The Myriad Blog

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Google's Free 411 Service

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on January 16th, 2009 at 01:56 pm

In typical Google fashion, they released another kick-ass service without any marketing or promotion. This time, it's a free 411 service called GOOG 411. It's a beautiful thing for cell phone users who are accustomed to paying upwards of $2 through their carrier. This service has actually been around for over a year, but very few people have heard of it, so I thought I'd help spread the word.

Here's how it works:

  1. Dial 1-800-GOOG-411
  2. State the Location and Business Type
  3. Connect to the Business for Free

You don't have the luxury of speaking to a real person, but the program is very accurate and easily recommended.

For more information and a video, visit the official page:


CSS Tricks: IE6 "min-height" Hack

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on January 9th, 2009 at 11:53 am

It's very useful to be able to specify a minimum height for an HTML container. Unfortunately, IE6 does not properly support the min-height attribute. This frustrated me for a long time, but there's a solution! The following example is simple, valid and just plain works.

Say you want to enforce a minimum height of 200px on a container, simply add the following code to your identity or class:

min-height: 200px;
height: auto !important;
height: 200px;

That's all there is to it. I didn't come up with this on my own, so a special thanks goes to Dustin Diaz for publishing this hack.


How to Email a Text Message

| Posted by Nate Allen on December 31st, 2008 at 12:13 pm

If you prefer typing over texting, here is a quick key to send an SMS message through the Internet vs. your phone.

3 Easy Steps:

  1. Find out which carrier the recipient uses.
  2. Compose an e-mail with your intended text message in the body.
  3. Send the e-mail to the e-mail-to-SMS gateway for their carrier listed below.
Alltel [10-digit phone number]
AT&T [10-digit phone number] or [10-digit phone number] (MMS) or [10-digit phone number]
AT&T Enterprise Paging [10-digit phone number]
Boost Mobile [10-digit phone number]
Cingular (Postpaid) [10-digit phone number]
Cellular One (Dobson) [10-digit phone number]
Cricket [10-digit phone number] (SMS)
Nextel (US) [10-digit phone number]
Qwest [10-digit phone number]
Sprint / Nextel [10-digit phone number] ([10-digit phone number] for MMS)
Sprint PCS [10-digit phone number] or [10-digit phone number] (MMS)
T-Mobile [10-digit phone number] (SMS and MMS)
US Cellular [10-digit phone number] (SMS) or [10-digit phone number] (MMS)
Verizon [10-digit phone number] ([10-digit phone number] for MMS) (limit TXT messages to 150 characters)
Virgin Mobile USA [10-digit phone number]



Happy Holidays!

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on December 24th, 2008 at 09:32 am

We'd like to wish our clients, friends and family a wonderful holiday season. After a long year, we're enjoying some time off and will return to work on January 2nd, 2009!


What is Lorem Ipsum?

| Posted by Nate Allen on December 18th, 2008 at 02:11 pm

In publishing and graphic design, lorem ipsum is common placeholder text used to demonstrate the graphic elements of a document or visual presentation, such as font, typography, and layout. It is a form of "greeking".

Even though using "lorem ipsum" often arouses curiosity due to its resemblance to classical Latin, it is not intended to have meaning. Where text is visible in a document, people tend to focus on the textual content rather than upon overall presentation, so publishers use lorem ipsum when displaying a typeface or design in order to direct the focus to presentation. "Lorem ipsum" also approximates a typical distribution of spaces in English.

The most common lorem ipsum text reads as follows:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Source: wikipedia


Zend Framework Version 1.7 Supports Adobe AMF, jQuery, Twitter, etc.

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on November 19th, 2008 at 01:55 pm

The least release of the Zend Framework (Version 1.7) provides a number of new features, bug fixes and performance enhancements.

It seems that Zend is concentrating on Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) in this release as they are now providing support for Adobe's Action Message Format (AMF) which allows developers to easily share data between PHP applications and Flash (including Flex and AIR). While I haven't had the opportuity to test this out personally, I'm sure it will be a huge time saver for our developers.

Version 1.7 will also offer integration with jQuery's AJAX library. This is great for our team as we already include the jQuery library on all of our projects. In addition to outstanding AJAX support, jQuery's lightweight code base is great for HTML document traversing, event handling and animating.

Zend has also provided us with a little goodie that will make it possible for developers to add Twitter to their site without requiring the Twitter interface. Twitter is making a big impact on the Web so I'm glad that this service is available to developers.

Finally, I'd like to mention that the Zend has made done some fine tuning to improve performance. You can expect a 25% to 50% improvement in load times by upgrading your Zend library. This could be the best enhancement of all.

