Category Archives: Uncategorized

2 New jQuery Plugins

I have just finished creating two new jQuery plugins.  I found them very useful for my own site, and thought I would share them with everyone else.  One is called FlickrTools, the other is SocialCards.

FlickrTools

FlickrTools is a simple jQuery plugin that queries the Flickr API, and gathers all the images that match a certain tag.  At some point, this can be expanded to query other properties in the API, but this is the simplest way to start.  I use my flickr images as part of my home page hero, and as a rotating carousel of images.  One of the nice things about this plugin is that the data retrieved from the query is reusable between both features on the site.  The hero is custom jQuery, whole the carousel uses Slick.

SocialCards

SocialCards is a jQuery plugin that queries all of your social media outlets and gathers all of your recent content into cards and displays them on your own site.  Currently it queries blog posts, Etsy, Flickr, Foursquare, GoodReads, Pinterest, and Tumblr.  Soon to be developed are Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube.  It uses a masonry style based on the one I found on w3bits, that is configurable using CSS, included in the sample.  The plugin integrates with the Google API for easy RSS reading, and with Yahoo YQL API for other more complex data.

Please feel free to give these a try.  These are the 1.0 release, so they may not fit your needs exactly.  Reach out to me at [email protected] with any comments, suggestions, or constructive criticism.

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Virtumonde is not your friend

I was the victim of a very annoying piece of malware I have been avoiding the corporate install of Internet Explorer for months now, and I have been using Firefox 2 and 3 instead. I am sure I was doing something I should not have been, because for the last two weeks these strange popups have been plaguing my Firefox browsers, and my machine has been running like there was taffy on my hard drive. I tried to remove the trojan with Spybot S&D, and that did not work. It did identify a Browser Helper Object (BHO) and some registry entries that I could not get rid of. That is when I knew it would be bad. Derek recommended that I try Macafee Avert Stinger. That was no help either. I tried HijackThis. That was informative, but not as helpful as I had hoped. So I did some more digging online, and an article recommended Malwarebytes’ Anti-Malware (MBAM). That was a big step forward. It clearly identified my problem as the Virtumonde Trojan. There were 59 DLLs, BHOs, data files, and registry entries all over my computer from this one trojan. I used MBAM to remove all of them, but the BHO registry entry was stubborn. This meant there was still more. I did some research on Virtumonde, and found that a tool called ComboFix will wipe it out entirely. It took about 20 minutes to run, rebooted my machine, and took another 20 minutes to complete. But when it was all done, I was trojan free. No more popups when I use Firefox, and my machine is fast again. Now… if only I knew what I did that was so bad…

10 Essential Site Organization and Structure SEO Tips

  • Organize according to themes and logic based on your keywords phrases (key phrases can also be a single word).
  • Use book-like structure, with chapters and blocks delegating importance.
  • Each page should have one concept, i.e. – one or maximum two main key phrases that are more important than the rest.
  • A single, unified concept (without additional data) will greatly increase weighting (importance) of that page in the world of pages that exist for that key phrase.
  • Content Layering
    • http://www.seomoz.org/blog/layering-content-to-maximize-visibility
    • It is generally recommended to keep as flat a structure as possible when planning your web site presence. That does not mean however you need to throw everything in the root directory for best results. You should not go more than 2-3 levels deep in your directory structure.
    • Each major theme or category should become a subdirectory within the root. This is a simple, easy, efficient way to organize your site.
    • To increase visibility, each layer must act like an independent Web site
    • Search engines tend to treat a sub-domain as its own site. In other words, a search engine sees http://google.searchengines.com and http://searchengines.com as essentially 2 different sites.
    • If you’ve only got 10 or 15 or even 50 pages in your sub-domain, chances are it won’t rank as competitively as it would have as a sub-folder of a larger site. But larger sub-domains are a great idea.
  • Site map pages are extremely important
    • http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3588136
    • Site maps are a great way to be sure all of your pages are indexed.
    • A link to a site map page on all of your pages is a great idea.
    • They make it easy for the crawler to crawl the whole site
    • Make sure the site map is available to your users, not just the crawlers. This will increase usability, and give your users a list of links that point to the important parts of your site.
    • If the site map is larger than 100 or so links, you may want to break the site map into separate pages.
  • Short link paths are better – users should be able to access sub-pages by traversing a minimal number of pages from the start page. The deeper the page, the more specific the content should be, and the less importance search engines will give it.
  • Don’t use pop-ups. These are penalized heavily by Google.
  • Use header tags (h1, h2, h3) for content hierarchy: h1 tags for the page topic (ie. use only one per page), h2 tags for a topical headings, and h3 tags for sub-topical headings.
  • It is recommended that you have an identical navigation menu on each page, with navigation links based on keywords.

A Little Bit About Me

Well, I suppose it’s about time that I start blogging. I have been in the technology industry for ten years… I think it’s about time I started using it. Anyways here is a bit of resume-writing.
A little bit about me:
  • I was born in New Jersey, but moved to Detroit, Michigan when I was one year old.
  • I lived in Detroit until I turned 7. This was enough time to become a Tigers, Lions, Red Wings and Pistons fan.
  • Then I moved back to New Brunswick, New Jersey.
  • I went to New Brunswick public schools up to high school. Then I went to Rutgers Preparatory School from 1989 through 1991.
  • In 1996 I got my bachelors of art with majors in Art and Art History from Rutgers College. It took me five years, but then again I paid for it.
  • My first job out of college was with a small company in Edison called Nationwide Computers & Electronics. I worked on their full page newspaper advertisements selling computers, appliances, etc. By the end of the year I was there, I was a Quark Xpress and Illustrator expert.
  • Things got a bit rough there, and I ended up working for a subsidiary of theris called NWCD – New World Computers Direct. There I developed their direct mail catalog, and started working on their web site. By the time I left there in 1998 I had developed a full online catalog built in PERL that connected to the Bank of Michigan to take online credit card orders.
  • I left NWCD and took a consultant job at Bristol-Myers Squibb in Hopewell. I worked there developing Lotus Notes applications for the Worldwide Medicines department. We used Notes 4.5, Photoshop, and JavaScript. I worked there until I left in 1999 to go to Bellcore.
  • I worked at Bellcore in the Marketing department responsible for their external web site. I was in that department thorugh the name change, and helped drive the new deisgn through the rebrending of the company. After that, I took a job with their Notes development group. I was team lead there through early 2000. Thats when I applied for another job at BMS.
  • I took a new consultant spot in the Client Services group of IMSS back in BMS Hopewell. I was converted to an employee on June 27, 2001. I have been bounced around from group to group, and site to site. Now I am a manager in the Application Services department. I first worked on internal applications across most of the divisions within the company. My current assignment is to manage the Internet Marketing applications. These are the direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical brand web sites.

My hobbies include:

  • Digital Photography, Scuba Diving, Golf, Billiards, Coin Collecting, World of Warcraft, Magic: The Gathering, Warhammer 40,000

I think that’s enough for me tonight.