Real Estate Agent & Trainer using the power of technology to achieve maximum productivity
12 June 2013Posted by on
Editor’s Note: This original posting was way too long & not just a review but a how-to. I’m going to change it to a how-to and make today’s (Thursday’s) into a review.
Today I stumbled on a really neat program called “Batch Picture Protector” from the folks over at SoftOrbits and wanted to introduce you to some of its features & ‘quirks.’ I already had a watermark image in mind, so I quickly threw it together in my photo editing software.
The software interface is incredibly simple. In all honesty, it’s a little too simplistic for me, because I’m a geek. My OCD & geek crashed into each other when I saw that the tools you use are in the “Toolbos,” (sic), in addition to Zoom In & Out, there’s apparently now a “Zoom Normal,” which is an oxymoron IMNSHO. The OCD/geek also growled when I saw that the vast choices I expected to find when I clicked “Options”
were was just one: language selection.
Important note before we go further: Adding a watermark with this program does NOT impact your source photo in any way. You select a destination folder for your watermarked images, and the program creates a copy of the photo.
The GUI is not 100% intuitive, either. Some things I learned after a bit of struggle (and by ‘struggle’ I mean ‘reading the manual’):
- You have to add your photograph(s) before you can do anything with watermarks. Everything related to watermarks is greyed out until you load your photos.
- To upload / add your watermark image, you click the “+ Logo Image” button and “Browse” on the next screen.
- I was very excited to see that you could one-touch publish your photos to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube with the buttons at the bottom — until I realized they’re actually just links to the publisher’s page on those sites.
- “Batch Mode” is just your destination folder selection and a “Start” button. It’s not a “mode” and you will also use it when you’re only doing a single photo, so it’s not limited to “batches.”
- Despite having an underlined letter, the toolbar cannot be accessed with an “ALT +” shortcut.
- When you disturb the “Toolbos” – by clicking the X or by going to “Batch Mode” – you have to click “Watermarks” to get it back.
- Because it has the feature to add multiple text or image marks, which is a nice plus, you don’t edit a watermark by clicking on “+ Text Watermark” or “+ Logo Image.” Granted, I should have realized that “+,” means to “add,” not to edit. To edit the options on what is already loaded, double click the name of it in the “Watermarks” box.
So, to start from the beginning, add the file(s) you want to watermark by the buttons on the toolbar. You can also choose to add a single photo, multiple photos, or even an entire folder – hence the name “Batch Picture Protector.”
To add a text watermark, click “+ Text Watermark” and you’ll get this dialog box:
The box above results in this:
To add an image, click “+ Logo Image,” to get this:
Click “Browse” and select the image you want to use as a watermark.
As you can see in the two boxes, there are quite a few options.
- The Magenta star shows you can name this watermark & save it if you plan to use it again.
- The Green star shows where you can set the text to be on an angle, if you desire.
- The Yellow star shows where you can add a background color (think highlighting), choose the color, set the transparency, and add a “shadow” or “glow.” This is especially helpful if your source photo has a large array of colors and some of your letters get lost in a similar color.
Two of the most important items, however, are:
- The square, which indicates watermark placement. You can choose between 9 places, depending on the type & shape of your watermark. Because I have the middle box selected in the TEXT example above, you’ll notice that the text appears in the center of the screen. When I choose the middle-bottom box in the LOGO example above, my watermark became centered on the bottom.
- The oval, which shows how to set the transparency of your image. You may want to play with this a bit to see what works best for you. Here is a transparency of 100% versus a transparency of 50% (and yes, the setting is in increments of 1, not 50):
A third “most important item” is:
Just as you can set the size of the font, you can determine what size you want the logo to be. You have two options:
1. Set it to appear based on a percentage of the watermark’s original size. This can be problematic unless all of your photos (in this batch) are the exact same size. Here is an illustration of what may happen if you have it based on the watermark and your photos vary in size:
2. Set it to a percentage of the source image. This is my recommendation. Setting it to 20% and putting it in one of the corners may be best for a simple copyright or security watermark. Due to how I designed my watermark, setting it to 100% of the source image was best. See the transparency example above or the collection at the end for examples.
With Batch Picture Protector, you can even do a Text Watermark AND a Logo Image. This comes in handy if you’re doing multiple batches, each requiring different settings, as adding (or loading) all of the watermarks you plan to use may save time if done all at once. Just because a watermark is listed in the box doesn’t mean it will appear on the photos. Check or uncheck the box on the right to enable/disable a watermark for the batch you’re currently running.
