Thursday, October 25, 2012

Website Projects with Tepato Systems

As an overview for new or potential customers, here is some background information on how Tepato Systems normally handles a website project, from start to finish.

Phase - planning
  • Initial meetings with Client are held to discuss content, design, timing and budget (can be in person or over the phone).
  • Tepato creates requirements document and initial design ideas, including pricing.  Tepato can also provide an example of our standard development contract if desired.
  • Tepato provides a link to a test site where the designs can be viewed online (will also be used throughout the development process for client to review site progress).
  • Client reviews and any adjustments are made to the documents and pricing as needed to meet requirements and budget.
  • Client and Tepato come to an agreement to move forward with the project.
  • Client appoints a single point of contact to work with Tepato on the site for the rest of the project.
Phase - design
  • Client contact works closely with Tepato to refine the design as needed.  This can occur over the course of a couple of weeks via email exchange, or during just a few working sessions over the phone.
  • Once design is final, Tepato sends final contracte to Client for signature, along with invoice.
  • Client signs last page of contract and returns a copy to Tepato, along with first payment (usually about half of the total amount due).
Phase - construction
  • Tepato begins work on creating all of the pages of the site to prepare for content.
  • Client contact sends content for entire site (usually in small chunks over a period of a week or two at least).
  • Tepato inserts content into site pages as it is received.  Any formatting, image editing, photo cropping or other design work to fit the content to the site is done at this point.
  • Client contact reviews the site as the development progresses and gives feedback to Tepato as needed.
  • Client requests any design changes if needed (Tepato provides quote for additional cost if any).
  • Tepato keeps client informed of progress on site and requests feedback or additional content if needed.
Phase - approval
  • Once site is fully created and all content is inserted, Client gives final approval.
  • Tepato sends final invoice to Client for payment.
  • Upon receipt of invoice, Client sends final payment.
  • Tepato publishes site to domain name (so it becomes "live" on the internet).
Phase - hosting & maintenance
  • If hosting is to be provided by Tepato, the cost is included in final invoice.
  • If long term maintenance of the site is needed, Tepato and Client will sign a separate contract and an invoice will be sent. 
  • Clients who sign an annual maintenance agreement get a discounted price on hosting if needed.
  • Tepato can also handle the renewal of the site's domain name for the Client if desired, for a nominal charge.

If you'd like more information about creating a new website, or if you have an outdated site that needs an overhaul, please contact Tepato Systems at


My New Laptop & Learning Windows 7

My new laptop arrived at the end of last week.  It's an HP Pavilion dv7t model, with i5-3210M 2.5GHz Intel processors.  It has 8 GB of RAM and a 750 GB hard drive.  I bought it online from Costco, who extends the warranty from 1 year to 2 years and offers help through their Concierge service group.  It took 3 full weeks to arrive but I wasn't in a hurry.

Yesterday I finally finished transitioning over from the old machine to the new one.  It's official, I'm using it for my main computer now.

I really like the new 17" monitor on my new laptop, and the nearly full size keyboard with number pad.  I'm still getting used to using Windows 7, having had Vista on my old laptop for so many years.

Some of the things that are new in Windows 7 are actually cool and I do like them, but they do take some getting used to.  For example, the task bar now has a transparent "box" around the icon of any app that you are currently using.  It appears to be layered if you have multiple windows open of that app (like multiple spreadsheets).  I like that I can mouse over the task bar icon and it will show me a mini view of each window, so I can more easily choose which window I want to open.  I also like how I can right click on any task bar icon and it will display a list of recent files so that I can open one directly.  I can easily "pin" any program to either the start menu or task bar by right clicking on it, which is also very helpful.

Windows Explorer is different and I'm not sure if I like it yet.  The "My documents" folder shows now under a group called Libraries, along with Pictures, Music, and others.  You can still see the folder structure if you click on Libraries and expand each level, but I'm sure I like having that extra layer.

