Tag Archives: jane talks tech

New gems about WordPress 2.7

I’m so impressed by this version of WordPress that I hardly know what more can be done to top it. I don’t understand any of the code and while I’m certain there are a list of bugs waiting to be corrected, I’m happy with the product from the consumer’s point of view (especially for a blog that does not have a large readership). WordPress has a fantastic and large community of users who gladly contribute plugins and one of those plugins that currently serves me very well is the Broken Link Checker plugin. It scours your posts and pages for links that do not lead to working pages anymore i.e. give 404 errors.broken-links
As you can see in the picture, it displays exactly what link is broken and gives you the option to fix it right there.

It is on my must-have list of plugins for any blog I start. With that said, information overload has a high potential of occurring with this plugin on sites that have lots of posts. For instance, my sister blog on Fading Whispers: The Chronicles has a lot of pages with scores of links. My Broken Link checker plugin tells me I have over 80 broken links on 83-broken-linksseveral pages. That’s a lot to fix and I’m slowly getting to those links. Nevertheless, it’s a case of stuff that needs to be taken care of versus being ignored & potentially misdirecting users.

Another plugin that’s pretty nifty is the Cforms contact plugin. My contact page is the barebones version, but I intend on learning to tweak this plugin’s settings in order to harmonize things on this site. Stay tuned!

The fine art of negotiation or not. :)

Wow. The internet is indeed the great equalizer. Yesterday, I penned a post about shady business practices. In that post, I levelled my ire at AWS Convergence Technologies, makers of the WeatherBug software. I had purchased a subscription to WeatherBug Plus and I almost instantly had buyers’ remorse. To make matters worse, activating the Plus part of the software was taking longer than advertised. The last straw was the deafening silence on AWS’s part in responding to my pleas to look into my activation issues. Then, I decided to obtain a refund and got no word. For the gory details, check the other post out. The purpose of this post is to talk about what I learned from this experience (from the consumer’s standpoint) and highlight what went wrong.

What happened: In the end, I was able to get an amicable resolution to the matter of my refund. This didn’t happen instantly. My first email to AWS was about the activation issues I was having and no response was received. My fraud radar went up and I followed that email up with one requesting a refund. When I received no answer, I instantly began researching online for any history of weird behavior with WeatherBug. To their credit, I didn’t find anyone who had been given the run-around like I felt I was being given. In fact, this should have told me that, maybe, just maybe they were under-staffed or something. However, I have had a few close calls with online purchases and I take my finances rather seriously. After some more email-fu and a couple of calls, I sent a email missive laden with phrases like “good faith effort” and “legal system”. 🙂

Seeing results: When my best effort at sounding serious didn’t raise any responses, I blogged about the problem on Jane Talks Tech!. My intent in blogging about it was to see if I would get anyone online to sympathize with me or even give me a hint as to what the deal with AWS could be. Well, in less than 24 hrs after sending the strongly-worded email and publishing my post about the saga, I was contacted via my blog by a representative from AWS. According to the representative at AWS I spoke with, they were ‘backed up’. I can understand that and I probably over-reacted a little bit in thinking the worst of them. Nevertheless,  you should know that AWS Convergence Technologies does have humans in charge  who care (:)) and they are actively monitoring the intarwebs which is why I believe this case finally got resolved. Ultimately, some lessons for consumers and sellers alike are: Continue reading The fine art of negotiation or not. 🙂

My current computer backup situations

Ever since I purchased an HP dv9700t CTO notebook PC, I’ve had to reformat this computer over 3 times now. The reason is simple: I like to try out new things on the computer and that more often than not, include alpha, beta and even gamma software. I’d like to say that I’ve learned and reformatting my PC (as a last solution) is a thing of the past. Alas! I cannot guarantee that. So, here’s what I’ve learned from owning a computer that I deliberately introduce chaos into:

  1. If you don’t know what a virtual machine or virtualization means, learn it NOW. Invest an operating system (Linux or Microsoft) and learn how to run that operating system inside a virtual environment. This article is going to be short so go ahead and read my article about my experience with two virtual machines (Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 and VirtualBox) Both are free virtual machine managers and are widely recommended for regular users.
  2. Windows Complete Image backup is NOT the same as merely backing up your files. In fact, based on my experience with Windows Complete Image backup and Windows File Backup available to Vista Ultimate users, I will say this: it would really really be smart to have a full featured backup solution in addition to Windows built-in backup feature. I would recommend Acronis True Image 2009 which is not bad at the price tag of $49.99. I’ve used Acronis on my computer since they had Acronis True Image 10 and since I discovered that you can’t retrieve individual files/folders from a Windows Complete Image backup, I’ve returned to using Acronis True Image. The reason: each time I perform a complete PC backup using Windows Backup and Restore center, it’s over 70gbs in size. Guess how much it costs (in terms of space consumed on the hard disk) to create a file backup using Windows Backup and Restore Center? Roughly ~65gbs (leaving all the default settings checked because Windows doesn’t even give you the chance to pick & choose what files you want to backup)!!! So, like I always say, economics (of space) is the reason I’m switching back to Acronis True Image 2009. That way, I’ll have just one ~ 70GB backup file on my external hard drive AND be able to extract my individual files from it!
  3. Good old fashioned DVD-R or CD-R backups:- After my last disaster scenario (i.e. I lost close to 3 weeks worth of work), I have seen the light in having copies of precious files on disks. I was actually able to pare my loss down to 2 weeks because I had copied the “My Documents” folder on my laptop to a regular DVD (~ 4.3 GBs of data).

So there you have it! Good luck and stay tuned for more on my blog and at my Blip.tv Channel (Jane Talks Tech!)