Domainating: Brands, Art & Content

artist/illustrator/designer/webmaster/copywriter/videographer/optimizer/promoter/ad-man

Business Apps: Password Safe

Although I have already reviewed Kuff’s Password safe on my android apps & widgets blog called Widget Droid, most readers here probably don’t realize that Kuff’s Password Safe is also the very best Password Safe/Vault application on Windows machines, as well.

So here is a link to my article on the very best Password organizer and encrypted safety app on the market…

What’s the Very Best Password Safe?

Just remember the master password that gets you into the program.  😉

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March 7, 2011 Posted by | Apps, Business, Computing, Devices, Internet, Media, Smart Devices, Software, User Interface eXperience, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DroidX Adventures – New Blog Posts

Over the past couple days I’ve been posting about my adventures with my DroidX, android apps, and the evil genius at Microsoft.

Getting the DroidX:

Finally, I have an Android!

…Got a comment from an Android development Guru, there!

Getting a Deal on a DroidX

…How we finessed a discount and why it wasn’t better than it was.

App Reviews:

What’s the Very Best Password Safe?

…This is a great app from Kuffs.

Need to Squirrel Away a Contact’s Info in your Droid Quickly and Easily?

…A review of the CamCard Business Card Reader, a great app that works well and is extremely convenient.

I also started a new blog about business application software:

Welcome to BApps, for Business Applications of All Kinds, on Any Platform

…Offers an intro and why I decided to write it.

And then we discover the evil genius in marketing behind Win 7 and the Office 2010 packages…

Windows 7 Mail Issues, Outlook and Office 2010 Purchase Woes

…which is more on my adventures in computing.  😉

All of those blogs are on Google’s Blogspot.  I only customized a few of the templates there, but I purposely kept them skinny.  Because in today’s age, even though we are viewing web pages on widescreen Hi-Def monitor resolutions of 720P scan lines, we rarely use all of that space when browsing the web and now more and more people are browsing the web on handheld devices there are just now getting to be 640 or 800 pixels wide (max).

Obviously, I have been influenced by my DroidX recently in my creative thinking and design.  Though I will sometimes push the envelope and experiment with Hi-Def widescreen web designs, unless we have at least another page for small device presentations, we really should be alert when we form singlular minded resolution designs.

Fortunately, This blog at WordPress.com is served up differently when accessed by a mobile device, so I don’t have to change this big ol’ honk’n template.  😉  But the Blogster blogs are served up using the exact same web page design template for mobile devices.  Plus, I honestly think that not all of the players have arrived in the hand held market yet because the small device phenomena is set to explode.  But, that’s just me.  Of course, when I said that “Everyone who wants one will have a computer.”, back when the hottest piece of business technology was an electric typewriter (1968 or 1970, about), my father and brother laughed at me then, too.  Then they ran around joking about it and teasing me.  Oh yeah, they don’t remember that, now.  LOL.

Oh, yeah

For quite some time now I’ve been working on a new project and I can’t wait to show every one.  But it’s just not quite ready to be revealed just yet.  In a few days, maybe.  🙂

-Doug

February 26, 2011 Posted by | Computing, Devices, Google, Product Design, Software | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Welcome to BApps, for Business Applications of All Kinds, on Any Platform

Note:
Originally this post was the first one posted at my BApps blog for business application reviews (blog.bapps.com).  There was a lowball offer for the domain of $200.00, and I need the money, so I went ahead and put it up for auction.  BApps.com will be sold at auction to the highest bidder, as the reserve price has already been met.    The auction for BApps.com will conclude on May/05/11 @ 05:51 AM Eastern Standard Time.  You can access the BApps.com domain name auction at Sedo. This blog entry was imported with the rest of them.  I will continue blogging about software here in this blog unless and until I find a better alternative home.

Posted:
I have been playing with my DroidX for a couple of months now and notice that there are lots of apps (I’ve downloaded so many android apps that I can’t believe I’m not swimming around in digital media), but there aren’t many resources for application reviews and such.  Since I am a businessman that is particularly interested in the best applications for his business, I’ve decided to start this blog site in an effort to fill that need.

I already have done this before for the android platform, at http://blog.widgetdroid.com/, but that blog is specific to the droid market.  In my home business, I have 2 Windows based desktops that I try to use as private servers (1 is XP, the other is Windows 7), another 3 desktop computers all running different OSes (Mac, Linux & Amiga) for compatibility reasons, my work laptop, an EeePC I use for email, an older laptop for Linux experimentation, and then there’s a basic Trakfone LG camera phone, and my wife and I each have a DroidX smartphone.  Maria has a computer for her business as well.  Plus, there is even an iPad in the house, if we need it.  All these things run apps and connect to the internet.

