WorldOWeb http://www.worldoweb.co.uk Resources tutorials and inspiration on Linux, Web Design, WordPress, PHP, jQuery and Open Source. Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:39:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Adding Google Charts to WordPress Blog Part 2http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/2014/adding-google-charts-wordpress-blog-part-2 http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/2014/adding-google-charts-wordpress-blog-part-2#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 11:49:04 +0000 http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/?p=7689 By Tracy Ridge

In this mini-series of Google Visualization tutorials we will be adding a Google chart to a WordPress theme without having to install any plugins but ensuring that we use the correct WordPress functions and recommended safe way of implementing JavaScript. The data we will be pulling will be in JSON format and will be stored […]

The post Adding Google Charts to WordPress Blog Part 2 appeared first on WorldOWeb.

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By Tracy Ridge

In this mini-series of Google Visualization tutorials we will be adding a Google chart to a WordPress theme without having to install any plugins but ensuring that we use the correct WordPress functions and recommended safe way of implementing JavaScript. The data we will be pulling will be in JSON format and will be stored on the same server inside the theme directory.  In this tutorial we will be adding  a stacked column chart.  Want to add a table?  Checkout part 1

Image of Stacked Column Chart

Image provided by Shutterstock

Prerequisites

Access to your WordPress theme folder.
A little knowledge of PHP and WordPress functions is useful but not required.

Download

Download

Let’s get started

In the Download above there is an example  of a correctly formatted JSON file (Purely fictional of course) which we will use to populate our data to create our chart. Upload the js and data folder to your WordPress theme folder.  If using a Child Theme upload to that folder rather than the parent.

Ajax in the head

Before we start to enable our ajax event to fire when non-admin users look at the page.  Open up header.php and check to see if ajaxurl is defined.  If not add the following  just above the wp_head() function.

<?php if (!is_admin()){?>
   		<script type="text/javascript">
    		var ajaxurl = "<?php echo admin_url('admin-ajax.php'); ?>";
		</script>
	<?php }?>

Add the Chart container to the Blog Post/Page

Naturally you can’t have a chart without a container!  In your blog post or page add the following

<div id="chart_div" class="chart"></div>

Enqueue Our scripts

To add the JavaScript to our WordPress blog we need to officially enqueue our scripts so that they are present for the chart to load.  Open up functions.php and add the following and save (Don’t close yet).   Please note the comments at the top.

/*
*Enqueue Scripts for our chart
* 
*Optional:  
****1. Limit our table to display on a single page  - http://codex.wordpress.org/Function_Reference/is_page
****2. If you are WORKING with a child theme replace all instances of get_template_directory_uri()
****	with get_stylesheet_directory_uri()
***/

function fundraising_chart(){

	
//if (is_page('page_name')){
	wp_enqueue_script('chart', 'https://www.google.com/jsapi');
	wp_enqueue_script('chart_main', get_template_directory_uri() . ' /js/fundraising.min.js', array('jquery'));
//}
	
}

/*Add Javascript Action and our ajax actions that will be used in the fundraising chart script  */
	add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'fundraising_chart' );

The Google Visualization library is quite heavy and unnecessary to load on each individual page or post.  Simply uncomment Lines 13 & 16 to only load the JavaScript on a specific page, replacing page_name with the Page ID, Page Title or Page Slug.  If you are displaying  your chart in a blog post replace is_page() with  is_single()   See is_page() and is_single() on the WP Codex for further details.

Build Table Action

With the JavaScript files added we now need to add the following to functions.php which is the ajax action that is called from the JavaScript file.  The build_graph function works a little differently to the build_table function in Part 1.  After we have retrieved the JSON file we decode it and add all the values together for each category ie; school and our events.  We then re-encode it to be parsed by JavaScript.  This can also be done with JavaScript if required.

add_action( 'wp_ajax_build_graph', 'build_graph' );//admin
	add_action('wp_ajax_nopriv_build_graph', 'build_graph');//frontend

function build_graph() {
	
	$url = get_template_directory_uri() .'/data/donations.json';

	$request =   wp_remote_post($url);
	// Get the body of the response
	$response = wp_remote_retrieve_body( $request );
		
		/*function get_sum will add all the amounts together and return the sum*/
		function get_sum($json){
			$keys = array();// Creates a new variable as an array
				foreach( $json as $key){//loops through the sections
  					$sum[] = $key['amount'];//finds all amount values  and adds them to an array
				}
			return array_sum($sum);//adds the all the values together
		
		}
	
		$myJson= json_decode($response, true);//decode file as an array
	
		$company = get_sum($myJson['Company']);
		$ct = get_sum($myJson['Collection Tins']);
		$ourevents = get_sum($myJson['Our Events']);
		$individual = get_sum($myJson['Individual']);
		$misc = get_sum($myJson['Miscellaneous']);
		$school = get_sum($myJson['School']);
		
