Excel Template to Create a List of all Files in a Folder and Subfolders

I have always needed (wanted) the ability to create a list of all filenames inside a specified folder and its subfolders on my computer including additional information like file types, sizes, dates and path lengths.

After a bit of Googling I found a little tool which automatically creates a list of all files inside a specified folder and all its subfolders, including the file names, the paths, the file types, the dates (created, last modified, last accessed) and the lengths of the path and filename.

If you are interested, here is the free download:

Download retrieve filenames from folder and subfolders (Zipped Excel 2016 Macro-Enabled Workbook, 29K)

Download, unzip and open the tool, enable macros, click on the import icon at the top of the sheet, select a folder and wait until the code is finished (the status bar at bottom left shows the progress).

Please be advised that the code is not optimized for performance. Importing approximately 500 files from a folder on my computer took about 7 seconds.

Posted in Excel Tools, Excel Tutorials | Tagged | Leave a comment

Direct Marketing Magalogs

What are Magalogs?

AMagalogs - Direct Marketing Magalogss you’ve probably guessed, the word magalog is traditionally considered to be a cross between magazine and catalog. I say traditionally because the way words and names evolve over time, I have no doubt that someone has another origin for the word. But for now, magalog + catalog is good enough for us in the realm of direct marketing. (Note that some people use the word catazine instead of magalog.)

Magalogs – Sales Letter on Steroids

Magalogs are basically a sales letter on steroids. Like many sales letters, magalogs will start with a “big idea” or “promise” headline, include graphics and charts, some sidebars and an order form to go along with the main body copy. But with the magalog, we’re usually creating something with a stronger visual appeal, much like you’d notice in a magazine or even a high-end newsletter.

With magalogs, the sky’s the limit…or more accurately, the budget is the limit.

Magalogs must be appealing to read. Obviously, there will be sales copy, but a great copywriter is going to find nuggets of information to sprinkle throughout the magalog; info that people might actually want to share with other people.

Magalogs can sell a single product or service, or many. Most usually focus on a single product, with the copy focused on creating the desire and supporting the claims that are being made.

Magalogs have no set size or page count, although 8.5″ x 11″ is a common size and 12-16 pages is a common page count. Once you start significantly changing those variables, the discussion moves into things like slim jims and bookalogs.

Click to see Magalog Examples by Tommy Hilfiger

What is a Slim Jim?

Slim Jim - Direct Marketing MagalogsIf you do a search on slim jim, you’re hit with food and locksmith-related entries. For our purposes, though, a slim jim is part of the magalog family.

Where a magalog is traditionally about 8.5 x 11 inches, a slim jim is around 5.5 x 10 inches. So the primary difference is that a slim jim is narrower than a magalog and can be shorter in height. Printing and mailing costs can affect the size and sometimes a change in the size can have a significant impact on costs. Talk to a print broker if you don’t have a printer you trust looking out for you.

Because a slim jim is smaller than a magalog in physical size, it’s often larger in terms of page count. The smallest slim jim I’ve seen was 24 pages. That doesn’t mean a slim jim can’t have fewer pages. But if a company is wanting to test a magalog against a slim jim, obviously the smaller size of the slim jim will require more pages to hold the same amount of copy.

So Why Use a Slim Jim?

  1. It gives you a different look. Don’t forget that part of the goal of any marketing piece is to stand out and be read. The slim jim format is different in size from magazines and traditional first-class mail. So it stands out.
  2. There can be a benefit in terms of printing and mailing compared to a typical magalog. There can be other variables involved in those costs. But it’s worth keeping that in mind when considering a magalog vs. a slim jim.

While it would be the designer’s challenge and not yours, you should be aware of how a slim jim affects order forms and longer sidebars. The challenge for you or your copywriter will be to keep the content to a minimum on the order form.

What is a Bookalog?

Bookalog - Direct Marketing MagalogsA bookalog is a variation of a magalog. As you might guess from the name, the bookalog is much like a small, paperback book. As with magalogs, bookalog sizes vary, but 5.5 inches by 8.5 inches is pretty common. For page count, it can be all over the map. I’ve seen one that was over 70 pages. And like magalogs, bookalogs tend to be done in page increments of four… 24, 28, 32, 36, etc.

