June 05, 2007
Sunbird and Google Calendar
I often have people wondering where I am. You know — Revenue Canada, bill collectors and the ex.
No, seriously though, it's more like business associates, clients, friends and family.
Last year I tried using an email notification that I sent out to my clients. This worked well, but there is always someone who misses receiving the message. This year I decided to use a calendar.
I learned that Google has a service you can sign up for that allows you to publish a calendar. Besides a public calendar I also wanted a private calendar, and preferably one that wasn't on the Internet. Sunbird was the answer. Using Sunbird I can create a private calendar and a public calendar and if I want to, I can view them both at once. See the image below:
The blue entries are public and
automatically published to my Google calendar.
The public calendar integrates with my Google calendar, and anything published in Sunbird automatically updates my calendar in Google. As well, if I am someplace other than in my office, I can add things to my Google calendar and the next time I open Sunbird in my office, it will already be updated from my Google entries.
Once you have signed up for the Google calendar you can copy the code to put it on your site so it displays in your site template. You can see mine here.
You can find instructions on how to set this up here.
July 28, 2006
Talkshoe is offering a web based service that will allow people to participate or listen in to tele-seminars, or discussions using a computer, cellphone, regular phone or VOIP phone (including Skype).
There are two types of service offered — public and private. Private ones can be used for company meetings, discussion groups, training and marketing.
The basic service is free...
Here is an example how one person is using it:
On July 6, 2006 Ron Morris, a professional radio talk show host, created a live Talkcast of The American Entrepreneur radio show using TalkShoe. The weekly radio show used the TalkShoe website for Live Talking and Chatting with his audience. A podcast recoding of the show is on the website. The show will air each week live on Saturday morning from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
“TalkShoe’s concept is groundbreaking. It gives me the ability to reach a broader audience, and to better interact with live participants,” Ron Morris, commented.
They also have a plan in place where you can earn money from hosting your own show. Recordings of these can be listened to online or downloaded as podcasts.
March 28, 2006
Internet Explorer Security Woes
Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols who writes for eWeek, said in a new article, "Why Is Anyone Still Using Internet Explorer?":
"OK, how many times must Internet Explorer be ripped open like a hot 16-year-old in a summer slasher movie before people finally get it: IE is not safe. Period. End of Statement."
Well... if you read the article, you may be asking yourself that very question.
March 15, 2006
Psst! Bored at work? How about some TV?
AOL is offering free TV shows to watch on your computer.
"It will allow consumers to stream full-length episodes from favorite series such as Welcome Back Kotter, Sisters, Beetlejuice, Lois & Clark, La Femme Nikita and Growing Pains free and on-demand on the Web. Along with full-length episodes,..."
This is probably something that you don't want to get caught doing if you are not self-employed. And those os us who are self employed can probably find more productive things to do through the day. Still if you would like to know more about it just go to http://television.aol.com/in2tv.
It is only available for Windows® XP, 32 bit or 64 bit operating systems. So for those of you who don't use XP, don't trash your TV just yet;-)
February 28, 2006
MyIE becomes the new Maxthon Browser
A browser named Maxthon has become very popular in China. It started in 2000, and was known as MyIE. It is also available for free to the North American market.
Apparently it is the second most popular browser in China with an estimated online population of 110 million.
The browser is built on the Trident rendering engine which is the same engine used by Internet Explorer. This browser has a number of new features and enhancements
From an article on eWeek written by Matt Hines, he says:
Like Opera, Firefox and even beta versions of Microsoft's next-generation Internet Explorer 7, Maxthon offers so-called tabbed browsing controls, onboard security tools and an RSS reader, along with a range of user interface customization options.
It is claimed on the Maxathon website that the browser uses very few resources, resulting in an average of 65% less RAM usage compares to IE when having the same large number of pages open.
From their features page they also claim there are 400+ plugins that are available, but when I clicked the URL to have a look at the "plugin site" I was returned an error message saying the site couldn't be found.
Still... if you're looking for a Microsoft compatible browser, and are not concerned about using a standards compliant browser you can have a look at http://www.maxthon.com and at least get what could be considered a long awaited, updated version of Internet Explorer.
February 24, 2006
Just wanted to let you know about a cool and free utility that will scan multiple documents (even ones that include hand-writing and images) into pdf format.
