A tribute to Steve Jobs and everyone at Apple

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Here’s a quote from Steve Jobs:

We think the Mac will sell zillions, but we didn’t build the Mac for anybody else. We built it for ourselves. We were the group of people who were going to judge whether it was great or not. We weren’t going to go out and do market research. We just wanted to build the best thing we could build.

When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.

Thanks for all you have done for us, and all you will do in the future.

I forgot about this blog

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Seriously. I really did.

It’s been a year since I posted to it and what a year it has been!

Fortunately, I think I’m past all the cancer stuff and I’m getting better every day. I like that!

I saw a notice about a contest on Empire Avenue for folks who link their WordPress.com blog to their Empire Avenue account, so that reminded me that I haven’t been here.

Apparently, my neurons really are firing randomly, because I really haven’t said much. Oh, well!

Act on your dream!

JD

I am back

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

It’s been a long time since I’ve published anything to this blog, but I’m back.

Over the last year (or more), I’ve come through a serious health crisis and came close to dying. I’m still a long way from recovering to how I was three years ago, but I’m making progress.

I wrote about it on another blog:

I am happy to report that I’m feeling better!

So, I won’t bore you with any of the details, here.

It’s going to take me some time before I get back to doing all the things I used to do, including blogging on a regular basis, but I’m heading in that direction.

Act on your dream!

JD

Enjoying a cool rainy morning in the mountains

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Before I moved to the Arizona desert for a few years, I never really appreciated a nice, rainy morning.

Now, about 25 years later, I’m sitting in a small cabin in the mountains of western NC and I’m listening to the gentle sound of falling rain on the roof. I’m enjoying it.

By now, we’re past the hottest days of the summer and I’m enjoying the cool, near-fall weather. A few of the leaves are changing color, but it will be another month or so before they put on their beautiful fall foliage of yellows, oranges, reds, and other colors.

In about a month, we’ll get our first frost and then I’ll start looking forward to the first snow of the year.

One of the things I really love about living in the mountains is watching the changing of the seasons as one year drifts into another.

Right now, I’m taking a little while to appreciate and enjoy it.

All the best,

JD

In Memory of Mattie Lee Dilbeck

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Today, instead of talking about business or marketing, I’m going to tell you a brief story about a woman I admired a great deal, my Mom.

After fighting against a long illness, Mom died on Friday, November 21, 2008.

I wrote a little about her this morning: In Memory of Mattie Lee Dilbeck.

I’m going to miss her.

Testing new poll feature

Monday, October 20th, 2008

This morning, I learned about the new feature for adding PollDaddy polls and surveys to our WordPress blogs.

I wrote about it here: Do you want to add polls to your site?

On that blog, however, there seems to be a CSS conflict between the poll and one of the other widgets I’m using on that site.

So, I’m testing the same poll here:

Now, we’ll see how it looks on this blog.

Big changes to this blog today

Monday, April 28th, 2008

I was notified that this blog was not in compliance with the WordPress.com terms of service.

I thought I read the TOS when I started this blog and don’t remember any prohibitions against affiliate marketing, but there are, so I deleted all the links and posts that I think did not comply.

I have plenty of other blogs where I can write about whatever I want, so this is not a major problem.

I want to keep this blog, and I hope my actions today will bring it into compliance.

I moved all the affiliate marketing posts to a new blog at 21st Century Affiliate Marketing and I hope you’ll join me there.

In the future, I’ll be posting about non-commercial topics on this blog as my neurons fire randomly.

All the best,

JD

MyCommitment.org – Pledge to make a difference

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

President Clinton recently announced MyCommitment.org and urges you to pledge to make a difference. Make a commitment to change something – big or small – and connect with others who share your vision for change.

I have been inspired by all the things President Clinton and Vice-President Gore have been doing to help our world after they left office and I am happy to pass along the word about the latest iniative of the Clinton Global Iniative, a project of the Clinton Foundation.

From the MyCommitment.org About page:

MyCommitment.org seeks to:

* Inspire Change. Provide information highlighting some of the world’s biggest challenges, raise awareness and motivate others to take action.

* Build Community. Connect people with others who share the same vision for change and help them create networks to put plans into motion.