The style can vary as well. Some are just as colorful as a traditional magalog. Others are just like a fiction or non-fiction book with no graphics and a single, black color for the text. For the binding, bookalogs can be saddle-stitched (stapled in the spine) or perfect-bound which is the same as the paperback books you buy at the bookstore. The page count will help determine what type of binding you’ll need.

Bookalog – Another Way to Stand Out

Like others formats in the magalog family, bookalogs have their place. Because bookalogs tend to have more pages, they have a bit more weight which helps them stand out in the pile of mail you get each day. Simply the fact that a bookalog looks different from the rest of your mail gives it an extra glance when other marketing mail in the pile is being ignored.

There can also be a perception of higher value with a bookalog because, generally speaking, we place a higher value on books. And, it’s not every day someone is marketing to you in the mail through a book. Again, it stands out.

Some people use the bookalog format for long copy that’s currently converting well for them online. Realizing that not everyone is online or will stumble across them online, they want to reach “offline” prospects as well.

If the copy has been working well as a traditional printed sales letter, you might try the bookalog format as a test. If the style is remaining basically the same as the sales letter, and you’re not adding lots of new graphics or colors, the bookalog can be a more affordable format to test compared to a traditional magalog, at least in terms of the design cost.

The bookalog format could be a mini book filled with business or success-building ideas, but with a strong sales component leading people to sign-up for those workshops or seminars. A bookalog might also be used to provide multiple samples of books that a company markets.

What is an Issuelog?

Issuelog - Direct Marketing MagalogsWe’ll keep this short as you already know most of what you need to know about the magalog family. An issuelog is simply a magalog that looks more like an issue of a newsletter than a magazine.

As you might expect, one use of an issuelog is to promote subscriptions to high-end newsletters.

An issuelog may even have more of a newspaper feel in terms of using less expensive paper. That’s usually different from a magalog where, when possible and appropriate, you want to use better-quality paper so colors and graphics look as sharp as possible.


Posted in Direct Marketing, Magalogs | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Qeepsake Baby Journal Review

Qeepsake Baby Journal is the text message baby book, an online service for parents to capture memorable things about or for their kids to share with them when they’re older. Baby keepsake memory books for the modern parent.

Qeepsake Baby Journal - Qeepsake Text Message Baby BookIn this day and age, everyone is using smartphones for just about everything. That is what makes the Qeepsake app such a fantastic idea for keepsake journals. Qeepsake is a NEW service for parents that helps capture and archive favorite moments that they have had with their children. Those special memories that you never, ever want to forget? They are safely stored in with Qeepsake:

  • Qeepsake uses text messaging to prompt parents daily (or less often) with an insightful question from our proprietary database of questions.
  • Parents add Qeepsake as a contact in their phone and send in text and picture messages.
  • The parent’s response is stored privately and securely in their Qeepsake account on the website.

You Can:

  • Save funny quotes from your kiddos
  • Track likes and dislikes
  • Record milestones and more
  • Then you can choose how often you want to receive questions

Qeepsake Captures Memories You Might Miss

Qeepsake Baby Journal texts you a question about your child each day. Once a day, Qeepsake Baby Journal texts you a thought-provoking question about your child. Just text back a response to the question and an entry is added to your child’s journal.

Parents Baby Book Memory Journal Online

When your kids are old enough, share your Qeepsake baby journal with them, or print a Qeepsake Journal for Parents. Capture the happy times, crazy times, proud moments, funny things.

Built by Parents of 5 Children

When our first was born, we envisioned journaling every precious moment. But we soon realized how difficult it was to stay disciplined. So we created Qeepsake Baby Journal for ourselves, and now we’re excited to introduce it to the world!

Qeepsake Baby Journal


Elizabeth, parent of 2-yr-old
“I love receiving a daily text asking a simple questions…I’m terrible about making time to journal, so the quick, daily, specific questions and the ability to text a thought at any time is awesome.”

Jonathan, parent of 1-yr-old
“I’m not a writer or someone who journals, but I like the idea of having the memories to cherish later and for my kids to have. Qeepsake Baby Journal gives me a quick and easy way to do that, and the questions stimulate me to think about fun things about my son that I want to remember.”

