If You Build It They Will Type It in Wrong.

Everybody has heard the phrase ‘Garbage In , Garbage Out’. The developer is the first line of defense against the garbage going in. Although a developer cannot safeguard against items like a misspelled name or inverting two numbers within a telephone number, there are many things he or she can do.

The general rule should always be ‘f you can perform a validation to ensure accuracy and not allow bad data into your application, then do so.’

Dates are much easier now than in the old days when you had to validate that a date was really a date and in the proper format, but there are still date validations you can do. If your application requires a birth date, you should always make certain the date entered is not a future date. There won’t be anybody born in 2062 that needs to be entered into your system today. If you also have an employment start date and end date, you should ensure that the start date is not greater than the end date (if the end date exists), and that the start date entered is not earlier than the employee’s birth date.

Phone numbers can be checked to ensure they are the proper number of digits and all numeric. Email addresses can be validated to ensure they are formatted properly. If it is extremely important to your application, you can make them enter it twice or email them a verification to be completely certain it’s been entered correctly.

If you have a field like state code or country code always use a drop down or validate the keyed entry against your master table.

If it is important to the organization using your application to use titles for their customers like Dr., Mr., Mrs., etc, and you are also capturing the gender, it might be wise to ensure gender for Mr. is always male. This could save you, your company, or your client from sending an invoice to Mr. Tiffany Tidwell.

You should keep in mind that depending on who is keying information into your system they may not even be looking at the screen while typing. If they are typing from a list or stack of forms, their eyes will be on that list or a stack of forms, not the screen. If you write the code to validate your data properly once you can stop erroneous data from entering your system hundreds or thousands of times.

(Source: Skynet Solutions)

By: DJ Burrup


Network Activity Indicator for Windows 7

Ever wonder why Windows 7 got rid of the network activity icon on your tool bar? Follow this link on the MSDN website to see what the official word is for removing this function.

No Network Activity Indicator in Windows 7: But Why?

Microsoft got rid of a Techi utility that is really useful for some people. Well here is the answer.

Network Activity Indicator for Windows 7

This little utility (Takes up about 1.1MiB of space) will give you a Windows XP style icon on your task bar to show you network activity.

This little utility was written by a guy named Igor Tolmachev.

(Source: Skynet Solutions)

By Tony Purkey


Topaz Webinar with Joel Wolfson

This past week, I attended a couple of webinars put on by Topaz Labs that featured some of their plug-in software for Adobe Photoshop.

The first webinar was hosted by Nichole Paschal, a Topaz representative, and it featured B&W effect plug-in and Adjust. Topaz Adjust allows you to make Pseudo HDR pictures without having to compile several different exposures into one. Once installed, the plug-in is easy to jump into and use in your normal work flow for photography. The interface is fairly easy to grasp with multiple presets and many sections with individual sliders. Watching someone’s work flow can be informative because there is always more than one way to do something in Adobe Photoshop, and you can benefit from knowing more about how to use Adobe Photoshop. I have already been introduced to Topaz Adjust about a year ago, and so far, it has been a great Adobe Photoshop plug-in.

The second webinar was hosted by an established photographer, Joel Wolfson. He demonstrated a new plug-in for Topaz called Star Effects. This plug-in allowed Joel to amplify lighting effects with ease. As I mentioned before, watching someone’s work flow can be more informative than expected. I watched Joel copy a layer mask to another layer and invert it with some hotkey movements that I had previously been unaware of.

The webinars are only an hour and are well worth it, especially when the event is free! They also have software giveaways for random people in the webinar, and everyone gets a discount code! Check out the Topaz Labs site for more information about their products, or check out their YouTube channel to re-watch a previous webinar.

(Source: Skynet Solutions)

By Clint Smith


Unwanted Emails and Notifications From Facebook

A friend recently complained to me about all the annoying emails she kept receiving from Facebook (mainly FarmVille). I’m sure we have all heard similar complaints. So here is a quick blog about how to stop the spam from harvesting insanity.

First, let’s stop the emails which is pretty simple to do. First, obviously, log into Facebook. All the way to the right, there is a down arrow you will need to click on, then click Account Settings. On the left menu, click the Notifications button. On this page, you will be able to personalize what notifications that Facebook will email to you. This won’t stop you from being notified on Facebook. You will still get all the normal notifications that you would previously have gotten, however you will not get the emails. Check the boxes you want to receive emails for, and uncheck any boxes you don’t want to receive emails for. Personally, I unchecked every box, and I just visit frequently. While still on this page, you can easily click the Apps button, and then delete any apps you have installed that you don’t use. You can also click on the Mobile button to set up or turn off Mobile Alerts.