It is called ScanToPDF
It is set by default to 80% compression rate. I found if you set this to 100% every things comes out perfect.
February 22, 2006
Whoops! It got deleted.... er... maybe not...
I'm sure most of us have accidentally deleted files that we wished we didn't. I know on older PC computers there was a command you could use in DOS to recover deleted files. But he same command used on MS-DOS versions 5.0 to 6.22 no longer works on Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, ME, XP or any other Operating system.
I was reading Woody's Watch last night, and in his newsletter he mentions a free utility for un-deleting files.
FreeUndelete is a freeware data recovery program for deleted files. Please note on the website that it says:
A deleted file is essentially an area on disk designated as free and ready to accept data (such as contents of some other file). Luckily, unless the area has already been overwritten, it still holds the contents of the deleted file. Due to this fact it is possible to undelete files.
So it is wise not to waste time if you have deleted something but run this program right away. The more you use your computer the more chance you will have of over-writing the space that was assigned to the deleted file. This means... even this program won't be able to help you.
February 13, 2006
It seems the more extensions you add to FireFox, the slower it loads. Here is something to speed it back up again.
Firefox Preloader loads parts of Mozilla Firefox into memory before it is used to improve its startup time.
Virtual Private Network over the Internet
Hamachi enables you to set up a VPN (Virtual Private Network). You can use it to access remote computers for file sharing etc. Great for those who need access to their office computer while at home. They claim it is secure:
Hamachi is a UDP-based virtual private networking system. Its peers utilize the help of a 3rd node called mediation server to locate each other and to boot strap the connection between themselves. The connection itself is direct and once it's established no traffic flows through our servers. It is verifiably secure peer-to-peer.
I haven't tried it, but it looks pretty cool. Who knows? Maybe this summer when I'm out at the cottage on the weekends?
November 08, 2005
IE tab - Firefox Extension
"Like the eminently useful IEView, the extension automatically launches IE and loads your URL into it, only with IETab this all happen neatly contained within a Firefox tab. In fact, the only evidence that tells you you’re not using the Gecko engine to view the page is the tell-tale IE icon on the tab."
I admit I like the idea, but...
It may be a little faulty. When I switch to the IE view, the embedded IE browser lost the images, lost the stylesheet, and some of the page formatting.
Of course, maybe this is some quirk of my computer, that it doesn't seem to operate properly. For now, I guess I had better continue to check clients pages in the real IE.
October 22, 2005
OpenOffice includes a Database
I am considering buying a new computer next year after Windows Vista is launched. Of course buying a new system usually means buying software for it, and I was considering the costs of Microsoft Office since this is what I currently have. Unfortunately, like my computer, it could probably stand an upgrade too, although it serves my purposes. After reading about OpenOffice now including a database in its application, it will give me reason to consider my options.
I mean... we all knew OpenOffice didn't include a database in their suite of of office tools, right?
As quoted by eWeek writer, Lisa Vaas:
"We've always had a database element and were always surprised people didn't know it," said Louis Suarez-Potts, an OpenOffice.org community manager.
The problem wasn't that OpenOffice.org lacked a database. In fact, OpenOffice.org 1.1 supported dBASE (.dbf) databases without no additional software required. For more advanced requirements, OpenOffice.org 1.1 supported the MySQL database natively, or any database, for that matter, through ODBC and JDBC drivers.
I admit! They had me fooled. I thought the only option was to buy Star Office's database program, but I've been wrong before. The new version, according to the features listed on site says:
OpenOffice.org always had database front end tools, but in past versions they were very hidden. OpenOffice.org 2.0 starts to handle databases like any other application, i.e. a new database can be created via the "File - New" menu. For novice users OpenOffice.org provides a new Table Wizard that allows creating database tables without any knowledge of databases or SQL. The new embedded HSQLDB database engine, based on Java technology, allows creating "database documents". These simple database files don't require a back end database server like MySQL or Adabas D. All information (table definitions, data, queries, forms, reports) is stored in one XML file.
Apparently, the new stand-alone database, users can create and edit forms, reports, queries, tables, views and relations. The forms, reports and queries are stored in a single file format, allowing users to handle their databases in the same way they would handle other popular databases.
If you have tried the new database, please share your review here.
