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  • Stretching an ADF Faces Component to (near) 100%

    - by Christian David Straub
    In the past, many users would want their component to stretch to fill 100% of a horizontal area. However, to account for scrollbars that may or may not have been there, they would set the percentage to 98%, etc.A much better way to do this is to use the new "AFStretchWidth" style class, which will do this automatically for you.For instance, avoid this:<af:foo inlineStyle="98%" />and instead do this:<af:foo styleClass="AFStretchWidth" />You can learn more about ADF Faces layout management here.

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  • OWB 11gR2 &ndash; Flexible and extensible

    - by David Allan
    The Oracle data integration extensibility capabilities are something I love, nothing more frustrating than a tool or platform that is very constraining. I think extensibility and flexibility are invaluable capabilities in the data integration arena. I liked Uli Bethke's posting on some extensibility capabilities with ODI (see Nesting ODI Substitution Method Calls here), he has some useful guidance on making customizations to existing KMs, nice to learn by example. I thought I'd illustrate the same capabilities with ODI's partner OWB for the OWB community. There is a whole new world of potential. The LKM/IKM/CKM/JKMs are the primary templates that are supported (plus the Oracle Target code template), so there is a lot of potential for customizing and extending the product in this release. Enough waffle... Diving in at the deep end from Uli's post, in OWB the table operator has a number of additional properties in OWB 11gR2 that let you annotate the column usage with ODI-like properties such as the slowly changing usage or for your own user-defined purpose as in Uli's post, below you see for the target table SALES_TARGET we can use the UD5 property which when assigned the code template (knowledge module) which has been modified with Uli's change we can do custom things such as creating indices - provides The code template used by the mapping has the additional step which is basically the code illustrated from Uli's posting just used directly, the ODI 10g substitution references also supported from within OWB's runtime. Now to see whether this does what we expect before we execute it, we can check out the generated code similar to how the traditional mapping generation and preview works, you do this by clicking on the 'Inspect Code' button on the execution units code template assignment. This then  creates another tab with prefix 'Code - <mapping name>' where the generated code is put, scrolling down we find the last step with the indices being created, looks good, so we are ready to deploy and execute. After executing the mapping we can then use the 'Audit Information' panel (select the mapping in the designer tree and click on View/Audit Information), this gives us a view of the execution where we can drill into the tasks that were executed and inspect both the template and the generated code that was executed and any potential errors. Reflecting back on earlier versions of OWB, these were the kinds of features that were always highly desirable, getting under the hood of the code generation and tweaking bit and pieces - fun and powerful stuff! We can step it up a bit here and explore some further ideas. The example below is a daisy-chained set of execution units where the intermediate table is a target of one unit and the source for another. We want that table to be a global temporary table, so can tweak the templates. Back to the copy of SQL Control Append (for demo purposes) we modify the create target table step to make the table a global temporary table, with the option of on commit preserve rows. You can get a feel for some of the customizations and changes possible, providing some great flexibility and extensibility for the data integration tools.

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  • Flash/Flex/Air and iOS

    - by David Archer
    I'm just a little confused with all of the news recently regarding the cancellation of mobile flash, so was hoping for a little help. I've had a search through and can't find the answers to these questions, so any help would be great. First up, I'm looking to create a game in Flash first, to test whether the concept works as a fun game (on Newgrounds/Kongregate/Facebook etc.). Would it be best to use Flash CS5.5, or Flash Builder? Secondly, with mobile flash now being discontinued by Adobe, could I still port this game over to iOS through the Flash platform, or would it be better at that point to re-write the whole game using Objective C? (NOTE: I'm not an Objective C developer, but am instead a Javascript and Actionscript dev). Any help would be great. Thanks!

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  • ODI 11g – Insight to the SDK

    - by David Allan
    This post is a useful index into the ODI SDK that cross references the type names from the user interface with the SDK class and also the finder for how to get a handle on the object or objects. The volume of content in the SDK might seem a little ominous, there is a lot there, but there is a general pattern to the SDK that I will describe here. Also I will illustrate some basic CRUD operations so you can see how the SDK usage pattern works. The examples are written in groovy, you can simply run from the groovy console in ODI 11.1.1.6. Entry to the Platform   Object Finder SDK odiInstance odiInstance (groovy variable for console) OdiInstance Topology Objects Object Finder SDK Technology IOdiTechnologyFinder OdiTechnology Context IOdiContextFinder OdiContext Logical Schema IOdiLogicalSchemaFinder OdiLogicalSchema Data Server IOdiDataServerFinder OdiDataServer Physical Schema IOdiPhysicalSchemaFinder OdiPhysicalSchema Logical Schema to Physical Mapping IOdiContextualSchemaMappingFinder OdiContextualSchemaMapping Logical Agent IOdiLogicalAgentFinder OdiLogicalAgent Physical Agent IOdiPhysicalAgentFinder OdiPhysicalAgent Logical Agent to Physical Mapping IOdiContextualAgentMappingFinder OdiContextualAgentMapping Master Repository IOdiMasterRepositoryInfoFinder OdiMasterRepositoryInfo Work Repository IOdiWorkRepositoryInfoFinder OdiWorkRepositoryInfo Project Objects Object Finder SDK Project IOdiProjectFinder OdiProject Folder IOdiFolderFinder OdiFolder Interface IOdiInterfaceFinder OdiInterface Package IOdiPackageFinder OdiPackage Procedure IOdiUserProcedureFinder OdiUserProcedure User Function IOdiUserFunctionFinder OdiUserFunction Variable IOdiVariableFinder OdiVariable Sequence IOdiSequenceFinder OdiSequence KM IOdiKMFinder OdiKM Load Plans and Scenarios   Object Finder SDK Load Plan IOdiLoadPlanFinder OdiLoadPlan Load Plan and Scenario Folder IOdiScenarioFolderFinder OdiScenarioFolder Model Objects Object Finder SDK Model IOdiModelFinder OdiModel Sub Model IOdiSubModel OdiSubModel DataStore IOdiDataStoreFinder OdiDataStore Column IOdiColumnFinder OdiColumn Key IOdiKeyFinder OdiKey Condition IOdiConditionFinder OdiCondition Operator Objects   Object Finder SDK Session Folder IOdiSessionFolderFinder OdiSessionFolder Session IOdiSessionFinder OdiSession Schedule OdiSchedule How to Create an Object? Here is a simple example to create a project, it uses IOdiEntityManager.persist to persist the object. import oracle.odi.domain.project.OdiProject; import oracle.odi.core.persistence.transaction.support.DefaultTransactionDefinition; txnDef = new DefaultTransactionDefinition(); tm = odiInstance.getTransactionManager() txnStatus = tm.getTransaction(txnDef) project = new OdiProject("Project For Demo", "PROJECT_DEMO") odiInstance.getTransactionalEntityManager().persist(project) tm.commit(txnStatus) How to Update an Object? This update example uses the methods on the OdiProject object to change the project’s name that was created above, it is then persisted. import oracle.odi.domain.project.OdiProject; import oracle.odi.domain.project.finder.IOdiProjectFinder; import oracle.odi.core.persistence.transaction.support.DefaultTransactionDefinition; txnDef = new DefaultTransactionDefinition(); tm = odiInstance.getTransactionManager() txnStatus = tm.getTransaction(txnDef) prjFinder = (IOdiProjectFinder)odiInstance.getTransactionalEntityManager().getFinder(OdiProject.class); project = prjFinder.findByCode("PROJECT_DEMO"); project.setName("A Demo Project"); odiInstance.getTransactionalEntityManager().persist(project) tm.commit(txnStatus) How to Delete an Object? Here is a simple example to delete all of the sessions, it uses IOdiEntityManager.remove to delete the object. import oracle.odi.domain.runtime.session.finder.IOdiSessionFinder; import oracle.odi.domain.runtime.session.OdiSession; import oracle.odi.core.persistence.transaction.support.DefaultTransactionDefinition; txnDef = new DefaultTransactionDefinition(); tm = odiInstance.getTransactionManager() txnStatus = tm.getTransaction(txnDef) sessFinder = (IOdiSessionFinder)odiInstance.getTransactionalEntityManager().getFinder(OdiSession.class); sessc = sessFinder.findAll(); sessItr = sessc.iterator() while (sessItr.hasNext()) {   sess = (OdiSession) sessItr.next()   odiInstance.getTransactionalEntityManager().remove(sess) } tm.commit(txnStatus) This isn't an all encompassing summary of the SDK, but covers a lot of the content to give you a good handle on the objects and how they work. For details of how specific complex objects are created via the SDK, its best to look at postings such as the interface builder posting here. Have fun, happy coding!

