Cosplay - Umbrella Corporation Denver traps catwoman

11 Things Denver Comic Con Should Improve (But Probably Won’t)

Who am I to criticize Denver Comic Con? The organization has changed a lot in the 4 years from inception, including removing founders, hiring and firing executive directors, and so much more. More importantly, I’ve played many roles inside and out of the convention since it’s inception. I started with a press pass in year 1 (e.g. capturing this video), then I was media as one of the official photographers in year 2. By year 3 I was on staff in charge of the official media team (photographers/videographers) and also part of the overall communications team. Due to various reasons, I chose not to continue as a volunteer for DCC in year 4 and purchased a 3-day pass and was an attendee like any other, without any special privileges.

Hopefully that’s enough to convince you that I have some credibility in regards to the following critique. Now, I think there are some things that DCC is doing right (e.g. kid’s corral and educator day), but after this year the excuse of “still learning” is no longer viable and lessons should be learned before the general public loses faith in the event.

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NovelRank Buy Box Trial Landing Page

Landing Page Improvement from KickOffLabs

I recently learned about KickOffLabs and their live Google Hangout landing page review sessions. I decided to check it and toss in my recently redesigned NovelRank Buy Box tool and more specifically, the trial landing page I built for advertising traffic.

For the purposes of this post, I’ve saved the page as it existed at the time of the review. Here is a summary of the feedback I received from KickOffLabs:

  • Remove Testimonials call-to-action button confusion and migrate the testimonials higher in the page.
  • Update the testimonial images to be real-people faces.
  • Remove the ‘My Test Batch’ naming field (this was a UX (User eXperience) revelation from them using it) as unnecessary.
  • Make the call-to-action lower in the page focus on the form.
  • “Speak to me like I’m a golden retriever.” Update the language to better answer the question, “Who is this for and what does it give me?”
  • Provide social sharing after submitting the trial batch and an incentive for doing so.
  • Don’t auto-redirect users on the trial completion page.

As a developer and theme designer, this was all work I would do. For most people, templates that accomplish all this already are very desirable and that’s where KickOffLabs‘ services come into play, so definitely check them out.

I took the advice to heart and have redesigned the page a little. You can look at all of the improvements right now: http://buybox.novelrank.com/trial. Any further feedback is welcome in the comments below!

Update: May 28, 2015

Some additional feedback that has also been addressed:

  • Increase font-size of the primary use case for the site
  • Change ‘Start Batch’ to something friendlier
  • Ensure the batch is delivered quickly, regardless of the current system usage

Tutorial: Exporting Messages from WhatsApp and Graphing with R

This tutorial is posted with permission by Prometheus09 on Reddit. It was originally posted as an album on Imgur.

Number of messages sent per week throughout the relationship

Number of messages sent per week throughout the relationship

So here is a quick tutorial on how to construct the graph shown above, showing the distribution of messages over a given time period. First of all we must obtain the dataset we are going to use, which for this tutorial is the chat history obtained from WhatsApp. This can be obtained following these instructions or for iMessages or FaceTime data you can use this (paid) software.
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Connecting Remotely to MySQL Database on an Amazon EC2 Server

While this was tested using a TurnKey LAMP Server build (Debian Linux), it applies to any Debian/Ubuntu server with MySQL.

Top-Level View of Tutorial

  • Enable MySQL access through server’s firewall (Amazon AWS-EC2 Security Groups)
  • Create non-root MySQL user with % (any) Host permissions
  • Alter the bind-address in the MySQL configuration file (my.cnf) file
  • Restart MySQL

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Perfecting Prints with a Printrbot Simple Metal

Printrbot Simple Metal

The Printrbot Simple Metal can be purchased (assembled) for as little as $599 making it a remarkable unit for even the most timid maker.

I’ve had my PSM for almost a year now and printed 2kg worth of PLA on it in that time, so I’ve got a bit of experience under my belt. This was also my very first 3d printer, and I’ve used it for my business making custom chocolates. In that time I’ve learned that, out-of-the-box, the PSM needs a few additional items to really make great prints.

To that end, I wanted to write this post to help other owners get the most out of their little printer. Alas, currently a faulty wire for the auto-level probe (induction sensor) has also given me a little spare time before dealing with that repair (not uncommon unfortunately). There are 3 categories for this guide: Printed add-ons, temperature and curling, and software settings.
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Setup OctoPi (US Edition) – OctoPrint on a Raspberry Pi

OctoPrint-GCode-ViewerFirst and foremost, OctoPi is a fantastic pre-built image for a Raspberry Pi (Model A, B, or B+) that is designed to connect to your 3d printer and provide a web interface to interacting with your printer, all using the simple and powerful OctoPrint software. In my case, I’m connecting it to my Printrbot Simple Metal.

OctoPrint is incredibly powerful: you can connect a Raspberry Pi camera, print out a camera mount to attach it to your bed and actually watch your printer through the OctoPrint webpage (or record video, if that’s your thing). You could even do it in complete darkness (with IR LEDs). I have my printer in the same room, but it’s good to dream.
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jQuery Mobile Filterable Collapsible Listview with Smart Expansion

Wow, that’s a mouthful. Basically, I wanted to make use of the data-filter option to search a listview, but instead of a listview, I wanted it to be a collection of collapsible elements. Do accomplish this I needed some custom CSS to make it look right. Here is the example code with the ID iamalist. The page’s content section ID is iama, which is used in the CSS.
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