/*echo json encoded array*/
echo json_encode(
	array(	'company'=>$company,
			'ct'=>$ct,
		  	'ourevents'=>$ourevents,
		  	'individual'=>$individual,
		  	'misc'=>$misc,
		  	'school'=>$school));

die();//required for ajax
	
}?>

Fundraising.js

When your page or post loads the action build_graph is fired in functions.php. If successful it will load the contents of the JSON file and add them to the row (line 37)

var $j = jQuery;

// Load the Visualization API and the chart package.
google.load("visualization", "1", {packages:["corechart"]});

// Set a callback to run when the Google Visualization API is loaded.
google.setOnLoadCallback(drawChart);


/*Create our Chart through an Ajax request by passing the build_graph action which will be parsed with the build_gaph function in functions.php*/

function drawChart() {
	$j.ajax({
		url: ajaxurl,
		data: {
			"action": "build_graph" //run build_graph function in functions.php
		},
		dataType: "json",
		success: function (data) {
			/*data[''] represents the json data */
			var company = data.company;
			var ct = data.ct;
			var ourevents = data.ourevents;
			var individual = data.individual;
			var misc = data.misc;
			var school = data.school;

			// Create the data table.
			var data = new google.visualization.DataTable();
			data.addColumn('string', 'Name');
			data.addColumn('number', 'Our Events');
			data.addColumn('number', 'Individual');
			data.addColumn('number', 'Company');
			data.addColumn('number', 'School');
			data.addColumn('number', 'Miscellaneous');
			data.addColumn('number', 'Collection Tins');
			data.addRow([null, ourevents, individual, company, school, misc, ct]);
			// Set chart options
			var options = {
				//'width':600, //unhighlited width to allow for responsive graph - see CSS file in source
				'height': 600,
				'allowHtml': true,
				'is3D': true,
				hAxis: {
					title: 'Types of Donations'
				},
				vAxis: {
					format: 'u00A3'
				},
				'isStacked': true
			};
			var formatter = new google.visualization.NumberFormat({
				prefix: "u00A3"
			});
			formatter.format(data, 1);
			formatter.format(data, 2);
			formatter.format(data, 3);
			formatter.format(data, 4);
			formatter.format(data, 5);
			formatter.format(data, 6);

			// Instantiate and draw our chart, passing in some options.
			var chart = new google.visualization.ColumnChart(document.getElementById('chart_div'));
			chart.draw(data, options);

		}
	});
}

/*The following will resize the chart in the browser*/
$j(window).resize(function () {
	drawChart();
});

Add a little CSS Spice

Open up your theme’s stylesheet and add the following to make your chart responsive.

.chart {
	width: 100%;
}

 Conclusion

If you have followed all steps correctly you should now have a fully functioning Google Chart.  If you have any problems with the code or don’t quite understand something please feel free to use the comment section below.

Example of Google Charts

 

 Further Reading

The post Adding Google Charts to WordPress Blog Part 2 appeared first on WorldOWeb.

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Adding Google Charts to WordPress Blog Part 1http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/2014/adding-google-charts-wordpress-blog-part-1 http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/2014/adding-google-charts-wordpress-blog-part-1#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 11:39:32 +0000 http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/?p=7610 By Tracy Ridge

In this mini-series of Google Visualization tutorials we will be adding a Google chart to a WordPress theme without having to install any plugins but ensuring that we use the correct WordPress functions and recommended safe way of implementing JavaScript. The data we will be pulling will be in JSON format and will be stored […]

The post Adding Google Charts to WordPress Blog Part 1 appeared first on WorldOWeb.

]]>
By Tracy Ridge

In this mini-series of Google Visualization tutorials we will be adding a Google chart to a WordPress theme without having to install any plugins but ensuring that we use the correct WordPress functions and recommended safe way of implementing JavaScript. The data we will be pulling will be in JSON format and will be stored on the same server inside the theme directory.  In this tutorial we will be adding a table. Want to add a chart?  Checkout part 2

JSON - Creating a Google Chart

Image provided by Shutterstock

Prerequisites

Access to your WordPress theme folder.
A little knowledge of PHP and WordPress functions is useful but not required.

Download

Download

Let’s get started

In the Download above there is an example  of a correctly formatted JSON file (Purely fictional of course) which we will use to populate our data to create our table. Upload the js and data folder to your WordPress theme folder.  If using a Child Theme upload to that folder rather than the parent.

Ajax in the head

Before we start to enable our ajax event to fire when non-admin users look at the page.  Open up header.php and check to see if ajaxurl is defined.  If not add the following  just above the wp_head() function.