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  • More Mobile Payments

    - by David Dorf
    In the previous post I discussed the Bump Payments from PayPayl, but that's not the only innovative way to make purchases using your phone. Verizon recently announced a partnership with Danal that allows shoppers to charge online purchases to their Verizon bill. For e-commerce sites that accept this type of payment, it's a two step process. At checkout, the shopper enters their mobile number and billing zip code. Then a SMS message is sent to the mobile phone that contains a one-time code that must be entered on the e-commerce site. This two-factor authentication seems pretty secure, and no pre-registration or credit card is necessary. There's a $25 a month maximum, but I bet the limit gets raised as Verizon gets more comfortable with security. Merchants are charged a fee similar to credit card fees. Another example of mobile payments is offered by BlingNation. Customers attach a small NFC sticker to their phones that allows them to "tap" the POS device to make a payment. The NFC chip is connected to their checking account, so the transaction is treated as a debit payment. Text messages are sent to the mobile that confirm the payments so shoppers can easily verify their purchases. BlingNation is working with banks like Adirondack Trust Company and The State Bank of La Junta in Colorado. Heck, you can even send money to inmates in the Arkansas prison system using your mobile phone now that the state of Arkansas supports payments via their mobile website. Everyone is getting into the act now.

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  • Four Emerging Payment Stories

    - by David Dorf
    The world of alternate payments has been moving fast of late.  Innovation in this area will help both consumers and retailers, but probably hurt the banks (at least that's the plan).  Here are four recent news items in this area: Dwolla, a start-up in Iowa, is trying to make credit cards obsolete.  Twelve guys in Des Moines are using $1.3M they raised to allow businesses to skip the credit card networks and avoid the fees.  Today they move about $1M a day across their network with an average transaction size of $500. Instead of charging merchants 2.9% plus $.30 per transaction, Dwolla charges a quarter -- yep, that coin featuring George Washington. Dwolla (Web + Dollar = Dwolla) avoids the credit networks and connects directly to bank accounts using the bank's ACH network.  They are signing up banks and merchants targeting both B2B and C2B as well as P2P payments.  They leverage social networks to notify people they have a money transfer, and also have a mobile app that uses GPS location. However, all is not rosy.  There have been complaints about unexpected chargebacks and with debit fees being reduced by the big banks, the need is not as pronounced.  The big banks are working on their own network called clearXchange that could provide stiff competition. VeriFone just bought European payment processor Point for around $1B.  By itself this would not have caught my attention except for the fact that VeriFone also announced the acquisition of GlobalBay earlier this month.  In addition to their core business of selling stand-beside payment terminals, with GlobalBay they get employee-operated mobile selling tools and with Point they get a very big payment processing platform. MasterCard and Intel announced a partnership around payments, starting with PayPass, MasterCard's new payment technology.  Intel will lend its expertise to add additional levels of security, which seems to be the biggest barrier for consumer adoption.  Everyone is scrambling to get their piece of cash transactions, which still represents 85% of all transactions. Apple was awarded another mobile payment patent further cementing the rumors that the iPhone 5 will support NFC payments.  As usual, Apple is upsetting the apple cart (sorry) by moving control of key data from the carriers to Apple.  With Apple's vast number of iTunes accounts, they have a ready-made customer base to use the payment infrastructure, which I bet will slowly transition people away from credit cards and toward cheaper ACH.  Gary Schwartz explains the three step process Apple is taking to become a payment processor. Below is a picture I drew representing payments in the retail industry. There's certainly a lot of innovation happening.

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  • Country selection, when country is not listed

    - by David Balažic
    While this might not 100% match the intent of this site, it was the closest match from Stackexchange sites. So, if a web site (the "entrance" page) offers a choice (a list) of countries, with the text "Chose your country", but the users country is not listed, what should he do? One example is http://www.samsung.com/countryselection.do Addition: I ask this standing in the users position. I encounter a web site and it gives me the above page. What to do? Another issue: What is "my" country? My current location? My permanent residence? The country of my citizenship? Something else?

