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Mark Widmer Computing
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Mark Widmer Computing
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What We Do
• improve business efficiency
• use innovative techniques
• provide staff motivation
• implement understandable, scalable solutions
• produce robust, low maintenance systems
• provide extensible, reliable, speedy code
• reduce full-lifecycle costs
Systems created, techniques and areas of expertise include…
• point of sale systems supporting hundreds of retail outlets
• comprehensive DBMS backbone for insurance corporation
• large-scale database migration
• multi-tier database development
• financial systems
• governmental correspondence tracking system with full interdepartmental security
• hardware, software and OS installation, including Unix/Linux, Windows and Mac
• customer messaging system for telecommunications industry
• websites and blogs
Combining high standards with recent development techniques, we build cost-effective, reliable, powerful computing solutions.
With over twenty years’ experience, your project is completed on time and on budget. Rates are competitive, and we are adept at providing a personal touch.
Why You Need a Systems Analyst
With Mark Widmer Computing, you’ll get a realistic assessment of your requirements; that is, an honest appraisal of what your business really needs. We deliver effective, real-world systems that work productively now, and into the future.
Specializing in custom software development, maintenance and modification, and database development, web-based, networked or desktop.
Latest Technologies and Methods
Keeping up to date on software and technology is important to us.
That includes exploring all the options for your shop, including the new developments in open source software.
Request an assessment of how to use these alternatives in your business to take full advantage.
Reasonable Rates, Solid Solutions
Mark Widmer Computing works to solve problems using the latest approaches and techniques, while looking for ways to reduce your expenses.
Working with you, we utilize professional development techniques.
That means following best practices; providing an analysis of your system requirements; producing clean, documented code that can be upgraded; not locking you into any particular vendor; and, including built-in software tests.
With a charted path and a development plan for guidance, you’ll avoid surprises and needless expense.
Systems development tools include…
The Foreseeable Future Website
The Foreseeable Future forum was created as an example of the powerful ways you can leverage open source tools to create a powerful custom database-powered website efficiently and inexpensively. It leverages SQL, Ruby on Rails, AJAX and various other tools and methods.
The concept of the site is to allow users a way to use predictions to help them make decisions in their day-to-day lives by discriminating between who is making good and bad predictions. The Foreseeable Future was designed to allow users to tabulate and track predictions and keep a record of successes.
Contact us by email.
What areas does Mark Widmer Computing specialize in?
Database, custom software development, web work, operating system installation, systems analysis, updates and maintenance.
What can I expect?
For real solutions to your IT needs, contact Mark Widmer Computing for professional systems analysis and programming. Please get in touch today.
Click here for important links to current matters concerning the software industry.
There’s a new video out about how the new Google A.I. “scared its creators.” Not going to dignify it with so much as a link. This is not the first time they’ve played this line from their limited playbook, as you know if you’ve read other articles here. Perhaps the choicest user comment: “People aren’t realizing the reason the Terminator turned against people was because the Skynet felt threatened…”
Anyway… to avoid being bamboozled, read Stop Killer Robots Now! which is a comprehensive report. While you’re at it, check out The Future of Computing, and Computer Corner for more. Then you’ll be in a position to understand and refute all the malarkey.
Utilities and Useful Software
This area is for logging any programs or utilities that I’ve found useful over time.
Have you ever wished ctrl+C ctrl+P, (copy and paste) were more powerful, to be able to save a copy of more than one thing for later use? Try the CopyQ advanced clipboard manager that saves multiple cuts without overwriting. So you can go find something you cut or copied several items back, click on it, and paste it in. It’s a great program, free for Linux, Mac and Windows.
Perl & Sed
I don’t know why the command line utility, Sed, is needed at all, when there’s Perl. It’s a very useful utility, but the explanations of how to use Perl have to be the most arcane and unhelpful guides I’ve come across. Anyway, after too much work, I got it figured out enough to do the project I was working on. But if you need assistance, send me a comment and I’ll put the notes here, so others don’t have to go through what I did.
