Sunday, June 28, 2009

Speeding Up Application Development with Ready-MadeIcons

There are several ways to get images done for Web sites and software projects. Enterprises with deep pockets employ designers crafting custom images full-time. Smaller companies outsource their images to third-party design studios, getting their images for hefty fees. Organizations that are even smaller contract freelance designers, saving some money at the risk of not getting anything at all, receiving something not quite up to specs, or receiving the order too late.

Going stock saves software and Web developers time, money and uncertainty. Why should you get stock images? There are a number of reasons. With stock images, you'll get your images immediately after placing an order. Stock images are available for instant preview and immediate download the moment you order your graphics. No long waits and no surprises in getting your images done!

By purchasing a stock icon collection, you save on ordering custom images. Ready-made images are much more affordable than any images you get from a design studio. By going stock, you are saving time and money, moving your project a leap closer to completion without emptying your pockets.

With stock images, you get images on time, guaranteed! No delays and no surprises - you get exactly what you see the immediately after placing an order.

With royalty-free images, you pay once, use anywhere. If you order royalty-free images such as those offered by Perfect Icons, you can use the images in as many projects as you like. Pay once, use anywhere! No extra licensing fees are required.

If you order from Perfect Icons, you can get up to 5 matching icons made for you. Free with every purchase of an icon collection! Need just one or two icons matching the collection of icons you've just ordered to finish your project? How about five? Perfect Icons will make you up to five icons to match your requirements and the style of the icon library you have purchased without charging you a dime!

About Perfect Icons

Perfect Icons has multiple collections of affordable stock icons ready to be used by software and Web developers. By providing developers with stock, royalty-free images, Aha-Soft helps you speed up software development, remove uncertainty of how the final product will look like, and reduce bottom line expenses on graphics design.

Perfect Icons contains a number of images collections in a variety of image styles, themes, and sizes. The site features images designed in Windows XP and Windows Vista styles, as well as theme graphics bearing their own unique styling.

Creating Icons with Aqua Effect

Designing a fresh new image having the famous "aqua" effect is easier than you think – if you use proper tools. To create an image from scratch, a professional, small and simple icon editor such as IconLover 5 ( ) is all you really need.

For example, let us make an aqua-style icon to represent "Add", a glass ball with a "plus" sign in it. First, you’ll need to draw a circle of a chosen color. Pick the color from the Color properties menu. Just so you know, you can always memorize a color by adding it to Custom Colors; this comes really handy if you need to draw a matching set of images.

With the Transparency bar or with one of the Transparency presets, define your new icon’s opacity. For this tutorial, the ball has to be fully opaque. Similarly, you can set background color; for simplicity’s sake, we’ll keep the background transparent for now.

To make a circle of your chosen color, select the Filled Ellipse tool by clicking the Filled Ellipse icon in the Tools menu, which is on the left of the drawing area. Holding the left mouse button down, move the mouse within the drawing area to draw an ellipse. The ellipse changes its size and shape as you move the mouse. To create a perfectly round circle, hold Shift while drawing. That’s it, you have just created a circle!

To add volume and dimension to the flat circle, we’ll need to add some special effects. There are tons of those built into IconLover! You can add shadows, gradients, transparency masks, and of course, the famous ‘glass reflection’ look employed by the aqua effect.

To make an icon matching Apple’s Aqua style, you’ll need to add a reflection and a shadow to the circle. This can be done quite easily altogether by simply selecting Aqua from the Effects menu. Keep all sliders and values at their defaults for now, and you’ll get a beautiful shiny sphere as a result.

Now let’s add an artist’s touch and make your icon truly unique. Go back to that Aqua dialog and have a carefull look at the properties. There are plenty of properties available to tweak, allowing you to design something never seen before. Go ahead and tweak the sliders to see how your icon can look!

As a final touch, let’s add some dimension to your newly created icon. While glowing and shiny, it still looks like a lens rather than a crystal ball. Let’s fix that by adding a drop-down shadow! To apply a shadow effect to the icon, click "Drop shadow" from the Effects menu. You can stick to defaults, or adjust the settings around to get a flat button, a lens, or a ball. The look depends on the size of the shadow, its distance from the subject, and the angle at which it falls to the ground.

