Merry Christmas from Scapegoat Media!

Posted by admin in Offers, Updates on December 9th, 2009 |  1 Comment »

Merry Christmas!Well, it’s that time of year again!

Since it’s the holiday season, we’ve decided to dress up our website with a few decorations, complete with snow! But don’t worry, this snow is just for looks; no shoveling necessary.

To celebrate this holiday season, we’re starting our TAX-FREE event. Mention this post when ordering your website between now and the new year, and we’ll pay the taxes. Plus, keep in mind that our free favicon birthday offer is still running, but only until Christmas. So mention both of these posts when ordering a website anytime between now and Christmas and get your favicon and taxes on us. And as always, all initial consultations on websites and graphic design work are free!

Well, that’ll do it for now. Happy Holidays!

Your beloved Scapegoat,

Mike Schumann, Owner/Operator

Mike Schumann, Owner/Operator

Designing Websites for Everyone

Posted by admin in Web Development on November 25th, 2009 |  4 Comments »
Too many toolbars...

Too many toolbars. Click to enlarge.

When designing a website, there are many important things you have to take into account. Today, I’m going to touch on three of the biggest things you should concern yourself with when creating a website for everyone to see.

Number one: screen size/resolution. Up until a few years ago the standard was to design for a screen resolution of 800 by 600 pixels. But, it seems as though the standard has moved up to 1024 by 768 pixels, since you rarely see anyone using 800×600 anymore. Personally I try to keep the width of my design at or around 1000 pixels, just to accommodate scrollbars as well. If you want a fixed height without scrolling, it is best to design for about 550-600 pixels high, since a lot of people seem to have a bunch of those junky toolbars at the top and they really limit the window space in the browser. So, as a general rule, try to keep it within 1000×600 and you should be OK.

Mac and PCNumber two: cross-browser capability. When designing and testing a website, I ALWAYS check it on both Mac and PC. Since I design on a Mac but most of the population still uses PC, it is imperative that the website I’m designing displays properly for all users. For some reason, Internet Explorer on the PC does some really strange things with certain pieces of code that display perfectly fine on both Safari and Firefox for Mac, and Firefox for PC. So, you must take this into account when programming a website and be sure to test across many browsers!

Flash IconNumber three: plugins. Not all people have many of the plugins installed that we take for granted. If people have to download a plugin to make your site work properly, chances are they will just get up and leave. The biggest one being Flash. Don’t get me wrong, I love Flash. It’s great for animations, it’s consistent throughout all browsers, and it’s generally pretty to look at. However, not everyone has it installed on their computers, it can be pretty resource-heavy, and it can drastically bump up the loading time of your website. This is where you have to really take into account WHO your target audience is. For example, if you’re creating a website for a retirement home, you have to realize that most of the people that are going to be viewing it aren’t going to be as computer-savvy as you or I. They probably won’t have all the fancy equipment or fast connection that are necessary for running a site that’s programmed entirely in Flash, so in this case it would be best to keep things simple.

Well folks, that’s it for today. Until next time.

Your beloved Scapegoat,

Mike Schumann

Mike Schumann, Owner/Operator

Happy 2nd Birthday Scapegoat Media!

Posted by admin in Offers, Updates on November 15th, 2009 |  No Comments »

happybirthdayWow, has it really been that long?

Believe it or not, it was two years ago today that Scapegoat Media officially entered the industry.

Thank you to all of our clients that have helped make the company what it is today. We couldn’t have done it without your continued support!

To celebrate our 2nd year in business, from now until Christmas, we are offering FREE website favicons, (you know, the little picture that shows up beside the http:// in the address bar and in your favourites) to all of our new and existing website clients! Just mention this post, and we’ll hook you up.

Your beloved Scapegoat,

Mike Schumann, Owner/Operator

Mike Schumann, Owner/Operator

Feature Mac Freeware App: “Shades”

Posted by admin in Applications on November 2nd, 2009 |  No Comments »

ShadesIt’s time for another Mac freeware feature! This round, the focus is on a a little app called Shades.

If you’re an iMac user like myself, you’ve no doubt noticed that the screen is VERY bright, even at the lowest setting. This is especially noticeable when working later at night, or in low-light conditions. Or, perhaps you use a desktop machine with a monitor that doesn’t allow you to change the brightness. This is where Shades comes in to play.

Shades is a small app that runs in the background on your system and allows you to fine tune the brightness of your display. It works by putting a solid layer of tint over your entire screen, much like tinting the windows in a car. The default tint colour is black, so of course this will simulate that your screen is getting darker the thicker you layer on the tint. You can change the colour to virtually anything that you choose, but honestly, I can’t imagine a situation where you would need anything other than black. Shades also includes hot key functionality and a couple of other small customizable features.

Shades is available as a free download for both PowerPC and Intel Mac users, and runs on OS X 10.5 or later.

Until next time!

Your beloved Scapegoat,

Mike Schumann, Owner/Operator

Mike Schumann, Owner/Operator

Convert Your Old VHS Tapes to DVD!