Next, let’s block some apps. If you don’t want to know about it every time Polly Peaches harvests her garden, or if you are tired of getting asked to help some mafia clan, this is for you. Start by clicking the Facebook icon at the top left hand corner to get to your newsfeed. Now scroll down just a bit. On the left menu bar, there will be options like Favorites, Groups, and Apps (you may need to click the “more” icon to open the full menu.) Under Apps, there is an Apps and Games option. Simply click this option, and there will be invites from friends. Now hover your mouse over an invite, and an X will appear at the top right of the invite. When you click the X, it will change to show that you have hidden the request, but it will also offer you an option to “Block the Application” or “Block all Requests” from the person that sent you the invite. I usually just block the app not the person, but if you have that one friend that tries every app and always sends you requests, you might think of “Blocking all Requests from Polly Peaches.” Then a “Block App” pop-up will appear. Click okay, and you’re set! You won’t be invited, contacted, or notified about that pesky app anymore. Your friend will not know that you blocked them or their apps.

If you decide later that you want to try out a blocked game, you can find it in this same place. There are options for apps your friends are using, new apps, and “recommended to you” apps. You can also manage blocked applications by going to the same right drop-down and clicking Privacy Settings, and then clicking on “Manage Blocking” next to “Blocked People and Apps.” You can now unblock any apps or people you have blocked requests from.

This whole process can take a little while, but it is definitely worth it.

(Source: Skynet Solutions)

By Ryan Williams


Taking your Company Mobile

Smart phones and tablets alike travel everywhere with consumers. These devices have replaced many analogue tools for consumers and are continuing to grow in usage. Therefore, a company selling a widget or a service needs a mobile site to capture the attention of the mobile consumer. One of the best examples of a company using this to their advantage is Amazon. Amazon sells the Kindle Fire tablet at a loss, just so they can have a channel dedicated to targeting consumers and selling digital media. Now that you know the benefits of having mobile sites, here are two important topics to consider:


The interface of the site is as crucial on mobile sites as it is on desktop sites. Some would even argue that it is more difficult to create a suitable mobile site. The interface, or what is commonly known as the look and feel of your site, must have a fluid design. The menus must be simple and quickly navigable to allow for people to easily access the information they are seeking. If your mobile site requires the user to zoom in and out to navigate, most users will become frustrated and leave the site. You have a short time to capture the consumers’ attention and convey the message you want them to see. Not doing this correctly can sometimes even drive users to a competitor’s site that is easier to navigate on a mobile device.

Selecting the appropriate information for your mobile site:

Not every piece of information that is contained on your desktop site is needed on your mobile site. You have to approach this question from the perspective of the mobileconsumer. What is a consumer looking for on your site while using his/her mobile device? Will they be looking for the history of the company or the price of a product? There is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution to this aspect of building a mobile site. Some companies are completely on the web. Others who have the brick and mortar location may want to list their address with a Google Maps or Mapquest link so the consumer can find their business while on the go.

I took a business trip to St. Louis last month, and after I got checked into the hotel, I was hungry from traveling all day. I also needed to get my suit steamed at Men’s Wearhouse. So I got on my phone and looked up the closest location, put it into the navigation on my phone, and headed out from the hotel. While waiting on my suit, I looked at restaurant reviews, menus, and pricing on my phone. I settled on a place, got some dinner, then headed back to my hotel. Ten years ago, this process would have required more help from the hotel staff; however with current technology, I was able to seek out and find exactly what I wanted, and I never had to pull out my laptop or ask the concierge. I was a consumer in a market that I was unfamiliar with, and I needed services. The services I found had the mobile presence which enabled me to find them and become one of their customers. The information I needed was easy to find, and I used one tool that a growing portion of the population uses: my smart phone with a data connection. Had the restaurant not been online, I would not have been able to find them, nor would I have been able to determine if their menu was in the price range I wanted.

When you become ready to create your mobile site, enlist the help of a reputable company that has the team you need on your side, developing not only your web presence, but your mobile presence as well. Here at Skynet, we have a world-class team that will get your company noticed by the consumers you want. Contact me anytime via email. I can also be reached through our contact page.

(Source: Skynet Solutions)

By Joe Hart


JavaScript Dates

JavaScript gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to date functionality. You can easily pull out any segment individually with just a simple function call. However if you want to format a date, you’ll either need to use the built-in format function, or do a long string concatenation which makes your code look messy.

In my spare time, I made a Server Side JavaScript function for Classic ASP. The source and an example is posted on my personal blog. This function allows you to format dates similar to how PHP’s Date function works. I decided it would be amazing if I could just go ahead and tweak this to work with JavaScript on the client side, so I went ahead and modified my current script to extend the JavaScript date object. Here is a quick peak at how to use this.

console.log(new Date(2012, 1, 25, 10).formatDate('Y-m-d H:i:s'));
// 2012-02-25 10:00:00
console.log(new Date().formatDate('l, F jS, Y'));
// Monday, February 27th, 2012
console.log(new Date().formatDate('r'));
// Mon, 27 Feb 2012 14:03:40 -0600 

Download formatDate.js

(Source: Skynet Solutions)

By Blaine Schmeisser