Some Great Free Image Tools

I am currently working with a customer who wants to set up a store. They had a spreadsheet of the items that they want to sell. There are over 3,000 of them. Creating a database if items for a shopping cart is not that unusual, but in this case the item images were in the spreadsheet as a URL on the vendors website.

I didn’t want to hot link the images because there can be all sort of problems with that, so I needed to download and shrink most of them to a usable size. So for 3,100 images and thumbnails for each I was looking at over 6,200 images. No small task.

I did quite a bit of research and tried out several of each kind and I discovered two programs that I want to recommend here today.

First Free Download Manager, as the name says is free (and open source another plus) and designed to do much more than what I needed it to do. Free Download Manager allows you to: adjust traffic usage; to organize and schedule downloads; download video from video sites; download whole web sites with HTML Spider; operate the program remotely, via the internet, and more! It allowed me do save over 6,200 images in under two hours.

Next I needed to resize these images to fit in the cart so they wouldn’t crowd out the description or force things off the page. BIMP Lite came to my rescue. BIMP Lite is a small and simple batch processor for image files, that allows you to perform various functions on multiple images. BIMP is not open source, but it’s 100% FREE and contains no spyware, adware or nagware. It also does much more than resize, you can add many other image and file name operations.

A couple of great programs that I highly recommend.

How To Password Protect Directories and Files

In addition to designing websites, I am getting requests lately to just manage data for clients.
For example, shopping cart databases, Google or Open Office Documents. Some password protected and some not.

Because I like to also host my customers sites I know where to go to manage these files
I use cPanel which is free and open source. They make it pretty easy to do.

Interesting News

Filed under: Information — Tags: ,

Here’s a report that is a bit off topic, but very interesting.

It seems that Florida is the sixth state to partner with Google to let them index their databases to make searching for information easier and more readily available.

There’s probably some really good useful information here, but I’ll bet that there are also things that the politicians hope stay buried under tons of data. I wonder what they will do when this information is actually used by people looking at what they do.

I’m all for it.



Too Much Of A Good Thing?

Filed under: web design — Tags:

I have written before about my customer MeloSleep.com. They wanted to promote their product by giving away free samples. They placed a large newspaper ad with a limited amount of success and then decided to post their free offer on a few “freebie give away” sites.

I haven’t had much experience with sites like this and I have always thought that people will take anything for free even if they don’t need it so I’m not really sure what the success rate will be.

These sites must copy the offers from one another and Melosleep who was averaging 10-20 visitors a day got 4,000 yesterday. It sucked up almost a GB of bandwidth and they got thousands of requests for free samples. These visitors were going directly to the offer page and filling out the form. Not thinking far enough in advance I had some big pictures on that page and the form sent an email request instead of building a database.

As soon as I noticed what was happening I removed most of the pictures from the order form page and the “thank you” page. That saved quite a bit of bandwidth. I made a copy of the page with pictures for the regular visitors and I also changed the form script to save the information to a database which could be used much more easily.

While it was lucky that I caught this early, these things should have been done before the rush of traffic. I could have taken my own advice “the lesson I’m taking from this is that you run a promotion, not only do you have to be prepared for your idea not to work, but you have to be prepared for it to work beyond your wildest expectations (which may be harder).”

I’m not sure what they think a good conversion rate from free sample to paying customer is, but I’ll keep following this and let you know if in the end they think it was worth it posting on the freebie sites or not.



More Good Free Tools – OpenNewsletter

Filed under: web design — Tags: , , , ,

I was searching for an easy way for my customer to manage the email addresses for their newsletter campaign and I came across OpenNewsletter and it seemed to be just what I needed.
” A free, simple, and beautiful open source newsletter solution aimed at small-medium scale. Very easy installation. Just upload and its working. No database needed.”

I found it simple and easy to use, but he had all of the main files in one folder and I had some security concerns about leaving the password and the customer’s email addresses in an place where anyone could look at them. I moved those two files into another folder and made it so no one except the program could access it. Now it works well and is much more secure.

I’m going to tell the author, Sohail Abid from Pakistan ,what I did so he can offer it to all of his visitors. Drop me a note if you want to know yourself.


Quick MySQL Backup

Filed under: Information — Tags: ,

Backing up your data can be a hassle, but there is nothing worse than having something go wrong and losing all of it completely.

Here’s a very good for an easy way to backup your MySQL database from zmanda.com.

It uses all open source software so it is readily available and free.


Good Free Antivirus Software

Filed under: Information — Tags:

Here’s a very good free program that I have been trying out for several weeks now.

Free avast! 4 Home Edition is a free anti-virus software for home noncommercial use. This free virus scanner protects against viruses, worms and Trojans on disk, CDs, in E-mail and during browsing. Incremental updates of virus database (twice a week) are small, fast and reliable.

So far so good and I’m going to recommend it. Now there is no reason to not have a good up-to-date anti-virus program running on your machine. Have a look.


License Plate Tracking for All

Filed under: security — Tags:

Wired News has an article on new powerful infrared cameras to read license plates.

You knew it had to happen sooner or later. First the police in several cities started using these devices, some of which can read sixty license plates per second, for finding stolen cars and make windfall profits from ticket scofflaws.

You have to know it’s only a matter of (probably short) time before all of the companies that are already collecting too much information onyou pick up on this and have these readers installed everywhere and link them to their already massive databases of what used to be your personal information.

I really hate to see this happen, but I guess there’s no stopping it now and there’s no end in sight. Can’t we get any good privacy laws?


Creating a Membership System with PHP and MySQL

Filed under: Information — Tags:

Thorough tutorial on using PHP and MySQL to create a user based login system
for your website that will show you how to do the following:

  • Collect information about the user during signup and store that information
    into MySQL
  • Generate a random password and encrypt it into the database
  • Validate the user’s email address before they can login
  • Create a login system for the user to validate his/her information against
    the database
  • Create a lost password recovery tool
  • Basic Form handling with PHP
  • Some PHP Session basics
  • Use the Mail function to send the user an email
  • And Much more!


How to Protect Yourself From Big Brother

Filed under: Information — Tags: ,

Stop the government from spying on your internet connection by using open source software and strong encryption. Everyone encrypt their internet connections and stop the NSA in their tracks!

You are being watched.

Regardless of the government you live under, your actions on the internet are being tracked. Your every search recorded and kept in a database for future use/abuse. US citizens have had their web traffic monitored by the NSA and AT&T, and their every search history subpeaned by a Federal Judge. As we move towards a more wired and connected society, the potentials for abuse grow exponentially. Imagine a future where your past searches label you as a threat to your government. Or where your browsing history is known by everyone. It’s possible now.


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