August 2010

Social Media and Blogging

As time progresses i find my self more and more embedded in social media sites. Clients often rely on me as their authority and the subject. I often differentiate my updates on Facebook from other networking sites like Linked in or Twitter.

All in One

Some people prefer to have a one point system to take care of all their social media in the same place. Fortunately, there is one easy way to update all of your social media from ANYWHERE – by using Ping.fm. Ping.fm is a simple and FREE service that makes updating your social networks a a snap! “Post From Anywhere » To Anywhere” is their slogan – use your phone, email, IM or one of another 3rd party application and your message will be posted to any or all your choice of social networks on their “mega list”.

An alternate service is Hellotxt which allows you to do the same thing for the same price (FREE)  I am not sure which one is better, but if you have experience with one or the other, please let me know.

Stick and Move

If you are just sticking to one network or another, you can always use an app on your mobile phone to do so:

For the iPhone / iPad:

For the Blackberry:

Blogging

If you are a blogger (like me)  and want to automatically post your blogs to your various networking sites, you can use one of these plug ins:

How to Link Twitter and Facebook

If you want to b eable to update your twitter account with your facebook status, simply install the Twitter application and allow it to make updates for you.  It’s as simple as that!

Add your Linkedin profile to Facebook

This application is available to people who want to post their Linkedin profile on Facebook. They also provide detailed step by step instructions on how to use the app.

Add the Twitter app to LinkedIn

If you are a Linkedin Buff and want to track twitter through the Linkedin interface, simply install this app and it all comes together.

I hope all these links were helpful and informative.  If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

Read more

My email doesn’t display right? Inconceivable!

I have spent many, many hours over the past several days trying to get an HTML email to display correctly when sent from Outlook 2007. This does not seem like that hard of a task. It also does not seem unreasonable for me to ask that email editors follow the same rendering rules as an internet browser.

Take a look at the disaster that awaits unsuspecting email designers:

Outlook 2007 disaster

This is how an email using W3C compliant markup may display in Outlook 2007 or 2010

Normal Email Display

This is how the email appears in 95% of all other browsers and email clients, and how it appears in Outlook 2007 AFTER the workarounds I implemented to compensate for Outlook's careless lack of support for internet standards.



Well, Microsoft has decided that Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 will use Word’s HTML rendering engine to read HTML emails instead of the Internet Explorer engine that it has relied on in past software versions.

Some key things you should note:

  • There is no support for Background images in HTML or CSS
  • Forms and Flash are not supported
  • You cannot use CSS float or positioning

You can read these articles from Microsoft outlining the HTML and CSS support offered in their “new and improved” Outlook.

There is also a great article on Sitepoint summarizing a lot of these issues: Microsoft Breaks HTML Email Rendering in Outlook

One thing that Sitepoint does not cover is the fact that you have to designate your image height and width on the img tag itself, either in plain html or both html and css. If you do not add this to your images outlook 2007 will generate them for you at a less than optimal setting. In addition NEVER put “px” after your widths and heights or any other HTML setting (CSS style settings are okay), as like <img width=”100″ height=”100″ /> instead of <img width=”100px” height=”100px” />.  Using the latter format will result in unexpected sizes and totally threw me for a loop since I was sizing transparent spacer-holder images with it and couldn’t see what was going astray!

If you are one of those unlucky PC users, Microsoft also offers software utility to test for valid HTML and CSS for Outlook 2007.   It is a plug in that works with Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007, Microsoft Expression Web Designer 2007, and Microsoft Visual Studio 2005.  There is also a second plug in that works with Dreamweaver MX 2004 or Dreamweaver 8. Of course it is not offered for the MAC, so if you are struggling to design an HTML email from the apple you are pretty much working blind and S.O.L.

HTML issues directly relate to 3 out of the 67 Reasons that Outlook Sucks as written by wanderingstan. In case things aren’t clear by now, you can read Why Outlook Sucks by Marcy Sutton.  Thanks Marcy for this great link with a Guide to CSS support in email clients!

Microsoft is at least consistent with their products offering non compliance with the World Wide Web Consortium’s XHTML and CSS standards. Microsoft Word is known to generate excessive, irrelevant and non standard markup. Even Microsoft FrontPage often generates non-standard HTML by default.

What is the point in the World Wide Web Consortium establishing and promoting standards if Microsoft chooses to blatantly ignore them?!

Read more

My first comic

I often find humor in everyday life situations and I’ve always wanted to make a comic strip. Here is my first ‘official’ comic strip.  Hopefully this will be the first of many. Special thanks to www.stripcreator.com for making this comic possible with the tools to illustrate my dialog FAST!

Read more