Qeepsake Baby Journal

Posted in Apps, Reviews, Tools | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weird Trick to Stop Procrastinating

A Simple Brain Hack Shows You How to Stop Procrastinating and Get Motivated

When it comes to helping you learn how to stop procrastinating and get motivated plus be more productive there is a trick that I have found works fairly well to stop procrastinating. And it works for even the most intimidating, nightmarish tasks on your to-do list.

In fact, it works especially for those cluster-funks involving multiple people and multiple moving parts on multiple timelines.

stop procrastinatingThis sense of dread in the face of many of our to-do’s is a big reason why our long to-do lists stay so damn long. Because our natural reaction is avoidance of the task (aka, procrastination), often in the irrational hope that it might somehow just go away, or that you’ll find some magic bullet idea that will result in its swift elimination through a sweeping act of genius.

Yep, that happens. Never. Not ever.

Let your mind munch on the disarmingly simple brain hack I’m about to share. What I mean by disarmingly simple is that it mainly involves little more than the act of giving yourself permission to stop procrastinating. To fail in a small way. To be slightly imperfect. If you can just do that, this hack (oops, I meant trick!) will work wonders for SOME of you.

To get us started though, I need to paraphrase Dr. Neil Fiore from his book The Now Habit. In it, he basically says the following about how to stop procrastinating

Never look at a big project and say, “I have to finish that dang thing”. Because you’ll be less likely to schedule time to do it. The thought of having to finish is the surest way to invoke all the mental and physical chemistry that supports continued procrastination.

The more painful or perceived-to-be painful a given task is, the more we will try to seek relief in avoidance. And the notion of having to finish something is almost always painful or threatening.

Worrying about finishing, he says, is a form of perfectionism. Your failed attempts at finishing when you do take up the task, reinforce your belief that such tasks are…unfinishable! You will then wait for that 11th hour jolt to drag you – kicking and screaming – into the finishing…which will surely yield a less-than-perfect end product.

Stop Procrastinating

Do not think about finishing. Instead, says Fiore, just schedule time to START. OK, sounds easy enough, right?

Well, not when there’s that sense of overwhelm and dread we get when confronted by tough tasks. Not when we’re unable to fathom WHERE to start on a complex to-do. And not when we’re afraid to begin because we know we’ll just get bogged down soon after starting…or that we’ll do such a lousy job at it that…well, Why bother?!!

Now, the trick that lets you hack through all those forms of paralysis is simply to give yourself permission to start. And you do that by…

  1. Giving yourself permission to NOT finish.
  2. Giving yourself permission to be imperfect.
  3. Giving yourself permission to FAIL (to finish).

And that last one’s key. Drop all expectations of finishing. The only thing you need to do is start, with no demand on yourself other than to give it a few minutes’ effort.

This is the gift that accrues to us when we just give ourselves permission to START. That is, to fail. To be imperfect. To NOT finish.

Weird, huh? Get weird with me and try it. I bet you’ll find that it works.

Stop Procrastinating!

Posted in Time Management, Tips | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Google Mobile-Friendly Update is a Game Changer

Google’s recent announcement in their Webmaster Central Blog, uncovers some details of the Google Mobile-Friendly Update – a major algorithm update to be released on April 21st.

As stated, “…Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

In an effort to ensure that search results are relevant and add value to the user’s search experience, Google periodically makes changes to the algorithm it uses for determining search results rankings. The announced update includes provisions for improving the mobile search experience. The Google Mobile-friendly update changes ensure that results can be accessed on a mobile device and that local options are returned based on information collected by the mobile device.

The new algorithm will have a major impact on mobile users, since the ranking system will detect whether a mobile device is being used and returns results accordingly. In other words, those who are using a mobile device to search with Google will be able to browse results that are ranked by mobile device accessibility. This move towards a mobile-friendly search experience will be applied worldwide. The intended result from this change in the algorithm for mobile devices is that users will be able to easily access the most relevant results specifically optimized for mobile use.

How the Google Mobile-Friendly Update Affects Online Stores

While the change won’t have an impact on rankings for searches performed in desktop-based browsers, it will dramatically change the results returned for users on mobile devices. The change represents a great opportunity for businesses that are already Mobile-Friendly, or that are willing to move forward with adopting the new Mobile Friendly standards.