Screen grab! - Firefox Extension
Screen Grab is a Firefox extension that enables you to capture long webpages and saves them as images files. It does require Java enabled though... if you didn't have it enabled and have enabled it for this program you will notice that it takes an extra second or two for your browser to load.
Once the extension is installed you can select ScreenGrab from your right-click menu. It does a great job.
October 21, 2005
Open Office turns 5 years old
OpenOffice is a multiplatform and multilingual office suite and an open-source project. Compatible with all other major office suites, the product is free to download, use, and distribute.
"With new features, advanced XML capabilities and native support for the OASIS Standard Open Document format, OpenOffice.org 2.0 gives users around the globe the tools to be engaged and productive members of their society."
It is reported that this is the first stable release since the new features have been added.
Have you tried it? How did you like it?
Microsoft Phishing Filter
The Microsoft Phishing Filter which was to be included in IE 7.x will be made available for users running Windows XP SP2, but only as an add-on to the MSN Search Toolbar. Did you hear that slap?
October 20, 2005
Update your Blog From Your Cell Phone
eWeek reports that Opera has a new community site that will allow users to update their blogs from their cell phones. Apparently, the only thing you can't do is add video to your blog from your phone.
In creating the My Opera Community site, the browser developer will likely find itself trying to woo the same users as Flock, a forthcoming browser that is focused on providing social networking tools.
You can read the article here and if so inclined can learn more about the Flock Browser here. Flock is reported to be built on Firefox, and according to Wired News it "advertises itself as a "social browser," meaning that the application plays nicely with popular web services like Flickr, Technorati and del.icio.us
A recent BusinessWeek article (Oct 5th) claimed the browser would be released in about two weeks and says:
For one, it makes blogging a snap by eliminating the need to do arcane coding in order to post, change fonts or add photos. Right click the mouse on a Web page, and a blogging wizard comes up that automatically creates links, citations, and quotes that are ready to insert into a blog. A horizontal bar on the browser also can load photos from the photo-sharing site Flickr, so they can be simply dragged and dropped into the blog post.
If you decide to try it out, let me know how you like it.
August 26, 2005
Opensource Crossplatform Web Conferencing
WebHuddle is an open-source web conferencing and live presentation system. Robin Good says "this is a humble, hype-less system with the foundations to provide a good basic solution to all those organizations and institutions yet unable to afford a full-fledged, commercial solution."
It's new. It's in BETA; so I'm not sure all of the bugs have been worked out of the system yet. It is cross platform and can be used with any browser that supports Java running Linux, Windows, Unix, and Mac. You can find a demo onsite and if you don't want to install it, you can sign up for a free account on the website to give it a try. I didn't. I have Java disabled in my default browser...by choice.
One of the features I like about it, as explained by Robin, is:
Any WebHuddle meeting can be fully recorded, and all text chat exchanges, PowerPoint slides and instances of a screen sharing session are fully recorded along with the optional voice channel of the presenter. The recorded sessions can be played back through WebHuddle or distributed and hosted on other servers for people to see without needing to login into a WebHuddle session. The recorded session can be saved in a format that integrates its own dedicated player making it sufficiently portable.
If you give it a try and like it let me know. Maybe I will go back and try it with a Java enabled browser.
August 05, 2005
Greasemonkey fix is released
In July 20th, 2005 my post Uninstall Greasemonkey, I mentioned these scripts could be exploited.
I read this morning in Brian Livingston's newsletter that a fix has been released.
July 20, 2005
If you're using the Firefox extension, Greasemonkey, you should uninstall it or downgrade to Greasemonkey 0.3.5.
Mark Pilgrim, an XML coder who helped to evangelize the extension says:
"...Greasemonkey scripts can be exploited to expose the contents of every file on a user's local hard drive to every site that user visits, and that an attacker "can quietly send this information anywhere in the world."
You can read more about it here.
July 13, 2005
Mozilla Updates Firefox to Fix Security Gaps
Matt Hicks of eWeek says:
The Mozilla Foundation updated the Firefox Web browser Tuesday in order to patch a series of security vulnerabilities, including widely publicized browser spoofing issue and a frame-injection issue.
July 07, 2005
Site Map Builder
I was reading through my RSS feeds this morning and learned about a program called SiteMapBuilder:
SiteMapBuilder.NET enables you to create the proper XML code needed for Google SiteMaps. Just enter the URL, and the program will scan your web site and collect all the links, then generates the proper XML document to be placed in your root directory.
