Author Archives: Baki Goxhaj

Baki Goxhaj Visit Website
I’m a web consultant specializing in WordPress. I love elegant solutions, quality code and a good laughter.
Business

The Nightmares of a Freelance Web Designer and Coder

My freelancing adventure came naturally through after I finished university and I did not like at all to become a teacher, I did not find a proper translation job, I had more than one of dilettante web designing experience and I went mad about web designing. Here I am now, not even thinking of doing anything else than freelance web designing. I have gone through several web design project by now and during this time I have had more than a couple of nightmares that has made my life as a freelancer more difficult that it really is.

First Nightmare: By this time I had designed several website at the local market and I had been payed in cash. I didn’t find jobs enough to satisfy my needs for money and work; an website in not yet mandatory for being an successful business in my country. I decided to work abroad and I fond it thrilling. I applied. I was accepted. My fist job was a XHTML/CSS layout fix and we agreed upon that I would be payed $20 for that. It took me about two hours to finish that and I was happy to be payed for that for being the firs job abroad.

I finished the job and I sent to my contractor my PayPal account email. And off course I received the money. No, I am joking, I didn’t and I haven’t yet. No, I was not scammed, it was PayPal, it did not provide money receiving service to Albania, my country. This is not the worst news, the worst is the fact that I did not grasp this immediately, but about 1 month later. During this month, I called PayPal and waited in the line for 10 minutes after I could speak the the first human talking-machine of whom I could not understand a word. Then they made me speak with a more moderate English speaking person. They tried to help me a lot and pissed me off a lot too as they told me to click on links and buttons on my PayPal account which did not exist at all there.

Every time I made a change into my Paypal account, I asked my Australian contractor to make a try to send me the $20. More was I interested to make sure that my PayPal account worked, than I was interested in the money itself. And every time he tried, and I thank him a lot for that, he could not do it. This situation went on until one day when I decided to upgrade to Business package at PayPal. I did it and, as always, I asked my contractor to make another try. He did and copy-pasted to me the following code: “Currently PayPal accounts in Albania are only able to send payments. This recipient is not eligible to receive funds.” I sent another email to PayPal with the above statement in it and at last they said to me that I could not receive money in Albania with PayPal. This as a really painful relief for me.

Second Nightmare: During the time I had been fighting to make PayPal work, I was considering other payment methods rather than bank transfer, as it was too slow and to expensive comparing to PayPal. I made several searches and concluded that I would be using MoneyBookers. I registered even there and I really liked the way it worked, but I had to receive a snail mail letter with a code in it in order to fully activate my account. This was a bad news for me as my house has no address, I mean, it is somewhere, but it has no official location because this is how my country is, full of new buildings everywhere and which have no address because they are built privately without having an legal permission in advance.

Being it this situation, I decided to receive the letter at my university’s address where I have received several letters during my studding there. They said that the letter will be arriving within 2-3 days and this was fear enough for me. But the other bad news is that I am now in the second month of waiting and no letter has yet arrived, this is at least what my fellow students say to me, as they check if it has arrived or not regularly. I am still hoping it is on its way …

Third Nightmare: People in my think I am jobless. Well, I keep saying them I do web design, but they keep asking “Who do you work for?” or “Who is your employer?“. They think that having a jobs means being employed by someone or having a shop and stay all day inside it, no matter what you earn. This has been a problem even with my parents, as they expecting me to have a regular job after graduating, but when they saw I earned something, they realized that I was serious about it. Others still do not grasp what I do as the culture of freelancing is completely unknown in Albania, especially the web freelancing because internet is not that widespread yet.

These are my obstacles in my freelance career that many of you do not have or even imagine to have. Let’s say I am a little less fortunate at this point. This was my story, thanks you for reading it.

PS: Please keep in mind that I suffered these problems at the time I began freelancing in web desing and development abroad. Right now I have overcomed most of these problems and things are going fine. 🙂

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Opinion

Microsoft Supports Open Source Financially and More

As a Open Source guy I found this a great news and could not resist sharing it. Microsoft is supporting Apache Software Foundation financially and a numerous other Open Source projects in other various ways.

Yahoo News says:

Microsoft on Friday expanded its support for the open-source community by giving money to the Apache Software Foundation, the first time it has given money to the long-standing open-source project.

Microsoft also said it is contributing code to support a PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) project and committing to offer royalty-free specifications for Windows Server and.NET Framework protocols as part of its expanded support for the open-source community. The company announced its plans at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) now being held in Portland, Oregon.

Read more at Yahoo News

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Design

Design Prinicples

Hi guys! I just couldn’t resist to share with you something I read at SitePoint Forums.

1) Knowledge of Photoshop or other software techniques does not make you a designer. Techniques are simply tools. A talented sculptor does not need the best tools. Having the best tools simply helps the sculptor.

2) There are no “rules” in design. There are only problems and solutions. How you go about finding the latter to solve the former is up to you.

3) Schools teach you techniques, give you ideas, and help inform you of approaches, beliefs, and theories. You can learn all this yourself if you’re passionate about what you do.

4) Design isn’t something you can “learn” like a skill set (e.g. plumbing). It’s like music. Either you have it or you don’t (as American Idol has showed all of us). If you have no passion for it, you will never succeed.

