Camera Equipment for Sale

I have a number of items of Panasonic Lumix G2 equipment advertised for sale in various places.  If interested please email sales@siteease.co.uk

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2K 12.1MP 14-42mm Lens + Extras £155

This Compact System Camera is ideal for anyone wanting to shoot better quality images than with a compact camera but doesn’t want the bulk of a DSLR. I am selling this G2 on behalf of an elderly friend who wants something simpler and even more compact. As a photography & DSLR enthusiast I have given the camera a thorough going over and can only conclude it is an excellent example. It has had very little use with less than 1000 images shot, LCD screen is unmarked, lens is dust, bloom and fungus free and everything works as it should. There are no scratches dents or damage to the camera body, lens or accessories.

Camera Serial No: WE0HB001433

Included in the sale is:

  • Camera body with body cap
  • 14-42 Standard Camera Kit Lens with front & rear lens caps (f3.5-f/5.6 image stabilised MEGA OIS unit equivalent to 28-82mm)
  • Kenco 52mm UV Filter
  • Soft lens pouch for 14-42 lens
  • Original Lens Hood
  • 2 x original Panasonic batteries
  • Original battery charger plus mains plug
  • USB connection lead
  • AV connection lead
  • G2 Camera strap
  • SanDisk 4GB Class 4 SDHD Card
  • 2 x Sandisk 2GB SD Cards
  • Sandisk SD -> MicroSC adapter
  • Operating Instructions Manual
  • Lens cleaning kit
  • Black / Grey Hama Gadget Bag 15″W x 7″D x 8″H

panasonic G2 Kit panasonic G2 rear

panasonic G2 front Hama Gadget Bag

Panasonic Lumix 45-200mm Zoom Lens + UV Filter, Caps & Hood £180

The lens is in excellent condition and works as new, having been owned by an elderly friend who never really got to grips with interchangeable lens cameras and has now moved on to something simpler. It comes with Kenco 52mm UV filter, original hood (not shown in images), front/rear cap, instruction manual and soft lens pouch. Fully tested on camera and produces superb images.

45-200_1

45-200_2

Panasonic DMW-FL220 Flash for G Series £40

The DMW-FL220 is a compact and lightweight external flash with TTL automatic light adjustment. It emits light at an intensity of up to GN22, and covers 24mm wide angle of view (35mm camera equivalent). Good for the scenes when the light intensity of the built-in flash is insufficient. Operation synchronizes with the flash control of the camera including red-eye reduction and slow sync.

This flash has hardly been used, has been fully tested and is in perfect condition and working order. It is sold complete with instruction manual and soft pouch.

flash

flash_front  flash_rear

OpenCart, Joomla, MijoShop and Piwik Analytics

I’m not exactly what you would call an ardent blogger – the sparsity of my posts on this site is testimony to that!  Mostly I’m simply too busy.  However, from time to time something comes along that I feel compelled to write about.  My recent experience with an ecommerce design project is an excellent example…..

OpenCart

I have used OpenCart as a shopping cart solution since its very early days back in 2007.  It was the brainchild of a British developer and there was but a handful of active contributors on the OpenCart forum, who were only too eager to lend each other mutual support and share hacks and improvements.  Paying for an extension was almost unheard of!  Nowadays, if you want anything over and above the out of the box functionality you need to prepare to shell out a few (or on some cases a lot of) dollars.  Largely I don’t have a problem with this – everybody has to earn a living and coding extensions takes time & skill.  What does tend to happen is, that when a project grows a large user base and becomes successful, the community practices of sharing and giving back for free have a tendency to diminish in favour of commercialism.

I was therefore very pleasantly surprised to come across an extension contribution that very much embodied the original spirit of the OpenCart community.  Please read on …….

Joomla and Ecommerce

For most of my clients a standalone ecommerce store solution is not enough on its own.  They also require features that are often only available in a robust CMS such as Joomla.  At one time the de facto ecommerce solution under Joomla was Virtuemart.  It was, however, a bit of a dogs dinner in terms of user friendliness and would frighten most of my clients to death to try to manage their products and sales with it.  Consequently my solution for this was to design matching templates for Joomla and OpenCart and to ‘integrate’ them, in look at least, from separate installations.  See the Bates Environmental site (using earlier versions of Joomla / OpenCart) as an example.