In fact, we recently had a strange dilemma where she was having all kinds of trouble with the Windows 7 “Live Mail” program, which is apparently a huge piece of crap.  And as she had previously loved Outlook, I went out to get her a copy of Outlook which became a whole new problem.  In fact, this story will probably be my very next entry in the blog.  😉

But as you know, home business or not, we can’t screw-around with applications trying to learn them or just to get them to work according to our expectations, business requires working people and when you are self-employed you cannot rely on anyone else.

Which is the reason I’ve decided to start this blog.   Although I will have fun reviewing the apps I use on the android platform, even our familiar computer software distributions and packaged bundles are changing so fast and radically to keep up with the fast pace of technology that there just isn’t enough good reliable information out there.

Hopefully I can not only review some of the apps I use on the computer as well as on our smartphones and iPad, but also offer some tips on how to use them better, easier or smarter.  It certainly does become a struggle when an application you have used and counted on for years suddenly changes its entire format to incorporate a new technology such as social media and everything about it suddenly looks like Greek when you install the new update.

That’s what this blog is all about, I hope you will find it useful.

Thanks…
-Doug

February 25, 2011 Posted by | Apps, Brands, Business, Computing, Devices, Internet, Media, Product Design, social media, Software, User Interface eXperience, Windows | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can PSD files be Viewable Thumbnails in Windows Explorer?

I am having a heck of a time locating graphics and organizing images.  I tend to take too many photos because my family almost will never pose for a shot.  Plus, it’s always better to see them with a real actual smile as I catch them laugh at someone else’s joke.  But timing these moments is difficult, everything has to be right and no one can be flinging their head back or rolling on the floor (which my son does for affect).

I also love to take photos of nature and although I do make the attempt, wildlife doesn’t like to cooperate much.  I have never had a pheasant stop for a pose, those birds are actually quite stealthy.  And when the deer do stop out of curiosity, they have already made cover.  Mother nature just doesn’t like to cooperate.

To make matters worse, I am a graphic/web designer by trade.  I design all sorts of web logos for my domains, websites logos and advertisements for others, and I almost exclusively work in the Photoshop Document (*.psd) or Adobe Illustrator (*.ai) file formats until I am ready to publish something.  The  trouble with this is that once saved, I never see a thumbnail when I am browsing the file structure in Windows Explorer.  Instead, I see a worthless advertisement of the logo for whatever the default program is that I use to load for the image even if I am trying to view the thumbnails.

I can see the *.psd thumbnails in Photoshop when I am looking for them, but then I am trying to open them up or save them.  Plus, this is an extremely limited browser.  Adobe does offer Bridge with my Master Creative Suite, but Bridge suffers from the same drawbacks as Photoshop, it has a high memory requirement and it is an extremely poor replacement for the OS’s file/directory structure explorer (AKA: “Explorer” or “Windows Explorer”).

Bridge is a good gallery program, but when I am trying to find something somewhere on my hard drive and I need a visual cue, it sucks because it is so proprietary, lacks decent search features, drains the memory from other programs, and since I use a lot of other programs (except when in Photoshop), this thereby makes my system unstable.

In order to accomplish what I need to do, I need to be able to see .psd files in the OS while I am searching through my archives normally, anyway.

Shortly after I got this computer (which is a 64-bit Vista based machine), I installed the Photoshop CS3 Master collection and I thought for a little while that I could actually see my PSD files.  I was so happy.  Since then, I have installed all sorts of other graphics tools, utilities and picture viewers.  I kind of have to, Adobe no longer supports every new format in the world, especially since my Photoshop is a couple versions old, now.  And not everything new asks for permission before taking over the default file loading stations upon installation.

Installers and updaters are also notorious for leaving icons on my desktop, which is another pet peeve of mine.  But even if I haven’t given explicit instructions to any program not to install shortcuts or not to change my file extension default loading applications because it hasn’t asked, it should always default to “No” unless it asks.  They don’t.  And these companies will continue to piss me off (Microsoft, Apple, Google, Broadcom, DivX) by littering my desktop with crap without permission on every single update.  So, since the big guys don’t follow the common sense rules of file installation and updating, all these little guys think that they have to get their brand out there are well, and the way they do it is by not asking for permission to change your default application settings, and doing it anyway.

Why aren’t Adobe format files showing a preview thumbnail when I am saving a preview thumbnail with each and every save?  I can’t say that they are making everyone buy another product just to see PSD and AI thumbnails since I am actually sure that I used to see such thumbnails.  But how to I get things back to that state?

It is just plain impossible to reorganize my photos and images without being able to view them because when I need to do it is when I come across them and see they are out of place through my normal day as I am using the OS.  When I try to do it on purpose, I am systematically going through folders and never run into anything out of place.

Let’s face it, if Adobe is offering anything less than what Microsoft is designed to be (to say, sell another product), they would actually be corrupting the OS.  Even though everyone else does it, Adobe usually takes the high road in this case.  So, I don’t think they are the culprit.