<?php if (!is_admin()){?>
   		<script type="text/javascript">
    		var ajaxurl = "<?php echo admin_url('admin-ajax.php'); ?>";
		</script>
	<?php }?>

Add the Chart container to the Blog Post/Page

Naturally you can’t have a chart without a container!  In your blog post or page add the following

<div id="table_div" class="chart"></div>

Enqueue Our scripts

To add the JavaScript to our WordPress blog we need to officially enqueue our scripts so that they are present for the table to load.  Open up functions.php and add the following and save (Don’t close yet).   Please note the comments at the top.

/*
*Enqueue Scripts for our chart
* 
*Optional:  
****1. Limit our table to display on a single page  - http://codex.wordpress.org/Function_Reference/is_page
****2. If you are WORKING with a child theme replace all instances of get_template_directory_uri()
****	with get_stylesheet_directory_uri()
***/

function fundraising_chart(){

	
//if (is_page('page_name')){
	wp_enqueue_script('chart', 'https://www.google.com/jsapi');
	wp_enqueue_script('chart_main', get_template_directory_uri() . ' /js/fundraising.min.js', array('jquery'));
//}
	
}

/*Add Javascript Action and our ajax actions that will be used in the fundraising chart script  */
	add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'fundraising_chart' );

The Google Visualization library is quite heavy and unnecessary to load on each individual page or post.  Simply uncomment Lines 13 & 16 to only load the JavaScript on a specific page, replacing page_name with the Page ID, Page Title or Page Slug.  If you are displaying  your chart in a blog post replace is_page() with  is_single()   See is_page() and is_single() on the WP Codex for further details.

Build Table Action

With the JavaScript files added we now need to add the following to functions.php which is the ajax action that is called from the JavaScript file.

add_action( 'wp_ajax_build_table', 'build_table' );//admin
	add_action('wp_ajax_nopriv_build_table', 'build_table');//frontend




function build_table() {
	
	//Our json file in data folder
	$url = get_template_directory_uri() .'/data/donations.json';
	
	//Retrieve json file
	$request =   wp_remote_post($url);
	
	// Get the body of the response
	$response = wp_remote_retrieve_body( $request );
	
	echo $response;
	die();
}
?>

Fundraising.js

When your page or post loads the action build_table is fired in functions.php. If successful it will load the contents of the JSON file and add them to the row (line 28)

var $j = jQuery;

// Load the Visualization API and the piechart package.

google.load("visualization", "1", {packages:["table"]});

// Set a callback to run when the Google Visualization API is loaded.
google.setOnLoadCallback(drawTable);


function drawTable() {
	$j.ajax({
		url: ajaxurl,
		data: {
			"action": "build_table" //this is the function called in functions.php
		},
		dataType: "json",
		success: function (json) {

			var data = new google.visualization.DataTable();
			data.addColumn('string', 'Name');
			data.addColumn('string', 'Type');
			data.addColumn('number', 'Amount');

			/*loop through json and add rows of content */
			for (var x in json) {
				for (var i = 0; i < json[x].length; i++) {
					data.addRow([json[x][i].name, x, json[x][i].amount, ]);
				}
			}

			var options = {
				'sortColumn': 2,
				'sortAscending': false,
				'allowHtml': true,
				'pageSize': 10,
				'page': 'enable'
			};
			var formatter = new google.visualization.NumberFormat({
				prefix: "u00A3"
			});
			formatter.format(data, 2);
			var table = new google.visualization.Table(document.getElementById('table_div'));
			table.draw(data, options);

		}
	});


}
/*The following will resize the table in the browser*/
$j(window).resize(function () {
	drawTable();
});

Add a little CSS spice

Open up your theme’s stylesheet and add the following to make your table responsive.

.chart {
	width: 100%;
}

 Conclusion

If you have followed all steps correctly you should now have a fully functioning Google Chart table.  If you have any problems with the code or don’t quite understand something please feel free to use the comment section below.

Example of Google Chart Table

 Further Reading

The post Adding Google Charts to WordPress Blog Part 1 appeared first on WorldOWeb.

]]>
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MultCloud – Access all of Your Cloud Driveshttp://www.worldoweb.co.uk/2014/multcloud-access-cloud-drives http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/2014/multcloud-access-cloud-drives#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 21:39:47 +0000 http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/?p=7540 By Tracy Ridge

Multcloud is a convenient way of accessing multiple online cloud drives through the web, with no software installations neccessary, MultCloud can be convenient when travelling from office to home or have several computers in which you work from. With support for services like Dropbox, Box, Amazon S3, Google Drive, OneDrive, SugarSync, Copy, Bitcasa, CloudMe, Cubby, […]

The post MultCloud – Access all of Your Cloud Drives appeared first on WorldOWeb.

]]>
By Tracy Ridge

Multcloud is a convenient way of accessing multiple online cloud drives through the web, with no software installations neccessary, MultCloud can be convenient when travelling from office to home or have several computers in which you work from. With support for services like Dropbox, Box, Amazon S3, Google Drive, OneDrive, SugarSync, Copy, Bitcasa, CloudMe, Cubby, MyDrive, WEB.de, Yandex, HiDrive, Baidu as well as support for FTP and WebDav you can copy, move, preview, download files from one drive to another with ease.

