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SEO: Search engine optimization: checklist

A quick checklist of “low hanging fruit” that I use as a guide for helping my clients promote their websites and grow their businesses. Read More »

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WordPress: adding extra line breaks, vertical space and more

Updated 4/2013

There are issues with all the wysiwyg editors out there. It’s a problem with Drupal too. It’s hard to make a browser-based tool that just works right.

What WordPress is trying to do is “clean” the code. This is useful in many situations but not always. Read More »

Posted in Web Design, WordPress | 21 Responses

CSS: How to vertically center content on a page

Do you have a  page where you want to simply center it both vertically and horizontally? Looking for a pure CSS solution?

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Do-it-yourself website options – photography

I am often asked how to make a website on low/no budget…

Tim Peter’s”Thinks” Blog: Here’s a great overview of current blog/cms options. it compares these 5 services: Weebly, SiteKreator, SynthaSite, WordPress.com (the free version) & Webnode

Most of these sites offer free versions with paid upgrades for ad-free, custom domain names and other add-ons. Read More »

Posted in Fine Art Photography, Web Design | 5 Responses

Web designers toolkit: QA browser and email client testing

updated 10/2013

Screenshots + virtual environment live testingMy current primary QA tool. This is for VNC and also for screenshots and includes a separate responsive test tool. They’ll give you an hour of free testing for signing up so try it. I found it to be very very fast. You need a separate account for screenshots and for virtual environments but each account is unlimited use.

Screenshots + virtual environment live testing. Their service allows for full control of a remote computer. They have a full range of platforms and browser versions. The best part is you can get 5 min free for a quick test. (update: no more free, now you pay by the minute based on a monthly minimum subscription with roll over minutes).  The interface is not as slick as litmusapp but has many more features and now supports mobile browsers. Free trial. Free limited account (at least if you already had a paid account – not sure about this) I wish they offered per-minute usage instead of only monthly subscriptions.

I have not tried this but looks great. free option for now…. this tool will fill out fields and generate screenshots throughout the process.

Similar as above but free. I found it to be slow but it’s still really useful.

Screenshots + virtual environment live testing. More like litmus – a fully featured offering.

2012 UPDATE:

Each of their browsers include dev tools like firebug. Lots of other advanced features like screen capture. Automated code testing and other pro features. Small free account available and pricing starts at $12/mo.

2013 UPDATE:

Here’s a great list from Envato of web QA tools including Ghostlab

If you just want a screenshot of what you can see on your own screen check out this great (but older) list. Or this list of browser testing services.

adobe browserlab
UPDATE: BrowserLab shut down on March 13, 2013. Screenshots only.  (introduced mid 2009; still free – until april 2012 although they keep extending the free period). This is really impressive – my new main tool and it’s free. I wish it had a better interface – some simple buttons to allow browsing through one shot after another would save a lot of clicking. This is only for screenshots but it’s got a useful onionskin feature for comparing different browsers one on top of another for that pixel-perfect situation.


A PC app that has all the major browsers in it.

A free app for PC that has all the IE versions within it. Even IE9 preview.


The other email client testing I’ve used is the Inbox Inspector from MailChimp. But you have to pay for each test — $13. Overall, MailChimp offers a great service and lots of really useful (free) articles on email marketing.
Other useful articles:

Email testing only.  I have not used them since early 2010. They offer unlimited tests — starts at $79/month. One advanced feature they have is being able to share a set of tests by publishing it live. That sets up a convenient way to dialog with clients. Their old browser service only covered 11 web browsers. They changed their focus to just be on email testing – they have spam testing and other email-specific features. Free account allows for ie7 testing only – but not sure if that’s only for existing accounts that have expired their monthly subscriptions (like me…). I don’t see a way to sign up for a free account. There is a Free trial.

Why fight with display inconsistencies when you can just take it from me? These were mostly learned form testing at Litmusapp.

  • Lotus does not like <br> tags to be lower case. keep it <BR>
  • Gmail wants every bit of CSS to be inline – it will ignore your body tag and your declared CSS styles

2015 update: and now there’s some great shortcut solutions—run the html through the “inliner” tool here: https://putsmail.com/inliner – just paste all the code into that box, client the ‘inline css’ button, and wait a moment for the code to process.

I also tried http://premailer.dialect.ca but that tool was not as good – some design elements didn’t show up correctly in Gmail.

Posted in Web Design | 8 Responses

Web 2.0 expo 2009 notes

1) For screen sharing
Free for one-to-one. Allows sharing of only part of a screen – interesting interface. Guests don’t have to download anything – it runs in flash.
Paid version has support for 8 guests, whiteboard

But users can’t control each others cursor.  So skype screen sharing is tough competition for them since it’s already ‘right there’ for many people.

2) Interesting input device:
TrackBar Emotion Roller Bar Mouse

3) all o’rielly books online free!
Safari Techbooks Online
Full-text online access to over 1000 computing, IT, and management titles released by leading publishers that you can read online. The collection includes all of the Safari Techbooks titles for the current and previous two calendar years.

3) simplified web marketing
Offers a tool for placing ads on google, yahoo and msn from one web-based interface. Includes other tools to simplify advertising options like landing page optimization.

Interesting security note:
If your laptop memory is removed from your computer the information on it can be copied for up to a few minutes before fading away. So even encrypted hard drives are vulnerable. There is a video here that explains the procedure clearly.

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Listings of fine art photography awards and submission deadlines

Here’s a start of a list of lists—all about finding the right competitions, grants and awards. There are so many available but I find most of them are not worth the time and expense of applying.

Mary Virginia Swanson: List of approaching deadlines
Swanson is well known in the photo world. I had a chance to met her briefly at Review Santa Fe but not for a one-on-one portfolio review session. I heard a number of other photographers talking about how useful her advice and encouragement has been.

PhotoShelter’s Rachel Hulin: here and here
A great resource even though she has ended that blog and now set up shop as simply A Photography Blog.

Without Lenses: Events
Erin is a co-member of BAPC and does great work with Web UI and alternative process photos.

New York Foundation for the Arts
This site offers access to the most comprehensive list of resources for artists in the nation, opening doors to the widest range of financial, educational, technological, and institutional resources and information.

This site was great:
but is now discontinued.

Please leave comments and share your favorite resources.

Posted in Photo grants and awards | Leave a comment

Mission Armory

Each of these articles I found online adds another small facet to the strange history of this building.

I’d heard of this idea of converting the Armory to creative uses a long time ago when I moved to the Mission in 1993. A couple years later I visited PS1 in New York and it occurred to me that the Armory could be just as cool.

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Advice for emerging artists

Dawoud Bey has a wonderfully written and inspiring article at ChicagoArtistsResource.

Here’s my summary:
Make good work and soak in the culture you want to engage with. Poke your head outside your work and take time to educate yourself. Keep at it and your opportunities will emerge. You will too.

Posted in Fine Art Photography | Leave a comment

Resources for marketing your art event in the San Francisco Bay Area

REMINDER: marketing is attention you pay for, PR is attention you pray for.


I have also used Eventful, SF Station & SF Arts



Posted in San Francisco Art | Leave a comment
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