Basically – if you’re doing it for the money or the fame, prepare to fail, badly. No successful artist / designer ever worked for financial stability. They did it out of love / passion for it. The money just came later.

5) The competition is very, very, very fierce. I’ve heard lots of sob stories about “wannabe” artists giving up because they couldn’t match the current level of design a good number of people are producing. Know what you’re getting into first, because you realize very early on that it’s not going to be a walk in the park.

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Opinion

What is going on at wplancer?

I know that I have been very lasy at writing lately; the blog has been a target of dust; thanks to those who have like to have a look what is going on. Well,  a lot has been going on on the background.

I have been very busy working with my clients mostly on WordPress projects. I will discover them lately on by one. Work has been good, but sometimes slow as I have been changing workplace. Now I have a kinda new small office. I like that a lot and I think it will make me work better and write more for my dear readers.

I am planing to change the design of the blog. I am planing something more 2.0. Also I am planing to launch my first free theme soon. I am working on these two too. I am planing to give more time to writing too and I am working on strategies that might give me more time to do that. Any suggestion would be very appreciated.

A lot has been going on out there too. WordPress 2.6 with a lot of new features is coming forth; right now it is in the beta 3 version. Those who will need an upgrade with the stable version can drop me a line and we can fix something. I am very tolerable in the price with the clients that contact me from the blog.

Today I read also an article about browsers war at fourhourworkweek suggested by Matt. I was sad to see that more than 38% of the visitors of that blog is still using Internet Explorer (IE), but I am very happy to announce you that only 14.65% of my visitors so far is using IE. Lately I have been thinking to join the Save the Developers movement for stoping designing for IE6, IE7 is far better.

This is all what I have to share with you at this time. I hope to be more active at writing on the future.

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Code

Upgrading WordPress in Ten Easy Steps

It came to my mind to write an easy and short how-to to explain for not very techy people the way to upgrade their self-hosted WordPress, when one of my clients asked me why her admin interface was showing that she should upgrade WordPress to the latest version. She thought she had already done that. In fact she had, but to the version 2.5. Now it is a long time WordPress version 2.5.1 is available. Well, this can help my client to upgrade WordPress herself, but I would love also this this help hundreds of others. Enough with the words, let us begin.

Step 1 – Create an FTP account: Many know what FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is and already have their accounts. Well, those who do not have one can create it in their Administration Panel that their web host has provided them with. I hope you FTP-have-nots find this process easy.

Step 2 – Download an FTP application: There are many. To keep it short I recommend FileZilla , free/open source and easy to use. After you download it, you enter your FTP account info in it and have the files of your WordPress listed in it. To use it is very easy, as i previously said. You have there two environments, the online and the offline one. To upload or download by FTP just drag and drop files or right-click and use the menu.

Step 3 – Export the information to XML: This is done in case something goes wrong with the upgrade. This is not a real database backup, but you have your articles and comments at safe after you do so. To do that you just have to go to Manage => Export . Than follow the easy steps that it provides and export a copy of your content.

Step 4 – Deactivate all plugins: In your admin panel, under the Plugins menu, deactivate all plugins that you have there. Some plugins may conflict with the upgrade process because of the changes to WordPress, so this is another must.

Step 5 – Download the latest version of WordPress: To do so, just go to wordpress.org download section and get the latest version of WordPress in .tar or .zip. Make sure that you download goes fine because if not all the files are downloaded or there have been problems, you might have problems to run the new version properly, if not have errors all around.

Step 6 – Delete the old WordPress Files: You have to do so, unless your upgrade will not be successful. If you try just to overwrite the previous files, you will have problems as not every single file gets overwritten correctly. Keep in mind, you should not delete or overwrite in any way this files and folders :

  • wp-config.php file;
  • wp-content folder; Special Exception: the wp-content/cache and the wp-content/plugins/widgets;
  • wp-images folder;
  • wp-includes/languages/ folder–if you are using a language file;
  • .htaccess file–if you have added custom rules to your .htaccess;
  • robots.txt file–if your blog lives in the root of your site (ie. the blog is the site) and you have created such a file.

Step 7 – Upload the New Files: Upload the right files from your computer’s hard drive to the appropriate WordPress folder on your site. Make sure that you do not overwrite the files and folders mentioned at step 6.

Step 8 – Upgrade Database Structure: Do not be afraid, this is very easy. Just do so: If WordPress is installed in the root directory, point your browser to: http://yoursite.com/wp-admin/upgrade.php. If WordPress is installed in its own subdirectory called blog, for example, point your browser to: http://example.com/blog/wp-admin/upgrade.php. And wait for the upgrade success message.

Step 9 – Update Permalinks and .htaccess : Update your permalink structure, if you like it, into your .htaccess file. In your Options->Permalinks panel update your Permalink Structure and, if necessary, place the rules in your .htaccess file. This will happen when the .htaccess is not writable; you should have a tool to paste the code into it or otherwise it should be writable.

Step 10 – activate your Plugins: Now it is time to activate your plugins that you need or like. You can do that the same way back as you deactivated the plugins. It will be a loss of time to go on with this point.

And we are done. I hope you find this little effort of me to serve the community a good one. Any feed back would be very appreciated. Thanks!

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