The Cloud

Image provided by Shutterstock

What Multcloud Has To Offer

MultCloud and is 100% free with no traffic restrictions. With multiple accounts supported there is no limit on how many drives from the same provider you can add so you are able to add multiple Google Drives etc.  If you are conscious about security all connections and transfers are encrypted for SSL using 256-bit AES and Multcloud does not cache your data or files on their servers. Cloud drives are accessed using OAuth authorisation and does not save your passwords.

On Test

MultCloud has a very simple registration process. Simply go to https://www.multcloud.com/ and fill out your email, username and password, complete the verification box and click create account. After you hit create account you should receive an email to verify your account. Once verified you can sign in and start adding your accounts immediately.  Simply click Add Cloud Drives then this will bring up a list of services available.

MultCloud Add Drive

After selecting the service of your choice hit Next which will bring you to a screen where you enter your email, password etc for that service (All services differ). After entering the required data, accept the permissions and you will see your newly added drive in the file manager on the left. Follow this process for the rest of your accounts. Within 5 minutes I had signed up and added 5 accounts so this process is really quick.

The interface, similar to any other file browser is very clean and simple with a handy right-click menu. I previewed some of my images in OneDrive, which decided to work unlike transferring files, and the image loaded pretty quickly on my 5MB internet connection.

MultCloud Preview

Files can be transferred quite easily by either dragging and dropping or by right clicking on the file/folder then selecting Copy To which enables you to select your target destination/folder.

Now for the real test. I transferred a small video, just over 132MB, from Google Drive to Dropbox which took less than 2 minutes, that is considerably quicker than if I uploaded it from my computer or copied it from Google’s own software.  I attempted to transfer the video to OneDrive too but came up with an error and failed to transfer, whether this is a problem with OneDrive itself, or just relative to the day of test, it certainly wouldn’t deter me from using the service.

Rating: 9/10

Pros

  • Fast
  • Easy to use
  • Drag & Drop
  • Useful context-menu
  • Extremely accessible through any web browser and an internet connection of course
  • Good Layout

Cons

  • Transfers to OneDrive, worked occasionally but not large files

Summary

If you want a 100% free service to get access to multiple cloud drives then MultCloud will do the trick. With the added protection of 256-bit AES encryption you are free to move your files around without having to install multiple file synchronisation software. People will no doubt be saying “What’s the Catch?”

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Mazwai – HD Video Resources for Web Designershttp://www.worldoweb.co.uk/2014/mazwai-hd-video-resources-web-designers http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/2014/mazwai-hd-video-resources-web-designers#comments Fri, 22 Aug 2014 11:43:05 +0000 http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/?p=7526 By Tracy Ridge

Mazwai is a new stock video website which only selects the very best of free HD videos online. The purpose of Mazwai is to help every web designer, blogger, creative and artist to find great video resources for their professional and personal projects. All the video clips, footage, and mini-film are available in HD under […]

The post Mazwai – HD Video Resources for Web Designers appeared first on WorldOWeb.

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By Tracy Ridge

Mazwai is a new stock video website which only selects the very best of free HD videos online. The purpose of Mazwai is to help every web designer, blogger, creative and artist to find great video resources for their professional and personal projects.


Mazwai

All the video clips, footage, and mini-film are available in HD under the public domain or the Attribution license (CC 3.0) which means that you can do everything with the video (transform, adapt, cut, share) as long as you do not forget to credit the original author in some way. There is no subscription and no download limitation.

How to use Mazwai

  • Simply click on the preview you like
  • Watch the video on the embed player
  • Simply download the video. You will receive a .zip including a .mp4 and .webm version.

If the video isn’t what you’re looking for, just simply close the player and browse the many other previews on offer. New videos added regularly to expand the choice.

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Top 20 WordPress Development Blogs to Followhttp://www.worldoweb.co.uk/2014/top-20-wordpress-development-blogs-follow http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/2014/top-20-wordpress-development-blogs-follow#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 19:44:10 +0000 http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/?p=7363 By Tracy Ridge

I haven’t posted anything about WordPress for a while so I thought I would start off with my Top 20 WordPress Development blogs. If you can’t find what you are looking for on the ever-expanding WP Codex or you simply just don’t understand it then you will find loads of hints, tips and resources in […]

The post Top 20 WordPress Development Blogs to Follow appeared first on WorldOWeb.

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By Tracy Ridge

I haven’t posted anything about WordPress for a while so I thought I would start off with my Top 20 WordPress Development blogs. If you can’t find what you are looking for on the ever-expanding WP Codex or you simply just don’t understand it then you will find loads of hints, tips and resources in the following sites to cover all aspects of your WordPress life. If I have not mentioned your favourite then feel free to add it to the comments section or fire me a tweet @ridgey28.

