, a car company, SOMEONE is going to run.

What do I do? One of three things. 1) I stop the video about three or four seconds into it, 2) I want to watch the piece I actually wanted to watch, so I turn off the audio so I don’t hear the spot, 3) I leave the page completely.

And I’m not alone. I’ve polled PR professional colleagues in Dallas about this and the responses were the same.

This model of advertising is NOT working.

No one should have to watch four Chase Bank commercials to view four video stories on CNN.com or Fox News or any news site over and over and over.

And what sense does it make for me to be forced to watch the same spot that’s over saturated on TV, too?

STOP IT!

Advertisers and website managers, this isn’t working. If I could create an automated function that made my browsers go from one page to the next on a site like CNN so your spots would run 24/7 and no one would see them and I’d run up an expensive bill for you, I’d do it in a heartbeat if this would get your attention.  Gosh, maybe that’s the answer and give it away to friends across Facebook so they’d launch it on their systems, too, and then…

This model is NOT working. I am not going to watch your spots like this. And I hope other people won’t either.  No one should have to watch umpteen commercials to get information that should be free across the net, and if sites like CNN are going to go full bore on such tactics, well, I’ve pretty much moved on from CNN as a news source anyways.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

I Regularly Block Fake Twitter Followers, @GilGul

I regularly block fake Twitter followers, but not this guy who wrote a column for the LA Times Sunday. Though he claims he did it for experimentation purposes, and I have to give him that, it is good to know how this could help, it’s just plain wrong and a growing problem with Twitter I wish they would get a handle on.

It’s every day when I go on my multiple Twitter accounts and block/report accounts for spam. Most of the time, they’re offers to buy thousands of new followers for just $5. Until I read the LA Times piece, I thought even that was a sham, but it turns out what you’re buying is a bunch of fake accounts all made to look like they’re real. Apparently musicians, politicians, brands and the like use this technique often to give themselves addition credibility on Twitter and thereby across the Net. 
Screen Shot 2014-06-01 at 9.46.28 AM

This would be all well and good, until it came time to use Twitter as the communications exchange medium it was designed to be.  Until you wanted to affect or activate your followers and send out a message saying “read this” or we need your help on this “call to action.”  Then you’re just talking to NO ONE.

I wish Twitter was more actively stopping this use of their API and service. Surely there has to be a way to detect this rather than having fokes like myself blocking and reporting for spam each day.

On my DaddyClaxton account, I have more than 13,670 followers. I’ve not paid for a single follower and I’m not about to start. The ClaxtonCreative account is above 3,400 followers and the same fact is true. I’ve earned those followers by seeking out like-mined people, trying to find out what they have to say and share with the world about subjects in which I have a real and valid interest. I don’t have time nor interest in creating a fake situation, one where it appears that I have followers who I do not really have.

There have been many documented times when I’ve gone through my followers and cut them back, too, because they weren’t updating any longer, or because they were fake.  You should do the same. Why sort through noise when you can get to information that’s helpful?

Please, if you have followers on Twitter who are offering you thousands of followers for $5, just do like I do and block them and report them to Twitter. Hopefully, if enough of us do that, it’ll put a stop or dent in the business. If we continue to go in this direction, Twitter is going to become more and more useless to us all.

Screen Shot 2014-06-01 at 9.46.45 AM

Enhanced by Zemanta

Wordfence Security for WordPress Has Opened My Eyes

Wordfence Security for WordPress Has Opened My Eyes

There’s a lot of noise about Web security these days and one has to wonder how much of it is inflated to sell software and services and how much of it is real. With the release of Glenn Greenwald’s book this month, No Place To Hide, about Edward J. Snowden and national security, the speculation is to be raised even more. Wordfence Alerts

Months ago we wouldn’t have believed how much goes on in trying to attack a website. That was until we began religiously employing the WordPress plugin WORDFENCE to every site we manage.

That has been an eye-opening experience. Even websites for smaller local clients constantly are bombarded by IP addresses, most often in other countries, trying to break into their Admin login and damage the site.

Alerts constantly come in from Wordfence because a bot in Europe has been targeted against a client, this site or DaddyClaxton.com. How it would strategically benefit a group in Europe, Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, the Netherlands, or wherever to gain access to these sites is unimagineable, but regardless, the battle goes on nearly 365/7 and it is constant.

