Archive for November, 2007


Successful Business Intelligence: Secrets to Making BI a Killer App

So working as Business Intelligence Analyst in my company Corporate Express this book written by Cindy Howson contains a business case study and several quotes from my peers and also it has examples of cases we as team work on in our company. Its just printed, for sale on Amazon and will be delivered as soon as it is available. Recommended lecture for our team in our book club we have. ;-)It’s nice to see a book published about the work you do and how it is appreciated by executive level within your own company as well as how important this will be for our companies future growth..Amazon link

Author: Cindy Howson
Other books by this Author

CFO – Robert VanHees
VP Marketing – Walter Scott
Director Business Analysis – Matt Schwartz

Successful Business Intelligence: Secrets to Making BI a Killer App


Gmail and Live Mail for your own hosted domain name email?

Aren’t you always frustrated how bad your webmail service and tools are from your own host when you host your website somewhere. Well that pain is now all over as both Google with Google Apps and Windows Live Mail offer free mail domain hosting for your own registered domains.

This means you can use your favorite webmail program like Gmail or Live mail (Hotmail) using your email address to send and receive all your email. It is very easy to configure, in my case I used already a hotmail account on live mail and just went to the Admin page where I registered my domain name, it then gives you exact instructions on what to change on your DNS settings for your MX records in your host panel at your hosting provider. Once you have changed the settings, you can validate in the admin panel if this is done correctly.

Then you can setup your email address accounts (up to 500 per domain in Live Mail) and after that just login to start using your webmail account.

This is truly a smart step both Google and Microsoft have done to increase usage of their webmail solutions with the mandatory advertising income they can now additionally generate.

Windows Live Mail Setup

Gmail Setup

Did not try Google Apps yet but seems the same easy setup…



Finger Painting


WordPress Admin Style Change using Tiger-Admin & Advanced Admin Menus

During the search of my drop down menu for my template with page/subpages I came across this great plugin Tiger-Admin. The Tiger Admin plugin is using an advanced CSS stylesheet which converts the complete WordPress Admin into a very nice layout with easy to use left Main Admin Side-bar. Its very easy to install, just download, upload to your plugin folder, unzip and activate the plugin in your Plugins menu.

The last version of this project was released in December 2006 v3.0 and can be found on this website from Steve Smith. Excellent work I have to say, did not see anything like this. I hope he keeps up to date with his plugin in case new versions of WordPress are released or hopefully WordPress will include the same Theme functionality for its Admin side so developers can create free Themes for users to download and install.

As I am a true Firefox user, I don’t really care but this plugin does not work very well with IE, safari should be fine. Also the font-size and text alignment is a bit small so you might want to change some of its CSS style features.

I still was not satisfied with the way WordPress in both Admin and most web templates does not support drop down menu’s. The navigation requires many clicks even in Tiger Admin. Therefore I found another great plugin which works with the Tiger Admin plugin to create a drop down Admin Menu. The plugin is called Advanced Admin Menu’s and was created by Andy Staines. Originally based on early versions from creator Ozh.

By installing the Advanced Admin Menu Plugin the left Tiger Admin Side-bar disappeared, so I had to make some changes to the Tiger-Admin CSS element Body to remove the background image and margin setting used for the default Admin Navigation menu in Tiger-Admin. This actually worked out even better giving back the 100% width as in the WordPress default Admin template, also because Tiger Admin lacks of a function to hide the left sidebar at this moment. I played around with the new Advanced Admin Stylesheet font and margin settings to be the same as Tiger-Admin for better look and feel. I finally enhanced the Tiger-Admin stylesheet footer position as well as some missing Welcome user info in the header.
You can see the final result by clicking on the image included above. I hope you like it, for convenience I have zipped both the Tiger-Admin and Advanced-Admin Menu Plugins for download below in which I have included my stylesheet changes.


Just upload to your plugin folder, unzip and activate.


Black Friday

It’s shopping day for everyone. If you don’t know what this is, well this is the best day of the year according to retailers, to shop for bargains, as so much nice stuff is on sale for only one day. Shops traditionnaly open early after Thanksgiving day around 4 or 5 in the morning, some this year even opened theire doors at midnight.

It’s pretty crazy as it seems and feels for me there is almost all year around sales (koopjes) going on her. Well I almost bought a new digital point and shoot camera from Circuit City today the Canon SD1000 as it was on sale for 149 instead of 249,- but we discussed and agreed to buy ourselves some new bikes for Christmas instead.
Canon SD1000

So coming weeks, bicycle bargains and holiday sales hunting time.



Lets see, this was my 4th or maybe already my 5th Thanksgiving celebration. If you don’t know what this is, well for Americans this is after Christmas the 2nd biggest holiday and family gathering of the year. Its always celebrated on the third Thursday of November. In dutch I would say our Christian “Dank Dag” is the closest to this celebration.

Basically you go visit your family or friends and celebrate all the food we have received. This is done by having a big dinner and the centerpiece of the dinner is always a big Turkey, either stuffed, baked or deep fried as we had this year. What else belongs traditionally to this dinner, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green bean casserole, bread, salad, cranberry compote and of course the usual drinks like wine or beer.

Wikipedia Definiton
Turkey Deepfried Turkey

At the end its a day where you mostly eat and drink too much, especially the dessert pies like pumpkin pie or the cheesecake pie, and you have to recover a couple days eating all the leftovers. However it is nice to see how families come together on this day to celebrate, something you rarely see anymore in the Netherlands which shows again how much more important family life and values are in this country.

Another year survived and just one month till Christmas….


eXtplorer File Browser

As my hosting providers panel lacks a function to unzip or zip files direclty on the webserver I was looking for an open source web-base file browser I could install on my webserver. After many trials with php based file browser I found the standalone version I was using in Joomla CMS for one of my websites. This component JoomlaXplorer is a very nice looking, rich-featured web-based file maintenance tool.
Since August 2007 the developer made a standalone version called eXtplorer. Information can be found at this website.


Features I like:

  • Windows style folder browsing on the left
  • Quickjump setup to favorite folder
  • Direct file view and editor (handy for stylesheets editing in wordpress)
  • Upload, Download features for multiple files
  • FTP view
  • Unzip uploaded archive files directly on the server.


Uncle jon



WordPress Installed

For this blog I am using WordPress as blog tool. It’s a very flexible software tool and much better then blogger which I used for a long time. It has tons of themes to pick from with easy customization options and you can download various plugins to enhance your blog.

    Snapshot of

I am still working on adjusting this template so it looks a bit nicer, like the date icon on the post left top and some color font schemes. I will later post some of the plugins I am using and think are very useful to include in wordpress.


Close Up

Hi nice close-up don’t you think…

Sage close-up

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