Sunday, December 30, 2007

Getting Your Blogger URL Right

I see it all the time at the Daily-Painters Discussion Group, or when someone wants to be listed on the Daily Painters Guild Website, or more specifically the Worldwide List of Daily Painters — someone announces their new blog address with a www. in front of it.

Clarification: Not everything on the World Wide Web has, nor has to have, a www before it.

In fact the correct address of your blog, if you use, is

Driving backwards
may get you
home, but that
doesn't mean it's
the best way
"But, David," you object, "when I put it in e-mails or post it to the Discussion Group it doesn't turn into a link!"

That's because you are mistakenly thinking that the familiar "www" is a 'protocol.' But is isn't. What you need is an http://. The protocol is what 'helps it' get turned into a link.

This is a reference that tells your computer what program to use to get to the address... okay, usually that program is your 'browser' (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera, etc.) in which you clicked the link anyway, so it just 'uses itself' to go there. Other protocols which tell your computer to do different things are, for example, ftp://, callto:// (for Skype calls, for example), itms:// (launches the iTunes Music Service) and so on.

Using my own Everyday Paintings by David R. Darrow as an example, the correct way to make a linked URL is — with no www.

URLs are
a lot like
"But, David," you instantly argue, "when I use a www it does work! It turns it into a link!"

That's because "it" (your e-mail program, the discussion group software, or the forum to which you post) has adapted to poorly written URLs and assumes you meant to make it a link, and so it overrides your mistake making it into a link.

In fact, though, it slows things down [albeit a little] in getting the link to take one to the desired location, because "it" has to figure our that the www was not necessary, and then take you to the place you really wanted to go.

URLS are a lot like phone numbers... they get you to one destination. '' is the whole 'phone number,' including area code. Adding a www before it would be like dialing the country code first to reach your next door neighbor... at the moment it isn't necessary, but if people keep doing it, they'll write the software to convert the redundancy to strip out everything but the necessary part of the phone number and let you reach your neighbor — who is on vacation in another state.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Paypal Buttons and Blogs

When Paypal generates the code for a button, they do not anticipate blogging software.

The code they give you has each line separated by a "line feed"

<input>blah blah blah
<input>blah blah blah
<input>blah blah blah

But and others are web-based applications that are built around the assumption that you are writing a story. They make accommodations for adding HTML codes, but do not require you to add

whenever you want a new line of text.

Instead, when their software detects a new line ( it actually "writes the line-feed for you."

The problem occurs where Paypal formats the part you copy from their website, which includes invisible line-feeds after every <input> tag.

So, in short, make sure you are in the HTML editing window of a post, then

  1. Paste the code Paypal makes for you

  2. Remove everything between lines

Example... when you're done it should look instead like:

<input>blah blah blah<input>blah blah blah<input>blah blah blah

This removes all the line-feeds, and effectively puts the buttons
right under the proper text.

A while back I built a Microsoft Excel "Paypal Button Machine" specifically for Daily Painters, which you are free to download and try: ... it takes all the hassle out of using the Paypal site. There is an instructional video on the page. I also write about it on my blog entry "Paypal Button for One Painting."

This spreadsheet doesn't work for everyone, and you have to have Excel, or a spreadsheet that reads Excel formulas, but if it works for you, it doesn't get any faster or easier than that.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Purpose of This Blog

Artists are a creative bunch.

If you believe in any of that right-brain/left-brain stuff, then you already get the idea that artists think from a different part of the brain than other folks. Just for fun, we'll call other folks "normal."

Then there are the people in this world who create things like computer chips, and design rockets, or try using bread mold as remedial medicine. Whatever. Anyway, they, supposedly think from way over on the other side of the brain. Just for fun, we won't call them normal. Mostly because I don't get how they do that.

Well, then there are a few of us, like me, who think from the brain-crack -- cleavage, if you prefer -- that place in the middle that is safe from Geekdom, yet still a place from where I am not about to go all Warhol on you either.

I'm a full-time artist that is also fascinated with how things work. Mostly about the computer, and farther-mostly about the Mac, though some of the software I use is made for the PC, too.

In this blog I will discuss how I use technology in my world of analog art where I use the traditional stuff of oils, brushes and blank canvases and support it with software, photography, cameras, video, recording, Paypal, eBay, HTML and CSS, and anything else that would make a real right-brainer take a nap unless they were really stumped about something I may have an answer to.

For example:
Q: If you are so smart, why did you dangle a preposition at the end of that last sentence?

A: The confluence of the seeming polarity of the disciplines of Art and Technology does not lend itself easily to the avoidance of obfuscation, thereby rendering the finer points of grammar a discipline of which I may at times not take advantage.

I hope that clears it up.

If you find something here that solves a problem, for you, consider making a Paypal donation as a thank you for my time, or at least visit one of my sponsors via the ads that are posted here. It makes everyone happy.

Paypal Button for One Painting

Paypal has been a great help for artists who do not have a merchant account with their bank, and all the machinery that accompanies credit transactions.

Of course, you have to log into their site to create a Paypal Button just to sell an item from your website or blog.

Paypal's buttons
keep selling
the same item
The downside is that if you have a single item, such as one painting, and it's really a hot item, and several people bid on it before you can get back to your web page or blog entry to remove the button, you'll end up with a lot of money in your Paypal account to refund.

Or you may have to leave the country, heading for retirement in Barbados.

The Paypal buttons that Paypal generates for you do not include Paypal code for notifying new buyers that the item has been sold, and disallowing the transaction. But this button code does. I wrote it in.

You can download the Excel Spreadsheet that does the work for you, at my Paypal Button Machine webpage.

Below, a YouTube narrated movie showing how it works. Press the center arrow to play it.