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  • OWB 11gR2 &ndash; Degenerate Dimensions

    - by David Allan
    Ever wondered how to build degenerate dimensions in OWB and get the benefits of slowly changing dimensions and cube loading? Now its possible through some changes in 11gR2 to make the dimension and cube loading much more flexible. This will let you get the benefits of OWB's surrogate key handling and slowly changing dimension reference when loading the fact table and need degenerate dimensions (see Ralph Kimball's degenerate dimensions design tip). Here we will see how to use the cube operator to load slowly changing, regular and degenerate dimensions. The cube and cube operator can now work with dimensions which have no surrogate key as well as dimensions with surrogates, so you can get the benefit of the cube loading and incorporate the degenerate dimension loading. What you need to do is create a dimension in OWB that is purely used for ETL metadata; the dimension itself is never deployed (its table is, but has not data) it has no surrogate keys has a single level with a business attribute the degenerate dimension data and a dummy attribute, say description just to pass the OWB validation. When this degenerate dimension is added into a cube, you will need to configure the fact table created and set the 'Deployable' flag to FALSE for the foreign key generated to the degenerate dimension table. The degenerate dimension reference will then be in the cube operator and used when matching. Create the degenerate dimension using the regular wizard. Delete the Surrogate ID attribute, this is not needed. Define a level name for the dimension member (any name). After the wizard has completed, in the editor delete the hierarchy STANDARD that was automatically generated, there is only a single level, no need for a hierarchy and this shouldn't really be created. Deploy the implementing table DD_ORDERNUMBER_TAB, this needs to be deployed but with no data (the mapping here will do a left outer join of the source data with the empty degenerate dimension table). Now, go ahead and build your cube, use the regular TIMES dimension for example and your degenerate dimension DD_ORDERNUMBER, can add in SCD dimensions etc. Configure the fact table created and set Deployable to false, so the foreign key does not get generated. Can now use the cube in a mapping and load data into the fact table via the cube operator, this will look after surrogate lookups and slowly changing dimension references.   If you generate the SQL you will see the ON clause for matching includes the columns representing the degenerate dimension columns. Here we have seen how this use case for loading fact tables using degenerate dimensions becomes a whole lot simpler using OWB 11gR2. I'm sure there are other use cases where using this mix of dimensions with surrogate and regular identifiers is useful, Fact tables partitioned by date columns is another classic example that this will greatly help and make the cube operator much more useful. Good to hear any comments.

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  • OWB 11gR2 - Find and Search Metadata in Designer

    - by David Allan
    Here are some tools and techniques for finding objects, specifically in the design repository. There are ways of navigating and collating objects that are useful for day to day development and build-time usage - this includes features out of the box and utilities constructed on top. There are a variety of techniques to navigate and find objects in the repository, the first 3 are out of the box, the 4th is an expert utility. Navigating by the tree, grouping by project and module - ok if you are aware of the exact module/folder that objects reside in. The structure panel is a useful way of finding parts of an object, especially when large rather than using the canvas. In large scale projects it helps to have accelerators (either find or collections below). Advanced find to search by name - 11gR2 included a find capability specifically for large scale projects. There were improvements in both the tree search and the object editors (including highlighting in mapping for example). So you can now do regular expression based search and quickly navigate to objects within a repository. Collections - logically organize your objects into virtual folders by shortcutting the actual objects. This is useful for a range of things since all the OWB services operate on collections too (export/import, validation, deployment). See the post here for new collection functionality in 11gR2. Reports for searching by type, updated on, updated by etc. Useful for activities such as periodic incremental actions (deploy all mappings changed in the past week). The report style view is useful since I can quickly see who changed what and when. You can see all the audit details for objects within each objects property inspector, but its useful to just get all objects changed today or example, all objects changed since my last build etc. This utility combines both UI extensions via experts and the public views on the repository. In the figure to the right you see the contextual option 'Object Search' which invokes the utility, you can see I have quite a number of modules within my project. Figure out all the potential objects which have been changed is not simple. The utility is an expert which provides this kind of search capability. The utility provides a report of the objects in the design repository which satisfy some filter criteria. The type of criteria includes; objects updated in the last n days optionally filter the objects updated by user filter the user by project and by type (table/mappings etc.) The search dialog appears with these options, you can multi-select the object types, so for example you can select TABLE and MAPPING. Its also possible to search across projects if need be. If you have multiple users using the repository you can define the OWB user name in the 'Updated by' property to restrict the report to just that user also. Finally there is a search name that will be used for some of the options such as building a collection - this name is used for the collection to be built. In the example I have done, I've just searched my project for all process flows and mappings that users have updated in the last 7 days. The results of the query are returned in a table containing the object names, types, full path and audit details. The columns are sort-able, you can sort the results by name, type, path etc. One of the cool things here, is that you can then perform operations on these objects - such as edit them, export single selection or entire results to MDL, create a collection from the results (now you have a saved set of references in the repository, you could do deploy/export etc.), create a deployment script from the results...or even add in your own ideas! You see from this that you can do bulk operations on sets of objects based on search results. So for example selecting the 'Build Collection' option creates a collection with all of the objects from my search, you can subsequently deploy/generate/maintain this collection of objects. Under the hood of the expert if just basic OMB commands from the product and the use of the public views on the design repository. You can see how easy it is to build up macro-like capabilities that will help you do day-to-day as well as build like tasks on sets of objects.

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  • How Do I Implement parameterMaps for ADF Regions and Dynamic Regions?

