Thursday, October 17, 2013

Most Popular Ecommerce Shopping Carts

I have for years been wondering which ecommerce carts are the most popular, and therefore have the most staying power and will likely continue to be a viable option for clients to build and maintain a business on. Being popular also means that they likely have a thriving third-party developer ecology. (Third-party developers are programmers that aren't employed by the cart company, but make add-ons, modules, themes for the cart.) Popularity also means that most glitches will have been sorted out, and that there will be a method of implementing most business process needs. Oh, and it means that the community of users will be a valuable resource for figuring out how to solve your particular implementation problems.

I've never seen an authoritative list of the most popular shopping carts, until now.

This is a f-f-f-fantastic tool because it shows cart popularity by business size. The needs of a top 10000 website are going to be a lot different from the needs of a top 1 mil website.

So now we can see that for small businesses, Magento really has risen to the top. Virtuemart and Yahoo Stores are looking pretty good too.

I am still on a quest for an integrated commerce solution for small businesses, but Builtwith may have provided me with a shortlist of contenders.


Here's another good shopping cart comparison article: CPCStrategy Ecommerce Platform Comparison

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

After Using Photorec: A strategy for sorting through the recovered file mess

Note Apr 20, 2015. Since UniqueFiler seems to be returning an error page, perhaps VisiPics might work.

Also, HowToGeek has an article about finding and removing dupes for Windows, Mac and Linux.


I used Photorec under windows to recover several thousand family photos from a dead external hard drive for a client. Photorec does an amazing job at recovering images from hard drives that won't mount, seem to be dead, or images that were accidentaly deleted. That being said, it's not like using a professional hard drive recovery service. If you use Photorec, or my instructions, you are taking matters into your own hands and you are responsible for your own data. I may have missed an important step, so be careful and smart.
Photorec stacks the files it recovers, in the order it finds them, into recup folders. Each folder is full of images, docs, videos, exe files, html files....whatever photorec finds that it thinks is a file. So in this case I ended up with 7000 files in 20 folders.
What I wanted was all the image files sorted into folders by date, renamed according to the date/time they were taken, with no duplicates.
  1. Use Photorec Sorter to sort the files out of the recup folders and into folders according to their type.
  2. Use Unique Filer to find and delete duplicates.
  3. Use Amok Exif Sorter to move and rename all the image files.
Step One. Photorec Sorter. It's very simple. Just follow the directions on the page.
Step Two. Unique Filer. Download the .zip of the program and run it from the directory where you unzip it.
Stage One: I looked in the JPG folder and saw that there were a gazillion 1KB files. These were all little tiny play buttons, blocks of color, 1 pixel files, etc. All junk. I deleted them all, thus saving me a bunch of time on the next step, which involves comparing potential duplicate images
Stage Two: Compare File Size and Contents. A welcome box pops up. Choose the Wizard. Then, since this is your first scan, skip adding a folder and click Next to go on to the next step. Now add your JPG folder which was created by the Photorec Sorter. For Scan type choose Compare File Size and Contents. This stage will remove all the files that are exact duplicates. Same file size, same dimensions. You can confirm this by clicking on the images in the left-hand pane and noting that the images displayed in the right hand panes are all the same.
All the dupes are marked by a red bar in the top pane on the compare side, and when you click File Management > Delete All Marked it will get rid of all the perfectly matched dupes.
Stage Three: Compare Images. Click on the Wizard button, and go through again, skipping the Base Files step again. This time on the Scan step, check the Compare Images button. Now Unique Filer will go through the images and try to find similar images based on contents of the images. It's pretty good at it. You end up with a list on the left of images that might have dupes. Again, click on them on the left, and on the top there will be a list of the images that might be dupes. The top one in that list will show up below as the image on the left. Compare that image to the other ones in the top pane list. Mark the ones you want to get rid of by clicking on the image and hitting the space bar. Then, when you have gone through the whole list on the left, click File Management > Delete All Marked.
Now you are de-duped.
Step Three. Sorting images with Amok Exif Sorter. Download the .zip of the program and run it from the directory where you unzip it. It runs based on which version of Java you have(32 or 64bit). If in doubt, download the 32bit version. Extract the .zip contents and double click Exifsorter.exe.
Click on File > Add Directory and add the JPG folder.
Choose "Move" for Sort Method. Click the edit button next to Directory and remove %day% so that your photos will be sorted into folders by month (unless you want them in folders according to the day of the month)
Choose a target directory. I made a new folder inside my JPG folder, but you can put them wherever you want.
Then click Start and away you go.
Happily, I ended up with almost all the photos in folders arranged by year - month - day. There were a pile of pictures in a folder for the day I did the Photorec recovery because they were scanned images and didn't have Exif data, only a file creation date set by Photorec.
Be sure to go through the other folders that Photorec Sorter made, to look for any other files that are valuable. In my case there were a few movie clips from the camera, and the rest was junk. You may find .doc files, or .pdf files or a bunch of other goodies.
Are you happy to get your photos back? Donate to the guys who made it possible!!

Monday, March 04, 2013

Optimal Proportions for Google Shopping Images

What are the optimal proportions for images used in Google Shopping data feeds?

Well, if you look at the images of products in Google Shopping, or images in the search results page, you will see that they are all square.

So if you want to maximize the area that your product images show up in Google Shopping results, think inside the box. Be a square.

The way I make product images for the datafeed is to make a new blank square image in Fireworks at 500px by 500px.

Then I take my optimized and color corrected full sized product images and drop them in the 500 x 500 Fireworks doc. I re-size the product image until the product uses the square space to best advantage.

Then I export the 500px image and save it in the folder I've set up for datafeed images.

Then I take the next full sized product image and drop it in the 500px datafeed image doc and size and position it, too, and export again.

I keep doing this until I have all the images I want to include in the datafeed all ready to go.

Maybe you've already made square images for your shopping cart, in which case, lucky you. Just link to those, as long as they are over 400px.

Friday, January 04, 2013

LinkedIn for the very shy internet hermit.

LinkedIn isn't like fishing, where you throw out a lure (your profile). It's for connecting with people you've met.

My sister just called me and told me, "I love the networking that happens automatically at a university. I just got another job offer to be a coordinator for a biodiversity project." It was from someone she knows who has worked in her professor's lab.

Meeting people face to face is still the most important aspect of networking. Then you connect with them on LinkedIn. And then when you publish on LinkedIn, they will see your thoughts.

When people know you, they will pass along opportunities that seem to suit you. They will pass you along to other people that can help you.

That's the main thing about professional networking. Gotta squeeze some palms.

This is how I have gotten ALL my clients. None of them have come to me from my website (my lure).

So, I guess this is bad news because it means you have to go out of your comfort zone.

If you have any good professional networking tips for the terminally introverted, I will pass them along to my friend, the shy internet hermit