6 Tips to Maximize Twitter Event Hashtags (via Laurie McCabe’s Blog)

Very interesting post about Hasttags, proper use of hashtags can be very beneficial. Hashtags can help you “trend”. This post provides some good advice.

Thanks for posting this.

Originally published in Small Business Computing, 8-29-11. Recently, a client asked me for some tips about how to get the maximum mileage out of Twitter event hashtags. Creating Twitter hashtags for your business events is a great way to multiply conversations about what you’re doing, and there are also lots of ways to maximize the impact of the hashtag. I put a few before, during and after the event tips here together for her, and thought I’d sh … Read More

via Laurie McCabe's Blog

BlueAnt T1 Bluetooth thoughts

I purchased the BlueAnt T1 Bluetooth ear piece finally and wanted to give it a try. Originally I planned on just buying a cheap $20 piece, but opted for a higher end device. I wanted to use it for listening to music while I work and do other tasks, ultimately I wanted to be able to easily switch between my PC and phone.

The BlueAnt T1 supports connecting to 2 phones, I was able to pair it with both my PC and phone. While listening to music on my PC through the Bluetooth, a call would be announced and lowered the volume so I can take the call.

Since this was my first Bluetooth device I didn’t know what to expect out of the battery, I listened to music all day starting about 7AM through 3:30PM and then got an alert that the battery was very low. Seems like a good time, but not very practical for my purpose.

Sound quality was very good, I used it at my desk as well as in the car with my windows open with out any problems. If a call came it, the call was announced through the earpiece (attempting to tell me the name of the caller) and I simple spoke the words “answer” or “ignore”. Overall, the BlueAnt T1 is a very nice device, which  I would expect at a price of $80.

But, for me personally I didn’t feel there was enough beneficial value to justify the cost. I returned the device for a full refund at Radio Shack without any problems. I do not plan on buying another Bluetooth, I am just as confortable holding the phone to my face or putting the call on speaker phone.

Backup Buddy for WordPress

Part of the project I am on involves moving the entire WordPress site from our internal data center to an Amazon EC2 zone. Backup Buddy was recommended by a consultant that we are working with and I tested it against a Go Daddy account first.

Well, let’s same this is a fantastic plugin, I backed up the entire site (database and files) and moved the ZIP file as well as the importbuddy.php file to the root of the new server.

Navigating to importbuddy.php walks you through a very easy wizard that will setup a migration from one server to another, changing all links to reflect the new domain.

I will be running some more tests today and will plan on a real case to EC2 tomorrow, so far it looks like this task will be a breeze with Backup Buddy!

Click here for more information about Backup Buddy.

BackupBuddy from WebDesign.com on Vimeo.

UPDATE: 8/31/2011

I am becoming very frustrated with backing up the full site, backing up a database is a very stable. I am getting errors inconsistently and unable to resolve so far.

Native zip function unavailable or failed: Backup file couldn’t be created without entering slower compatibility mode.

Falling back to compatibility method. Note that this method is slower and cannot exclude directories.

Hoping to figure out how to resolve the above errors, in the meantime I am going to move the files using FTP and a straight database backup. I still love the idea behind BackupBuddy, but nervous about the stability of the product at this point.

Workaround #1:

Uncheck “Enable ZIP compression” and the full backup runs very fast, I do have a 400MB file now as a backup though.

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Still, have to get this working with Amazon S3 for Disaster Recovery, that is next.

WordPress …

Well, let me start by saying that my background has always been in Microsoft technologies (VB, C#, ASP.NET SQL Server, etc). But, I have used others such as Java, Oracle, Sybase, PHP and MySQL; this has always been a strong point of my background that I can easily switch between environments.

A recent project at work pushed my hand to learn WordPress and like I usually do I jumped in full force. I wanted to take this time to provide my feedback on working with WordPress.I had to develop a custom plugin as well as learn to configure and add on to the WordPress site. Basically, I had to learn to to control it and manage the WordPress site once our consultants left. Our consults handled the design of the theme and offered a little development help. They offered more information on general WordPress functionality

I felt that developing a plugin for WordPress was very easy, working the the PHP code took a little be remember the syntax and find any changes from the last time I worked with PHP. But that didn’t take too long to. Understanding the “The Loop” was a major part of plugins as well as attaching to the correct events. Once I put a very basic plugin in place I made the plugin usable with a shortcode that was placed on a page. I then added a custom admin screen for managing the settings, which included importing data from a CSV file and working with data in custom tables. Once that was complete I had to modify the user profile screen to add a few custom fields that would interact with my custom tables, this took a little to understand but it came through and worked out great.

Configuring WordPress was a breeze, modifying settings and installing plugins (which there are a huge variety of) was simple.

In my opinion WordPress is a great environment for blogging and building a site upon for just about anyone. I don’t have to be involved in editing pages and update pages. This can be handled by our business and marketing people, while my development team concentrates on development of products.

I will post more details on the development of the plugin and and using WordPress in future posts.