Posted by admin in Updates on October 13th, 2009 |  2 Comments »

VHStoDVDLet’s face it, we all have home movies from when we were younger. You know, the one with the first Christmas as a family, or the first day of school. Even I have videos from when I was a kid that I would absolutely hate to lose. But unfortunately, if your home movies are on VHS, you run the risk of losing them one day.

VHS tapes are a dying breed, as they have essentially become obsolete in the world of video. But honestly, this is for good reason: they are bulky, they take forever to duplicate, they are difficult to cue, and they deteriorate over time, often to the point that they are no longer watchable. BUT, there is a simple solution to these and the many other issues that come with VHS tapes: convert them to DVD!

DVDs are durable, easy to duplicate, (non-copy-written footage of course!) easy to cue, easy to store, etc. etc. Now, with Scapegoat Media’s new VHS to DVD conversion service, you can save those priceless old VHS tapes. For a VHS to DVD conversion price list, visit our services page.

Your beloved Scapegoat,

Mike Schumann, Owner/Operator

Mike Schumann, Owner/Operator

Cool Mac App: “Dockables”

Posted by admin in Applications, Tips and Tricks on September 24th, 2009 |  2 Comments »

dockablesHello again! Today, I’ve decided to talk about a really cool little Mac app called Dockables.

Well OK, in all fairness, Dockables is not really an app, but more of a series of mini-apps that trigger system events like “Shut Down” or “Sleep Display”. In fact, the latest version of Dockables, (v1.2) includes 14 separate triggers: Shutdown, Restart, Sleep, Log Out, Eject Volumes, Start Screen Saver, Empty Trash, Mute Volume, HIde Windows, Close All Applications, Sleep Display, Take Screenshot, Lock Screen, Backup Time Machine.

Each of these triggers can be placed in your dock, on your desktop, or anywhere else that you prefer. They can even be combined with shortcut keys by using apps like Quicksilver, (more on Quicksilver later on) for those of you like myself, who prefer the use of keyboard shortcuts over the mouse.

Dockables also provides themes to help you co-ordinate with your existing dock icons. It includes 3 other versions as an alternative the the default icons: Colour, Midnight & Tangerine. To use these, it’s as easy as substituting the themed apps with the default ones. It also includes something called DockSnaps, which basically act as dividers so you can organize and separate your Dockables in your dock.

Dockables is compatible with all versions of OSX from Tiger (10.4) and up, including Snow Leopard. And, as with all of my app recommendations to this point, Dockables is a free download. It can be picked up from www.getdockables.com.

Your beloved Scapegoat,

Mike Schumann, Owner/Operator

Mike Schumann, Owner/Operator

CSS3: What’s New for CSS?

Posted by admin in Web Development on September 9th, 2009 |  5 Comments »

css-iconAlright, this one’s for the fellow web developers. I’d like to talk a bit about CSS3. But first, a bit of review:

CSS, short for Cascading Style Sheets, is a method to add formatting and styling to any markup language. It’s most commonly used in web pages programmed in HTML and XHTML but it can be used in XML documents as well. It includes elements such as color, fonts, page layout, backgrounds, borders, and MUCH more.

The most current release of CSS is CSS3. It’s currently in development, but some browsers are already implementing certain elements for use in web pages. However, since not all browsers support CSS3 and it’s not guaranteed that everyone will be running one of the latest supported browsers, it’s STRONGLY recommended that you don’t use many of the elements to design major portions of your web page. But that’s a real shame, because CSS3 has some really cool new features. Some of which, easily allow web developers to create some stylish and functional web page elements.

These are just a few of the cool new features that CSS3 is offering:

Web Fonts

This feature allows developers to embed fonts in their web pages, rather than relying on the same old boring “web safe” serif or sans-serif fonts. This feature was included in CSS2, but only in Internet Explorer and it only supported fonts that were Embedded Open Type (.oet) format. However, in CSS3, you can use any licensed TrueType (.ttf) or OpenType (.otf) font in your page. Below is an example of the code needed to import custom fonts into a web page:

@font-face {
    font-family: Delicious;
    src: url('Delicious-Roman.otf');
}

After importing it, you can call it using font-family:

h2 { font-family: Delicious, sans-serif; }

Of course, before using any fonts in your page, much like images and other media, you MUST check the licensing.

Rounded Corners (on borders)

The border-radius function is one of my personal favourites. It simply allows the coder to add nicely rounded corners of any radius to any border. It works the same as the existing border element, in that it can be applied to all four corners with the generic statement, or can be corner-specific by adding, you guessed it: topleft, topright, bottomleft or bottomright. This simple little piece of code can be seen in the example below:

.box {
    background-color: #ccc;
    -moz-border-radius: 5px;
    -webkit-border-radius: 5px;
    border: 1px solid #000;
    padding: 10px;
}

Multiple Backgrounds

In CSS2, you were restricted to use one background image per element. This made it a bit tricky to apply multiple backgrounds, in that you needed to layer divs and play around with all that nonsense. However, in CSS3, it’s as simple as separating multiple backgrounds with commas:

body {
    background: url(body-top.gif) top left no-repeat,
    url(body-bottom.gif) bottom left no-repeat, 
    url(body-middle.gif) left repeat-y;
}

These three are among the MANY new features in CSS3. If you’re interested in reading more about the new features in CSS, and view some examples, you can visit the CSS3 homepage.