We write this in hopes of two things. 1) Raising your awareness that if you’re running a WordPress site and not using Wordfence, you probably should be just so you’re aware of how hard others are trying to get into your site. 2) You’d better have some fairly strong passwords, and you might want to delete the ADMIN login all together and use another person or name as such. It appears most of the bot attacks our clients, and we get, are preprogrammed to use Admin as the user name and if it isn’t even in your WordPress system, you’re already miles ahead of them.

Wordfence can be configured so that you get an email every time someone is locked out from trying to hack into your site. Or, you can choose not to be notified. It also can be set up to send someone a notification for every time someone with admin capabilities accesses your site,  just in case someone nefarious actually does get in, you’ll know it immediately.

It’s a shame this is what has become of the Internet, but it’s also a fact of life, it’s not going to go away. Wordfence. You need it. And if bots are hammering away so hard at minor WordPress sites, think of how many are programmed to get into your Facebook, Twitter and other accounts once they know your email address….

Enhanced by Zemanta

Being Wooed By FileMaker Pro 13 And Liking It

Earlier today I posted about FileMaker Pro 13 Advanced and how much I was enjoying working with it. I also noted an issue I’d been having with my computer going to sleep and then the files I’d built on it not being available on my iPad and iPhone.

Well, I think I’ve resolved that issue, and you can read about it in the earlier post.

But this post is about how I’m being wooed by FileMaker Pro during my 30-day trial period. And I like it.

Email Solicitations

Let’s face it, when most software companies are trying to get you to buy their product, their emails can be pretty annoying. So far I’ve received about four or five from File Maker Pro and I’ve yet to be bothered by any of them.

The first one I sent took some navigating to find out about how much they were going to charge for their monthly/annual services, but another one came along about 30 minutes to an hour later and fixed that.

Resource Center

And then just now I got this very simple, to-the-point email about how to get to their Resource Center. Basically it says, “We want you to get the full experience, so here’s access to our resource center to help you while you’re test driving.”

Now that’s helpful. Not too pushy. Not too pressured.  Just right.

FileMaker Pro 13 Resource Center

Enhanced by Zemanta

FileMaker Pro 13 Projects Issue – iPad Won’t Connect When iMac Asleep

FileMaker Pro 13 Projects Issue – iPad Won’t Connect When iMac Asleep 

I’m using the trial of FileMaker Pro 13 to test a new project management system for my Macs, iPad and iPhone. The only issue with it I’ve found so far is when the iMac goes to sleep because of Mavericks’ Energy Saver settings in System Preferences. But I really like the ability to check on my projects, make notes of tasks, and then track my progress through the process of developing them. Here’s a review of the product and a tutorial for setting up sharing to mobile devices.FileMaker Pro 13

FileMaker Pro 13

Before I go into the problem I’m having, let me first talk about FileMaker Pro 13.  I’ve been a Bento user off and on for about five years now. It priced at $49 or a threshold very reasonable to get into and it was quite useful as a database management system for my needs. There was even an app for iPhone/iPad and from time-to-time I used them. Then, in September 2013, FileMaker killed off Bento and even though I’ve paid for Bento and had the iPhone/iPad apps, when I got a new iPad at Christmas I tried to migrate the app onto it and it would not. It’s dead. I have issues with that, but that’s not germane to this post.

So FileMaker is offering 30-day trials of FileMaker 13 in various versions on its site. They’ve even begun a year-long subscription model, very much like Adobe uses for Creative Cloud–but it’s a one-time, (for FileMaker Pro 13 Advanced) of $180 price per year, not staggered out monthly like it could have been so it’s easier on the pockets of the smaller business owner. (FileMaker Pro has a $9/month option). Otherwise, one can flat out buy the product.

FileMaker Pro 13 Pricing

Now I chose to use FileMaker Pro Advanced because when I invest in a product I go for as much muscle as I can afford and might need so I’m not looking back and wishing for an upgrade later. With software and computers, that just seems to be the best strategy to live by.

Getting Started

There are some tutorials that come with FMP 13. Lynda.com is still running FMP 12 lessons and I’ve not seen anything for 13 yet. I suppose that’s in the works.

My Projects

There is a great template that comes with FMP 13 that allows the creation of a management system for projects. It was easy to set up. And, because of it being FMP 13 advanced, apparently there’s a server setting inside that allows me to push the file for this out to my iPad and iPhone so that I can check or make updates to projects over there, too.