To embed the ‘plus’ sign into the icon, click on the Text tool icon in the left Tools menu or press "T" to get the text properties window. Make sure the "Image transparency" box is checked. This means that your text will not be transparent, only the area around it will be. Adjusting the "Use semi-transparency" setting assigns your text the same level of transparency your primary color has. Type "+", and you’ll get the ‘plus’ sign inserted into the ball.

That’s it! You’ve just created a crystal ball that appears to be in the famous Aqua style! All you needed was a professional icon editor, IconLover 5, a few mouse clicks and a couple of minutes of your time. Easy!

The Fundamentals of Software Testing

“The Fundamentals of Software Testing” is the first module of the ISEB Software Testing Foundation course and examination syllabus. ISEB recommend that Software Testing Foundation students spend 20% of their study time on the Software Testing Fundamentals course section. “The Fundamentals of Software Testing” is also the title of the opening chapter in the official ISEB Software Testing manual.

Understanding the fundamentals of software testing is clearly crucial to achieving proficiency according to the ISEB software testing professional standards. But what, precisely, are these “fundamentals” of software testing, and what do you need to know in order to pass the ISEB Software Testing Foundation examination?

Why is testing necessary?

According to Peter Morgan (freelance testing practitioner and member of the ISEB Software Testing Accreditation and Examination panel), an unnecessarily high proportion of IT systems fail to fulfil expectations – or fail to work at all – because of insufficient software testing prior to release.

Software testing cannot guarantee against software problems or even failure, but it can minimise the risk of faults developing once the software is in use. In order to understand why software testing is necessary, it is important to consider the causes and impact of IT systems failure, and the crucial role that testing plays in Quality Assurance.

The ISEB Software Testing Foundation training-courses focus on five learning requirements:

• The potential impact of an IT systems failure;
• Causes/effects of software failure;
• Why testing is necessary;
• Testing versus Quality Assurance;
• Basic industry terminology.

What is testing?

Software Testing is a method of identifying faults in the product before it is released; this includes defects in the software code and its execution, as well as any potential gap between what the code is supposed to do and what it actually does.

The ISEB Software Testing Foundation exam requires students to:

• Know the basic objectives of testing;

• Understand how these testing objectives apply in the context of creating, using and supporting software (including the difference between testing and ‘debugging’, and the different uses of static testing and dynamic testing).

General testing principles

The ISEB Software Testing courses introduce students to 7 software testing principles:

• Testing can show that problems exist, but not that problems do not exist.
• Testing covers a limited range of sample situations, and is not comprehensive.
• The earlier a problem is found, the less it costs to fix.
• Defects will tend to cluster around specific areas (e.g. system complexity, or staff inexperience). These areas can be particularly targeted by testers.
• A set of tests, run repeatedly, will have diminishing effect.
• The type, design and focus of testing will vary according to the software tested.
• A test that does not reveal errors does not prove that the software is error-free.

Fundamental test process

Software testing is not simply a case of reviewing documentation or running a software program to check for bugs. To ensure that the appropriate tests are operated effectively and return value on the invested resources, it is crucial that software testers carry out five basic activities, which the ISEB Software Testing guidance links to form a software testing process:

1. Test planning and control

a. Test planning defines what will be tested, how it will be tested, and who we will know when the testing is complete.
b. Test control is an iterative activity that compares the progress against the plan, and adjusts the plan as required.

2. Test analysis and design

a. Test analysis considers the specific conditions to be tested, and how these test conditions are to be combined into test cases.
b. Test design describes the expected outcome of the test, so that testers can easily recognise when a fault has occurred.

3. Test implementation and execution

Execution represents the most visible testing activity, and encompasses setting up the tests, generating test data, logging test activities and analysing the test results.

4. Evaluating exit criteria and reporting

The test “exit criteria” (established during “Test planning and control”) indicate that testing is complete.