The URL for the software is www.sitemapbuilder.net, but the site seemed to be down when I tried to load it in my browser.
June 27, 2005
I would imagine it would be pretty easy to use a blog program that didn't require you to install cgi, Php/MySQL scripts. I haven't tried it but but I just recently discovered Thingamablog that will do that.
The home page says:
Thingamablog is a cross-platform, standalone blogging application that makes authoring and publishing your weblogs almost effortless. Unlike most blogging solutions, Thingamablog does NOT require a third-party blogging host, a cgi/php enabled web host, or a MySQL database. In fact, all you need to setup, and manage, a blog with Thingamablog is FTP, SFTP, or network access to a web server.
I checked out some of the blogs that have been made with this software. The ones I looked at seemed great.
Have you tried it?
June 01, 2005
Free CD Ripper
Sometimes in my line of work I have clients sending me audio CD's to extract their audio in .cda format to convert to a sound format that can be streamed online.
I haven't tried it... but this Free CD Ripper looks like a handy tool for anyone that needs to do the same thing.
April 21, 2005
FileZilla Basic Tutorial
This information is the least you need to know in order to be able to use FileZilla. If you're adventurous and wanted to learn everything there is about the program, the "?" on the tool bar give you access to a wonderfully detailed explanation of this great tool. Once you're comfortable using FTP, you should at least read through it.
You've heard me mention FTP a couple of times. FTP means File Transfer Protocol which was developed years ago before most of us were using the Internet. Computers automatically have the ability installed when you buy them and are capable of using this protocol to transfer files over a network to another computer.
FileZilla is an FTP client that is really only a Graphical User Interface (GUI) that enables us to make use of this tool that has already been built into our computer.
You can actually use a DOS window to connect to remote computers and transfer files, but most people (these days) are not comfortable working in DOS.
You can download FileZilla from here: http://filezilla.sourceforge.net
You will see above that I've identified the different panes with a red number to explain which section I am talking about.
Number 1 at the very top is the address bar, which means this is where you put your FTP connection information. In "address" I typed "homebusiness-websites.com" (my domain name) and the following two fields will be the username and password assigned to your hosting account when you registered. These go in these fields. The "port" number can be left blank. If you have the other information the program will find the correct port when you connect to your hosting account.
Number 2 isn't something you really have to pay too much attention to you. In order for your FTP program to connect with your hosting account, the two computers need to pass information back and fourth. This just shows you what information is being passed. As long as there is a connection, you don't need to be bothered with anything else in this area
Number 3 shows the drives and folders on you computer. You can click through on the folders to navigate to the folder/directory where your website files are stored. When it is opened, the individual files and sub directories will be displayed in the window below (number 4).
Number 4 shows the individuals files and folders that you will want to transfer to your hosting account. Double-clicking on them will automatically transfer them. Or you can select them by holding down the "Ctrl" key and highlighting them by left clicking with your mouse on the files you want to transfer. If you have some files highlighted this way, a right-click will open a popup menu that allows you to choose the upload command. You will see these files appear in number 5.
Number 5 (if you're connected to your host) will list the files and folders you are allowed to access on your server. Any files you upload from number 4 will appear in this window. If this is a new website, and you're using Linux hosting account there is a good chance when you view the folders on your server you will see a directory called "public_html". This is where you will put your files.
Number 6 simply shows you the status of files being transferred. Again, this is something you shouldn't have to pay too much attention to.
April 20, 2005
Opera 8 is ready
Opera 8 was released yesterday and they claim it is a substantial upgrade from previous versions, and includes new features such as a unique security information field that indicates the trustworthiness of banking and shopping Web sites and voice interaction capabilities.
Håkon Wium Lie, CTO, Opera Software has this to say about it:
"The vast majority of Internet users have had to deal with a slow and insecure browser for too long. People are spending more time online, and with the increase in online fraud it is vital that they have a browser that is fast, secure and easy to use. That's what we offer with Opera 8."
Opera supports all major Web standards currently in use, including CSS 2.1, XHTML 1.1, HTML 4.01, WML 2.0, ECMAScript, DOM 2 and SVG 1.1 tiny.