Traditional mobile stores solutions – including dedicated mobile apps, while allowing shoppers to access your website on-the-go, doesn’t necessarily mean that your website will meet the Google Mobile-Friendly Update requirements.

For many online retailers (especially anyone using an open-source or older solution), transitioning the existing website to a “Responsive Design” might become a challenge, to which the only solution might be investing a large amount of resources, or switching to newer hosted platforms.

Test to See if Your Online Store is Mobile-Friendly

To find out if your Online Store is Mobile-Friendly, Google is providing an Online Tool that can easily help determine if your site meets the requirements.

If you store currently passes this test, you’ll benefit from the changes to come by getting more traffic and increased rankings over your competitor that might not be up to challenge.

To test your site online, visit the Google Mobile Friendly Test page.

Google Mobile-Friendly Update Will Catch Many Online Stores Off Guard

Google’s guidelines for Mobile-Friendly websites are pretty recent, and most websites are not ready for the change.

Online stores that are not Mobile-Friendly are encouraged to begin migrating their current design over to an html5 template system.

For additional details about the upcoming Google Mobile-Friendly Update, check the official Google announcement.

Posted in E-commerce | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Marketing Quotes March 2015

Listed below are quotes I actually remembered after reading a promotional eBook by HubSpot called “101 Awesome Marketing Quotes.” 

As you’ll see I could only remember 4 marketing quotes out of 101 so maybe tone down the lists HubSpot…we all got it…customers love lists! 

Enough babble…on to the marketing quotes!

“Clarity trumps persuasion.”

– Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Director at MecLabs

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about.”

– Benjamin Franklin

“Authenticity, honesty, and personal voice underlie much of what’s successful on the Web.”

– Rick Levine, Co-Author The Cluetrain Manifesto

“Those who build and perpetuate mediocrity…are motivated more by the fear of being left behind.”

– Jim Collins, author of Good to Great 

(Personal Addendum: “Good to Great” was one of the first business books I bought on my own and actually read from beginning to end.)

Effective Marketing Quotes

Posted in Quotes Around Town, Reviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Clearing Annoying Cookies with Browser Extensions

Browser extensions can help you alleviate the numerous ways Cookies and Browser Cache can build up over time no matter what browser you may use. I have listed two add-ons/extensions that I have found to be very useful for clearing cookies, browser cache, etc.:

Recommended Browser Extensions

Chrome-ClickandCleanClick&Clean is one of the best, free, fast and easiest-to-use Google Chrome Browser Extensions that can be used as a powerful private data Cleaner. It’s one of the top-rated browser extensions in the Chrome Web Store and are actively used by over 400000 home users, small-business owners, everyone who want to protect their browsing history and other private information from third party data collection or snooping.

acm-firefox Browser ExtensionsAdvanced Cookie Manager (Mozilla Forefox): One of the top must have extensions for Web Developers and Testers to Manage and monitor web cookies.

Features List: Add, Delete, Modify, Export / Backup, Import / Restore, Monitor cookies

Browser Extensions – Not the Same as Plug-ins

Note that browser extensions, or add-ons, aren’t the same as browser plug-ins. “Plug-ins” are things like Adobe Flash, Oracle Java, or Microsoft Silverlight. They enable websites to embed and render content like Flash movies, PDFs, or Java applets, for example — that are rendered with the plug-in. Plug-ins are a common target for attackers because websites can load them and exploit bugs in them, while extensions are different. Websites you visit can’t use your extensions to do anything. Essentially, extensions add features you can use, while plug-ins add features websites can use.

If you were hoping to learn about Extensions for Internet Explorer, stop reading this post and download Chrome immediately!

Chrome Browser Extensions | Firefox Extensions

Posted in Tips, Tools | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Develop Strong Relationships as Project Managers

project managersProject Managers know that one of the most important elements in successfully delivering their project is their relationship with your team. Project methodologies, best practices and planning tools are certainly important and are needed for the delivery of successful projects. But they are only two pieces of the total puzzle. The third piece is your relationship with people – and the most important people on your project is your team.

Project Managers are Project Leaders

Strong team relationships are important project manager skills because project managers are project leaders and need the cooperation of their team in order to successfully deliver the project. Without your team and their expertise, you truly will get nowhere. So get your team “on board” through displaying totally commitment and dedication to the project’s goal.