    - by david.giammona
    parameterMap objects defined by managed beans can help reduce the number of child <parameter> elements listed under an ADF region or dynamic region page definition task flow binding. But more importantly, the parameterMap approach also allows greater flexibility in determining what input parameters are passed to an ADF region or dynamic region. This can be especially helpful when using dynamic regions where each task flow utilized can provide an entirely different set of input parameters. The parameterMap is specified within an ADF region or dynamic region page definition task flow binding as shown below: <taskFlow id="checkoutflow1" taskFlowId="/WEB-INF/checkout-flow.xml#checkout-flow" activation="deferred" xmlns="http://xmlns.oracle.com/adf/controller/binding" parametersMap="#{pageFlowScope.userInfoBean.parameterMap}"/> The parameter map object must implement the java.util.Map interface. The keys it specifies match the names of input parameters defined by the task flows utilized within the task flow binding. An example parameterMap object class is shown below: import java.util.HashMap; import java.util.Map; public class UserInfoBean { private Map<String, Object> parameterMap = new HashMap<String, Object>(); public Map getParameterMap() { parameterMap.put("isLoggedIn", getSecurity().isAuthenticated()); parameterMap.put("principalName", getSecurity().getPrincipalName()); return parameterMap; }

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  • Debugging Tips for Skinning

    - by Christian David Straub
    Another guest post by Jeanne Waldman.If you are developing a skin for your Fusion Application in JDeveloper you should know these tips.   1. Firebug is your friend 2. Uncompress the css style classes 3. CHECK_FILE_MODIFICATION so that you see your skinning changes right away 4. View the generated CSS File   1. Firebug is your friend Install Firebug (http://getfirebug.com/layout) into Firefox and use it to view your rendered jspx page in the browser. You can select the HTML dom nodes on your page and you can see the css styles applied to each dom node.   2. Uncompress the css style classes By default the styleclasses that are rendered are compressed. You may see style classes like class="x10" and class="x2e". But in your skin css file you have styleclasses like: af|inputText::content or af|panelBox::header   It is easier for you to develop a skin and debug a skin with Firebug if you see the uncompressed styleclasses. To do this, a. open web.xml b. add   <context-param>     <param-name>org.apache.myfaces.trinidad.DISABLE_CONTENT_COMPRESSION</param-name>     <param-value>true</param-value>   </context-param> c. save d. restart the server and re-run your page.   3. CHECK_FILE_MODIFICATION so that you see your skinning changes right away   For performance sake the ADF Faces framework does not check if you skin .css file has changed on every render. But this is exactly what you want to happen when you are developing or debugging a skin. You want your changes to get noticed right away, without restarting the server.   To do this, a. open web.xml b. add   <context-param>     <description>If this parameter is true, there will be an automatic check of the modification date of your JSPs, and saved state will be discarded when JSP's change. It will also automatically check if your skinning css files have changed without you having to restart the server. This makes development easier, but adds overhead. For this reason this parameter should be set to false when your application is deployed.</description>     <param-name>org.apache.myfaces.trinidad.CHECK_FILE_MODIFICATION</param-name>     <param-value>false</param-value>   </context-param> c. save d. restart the server and re-run your page. e. from then on, you can change your skin's .css file, save it and refresh your page and you should see the changes right away   4. View the generated CSS File   There are different ways to view the generated CSS File which is your skin's css file merged in with all the skins it extends and processed and generated to the filesystem and linked to your generated html page. One way is to view it with Firebug. The problem with this approach is you might see something that is a little different than the actual css file because Firebug may do some extra processing. I like to view the generated css file by: Right click on your page in the browser 

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  • ODI 11g – Scripting Repository Creation

    - by David Allan
    Here’s a quick post on how to create both master and work repositories in one simple dialog, its using the groovy capabilities in ODI 11g and the groovy swing builder components. So if you want more/less take the groovy script and change, its easy stuff. The groovy script odi_create_repos.groovy is here, just open it in ODI before connecting and you will be able to create both master and work repositories with ease – or check the groovy out and script your own automation – you can construct the master, work and runtime repositories, so if you are embedding ODI as your DI engine this may be very useful. When you click ‘Create Repository’ you will see the following in the log as the master repository starts to be created; ====================================================== Repository Creation Started.... ====================================================== Master Repository Creation Started.... Then the completion message followed by the work repository creation and final completion message. Master Repository Creation Completed. Work Repository Creation Started. Work Repository Creation Completed. ====================================================== Repository Creation Completed Successfully ====================================================== Script exited. If any error is hit, the script just exits and prints any error to the log. For example if I enter no passwords, I will get this error; ====================================================== Repository Creation Started.... ====================================================== Master Repository Creation Started.... ====================================================== Repository Creation Complete in Error ====================================================== oracle.odi.setup.RepositorySetupException: oracle.odi.core.security.PasswordPolicyNotMatchedException: ODI-10189: Password policy MinPasswordLength is not matched. ====================================================== Script exited. This is another example of using the ODI 11g SDK showing how to automate the construction of your data integration environment. The main interfaces and classes used here are IMasterRepositorySetup / MasterRepositorySetupImpl and IWorkRepositorySetup / WorkRepositorySetupImpl.

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  • ODI 11g – Scripting Repository Creation

    - by David Allan
    Here’s a quick post on how to create both master and work repositories in one simple dialog, its using the groovy capabilities in ODI 11g and the groovy swing builder components. So if you want more/less take the groovy script and change, its easy stuff. The groovy script odi_create_repos.groovy is here, just open it in ODI before connecting and you will be able to create both master and work repositories with ease – or check the groovy out and script your own automation – you can construct the master, work and runtime repositories, so if you are embedding ODI as your DI engine this may be very useful. When you click ‘Create Repository’ you will see the following in the log as the master repository starts to be created; ====================================================== Repository Creation Started.... ====================================================== Master Repository Creation Started.... Then the completion message followed by the work repository creation and final completion message. Master Repository Creation Completed. Work Repository Creation Started. Work Repository Creation Completed. ====================================================== Repository Creation Completed Successfully ====================================================== Script exited. If any error is hit, the script just exits and prints any error to the log. For example if I enter no passwords, I will get this error; ====================================================== Repository Creation Started.... ====================================================== Master Repository Creation Started.... ====================================================== Repository Creation Complete in Error ====================================================== oracle.odi.setup.RepositorySetupException: oracle.odi.core.security.PasswordPolicyNotMatchedException: ODI-10189: Password policy MinPasswordLength is not matched. ====================================================== Script exited. This is another example of using the ODI 11g SDK showing how to automate the construction of your data integration environment. The main interfaces and classes used here are IMasterRepositorySetup / MasterRepositorySetupImpl and IWorkRepositorySetup / WorkRepositorySetupImpl.