I clicked a link to compare browsers and got a chuckle out it. They didn't name names... but it seems pretty clear to me what other two browsers they are comparing it to.
April 18, 2005
Firefox security vulnerabilities
Larry Seltzer of eWeek reports there are new releases of Mozilla and Firefox to addresses security vulnerabilities. It is advisable to update these browsers if you are using them.
April 13, 2005
RSS Builder is an easy to use program to create RSS feeds for your web site. It provides a simple interface that lets you add topics, links and content, and then publish the RSS (v2.0) feed to your web server, using the built-in FTP client.
The program is being offered here for free.
March 19, 2005
On December 10th, 2004 I blogged about how to make Firefox even faster which offered instructions on manually altering your config file. Today, I learned of new software, called FireTune that will offer those who aren't comfortable manually adjusting their settings to allow the software to do it for them.
I haven't tried it. I manually tweaked my settings. Give it a try though if you're interested.
March 16, 2005
Details of IE 7.0 leaking out
On the Micorosoft Watch website, Mary Jo Foley claims some detail of the new browser have been leaking out.
Sources say it will include tabbed browsing like other popular browsers but here is the part I didn't like:
Partner sources say Microsoft is wavering on the extent to which it plans to support CSS2 with IE 7.0. Developers have been clamoring for Microsoft to update its CSS support to support the latest W3C standards for years. But Microsoft is leaning toward adding some additional CSS2 support to IE 7.0, but not embracing the standard in its entirety, partners say.
This shows Microsoft as "snubbing" the standards and other browsers and basically says that "as long as we are the most popular, we will make our own rules, and to heck with everyone else."
Why doesn't this surprise me?
I noted an article on Cnet this morning that tells of a challenge to Microsoft from the Web Standards Community called the Acid2 test. This "will be sponsored by the Web Standards Project, which is a grassroots coalition fighting for Web standards.". Part of what this test will include:
"We will produce a test page, code-named Acid2, that will actively use features Web designers crave, such as fixed positioning of elements.
Fixed positioning is described in the W3C's CSS2 Recommendation, to which Microsoft has a "deep commitment." However, fixed positioning has been supported for years by all modern browsers except IE for Windows. "
Naturally there will be other items tested. It has been said that this test might even identify flaws in other browsers.
I won't be "holding my breath" waiting for IE 7.0 to pass this test.
March 07, 2005
Follow Along Browsing
I was reading a review of Jybe by eWeek writer Michael Caton. He says:
"Advanced Reality has revived follow-me browsing with Jybe, a free plug-in for Internet Explorer and extension for Firefox with a free presentation service tacked on."
Upon installation JYBE adds a simple three-button toolbar to the familiar IE and Firefox user interface. These buttons allow the user to create a collaboration session, join a collaboration session, and end a collaboration session. When the "create a collaboration session" button is clicked the user is prompted to enter their name and a session name. Multiple users can join the same session, which allows all participants to navigate the web in lockstep. Unlike screen sharing products JYBE does not slow down web page response times.
It allows you to share PowerPoint Presentations as well. You can learn more about this product or download a beta application from www.jybe.com.
March 04, 2005
Netscape Browser 8.0 Beta Goes Live
Netscape Browser includes two separate layout engines, so you can choose to view a web site like Netscape Browser or like Internet Explorer. Tabbed browsing is included, along with advanced privacy features. You can also set Netscape Browser to block popups, cookies, images, java, and other behaviors that you would rather not allow. Also, you can easily over-ride and save custom settings for individual web-sites.
If you read about it on BetaNews you will see a number of comments from people who aren't too happy with the look of the browser, but apparently it functions fast and well.
You might want to wait until the final release is ready which will incorporate new security measures like then newest release of Firefox. This Beta does have security features though:
"A source close to development told BetaNews Netscape 8 will be upgraded to Firefox 1.0.1 before the final release. The source also noted that because most of the phishing sites with Internationalized Domain Names are blocked through blacklists, the Firefox vulnerabilities are not as relevant to Netscape 8.
Designed to protect Web surfers from scams and viruses, a new "Trust Rating" system helps to warn users of potentially dangerous sites. AOL says it "continuously updates the browser with a list of trusted and suspected sites" and "will automatically apply your security settings to make you safer and more compatible."
You can read more about the browser's features on the Netscape site and download it from the same page if you want to check it out.
