960 Grid System

December 2nd, 2011 Posted by Public 0 comments on “960 Grid System”

Check out this nice 960 pixel grid system. A great tool for designing websites that are proportional and look great.


Reset “Use Secure in Front End or Admin” in Database – Magento

October 8th, 2011 Posted by Public 10 comments on “Reset “Use Secure in Front End or Admin” in Database – Magento”

I ran into an issue this week where I switched on SSL on a development site and then realized the SSL cert was not installed correctly. This is a big issue in Magento because there is no way to get back to the admin to switch it back off.

If this ever happens do the following to switch back:

1. Open up your admin panel (cPanel or other)
2. Go to phpMyAdmin (if MySql)
3. Find your Magento Database
4. Find table “core_config_data”
5. Look for the columns “web/secure/use_in_frontend” and “web/secure/use_in_adminhtml”
6. Edit both values, make them equal to “0”

After this is done you will be back in action.

Ford Accessories – Live

July 11th, 2011 Posted by Public 0 comments on “Ford Accessories – Live”

The new Ford Motor Company Accessories website is now launched on Magento Enterprise.

Go buy something!

Ford Accessories
Lincoln Accessories
Mercury Accessories

CMS Block in Transactional Email Template – Magento

June 3rd, 2011 Posted by Public 0 comments on “CMS Block in Transactional Email Template – Magento”

Promotional content in order confirmation, shipping notice, etc emails are common in eCommerce – here is a tiny code snippet to make this possible in Magento (Community or Enterprise). I recently added this to the Enterprise implementation for my current customer and everything appears to be working without issue.

1. Add reference to CMS block in transactional email template

 {{block type="cms/block" block_id="ford-order-confirmation-promotions" }}

2. Create CMS block, make sure identifier of block matches.
3. Test your email

Simple right? This could be taken a step further with a little code to select a CMS block based on certain conditions (customer type, purchase history, etc). Anyone want to share that code?

Show SKU in Magento Shopping Cart

April 16th, 2011 Posted by Public 2 comments on “Show SKU in Magento Shopping Cart”

Quick code addition to display the product SKU in the shopping cart in Magento.

Copy the file “default.phtml” from here: “app/design/frontend/default/default/template/checkout/cart/item/” to your local template directory.

Something like “app/design/frontend/default/”your_template”/template/checkout/cart/item/”

Add the following under the product title:

        SKU: <?php echo $_item->getSku() ?>  


<h4 class="title"><a href="<?php echo $this->getProductUrl() ?>"><?php echo $this->getProductName() ?> </a></h4>
        SKU: <?php echo $_item->getSku() ?>  

Auto Populate Cross Sell with Products from Current Category Magento

April 16th, 2011 Posted by Public 26 comments on “Auto Populate Cross Sell with Products from Current Category Magento”

eCommerce Data is clear – you need to have cross sell items for every product in your catalog to help conversion.  The usual process consists of manually associating items in the Magento Admin interface.  This process works fine if you have hundreds or even a few thousand items – OR – you have this data in back end systems.

What happens if you don’t have the data and you have 15,000+ items in your catalog?

  • Hire someone to associate all products?
  • Randomly apply products in your data feed?
  • Develop custom code?

All of the above items are true for my Medical Supplies business – Medical Delivered so I needed a solution.  I decided to auto assign cross sell products on the front end on product page render.

In action: http://www.medicaldelivered.com/medline-k1-excel-wheelchair.html


  1. The item must be “visible”
  2. The item must reside in the same category as the current item
  3. Don’t display the item from the current product detail page


  1. All products automatically have cross sells displayed
  2. No need to assign products on the back end
  3. BAD:  Less control over items displayed

This solution won’t work for everyone, if you are an advanced retailer you won’t want to lose this control but if you just want cross sells and don’t have the time/resources to define manually you can try the code below.

Path:  app/design/frontend/default/<template>/catalog/product/list/upsell.phtml

(you may need to create this path – make sure to replace <template> with your template name)

* Magento
* This source file is subject to the Academic Free License (AFL 3.0)
* that is bundled with this package in the file LICENSE_AFL.txt.
* It is also available through the world-wide-web at this URL:
* http://opensource.org/licenses/afl-3.0.php
* If you did not receive a copy of the license and are unable to
* obtain it through the world-wide-web, please send an email
* to license@magentocommerce.com so we can send you a copy immediately.
* Do not edit or add to this file if you wish to upgrade Magento to newer
* versions in the future. If you wish to customize Magento for your
* needs please refer to http://www.magentocommerce.com for more information.
* @category   design_default
* @package    Mage
* @copyright  Copyright (c) 2008 Irubin Consulting Inc. DBA Varien (http://www.varien.com)
* @license    http://opensource.org/licenses/afl-3.0.php  Academic Free License (AFL 3.0)
* @author        Nick Cron
* @authorweb  www.njcmedia.com
$_related = $this->getProduct();
// get the parent id to skip
$_parentid = $_related->getId();

if ($_related) {
// get collection of categories this product is associated with
$categories =$_related->getCategoryCollection()
->setPage(1, 1)