5. Test closure activities

• Ensure that all documentation has been correctly completed
• Close down and archive the test environment, infrastructure and testware
• Hand over testware to maintenance team
• Log lessons learned

The psychology of testing

Selecting the appropriate individual(s) to perform the tests, and communicating the results of the tests to the developers, requires a basic understanding of the psychology of testers and developers.

The ISEB Software Testing guidance provides a hierarchy of ‘independence’ – that is, a list of individuals who could potentially test the software, gradated according to their perceived level of detachment from the development process:

• The authors of the code
• Members of the same development team as the authors of the code
• A different group within the same organization
• A different organization

There are varying advantages and disadvantages to individuals at different levels in the hierarchy performing the software tests. For example, the developer might be able to resolve a difficulty more quickly, but might be also be less likely to spot the difficulties in the first place.

In addition to the independence/detachment of the testers from the software development process, it is important to consider how testers can communicate the results of the test to the developers. The ISEB Software Testing Foundation exam requires students to explain strategies for providing courteous feedback on defects, for example:

• Focus on delivering quality, rather than pointing out mistakes;
• Test reports are not directed towards people but towards products;
• Discuss problems openly, and attempt mutual understanding;
• At the end of a discussion, confirm that both parties understand what has been agreed.


Understanding the fundamentals of software testing is crucial to passing the ISEB Software Testing Foundation examination. During an accredited ISEB Software Testing Foundation course, approximately two and a half hours should be devoted to studying what testing is, why it is necessary, and the fundamentals principles and processes behind a successful test performance.

Preventing The Loss Of Valuable Data


It’s a known fact that computer system data is the livelihood of any organization. No company can continue business in the event of total loss of data. The loss of data may also affect private individuals to a large extent. Imagine taking photographs while on holiday at an international destination costing you thousands of dollars or losing photographs of a wedding that cannot be repeated.

Therefore preventing the loss of your valuable data should become a major priority. As Imperative Technology, we are experts in the field of recovering lost computer data and have been involved in almost all data loss situations. Although after losing your data, we are able to assist you to recover your lost data. But unfortunately it’s not always possible to help all our clients, as there are situations where storage media may be damaged beyond the level of repair or successful recovery. We trust this article will assist you to prevent losing your data in the first place. We all understand by making backups will prevent you from losing data, but there are many key factors and different options to prevent the loss of data.

This document may be distributed freely. All our services are listed at the end of this document.


Ensure that your data is duplicated on at least one other device that is not connected to your computer / server that’s been backed up in any way.

By making a backup of your data is not enough, you need to ensure the data that’s been backed up IS WORKING!

Do not trust ANY software that reports a backup has been done successfully. The only way to ensure that data has been backed up effectively is to test the data. This is usually done by Test Restore Procedures.

Use an effective Anti-virus solution.

Connect a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) to all critical computers/servers for protection against lightning and power surges.

Install & configure your computer hardware correctly as described later in this document.

Protect your data from theft by means of Firewall configuration.

Ensure minimum Disaster Recovery Policies & Procedures are in place.

I trust the information in this document will assist you in preventing the loss of data.

Yours truly,


Data Recovery Specialist



With so many backup solutions to choose from, we’ll highlight some of the problem areas and solutions when using various backup options.


When choosing a backup software application, the following considerations are necessary:

The best solution is to rather have a completely accessible copy of your data, as in the complete file and folder structure with individual files being accessible in relevant software applications. This is without needing to restore your data from single backup files, before using the data. For clarity sake, after a backup, the backup files should be immediately accessible as if you were using the files from your local hard drive.

Although the above solution is not always practical, due to data capacity, automation requirements, time frame of backup completion requirements etc. The risk of using backup software applications that create a single backup file, has to be considered:

A large single compressed backup file may become corrupt resulting in no data accessible. This will require specialist data recovery services to repair/re-corrupt the file. Major Research and Development goes into repairing corrupt files. It is obvious that Data Recovery companies develop recovery processes for well-known industry standard type software applications. Therefore choose an acceptable industry standard type software solution for your backups such as normal Windows backup or Veritas Backup Exec etc. where scalable network backup solutions are required. If you choose a proprietary backup solution not commonly known in the industry, chances are no Data Recovery companies have developed recovery and file repair processes for such an application, resulting in huge data recovery costs.

