Firefox Features for the Firefox Challanged

April 29, 2008

Lifehacker has an interesting feature on getting Firefox’s best features in Internet Explorer — which kind of leaves aside the fact that for many of us, Firefox’s BEST feature is that it ISN’T Internet Explorer.

If however, you absolutely have to live with IE (I won’t shame you by name, you know who you are), you might be able to find a few tips here…

Sitcoms and Cognitive Heat Sinks

April 29, 2008

If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth your time to spend a couple of minutes watching Clay Shirky’s wonderful presentation from Web 2.0 Expo – Gin, Television, and Social Surplus.

“I’m willing to raise that to a general principle. It’s better to do something than to do nothing. Even lolcats, even cute pictures of kittens made even cuter with the addition of cute captions, hold out an invitation to participation.”

If you’d rather read than watch, there’s a transcript available on Clay’s blog – Gin, Television, and Social Surplus.

Read it, watch it, but either way, spread this around — everybody needs to think about this, even if it’s just a little…

Kindle Screen Failure, Replacement

April 23, 2008

Gadgets fail. Some more than others, but that’s what they do. Assuming that the failure rate isn’t completely excessive, what separates one gadget (and vendor) from another is often just how well they support their product.

My Kindle has been slowly failing for the past couple of weeks.

I first noticed that the book I was reading didn’t have a title. I figured it was just a glitch in the book file, but it became clear that what happened was that the top quarter-inch or so of the display was just not displaying (or displaying so faintly it couldn’t be read).

Not too much later, I also had a “white line” down the left edge of the page, which was causing the leftmost pixels of the first letter of each sentence to disappear.
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Twitter – what we’ve got here is a failure to communicate…

April 21, 2008

Twitter has been having a bad day — for about three days now. It’s hard to imagine how they managed to stay up solid during SXSW and still fail miserably on some random weekend a month later.

Oh well. I’m tired of watching the few tweets that get through bitching about it being broke. I shut down my Twitter client; somebody wake me when the thing works again.

Dish Network adds Sci Fi HD, USA HD, CNN HD – Finally

April 18, 2008

Battlestar Galactica

Too bad they didn’t have it for the start of the Battlestar Galactica season, but Dish has finally added HD channels for Sci Fi, USA Network and CNN.

I just double checked, and Sci Fi HD at least is on my receiver. Unfortunately, no guide information yet — I may just have to manually start recording Battlestar Galactica tonight. It’s also great news for those tuning in for the season launch of Doctor Who, also.

Along with USA, this finishes out most of my HD must-haves — what are you still waiting to see in HD?

In Egypt, Cellphone Jailbreaks YOU

April 16, 2008

Of course, it wasn’t so much the cellphone that did the trick as it was Twitter:

When Egyptian police scooped up UC Berkeley graduate journalism student James Karl Buck, who was photographing a noisy demonstration, and dumped him in a jail cell last week, they didn’t count on Twitter.

Buck, 29, a former Oakland Tribune multimedia intern, used the ubiquitous short messaging service to tap out a single word on his cellular phone: ARRESTED. The message went out to the cell phones and computers of a wide circle of friends in the United States and to the mostly leftist, anti-government bloggers in Egypt who are the subject of his graduate journalism project.

The next day, he walked out a free man with an Egyptian attorney hired by UC Berkeley at his side and the U.S. Embassy on the phone.

So who still thinks Twitter is useless?

(from Mercury News)

(that title would have worked so much better had it been an iPhone <sigh>)

Back when the commercials sucked worse than the coffee…

April 16, 2008

Of course, if he tried this today, “Harvey” would be in the emergency room with 3rd degree hot coffee burns to the groin while being served his divorce papers… On the other hand, if the coffee was so bad that instant was an improvement, maybe ol’ Harv had a point…

(via Boing Boing)

4 Hidden Costs of WordPress Sites

April 15, 2008

I’ve written before about WordPress and similar “baby CMS” products being great alternatives for small business web sites.

They can be configured to have the same look and feel as the typical “static” small business site, with the following added advantages:

  • Old pages can be updated and new pages can be added without having to have in-house web design skills, or hire a developer to make minor changes.
  • The “blogging” side of the system can be configured as a press release section, article library or other form of regularly added content, encouraging visitor retention, re-visitation and added search engine traffic.
  • Proper theme development and plug-in use can offer substantial search engine optimization with little or no manual intervention.

As a result, many small business owners have turned to having sites developed (or redeveloped) either partially or completely within WordPress. Unfortunately, they often overlook some of the hidden on-going costs of such sites:
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GrandCentral, Faith and Web 2.0

April 13, 2008

GrandCentral is down right now, to much gnashing of teeth [techcrunch].

I’ve been a big fan of GrandCentral since the beginning, and I still am. But I didn’t trust them back when they were a plucky startup, and that didn’t change with their acquisition by Google.

One of their original promises was “a free phone number for life”. Unfortunately, “life” on the internet is usually 3-5 years, less time off for bad behavior or poor market estimation.
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The Return of the Prodigal – Demonoid is Back

April 11, 2008

Holy crap, Demonoid is back!

What was once arguably the best of the private Bittorent trackers, Demonoid started being beset by problems last June, and finally went down apparently permanently last November, after a rather frantic server move. It was unclear to most folks whether the problem was legal issues, server or hosting issues, or issues that the site admin (Deimos) had to work out unrelated to the site.

After appearing down for the count, Demonoid is now back up, under the management of a friend of the old side admin. Old logins still work — if you had an account, you can probably log back in in now, although users are warned to expect some sporadic downtime.

More details are available from Torrent Freak.

Disclaimer: I don’t suggest doing anything that’s illegal in whatever jurisdiction you may happen to live in (yes, there are legitimate uses for bittorrents). I also do not have any invitations available, and I will delete any requests for invites unanswered.

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