Monday, September 24, 2007

up to $50

I just made my second donation to Barack Obama's primary campaign. They are getting really creative in the way they are getting people to donate.

Since I had already donated several months ago, I have been getting messages once a week or so with different political statements from Obama or his campaign manager. Most of these emails contain some kind of plea to donate money. This week's email contained a new tactic that I thought was really interesting. If you are a previous contributor and you donate again, they will match your donation with that of a first time contributor. They give you the option of sending a personal message to that person when they make their donation. It was kinda fun. Within a minute or so I had been matched with another person and I received a nicer personal message back from them.

Another interesting thing that Obama's campaign is doing is you can get on their text message list. Every so often something is happening, Barack is on TV or giving some special speech somewhere and I get a text message telling me about it.

With all of this interactivity going can he not be leading the money race! Yes I think Hillary would probably be a decent choice...but she is certainly no Obama. So anyway...if you are stumbling upon this post...and you want to donate visit Barack Obama's website and make a donation. You can donate as little as $5! will be worth it to join this movement.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Vista won't use Firefox as default browser

Going along with the theme of my last post, this is my short story about getting Vista to recognize Firefox as the default browser for all applications.

When I upgraded to a workstation with Vista, I had several problems with getting things to run smoothly. I previously blogged about my problems using Trillian. But I could never figure out why Vista would not recognize Firefox as the default browser for things like Google Desktop search, or when clicking a link from within an Outlook email. I spent time several months ago trying to solve the problem, messing with all kinds of settings in the control panel, to no avail. Then a few days ago, I decided to try again. I googled for "vista defaulting to IE not firefox" which returned this result from a cnet forum. The post describes how installing Safari, and then using Safari to manage the global browser preference will make my problem go away. I install Safari, then go into Safari's preferences and set the default browser to be Firefox. Presto! Everything now uses Firefox as the default browser including the two main problems areas of Google Desktop Search and Outlook. Thank you to Safari, no thank you to Vista.

I am sure there are other ways to fix this problem, but this one was quick, simple and painless.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Trouble with imbeding images...InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc...

I have been having a hard time attempting to make a credit card authorization document for use internally to my company. The main problem is that I want to display our company logo inside the document. This is easy enough for a word file, but I want to turn the word file into a PDF. Here comes the hard part. How do I make the logo appear in sufficiently high quality on the PDF? I tried exporting the logo in several different formats, originally from .ai, and then into other formats uncluding .eps, .jpg etc... The best result I could get was with a PNG file...however even that had problems when displayed in the PDF format...jagged edges on the lines of the logo. It looked acceptable when printed on paper...but still I thought I could do better.

I decided it was time to ditch Microsoft Word and attempt to build the document from something more suited to graphics. Using Adobe Illustrator would take too long and I would have problems with text formatting. I decided to use Adobe Indesign (formally Adobe Pagemaker). I have Adobe CS3 Web Premium installed on my computer, and I figured it would be included....but no. InDesign is not included with CS3 Web Premium. Luckily I had upgraded from CS2 Standard...which included InDesign. Unfortunately, I had uninstalled the entire CS2 suite when I upgraded to CS3. I had to reinstall standalone InDesign from the CS2 suite...which appears to work fine.

Then I was easily able to setup the document using InDesign, and import the logo in vector format, which looks really sharp. Now the problem became that the credit card "placeholders" which were in the original word document were generated with "word art" whatever that means. Even though I could copy and paste them into InDesign, it would not translate them onto the printed or PDF versions of the file. In a quick fix effort to get the project done, I took a screenshot of the word document, imported the card placeholder imaged into Photoshop, tweaked them a bit, and then sent them over to InDesign. Should I decide to spend a bit more time on the project, I will re-do these placeholder images in Illustrator and replace the low-rez ones.