The same software package will be necessary to restore the data, this aspect is sometimes overseen when archiving data, without realizing that software becomes outdated and might not be available at the time a data restore is required. We recommend keeping a copy of all backup software safeguarded when a restore of archived data may be required.


Burning files to DVD or CD may be a risk, provided that each and every file is tested afterwards by opening the files from the DVD/CD with the relevant software applications. Although this seems to be a tedious task, CD miss-burns is a reality that occurs very often. We recommend the following when storing data on DVD/CD:

Compress the files using a compression utility such as Winzip and burn the ZIP file to CD; the following advantages will be applicable:

Once the ZIP file is written to CD, test the file from CD as if you need to extract the file. If the ZIP file displays the content of compressed files, all files will automatically be accessible.

The CD File System has many limitations such as; long file names, depth of directory path etc. By burning a single ZIP file, all limitations will be ignored.

Time, capacity and number of CD’s, will also be advantageous.

Using DVD/CD’s as an archiving solution is not recommended as the media only lasts for a number of years depending on manufacturer etc. The most effective solution for archiving data is explained under “Archiving Data”.


Please note, this storage device was designed mostly for transporting data from one computer to another, using it as a mobile device. A USB memory stick should not be used for data backups and is not regarded as a reliable storage device. Ensure after using this device to safely unplug/remove the device prior to disconnecting the device. (Usually an icon with a green arrow bottom right on your screen)

It’s also recommended not to store files on a memory stick by means of saving it to memory stick directly from within a software application. Rather save files on your local disk and afterwards copy the files to the device using Windows Explorer etc.


External drives use different interfaces of connectivity such as USB, Firewire, SATA, ESATA etc. USB is the slowest of them all. Although all computers have a standard USB interface, to use most of the other interfaces, an interface card is required for connectivity. External drives are devices with standard desktop and notebook computer drives within the external casing. These drives are acceptable to use for data backups but should only be used as an additional copy of your data.

In the event of electronic failure of the external case, there is a chance that the internal drive might be in perfect working order. This may be tested by removing the internal drive from the case, connecting the drive to a standard desktop computer, as a secondary drive. Please note by removing the drive from the case might affect your warrantee, but as we know the cost of the external device is hardly a comparison to the value of the data.

When using these drives for backup purposes, it is recommended not to use a proprietary software application that is shipped with some of the external drives. Rather use standard Windows backup if that is your Operating System of choice. Even better, create backup folder names by date and manually copy required backup files as separate files & folders to the disk. Although much discipline is required for backups if no automated processes are in place. By having readily accessible files as a backup is a far smaller risk than compressed single backup files.



Use well-known Industry standard Backup Solutions only. When using a network backup solution to backup multiple servers, a fully automated solution is a critical requirement. Network backup software and hardware depends on very specific requirements. It is necessary to employ the services of a company that specialize in Backup Solutions to suit specific needs as all organizations have different requirements.

When choosing a reliable Software Backup Solution for a Network, the following components and considerations are necessary:

Planning regarding capacity of data vs. capacity of Backup Media / hardware platform

Implementation of suitable network backup software which includes the following backup agents:

Ensure to implement various agents to backup multiple Operating systems in a cross-platform network environment.

SQL Agent – To backup SQL Databases

MS Exchange Agent – To backup all e-mail configurations

Open Files Agent – To backup files that are open while accessed by network users

Accelerator Agent – While doing backups, it’s not recommended to run backups while the servers are being accessed by network users because of utilization of the backup process, which puts an additional load on the server. When backups cannot be completed overnight, an accelerator agent may be added to speed up the process.

Autoloader Agent – Used when more than one backup tape is required during a single backup process.