* Facilitate Action. Offer tools for visitors to make commitments to act and track their progress and results.

* Strengthen Engagement. Encourage citizen action around America and throughout the world.

MyCommitment.org builds on the success of the Clinton Global Initiative, a project of the Clinton Foundation, which has already inspired more than 600 commitments to action from some of the world’s top thinkers and government and business leaders. Learn more about CGI member commitments.

Launched in 2007, MyCommitment.org reflects President Clinton’s dedication to promoting citizen service. Throughout his life, President Clinton has met inspiring individuals and organizations taking innovative and unique approaches to solving some of the world’s biggest challenges. These encounters also led him to write his second book, GIVING: How Each of Us Can Change the World, which was released in September 2007.

What will you do to help make the world a better place?

Act on your dream!

JD

NeoOffice – a great replacement for Microsoft Office on Mac OS X

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

A couple of weeks ago, I installed NeoOffice.

Now, to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t replacing Microsoft Office. I quit using Microsoft products over ten years ago and didn’t upgrade after Word version 5 for the Mac, several years before.

I’ve been using Microsoft products seemingly forever. I started with Word version 1.0 on the Mac and I used Microsoft Office on both Mac and PC for quite some time, since Windows 1.0 and Microsoft Office 1.0.

I even wrote a book using Word 5 for Mac that included table of contents and an index, so I feel like I know the product, even if I haven’t used any of the most recent versions.

For most of the last ten years, ClarisWorks and AppleWorks have offered everything I needed, and since I own my own business, I’m not tied to any corporate dictates about the software I have to use.

The only problems I faced were people who sent me documents in .doc format, which I could not read and didn’t feel much of a need to read. If they sent the files as Rich Text Format (.rtf) files, then I could import most of them into AppleWorks – at least well enough to read.

I was perfectly content until last month, but then my needs changed.

I have plans to write a variety of reports and short ebooks over the coming months. I spend a lot of time researching various things and I’m going to write about them and make the reports and ebooks available – some free and some paid.

In the past, I would have written in PageMaker and produced the PDF files by printing to the included Acrobat distiller.

With my new iMac, I can no longer use PageMaker, so I had to look at different solutions.

As you may already know, it is easy to print to PDF from just about all Mac OS X applications, but I discovered something that was very surprising.

It seems that the applications I had available could create active hyperlinks in the docments, but those hyperlinks would not be active when I printed the documents to a PDF file.

I tried AppleWorks, and, while the PDF showed the correct words styled with underlines and blue text, the links were not active; I could not click on the text and go to the URL in my designated browser.

I downloaded Nisus Express with the same results.

I tried Voodoo Pad with the same results.

While researching the problem, I found on a forum (don’t remember which one) that Word would create PDF files with active hyperlinks. That wasn’t an option for me.

So, if Word would do the job, I wondered if there was an alternative that would do what I wanted. I’d been following OpenOffice for awhile, and I was willing to install X11 and OpenOffice if it would do the job.

While researching this, I ran across a project I’d never heard of: NeoOffice.

NeoOffice takes the OpenOffice code and turns it into a Mac OS X application, complete with easy installation, and the Mac look and feel.

Best of all, it wasn’t related to Microsoft and it was free.

The trouble was, however, that it was a 145 MB download, and on my slow dial-up connection, that just wasn’t feasible.

I mentioned this on the NeoOffice forum and several people offered to burn a CD and send it to me. I accepted an offer from one very generous person and a few days later, when the CD arrived, I was able to install and start using NeoOffice in less than an hour.

The NeoOffice team used to ship CDs, but discontinued doing so due to lack of demand.

Linboo.com had been shipping the NeoOffice CD, but when I tried their site, it was offline. I didn’t know if it would come back or not.

Since then, it has, and LinBoo ships a variety of Unix and Linux CDs, including NeoOffice 2.1 and OpenOffice. If I’d waited a day or so, I could have ordered directly from them.

I am perfectly happy with NeoOffice 2.1. It does exactly what I want to do.

At first, I was really disappointed. I tested a short report with multiple hyperlinks, and, when I printed it to PDF, I got the same results I’d been getting with all the other applications I tried. The resulting PDF had what looked like links (underlined and blue), but they were not active.