// if the product is associated with any category
if ($categories->count())
foreach ($categories as $_category)
$cur_category = Mage::getModel('catalog/category')->load($_category->getId());


<div><h4><?php echo $this->__('You may also be interested in the following product(s)') ?></h4></div>
<table cellspacing="0" id="upsell-product-table">



$visibility = array(

$products = Mage::getResourceModel('catalog/product_collection')
->addAttributeToFilter('visibility', $visibility)


// count the number of displayed products

foreach ( $products as $productModel )       {
$_related = Mage::getModel('catalog/product')->load($productModel->getId());
$_realtedid = $_related->getId();

// prevents displaying the same product your are already on
if ($_realtedid != $_parentid && $_i<4):


<p><a href="<?php echo $_related->getProductUrl() ?>"><img src="<?php echo $this->helper('catalog/image')->init($_related, 'small_image')->resize(125) ?>" width="125" height="125" alt="<?php echo $this->htmlEscape($_related->getName()) ?>" /></a></p>
<h5><a href="<?php echo $_related->getProductUrl() ?>"><?php echo $this->htmlEscape($_related->getName()) ?></a></h5>

<?php echo $this->getPriceHtml($_related, true) ?>
<?php echo $this->getReviewsSummaryHtml($_related) ?>

// increment displayed products


<?php }
<script type="text/javascript">decorateTable('upsell-product-table')</script>

Room for improvement:

  1. Display items from the back end if exist
  2. Display only items with images
  3. ..?

I hope this helps someone.  If you have any suggestions for improvement or code upgrades/fixes please let me know in the comments.

Magento: Remove auto breaks (“br/”) from product description

April 16th, 2011 Posted by Public 2 comments on “Magento: Remove auto breaks (“br/”) from product description”

By Default Magento automatically adds


html tags to product descriptions for display on the customer interface.  If you have created a nice description with the WYSIWYG Editor or imported HTML descriptions you most likely want to remove this behavior.   Luckily this is not hard to do.

1.  Find the file “description.phtml” here:  /app/design/frontend/base/default/template/catalog/product/view/description.phtml

2. Make a local copy by copying the file to your local template.  You may need to create the same path in your Magento template (you never want to change core code for upgrade reasons).

New Path: app/design/frontend/default/<template name>/template/catalog/product/view/description.phtml

3.  Remove the “nl2br” tag


<?php echo $this->helper('catalog/output')->productAttribute($this->getProduct(), nl2br($this->getProduct()->getDescription()), 'description') ?>


<?php echo $this->helper('catalog/output')->productAttribute($this->getProduct(),     $this->getProduct()->getDescription()), 'description' ?>

4.  Upload the file to your server.

Increase Magic Mouse Speed

April 3rd, 2011 Posted by Public 0 comments on “Increase Magic Mouse Speed”

Here is a simple little fix to increase the speed of your Apple Magic Mouse.  If you are like me you don’t want to move the mouse around alot to get the cursor to the right place.  This is especially true for multi-monitor setups where there is quite a bit of screen space to navigate.

Lucky for us someone has solved this problem with free software for your Mac.   Download MouseZoom X – and you will be off and running.

The program adds a little control under “Other” in your systems settings panel which allows you to increase your magic mouse speed.

Crutchfield Call Center: Customer Redirect Feature

March 17th, 2011 Posted by Public 3 comments on “Crutchfield Call Center: Customer Redirect Feature”

I recently called the Crutchfield (www.crutchfield.com) customer support line at 1-800-319-8264 and had an amazing experience. There are some really interesting things Crutchfield is doing in the their call center, other retailers should take notice.

There were two main features that really impressed me:

1. Indication of the number of call center agents available in real time

2. Web ID value allowing session control from the call center

Real Time Call Center Status

BACKGROUND: I was looking to replace an existing surround sound system with a new receiver with HDMI switching to support some new devices.   I wondered if my existing speakers could be used so I checked the impedance and found they run on 4 ohms but the receiver I was looking at was only stable from 8+ ohms.  I wanted to check into some creative wiring techniques to increase the impedance to 8 ohms so I decided I would give Crutchfield a call.

I noticed in the header of the site the call center number was changing based on my location on the site – I am guessing to send me to the correct department.   The unique aspect was a indication of the number of representatives available to answer my call.  I noticed this number was changing in real time (assuming AJAX) so my expectation was set that an actual human would eventually answer.

