A free alternative to Dreamweaver

November 08, 2010

I was asked lately for a program that could be used to build a low end website, just something quick. I usually would use Dreamweaver or a text based editor such as textpad but this person wanted an alternate to Dreamweaver and free!

KompoZerDesign

After a while of looking around I found a great program which is free and powered by Mozilla! The program is called KompoZer and I downloaded it and gave it a quick try out. I managed to make a quick website with pictures internal and external links and also adding the likes of tables. This was just with a quick 5 minutes of looking around.

Kompozer code

You can do a lot more with it such as create stylesheets and the program allows for code and design editing views and also has a preview section of what your site looks like. It is a great program, especially for free! And if you have used Dreamweaver before you will see some similarities in KompoZer.

If you want to download it you can go to the site here.

Marina & the Diamonds – Live at Vicar Street

November 01, 2010

Last Wednesday (October 27th) I was up in Dublin to go and see Marina & the Diamonds live in Vicar Street like I mentioned back in May. It had been a while since I last went to a concert and I was really looking forward to this one. The name of this tour was The Burger Queen Tour 2010.

I drove myself and two of my friends up to Dublin, and then met another friend in Dublin. The doors opened for the gig at 7.30pm and the concert itself was due to start at 8.30, we arrived shortly after 7.45pm and got really close to the stage, not that it is a very big venue as those of you who have been there before will know!

Marina came onto stage at about 9.30pm after the support act. Marina was excellent, she has an incredibly strong voice and sounds just as good as you would expect after listening to her CD, usually a lot of artists have some alterations made to their voice when recording to CD, not in this case.

I managed to record a few videos, two full videos which I have uploaded to YouTube and these are them below. The video quality and sound came out extremely well, especially considering I recorded them from the iPhone 4! The second video is the last song that was played, it takes a while to get into it, the music you hear for the first 1 min 40 is just while Marina was away to get changed.

Marina & the Diamonds – Shampain


Marina & the Diamonds – Hollywood


Marina also played a “New” song, called Jealousy, I say “New” because it is not on her album, however if you have her E.P from before she got signed then you would of heard it before, unfortunately you cannot buy these at the moment, but I don’t mind because I have them :).

Someone else that was at this concert recorded that song so here it is below too! I think it’s a great song.

Marina & the Diamonds – Jealously

Graduated Yesterday

October 31, 2010

After three years of work I finally graduated from college yesterday. Everyone had to pre-book the robes for the ceremony online a few weeks prior to graduation day, then on the day itself we picked them up in the nursing building.

Me in my graduation robes

The ceremony started yesterday at 1pm but everyone had to be there in their seat 20 minutes before the start. I arrived at 12pm just so I could get organised, getting my grad ball tickets, robes and meeting up with people before we went into the graduation hall.

The ceremony itself was actually quite short, it started off with a brief introduction with some heads of the college and then it was straight into the calling of student names to collect the certificates. Each student was called by the head of whichever department your course was in.

Once my name was called out I went onto the stage, shook the college presidents hand,  got my degree and then went back to my seat, I was a little nervous once I was in the queue waiting to go on stage, I was fine while I was sitting down beforehand!

My Degree - Sean Lucas

After all the degrees were given out a short speech was given again and then everyone left. Followed by the ceremony was what seemed like paparazzi! Everyone was taking photographs of everyone, as the photographer said later to us when our class was getting a group photo “Enjoy it”, sure why not it only happens a few times in your life if you are lucky.

Class Group Photo - Graduation 2010

Later I went out for some dinner with my family and then I went on to the graduation ball which didn’t start until 10.30pm! Quite late I thought, it went on until 2am. It was definitely a great day & night overall and with a bit of luck, this time next year, I will be doing it all over again!

So I now have my first ever degree and I could not be happier, the degree I received was: Bachelor of Science in Computer Applications & Support with and overall grade of Merit 1.

Disable Windows 7 welcome screen

October 28, 2010

For some reason, every so often the windows welcome screen suddenly starts coming on at start-up even if you have no set password. It often happens to me after I install some new program, but I don’t know why installing a program would cause the welcome screen to come up!

10

I usually start my computer up and walk away for a while and when I come back I expect the desktop to be fully loaded, but when a program messes with the configurations of the welcome screen it just causes hassle.

Anyway, after a while I found out how to disable the welcome screen if it suddenly starts coming back up, to do disable the welcome screen simply follow these steps.

  1. Click the start button
  2. type run in the search bar and press enter.
  3. type netplWiz.exe and click ok
  4. Uncheck “Users must enter user name and password to use this computer.”
  5. And finally click ok

Such a short and simple process, and yet it causes a load of hassle, hope this helps anyone that has run into the same problem I have from time to time.

Get yourself a professional email address

October 25, 2010

If you want other people to take you seriously online then you have to create a good image for yourself. If you meet someone and they want to find out more about you then they will most likely look you up online to find out who you are, Sean MacEntee wrote a good post on this last night, it explains the importance of creating an online presence for yourself.

Why?

Another area that is vital is your email address, lately I went to a job fair in Dublin called gradIreland, that was an event organised which would allow you to go and meet potential employers, while I was there I attended a presentation and the woman presenting it informed us of the importance of business cards, that it makes a great first impression of you if you can just pull out a business card rather than giving someone a rough scrap of paper with your details on it.

gmail for domains

So the information you will most likely include on your business card would be your name, occupation, skills and contact details which would comprise of your website, phone number and email address. So all of those details seem reasonable to have on the card, however the only thing which can really destroy you with those details is the appearance of your email address.

A lot of people use their email address which they most likely created years ago when they were young and not as aware of the potential it could be used for. So as a result a lot of people have silly email addresses for example: [email protected] or [email protected] These emails look bad to people you meet and would bring the appearance of your business card down.

So you could try and register your full name if that is even available, usually it is not, unless you have a very unique name! The best option is to make a custom email address with your domain name, if you do not have a domain name, then register one!

So I own this domain www.leateds.com and I have set myself up an address which look like this: sean [at] leateds [dot] com, that is short and looks good, no numbers or stupid names of your favourite sports person!

How?

So how did I make this custom email address? It is actually really simple, my email address is hosted by Google using their Gmail for Domains.

To set this up on your site you first need to go and register for this free service, providing you are not a business! Once you have registered for this service you will need to verify your domain name, the best & quickest way is to upload a HTML file Google give you!

email name

During registration you will be asked to give a username, just add in your name, I added in Sean, this username will be used as your main email address for you domain, you can add more later if you want.

The next step is to add Google’s MX Records to your domain name, to do this you need to log into your hosting account, for this example I am going to use Blacknight, but you can use this for whichever hosting provider you use.

Adding The MX Records

login blacknight

  • First log into your hosting account
  • Next go to your “All domains” page and click the domain you want to add the custom email address too.
  • Click the DNS tab.
  • Then the DNS Record Tab.
  • Then choose “Add New DNS Record”
  • Set the type to MX and click next
  • Fill in all the MX records (list of MX records below) one at a time, fill in the fields like this:

sample mx record blacknight

  • Add each record individually and click the finish button.

If you are not allowed to add any new DNS records to your domain then you will have to enable Zone Management Ability in the summary tab of you domain name.

blacknight zone management

Providing you have followed all these steps, then now you have your own custom email address on your domain which will look great on your business cards too :D! It may take a few days for Google to process your new email address, but they are usually quick enough and get it sorted within an hour or two.

Below is a picture of the 7 MX records you need to add, the first column is the value for the Preference box, the second is for the mail exchanger box and the final number is for the custom TTL box. note the period (.) at the end of the mail exchanger address is not to be added.

google mx records