WordPress

Image provided by 360b / Shutterstock.com

Manage WP

Manage WP has been around a few years. They have a premium WordPress plugin that manage multiple WordPress sites.  They also have a blog which have loads of resources and tutorials from developing plugins and themes to their hot picks of the month.
Manage WP Blog

WP Engineer

WP Engineer is a dedicated WordPress Blog which was created by 3 WP Super Fans. The dedicated WordPress blog is loaded with tips, tutorials and resources.
WP Engineer

WP Shout

Started in 2009 bu Fred and David,  WP Shout have lots of  WordPress tutorials and resources.
WP Shout

WP Tavern

WordPress Tavern, established in 2009, is a warm and inviting community site that is focused on all things WordPress, BuddyPress and bbPress
WP Tavern

Digging into WordPress

Digging into WordPress was created by Chris Coyier and Jeff Starr, the authors of Digging into WordPress book, who eat and breathe WordPress.
Digging Into WordPress

WP Explorer

WP Explorer is a haven of all things WordPress. Featuring Premium WordPress Themes and Plugins and a blog with news, tutorials, tips, snippets, SEO and security.
WP Explorer

WP Hacks

WP Hacks covers a variety of WordPress topics including themes, plugins, SEO and yes you guessed it hacks.
WordPress Hacks

WP Lover

WP Lover hasn’t posted anything for a while but you can still access tips and tutorials that cover a vast array of topics.
WP Lover

WP Arena

WordPress Arena is a place for WordPress Developers and Designers, providing Tips, tricks, tools and resources to build a website or blog on WordPress. They also feature a WordPress Showcase for all kind of WordPress Powered Websites.
WP Arena

WP Hub

WPHub review high quality premium plugins and themes. They also strive to create high quality and innovative WordPress tutorials.
WordPress Hub

WP Mayor

WP Mayor was founded in 2010 by Jean Galea, a WordPress developer. WP Mayor offers premium review services and has a community of content contributors posting tutorials covering many different WP topics.
WP Mayor

Pippins Plugins

Pippin covers only WordPress plugin development. His tutorials are very clear and precise and is an excellent alternative to the official codex.
Pippins Plugins

Winning WP

Winning WP covers every category you can possibly think of. It’s loaded with helpful resources from blogging, tutorials, marketing, design, security and much more.
Winning WP

WPLift

WPLift was founded in September 2010 by Oliver Dale, the founder of Kooc Media, to help people with WordPress by providing tutorials, theme roundups, plugin guides and general WordPress news.
WP Lift

WP Business Tips

WP Business Tips, sister to WP Shout, is designed to deliver quick, non-technical tutorials on the parts of WordPress you can really use for your business.
WP Business Tips

WP Beginner

WPBeginner is a WordPress resource site which was founded by Syed Balkhi in July 2009. The main goal of this site is to provide quality tips, tricks, hacks, and other resources for the WordPress community but in a helpful and clear format for beginners to understand.
WP Beginner

WPMU Dev

The WPMU DEV Blog provides news, tips, tutorials, and reviews on WordPress, BuddyPress and Multisite.
WPMU DEV

Paulund

Paul Underwood from Bristol, UK, created Paulund to collect all the resources and snippets to use in the future. He developed these into tutorials, describing how they work to help people learn. He mainly focuses on theme and plugin development but his resources are definitely worth checking out.
Paulund

Theme Lab

ThemeLab is a company that specializes in building easy to use premium WordPress themes to help you create a website as unique as you are without any code knowledge.
Theme Lab

Tom McFarlin

Tom is a WordPress developer who has published WordPress plugins. His personal blog is where he shares articles, notes, tips, and resources related to WordPress development.
Tom McFarlin

Bonus Websites – The Best of the Rest

Obviously there are more blogs out there than the above so here are the best of the rest

Other Resources worth checking out

Some of these blogs are dedicated to the world of Web Development in general but feature WordPress tutorials so they are definitely worth checking out.

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Smartphones – How To Find The Right OS For Youhttp://www.worldoweb.co.uk/2014/smartphones-find-right-os http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/2014/smartphones-find-right-os#comments Sun, 29 Jun 2014 22:14:28 +0000 http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/?p=7168 By Tracy Ridge

A few years ago I published why I would never buy an iPhone. Since then I have owned a HTC and Samsung Smartphone both using the Android OS. Do you think my opinion has changed? What has changed? The problems with Android  is that the majority of phones in the UK, no doubt same in other […]

The post Smartphones – How To Find The Right OS For You appeared first on WorldOWeb.

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By Tracy Ridge

A few years ago I published why I would never buy an iPhone. Since then I have owned a HTC and Samsung Smartphone both using the Android OS. Do you think my opinion has changed?

Smartphone - Android OS

Image provided by Twin Design / Shutterstock.com

What has changed?

