Monday, May 18, 2009

The $50 wireless tethering solution...


I ran across this bogg today. It is a DYI project to build a wireless tethering solution for only $50! Have a look at it!

Miltonstreet Software's Photo Parata will work just fine with this type of situation, if you would like details on how, please feel free to contact us at Miltonstreet Software.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Where did the WSDL2C Tool go in Axis2/Java 1.4.1?

Let me prefix this blog with a note that this posting is geared towards other developers working with Axis/C. It is pure technical in nature.

It is my goal to someday have Photo Parata be cross platform, both Windows and OSX. Too keep things as OS neutral as possible, I am going to be using the OS neutral Axis2/C Web services engine rather than the proprietary Microsoft Windows Communication Framework (WCF).

Section 17 of the Axis2/C manual discusses the WSDL2C Tool to generate all the stub code. The tool is in the Axis2/Java version. When I went looking for the bat file, I only found the Java counter part, WSDL2Java.bat. I looked in the Axis2/Java source and saw that the WSDK2C class is still present.

The solution was simple at this point: copy the WSDL2Java.bat to WSDL2C.bat and on the third to last line that looked like this:

%_RUNJAVA% %JAVA_OPTS% -cp "!AXIS2_CLASS_PATH!" org.apache.axis2.wsdl.WSDL2Java %*

Change the WSDL2Java to WSDL2C

Set your JAVA_HOME and AXIS2_HOME environment variables and everything is set!


Friday, March 20, 2009

Email Aliasing, how it will help your business

My blog has not really been very active, mostly because I could not think of Photo Parata topics in which to blog. So I think I am going to start blogging on more business and technology issues, or at least try to on a regular base.

Today I thought I would talk about email aliasing, why it is helpful to look more professional, improve company branding and make life easier on the web.

The other day I was enlightened to the fact that the company I use for ecommerce, Plimus, does NOT accept email addresses. I am assuming it does not accept any of the public email addresses, GMail, MSN, etc. I am guessing the reason is it is too easy to setup an anonymous email account on those services. Combined with electronic delivery and now the stage is set to use a stolen credit card. Email address that are tied to a privately owned domain, like can be tracked down by finding the owner of the domain.

This got me thinking about email aliasing…

Businesses that publish public email accounts that are on the large, free email services such as Gmail (which I use), do not have the same air of legitimacy as those with email addresses that are tied to the company’s domain name. It also helps with branding because with every email your web site is given out, too, which helps with branding.

There are many different ways to skin this cat, but the easiest way that allows you to keep using that public email account is email aliasing.

I have a number of different email addresses, depending on the business: (in case someone remembers the scarleton and the photoparata, but not miltonstreet)

Rather than having to run around to a lot of different email systems to check each one of my email addresses, I use email aliasing. With email aliasing, an email address is simply forwarded automagically to another email address. The other email address can be any email address; it does not have to be the same domain. Email aliasing has nothing to do with your email client; it is all setup and managed by the company hosting your domain name. So there is zero negative impact on your existing email system! To setup email aliasing, simply go consult with the company that is hosting/managing your domain name.

My real email is at Gmail. All my other email addresses are aliased to Gmail. As to keep things nice and simple, when I reply to folks I want them to see it came from the email alias, not the Gmail account, again to increase branding. It turns out that Gmail (and Yahoo! and I would imagine MSN and the others) all have a feature where you can “send mail as” another email account. In Gmail, it is under Settings --> Accounts.

The process is simple: You tell the email system (Gmail) the other email address, say Gmail will send a confirmation email to that address, which of course is sent right back to your Gmail account. Then there is a link you click on to validate that you do really have control of this email account. When writing an email you will now have the option to send it from the Gmail account or the account. You can also set it up so that when you reply to an email someone sent to, that the recipient always sees that it is from, not the Gmail account. You can take it one step farther, which I do, and default all new emails I send to come from

Now you have an email address tied to your domain name, so the business looks more legitimate, you increase branding, and for those systems that require a real email address, you can still use the one email account!

Of course if you use clients like clients like Thunderbird and Outlook Express, you can setup the same type of “send mail as” concept, too. Please consult their help documentation on how to setup it up.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

How many Kiosk Viewing Stations (KVSs) can Photo Parata support?