Take it to the next level and add multiple text or logo watermarks. Because the watermarks are independent of each other, you can put the full logo at the bottom, a copyright symbol in the top left, “FOR LEASE” written diagonally across the photo in white and another text box in the center of the top showing the file name. I’m not going to take it THAT far, however adding both text & logo to a photo would result in something like this:
As you’ll notice in each of the screenshots above, all of your selected photos are shown down the left side of your screen. (TIP: If this box disappears, simply click “View” > “Source Images.”) The beauty of Batch Picture Protector is that you can get a preview of what each individual photo will look like with your watermark settings by simply clicking on the source photo. When you tell the program to start adding the watermark, EVERY photo in this line will be done in a matter of seconds. If you determine in previewing that you don’t like how the watermark appears on an individual picture, or you’ve added a folder with some photos which should not be watermarked, remove them from the list. Removing individual photos means selecting them and going to “File” > “Remove Selected.” When you’re finished with a batch, you can select “File” > “Remove All.“
Once you have your image in place, click “Batch Watermark” (under the buttons to add a text or logo), and you’re presented with the dialog box to the right. Set the desired destination folder by browsing, click “Start,” and it will be finished in seconds. I did an entire folder of various-sized photos in roughly the same time it would take to do a single one.
I’ve selected 7 of the results to show what a watermark will look like at 100% of ‘Source Image’ and 75% transparency. Notice how the watermark appears when over a darker area compared to a lighter area.
Here are the results:
15 June 2012Posted by on
Ok, so I got out the cart, now let me go back and get the horse. Once you have a Google account set up for the office and your Google Calendar is ready to publish on your MC’s website, follow these steps:
Log into your Google account and click Calendar. On the top right click the gear for the Settings menu, then click Settings. Click the second tab, Calendars.
(Note: these pictures have been cropped to remove trapped white space)
I recommend that first you click Shared: Edit Settings first, unless you already have your calendar set to be public. If you have it public already, click the name of the calendar.
Now check the box to Make this calendar public then click Save. This will take you back to the previous screen. Click the name of the calendar to go to the next step.
At this point, you can choose to use the default code, or you can customize it if you wish by clicking the Customize option (see the star). The only thing to be sure is a particular setting is to ensure that “width” is set to 800. If you choose to customize how the calendar will look, when you click the link by the star above, you’ll be taken to this screen to set your options:
After you set the calendar title, select which items to show, the default view, background color, etc., be sure to click Update HTML (top right of the screen).
Now log in to myKW (MC Tech Coordinator role is required), access the MC Website Admin tool (under Technology, click the second item, MC Websites, then click MC Web Site Admin). Navigate to section 2.1, Manage Navigation/Content. Choose to Add New Page of Create Your Own type, set the Menu Name to the name you want shown as the link on your home page, and enter the title you want shown on the browser tab in the Browser Title box. Decide whether to make it on the Top Level or under another parent item and be sure Yes is chosen to Publish the page once you are ready.
In the red box of Figure 5, above, are the instructions on how to embed a page into your website. For any basic kind of page, click the Source (★) button, then copy the code as instructed in step 2 and paste it into the Text Editor box (★). Replace the http://www.google.com from that code with the link to the page you want shown. When embedding the Google Calendar, simply click the Source button and paste the code from either Figure 3 (if not customized) or Figure 4 (if customized) above. Click Save and your calendar is now live!
14 June 2012Posted by on
Our Market Center is one of 4 MCs owned by our OP. Prior to this year, we had a Google Calendar with inbound links from all 4 office calendars. The Google calendar was better than the WebOffice calendar for publishing at that time, so it became the single point of entry for our training & office events.
After going live on the new intranet, we found the built-in calendar to be superior to Google’s. The dilemma now was how to have a publicly-available calendar (i.e. Google) without making our DOFI enter every event twice. That’s when I decided to go play around, and somehow I managed to discover this method. Granted, it looks somewhat convoluted – just remember you only have to do it once and your office calendar will be kept up-to-date and published through Google Calendar (which can then be embedded into your office’s external website). I would hope that I don’t have to include the step “create a Google account for the office” before you start this.
- From the Intranet:
- Click Calendar.
- Click Subscribe, located to the right of the month/year.
- The first option is Office Calendar, which is for all office, training, and community events. In that section, click the link marked Setup Now – Create a new subscription link to create a link for users to subscribe via iCal.
- The text will change to “Subscription Active” and provide a link. Copy this link to your clipboard.
- On your Google Calendar:
- Click the down arrow beside the gear (‘Settings’) and click Settings. (Yes, I know that seems redundant.)
- Four tabs will appear under “Calendar Settings.” Click the second one, Calendars.
- The top section will be My Calendars, and the bottom will be marked Other Calendars. In the Other Calendars section, click the link at the far right to Browse interesting calendars.
- On the top right of the page, click Add by URL under More Tools.
- Paste the link from step 1.4 above, click the box beside Make the calendar publicly accessible, and click Add Calendar.
- The full calendar may not pull right away (ours only pulled team meetings at first). Google will sync with the intranet calendar shortly and keep it updated for you.
01 May 2012Posted by on
This post is (mostly) for our MC Tech Coordinators
To find your MC’s Office ID, go into “MC Website Administration” and select section 3.1, “Add IDX Search.” Set the “‘All Office Properties’ Link” to “KWLS Listings”
Go to your Market Center website and select Property Search. Hover over the “All Office Properties” link, and at the bottom of the page (assuming your browser is set to display the links when you hover), you’ll see a link similar to the following:
http://www.mlsfinder.com/kwls/…;&office_id=####&so…… (where #### is your KWLS office ID).
01 March 2012Posted by on
I get asked about profile completeness at least twice a week, so I decided to post the score factors here. TIP: The easiest way to get to these is to click “Profile,” then the Edit located under “Other / My Referrals.” Your “Referral” profile actually brings up both your referral information AND your White Pages entry on the same screen, saving you from going through the “My KW Info / White Pages” and the “Other / My Referrals” sections separately.
Here are the items in your profile and the percentage points each carries:
|5%||Specialties||Include all possible ways of searching (i.e. ‘e-Pro’ & ‘ePro,’ or ‘LGBT’ & ‘GLBT’ – and even ‘gay and lesbian’ for good measure.)|
|1%||Designations||Remember: REALTOR *is* a Designation.|
|5%||Service Areas||Name as many areas as you possibly can.|
|1%||Languages||Yes, Virginia, English and Spanish do count.|
|3%||Referral Notes||Are you willing to take referrals? Pay competitive referral fees?|
|0%||Loss Mitigation Resume|
White Pages section
|10%||Image||And PLEASE don’t be pretending to talk on the phone…|
|5%||First Name||First letter capitalized, the remainder in lower case…|
|5%||Last Name||First letter capitalized, the remainder in lower case…|
|5%||Street 1||Abbreviations accepted, periods not required (i.e. – 100 W Main St)|
|2%||Country||We ARE an INTERNATIONAL company now!!!|
|3%||Facebook URL||Preferably for your BUSINESS Page, and ONLY the last segment – and no ‘facebook.com/…’|
|1%||Twitter URL||ONLY your username – no ‘@’ or ‘twitter.com…’|
|3%||Blog URL||Unlike the previous two, the full URL.|
|5%||Display for customers||Should your profile be available for customers to find you, or would you prefer to be a “Secret Agent?”|
05 January 2012Posted by on
Did you know eEdge is OUR product? Sure, the trademarks & copyrights belong to KWRI, but the product is OURS because we have a voice in the direction of the company and therefore in what eEdge becomes.
Two points that are often misunderstood or overlooked:
A) eEdge is not a company, it is a system which facilitates the unprecedented sharing of proprietary information & engineering between multiple independent third-party companies, and provides those combined services to you as a Keller Williams agent at an INCREDIBLE value.
2) The user experience is very dynamic, based on what WE, as agents, want to see. Ever thought, “It would be nice if eEdge had / did / could…” and a month later log in to find that eEdge has / does / can…? It’s because every Keller Williams agent has the ability to suggest features and vote on features suggested by others.
eEdge started with one primary focus: Putting the agent’s 20%…
in your face
…to reduce distractions – all while saving you money. That’s why there isn’t a “Financials” section like there is in another “Top” database program; using your customer relations management system to assign costs to every part of a transaction isn’t in your 20% — it’s a distraction.
Your Agent Technology Council provided KWRI Tech staff (who are highly skilled, extremely devoted, and seriously undervalued) with a real-world understanding of how an agent’s top 20% plays out in today’s technological environment, then folks like myself came in as pre-Beta testers to give it a second look and report bugs or request changes on things we thought would give you a better product. The culmination of that collective expertise was launched at last year’s Family Reunion. Since then, you have as much input into the direction of eEdge as anyone else.
I’ve been working on computers for more than a quarter of a century and the one thing I know better than technology is human behavior. The success or failure of any new product / service rests mostly on the shoulders of the end user. If the end user likes it, she gets excited about it, and becomes an evangelist for it, the people she convinces to get on board will overlook a HUGE amount of errors & deficiencies. If, on the other hand, the end user digs his heels into the ground, convincing himself that he doesn’t like it & it doesn’t work, his negativity will taint the perceptions of everyone around him.
So if you’re not absolutely thrilled with everything about eEdge, stop cursing the darkness and light a flippin’ candle already!!!
Go to the eEdge collaboration page and look at the items suggested, then determine what’s important to your business. Unlike Facebook, you can give items a Thumbs Up OR a Thumbs Down. If you think someone’s feature suggestion is just a cheesy waste of resources, give it a thumbs down. If you see an item you like and are constantly hearing agents say they want the same thing, then give that item a thumbs up and send the link for it to all the other people who have ‘wished for’ (read: griped and/or complained about) that feature.
Why am I so fired up about this? Because there are over 75,000 agents using eEdge and the item which as received THE MOST votes has a total of 1,059. That’s just over 1% of users contributing their thoughts.
Folks, it’s like voting – If you don’t go to the poll, don’t complain about what you get.
06 December 2011Posted by on
Great news! You are no longer restricted to Georgia MLS (GaMLS) being your only IDX for eEdge. Now you can add the feed from FMLS!
Now for the not-so-great news. When you added GaMLS, all you had to do was select it from the MLS list and add your username. Adding FMLS is a bit more involved, so the instructions below may seem klunky and disorganized. What you see in GREEN will be actions you take on the FMLS site. You’ll be doing everything you read in RED on the myKW / eEdge site.
Step #1. Log into MyKW and go to the eEdge Dashboard (by clicking New Lead or by clicking Show Options under myMarketing, then clicking Manage eEdge Website – which is supposed to be the ‘easy’ way). Navigate to the Profile Info tab under Website Admin. Write down the URL which appears beside “Website.” (Figure 1)
Step #2. Log into FMLS. In the left navigation, hover My FMLS and click Edit My Roster. Be sure the website shown under Website URL is the same noted in Step #1. If it isn’t and you need to change it, the servers may take several hours for the corrected info to change across the board. (Figure 2)
Step #3. If your roster entry had the same Website URL as your eEdge profile, go to Step #4. If not, check back every few hours until you see that the info in your FMLS Roster matches the info in your eEdge profile.
Step #4. When (and only when) your FMLS Roster Entry, go back to the FMLS homepage, hover Tools for Success, and choose FMLSweb at the top of the far right column. Click “FMLSWeb Agent Elections,” and be sure the radio button beside I elect to use an ‘FMLSweb Approved Data Vendor’ is selected, then click Submit Elections. If you agree to the T&C’s, click I accept the… and you will be taken to a list of Approved Data Vendors. Scroll down until you see “Market Leader,” click the radio button beside it, and then click Choose Election. You will be CC’d on an email from FMLS to Market Leader indicating your election to provide Market Leader with the FMLS IDX feed. (Figure 3)
Step #5. It may take 1-2 business days before Market Leader activates your FMLS feed. In the meantime, go to the MLS Administration tab of your eEdge website and click Start MLS Application. Select ‘First MLS’ from the drop-down list and click Save. (Figure 4)
Step #6. When Market Leader provisions your IDX feed, the status beside First MLS in your MLS Administration tab will change to ‘Approved.’ Once this status is updated, navigate back to your Profile Info tab. At the bottom of the page, click Edit. Now click Add Agent MLS ID. From the drop down box, select the new option of ‘First MLS’ and enter your FMLS username in the Agent MLS ID field. Click Save in this box and again at the bottom of the page. (Figure 5)
Congratulations! Within a few minutes, you should see listings from both services displayed on your eEdge website.
(Note: If you didn’t already have Georgia MLS provisioned, repeat Step #5, adding Georgia Area MLS this time. Since GaMLS is pre-authorized, you can immediately proceed to adding your Agent MLS ID as shown in Step #6.)