Disaster Recovery Agent – Various commercial network backup software solutions offer additional components for disaster recovery, these agents allow the booting from diskette to restore directly from backup media without the need to install and configure Operating systems and backup software. This reduces down time.



Using DVD/CD’s, as an archiving solution is not recommended as the media only lasts for a number of years depending on manufacturer etc. The most effective solution for archiving data is to store data on a normal desktop type hard drive, preferably multiple copies. Data on these hard drives should be stored in a readily accessible format with separate file and folder structures, in uncompressed format and should be kept in a fire-proof strong room. Off-site storage of data is also recommended. A copy of every software application used to create all data including all serial numbers, access codes to operate the software should be stored on the same disk. This is in the event where software programs become outdated and are no longer in use, at the time where access to old data may be required.

In the event of loose separate hard drives, data should not be spanned across disks where more than one disk is required to restore even a single file.

When using backup tapes for archiving, only tapes with full backups should be considered. Incremental backups of data spanned across multiple tapes are a risk, as all tapes in the backup set are required to do a full restore. Rather store data in chunks as a full backup on a tape-by-tape basis. With damage to one of the tapes, only a partial data loss will be applicable.

The above only applies to environments of small data capacity requirements. There are many scalable Data Archiving Architectures available where large amounts of data archiving are required. Companies that specialize in off-site storage and business continuity will assist you with these requirements.

Example Requirements of most Government Regulations

Records must be stored in their original form without risk of alteration or deletion.

Records must be accurate and complete from the time they are created.

Records should be easily retrievable.

Disaster recovery plans should be in place, such as storing duplicate records off-site.

How You Can Make Money With Internet Video

A guide to the best web sites that will enable you to convert your video into cold, hard cash

Are you a moviemaker or video maker? Have you been creating and posting videos to sites like YouTube, Metacafe and MySpaceTV video? You have been getting lots of great feedback, viewers have been favoriting your videos and sharing them among their friends, and maybe now you are thinking, how do I make some money on this?

Or maybe you are an upcoming video producer, shooter or editor. You recognize that the web is the wild frontier of video and film and you want to get a piece of it. Or maybe you are running a business and you are smart enough to recognize that maybe you can make some additional money by leveraging your products and services via web video.

Yes, you can make money in web video. You don't need to be a big-time producer with deep pockets. You don't need to have graduated form a top notch film school. You don't even need fancy video cameras and video editing gear.

There are various paths and direction you can take depending on what kinds of video you are making and what your goals are.

For the professional video or filmmaker, the creator of short videos or independent films, the best choice is to hook up with a major content provider that already has a presence on the web as well as in broadcast. Companies like Atom Films, Break, iFilm and the My Damn Channel all buy and license video streaming content from professional video makers. See the list of Sites that pay for video at Internet Video Magazine.

These web video distributors license your videos to other content companies and also exhibit your film on their Internet site, sharing the various advertisings and licensing revenues they get with you.

Most of these types of sites runs ad before your video, as well as a plethora of ads and banners on the web site. They have money coming in, and realizing the value of well made content, will pay you for your videos and films.

Atom Films says “We earn good money from those ads and we share a percentage of the gross revenue with content creators. That money is paid out according to the relative popularity of each movie on AtomFilms — so the more plays your movie generates, the more money you make.”

Because companies like AtomFilms also function as a source for video content to other media companies, they can pay you a slice of that as well. AtomFilms supplies content to companies like Comedy Central, Spike TV, Verizon's Vcast mobile entertainment service and Bell South's web portal. These partners pay Atom for the content, and from that revenue they pay royalties to the creators whose movies are shown.

According to AtomFilms, many of their film and video creators earn hundreds of dollars, some earn thousands of dollars, and the most successful creators have made tens of thousands — even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

There are some sites that are actually pay per view and work best for content that is either informational like “how to do it” videos or travel videos, or contain “special content” that can not be easily accessed elsewhere. Some of the leading sites for this are Veoh,, BrightCove, VideoJug and ExpertVillage. At ExpertVillage, you can earn $100 to $1000 for each how-to video. The videos must be assigned first, focus on a specific topic, and consist of about 15 segments of one to three minutes each, featuring an "expert" on a given subject.