Your beloved Scapegoat,

Mike Schumann, Owner/Operator

Mike Schumann, Owner/Operator

Network with Scapegoat Media

Posted by admin in Updates on August 30th, 2009 |  No Comments »

Hello!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Scapegoat Media is on Facebook. A BIG thanks goes out to those of you who have already become a fan! For the rest of you who may not have a Facebook account, we have a couple more options to start networking with us.

First, you can always follow my blog with my RSS feed: Subscribe to RSS

Secondly, if you want to tweet with Scapegoat Media, you can join us on Twitter: Follow Scapegoat Media on Twitter

And, for those that are more business oriented, you can follow us on LinkedIn: Join Mike and Scapegoat Media on LinkedIn

That’ll do it for today, until next time.

Your beloved Scapegoat,

Mike Schumann, Owner/Operator

Mike Schumann, Owner/Operator

Why Use Firefox Instead of Internet Explorer?

Posted by admin in Applications, Tips and Tricks on August 24th, 2009 |  6 Comments »

Why Choose Firefox?Alright, all you Internet Explorer users, listen up!

Today I’m going to shed some light on Mozilla’s Firefox web browser. As a web developer, I find Firefox to be an essential tool when both creating pages and browsing the internet. Here are just a few reasons why I strongly believe that Firefox is far superior to Internet Explorer.

Well, the first big reason for using Firefox is speed. With Firefox you can enjoy faster load times thanks to the TraceMonkey JavaScript engine. TraceMonkey is a code add-on to Firefox’s existing JavaScript engine, which, (to avoid boring you with all the tech-ey details) essentially makes the code faster and more efficient. Firefox also uses less physical memory than Internet Explorer, which allows you to do more with your computer while browsing, uploading or downloading.

Tabbed browsing in Firefox.Another thing that Firefox does especially well is tabbed browsing. Using tabs will clear up your taskbar (for all you Windows users) and organize all of your open web pages into one convenient window. You can also choose to save your open tabs upon exit so that they will pop up the next time you open Firefox, and take advantage of the Session Restore feature, that will pick up where you left off after an unexpected shut down. With these features, you’ll never lose your place again!

Do you upload photos? Do you use YouTube? Are you a Facebook user? Well, no matter what your forte, Firefox has add-ons that will appeal to you. TONS, (over 6,000 really) of add-ons let you get the most out of your browsing experience. Things like link previewers, photo uploaders, and weather widgets allow you to streamline and simplify your everyday tasks and routines, as well as offer you some cool new functionality. One of my personal favourites is the Web Developer toolbar. It includes things like the one-click ability to disable images, clear private data, validate code, resize the browser window, and SO much more. Very handy indeed! You can also download and customize browser themes that will change the look and feel of the browser itself, allowing you to further personalize your internet experience.

Anti-Phishing pop up on Firefox for Mac.Who doesn’t like a little privacy? Firefox offers many different features that can help you feel more at ease when surfing your favourite pages. One particularly cool feature is Private Mode. Private Mode allows you to browse without leaving any kind of digital “fingerprints” behind. This can be handy to use on public computers, or just to keep those nosy siblings guessing! Also, if you’re surfing and you change your mind about going to a specific site, you can use the Forget this Site feature. This allows you to remove any trace of going to a specific site; again, great for public computers.

Feeling insecure with your current browser? Firefox has taken the property security measures to keep you covered. The built in anti-malware feature protects you from viruses and spyware, as well as trojans that may find their way in when visiting any questionable sites. Firefox also includes anti-phishing software that allows you to do your internet shopping and business safely. For example, if you try to navigate to a page that’s pretending to be one of your trusted sites, Firefox will pick up on this and give you the option to leave, thus ensuring you can trust the sites you’re visiting when shopping or banking online.

These are just some of the things that makes Firefox so great. So, if these few features don’t make you want to try Firefox as an alternative to Internet Explorer, feel free to visit: www.Firefox.com and read up on some of the other awesome features available in the new Firefox. The latest version of Firefox is, as always, a free download for Mac, PC & Linux.

Until next time.

Your beloved Scapegoat,

Mike Schumann, Owner/Operator

Mike Schumann, Owner/Operator

Join Scapegoat Media on Facebook!

Posted by admin in Updates on August 18th, 2009 |  No Comments »

Hello Facebook users!

Scapegoat Media has a new and improved Facebook fan page! So, come out and show your support by becoming a fan of Scapegoat Media.

Well, that’s it for now. Check back soon for more!

Your beloved Scapegoat,

Mike Schumann, Owner/Operator

Mike Schumann, Owner/Operator