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  • Bump the Bill

    - by David Dorf
    I'm writing this from 3,400 feet in the air somewhere between Chicago and Austin. GoGo In-flight strikes again. Is there anywhere I can't get a WiFi connection? While listening to Deacon Blues by Steely Dan and skimming the news, I just came across an interesting article on mobile payments. Remember when I wrote about the iPhone Bump application and its possible use in retail? Well it looks like PayPal updated their mobile payments application to include the bump technology. Now its possible to transfer money between individuals by bumping iPhones. According to the WSJ, Paypal did 24 million transactions in 2008 and 140 million in 2009 on mobile phones. As the technology gets easier to use, that number is bound to increase. Alternatives to Paypal include Google Checkout, Amazon Payments, wireless carriers ("put it on my phone bill"), smart cards (using your phone's SIM card), and iTunes. That last one comes courtesy of a story Joe Skorupa wrote on mobile payments. It looks like Apple allows iPhone apps to take micro-payments via iTunes accounts, so there may come a time when its possible to use your iPhone to make a purchase in a retail store and have your credit card charged via your iTunes account. There are still some improvements in usability to be made before using a phone will be easier than swiping a credit card, but its already better than fussing with cash.

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  • How do I fix “Ubuntu is running in low-graphics mode?” for NVIDIA GeForce GT555M

    - by David Chen
    As title, I'm using Ubuntu 10.04, and my ubuntu kept showing the sign “Ubuntu is running in low-graphics mode”. I've read another question with same topic (http://askubuntu.com/questions/10664/how-do-i-fix-ubuntu-is-running-in-low-graphics-mode ), but the other one is using ATI Radeon X1200. How can I fix the problem? I'm running Ubuntu on a 200GB partition, and the rest of my computer is Windows7. My graphic card is NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M, and my computer is ACER ASPIRE 5951G.

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  • Fast Fashion Freshness

    - by David Dorf
    Fashion retailers such as H&M, Zara, and Wet Seal have perfected the fast fashion retailing model. The concept requires no replenishment in order to maintain assortment freshness and to create a sense of urgency for the consumer to purchase now. However, maintaining assortment freshness results in high product turnover, making markdown optimization a necessity. Wet Seal, for instance, needed to move from ad-hoc markdowns and dealing with surplus inventory to handling markdowns methodically across 8,000 SKUs with only 12-15 week lifecycle (from DC receipt to exit). By optimizing and automating markdowns, Wet Seal is reaching their goal of assortment freshness, which in turn increases sales. If you're interested in learning more, register for a free webinar occurring on May 13th featuring Join Daniel Ryu, Vice President of Planning and Allocation at Wet Seal. He'll be discussing how the fast fashion retailer maintains their goal of assortment freshness.

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  • iPhone Peripherals for Retailers

    - by David Dorf
    I saw RedLaser on the latest "Shopper" iPhone commercial on TV. Works great for consumers, but retailers will be more interested in a true barcode reader from someone like Infinite Peripherals, which also comes with a magstripe reader I previously mentioned the offerings from Square Verifone, and Mophie that allow swiping credit cards with an iPhone as well. So what's next? There's a decent list at WireLust that includes an IR dongle that turns your iPhone into a TV remote, armband monitors for use when exercising, and most recently a NFC/RFID reader. iCarte from Canadian firm Wireless Dynamics looks interesting. This device can be used for NFC payments and for reading RFID tags. The Canon printer I just bought for home has an iPhone app that lets me send iPhone pictures directly to the printer for printing. In that same vein, Seems like retailers could use bluetooth to print receipts on strategically place printers on the floor. I can't wait to see what they come up with for the iPad.

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  • Not Playing Nice Together

    - by David Douglass
    One of the things I’ve noticed is that two industry trends are not playing nice together, those trends being multi-core CPUs and massive hard drives.  It’s not a problem if you keep your cores busy with compute intensive work, but for software developers the beauty of multi-core CPUs (along with gobs of RAM and a 64 bit OS) is virtualization.  But when you have only one hard drive (who needs another when it holds 2 TB of data?) you wind up with a serious hard drive bottleneck.  A solid state drive would definitely help, and might even be a complete solution, but the cost is ridiculous.  Two TB of solid state storage will set you back around $7,000!  A spinning 2 TB drive is only $150. I see a couple of solutions for this.  One is the mainframe concept of near and far storage: put the stuff that will be heavily access on a solid state drive and the rest on a spinning drive.  Another solution is multiple spinning drives.  Instead of a single 2 TB drive, get four 500 GB drives.  In total, the four 500 GB drives will cost about $100 more than the single 2 TB drive.  You’ll need to be smart about what drive you place things on so that the load is spread evenly.  Another option, for better performance, would be four 10,000 RPM 300 GB drives, but that would cost about $800 more than the singe 2 TB drive and would deliver only 1.2 TB of space. All pricing based on Microcenter as of March 14, 2010.

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  • It’s On! Oracle Open World 2012 Opens Call for Papers is Open

    - by David Hope-Ross
    Oracle OpenWorld is among the world’s largest industry events for good reason. It offers a vast array of learning and networking opportunities in one of the planet’s great cities.  And one of the key reasons for its popularity among procurement and supply chain professionals is the prominence of presentations by customers.   If you’d like to deliver a presentation based on your experience, now is the time to submit your abstract for review by the selection panel. The competition is strong: roughly 18% of entries are accepted each year from more than 3,000 submissions. Review panels are made up of experts both internal and external to Oracle. Successful submissions often (but not exclusively) focus on customer successes, how-tos, or best practices. What’s in it for you? Recognition, for one thing. Accepted sessions are publicized in the content catalog, which goes live in mid-June, and sessions given by external speakers often prove the most popular. Plus, accepted speakers get a complimentary pass to Oracle OpenWorld with access to all sessions and networking events- that could save you up to $2,595!   Be sure designate your session for inclusion in the correct track by selecting  “APPLICATIONS: Supply Chain Management” or “APPLICATIONS: Sourcing and Procurement” from the Primary Track drop down menu.   We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco!

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  • Using the Data Form Web Part (SharePoint 2010) Site Agnostically!