Thanks to the entire Zend community for making this new release available!


Spanish Characters in Flash via XML

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on November 12th, 2008 at 03:29 pm

We've been populating dynamic content in Flash for a few years now. The other day, I was faced with the task of populating Spanish text into a Flash movie via XML. The underlying code is the same, but when I published my movie and viewed it online I noticed that the special characters didn't show up. What went wrong? After spending several hours reading through forum posts and tech notes, I found the solution. Here's what you need to do:

1. Embed Special Characters in Flash
For starters, we need to make sure that all of the special characters (i.e. á, é, í, ó, ú, etc.) are embedded in our flash movie. You also have to make sure those characters are available for the font you're using. The "Character Map" application in Windows will be a big help. If you're not familiar withCharacter Map, you can find it here: Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Character Map

2. Use UTF-8 Encoding
Next, make sure that your XML document uses UTF-8 encoding. To endcode the XML as UTF-8, make sure the first line of your XML file looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

3. Save as UTF-8
Almost all text editors default to ANSI encoding. When saving your XML file, be sure to select "UTF-8" from the "encoding" drop down menu.

4. Upload as Binary
When uploading, it's important to note that your XML document should be transferred as a binary file. Most FTP programs will auto-detect this, but if you're having problems set the transfer type to binary before you upload the file.

¡Buena suerte!


Myriad Gets Burglarized for the Second Time!

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on November 11th, 2008 at 07:33 pm

Upon arriving to work this morning I noticed some broken glass and a large hole in one of our office windows. On the other side of that hole was a vacant space where one of our computers should have been! Great way to start the day.

We lost a nice piece of hardware, but we were greatly relieved that absolutely no project or client data was lost. The machine was last used by our summer intern and was wiped clean in September. In a way, we got lucky...if one of our other machines were stolen, we'd be spending the remainder of the day changing passwords and writing apologetic letters to our clients.

Client data and security is something that we take very seriously and this experience had led me to do some research on security software. Here are two products worth mentioning:

Computrace LoJack for Laptops
Computrace LoJack for Laptops is part of a full suite of security solutions that protects your data and secures your computers. It's built in to the BIOS or firmware from major computer manufacturers to prevent removal by unauthorized users...and it's backed by a theft recovery team.

LocatePC is free software that runs unobtrusively on your computer. In the event that your computer is stolen, LocatePC will send a secret email to you containing the details that you need to track your hardware. Obviously, your computer must be hooked up to the Internet for this feature to work.

All of our laptops already have LoJack for Laptops installed. Looks like it's time to protect our towers as well.


Free FTP Solutions

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on November 10th, 2008 at 11:19 am

I have been using an FTP client almost daily since I started working as a web developer in 2001. For me, it's absolutely essential to my job function and something that I couldn't imagine living without.

At Myriad Interactive, we use CuteFTP Professional for file transfers and remote text editing. Its interface is very intuitive and the lockstep folder navigation (which keeps local and remote folders syncronized) is a must for developers. The built-in text editor is also outstanding. HTML files are color-coded and you can perform find-and-replace operations across multiple open files. The only downside to CuteFTP Professional is the $59.99 (per user) price tag.

While my endorsement obviously goes to CuteFTP Professional, not everybody needs a fully featured FTP client, they just need a way to upload large files or to make a backup of their website. If you fall into this group of users, the following programs should do the trick...and they're free.

CoffeeCup Free FTP



What is Twitter?

| Posted by Peter Schultheiss on November 10th, 2008 at 08:55 am

While still relatively new, Twitter seems to be the new thing these days with a very loyal following. For those of you who haven't heard of Twitter yet, it's quite simply a series of short status messages (or "tweets") posted by users. Tweets are limited to 140 characters and help people follow the lives of their friends and family members. Here's a sample tweet:

What are you doing right now?
Writing a blog entry about Twitter.

Now anybody who follows my Twitter account will know what I'm doing at this very moment. Pretty simple right? That's the genius behind's extremely easy to create an account and updates can be sent and received both online and via mobile devices. It's a highly effective communications tool and just one more marketing channel for web savvy businesses. It's estimated that (at the time of this post) over 10 million poeple are using Twitter, so it's safe to assume that many of your customers are on there too.

So, will Twitter will replace blogging? No way, blogging is still the best outlet for talented writers and reviewers who have something meaningful to contribute to world (or their niche audience). Twitter can be thought of as a micro blog that keeps people in touch. For businesses, it's a great way to generate buzz and to provide product or service information to your loyal customers.

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