Recently several integrations of OpenCart into Joomla have appeared.  Some have been very basic, running OC in an iframe within a Joomla site and simply not worth wasting time over.  More recently fully integrated solutions have come to the fore.  One such solution is MijoShop (the developers split from Aceshop to take things in their own direction and formed MijoSoft, providing a number of Joomla-centric extenstions).  I decided to give this a try for my latest ecommerce project, having just had a dabble with Hikashop and determined it was only really OK for a store with a very small number of products.  So far I have been very pleased.  It really does combine all the advantages of Joomla with the ease of use and extendibility of OpenCart.  The support is pretty hot too, with the developers dealing swiftly and professionally with any issues that need to be raised via a support ticket.

The EU Cookie Law Thorn

Please bear with me – I’m not going off topic, honestly!  If you live within the European Union you’ll know exactly what this is.  If not please take a look here for a brief guide.  Personally I think one of the main reasons that this law came about was an unease about the quantity and use of information that Google harvests via the almost ubiquitous use of Google Analytics tracking by webmasters.  Such tracking uses cookies.  So, to ease the burden of compliance with the law, I set about finding an alternative means of tracking website visitors that doesn’t use cookies and came across Piwik, a truly opensource solution.  Piwik has an APi that allows the use of PHP to do the tracking and doesn’t set cookies.

Piwik is easy to install, can track data from any number of websites and tracks ecommerce transactions, including abandoned carts, very well.  It has excellent, fully configurable reporting.  Reports can be viewed live on screen, exported in various formats and scheduled to be delivered by email on a regular basis – clients love that!

Piwik and Joomla

Integration with a Joomla website is simplified by using this free plugin. The plugin uses the APi for PHP operation & hence no cookies. After installation just configure the url to your Piwik installation and the Site ID + Authentication Token assigned by Piwik and you’ll be good to go. So far so good …..

Piwik & MijoShop

This is where it starts to get tricky.  Although MijoShop integrates OpenCart very well within Joomla, Piwik doesn’t know that some of the Joomla pages it is tracking are ecommerce related.  Piwik therefore needs a plugin / extension specific to the shopping cart being used – in this case OpenCart …… enter Kevin Bibby …..

OpenCart Piwik Module

Kevin Bibby from Inane Coding is following in the true British spirit shown in the early days of OpenCart.  Kevin has released to the community an early free version of a module to integrate OpenCart installations with Piwik.  The module uses VQMod, so therefore doesn’t overwrite any pre-existing OpenCart files. I downloaded a free copy from GitHub and set about trying it out with my Mijoshop installation of OpenCart ……

Mijoshop, Joomla & Piwik

I followed the straightforward instructions and installed the module.  Configuration consisted of providing the url to the installation of Piwik, the full path to the PiwikTracker.php file on the server, The Piwik authorisation token (obtained from my Piwik Admin ‘API’ page) and the Site ID assigned by Piwik.  Time now to browse a few of the store’s pages, dump something in the cart and see if my activity was being tracked …… Oh dear – the dreaded white page of death as soon as I browsed to any page that was running MijoShop / OpenCart.

I examined the XML file that is used under VQMod for any clues as to the changes being performed on OpenCart.  I initially thought it was one specific piece of code and contacted Kevin via email.  A swift response was received with a suggestion to do some log checking.  Under MijoShop the usual OpenCart logs are redundant and it is necessary to look at the website’s error logs generate by Apache.  That quickly identified the cause … and the solution …

I hadn’t disabled the Joomla Piwik module so effectively 2 instances of tracking were being used and causing conflict.  The solution was pretty simple:

  1. Disable the Joomla Piwik module
  2. Use 2 templates on the site – 1 is set as default (used for MijoShop and therefore using the OpenCart Piwik module) and the second is assigned to any Joomla only pages on the site, i.e everything except the Mijoshop pages.
  3. Manually add the Piwik tracking code (unique for each site and provided within Piwik itself) to the index.php of the second template.

Now, the above was sufficient to start generating some ecommerce data, but it was only the stuff that was cart-related …. no tracking of pages on the store itself.  Further investigation showed that the injection of the Piwik Javascript into templatename->common->footer.tpl via the VQMod piwik.xml was somehow failing.

Answer: Use the Piwik tracking code as in 3) above within the Joomla template being used by OpenCart/MijoShop.  This will most likely mean you can use just the one template across the whole site with tracking code manually inserted (as opposed to using a Joomla plugin) + Kevin’s module.