So, apparently, the fault lies with the Print to PDF feature of Mac OS X. I would say that not creating active hyperlinks is a rather major shortcoming of the programming. I’m surprised that Apple hasn’t fixed this problem.

However, when I went looking through the NeoOffice menus, I noticed “Export to PDF.” That sounded promising.

Instead of printing to PDF, I chose to export to PDF and that made all the difference.

The resulting PDF file has real, active hyperlinks.

Why is this so important?

If I were writing a short report of 10 pages or less, I would have to edit the document and print to PDF. Then, I’d have to load my full version of Acrobat (version 4), add hyperlinks to the PDF in the appropriate places, and then re-save the PDF report.

For a one-off version of a short report, this is not much of a problem. However, the longer the report or ebook, the more the links and the more trouble to rewrite and update all the links. I don’t even want to get started if I have to go through such a complicated process.

I intend to update these reports and ebooks as it becomes necessary, and I don’t intend to go throught this process over and over. I should be able to modify the report and produce an updated PDF with all the links in place, directly from my word processor.

Now, with the NeoOffice export to PDF command, I can do this exactly how I want. Perhaps I’m getting lazier as I get older, or maybe I’m finally learning about this “work smarter, not harder” concept.

I tried a variety of different links of varying complexity and all of them worked as desired when I exported the document to PDF.

I’ve tried exporting word processing docs (Writer) and spreadsheets (Calc) and the resulting PDFs were exactly what I wanted.

Now, I am not a corporate power user and have no need for probably 99% of what NeoOffice provides, but now I have the perfect application for creating reports, ebooks, and even books with tables of contents and indexes.

A side benefit – that some of my friends may appreciate more than I will – is that I can open .doc files directly and they don’t have to send the files to me in .rtf format. I still serve on a nonprofit committee that makes small seed grants and matching grants for fundraisers to small grassroots nonprofits in western North Carolina, and the standard format for sharing information by nonprofits is Microsoft Word.

If you have a broadband connection, you can downlowad NeoOffice for free, or you can get a CD from LinBoo.com.

If you don’t use a Mac, you may want to look at OpenOffice.org or purchase a CD with OpenOffice from LinBoo.

I’ve had no problem with NeoOffice and I spent half-a-day putting the various modules through their paces. The only thing that feels weird is that NeoOffice opens all the modules in one integrated whole and that feels more like AppleWorks than Microsoft Office. As long as your computer has enough RAM, it shouldn’t be a problem. Right now, I have Radio Userland, TextWrangler, Safari, Preview, and NeoOffice all running in a Mac with 512 MB of RAM.

I’m happy with NeoOffice, and I recommend it to you if you want to dump Microsoft Office.

Will it do everything you need or want?

I don’t know. You’ll have to test this for yourself, but the cost is right. There is very little work or risk involved in trying it for yourself.

Act on your dream!

JD

Trackbacks – How to use them?

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006

I’ve used a lot of blogging platforms over the last few years while I was trying to find out which ones I like best and which offer the tools and capabilities I want.

I did a lot of blogging using Blogger, which doesn’t support trackbacks, so I never really understood what they were all about.

So, this morning, I decided it was time to sort this out.

This blog is powered by WordPres version 2, and I have trackback and pingback enabled, so I should be able to point to another blog entry and the trackback should be automatic.

My first reason for trying to understand this was because I wanted to comment on Why Blog Anyway? and I wanted to see if the trackback would work.

Since I didn’t really understand how this works, I did some searching and found an outstanding WordPress Trackback Tutorial that explains much of what I was finding confusing.

I blog on several platforms, as I said, and my main blogs are powered by Userland’s Manilla, Userland’s Radio Userland, and WordPress. As far as I know, the first two do not support automatic trackback pinging, so I think I’ll have to manually enter the trackback URL in the URLs to Ping box when I create the new article.

Once I publish this article, I’ll link to it from John Dilbeck and Friends, using a manual trackback, to see if it works as expected.

I can see that I’ve been missing a powerful tool in communicating with other bloggers. I’ll rectify that today.

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