Geeks on Campus

Another amazing bgsu blog

Archive for the 'Resource' Category

Design to Deliver

Posted by jeggent on 8th January 2021

Some years ago I started to get concerned about something. My group was becoming responsible for an increasing amount of regular maintenance as we automated more and more processes. I decided that we needed to deliver solutions in a way that empowered the end users and minimized the ongoing involvement of the technical staff. So I came up with an outline/template laying out the items to address to accomplish these goals. I called it Design to Deliver. Having this outline also helps to establish the scope of a project to make sure that everything is included and to correctly estimate a project timeline. The components of Design to Deliver are:

  • Security
  • Flexibility
  • Usability
  • Documentation
  • Training

Does the project have any security requirement? Do all of the users have access to the pages and items included in the solution? Getting security changed can often take some time. It is important to include security changes to have an accurate timeline.

Is the solution flexible enough to handle minor variations without needing rework? For example is the end user able to specify which aid year or term is to be processed? If codes are known to change over time is the selection logic written to account for that, such as using using LIKE or BETWEEN instead of EQUAL or IN?

Is the design user friendly given the skill sets of the end users? Solutions that include steps that are too complex for the end user will likely continue to require technical support. Good usability also includes being compatible with the users current process. For example, will the next item appear on a screen that is already being used often or within a current workflow? Or will the user have to take additional steps and review different screens?

I know. I know. Documentation is not fun. However it can be critical in empowering end users to be more self sufficient. Some processes are only done once a year. Sometimes staff change responsibilities. And in these cases having documented the process in detail can make all the difference. A year from now the user may not remember how to complete the process. It’s likely the developer won’t either. Then time will need to be spent re-learning and re-explaining the steps.

Does the project include time and materials for any training that will be required? Training is another item that is too often overlooked but goes a long way to empowering users. Training can take a while to complete depending on the number and locations of the users.

Posted in Random, Resource | Comments Off on Design to Deliver

What The Font!

Posted by jeggent on 20th March 2015

Did you know that there is a website that will identify the font used in an image?!

It’s true.  If you need to edit an image and need to match the font to add or change text, you can use What The Font to find out which font was used.  You just upload the part of the image that has the text and What The Font will tell you which font was used.  In my case the font was Forte’.



Posted in Resource, Tools, Web | Comments Off on What The Font!

Google Drive Sync

Posted by jeggent on 25th July 2013

I may be a little late to the party with having an online file share keeping files in sync between computers.  But now that I’m using it, I love it!  I know there are other options such as Dropbox but since I was already using Google Docs, for documents and spreadsheets, it was seamless to use Google Drive for other files also.  Google Drive is great and I recommend it all the time to people as an MS Office replacement.

I eventually followed Google’s prompting and downloaded Google Drive for my desktop at work and laptop at home.  That’s when the fun started.  I have projects that I work on both at work and at home.  I’ve tried the USB flash drive and uploading the files to a server each time I finished working on them but I would inevitably forget and have version control issues.  With Google Drive for PC I have a folder setup to sync and just save my development files in that folder.  It takes only seconds each time I modify a file for it to automatically upload to Google Drive.  Then when I use the other machine it automatically downloads any files that changed so I’m always working on the latest version.  It even has a little indicator graphic on the file’s icon to show that it has been synced.  This has been a real time saver and helped me to finish projects faster by not needing to wait until I can retrieve the latest version of a file.

P.S.  With smaller files like PHP and HTML changes are synced in just seconds (or less).

Posted in Resource, Tools | Comments Off on Google Drive Sync

Daily Emails

Posted by jeggent on 5th June 2013

If you’ve had the same e-mail address for more than a couple of months than you are probably already receiving a lot of  email.  Some of those emails are useful, but most of them are probably unwanted.  Well, here are four daily emails that I think you should voluntarily sign up for to save some money.


Groupon is one that you probably already know about.  With Groupon you will get a daily e-mail with deals specific to your area.  A typical Groupon deal would be for something like 50% off a round of miniature golf, or dinner and a show.  I like the Groupon emails because they are for discounts on things that I wouldn’t otherwise think to check out.  I’ve saved on things like Laser Tag, paintball, mini-golf, and others.

2.  Best Buy

You are most likely already familiar with Best Buy.  But you may not know about their Deal of the Day.  Best Buy features items that you typically see in their stores and on their website.  It’s not unusual to see CDs for $2.99, DVDs for $4.99, and Xbox games for $8.99.  There are also computes, TVs, and such other items.

3.  Kindle Daily Deals

Kindle Daily Deals features discounts of 50%-80% on Kindle e-books.  I have purchased several good books for my Kindle at $0.99 and $1.99 from these daily deals.  Even if you are not currently looking for something to read, keep an eye on these deals and you may get a good deal on your next e-book.

4.  Woot Daily Digest

The Woot Daily Digest shows what is for sale on all of the Woot sites.  At Woot each site (main, kids, sports, home, etc)  sells one item a day.  The discounts offered make it worth reviewing the digest each day.  The main Woot site often offers electronics or computer equipment.

