Archive | Tech

Another useful software package – HTTrack Website Copier

Need to make complete copy of a web site but don’t have direct access to the files? I’ve had this happen for several clients whose web developer would no longer give them access, or who wanted a copy before they terminated their relationship with the web designer. Well, HTTrack is a free utility that does the following:

It allows you to download a World Wide Web site from the Internet to a local directory, building recursively all directories, getting HTML, images, and other files from the server to your computer. HTTrack arranges the original site’s relative link-structure. Simply open a page of the “mirrored” website in your browser, and you can browse the site from link to link, as if you were viewing it online. HTTrack can also update an existing mirrored site, and resume interrupted downloads. HTTrack is fully configurable, and has an integrated help system.

Of course, it will not copy scripts, but for static web sites, it works pretty well.


WordPress FlvPlayer Plugin – Getting it to work properly!

The FLVPlayer WordPress plugin is a nice utility to add Flash videos to your WordPress site, but it has not been updated by the author in numerous months and does not completely work as described in the installation instructions.  Here are the steps I had to take to get it to work:

  1. Download the latest version of the plugin (v0.4.2)
  2. Extract the files to a folder on your computer
  3. Upload the folder “flvplayer” and its contents to your “wp-content/plugins/” folder
  4. Edit the repository/index.php file to have links back to your web site and not the author’s.
  5. Upload the contents of the “repository” folder to the directory where you store audio/video files. Since I did not have this folder already, I created a folder called “media” under the root of my web site folder and moved the contents (not the whole folder) there. You do not need to upload the “.svn” folder.
  6. Upload the contents of the “themes” folder to your “wp-content/themes//” folder. Just the contents, not the whole folder. You do not need to upload the “.svn” folder.
  7. Activate the plug-in in your WordPress admin console by going to Plugins, and clicking on Activate for the “FlvPlayer” plugin.
  8. In the WordPress admin console, go to Options -> FlvPlayer and set the following:
    WordPress Page Address: /videos/ (Set this to what you are going to name the WordPress page that we set up in the next step. DO NOT name this the same as your “media” folder where you store audio/video files.)
    Video Repository (URI): (Set this to the folder where your media is stored. See Step 4 above.)
    Video Repository (on server): /home/www/davemccomb/public_html/media (Set this to the physical path where your video files are stored.)
    Use Friendly URI: True / False (Set this if you want friendly URIs.  You must also add those lines to your .htaccess file.)
    Files to exclude: (This is a list of all the files in the “media” folder that you do not want to appear in the dropdown list. You need to immediately add on the following to this list: ,index.php,__player_jwflv.swf,__player_asysound.swf )
    Display list type: List / Dropdown / None (Select how you want the video files to appear on the page. I like dropdown best.)
    Video Player: Proxus / FlowPlayer / Jeroen Wijering FlvPlayer (Select which Flash video player to use. I like the last one, but feel free to try them all. The Proxus player must be purchased or else it shows the word “Demo” in the window.)
    Mp3 Player: AsynSound (Only one choice here.)
    CSS: 1 (I just left this alone.)
  9. Click Update Options. If you see: flvplayer__video_redirect failed to update!
    flvplayer__video_repository failed to update!
    flvplayer__video_repository_file failed to update!
    flvplayer__friendly_uri failed to update!
    flvplayer__exclude failed to update!
    flvplayer__display_type failed to update!
    flvplayer__videoplayer_type failed to update!
    flvplayer__mp3player_type failed to update!
    flvplayer__css failed to update!
    info_update failed to update!

    Ignore these errors as there is a bug somewhere in the script. While there are errors reported, you should also see “Options Saved” and be good to go.

  10. Upload your audio/video to the folder you specified in Step 4. (“media” in my case) If you do not upload anything now, you will not be able to see any results on your page.
  11. In your WordPress admin, go to Write -> Write Page, and create a new page. I set my page title to “Videos” and left the content blank. Under “Page Template” you must also select the “FlvPlayer” template. DO NOT set the Page Title here to the name of the folder you store videos in. Click “Create New Page.”

That’s it.  You should now be able to see your videos at the page name you set up. Mine are at


WordPress Event Calendar PlugIn?

So, I’ve been looking for a WordPress event calendar plugin, and while I found the Event Calendar 3 plug-in, I wasn’t happy with it. It does not support multiple day events, recurring events, etc. I found PHPiCalendar, but that only reads in iCal files, and is not integrated into WordPress, except through a plugin which gave me a number of errors on WordPress 2.0.2.

I then turned back to EasyPHPCalendar which I have used before. It is commercial software ($19.95 and up depending on options), but well worth the price as I have not found ANY open source software that comes close to it in terms of features.  I am integrating it into WordPress now and will give you an update on my progress.


Click to activate and use this control. Ughh!

Have users who are seeing the message “Click to activate and use this control” on some web sites?

Microsoft’s most recent Windows Update including a “patch” to Internet Explorer, that disabled some of the functionality it had for automatically running embedded controls (ActiveX, Flash, etc.). This is due to a patent dispute that Microsoft lost (is losing?) to Eolas Technology regarding this technology.  Web developers have a number of workarounds to fix this problem, but until every site implements it, users will be stuck with thtis behavior.

Luckily, Microsoft has a patch out that reverts Internet Explorer back to its earlier behavior of automatically running these controls. Note that they do claim the patch is temporary and will not be available for future security updates, so get it now!


XnView – Free graphics and photo viewer

XnView is a great utility that will open about 400 different graphic file formats and export to about 50 different formats.  This tool is perfect for opening files that you do not have the original program to open and are not your standard file types. Best of all, it’s free.


Open Source CRM Software

I’ve been looking into open source CRM software, and originally found and installed SugarCRM. It seems to be a great product, but requires license fees for additional modules such as the Outlook plug-in (which would be very useful). At this point, as we try to figure out how to best use CRM, we do not want to pay any fees.

I then found vTiger, which is another open source CRM package that includes the Outlook and Office plug-ins as open source. As they originally took the SugarCRM software and re-branded it as vTiger (legally able to do under the open source license for SugarCRM), there seems to have been some discussion as to whether this was (a) completely legal and (b) in keeping with the open source spirit.  That discussion seems to have died down as vTiger branched off the original code with a large number of their own enhancements.  I’ll be giving it a try to see if it works for our needs.  I’ll be sure and report back.


Automated web site testing

Just started looking at automated web site testing tools and found this one:

AdventNet QEngine
AdventNet QEngine is a 100% web-based test automation tool for Web application functional testing, Web application performance testing, Web service functional testing and Web service performance testing of web applications and web services. All you need is just a browser to connect, from anywhere, to the QEngine server for the automated testing of your web applications developed using HTML, JSP, ASP, .NET, PHP, JavaScript/VBScript, e-commerce, etc., and web services that are bound with the SOAP/HTTP binding.

Going to give it a test and see how it works. I’ll update this post with results and other products I’ve found.