Working and not updating our own site much.  New sites for Western Folklife Center (http://www.westernfolklife.org), Spectrum Security Group (http://www.spectrumsg.com) and UCASA (http://www.ucasa.org).

In general, we have moved most of our clients away from Joomla and towards WordPress, as the latter has grown in power and capability.  WordPress put a lot more effort into smooth updates than even Joomla 3 has and it shows – update projects on WordPress take a fraction of the time.

So contact us if you want to talk about site updates and work.

A recent update to UCASA.ORG.  New version of Joomla, updating their site to the 2.5 series, and a new theme.  Take a look at ucasa.org.

Techivity provides web consulting, small business advice, custom themes, components and installs for Joomla and Wordpress.

Among our recent work is a WordPress site for Health Technology Training Solutions:

http://www.healthtechnologytrainingsolutions.com/

Their WordPress development included a custom theme, use of a plug-in to add survey capabilities, and planning content so that it could be easily updated and maintained.

Hello Customers and Friends:

The best way to reach Techivity is to email us through our web form, or to call us on our office line at 801-274-8490.  We have been making some changes to our organization and scheduling, and these have become the best ways to ask for help with or advice on your website needs.

Lately, our blog has been quiet, due to how busy we’ve been with client work.  We will endeavor to update this blog with new free advice articles in the near future.  Thank you for your continued support.

Atmosphere Alt Shift is an eco-friendly design firm with an activist approach to designing exhibits who needed extensive updates to their flash site at:

http://www.atmospherealtshift.com/

Techivity handled the Flash code for our design partner http://www.aprioricreative.com/ working on the graphics.

This is a quick commentary on why some of those programming tasks that seem “easy” are never quite what they seem, especially in new, more object-oriented programming packages like Flash.  I hope this helps some of you out there plan better when you are trying to budget projects.

First, its important to understand how most OO programming works.  These days, most web code is done in “snippets” meaning bits of code that are attached to an object.  This is great in that it creates more efficient code, that is easier to read when you open the object, and when it runs, the only code executed is the necessary objects.  All makes sense, right?

But what happens when you go to edit such a file without knowing the “object-model” – that is the way the objects are put together?  It used to be, with procedural code, you could open the top-level file, look at the files it includes, open them, and then search through all the files to find functions you had to edit.

Now, with OO coding, if you don’t know how the objects are put together, say in a Flash file that has 150+ objects, some executing code, some not, then you have to sort out which one is connected to what, how they are named, what their instances are, where the code lives and what objects it activates when.

Sound complicated?  It is.  And its why some of those changes that seem “simple” like “just adding a few animated graphics to a file” can actually be hard and time consuming.  Adding those graphics means finding the right layers in the file where the graphics belong, locating the objects that are animating the graphics, sorting through the code for those objects, finding the arrays that are animating the graphics, and then adding the appropriate details and linking in the graphics properly.

So, when you are trying to budget your web development projects, consult with a pro.  Certainly, you could be a “pro” – if you know the complexity of the object model for your source files.  But if you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, chat up a pro about how hard it is to do something.  Give them a detailed description of what you want to do, as detailed as possible, and let them look at the files.  In some cases, they might need some consulting time to properly gather requirements.

What are requirements?  I’ll talk about that next time.  Check back in a week or so…

Google’s changes are an issue, but not for the reason originally reported.  Consolidating and using web history is an issue if you don’t want them to do it, so here:

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/320137

That is how you remove your web history from your Google account.  Do it before March 1 (so in the next 4 hours).  Disappointing when a company that speaks rhetoric about freedom violates it.  Very.

Here’s a video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omIyTNB8UNY&feature=related

 

I was talking to an associate who expressed concern about the new Google Service Agreement and I wanted to post.  He was concerned that the new agreement could be read as Google taking license with people’s stuff…not so.

The part that seems to cause everyone heartache on the Google agreement is this:

“When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.”

Various lobbying organizations and elected representatives keep trying to make technology providers who offers tools like Google Docs, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and any other web organization that offers software on-line legally accountable for the content they transmit.  So, if JimTechBoy posts copyrighted material on Facebook, or YouTube, instead of you being responsible, Facebook and YouTube is responsible.

This is an awkward, monolithic way to try and handle piracy.  The violation of sharing copyrighted material was by JimTechBoy when he copied the material and posted it, but Jim’s hard to find, he doesn’t have as much money as Google, so the lobbyists and legislators are trying to find ways to make the carriers responsible.

Problem is, doing so would end those carriers abilities to pass on content.  The new Google agreement clarifies language and makes Google more protected against such issues.  The license you give by posting your content is necessary, if you don’t grant Google a license, they cannot share your content in any way…

Free distribution of information is imperative to our global culture, and even our local relationships now.  Trying to restrict it because a few people break the law will further damage our economy, our ability to relate to the world and one-another and negatively impact all my clients.

So, I’m in favor of companies like Google protecting themselves carefully.  Does not mean they are going to suddenly start stealing anything.

In opposition to the SOPA and PIPA proposed legislation techivity.com went dark today, January 18th, 2012.  The day passed, but the risk remains.

The philosophy of this legislation is analogous to holding a postal carrier liable for the material in his bag when he’s out on his route; he didn’t choose to carry it, doesn’t know what’s in there, could find out if he stopped to read everyone’s stuff, but certainly couldn’t make any deliveries on-time or maintain any privacy doing so.

That is almost precisely what the proposed legislation would do to the internet.  Its appalling and would damage most of our clients hosting and stop much small business from engaging in legitimate online business.

Learn More

So call your representatives, sign the petitions, email your friends.  YOUR internet is on the line and it needs you…

Google Petition

Wikipedia Blackout

 

 

Monster Mural is a cool business that provides large murals for events that can be colored, assembled or are otherwise interactive.

Monster Mural wanted a custom site – they didn’t want to do their own updates and controlling the specifics of the design page to page was more important than applying the same template to multiple articles like a blog or content management solution.

Using good coding practices to create PHP includes that re-use as much of the page as possible, we created a custom site that uses extensive java-script, PHP templates and re-uses graphics. The site includes custom java-script slide shows that update automatically any time Monster Mural uploads pictures and a custom, PCI-compliant shopping cart solution.

A great example of proper requirements analysis; instead of investing time and energy into traffic-building or other business resources that did not fit Monster Mural’s requirements, Techivity focused on providing a site that provides support for their existing sales process, since Monster Mural works directly with event planners through catalogs and direct contact.