Freelancers – Do You Paymo?

As a freelancer or small business, one of the biggest decisions you can make (from a business perspective, at least) is how to track your time and invoice your clients. There are a few really good options out there. Quickbooks Online seems to be a good solution, but it can get pretty expensive pretty quickly. A friend of mine recommended CurdBee, which looks like a pretty nice option, too.

My software of choice, though, is an application called Paymo. Paymo works extremely well, is easy to use, feature-rich and is extremely affordable. There are basically only two reasons you would ever pay to use Paymo. The first would be if you need to issue more than 3 invoices in a month. The other reason would be if you need to allow more than 2 users (yourself and one other) to track their time in the application.

Run Cisco VPN Client in 64-bit Windows 7

For about the past six months, I’ve been trying on and off to get Cisco VPN Client to run successfully on my computer. As you may or may not know, Cisco has no plans to ever update the VPN Client software to work on 64-bit Windows systems. Instead, Cisco chooses to strong-arm its clients into purchasing a Cisco AnyConnect. AnyConnect, from what I can tell (I am by no means an expert, so please forgive me if I’m wrong), is a new VPN server that deploys its own client whenever someone connects to it. The catch is, of course, that the entire network needs to be updated and reimplemented in order to use AnyConnect; it’s not something that one or two users can do on their own computers.

Since AnyConnect didn’t look like a viable option in my case (after all, there are only about 5 of us using 64-bit systems, and the current VPN setup works pretty well for everyone else that’s using it), I started looking for other solutions.

Some Nice Chrome Extensions

This will be a quick post mentioning some of my favorite extensions for the Google Chrome browser.

  1. Web Developer – The classic Firefox extension has been rewritten for use with Google Chrome. This is an absolute must-have for any Web developer, allowing you to disable CSS, images, javascript and more, view important information about a page, manipulate forms and more.Edit – The developer’s website does not seem to currently include a link to the Chrome extension. It can be downloaded from the Chrome Extensions gallery.
  2. Feedly – I’ve explained feedly in detail in the past, but it’s worth another mention, here.
  3. Google Account Switcher – adds a link to all of your Google pages, allowing you to easily switch between multiple Google accounts. Unfortunately, at the moment, this extension doesn’t seem to be working for me in Chrome 4.1. I’m not sure if Google made changes that stopped it from working, or if it only works in the latest development versions of Chrome but, at the very least, this is a good extension to keep an eye on.
  4. BuiltWith – allows you to view information about the various libraries and technologies used to build specific applications and Web pages.
  5. HTML Validation – adds an icon to your extension toolbar, indicating whether or not the page you’re viewing is coded with valid HTML. If it’s not, the icon shows the number of errors/warnings. It’s not as good as the HTML Validator/HTMLTidy plug-in for Firefox, but it’s definitely a good start.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express Released

Earlier today Microsoft released the final (RTM) versions of their Microsoft Express offerings. The software was previously available as a beta release. The tools are all free and appear to be a good way to get started with Microsoft development. Unlike many free development software offerings, apparently these tools can be used for commercial development.

The Microsoft Express software includes:

  • Visual Web Developer 2010 Express
  • Visual Basic 2010 Express
  • Visual C# 2010 Express
  • Visual C++ 2010 Express

If you are planning to use the Microsoft Express software, check out the very detailed FAQ which offers insight into what you can and can’t build using the free versions of the development software.

Moogo Offers Inexpensive & Professional Website Creation

Moogo lets you create professional looking websites with a range of design and layout options for almost any type of content site. There are a wide range of options inside the Moogo portal and site creation is very quick and easy. It’s just three simple steps and if you can use Microsoft Word, you will be able to use Moogo.

The only thing you need to decide with Moogo is what features you want to use. Moogo offers you a Free Website with minimal options and features, something very basis if you are not ready for a full web presence. Then there are paid options ranging from $4.99/month to $14.99/month. I wont go into explaining the offerings for each of the paid plans, but I will explain the steps on how to setup the Personal Website plan:

Selecting a Layout

The first step is all about selecting the correct layout for your site. Moogo offers a variety of layouts from which you can select the one that best suits your needs. Assign the headers, the header is the top image on your page and you can select from a variety of categories, from Interests to Information Technology. You can preview your selections on the right side to see the picture of what the page looks like.

SiteShoter – Capture Screenshots of Your Web Site

The other day, I found myself in a situation where I needed a screen shot of every page on a specific Web site. I certainly didn’t want to go through the site and manually capture screen shots, so I headed to the Web to search for solutions.

I then came across a utility called SiteShoter. SiteShoter has some really nice features. You can set a custom size for the browser used to capture the screen shot, or even tell SiteShoter to expand the size of the window to fit the contents of the page (so you can capture the whole page, even if it scrolls for a while). You can enable or disable javascript and Flash, as well as remove the browser’s scrollbars. You can even schedule SiteShoter to capture a new screenshot every few seconds, minutes or hours.

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