General tips and discoveries for WordPress software.
Plugging Font Awesome icons into a WordPress site produces an interesting problem. It has always been peculiar that the Font Awesome site recommends using <i></i> to tag the icon. Using this tag, though, doesn’t allow menu items to highlight, at least in the theme I use. Making them <span></span>, which you can do, fixes the problem!
It seems that using <i></i> tags is as stupid as it looks. It never meant “icon,” like some say, nor “italic,” but that is how browsers always interpreted it; that is, they italicize the text within the open and close “i” tags. Technically, it means, “idiomatic” text, or text that is somehow set off from normal text. For example, a company name is often italicized so you are alerted that it is distinct from a regular word. Also, you used to always see foreign words italicized. But “idiomatic” shouldn’t include icons — they aren’t text.
Plugin Pros & Cons
Those very handy WordPress plugins are great, but not so great when they crash the site.
When they get abandoned by the creator and aren’t kept up to date, that can be a major source of pain. Consider that plugins have to be generic, which means pack in a bunch of things that you probably don’t need.
The solution? Add plugins for needed functionality, but replace them with your own code, which won’t have all the unnecessary overhead, as you can.
For big things like site backups, SEO, site protection, mail campaigns and subs, it’s impractical to write your own solution. But it seems there are numerous plugins that do the job right and have been for some time, making it likely they’ll continue to exist for a while, and not be buggy.
But it’s good to keep track of what all your plugins do, and remove the unused ones ASAP.
Plugin Notes Plus
To keep those details, like noting plugins for potential removal, there’s a useful plugin, called Plugin Notes Plus, that, as the name implies, lets you keep notes on each plugin. Its really an essential tool for WordPress.
Set It & Forgot It: Update Your PHP Version on WordPress Localhost
This won’t be of interest, unless having to locally configure WordPress and update its PHP.
Many times, you’ll run a LAMP or WAMP bundle like XAMPP, which bundles Apache, MySQL, Perl and PHP, and provides a control panel, especially on Windows. On Linux, it’s fairly easy just to install these programs separately. Anyway, these details are only of interest to WordPress admins, running Linux. The steps here are for Linux, but similar for Windows.
I had a problem with Apache (server software), because you set it and forget it. I had to update a local WordPress site and had the new Apache version installed, but it wasn’t picking it up in WordPress. I looked for a configuration in WordPress, but nothing. WordPress will just use whatever is active on your system.
There are only a few steps shown, for the very specific case of WordPress on Linux, localhost. When you’re running a live site your service provider generally takes care of the details of updating things like the Apache host.
Of course you need to get the new PHP version, in this case PHP 8.0. The steps for that are well-documented and easily found via web search. Reminder: Perform the usual back up of your system and apply any updates.
Again, this is for a Linux system, but the principle is the same for any system using Apache.
File Edit View Search Terminal Help
linuxUser@client ~ $ sudo a2dismod php7.4 linuxUser@client ~ $ sudo a2enmod php8.0 linuxUser@client ~ $ sudo systemctl restart apache2
As shown, you turn off old Apache in your O/S, then set it to the new one. But I faced an issue: it wouldn’t take, and it took a while to figure out the sticking point.
My problem was in having updated to PHP 8.0, those updates wouldn’t apply to WordPress. Once explicitly updated, something was stopping WordPress from picking up on 8.0. The sticking point was that I had confirmed the PHP version, and had disabled the version my system said was running, version 7.4. It turned out there was yet another version of PHP, 5.4, running. It was necessary to specify a2dismod php5.4. After that was disabled, I went back into WordPress and finally it was picking up on version 8.0 of PHP (and not giving a “Update your PHP” message any more).
It’s advisable to check your install, using the following command.
File Edit View Search Terminal Help
linuxUser@client ~ $ sudo systemctl status apache2.service