To Plan or Not To Plan

Let’s say you have a great idea, you have read all the Entrepreneurial Proverbs … and you’re ready to jump. Then what next ?

Some one will probably tell you that it is a time for a business plan. And of course, you have no idea on how to start, to prepare and to pitch a good business plan. You can obviously buy a lot of reference books, download dozens of templates from the net etc. … but after many nights of drafting and you then reckon – you do not enjoy writing a business plan at all.

“Help !!”

So, how about an excellent piece of advice from the start-up Guy Kawasaki, one of the few Macintosh Evangelists 2x years ago ? Enter the Zen of Business Plans.

Then you will learn why, from the end of the article – The plan, after all, should not take on a life of its own. Enjoy.

How To – Upgrade Lifetype

Many of you may need to upgrade your Lifetype time to time, therefore I think it may be useful if there is a simple guideline (from a user point of view) to go thru those steps … on top of the detailed wiki article in Lifetype (don’t forget to read it, it is a must). Here is the guideline:

  • First, backup your data using MySQL export tool, e.g. phpMyAdmin. Save this export dump to your local PC.
  • Then, you have to backup the changes you have done to your Lifetype engine before. In most cases they are changes in your template, plugin, javascripts, resources etc. Therefore, create a directory in your local PC, and ftp the following possible changes from the server and save in this local PC directory as backup :
    • The files / directories under /gallery/ – these are your resources files
    • Any files / directories of your current template under /templates/
    • The files / directories of the plugins your installed under /plugins/
    • The javascripts like prototype.js, scriptaculous.js etc.
    • The .htaccess file – that may include some Apache changes
    • The config.properties.php in /config/ – that is your current Lifetype settings
    • The files you changed in /locale/, in case you have set up your own language files or changed any text strings.
  • Then, rename your current Lifetype directory to something else – e.g. lifetype_old, blog_old etc. You can remove this directory later if your upgrade is successful.
  • Third, download the latest version of Lifetype, upload to your server.
  • Fourth, unzip the new Lifetype, and rename the new Lifetype to your original directory name – e.g. lifetype, blog etc. And also rename the config.properties.php as something like “config.properties.php.original”.
  • Now, copy all the changes you backed up to the new Lifetype installation – gallery, plugins, config.properties.php, javascripts etc. in the right places.
  • Lastly, run the wizard.php … and the rest is done by the script.
  • That’s it !!

Hope it helps.

How To – Metacafe Video in Lifetype

Since version 1.1.2 (?) of Lifetype, you can embed Youtube and Google videos in the post easily. But there are other good video sites such as Metacafe.com and livevideo.com, so how can we embed those videos into the post? Here is the how to guide, but some background first.

You know, to include a video in the post, just click the Youtube icon from the editor toolbar, and then enter the video URL (copy from Youtube), e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXXXXXXXXXX

Lifetype will turn this command after you confirm it to a bunch of codes:










Now back to Metacafe.com, if you find a video you like to embed to your blog post, you cannot simply copy the embed code from Metacafe and copy to your post because Lifetype will strip out all the tags she doesn’t like.

However, all you need is from the Metacafe video page, capture 3 values:

  1. The source (most likely in the format of http://www.metacafe.com/fplayer/999999/YYYYY.swf)
  2. The width of the video (most likey 400)
  3. The height of the video (most likey 345)

Now to embed this video to your post, just follow the steps:

  1. Click the HTML icon from the editor menu bar
  2. Enter (or copy from somewhere) the above Youtube bunch of codes
  3. In the objecttag, replace the width, heightand data attribute with what you got from Metacafe.
  4. In the param tag (with name=”movie”), replace the attribute “value” with the source URL from Metacafe.

Update it and you are done !! BTW, the tricky thing with this approach is you won’t see the “Video player” in your editor window, but only in the HTML, the blog post preview or the blog post itself.

Sample here … the second video in the Chinese New Year post.

Enjoy.

How To – Script.aculo.us Effect.Appear

Since I implemented Prototype and Script.aculo.us for the Lightbox photo album some time ago, I found that I can do more with these libraries – for example a Fade-in / Appear effect for my blog and posts (you can see it, can’t you ?). Now it’s the how to guide:

  • Provided that you already included the for prototype.js and scriptaculous.js in the header.template;
  • Then in the same file, find the line of <div id=”content”>
  • Add a new attribute to it style=”display:none;”
  • Then open the file main.template (your template set may have another name), add the following code right after the template loop through all the posts, but before the links and footer:

{literal}

//

{/literal}

  • You can adjust the duration to whatever seconds, you know.
  • Apply the same changes to other template files, if required.
  • Then upload the those template files to the server, and you are done !!

Enjoy !!

Entrepreneurial Proverbs

Yes, may be it’s a bit late to cross post this article, but I reckon it’s never too late to have something useful about how a geek can start up a business … especailly in a list of proverbs !!

And my favorite one is:

Jump when you are more excited than afraid — lack of fear is irrational, and too much fear is debilitating. Make the jump into your business when you have considered the fear, and come out more excited than afraid.

Here you go … Entrepreneurial Proverbs from O’Reilly. Enjoy and learn !!

I Know What I Did …

… in the last Year of Pig. Year 2007 is the Year of Pig, according to Chinese’s Lunar Calendar. Then I asked myself what happened in year 1995 (i.e. the last Year of Pig, 12 years apart) ?

Same to the “10 Years On …” post, I retrieved my back up CDs and I found my sites back in 1995, 1996 and 1998. They all had one thing in common though … they all looked like crap.

In fact, the 1995 version would link to a Java-enabled version (!) and one plain HTML version.

You see, I really like the tagline “Born to be wired”, back in 1995 😎

And here is the one from 1996.

Last but not least, the 1998 version – a very different approach.