Make Vimeo Lightbox Auto-Closes on Finish Using FancyBox

FancyBox has been my number one preference when I need to implement a jQuery-based lightbox on any web page I am working on. It is the most customizable and extensible jQuery plugin for this function.

Since version 2.0, it also introduced a concept of ‘helpers’ to reduce the size of the main JS file and also to allow developers to play more with its functionality with less risk of breaking the core functions when they are updated. Below I am going to show a little trick to modify FancyBox’s media helper to allow Vimeo link to auto-close when the video is finished.

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AmazonGlobal: Ordering Experience

There is no denying, Amazon is the global leader as retail e-commerce company. With operations based mainly in United States and independent marketplaces in Europe, they have established very strong ground to the biggest markets. How about Asia, which has been proven to be harder to penetrate? Also other countries that is currently unreachable directly.

Their solution is called AmazonGlobal. The way it works is very simple, Amazon will send the order directly from their US store/warehouse and have the customs fee estimated upfront. This allows Amazon to ship to additional 65 countries around the world and hoping to compete with other e-commerce companies who are operating locally. I personally doubt they will be able to generate much revenue from here, compared to what they are already earning, it is more about prestige and as very early step to dominate global market.

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Flat-File CMS Comparison

Some developers claim 2014 will be the year of Flat-File (or Non-Database) CMS. Personally I do not believe it will replace database-powered CMS anytime soon. To me they have different target users and main functions. If you are comparing of building a custom CMS vs using one of these CMS then it makes sense, but it will not replace WordPress, or Drupal, even it always surprises me that many people still like using Joomla.

What is flat-file CMS?

In very short sentence, as the phrase implies: CMS that queried its data from a text file instead of database like MySQL.

Advantages

  • Installation can be done only with FTP access
  • Easier to sync content when developing between development/local and production servers
  • Fast, because no queries involved
  • Lightweight, smaller total size
  • One less password to create or remember (your DB)

Honestly I have not tried any of these in production YET but I have narrowed down a few that got my attention big time and I am looking at the opportunity to use them.

  Statamic Kirby Monstra Pico
Web Server Requirements PHP 5.3.6+ PHP 5.2+ PHP 5.2.3+ PHP 5.2.4+
User Control Panel YES YES YES NO
Support Forum, Tickets Forum, Direct Email Forum, Bugtracker (GitHub) Bugtracker (GitHub)
License per website $29 for personal
$99 for commercial
$39 FREE FREE

Which CMS to choose?

Personally I want to get an opportunity to put my hands on Statamic. It is the most expensive, $99 for commercial one website, but it has very simple and nice control panel which is very important. For developers who does not need a control panel, Pico is a very interesting option.

Take Quick Photos Using iPhone and Share Them to Mac

UPDATE: I was recently suggested to use WiFi Transfer instead, which I agree is as good or better if you plan to copy more than one photo.


For years I have been trying to find the most efficient way to be able to quickly take photos using my iPhone and then send them to my iMac or Macbook Air. I do not use Dropbox Sync feature because I do not want to sync all of my photos, in fact I sometimes do not want to save the photos on my phone if possible.

Today, I find a new ‘process’ which may work in most cases for me. You still need several things though:

  1. Camera+ iPhone app ($1.99)
  2. Notes app set on your iPhone and Mac
  3. decent Internet upload connection

Here are the steps:

  1. First, you may want to go to Camera+’s menu and make sure the AutoSave is set to Lightbox
  2. Take the photo(s) you need
  3. From the app’s Lightbox, select the photo you would like to use, tap on Share > Create Web Link
  4. It will upload the photo
  5. When finished, copy the image URL (tap hold > Copy)
  6. (optional) Delete the photos from Lightbox
  7. Open Notes on your iPhone, create a new note, paste the copied URL
  8. Open Notes on your Mac, wait a few seconds for syncing, then click on the URL
  9. Done. You can drag the image from your browser for whatever you wish to do

OK, it still takes almost 10 steps, but it really is not that complicated compared to other methods I tried before.

Allow WordPress to Import Posts with Existing IDs

Recently I faced a challenge when I had to import years worth of posts from a client’s old WordPress installation to a new one using WP’s Export/Import modules. The first step to export the posts into WordPress eXtended RSS or WXR was easy enough, but whenever I tried to import it to the new blog, it came with “Post Already Exists!” error messages.

The cause was multiple posts with the same ID had already existed on the new site. This could be because you tried many test posts, or added new post types and populated them before importing from the previous blog.

The solution was from this forum thread. You basically need to make WP Importer to ignore duplicate posts by making small change on the file, which is located on /wp-content/plugins/wordpress-importer/wordpress-importer.php:

// comment the line below out around line 555
// $post_exists = post_exists( $post['post_title'], '', $post['post_date'] );
$post_exists = false; // add this line

Problem be gone, but do be very careful to make sure you are not importing the same posts twice as you will find a hard time to remove them.

G2 Crowd – “yelp” for business software

This morning I received a message on my LinkedIn inbox from a Community Builder at G2 Crowd. It is a startup for reviewing business software, by real users. Just last week I had stumbled into TrustRadius which generally has the same concept, so it got my attention.

My take of it? It’s great. With new web apps (SaaS) come out every day, it is becoming harder to find ones that you know will work for your business. Based on personal experience, there are also shady ones out there that you should try to avoid doing business with. This tool will help you find and screen those apps.

As it is powered by the reviews from real users, I encourage you to sign up and share your experience. Sign up is quick and simple using LinkedIn only, which I feel it is 100% fair. You can spend as less as 5 minutes for posting a review which will later be validated.

I am looking forward to see G2 Crowd to grow its community and will definitely check and contribute there from time to time.

Using Transactional Email Service for Your E-Commerce Platform

First of all, do not get it wrong. “Transaction email” here does not refer to only financial transactions. Quoting from MailChimp blog post:

…think of it as “anything that isn’t bulk“. Basically, it is email sent to an individual based on some action.

In my own words related to e-commerce, transaction emails are all notification emails sent out by your e-commerce/shopping cart platform related with a customer’s account or order activities such as:

  • Account creation welcome email
  • Password reminder/reset instructions
  • Order confirmation/invoice
  • Order status update
  • Shipping tracking number
  • Order review request, etc

By default, if you host your e-commerce platform on your own server, most likely these emails are sent directly using the server’s built-in mail application like sendmail on Apache/PHP environment. If you have this running then all is good, but what if you can make it even better? By using 3rd-party transaction email provider, you send out these emails through their server. Usually communication between your server and theirs is done through APIs or SMTP.
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Which E-Commerce Platform Is Right for Your Business?

So you are ready to sell your products online. You understand about managing e-commerce business in general and comes the big question: which platform should you choose?

If you browse through the web, you can easily find dozens of solid e-commerce/shopping cart platforms to choose. If you look to the forums for a suggestion, you will literally get thousands of different opinions. The same case if you go to your digital agency or developer, usually each of them already set their own preferred platform. Nothing to be blamed here though, you practically need years to be able to fully understand the structure and functions of one of the platforms to be able to fully customize the templates.

My suggestion is this: before you go asking an expert’s or other people’s opinions to help in your decision, it is much better for you to define the requirements of your online business. Below are some guidelines to get this:

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