UPDATE: I forgot to include a screen of how easy projects are to manage:

FileMaker Pro 13 projects screen

To take my Projects file and make it available to my iPad and iPhone, I apparently still have to be on my WiFi to share it, so I’m doubtful it’s going to work when I’m not home. I’m hopeful it will, but I’m not seeing how that’s going to work. It would seem critical that it would work away from my IP.  That’s a test for later today.  But here’s how to set it up so it works here.

One the project is ready for sharing to iPad or iPhone, go to File > Sharing > Share with FileMaker Clients … and then pull up the following dialogue box:

FMP 13 Filesharing screen

 

This works great.  Except for one issue with Mavericks.

The Problem – Energy Saver and App Nap

As has been noted before, an issue occurs with saving to hard drives on the iMac in Mavericks when the settings in Energy Saver get too far away from their factory defaults. A very odd, “error -50” dialogue box begins to appear when one tries to write, particularly to G-Drives, which of course, are critical for storing video.  As one doing graphics, video and books for iPad, you can see how this would become a problem fast–not being able to save to a drive. 

Last night, when my computer had gone to sleep, I could not connect to the iPhone or iPad.

FMP 13 Host Not Available on iPhone

So, while it’s great that I can have my projects available on iPhone/iPad, there’s a problem with my host. I don’t plan to go out and buy a dedicated server right now to host this, nor pay the additional money to FileMaker to get the FMP Server software loaded, too. A version of that comes in FMP 13 Advanced, which I have already. So the issue then is how to keep the server on the iMac operational.

Possible Solutions

Already this morning I’m trying some new settings in Energy Saver, and one in FMP.

For starters, I’ve changed the setting on my hard drive so that it never goes to sleep. I’d had this on before, with “Put hard disks to sleep when possible” being unchecked before, and that’s when I got the error -50 messages. Hopefully, that was just because I’d unchecked the PHDTSWP box, and not because of “computer sleep.”

Sleep set to NEVER.

I also did a little more investigating and did one other thing. I turned off App Nap in FMP13 so that it theoretically won’t “go to sleep.”

To get to this setting, I opened Applications, then hit CMD+i on the icon in the list and up popped the window below.

As you can see, I have checked “Prevent App Nap.”

Prevent App Nap

And so the  experiment is on today to discover if these changes will keep the app available on the iPhone/iPad regardless of what is happening on the iMac. If this works, and I will make updates, I will also experiment to see if the Prevent App Nap or the Energy Saver settings were the key.

FileMaker Pro

I’m pleased with the over all functionality of FileMaker Pro.  When the trial is over, I’ll probably invest in the product.  I have a couple of clients that already have been sparked about the potential it has for their own data management.  And yes, I realize it can do a lot more than what I’m using it to do so far, but setting up a project management system that works on my iPad/iPhone when I’m out and about will be quite beneficial.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Apple please fix iBooks Author full screen image background settings

Apple please fix iBooks Author full screen image background settings

 iBooks Author full-screen image white BG

Per Apple, at present, one can’t change the white background that displays on a full-screen png in iBooks Author.

Our Bach book client we are working with in iBooks Author has a legitimate beef with Apple and in our research, we can’t find a workable solution.

If one sets a photo to open full-screen in a book for iPad made with iBooks Author 2.0 the image presents on a screen with a white background.

If you set two photos, .PNGs, in a gallery and then open them full-screen, they present on a screen with a black background.

In the design of a book for iPad, not every book needs to go into a gallery, but in our book on Bach, which is going to be one of the most in depth pieces of work on J.S. Bach, it’s annoying to see the images against the white when they would clearly stand out better against the black.

I thought about putting all images on a screen that’s 2048 x 1536 and on a black BG and then using the Alpha to remove the black in the initial image, but that takes away the black in full-screen as well.  Not a solution.

The only other option would be to put every photo into a “gallery” setting and just not add the thumbnails on images that are not multiple .PNGs, but that seems like it’d get wonky and it’d seem that a gallery, by definition, would consist of two or more images.

In iBooks Author gallery images display with a black background on full-screen, but even this setting can't be changed.

In iBooks Author gallery images display with a black background on full-screen, but even this setting can’t be changed.