Voila!  Superb data coming through now from all parts of the site.  As far as the OpenCart / MijoShop area is concerned, this is what Kevin’s module currently does:

  • Tracks regular page views
  • Tracks Ecommerce product views (category views not yet implemented)
  • Tracks Ecommerce cart add/update/delete
  • Tracks Ecommerce orders

Kevin is happy to accept donations toward his work on the project and I would commend anyone trying it out to chip a bit into the pot.  The combination of Joomla / OpenCart and Piwik has great potential to build and manage an ecommerce solution that really does allow you to make it work in the way you want and obtain hugely valuable information to create a positive visitor experience and obtain a high sales conversion rate.

Oh Dear – We’re back with Cookies

Those of you who have been paying attention will have realised that, to get all the above to work, requires use of the Piwik Javascript Tracking code (including its cookies) and the PHP APIs are no longer being used.  So, as yet, I haven’t managed to find an analytics solution that goes some way to beating the EU Cookie Law.  I’m sure it would be possible to do what is desired with Joomla, OpenCart/MijoShop & Piwik using the PHP APis but it is currently beyond my coding skillset.  Any takers out there?

PS – the store I have been building should launch by the end of August.  I’ll post details here for anyone that may be interested.  I’ll also tell you how you can opt out of being tracked by Piwik if you wish!

Beware this scam email

A member of the community website that I run has today had their email address compromised. It is being controlled by someone in the Philippines who is sending out a scam email.

Here is a copy of the text: (STAN is not the real person’s name & hasn’t left the UK!)

Hello,

I am sorry for reaching you rather too late due to the situation of things right now. My family and I had a trip visiting Manila Philippines, everything was going on fine until last night when we got attacked by some unknown gunmen. All our money, phones and credit cards was stolen away including some valuable items, It was a terrible experience but the good thing is that they didn’t hurt anyone or made away with our passports.

We have reported the incident to the local authorities and the consulate but their response was too casual, we were ask to come back in 2 weeks time for investigations to be made proper, But the truth is we can’t wait till then as we have just got our return flight booked and is leaving in few hours from now but presently having problems sorting out our bills here and also getting a cab down to the airport, Right now we’re financially strapped due to the unexpected robbery attack, Wondering if you can help us with a quick loan to sort out our bills and get back home. All we need is (£2,500) I promise to refund you in full as soon as I return home hopefully tomorrow or next. write back now to let me know what you can do.

Thank You.

STAN

If you reply to the email, you will get the following response:

Am so glad to see your response, I am assuring you that I will refund your money back to you once am back home hopefully tomorrow , the fastest and safest means of getting the money to me now is via Western Union Money Transfer . I will have to show my valid passport as an identification to pick up funds here.

Below are my info’s needed at western union:

Receiver’s Name: STAN XXXXXXXXXX Location: 18,Mary Cris Crescent, Quezon City, Manila, Philippines Amount: £3,200

Let me know when you have it done and keep me posted with the transfer details including the 10 digits MTCN# confirmation number code.

Thank You.

STAN

If you say you don’t have that amount of money available you’ll get something along these lines:

Please i can understand how you feel right now, please let me know how much you can send at the moment.. what you send to me now will really go along way here to get out of this mess..

Many Thanks STAN

Another Test

I’ve installed a plugin which may or may not resolve the mangled HTML issue when posting from Blogpress …..

Let’s see what happens!

Just a test!

Having some issues uploading from Blogpress to a Joomla site so seeing what happens here on a WordPress site …… br />br />center>a href=’https://picasaweb.google.com/118072521670864479622/LincsReclaim#5817752086508298882′>img src=’https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-L-Lv0HHnZNI/ULzOsuudYoI/AAAAAAAAADI/csOoodx4ABs/s288/0.jpg’ border=’0′ width=’210′ height=’281′ style=’margin:5px’>/a>/center>br />br />

iPhone 5 does NOT include Lightning to 30 Pin Adapter

On Pre-order day, if you go to order a new iPhone 5 from the Apple UK website, after placing your chosen model int the basket you are given the opportunity of adding accessories.  One of these states:

Additional Lightning to 30-pin Adapter

Your iPhone includes a Lightning to 30-pin Adapter for connecting 30-pin accessories to devices featuring the Lightning connector. Purchase this additional adapter to have a second adapter for your home or office.

