In the University Web Developer’s (UWEBD) listserv today, a conversation took off about how Google was linking to the HTTPS version of Florida Gulf Coast University’s web site. It was a problem because of FGCU’s broken HTTPS channel.
I was surprised at the misconceptions that came over a technically astute email group. Here’s my statement:
Two inaccurate things have been said about Google.
Inaccurate statement 1: Google is securing others’ sites. Dangerous misconception! Google cannot “secure” your site. If Google’s link to you uses HTTPS, that does not “secure” your site. It just means Google is linking to your site’s secure channel. “Securing” a site includes transport security (HTTPS channel) among many other things. Most importantly, YOU, the site owner, do the “securing”, not Google.
Inaccurate statement 2: Google is en masse sending users to HTTPS channels on web sites. Nope. For example, Southern Methodist University has had both HTTP and HTTPS channels for www.smu.edu for over a decade. Google links to the HTTP version.
Starting late last year, Google encrypts traffic between the user and its search site. If you visit http://google.com, Google redirects you to https://google.com. That has no bearing on whether Google’s search results link to HTTPS or HTTP channels. However, it may limit site owners’ view of search keywords (reference); that isn’t related to the inaccurate statement.
You can still get unsecured Google search using http://www.google.com/webhp?nord=1 (note the highlight), but only if you’re not signed in. A search on Florida Gulf Coast University on the unsecured version still links to the HTTPS channel.
There’s are many reasons why Google is linking to FGCU’s secure channel, but it’s almost certainly not because of Google’s own change.
This is a song about Sitecore blogging woes, with the answers to the woes at http://mikael.com/2013/11/sitecore-mvp-summit-team-7/. Sung to the tune of the Scout camp song “I met a bear”.
I have a blog
I can’t find time
To write the blog
I like to write
I don’t know what
To write about
I have a blog
To look at it
I like my blog
To talk to me
I’ve got a blog
It wastes my time
I need it short
It’s hard to get print-quality graphics out of Quantum GIS (QGIS). There’s a kludgy command line method, but it doesn’t always work right (see that page’s comments). It’s stupid that you have to take a GUI-based program to the command line to get good graphics!
I asked for something straightforward 2 years ago (link), but it hasn’t gotten much traction. In the meantime, you can use the Print Composer as a workaround. Here’s how:
- Orient your QGIS viewport to fully include the part you want to export. It’s OK if it shows a little more than what you want to export. For example, I’m only wanting the gridded part of this view:
- File > New Print Composer.
- In the button bar, click Add new map ().
- With the mouse pointer, draw a large rectangle on the canvas. It’ll show the view you you established in step 1 and more:
- Notice how the image is offset from center. Center this graphic in its box:
- Click the Move item content button ().
- Figure out what you want to be in the center of the exported image. With your mouse inside the rectangle you drew, drag the image until the part you want to export is centered in the rectangle. In my case, I just moved it up a bit:
- Since I am really only shooting for the grid in my final output, I need to zoom in. On the bottom right side, click on the Item Properties tab. You should see a field named Scale. Gradually reduce the value in Scale, starting with about 10% at a time, until what you want almost fills the frame. Press enter after you change that number to see the effect of that change. After adjusting the scale down by about 1/3 (a smaller number in Scale zooms in the view), I finally have it looking as I want:
(I’ve filed issues to add a tool to zoom in and out of items and to better explain the scale field.)
- Click the Export as Image button () and save the PNG using the dialog.
Voila, you have a high quality image! You may still need to crop it to get it just right.
If you need a higher resolution, then click on the Composition tab and change the DPI value to the right of Print as raster. (Print as raster is probably not related to the DPI; this has been filed as a bug (http://hub.qgis.org/issues/7973).) Export again.
Frequent Sitecore upgrades have convincing benefits and lower its TCO.
My employer’s current practice is an annual Sitecore upgrade. I recommend this as the maximum interval; we should do more frequent upgrades when important-to-us new features, fixes, or enhancements are released. It may be prudent to even consider twice-a-year upgrades given Sitecore’s rapid release schedule.
Here’s the specific benefits of frequent upgrades:
- Fast track putting UI enhancements and bug fixes into production.
- Puts new features front and center. Even if we don’t use these features right away, they are often the basis of near-term enhancements.
- Fast track putting enhanced modules into production. Many times, newer module versions require upgrades of the base product, too.
- Avoids bifurcated environments. Aggressive upgrade policies reduce the pressure to try out and do development on newer releases than what we have in production.
- Avoid cost of delaying implementing new features. We once delayed upgrading from 6.2 to 6.4. This contributed to not-aggressive-enough learning of 6.4’s enhancements, causing our old technology to get more deeply ingrained in our practices. This made our move to 6.4′s paradigm more complex.
- Reduced upgrade complexity. We and other customers experienced difficult upgrades when we failed to upgrade frequently. Frequent upgrades means each upgrade is more of a snack than a huge meal.
- Better supportability. While Sitecore has a generous support policy—they appear to support many versions going back—it is inevitable economic reality that dusty versions will have a harder support experience. The best companies are aggressively forward-looking.
- Cleaner install and better reliability due to reduced use of hotfixes. If we do a frequent upgrade regimen, we can often defer hotfixes to when problems get fixed in future releases. With infrequent upgrades, we will be under pressure to rely more heavily on hotfixes (customizations) that 1. must later be backed out, 2. may not be as well-tested, creating unintended consequences during use, and 3. when backed out, could cause unpredictable changes.
My employer has a legitimate fear of frequent upgrades due to its experience with our ERP. Indeed, upgrades to this ERP are monstrously complicated. A Sitecore upgrade is a fraction of the complexity of an upgrade or even a patch on our ERP.
Due to the way Sitecore is architected—it generally disallows spaghetti code or direct modification of vendor code or logic—and my disinclination to customize the base product, compared to our ERP, it is rare that we will run into code incompatibilities with newer versions. Our custom code will usually “just work”.
To conclude, I recommend frequent upgrades whenever possible. It has convincing benefits, and, really, it is just a sign of an engaged product owner that wants a relevant, competitive web marketing presence.
(BACKGROUND: FODMAPs are five kinds of carbohydrates: fructans, galactans, fructose, lactose, and polyols. For some people, FODMAPs cause digestive problems. A FODMAP diet is where you avoid FODMAPS.)
A lot of FODMAP resources recommend avoiding gluten. This is bad advice: the FODMAP diet is about problem carbohydrates. Gluten is not a carbohydrate; it’s a protein! Avoiding gluten is not a goal of the FODMAP diet.
Here’s why many are confused. Gluten-free products generally do not contain wheat, barley, or rye. These should be avoided on a FODMAP diet. Therefore, FODMAP-sensitive people may have success with some gluten-free products.
But not all! Some gluten-free products have FODMAPs. For example, Rudi’s Multigrain gluten-free bread has inulin. People on a FODMAP diet cannot have inulin; it’s a long-chain polymer of fructose!
So what’s my point? FODMAP dieters will probably end up buying gluten-free products. However, you’re doing it not because of the gluten–a protein–but because of the carbohydrates. Products that contain gluten but do not have the problem carbohydrates, like beer, are generally not a problem on the FODMAP diet.