Argh.

How do I take my OS back?

January 13, 2011 Posted by | Advertising and Marketing, Brands, Computing, Graphic Design, Logo Design, Media, Photography, Product Design, Search, The Human Condition | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Adding Your Favorite Links to Your Windows Explorer Menu

I am sure someone else has figured this out long ago and its probably common knowledge among geeks, but I am happy to report that I finally figured out how to customize Windows Explorer with your favorite shortcuts (in Windows Vista or 7).

While I was tooling around the directory structure, trying to figure out where I had last saved some graphics that are still hidden away from my view.  I stopped in my user’s folder that is often refused to as “Libraries” and I noticed that there was a “Favorites” folder and a “Links” folder.  I thought, why would there be two?  I knew the “Favorites” folder is where my internet shortcuts are saved, but why was there a “Links” folder, which is exactly what I would’ve called it in the first place.  So on a hunch, I placed a couple extra shortcuts in the “Links” folder I had just discovered and walla, they showed-up in Windows Explorer (the file explorer, not internet explorer).

I’m so proud of myself.  😉  It really helps out, having all your most often traveled destinations in there ready-to-click and send you exactly where you want to go, under the “Favorite Links” column.

So now anyone can add their favorite directory destinations in the “Links” folder (found within the “Users” folder bearing your user log-in name on the computer) as shortcuts, and then your shortcuts will appear in the “Favorite Links” column of Explorer anytime you open the “Computer”, “Documents” or any other directory.

Cool.

January 12, 2011 Posted by | Computing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Adventures in Computing

I’m trying to upgrade a website logo to the new version (it is incorporated into the layout).

As I’m getting ready to upgrade the logo, I had to get the old Photoshop master image files off my old desktop.  Since I started having video card issues with this old PC, I hadn’t used it in a while. Of course, Norton AntiVirus 360 is now expired and Windows wants to update.  All I want is a few image files.

For some reason the laptop (which I am using now due to the video card woes) and the old desktop won’t network together as they used to (the very last time I used the PC).  Oh no!… The normal broadband connection won’t work.  So, I grab the USB wireless modem from the laptop and use it on the desktop.

While I am downloading a free antivirus solution from Avast, Windows is updating.  I install Avast Free and sometime after, things start misbehaving.  If I click on the start button, my mouse will only show the menu if I hold the left mouse button down.  I am anxious to reboot once Windows is updated and Avast is installed.  Then, I notice that not one of the browsers work (Not IE, FF, Safari, or O).  I’m a bit worried.

I managed to copy the files to a 4GB flash jump drive, but the laptop can’t see the files.  Huh?  Yeah, it’s like looking at a whole different drive, with different files and directories!

Upon rebooting the old desktop machine, I am presented with the video card issue at login.  Lovely.  Will I make it in to copy those files?  The keyboard won’t work.  Oh, wrong one.  I make it in and it was like the malicious hacker security fix that Windows downloaded worked because all systems are fine again.  Except Norton seems to have trashed my networking setup and I still can’t connect via wired broadband.  Avast doesn’t see the PPOE connection with my modem, so I can’t register, but the start menu works and I can actually use all my browsers.  I copy a mess of files over to a new 8GB flash jump drive in case this is the last time I can access this old workhorse of a system.

But as I am doing this file copying, I am switching between the HDMI connections of the laptop and desktop on my monitor (actually, it’s a TV).  I notice that my favorite wireless mouse is opening files on one computer as I am using it on another computer.  That is strange, since the wireless receiver that the Microsoft mouse and keyboard use is plugged into the laptop.  But, the mouse is actually functioning on the desktop, too!  And there is no wireless receiver on the desktop.  The mouse must be burrowing a hole through the old network connection between the two computers, that has since somehow disappeared?  So now I have to be careful what I am doing on one computer, because the same mouse actions are being repeated on the other computer.

I put this mouse aside after starting a system scan using Avast on the desktop.  I grab another smaller notebook wireless Microsoft mouse that I use when I am on the road.  It works when I plug it into the laptop and doesn’t seem to control the desktop mouse.  Whew!

I insert the 8GB flash jump drive and Windows wants to scan it, says there may be a problem with it.  Did I take it out too soon and corrupt the file structure?  The scan takes forever, but the drive is OK and I can finally see and copy over those image files.  Heck, I put that directory in 2 places on my laptop’s hard drive, just in case.

Get this, my work night has just started!  I wonder what will happen next.  I bet Avast needs to be updated before it can really find anything, but doesn’t see my PPOE modem based internet connection.  And I still have to straighten out the networking issue.  But once it is done with this scan, I’ll just power the PC down.  I have to get that logo updated tonight, afterall!  😉

April 16, 2010 Posted by | Computing, Internet, The Human Condition | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment