Many Pies

Many Pies

Thursday, April 27, 2006

For the last few hours I've been wrestling with Word and Outlook to do an email mail merge which has embedded images. The reason I want them embedded is that Word recompresses them and makes them look worse than the originals.

My embedded I mean that the email is HTML and the original images live on a webserver, rather than being attachments to the email.

After much searching I found the answer on microsoft.public.word.mailmerge.fields in a thread entitled "email merge - problem with embedded images". (I won't link to the thread as such links would probably not work in future.)

The next problem was picture size. Even though I thought jpg pictures were just pixels, it appears that it is possible (using Microsoft Photo editor) to say how many pixels per cm (or inch) they should be displayed at. Word uses this information when displaying images, and then converts it to HTML when sending it. The trouble is when the email is received the picture is resized. For example, if the original image is 640 pixels wide and Word sends HTML saying the picture should be displayed at 500 pixels wide it is displayed as such, meaning that pixels are dropped, meaning the picture doesn't look good. (Word does the same resizing, but has a better algorithm for resampling the image.) After experimenting I found that setting pixels per cm to 30 gave a decent image. I guess because Word is page and printer orientated it has to assume something for how big to display a picture.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I belong to the Non-profit blog exchange which means that I've been given someone else's blog to look at:

Worlds Touch is written by Patrica Perkins who seems to be an inveterate traveller.

Like me she has a personal blog as well as her non-profit techie one, as she describes it. Her techie blog is very interesting, mainly because of all the different places she gets to go to. It's not particularly techie, so don't let that put you off.

She works for Worlds Touch, "a nonprofit organization partnering with successful charities in developing countries to provide information and communications technology". This blog is the organisation's blog and so it looks like quite a small outfit, though with some laudible aims.

I've subscribed to her blog because it looks like she's doing some interesting stuff. (Sorry it's a bit short, Patricia, but I'm not good at being wordy.)

Friday, April 21, 2006

We had a demo of Blackbaud's NetCommunity this week. It's quite a flexible product for building websites, and naturally integrates well with Raiser's Edge. With flexibility comes complication and it looks like quite a learning curve. Of course Blackbaud will train you, as you'd expect.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

  • Tracking costs for the care of elderly for a Primary Care Health Trust (or whatever they are called these days)
  • Bookings for a particular Citizen's Advice Bureau
  • Tracking people, contact details and committees and posts for a particular Anglican diocese

These are all examples of systems that I have come across in recent weeks where a specific part of a loosely joined organisation is solving a specific problem which could benefit the whole organisation. Other people in other parts are doing the same thing and could probably benefit from that particular system, but what seems to be lacking in each of these cases is the central organisation to co-ordinate IT efforts. Not that going that way would be easy. If you had to do a system that satisfied 20, 30 or 500 clients, rather than one, then it would take longer, cost more and deliver less. There has to be a middle way though.