Archive for Tech Blog

D.I.Y. Publishing Made Easy

I love designing on the Mac

When I was looking for my son’s Bar Mitzvah invitations online, all I saw was overpriced junk. Nothing was even close, so I dusted off the design tools and got busy. Type on a curve was fun old-school trick. Getting hebrew fonts was a bit of a grind, but there were some good ones out there. FontExplorer X from Linotype is a must-have tool for any mac user with a font library. A couple hours of work and a simple upload to FedEx Office and I had my custom invitations in an hour for $36.

Site Optimization After Google Panda Update

Sometimes, just figuring out what you want to accomplish is the real task

Since the Panda update to the Google search algorithm, most websites are scrambling to get back to where they were with placement, popularity, relevance and pageviews. Cancer Answers, a site that runs on my server, was hit particularly hard and I have been looking into how to fix it.

One key incident that I didn’t even know about until my research discovered it occurred within my host environment. They made some big changes to their PHP and cgi-bin practices that caused parts of the site to simply quit working. It was easy enough to change the permissions to my get.cgi script and get the homepage pulldown menu to work again.

So fine, pageviews could have been down because the site was broken. But, since the repair, traffic has not bounced back and still hovers at around 30% of where we were this time last year. My strategy to clear this up is pretty radical. I am going to give away all my content.

When the site was built, the idea was to sell cancer treatment information to end users. In 1997, that idea was viable since content was slim and the need was great. Since then, information is much more available and reputable while ours has become stale. Thus, transcript pricing was reduced again and again. Now, a full transcript is only $3. If I put all that content onto the public site, that will probably go a long ways toward freshening the site and increasing traffic.

Since the site is static html, that is going to be a huge GAK. I’ll keep you posted on that.

Mac & HP – Can’t We All Be Friends?

Try as I may, I can't get my HP PSC-1510 to scan...

I remember when I bought my iMac years ago, an HP PSC 1510 was purchased along with it and I wrestled with the config to make the two hardware pieces see each other and play nice. Since then, the hard drive crashed and now it’s the whole thing all over again.

Like most things these days, the troubleshooting began with a Google search and there was a wealth of information from others with the same problem. Turns out that HP and my iMac simply don’t play real well together.

There was lots of funky advice about unplug, power off, uninstall, reinstall, blah, blah, blah… What finally worked was to download much older drivers than the ones on the HP website and install those. Turns out that the manufacturers improvements to the drivers broke them.