Whitehall Community Day 2011 “Hoe Down”

We all had a great time at Whitehall’s Community Day, so glad we made it there. We arrived late, but had time to ride some rides. One of my daughters rode the mechanical bull and loved it! Of course there was face painting and lots of great food.

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Live country music was playing while we talked with neighbors and friends.

Whitehall always organizes nice events and I am glad to be able to participate in them.

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School’s open everyone, please drive safe.

My experience and thoughts on the iPad

Having owned an iPad (the original) for several months now, I wanted to provide my opinion of it for others. First, I purchased the 32 gig model with 3G access and activated the 3G immediately so I could have access anywhere there was 3G coverage.

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There are so many nice features about it I can’t even start. But I will run through some of the basis that I found beneficial, such as the amount of applications “apps” that are available.

Some of my goals of purchasing an iPad where:

  • Compact note taking that syncs to a Windows and web based application
  • Convenient way of maintaining email communications
  • Interactive educational environment for my children
  • Convenient way of viewing online photos & videos
  • Compact web browsing & using web apps

Above all the iPad is a game changer, it is an amazing piece of technology. The size is perfect, you can easily carrying it around, it’s the perfect size to just have with you. The battery is very long lasting, I used it all day and would just plug it in before I go to bed at night. Never ran out of battery on it.

We also loaded movies put on it from iTunes and used it for traveling so my children could watch movies while we drive.Of course, email is perfect, a larger screen that a phone makes reading and replying to emails a breeze, I connected it to my corporate email as well as my personal email on GMail and other services without any issues.I installed the free app EvernNote on the iPad and on my PC and note taking is accomplished, no more taking my laptop with me to meetings.

Using online services like Facebook, Twitter and SmugMug was nice for viewing what was online. The photos and video came in crystal clear. But, in my opinion posting messages and really interacting on Facebook was cumbersome when using the web app. The Facebook applications where nice, but no where near the web app.

Web apps is where the iPad falls short I feel, without flash it leaves you wanting more. There where many times that I had to switch to my PC just to work on web applications. This was the largest downside to the iPad that I discovered, so much so that I end up using my PC more than the iPad. I keep the iPad handy for traveling using the 3G service to stay connected or I just tether my phone to a PC.

Overall, I liked the iPad the price is still a bit high and it needs to come down and it needs to have flash capabilities to really make it a viable solution for many cases. Would I buy it again, probably, but I would really wait for a better price.

I hope this was helpful, my kids love the iPad and like I said it will be traveling with us still. Just don’t ever think of it as a computer replacement, it compliments a computer definitely.

Using Windows Live Writer with WordPress

I am using Microsoft Windows Live Writer to write the content that is appearing and will appear on pghdeveloper.wordpress.com. This will allow me to work on post offline in a familiar Microsoft Word editor.

In this post I will explain how to configure Windows Live Writer 2011 to connect to a WordPress site.

First you must download Windows Live Writer at http://explore.live.com/windows-live-writer?os=other, this is part of the Windows Live Essentials 2011.

Once you download Live Writer and launch it you will be presented with a wizard that will walk you through connecting Live Writer to your Blog. Below are the screen shots that I encountered as I configured Live Writer to connect to pghdeveloper.wordpress.com.

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Select “WordPress” as displayed above.

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Enter the full URL of your blog, username and password.

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I selected yes above so I can preview my blog post in Live Writer.

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Enter a friendly name for your blog.

If you ever need to change information you can easily navigate to the “Blog Account” menu and select “Blog options”.

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The window below will be displayed and allow you to edit your blog settings.

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East Coast Earthquake, did you evacuate?

Having experienced the first earthquake in my life and the first felt in Pittsburgh in over a century, I am rethinking are reactions.

Walking back to my office and seeing a coworker concerned and asking if anyone else felt the earthquake. A 5.8 at the epicenter in Virginia, an earthquake hasn’t occurred at this size on the East Coast in 114 years.

I was in an office building in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, downtown Pittsburgh evacuated buildings and some in the South Hills. My afterthoughts now, should we have evacuated? Many of us talked about it at the office but didn’t leave the building, was this the right thing to do? Are we to focused on work and not on safety procedures? I am not being critical of anyone, just rethinking if what I did was correct. I would love to have a discussion about this and see what others on the East Coast feel about this.

My first Earthquake in Pittsburgh

Today in Pittsburgh was the first Earthquake that I been through, but I didn’t feel it. A coworker felt it and looked very shocked and concerned. I was not sure what was going on and was continuing with my work, but had to check the the social media networks to see what was going on. It took some time and then the news media started to report, glad we have social media to get information around.

To read details look at:

5.9 magnitude quake rattles Pittsburgh.

Did Anyone Else Just Feel That Earthquake?

Facebook and Twitter where alive with chatter regarding the earthquake and checking if anyone else felt anything.

Welcome ….

Welcome to pghdeveloper.wordpress.com, this is my venture in blogging. Please read the About Page to learn more about me and this site.

I am a development manager and architect that is involved in all aspects of technology, but first and foremost I am a very dedicated husband and father. My beautiful wife and children are my life and I love to spend time with them, we do many activities together including camping, hiking, swimming and my wife and I are very involved in their education.