The problems with Android  is that the majority of phones in the UK, no doubt same in other countries too, come with a 2 year contract. In that 2 years you would expect to get security updates, possible even major upgrades from JellyBean (4.3) to KitKat (4.4) especially if it’s announced that your phone will receive an update.

My Experience

My first smartphone was a HTC Desire HD which came with Android 2.2 (Froyo) and was eventually upgraded to Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). As HTC didn’t plan on upgrading the phone to 2.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) I did just that and installed a custom rom. My daughter now uses the phone and the battery life has improved dramatically after removing all the crap that both HTC and Vodafone had bundled in with it. I have owned a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 for the past 18 months, running Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) after the initial update from 4.2. The phone was reported to be updated to 4.4 (Kit Kat) last October and so far I am still stuck on 4.3. On that note (pardon the pun) the so-called Smartphone still doesn’t work correctly. I am unable to answer calls 90% of the time, the screen comes on by itself which makes it extremely hot and drains the battery. The touch screen is unresponsive at times, leaving me to switch it off and back on again to get it to work.

What Frustrates Me

In a cut-throat society manufacturers are quick to add new models to their line, which is understandable. The only downsides to this is that your phone becomes discontinued when you have only had it for 2 months, you are forgotten about. The software is no better, how many phones are running software that is no longer being developed? Software that can be targeted by malware, viruses and hacking! Think of your Android software being similar to Windows XP now that Microsoft no longer supports it.

Smartphone - iPhone

Image provided by Pedro II / Shutterstock.com

Now I know that Apple are far from being perfect but at least their update process is more pleasing, they will support the phone long after it has been discontinued. When they release iOS 8, this year, they will support the iPhone 4S which was released back in 2011.

As Always There Are Alternatives

Install a custom rom – As Android is Open Source developers are free to use the source code to build and develop there own custom versions. There are lots of custom roms available, depending on which phone you now have, although Cyanogen and MIUI are quite popular.

There are downsides to installing Custom roms. It invalidates your warranty is probably the biggest problem to deal with however if you install one correctly you can achieve a better user experience, remove bloatware, improve battery life and much more. I do recommend that if you wish to choose this pathway then please don’t ignore any steps in the instructions or otherwise your phone may become as useful as a house brick!

Firefox OS Firefox, one of the oldest and most popular browsers have released an OS which is available on several phones. Firefox OS is an adaptive phone, it has all the basic functionality of any other smartphone, for instance a camera, music player, messaging etc but it also comes with a adaptive search feature which makes it easy to access what you want. Although I haven’t tested one out yet I reckon Firefox would be good with the older generation (like my mum, don’t tell her that) that find Android far too confusing.

Windows Phones – Currently you will find them mainly on Nokia Lumia smartphones (no surprises as Microsoft own Nokia) although there are HTC, Samsung and Huawei models. If you are familiar with the tiled appearance in a Microsoft Windows 8 OS then this may be the smartphone for you. Fingers crossed that security has improved over the years.

Ubuntu Phones – With Ubuntu becoming ever more popular, especially after the demise of Windows XP, they have decided to branch out in the smartphone and tablet department. At the time of writing this canonical are working with several mobile phone carriers so no doubt we can look forward to a new arrival soon.

Blackberry
BlackBerries were more commonly used in the business sector until a few years ago when the BlackBery Curve, with its distinct keyboard, became popular among your average Joe. Unfortunately things started to go a little pear shaped as Android and Apple dominated. Thankfully Blackberry fought back and gave users what they always wanted, a smartphone. They only have a small percentage in the market share but if you are looking for a secure phone then look no further.

Conclusion

No doubt Android and Apple control the market share of all smartphones out there. If you need lots of choices in the games and applications department then they will be suitable. However if you want to use the same phone for 2 years + and have all the updates then Apple iPhone may be more suitable. If you are a ‘Just want a bloody phone person’ without all the hassle of thousands of applications then one of the alternatives may be more useful. In my opinion after having an Android phone for nearly 4 years I’m leaning towards an iPhone at this current time as I would rather have a break than a KitKat!

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Infographic – Top 100 Design Blogs to Followhttp://www.worldoweb.co.uk/2014/infographic-top-100-design-blogs-follow http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/2014/infographic-top-100-design-blogs-follow#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 10:13:22 +0000 http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/?p=7164 By Tracy Ridge

This infographic by Artfulclub features the top 100 design blogs to follow, organised by Alexa ranking and Facebook Page Follows. Is your blog featured? What are your favourite design blogs? An infographic by the team at Artfulclub

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By Tracy Ridge

This infographic by Artfulclub features the top 100 design blogs to follow, organised by Alexa ranking and Facebook Page Follows. Is your blog featured? What are your favourite design blogs?