If you don’t want to sign up for these daily deals as e-mails, I’m pretty sure they are all available on Twitter also.

Posted in Random, Resource | Comments Off on Daily Emails

The Year 2012

Posted by jeggent on 14th December 2012

So, tomorrow makes 1 year ago that I graduated.  I already mentioned that I’ve been learning PHP this year.  I’m also trying to teach myself how to play guitar, we finished our basement at home, and I’ve done a bunch of reading.

In my prior post I linked to the phpacademy site which is the primary resource for learning PHP.  My first PHP project is mostly finished.  It has been a good experience.  I’ve not only learned the PHP language, but also the RTF file specification as the application outputs an RTF file.

Source: Wikipedia - Author: Derek K. Miller

Source: Wikipedia - Author: Derek K. Miller


Since graduation I decided that I needed a hobby, so I chose to start learning guitar.   My main sources of instruction for this endeavor are Marty Schawtz’s youtube channel and  Due to all of the other items on this list, I haven’t had the time to learn and practice that I would like.  I can play a couple of simple songs and chords.  I hope to have much more time for this in 2013.
One big reason I haven’t done more on the guitar is that I was working on finishing my basement during much of the same time.  This was my first attempt at many of the tasks including laying the carpet on the floor and stairs.  I did a lot of youtube browsing to learn about wiring and electrical outlet and carpeting stairs.

ReadingI started out the year reading the Furies of Calderon which is the first book in the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher.  It is a fantasy series along the lines of the Lord of the Rings.  If you are not into fantasy, this may not be your cup of tea.  I’m currently reading the 5th book in this 6 book series and have really enjoyed it.  A book I think anyone would really like is Wool (pictured at right).  I specifically read Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 – 5) on my Kindle.  It is a great story and I look forward to reading the prequels and sequels.  I’ve already recommended this book to several people.  They will thank me later, and so will you!

Finally I want to put a plug in for Trello.  Trello is the new web application we are using here in the office to manage our tasks and projects.  I really like the visual style of Trello and the drag-and-drop interface.  The video below does a good job of explaining how Trello works.  I don’t know why they don’t have it on their web site anymore.

Happy Holidays!


Posted in PHP, Random, Resource | Comments Off on The Year 2012

Learning PHP

Posted by jeggent on 25th October 2012

So I’ve decided that it’s time to move beyond ASP classic for web programming.  I am working on teaching myself PHP.  I’ve chosen to learn PHP because that is the language we use for our applications in the office and I find the code fairly easy to read.

I’ve been using Notepad++ as a text editor for several years and find that it is also very good for writing PHP code.  If you set the language as PHP from the beginning it will do contextual highlighting for you which is very nice.  My main resources for leaning the language are the phpacademy and web sites.  The phpacademy site links to over 500 video tutorials on PHP programming.  Each video is fairly short and does a good job of explaining a given function or construct.  I mainly use the site to get the syntax for functions.  The code examples that others leave in the comments can be helpful too.  And of course there is the MySQL reference manual if that is your database of choice.

Here is an example of one of the videos:


Posted in PHP, Resource | Comments Off on Learning PHP

Excel Tips and Tricks

Posted by jeggent on 29th March 2012

Microsoft Excel Tips and Tricks

I’ve created this document (link above) containing some of my favorite Microsoft Excel tips and tricks.  I’m going to give a staff training on Excel and will demonstrate these items and others.  I thought that I would share this document here for everyone’s reference.  The topics covered are:

  • Format Painter
  • Adjust Column Width
  • Copy Down Series/Formulas
  • Filter and Sort
  • Selecting Cells
  • Add Rows/Columns
  • Highlight Cells for Quick Info
  • Using Formulas
Hope you find the information useful.




Posted in Excel, Resource | Comments Off on Excel Tips and Tricks


Posted by jeggent on 9th January 2012

Before I begin the long process of creating the next aid year in PeopleSoft, lets talk about something more fun.  Image editing and creating!  Whether or not you have experience with the software package Photoshop you are likely familiar with the name.  Photoshop or Photoshopped or just shopped, has come to mean a picture that has been digitally altered.  Photoshop and programs like it can be used to create digital images or touch up images such as digital photographs.  I needed to create a logo for a web site recently and I turned to my favorite Photoshop alternative Paint.NET.  The last I checked, Photoshop costs hundreds of dollars to purchase and Paint.NET is completely free.  Paint.NET has many of the features of Photoshop and those lacking can often be added to the program through plugins.  For example, I needed to have text arch around a circular image.  A quick Google search identified a Paint.NET plugin called Circle Text which does just that.  I find Paint.NET easy enough to use and recommend checking it out if you are in need of this type of program.  Good Luck!

Well, check it out.  The day after I post this, one of my favorite web sites (lifehacker) posts about the same topic.  The Best Image Editing App for Windows

**Another Update**
Here is one of the logos I created with Paint.Net and the circle text plug in.  I’m happy with how it turned out.  I also did some web site updates with Paint.Net.  You can check out Byrne Road and Adrian Vein Clinics to see the site.  Check them out for treatment of spider and/or varicose veins.

Posted in Resource, Tools | Comments Off on Paint.NET