    - by David Jacobus
    Originally posted on: http://geekswithblogs.net/djacobus/archive/2013/10/24/154465.aspxAs a Developer whom has worked closely with web designers (Power users) in a SharePoint environment, I have come across the issue of making the Data Form Web Part reusable across the site collection! In SharePoint 2007 it was very easy and this blog pointed the way to make it happen: Josh Gaffey's Blog. In SharePoint 2010 something changed! This method failed except for using a Data Form Web Part that pointed to a list in the Site Collection Root! I am making this discussion relative to a developer whom creates a solution (WSP) with all the artifacts embedded and the user shouldn’t have any involvement in the process except to activate features. The Scenario: 1. A Power User creates a Data Form Web Part using SharePoint Designer 2010! It is a great web part the uses all the power of SharePoint Designer and XSLT (Conditional formatting, etc.). 2. Other Users in the site collection want to use that specific web part in sub sites in the site collection. Pointing to a list with the same name, not at the site collection root! The Issues: 1. The Data Form Web Part Data Source uses a List ID (GUID) to point to the specific list. Which means a list in a sub site will have a list with a new GUID different than the one which was created with SharePoint Designer! Obviously, the List needs to be the same List (Fields, Content Types, etc.) with different data. 2. How can we make this web part site agnostic, and dependent only on the lists Name? I had this problem come up over and over and decided to put my solution forward! The Solution: 1. Use the XSL of the Data Form Web Part Created By the Power User in SharePoint Designer! 2. Extend the OOTB Data Form Web Part to use this XSL and Point to a List by name. The solution points to a hybrid solution that requires some coding (Developer) and the XSL (Power User) artifacts put together in a Visual Studio SharePoint Solution. Here are the solution steps in summary: 1. Create an empty SharePoint project in Visual Studio 2. Create a Module and Feature and put the XSL file created by the Power User into it a. Scope the feature to web 3. Create a Feature Receiver to Create the List. The same list from which the Data Form Web Part was created with by the Power User. a. Scope the feature to web 4. Create a Web Part extending the Data Form Web a. Point the Data Form Web Part to point to the List by Name b. Point the Data Form Web Part XSL link to the XSL added using the Module feature c. Scope The feature to Site i. This is because all web parts are in the site collection web part gallery. So in a Narrative Summary: We are creating a list in code which has the same name and (site Columns) as the list from which the Power User created the Data Form Web Part Using SharePoint Designer. We are creating a Web Part in code which extends the OOTB Data Form Web Part to point to a list by name and use the XSL created by the Power User. Okay! Here are the steps with images and code! At the end of this post I will provide a link to the code for a solution which works in any site! I want to TOOT the HORN for the power of this solution! It is the mantra a use with all my clients! What is a basic skill a SharePoint Developer: Create an application that uses the data from a SharePoint list and make that data visible to the user in a manner which meets requirements! Create an Empty SharePoint 2010 Project Here I am naming my Project DJ.DataFormWebPart Create a Code Folder Copy and paste the Extension and Utilities classes (Found in the solution provided at the end of this post) Change the Namespace to match this project The List to which the Data Form Web Part which was used to make the XSL by the Power User in SharePoint Designer is now going to be created in code! If already in code, then all the better! Here I am going to create a list in the site collection root and add some data to it! For the purpose of this discussion I will actually create this list in code before using SharePoint Designer for simplicity! So here I create the List and deploy it within this solution before I do anything else. I will use a List I created before for demo purposes. Footer List is used within the footer of my master page. Add a new Feature: Here I name the Feature FooterList and add a Feature Event Receiver: Here is the code for the Event Receiver: I have a previous blog post about adding lists in code so I will not take time to narrate this code: using System; using System.Runtime.InteropServices; using System.Security.Permissions; using Microsoft.SharePoint; using DJ.DataFormWebPart.Code; namespace DJ.DataFormWebPart.Features.FooterList { /// <summary> /// This class handles events raised during feature activation, deactivation, installation, uninstallation, and upgrade. /// </summary> /// <remarks> /// The GUID attached to this class may be used during packaging and should not be modified. /// </remarks> [Guid("a58644fd-9209-41f4-aa16-67a53af7a9bf")] public class FooterListEventReceiver : SPFeatureReceiver { SPWeb currentWeb = null; SPSite currentSite = null; const string columnGroup = "DJ"; const string ctName = "FooterContentType"; // Uncomment the method below to handle the event raised after a feature has been activated. public override void FeatureActivated(SPFeatureReceiverProperties properties) { using (SPWeb spWeb = properties.GetWeb() as SPWeb) { using (SPSite site = new SPSite(spWeb.Site.ID)) { using (SPWeb rootWeb = site.OpenWeb(site.RootWeb.ID)) { //add the fields addFields(rootWeb); //add content type SPContentType testCT = rootWeb.ContentTypes[ctName]; // we will not create the content type if it exists if (testCT == null) { //the content type does not exist add it addContentType(rootWeb, ctName); } if ((spWeb.Lists.TryGetList("FooterList") == null)) { //create the list if it dosen't to exist CreateFooterList(spWeb, site); } } } } } #region ContentType public void addFields(SPWeb spWeb) { Utilities.addField(spWeb, "Link", SPFieldType.URL, false, columnGroup); Utilities.addField(spWeb, "Information", SPFieldType.Text, false, columnGroup); } private static void addContentType(SPWeb spWeb, string name) { SPContentType myContentType = new SPContentType(spWeb.ContentTypes["Item"], spWeb.ContentTypes, name) { Group = columnGroup }; spWeb.ContentTypes.Add(myContentType); addContentTypeLinkages(spWeb, myContentType); myContentType.Update(); } public static void addContentTypeLinkages(SPWeb spWeb, SPContentType ct) { Utilities.addContentTypeLink(spWeb, "Link", ct); Utilities.addContentTypeLink(spWeb, "Information", ct); } private