If you are running a business and want to promote it via video, you have a few options. You could use one of the pay per view services to distribute educational videos that you produce. You could distribute and re-purpose your TV and cable commercials by posting them to one or more of the “free” video posting sites, or you could actually create a “viral” video that drives traffic to your site.

A great example is the “Will It Blend” series of videos by a small company known as BlendTec. Originally done as a one off joke video featuring Blendtec CEO Tom Dickson and his blending antics, it turned viral. The company followed up with an almost endless series of videos of him grinding up objects of all types and sizes, from marbles to an iPhone to a rake handle. It has become a wonderful advertising and promotional medium for their company and now almost everyone knows who they are.

Many musicians are using web videos to promote themselves, their bands and their music. These can be a great way to build a new audience and get music enthusiasts exposed to their work without having to go through the music industry machine. Musicians can add links to their web sites on their videos to drive interest, or actually have roll-over promo appear when a web visitor checks out their video.

Maybe the most interesting channel to make money with your Internet video is by using sites that allow you to post almost any kind of video you created.

It can be a sophisticated, dramatic piece or a video clip snippet captured from your camcorder or your video phone. As long as you created it, you can make money from it. Once it is posted, whenever someone clicks on it and watches the video, you get paid. It’s all about driving content and eyeballs. Some interesting sites include YouTube, LuluTV, Flixya, Magnify.Net, Revver, BlipTV and many others. Also check out the many how to video sites like ExpertVillage and HowCast.

For example, BlipTV - Blip TV offers a 50/50 revenue share with the advertising that is streamed with your video. Blip TV says, “ has built an open advertising marketplace where you can pick the video advertising company that works best for you. If you've got a hit show we'll even go out and meet with media buyers directly to get you a real, honest-to-goodness high-end sponsorship.”

Another option is YouTube. They recently announced that they will start running ads on their videos and will be sharing the revenue with the content providers. Check out this news story from Yahoo News and A P

Revver - Once you upload a video to Revver, they attach an ad and a unique tracking technology. Any ad revenue generated by the video is then split 50/50 between you and Revver. According to Revver, “Since ads are attached to the video itself and dynamically served wherever the video travels, there's no restriction on how your videos are distributed. The more people email your video, post it to other websites or download it from P2P networks, the more money you could earn.”

This is interesting. Revver also pays you for sharing other people’s videos on the Revver network. You can earn 20% of ad revenue for sharing videos by other Revver members. The remaining revenue is split 50/50 between the maker and Revver.

My WeShow enables anyone to become an online video aggregator: finding, creating, discussing, sharing and making money from video content -

You Got to Promote Your OnLine Video

Once you have your videos uploaded, you also need to promote them and tell the world they are out there. For example, one of my favorite sites is French Maids TV - The Viral Video of “How To’s” by French Maids. Their videos are everywhere – on Revver, on BlipTV, on YouTube, etc.. According to Tim Street, creator and executive Producer, not only do they get paid to create these “viral” videos by each show’s tech sponsors, they collect thousands of dollars each month by links on Revver and similar web sites.

These shows combine a lot of humor and a bit of sex to promote the product or service featured on each clip. In addition to these natural hooks, he also promotes the show using RSS and podcast directories.

Tim said, “You need to make sure that you create a RSS Feed - a podcast of your videos. Then you need to get listed on all the podcast directories including the most important one of all, the one that can change your life forever, the one and only iTunes Store! Seriously iTunes has done more to promote French Maid TV than any other thing out there. It took French Maid TV a month to get listed on the iTunes Store. Three days later French Maid TV was number one and we had twenty thousand subscribers.”

There is a lot of money to be made in online video. Whether you are just uploading short clips captured by your camcorder phone, creating infomercials or how to videos, or producing creative and funny short films or indie full-length features, the online market is hungry for content. Check out some of these sites listed below and find out how you can cash in on this opportunity.



Friday, June 26, 2009



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