When I noticed a few agents were available I called.  I was surprised when after 2 rings an agent answered.  I started by telling them I needed to speak to someone about home audio – I assumed I would be transferred.   Instead the agent said, “What do you need to know”.  I then told him the model of my existing system (I have had it for ~4 years) and he was familiar with it and had all the answers right away.  AWESOME!

Session Control via Web ID

At this point I was impressed with the service and had developed some trust with this agent (he obviously knew what he was talking about).  We had determined that my existing system would need a major overhaul to work as desired so I asked for suggestions on replacing the whole system.  As expected he had lots of suggestions but this is where a feature I have not seen previously came into play.

This is how it went:

Call Center – “I would like to show you an item, can you scroll to the bottom of the page and read me the web id number”

Me – “Sure, let me take a look”

Call Center – “Thanks, now please refresh your page”

Me – “Ok” (wondering what would happen)

After refresh I was on the product detail page for the item he wanted me to see.  WOW!

Why does this matter?

1. The call center agent does not have to read me a SKU and tell me to enter it (lots of room for error)

2. The call center agent is ensured I will be looking at the correct page

3. This method is “idiot proof” – no time telling customers where the search box is, how to search, etc

4. This could be used for multiple purposes – think help pages, checkout, etc

How does it work?

Note: I am guessing here

1. Assign unique session ID for each visitor (most if not all systems do this automatically)

2. Assign Web ID numbers for each active session (display Web ID mapped to session in footer)

3. Allow Call Center agents to enter a next URL for the session by Web ID

4. Control the session via the web/app server and push the redirect URL for the next request

This sounds pretty easy conceptually but would get complicated with a clustered environment and lots of active sessions.

What do you think?  I have a feeling we might see this feature popping up around the web soon.  I might even make a Magento Extension for this session control feature.  Let me know if you would be interested in using this extension.

WordPress 3.1: Show widget content in Thickbox overlay

March 7th, 2011 Posted by Public 1 comment on “WordPress 3.1: Show widget content in Thickbox overlay”

Follow these steps to add thickbox support to your WordPress site and display the contents of a widget in the thickbox overlay.

High Level Process:

  1. Add thickbox support to WordPress theme
  2. Register Custom widget
  3. Reference widget in theme code
  4. Add widget content

Step 1: Add thickbox

There are a number of WordPress plugins for thickbox that should do this for you, however I was unable to get them to work on WordPress 3.1 and not automatically change image behavior.  In this case I want to control when thickbox is used.

1. Get thickbox code at thickbox website http://jquery.com/demo/thickbox/

2. Add reference to js file in header of theme

Path: <root>/wp-content/themes/<your theme>/header.php


<script type="text/javascript" src="<?php bloginfo('template_url'); ?>/js/jquery.js"></script>

<script type="text/javascript" src="<?php bloginfo('template_url'); ?>/js/thickbox.js"></script>


<script type="text/javascript" src="<?php bloginfo('template_url'); ?>/js/jquery.js"></script>

<script type="text/javascript" src="<?php bloginfo('template_url'); ?>/js/thickbox-compressed.js"></script>

2.  Create “js” folder and save thickbox.js or thickbox-compressed.js to the folder and upload to your server (also jquery if this does not already exist)

Path: <root>/wp-content/themes/<your theme>/js/

3. Add reference to thickbox.css OR add thickbox styles to your existing style sheet

Step 2: Register Custom Widget

Path: <root>/wp-content/themes/<your theme>/functions.php


if ( function_exists('register_sidebar') ) {

'name' => 'Contact Links',


Step 3. Add link to custom widget with thickbox tags and add custom widget reference:

Path: <root>/wp-content/themes/<your theme>/header.php

NOTE: Could be any page in your theme, in this case the link is in the header of the theme.

<a href="#TB_inline?height=400&width=600&inlineId=contact-links"
title="link title">Link</a>

Path: <root>/wp-content/themes/<your theme>/footer.php

NOTE: Could be any page in your theme, in this case I wanted on all pages but at the bottom of the code for SEO.

<div id="contact-links" style="display:none;">
<?php if ( !function_exists('dynamic_sidebar') || !dynamic_sidebar('Contact Links') ) : ?>
<?php endif; ?>

Step 4. Add widget content in Appearance > Widgets in administration UI

If you added the reference correctly you should see the following:

Add any widget content you wish, in this case a custom text widget was used.

Step 5: Test

Your setup is now complete, upload all new files and test your new thickbox link.  If needed add CSS to style the widget and change the height, width parameters on the link.

Let me know if this works for you or if I can be of assistance.  Also, is there an easier way to do this?  A plugin maybe?