void CreateFooterList(SPWeb web, SPSite site) { Guid newListGuid = web.Lists.Add("FooterList", "Footer List", SPListTemplateType.GenericList); SPList newList = web.Lists[newListGuid]; newList.ContentTypesEnabled = true; var footer = site.RootWeb.ContentTypes[ctName]; newList.ContentTypes.Add(footer); newList.ContentTypes.Delete(newList.ContentTypes["Item"].Id); newList.Update(); var view = newList.DefaultView; //add all view fields here //view.ViewFields.Add("NewsTitle"); view.ViewFields.Add("Link"); view.ViewFields.Add("Information"); view.Update(); } } } Basically created a content type with two site columns Link and Information. I had to change some code as we are working at the SPWeb level and need Content Types at the SPSite level! I’ll use a new Site Collection for this demo (Best Practice) keep old artifacts from impinging on development: Next we will add this list to the root of the site collection by deploying this solution, add some data and then use SharePoint Designer to create a Data Form Web Part. The list has been added, now let’s add some data: Okay let’s add a Data Form Web Part in SharePoint Designer. Create a new web part page in the site pages library: I will name it TestWP.aspx and edit it in advanced mode: Let’s add an empty Data Form Web Part to the web part zone: Click on the web part to add a data source: Choose FooterList in the Data Source menu: Choose appropriate fields and select insert as multiple item view: Here is what it look like after insertion: Let’s add some conditional formatting if the information filed is not blank: Choose Create (right side) apply formatting: Choose the Information Field and set the condition not null: Click Set Style: Here is the result: Okay! Not flashy but simple enough for this demo. Remember this is the job of the Power user! All we want from this web part is the XLS-Style Sheet out of SharePoint Designer. We are going to use it as the XSL for our web part which we will be creating next. Let’s add a web part to our project extending the OOTB Data Form Web Part. Add new item from the Visual Studio add menu: Choose Web Part: Change WebPart to DataFormWebPart (Oh well my namespace needs some improvement, but it will sure make it readily identifiable as an extended web part!) Below is the code for this web part: using System; using System.ComponentModel; using System.Web; using System.Web.UI; using System.Web.UI.WebControls; using System.Web.UI.WebControls.WebParts; using Microsoft.SharePoint; using Microsoft.SharePoint.WebControls; using System.Text; namespace DJ.DataFormWebPart.DataFormWebPart { [ToolboxItemAttribute(false)] public class DataFormWebPart : Microsoft.SharePoint.WebPartPages.DataFormWebPart { protected override void OnInit(EventArgs e) { base.OnInit(e); this.ChromeType = PartChromeType.None; this.Title = "FooterListDF"; try { //SPSite site = SPContext.Current.Site; SPWeb web = SPContext.Current.Web; SPList list = web.Lists.TryGetList("FooterList"); if (list != null) { string queryList1 = "<Query><Where><IsNotNull><FieldRef Name='Title' /></IsNotNull></Where><OrderBy><FieldRef Name='Title' Ascending='True' /></OrderBy></Query>"; uint maximumRowList1 = 10; SPDataSource dataSourceList1 = GetDataSource(list.Title, web.Url, list, queryList1, maximumRowList1); this.DataSources.Add(dataSourceList1); this.XslLink = web.Url + "/Assests/Footer.xsl"; this.ParameterBindings = BuildDataFormParameters(); this.DataBind(); } } catch (Exception ex) { this.Controls.Add(new LiteralControl("ERROR: " + ex.Message)); } } private SPDataSource GetDataSource(string dataSourceId, string webUrl, SPList list, string query, uint maximumRow) { SPDataSource dataSource = new SPDataSource(); dataSource.UseInternalName = true; dataSource.ID = dataSourceId; dataSource.DataSourceMode = SPDataSourceMode.List; dataSource.List = list; dataSource.SelectCommand = "" + query + ""; Parameter listIdParam = new Parameter("ListID"); listIdParam.DefaultValue = list.ID.ToString( "B").ToUpper(); Parameter maximumRowsParam = new Parameter("MaximumRows"); maximumRowsParam.DefaultValue = maximumRow.ToString(); QueryStringParameter rootFolderParam = new QueryStringParameter("RootFolder", "RootFolder"); dataSource.SelectParameters.Add(listIdParam); dataSource.SelectParameters.Add(maximumRowsParam); dataSource.SelectParameters.Add(rootFolderParam); dataSource.UpdateParameters.Add(listIdParam); dataSource.DeleteParameters.Add(listIdParam); dataSource.InsertParameters.Add(listIdParam); return dataSource; } private string BuildDataFormParameters() { StringBuilder parameters = new StringBuilder("<ParameterBindings><ParameterBinding Name=\"dvt_apos\" Location=\"Postback;Connection\"/><ParameterBinding Name=\"UserID\" Location=\"CAMLVariable\" DefaultValue=\"CurrentUserName\"/><ParameterBinding Name=\"Today\" Location=\"CAMLVariable\" DefaultValue=\"CurrentDate\"/>"); parameters.Append("<ParameterBinding Name=\"dvt_firstrow\" Location=\"Postback;Connection\"/>"); parameters.Append("<ParameterBinding Name=\"dvt_nextpagedata\" Location=\"Postback;Connection\"/>"); parameters.Append("<ParameterBinding Name=\"dvt_adhocmode\" Location=\"Postback;Connection\"/>"); parameters.Append("<ParameterBinding Name=\"dvt_adhocfiltermode\" Location=\"Postback;Connection\"/>"); parameters.Append("</ParameterBindings>"); return parameters.ToString(); } } } The OnInit method we use to set the list name and the XSL Link property of the Data Form Web Part. We do not have the link to XSL in our Solution so we will add the XSL now: Add a Module in the Visual Studio add menu: Rename Sample.txt in the module to footer.xsl and then copy the XSL from SharePoint Designer Look at elements.xml to where the footer.xsl is being provisioned to which is Assets/footer.xsl, make sure the Web parts xsl link is pointing to this url: Okay we are good to go! Let’s check our features and package: DataFormWebPart should be scoped to site and have the web part: The Footer List feature should be scoped to web and have the Assets module (Okay, I see, a spelling issue but it won’t affect this demo) If everything is correct we should be able to click a couple of sub site feature activations and have our list and web part in a sub site. (In fact this solution can be activated anywhere) Here is the list created at SubSite1 with new data It. Next let’s add the web part on a test page and see if it works as expected: It does! So we now have a repeatable way to use a WSP to move a Data Form Web Part around our sites! Here is a link to the code: DataFormWebPart Solution