For those of you who are already trying it, I would like to hear your comments. How do you like it?
March 01, 2005
RSS feed problems
Seems to be some trouble on the Internet today. A good one-quarter of the blogs I subscribe to via RSS were unavailable. This is a little odd. It isn't uncommon for a couple of them, but this is the first time I've seen nine feeds be unavailable at the same time.
Anyone else having a problem?
February 25, 2005
NetworkActiv Web Server 2.0
As a follow up to The file upload dilemma, another solution for transferring files might be to run your own special web server.
NetworkActiv Web Server 2.0 is a small freeware web server that you can run from your own computer to allow you to transfer files back and fourth with those who you give the IP address to.
You can limit the files being uploaded and download to a particular directory, and require those who wish to access your server, to supply a username and password that you have given them in advance.
February 24, 2005
Microsoft Gone Phishing Again
Ryan Naraine who writes for eWeek reported that:
Software engineers at Microsoft Corp.'s security research team have confirmed the existence of a bug in the Internet Explorer browser that opens the door to URL spoofing attacks.
Granted, you may have heard this before, and installed all of your patches, but the bug has been confirmed on a fully patched system with Internet Explorer 6.0 and Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2.
A patch to fix this isn't available yet.
I try to convince family and friends to try out the new Fireofx browser.
February 23, 2005
Open Source Video Software
Robin Good's post Open Source Realtime Video Editing And Effects Software: Jahshaka is a great article and description of a video editing program that could save you a few thousand dollars on "brand name applications that can do the same while emptying your wallet."
"Called Jahshaka, this grassroots real-time video production powerhouse integrates multiple fully featured modules including a frame-by-frame paint over video facility, a production titling component, full video and audio editing, animation, and a special effects lab."
Robin says it is available for Windows, Mac OSX, Linux and other operating systems.
February 14, 2005
Fixing Internet Explorer
A recent article by Darryl K. Taft, eWeek, says:
Microsoft Corp. recently held a secret Webcast with some of its closest partners to discuss ways in which the company might improve its Internet Explorer browser and customer confidence in the platform.
If it was a secret it certainly isn't now. But it appears that browser competition may force Microsoft to take some action.
January 27, 2005
Firefox and the United States largest ISP
Charles Cooper from his Cnet reports that SpeakEasy, the United States largest independent broadband services provider, will be offering a customized version of Firefox and:
"...will be distributed as part of Speakeasy's self-install broadband service kits to its residential customers starting this month. It will also be available as a free download to anyone from www.speakeasy.net/firefox."
According to a recent post by Seth Godin he says:
"Microsoft has botched their ownership of IE, because they think like bullies, and you can't bully consumers into doing what they don't want to do."
While Seth's post is related to the Google browser rumors, it still speaks of how consumers are beginning to change some of their views, especially related to the Internet and browsers.
Who knows? Maybe Microsoft will be good enough to include Firefox in their next version of Windows. I wouldn't count on it though... I expect they will include enhancements to rival Firefox's increased popularity, but it may be a little too late.
January 26, 2005
Cameron Adams has released widgEditor: A simple, standards-compliant WYSIWYG HTML editor which he says:
He also offers the instructions:
January 25, 2005
Google Hires Mozilla Firefox Engineer
There has been a lot of speculation the last few months about the possibility that Google may produce its own browser, It is well known that Google has already registered the domain name gbrowser.com Google has hired the lead engineer behind the Mozilla Firefox Web browser.
Matt Hicks for eWeek reports:
Ben Goodger, who helped shepherd the Firefox 1.0 release that has dug into Microsoft Corp.'s browser dominance, joined Google as a full-time employee earlier this month. While Goodger is a full-time Google employee, Google also is donating half of his time back to the Mozilla Foundation, Google spokesman Steve Langdon said.
What do you think? Will we see a Google browser based on Firefox?
January 19, 2005
Update on Noteworthy Newsreader
Tris has updated this story today by offering his review of Lektora.
In the review Tris says:
The search and bookmarked searches are great. I know that I've been saving serious time gathering content using Lektora. Sage was pretty close, but with Sage I still had to scroll through all my feeds, regardless of where there was new content or now. With Lektora only feeds with new content are shown. The two pane design and opening content in tabs (Firefox) makes the info very skimable.