The challenge project managers face is that they often have to share team members with other projects or commitments. For example, I normally have team members that are assigned to my projects for 25% or 50% of their available time. The other 50% or 75% has been assigned to other tasks, like production support (sound familiar?). This puts a lot of strain on the team members as they must constantly multitask in order to get all their assigned tasks completed. Will your project tasks be at the top of their lists of “to dos” today? Well, it depends, doesn’t it? In most cases, if you have built a strong relationship with your team, and received their individual commitments to complete their project tasks, nothing will prevent them from meeting those commitments.

Project Managers Need to Build Strong Team Relationships

It’s very simple. It’s all about Trust, Honesty and Fun. Strong team relationships are built on a foundation of trust:

The team needs to know that you, as a Project Manager will support them, will do what you say you will…when you will (i.e. you have Integrity). This is a great confidence builder. The team needs to have the confidence that their team members will complete the tasks they have been assigned – on time.

The team members must understand that you trust them as well. Think about it – you did pick the right people for the tasks, didn’t you? Well, let them do their jobs. If they feel that you have no confidence in them, then they will perform accordingly.

The team must understand each other to the point where they believe that it is okay to be honest about anything. You as a Project Manager must be the driving force in nurturing this environment. Think of ways in which you can foster an honest, open environment and watch your level of team productivity rise.

And finally, getting to know your team on a social level could be the most powerful and quickest way of breaking down barriers and build strong and productive relationship as project managers.

Posted in Project Management | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Tablets are Popular and Not Going Away

Tablets Best 2014Tablets are one of the most popular gadgets in the present era. From toddlers to old people, everyone these days seems to be obsessed with gadgets, be it a smartphone, a tablet or a laptop. With technological advancements, you can do a number of things with these gadgets that are not anymore wants but needs; and soon they will be a must-have device for everybody.

Tablets have gained immense popularity over the last few years because of their compactness and functionality. They are versatile gadgets and are very popular with people from all age groups. However, tablets are very similar to smartphones and laptops; they are slightly bigger than phones and smaller than laptops and they can perform the functions of both.

Tablets are Useful

Professionals use them for office work, retired people use them to browse the internet and read news and the list goes on…Kids use them to play games, students use them for study purposes. Tablets also guarantee that what used to take a day pack to load the laptop, the mobile phone, calculator, camera and books and probably 20 pounds worth of other stuff, has been made wiped out. Accessing information is simple and the younger generations can have it all through small finger taps. Top of all, Tablets are little and thin, so they fit in back pockets and you don’t have to worry about a thing.

Tablets Don’t Replace Newspapers, they Enhance Content Delivery

Certainly, the tablet is the innovative means towards information technology. It can never be denied that tablets have changed the way people get along with their everyday tasks. People find it very beneficial and convenient to use tablets in their daily commitments, especially for work. Newspapers will be off the market and news dissemination will occur online; magazines will be available with e-readers; and textbooks will no longer be advised because students will soon be required to have their own tablets for easy access on e-books. If tablets are being updated and upgraded over and over again, PCs will also be subjected to development in the same manner.

The top tablets and tablet manufacturers that lead the way: Samsung Tablet, Android Tablets, Kindle Fire Tablet.

Who knows? Today may be the reign of tablets and tomorrow can be the day of PCs again. A closer at the Revolution of tablets look may prove more than just the puzzlement but an ever-present reality.

Posted in Electronics, Tablets | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Pushing Mint over Quicken

Quicken LogoSeen on prominent benefits company’s site regarding Quicken capabilities:

“Our website is not compatible with Quicken 2014 however, our software apparently communicates with Mint.com more easily, and the feeling is that Mint.com is what Intuit (who also does Quicken) is focusing more on as the future, so our developers and management believe that compatibility with Mint.com makes more sense.”

Mint logo“Therefore, if you care to use Mint.com, you will find that our website does work with it for pulling information.”

Quicken vs. Mint.com – My Thoughts

My feedback and ratings:

Quicken: 5 Stars
Mint.com: 3 Stars

Mint.com is trendy but sometimes trends stick!


Posted in Bank Marketing, Banking Software, Tools | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment