Using a Square Reader with an extension cable

I’ve been using Square with my business for a few months now and recently decided to put together a point-of-sale with an iPad, only one problem, I didn’t want the Square reader sticking up off the top. I wasn’t asking for much, just the ability to extended the reader a few inches and mount it on the side, but using a regular 3.5mm extension cable wouldn’t work because of how the reader functions.

Doing what any good nerd would do, I took to Google and found nothing but many other people wondering similar things.

One such person suggested I try this item: Audio Extension Cable for iPhone and claimed that it worked perfectly with their Square Reader. Despite having only a one-star rating, I put my faith in this random internet stranger and ordered one. It arrived quickly enough, only to be promptly added to my box of random cables I will probably never use. As you might’ve guessed it didn’t work.
At this point I’m getting rather annoyed, but being the rather passive aggressive person I am, I settle for tweeting asking if anyone else had found a solution. Square replied to one of my followers, but not directly to me, with the following statement…

The reader must be plugged into the headphone jack in order to work. Let us know if you have additional questions.
-SqSupport 

Hmm… Challenge accepted! (Side note: Much like a spoiled child if someone tells me no, I want it all the more)

Undaunted by my previous brush with one-star rated items, I ordered up this little piece of crap pair of headphones: Macally TunePal Stereo Hands-Free Headset and Audio Splitter for iPhone and iPod My logic being that if it supported the audio pass-through for volume controls and a mic that it should work with Square’s card reader. And moments ago, the Macally TunePal arrived, I hurriedly unpacked it and then promptly discarded the headphones only saving the audio splitter, plugged it into my iPhone 4S and then attached the Square Reader…
Success!!

Despite being incredibly short and adding a second unneeded headphone jack, I got what I wanted. Bonus, it turned out to be just long enough to work for my point-of-sale setup.

So dear internet, if you happen to be searching fruitlessly for a method to extend your Square credit card reader, I hope you stumble upon this post before spending too much of your hard earned latte money on various cables that may or may not work. But by all means, if you find another cable that works please share it in the comments!

Using Google Voice with your Existing Telephone Handsets

I’m sure there are a large number of ways to take whatever old analog handsets you having sitting around and use them with Google Voice, but most of them require things like setting up your own PBX server. Which could make for a fun weekend project if you’re a major geek, but chances are most people would rather use something a little more straight forward. Enter devices like the Ooma Telo ($199-249), which I’ve recently started using for my office phone.

It’s an absolutely fantastic device and very easy to use. The really nice thing about the Ooma Telo is that it comes with a whole new phone number, so setting it up is as simple as adding that number to your Google Voice account. Ooma also offers some additional nifty features like Instant Second Line, Multi-ring, and Call Blocking for a monthly subscription of $9.99. A 60-day free trial of Ooma Premier is included with the Telo.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a little cheaper, you might consider the Obihai Obi110 ($49.99) or the Obi100 ($43.99), both are great solutions for integrating your existing phone handsets into Google Voice. These devices use the actual SIP calling function that was added to Google Talk/Gmail last year.

Adding a CNAME Entry for a Domain (1&1 Hosting)

I recently needed to add a CNAME entry for a Zenfolio gallery to one of my clients domains (http://nikkimoorephotography.com) and it took me a bit of time to figure out just how to add a CNAME entry for the subdomain I was creating. It actually turns out to by pretty straight forward, my mistake was trying to find instructions on 1&1’s help site.

Here’s the breakdown…

  • First, log in to your account at https://admin.1and1.com
  • Click the Administration tab.
  • Click Domains. This will take you to the Domain Overview page.
  • From the New drop-down menu, click Create Subdomain. (If you already have a subdomain created, skip to the next step).
  • Create your desired subdomain, and click OK. For example, gallery.yourdomain.com
  • Click the checkbox next to the subdomain you just created.
  • Select the DNS menu, click Edit DNS Settings.
  • Select the radio button next to CNAME.
  • Enter your desired domain in the Alias field. In my case, I used zenfolio.com
  • Click OK.

That’s it! Now you just have to wait for your changes to propagate fully.

Removing the Vertical Buttons from iTunes 10

One of the first things I noticed about iTunes 10 was those ridiculously awful vertical buttons. Seriously, what were they thinking? And as a fellow developer pointed out, that even violates Apples own Human Interface Guidelines… Not to mention it’s a crime against humanity.

Someone much craftier than I figured out that all you need to do to restore those buttons back to their horizontial counterparts is open up a Terminal window and enter the following:

defaults write com.apple.iTunes full-window -1

Press Enter, close Terminal and restart or open iTunes. You should see things are now back to normal.

Top 10: Ideas For Beginning Bloggers

Photo courtesy of Elwood Photography.

I would like to start out today by setting the record straight. I’m not some big deal blogger that churns out real groundbreaking posts that continually make their way around the internet. For those, you’d have to talk to Aaron, he’s the head honcho that’s actually been recognized by one of the big time blogs. If you found this post and you are just starting out as a blogger, or are struggling for ideas, then I’m just like you.

Today marks the end of the 2nd full month that I’ve had a post every single day. I’ll be the first to admit that not all of those were great posts, but when you are starting out, you can’t expect to strike gold with every post. It’s about getting into the habit of blogging. With experience comes more worthwhile posts, and eventually, it all comes together… I’m still waiting for the whole ‘coming together’ moment with my own writing!

After the jump I’ll give you my top 10 tips for beginning bloggers, some relate to blog post ideas, some I’m still working on myself, but hopefully you find a point or two to help you get started with your own blog. I’ll also include some links to some other great resources that I’ve used. Continue reading Top 10: Ideas For Beginning Bloggers