Apple, Please Fix This

A search of the message boards and a call to Apple Support has revealed that indeed, at this writing on July 24, 2013, there is no way to change a setting in the Inspector panel to remedy this.

Audio Page Specific

The other major complaint we are having as we build this vast work of Bach is that a reader can’t tap on the MP4 files we’re embedding and turn the page.  Audio and video files are page specific, so a reader listening to the music and reading can only read the page they’re on and hear what they’re wanting to listen to….

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Oncor Blog Presentation

Oncor Blog Presentation

An Oncor Presentation: Blogging 101

An Oncor Presentation: Blogging 101. This photo is linked to the book for iPad version of the presentation.

Recently I was invited to speak during a panel discussion at Oncor in Dallas.  I began a blog in 2004 using the name of TheDadsCenter.org. Somewhere in 2007 I began using my fabled name, @DaddyClaxton on Twitter and then bought the domain. The original “Daddy Claxton” was mentioned in a song by the late, Roy Claxton Acuff, who apparently changed the name from Carter or something else. As we created our business to build websites and now design and produce books for iPad and books for Kindle and Nook, came the development of this site.

This is the presentation I prepared for my 15 minutes. It includes helpful tips about blogging, including must-have plugins for WordPress and a  little bit about the history of blogging in general.

To download the book for iPad, simply go to this Dropbox address and download. (https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2269153/Oncor/ClaxtonCreative%20Blogger.ibooks)

To download the PDF version, here’s the link. (https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2269153/Oncor/ClaxtonCreative%20Blogger.pdf)

Our Latest Web Design–MathisonInteriors.com

Our Latest Web Design–MathisonInteriors.com

We are proud this morning to announce the posting and completion of our latest web design, a revision of Mathison Interiors of Montgomery, Alabama’s website.

MathsionInteriors.com Web Design

MathsionInteriors.com Web Design

Our work with them began in early March and through careful assessment of what Lynn Mathison, Clay and Krisitian said they desired in a site for interior design, we worked with them to fashion a newly designed WordPress site.  Over the past few weeks we’ve been working with them regularly to make final adjustments to the site’s content and to post a myriad of photos in horizontal and vertical formats so they may show their potential customers of the amazing products for sale within their store.

We’ve also launched a new business Facebook page for Mathison Interiors and encourage you to LIKE it.

Many thanks go out to Mathison Interiors for their professional approach to this project and for working so closely with us to make it a successful launch.

The site features a responsive theme designed by Bill Robbins at Organized Themes. Bill has been fantastic to work with and we highly recommend any of the templates for WordPress offered by Organized Themes.

Are you contemplating a website for your own business?  Please call us today at 972-863-8784 to schedule a consultation.

Balance Ragged Lines InDesign Layout Stopping Full Margin Layout

Balance Ragged Lines InDesign Layout Stopping Full Margin Layout

We’re working on the layout of John Ed Mathison’s EPUB version of When God Redefines The Possible, now completed as a book for iPad and nearly ready for submission to Apple.

But our wonderful client also wants versions for Kindle & Nook and so we’re working on an EPUB version as well using InDesign.

But there was a problem in layout that happened from importing the text.

Adobe PDF

The manuscript we received from the client was in the form of a PDF.  It had to be copied and then loaded into TextEditor on the Mac and from there, loaded into iBooks Author and then over into Adobe’s InDesign for EPUB formatting as you can’t go from an iBooks Author format to EPUB.  It just doens’t work.

So when we imported the document from TextEditor into InDesign, it soon became apparent that there was something amiss.

And after some time in Lynda.com videos, I finally sent it to one of my InDesign gurus and asked what was up.

The answer came back quickly.

Turn Off Balance Ragged Lines

With Preview on, this became immediately apparent and quite honestly, this is something I never would have found without asking.  There simply are thousands of options within InDesign and sometimes, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you’d never find it.

So for future InDesign layout work. If you have paragraphs that are not going the width of the page from margin to margin, try turning off the Balance Ragged Lines option in Paragraph Styles.

Here are two photos of how this fixed the problem.  Before and then after….

Balance Rugged Lines On

Balance Rugged Lines On

And After

Balance Rugged Lines Off

Balance Rugged Lines Off

 

As you can see, the lines of the first two paragraphs now go all the way across without wrapping.  Even with Show Hidden Characters On, there was no indication of what was causing this issue.

 

 

1 2 3 7