I have definitely noticed an improvement in the speed to start up and also to open applications.  I've tried all of my applications and they all seem to work fine.  I'm even able to use my old outdated copy of Family Tree Maker, in spite of it having compatibility issues (mainly with PDF drivers).  When installing all of my applications, I was able to use the list that I created in a spreadsheet and import all of the program (.exe) files from my "downloads" folder.  In just a couple of cases I had to get a new download due to needing the 64 bit version (iTunes and Nitro PDF).  Once I had the 64 bit version it installed just fine.

Transferring my data was a simple matter of copying my entire "my documents" and "tepato" folder off my old machine's C: drive, onto an external drive, and then copying all of it into my new C: drive.  I did a little cleanup during that process.  Unfortunately I did not see a simple or quick way to do this using my backups created by Norton Ghost.  The user interface for ghost is really geared towards restoring an entire machine, not transferring data files.  I could retrieve a single file by searching for the name, but not move an entire folder or folders (over 30 GB of data all together).  There may be a way to do this using Ghost but I got frustrated and did it the old fashioned way.  It's a very good thing that I have an extra external hard drive that could handle that much data at once.  I can remember the last time I had to transfer data (about 5 years ago) and having to use a flash drive in multiple sessions to get all of my stuff.  It's amazing how the capacity of both flash drives and external hard drives have multiplied in the last five years.

The only thing I have left to do on my new laptop is to review my "Guide to Windows 7" one more time and try out some of the recommended utilities.  Stay tuned for more on that topic...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Windows 7 Tips from PC World

I've recently purchased the document "50 Essential Windows 7 Tips" from PC World.  It was only $4.99 for a PDF copy, so I figured it was worth a read.  I've never used Windows 7 before and I'm expecting my new laptop any day, which has it, so I'd like to be prepared.

Here are a few of the tips that I found the most useful:

Adding fly-out menus to the Start menu - this seems like it would be great for the things that I use the most.  Anything that gets me to stuff with fewer clicks or less searching is always good.

Removing pre-installed software - recommended a tool called Revo Uninstaller, which is free.  I will definitely be trying this one as I hate all that junk that comes pre-loaded.

Move the taskbar - this is great if you use multiple monitors.  Rather than having my taskbar at the bottom of my laptop screen, I now have it running down the left side of my large monitor.  This tip actually works with Windows Vista as well as other versions.  Since my large monitor is very wide, that horizontal space is often unused.

Creating a system-repair disc - I will definitely be doing this when the new laptop arrives, and at several points during my process of installing software, etc. onto it.  It was the fact that I had an old restore disk that allowed me to recover at least the basics of my operating system when my hard drive died this summer, so I'm a believer.

Copy the file path - you can now copy the path to an object (like a picture) from the right click menu.  This might be a time saver when uploading a picture to Facebook, for example.  I'm thinking it would be nice to find the file only once, then copy the path, rather than having to navigate to it all over again.

Special characters - useful if I need to send an email to my French cousins and really need to use those French accents!

Uses for the new Windows key - this will be something I need to remember to try.  You can use the Windows key to  lock the screen, open a Windows Explorer window, go to your Desktop and get to the Run command, among others.

Upgrading the task manager - recommends a free tool called Process Explorer, which gives more detail that the default windows task manager.  This sounds like it might be useful when the day comes that my brand new laptop starts to run sluggishly (hmmm, maybe around day 5?).

Using Windows Problem Steps Recorder - makes a recording of the steps when you're using your PC.  This could be really helpful as a demonstration tool.

I'll share more tips later this week.  For now, if you'd like to purchase your own copy of this useful guide, please see this link:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Windows 7 - How big of a change is it?

The new laptop I've ordered will have Windows 7 installed on it.  I've never used it before, so I'm wondering, how different is it?  My old laptop has Windows Vista, which had many issues, but will Windows 7 be better or worse? 

It seems like whenever a new version of Windows is released, it always gets a lot of bad press for the bugs that are found in the early days.  I'm always hesitant to be an early adopter of new software for that reason.

I've just purchased a "super guide" on Windows 7 from PC World.  It was only $5 so it's worth reviewing their "50 essential windows 7 tips".  I'll post again after I've read it with more thoughts.