However, if you bothered to check ‘What’s In The Box’ when you selected your model you would seen that there was NO mention of the adapter being included.  A call to Apple Business Sales confirmed that this is an error on their website.  Some 3 hours after reporting it it is still showing the incorrect information!

Experiences Using SliQ Submitter

Many of my clients want a little more than on-page search engine optimisation of their websites but don’t want to spend a fortune using a specialist SEO company.  One factor in improving search engine rankings is to ensure that you have incoming links to your website from other sites.

A simple way to achieve this is to list your website in one of the many website directories on the Internet.  Doing this manually can be extremely time-consuming so I investigated several of the auto-sublission tools available.  I stumbled across SliQ Submitter, an affordable, automatic directory submission tool.  It is possible to sign up to use this for as little as three months – plenty of time to make a lot of submissions for your site.  If you are a web designer or developer you may be tempted by the 12 month version for just a little extra.

This is an impressive piece of software, which is kept regularly updated by the delvelopers to ensure that the directory list has all the most current entries.  The setting up procedure took remarkably little time and then, after working in manual mode for the first dozen or so directory submissions, I was able to switch to full auto mode and head off to do other things whilst it did its stuff.  In little over an hour I had successfully submitted a site to over 1,900 directories.  They have even thought of what to do where a directory uses a captcha to check that a human is behind the submission.  Credits can be purchased really cheaply on one of 2 captcha decoding services so that even that is taken care of automatically.  When directories mail you back asking to confirm a link, simply run the auto email response tool and it will trawl through your inbox on the mail server and do all your replied automatically too.

This is a very well thought out and executed tool, which I can thoroughly recommend.  For more information, head over to the SliQ Submitter website!

Apple Nuked My Credit Cards

I was one of the thousands who must have been trying to order an iPad2 from the Apple website on launch night.

Although the official time for the launch was 1am on 25th March, the units came online for purchase just over 20 minutes before then. Convinced I was stealing a march on many others I progressed an order, only for it to bomb out with an ‘Ooops!’ error message every time it started the card authorisation / payment process.

The Twittersphere was advising everyone to turn on 1 click but mine resolutely refused to play ball, persistently returning card authorisation errors. I tried three cards, all with the same result. By 2.15 am I’d had enough and went to bed.

A 6.30 alarm call had me back online and trying again. This time, still not using 1 click, the transaction went straight through without the ‘Ooops’ ….. hey, the iPad is almost here …… But instead a much more ominous ‘card declined’ error appeared. Try again with a different card …… ‘Please contact your card issuer’.

I didn’t need to – they contacted me, their fraud department in fact. My guess is that Apple’s systems were so overloaded that they were unable to properly establish proper two way communication with card payment gateways and repeated attempts to hive money from my account were viewed as suspicious.

Of course, in one sense this is reassuring that my card issuers are on the ball in trying to stamp out fraud when there is suspicious account activity. On the other hand I could have faced severe embarrassment and inconvenience if I’d tried to fill up my car with a dud card.

The serendipity element was being able to buy a unit on launch day in Hull anyway (see separate post), thus meaning I didn’t have to wait the 2-3 weeks lead time quoted on the Apple website.

Postscript: Had a call from Apple today, asking me if I would like to order the iPad that had failed so miserably last week. I wonder how many others have received a similar call?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPadbr />

Should have bought two iPad 2′s!

Having been fortunate to arrive at Currys in Hull at 4pm on launch day to find there was only a queue of 5 ahead of me and stock left, I wish I had taken the plunge and bought the maximum permitted 2 units. With the current UK shortage and prices rocketing on eBay, the second could easily have subsidised the first. Fortune would have favoured the brave …. but then again, I would have been depriving someone else from enjoying one of these remarkable devices, for a while at least. Would my conscience have nudged me, I wonder?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPadbr />

Remote Blogging

Sometimes things that you’d like to share come to you when you are nowhere near your computer. So what’s the best way to get a post up on your blog?

It’s been possible to do this via email from a phone for several years. I remember doing just that using an old Nokia handset about 5 years ago when we were in Whitby with about 30 eleven year olds on a school trip. It was a great way for their parents to be able to follow everything the youngsters were doing via a blog site. We even posted photos, routed via a flickr account if i recall correctly.

So, what advances have there been 5 years on? I decided to see what ways I could update these pages remotely and report on my experiences.

This introduction is being written using Blogpress on an iPhone. A full review of the experience is to follow …….

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