Top 100 Design blogs To Follow

An infographic by the team at Artfulclub

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Review of the Week – X-Mirage for Windowshttp://www.worldoweb.co.uk/2014/review-week-x-mirage-windows http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/2014/review-week-x-mirage-windows#comments Mon, 09 Jun 2014 18:23:03 +0000 http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/?p=7138 By Tracy Ridge

In this weeks review I am testing out X-Mirage which has recently been released for the PC. X-Mirage is an AirPlay receiver which allows you to mirror your iOS device(s) to your PC or Mac Screen. Currently X-Mirage costs $16 USD for both the Mac and PC Version and supports iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad […]

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By Tracy Ridge

In this weeks review I am testing out X-Mirage which has recently been released for the PC. X-Mirage is an AirPlay receiver which allows you to mirror your iOS device(s) to your PC or Mac Screen. Currently X-Mirage costs $16 USD for both the Mac and PC Version and supports iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad mini with Retina, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S and iPod touch (5th generation).

X-Mirage – On Test

Upon starting X-Mirage on my PC there is a handy guide to quickly connecting your iOS device(s) to the software. X-Mirage Welcome Screen Following this guide instantly connects your iPad etc to the software and displays your screen on your PC. Scrolling through my iPad was extremely responsive so I decided to play Real Racing 3 which gives you full control ie swivel and tilt. There was a little lag at times but again this is minimal and the game was playable and could simply be down to your wireless network. Graphically, the software was adequate in comparison with the mac version but again this is down to the quality of your graphics card.

Recording – I used the inbuilt one-touch recording feature to record my Real Racing 3 race. The video playback and sound quality was excellent, exporting the file to a popular MP4 format which is playable on the majority of devices. Within the video converter screen you can adjust the settings to export the video to a different resolution.

X-Mirage iPad Mirror

Mac to PC – If you own a Mac and a PC you can mirror your Mac desktop on to your PC or even extend your Mac’s desktop which is useful if you need the use of multiple screens. Unfortunately as yet you cannot mirror or extend your PC desktop on your Mac.

X-Mirage -Extend Desktop

Another noteworthy option is being able to password protect X-Mirage to prevent unauthorised access.

Rating: 4/5

Pros

  • Easy To Use
  • Highly Configurable
  • Excellent Video Exporting Features
  • Easy One-Touch Recording
  • Lifetime Technical Support and Free Updates
  • One-off cost

Cons

  • Interface not as polished as Mac Version

Summary

X-Mirage having been on the Mac for a while are indeed capturing the market with the PC version. There are many uses for it. You can record game tutorials to upload to YouTube or your blog, record from your iOS device to use in a presentation or just play games on a bigger screen the options are endless and for some this is a true time-saving tool.

If you have something which you would like a review please send them to ku.oc1414200150.bewo1414200150dlrow1414200150@swei1414200150ver1414200150

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Trickster for Mac Review – Magic File Findinghttp://www.worldoweb.co.uk/2014/trickster-mac-review-magic-file-finding http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/2014/trickster-mac-review-magic-file-finding#comments Tue, 27 May 2014 19:15:30 +0000 http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/?p=7106 By Tracy Ridge

Even the tidiest of users who own a Mac may have files scattered across several folders on your hard drive. Ever tried finding a file through spotlight or even manually tried to look for a file. How much time is spent trying to organise your files to spend ages trying to find them. Thankfully fo […]

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By Tracy Ridge

Even the tidiest of users who own a Mac may have files scattered across several folders on your hard drive. Ever tried finding a file through spotlight or even manually tried to look for a file. How much time is spent trying to organise your files to spend ages trying to find them. Thankfully fo us Mac owners this is where Trickster saves the day.

Being a web designer, blogger, football coach/club secretary and working voluntarily for a charity I have lots of files in many folders and sometimes even I have trouble finding them, even though I am quite organised! Thankfully I purchased Trickster for Mac, $9.95, from apparent software which has boosted my productivity and lists all my files together a mouse click away.

What does Trickster do?

Trickster keeps track of all of your recently used files and applications and keeps them all safely listed in your menu bar. From the handy menu bar icon you can find your files and open them up with an application. Within the trickster interface you can drag files to your dock or into an application on your dock to open them. Want to find where a file is contained in Finder? Simply search for the file in Trickster and click ‘Show in Finder’ which opens the folder in which the file resides.

With filters you can limit the results and only find specific files you are looking for , i.e. images. You can even create your own custom filters to only search a particular folder for certain files. Flag important files and add favourites to the sidebar for easy access. Drop files on the trickster icon which will add them to the list.

Trickster Help Guide Main Trickster Screen Using Filters File Tracking with Trickster

Why is Trickster better than Recent items and smart folders?

