Category Archives: Product/Service Review

Software Review: Listgarden 1.3

Listgarden is a very powerful RSS creation and management tool that runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms, and can be configured as a Web-based application.

For those of you who subscribe to all of my feeds, let me apologize…I know that I’ve mentioned Listgarden several times: in this blog, the Lockworld Herald News, and my Resources feed.

I think the program deserves all of these mentions, however, because it is so versatile and so simple. Without any knowledge of RSS or XML structure or rules, you can create and edit as many feeds as you want to. You have the options of creating the feeds as local files on your computer, or uploaded to your FTP server (or both). My favorite feature of Listgarden is that you can optionally export an HTML version of your feed containing some or all of your feed items as a Web-based file. This can allow you to offer a preview of your latest feed items to your site visitors or an alternate way to view “what’s new” on your site.
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Create and sell custom products with Cafe Press

I just stumbled across a very interesting site that I thought I should share with my readers. It’s a site called Cafe Press. This site offers a wide variety of print-on-demand products from clothing to housewares and other gifts. You can add your own images to the products to create your very own styles, logos, catch-phrases, etc., which you can sell online in your very own Cafe Press store. The best part about Cafe Press is that you don’t have to spend any money to get started. Because Cafe Press doesn’t produce any products until someone orders them, there are no setup fees or minimum purchases required. Without spending any money, you can create as many custom products as you want, and sell them in your own, personalized online shops.

Each product has a “base price” that covers all of the costs of manufacture and production. To make money, simply set a “markup” price that you will earn as commission on sales of your product(s) (Just a word to the wise…be reasonable: I saw a thong for sale for $200 while I was browsing the site!). That’s all there is to it. It was so easy to get started that I’ve already created my own online shop with a few products that are available for immediate purchase, which I’ve included below as an example of what you can do. Of course, you can also buy your own products directly for the base price, without paying the markup. Read more»

Changes to Microsoft Office Live Small Business

Earlier this year, Microsoft Office Live Small Business (Originally Microsoft Office Live) launched several improvements to their service. I use this service to host my own Web site (LockworldHerald.com), and I’ve blogged about it in the past. Although they no longer offer free domain name registration, they do continue to offer free Web site hosting (which is typically far more expensive than the domain name registration anyway). In the past, I found the service to be very useful to establish an online presence for myself, but was continually frustrated at how difficult it was to edit pages using the built-in page editor. In the end, I simply uploaded all of my Web pages manually to the “Documents” folder – the only folder I had any access to. This allowed me to create my own pages by writing my own HTML codes, but was getting difficult to manage as the number of files grew.

The new improvements to the site now allow even free account holders to design their site using their own Web design tools (I typically use WordPad  or Nvu, but other Web authoring/design tools can be used as well). This new structure allows me to keep my site more organized, but more importantly, it gives me access to the top-level of my site. There are certain Web services that require authentication by checking for files in the root directory (Like Google Web Apps and Delorie). In addition to making such services available, having access to the root directory also gives me the ability to create a robots.txt file that can tell search engine bots to avoid indexing certain file types or folders. Since I use a lot of AjaxIncludes scripting, this is a very nice way to keep all of those partial Web pages out of the search engine results.
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What can Zoho Creator do for you?

I’m constantly amazed at the wide variety of uses I can come up with for Zoho Creator. When I first stumbled across the application, I thought it might be of passing use to collect some basic information from visitors to my Web site. Over the last few months, however, I’ve experimented with a wide variety of less-than-typical uses for an online database tool.

For small business and personal Web site owners without access to a lot of IT support, Zoho Creator can easily serve as the functional back-end of your entire site, allowing you to develop some sophisticated and interactive applications for your Web site. Thanks to Zoho Creator, even a relatively novice user can add some powerful functionality to an otherwise dull Web site. As users become more familiar with Zoho Creator, there is almost no limit to the number of powerful applications that can be developed for any site.

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