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  • What's the value of a Facebook fan?

    - by David Dorf
    In his blog posting titled "Why Each Facebook Fan Is Worth $2,000 to J. Crew," Joe Skorupa lays out a simplistic calculation for assigning a value to social media efforts within Facebook. While I don't believe the metric, at least its a metric that can be applied consistently. Trying to explain the ROI to management to start a program, then benchmarking to show progress isn't straightforward at all. Social media isn't really mature enough to have hard-and-fast rules around valuation (yet). When I'm asked by retailers how to measure social media efforts, I usually fess-up and say I can't show an ROI but the investment is so low you might was well take a risk. Intuitively, it just seems like a good way to interact with consumers, and since your competition is doing it, you better do it as well. Vitrue, a social media management company, has calculated a fan as being worth $3.60 per year based on impressions generated in Facebook's news feed. That means a fan base of 1 million translates into at least $3.6 million in equivalent media over a year. Don't believe that number either? Fine, Vitrue now has a tool that let's you adjust the earned media value of a fan. Jump over to http://evaluator.vitrue.com/ and enter your brand's Facebook URL to get an assessment of the current value and potential value. For fun, I compared Abercrombie & Fitch (1,077,480 fans), Gap (567,772 fans), and Wet Seal (294,479 fans). The image below shows the results assuming the default $5 earned media value for a fan. The calculation is more complicated than just counting fans. It also accounts for postings and comments. Its possible for a brand with fewer fans to have a higher value based on frequency and relevancy of posts. The tool gathers data via the Social Graph API for the past 30 days of activity. I'm not sure this tool assigns the correct value either, but hey, its a great start.

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  • Paying by Cash

    - by David Dorf
    I'll grant you paying by cash in the context of stores isn't particularly interesting, but in my quest to try new payment methods I decided to pay by cash at an online store. Using a credit card means I have to hoist myself off the couch, find the card, and enter all those digits. Google Checkout certainly makes that task easier by storing my credit card information, but what happens to all those people that don't have a credit card? What about the ones that are afraid to use credit cards over the internet. There are three main options for cash payment, not all of which are accepted by every merchant. The most popular is PayPal. The issue I have with them is that returns and disputes have to be handled with PayPal, not the merchant. I once used PayPal at a shady online store and lost my money. Yeah, my bad but they wouldn't help me at all. PayPal was purchased by eBay in 2002. BillMeLater is best for larger purchases, because at checkout they actually run a credit check to make sure you're credit worthy. Assuming you are, they pay the merchant on your behalf and mail you a bill, which you better pay quickly or interest will start to accrue. That's nice for the merchant because they get paid right away, and I presume there's no charge-backs. BillMeLater was purchased by eBay in 2008. Last night I tried eBillMe for the first time. After checkout, they send you a bill via email and expect you to pay either via online banking (they provide the instructions to set everything up) or walk-in locations across the US (typically banks). The process was quick and easy. The merchant doesn't ship the product until the bill is paid, so there's a day or two delay. For the merchant there are no charge-backs, and the fees are less than credit cards. For the shopper, they provide buyer protection similar to that offered by credit cards, and 1% cashback on purchases. Once the online bill-pay is setup, its easy to reuse in the future. Seems like a win-win for merchants and shoppers.

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  • How is the Linux repository administrated?

    - by David
    I am amazed by the Linux project and I would like to learn how they administrate the code, given the huge number of developers. I found the Linux repository on GitHub, but I do not understand how it is administrated. For example the following commit: https://github.com/torvalds/linux/commit/31fd84b95eb211d5db460a1dda85e004800a7b52 Notice the following part: So one authored and Torvalds committed. How is this possible. I thought that it was only possible to have either pull or pushing rights, but here it seems like there is an approval stage. I should mention that the specific problem I am trying to solve is that we use pull requests to our repo. The problem we are facing is that while a pull request is waiting to get merged, it is often broken by a commit. This leads to a seemingly never ending work to adapt the fork in order to make the pull request merge smoothly. Do Linux solve this by giving lots of people pushing rights (at least there are currently just three pull requests but hundreds of commits per day).

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  • Using Completed User Stories to Estimate Future User Stories

    - by David Kaczynski
    In Scrum/Agile, the complexity of a user story can be estimated in story points. After completing some user stories, a programmer or team of programmers can use those experiences to better estimate how much time it might take to complete a future user story. Is there a methodology for breaking down the complexity of user stories into quantifiable or quantifiable attributes? For example, User Story X requires a rich, new view in the GUI, but User Story X can perform most of its functionality using existing business logic on the server. On a scale of 1 to 10, User Story X has a complexity of 7 on the client and a complexity of 2 on the server. After User Story X is completed, someone asks how long would it take to complete User Story Y, which has a complexity of 3 on the client and 6 on the server. Looking at how long it took to complete User Story X, we can make an educated estimate on how long it might take to complete User Story Y. I can imagine some other details: The complexity of one attribute (such as complexity of client) could have sub-attributes, such as number of steps in a sequence, function points, etc. Several other attributes that could be considered as well, such as the programmer's familiarity with the system or the number of components/interfaces involved These attributes could be accumulated into some sort of user story checklist. To reiterate: is there an existing methodology for decomposing the complexity of a user story into complexity of attributes/sub-attributes, or is using completed user stories as indicators in estimating future user stories more of an informal process?

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  • What Would Google Do?

    - by David Dorf
    Last year I read Jeff Jarvis' book What Would Google Do? and found it very interesting. Jeff is a long-time journalist that's been studying technology, and more specifically the internet. He used his skills to reverse-engineer Google into a list of "Google rules," then goes on to describe a futuristic world driven by these rules. Its an interesting look at crowd-sourcing, openness, and collaboration across many industries, including retail (Google Shops). This year Jeff Jarvis will be a keynote speaker at CrossTalk, Oracle's user conference dedicated to the retail industry. This year's theme is... Retail Redefined: Redesign. Reinvigorate. Reimagine. I think that's pretty appropriate given the massive changes the industry has undergone during the last three years. The thing I really like about this conference is that we try to let the retailers do most of the talking. I'm very interested in hearing about the innovative projects they've got brewing, and where they think our industry is heading. I'll be speaking, but I'm not sure about what so let me know of any interesting topics.

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