In the apparent softwares own words. Trickster can:

  • Filter results that you don’t want to be shown
  • Shows more results
  • Shows files previews, allowing you to find your file visually
  • Saves your time – it takes less clicks to get to the files
  • Has a Favorites Sidebar for frequently used files or folders
  • Can be controlled from the keyboard

Rating: 5/5

Pros

  • Speeds up your workflow
  • Easily Accessible
  • User Friendly
  • Highly Configurable
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Can’t find any

Summary

Trickster is one of my most used apps and I just can’t fault it. If you have lots of files scattered across lots of folders then I would 100% guarantee that Trickster can make life a lot easier and less stressful.

If you have something which you would like a review please send them to ku.oc1414200150.bewo1414200150dlrow1414200150@swei1414200150ver1414200150

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Review of the Week – Infinite Slider WP Pluginhttp://www.worldoweb.co.uk/2014/review-week-infinite-slider-wp-plugin http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/2014/review-week-infinite-slider-wp-plugin#comments Mon, 28 Apr 2014 13:10:10 +0000 http://www.worldoweb.co.uk/?p=7054 By Tracy Ridge

In this weeks review I am testing out Infinite Slider WordPress Plugin. Infinite slider is similar to a banner or banner slider, which displays content that encourages visitors to click on a blog post. The difference with Infinite Slider will display tiles, of varied sizes, of your WordPress Posts or Pages along with the feature […]

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By Tracy Ridge

In this weeks review I am testing out Infinite Slider WordPress Plugin. Infinite slider is similar to a banner or banner slider, which displays content that encourages visitors to click on a blog post. The difference with Infinite Slider will display tiles, of varied sizes, of your WordPress Posts or Pages along with the feature image, title and excerpt. With lot’s of customisations you can finely tune it to blend it into your WordPress blog.

Infinite Slider Frontend

Why Choose Infinite Slider

  • Unique animated design
  • Built up from special small pictures thumbnail grid
  • Slider built from random blocks of different sized thumbnails to achieve special outlooks that is always different
  • Highlighted central picture/focus block
  • Unhighlighted thumbnails have a cover effect, that is cleared on mouse hover for that one small picture only
  • Infinite horizontal sliding (the Infinite Slider rebuilds itself infinitely behind the scenes)
  • Animated Slide left or right using arrows
  • Thumbnails and their blocks jumping into focus with an animation on click
  • Slide by grabbing and dragging the whole slider
  • On mobile devices swipe the slider
  • Different theme options to set the style of the grid and the cover effect of unhighlighted thumbnails
  • Full wordpress integration to display the slider using your existing or newly added featured images and their post data (title, description)
  • Central picture turns into a link for that particular wordpress post where it is the featured image
  • Animated cover texts on thumbnails and the central picture in the focus (post titles and descriptions)
  • Fullsize view of central picture on click
  • Animated autoslide with adjustable timer
  • Fully responsive, the Infinite Slider fills out the screen up to retina view width while also adjusts to below 300px small mobile screens
  • Wide selection of fonts and font settings for the cover texts (Google Fonts, 650+ fonts!)
  • Many adjustable options to customize your version of the Infinite Slider (filter based on custom post type, categories, tags and many many more features)
  • Animated snap to place after drag/swipe

Still unsure see the demo

Infinite Slider – On Test

When installing Infinite Slider it recommends that you install the plugin force regenerate thumbnails. This regenerates your images to enable them to work with the slider. I highly recommend using the regenerate plugin before adding the slider to your theme or in a blog post/page as the slider may not even show up.

As with many plugins Infinite Slider comes with many configurable options in a handy administrative screen. The slider options allows you to turn off or change the style of the grid, set the speed of the animation and timer for auto sliding, turn off the cover effect and texts, change the word count of the title and descriptions. You can also add Google fonts and change the colours and style.

Infinite Slider Admin

Once you have configured the Slider to suit your requirements you can start to add it to your blog. I highly recommend that you test it out in a draft post/post first before making it visible to users. Simply add the shortcode to your post or page

[infinite_slider]

If you have all your featured post images setup correctly you shouldn’t encounter any problems. If you appear to have lots of black tiles where images should be you will need to change or add featured images. Thankfully there is a handy plugin Quick Featured Images that makes the process much quicker or you can of course use the manual method. If you want to add it to your theme simply add the following to your theme template.

<?php echo do_shortcode( '[infinite_slider]' );?>

Rating: 4/5

Pros

  • Increases User Engagement
  • Fully Responsive
  • Easy to use, if Featured Images are setup correctly
  • Free, no paid upgrades

Cons

  • Can be awkward if you don’t have Featured Images setup correctly.

Summary

Infinite Slider is an excellent plugin. If you have featured images setup correctly the tiles will display really well and you can start increasing user engagement. If your featured images are too small it will replace the image with a black tile. However don’t let this put you off! With a little help from the Quick Featured Images plugin (mentioned above) you can bulk edit your featured images.

If you have something which you would like a review please send them to ku.oc1414200150.bewo1414200150dlrow1414200150@swei1414200150ver1414200150

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