Hi folks, a question that comes up often is:

How many Kiosk Viewing Stations (KVSs) can Photo Parata support?

As you know Photo Parata is a program that is all about shares images (files) between a server and multiple clients. Initially I thought of solving the problem with Windows file sharing, than the using a web server revealed itself to be a far better solution.

The core designed of any web server is to provide content to many clients as possible. Theoretically a web server can service tens of thousands of clients at one time. Web servers are also designed to provide content in a read only manner. This is exactly what the doctor called for with event photography software, we want to distribute images quickly, but in a fashion that does not allow the user to alter the images.

Compare this to Window file sharing. File sharing is designed for multiple users to share the same file, all the users normally need read and write access to the files along with the ability to create folders, delete, rename, etc. Basically a lot more functionality that what is needed to display some images on KVS. That extra functionality does come with a price: There is a higher security risk, if it isn't setup correctly someone could get to the network and steal the files (images) and it take more computing power.

With this, I knew that using a web server to distribute the images, I was making a bit more work for myself, but I was starting with a core delivery system that was very fast, faster then the alternative. I knew that if there was going to be a real performance issue, it was not going to be hardware related, operating system related, or related to the core delivery system (the web server), it would be my code. If it is in my code, I can fix it!

This actually happened, in an earlier version I had reports that my system was running too slow under a load of 16 viewing stations. It took me a bit of digging but I finally figured it out and sure it enough, it was my code, and because it was, it is fixed now!

One of the customers that reported the problem now happily runs Photo Parata with 32 KVS, here is a thread he replied to where he posted an image of Photo Parata running the 32 viewing stations.

The same customer, and another talked again just the other day about Photo Parata's speed under load on Sports Shooter.

So how many viewing stations can Photo Parata handle? I know it runs 32 just fine on a Pentium IV, but I don't know the limit. Because it uses a web server, not file sharing, I am guessing it can easily handle 200+ viewing stations on a modern server.


Saturday, April 5, 2008

Setting up a Photo Parata network

A customer called me today. While we talked, he mentioned that he had to turn off his WiFi connection on his laptop to talk to the router on the wired network port he is going to use with his Photo Parata network. I realized he was running into a simple problem, the IP addresses range of the WiFi router and wired router were one in the same.

All the Linksys, Netgear, and D-Link routers I have seen come configured with the router address being The problem is that the computer sees two different networks, both having the same range of addresses, it doesn't know which one to talk to for a given request. The solution is to change one of them. I would recommend changing the router that will be used with Photo Parata.

One must be careful in choosing an IP address to use, for most IP addresses are real address on the real Internet. I know that in the case of the Photo Parata network, must of you are not going to connect the Internet. It is just good policy to follow the standards and pick one of the IP address that is reserved for private networks.

It turns out that is one of those special private network address, hence why all the Linksys , Netgears, and D-Links of the world pick that one. There are a few more of these special IP address ranges that have been reserved for private use. Personally I recommend the class B address of On all the routers I have seen, you simply need to change the router address and everything else will fall into place.

For details on how to make this change, please see the owners manual of your router.

EtherFast Cable/DSL Router with 8-Port Switch

Linksys EtherFast Cable/DSL Router with 4-Port 10/100 Switch (BEFSR41)

Friday, March 28, 2008

How often do we release code?

There are many different approaches to how to develop software. I have come to find that frequent releases, one to four weeks rather then months, works the best for both me, the developer and you the customer.

Here are some of the beneifits:

* When customers report a bug, there is a very good chance that it will be addressed in the next week to month!

With development always taking small steps, it is always easy to fix minor bugs. With the short release cycle, the minor fixes get to you fast!

* Customers can have a lot more input on the direction of the software.

Because each release is only a small step, the customer can quickly see the direction I am taking the software and help direct the software in the correct direction!

* Chances of major bugs are minimized.

With the changes always being in small steps, not sweeping changes, the chances of major bugs is minimized. And when bugs are found, because only small changes to the program have been made, it is possible to identify and fix the bugs quickly!

So please continue to try out Photo Parata and get back to me with what you like and dislike and I will do everything in my power to make Photo Parata the best Event Photography program out there!