Now, all is not perfect. It would be great to be able to look at archives of content in increments larger than a day. Week? Month for sure. I know that I'll need to go looking for something and clicking every single day to find it will drive me nuts. Sure a good search bookmarked might speed it up, but clicking 30 or more days to find one item...nope.
Tris now reports to having 320 RSS feeds to sort through and feels Lektora showing only feeds with new content is a feature, but having far less feeds to sort through then Tris, I don't see this as a feature but more of a bug. Rather, I see it as an annoyance. Enough so... that I won't be downloading the software to try it out.
Thanks goes to Tris for trying the software and following up with his review.
Got a Blog Question?
From Blog Business World I saw mention of two good forums to post your blogging questions to.
There has been the odd discussion on my message forum about blogs but I must confess... I'm a web developer who can install, modify and add blogs to your website but I'm not a blogging expert.
If you have another favorite, please post it here.
January 15, 2005
Tris Hussey, a fellow Canadian, web consultant and avid blogger is also the first non-founding staffer hired by Jeremy Wright's new company "InsideBlogging.com". Tris is also an avid Firefox user and also uses Sage (a Firefox extension) for keeping updated on the RSS feeds he subscribes to. I couldn't imagine being without it. This is how I manage my newsfeeds too. Tris is cosidering a switch...
His recent post titled Lektora: A new RSS reader and it looks like a great one certainly caught my attention. He will be trying it out to manage 290 RSS feeds he subscribes to. I would think that would be a lot of feeds to import into the program but he says:
Customization was easy. You create groups that can be viewed by feed or all at once, you can even delete whole groups and feeds at once. I just dragged feeds to the appropriate groups. You can select multiple feeds so it didn't take me too long.
I can't imagine trying to keep up with 290 newsfeeds and then still trying to get any work done during the day. Tris must have found a "day stretcher" under the Christmas tree for him. At any rate... it will be interesting to see updates to this story. Who knows? Maybe it will be one of the best products for 2005. Two open source products that made eWeek's list for top products of 2004 were Firefox and Plone 2.0
Have you tried Lektora? What was your experience?
January 11, 2005
Taking Aim at Macromedia Flash
An article at DevShed explains how this could one day take the place of Flash, but it can't yet.
I wanted to try one of the W3C test suites offered by the W3C and Firefox (my default browser) could not find a suitable plugin. Further searching found that Mozilla is offering a SVG enabled browser, but I decided not to overwrite my current browser.
It might not be ready for "prime time" yet, but it is coming.
January 04, 2005
Microsoft will thrive on new bugs & worms
David Coursey from eWeek writes Microsoft's "A-1" Should Be Free. This is Microsoft's anti-virus/anti-spyware subscription service, code-named "A1."
Yes... Microsoft is going to start charging people a subscription fee for this software to remove bugs and worms that their software is susceptible to.
LOL... now don't that just beat all?
December 28, 2004
Let your pictures do the talking...
FotoBuzz lets you annotate your digital images and share the stories in your pictures.
With the FotoBuzz Viewlet you can easily integrate this functionality to any existing website or weblog and let your visitors add comments too!
There is a demo on the site you can try.
It is licensed under a Creative Commons License and is not free for commercial use.
December 24, 2004
Opera beta features speech recognition
Opera Software ASA unveiled Thursday a beta test version of its next Web browser release that features speech recognition, discovery of RSS news feeds and automatic Web-page resizing.
This sounds pretty cool. There is a beta available for Windows users.
| Read more |
December 17, 2004
New AVG 7.0 Edition Supports Email
AVG Free Edition is the well-known anti-virus protection tool. AVG Free is available free-of-charge to home users for the life of the product!
If you're running an older version (less then the new 7.0 edition) it won't be supported after Dec. 31 which means no more virus definition updates.
The new edition also scans incoming email and offers support for Incredimail, Netscape, Mozilla, Outlook Express and Pegasus. View the Personal E-mail Scanner Guide here.
Here is how it works:
E-mail client sends request to Personal e-mail scanner to get mail, it receives message from the server and tests it for viruses, removes infected attachments and adds certification. Then the message is passed to the e-mail client.
Message is sent from e-mail client to Personal e-mail scanner, it tests message and its attachments for viruses and then sends the message to the SMTP server.
With past editions I used a little common sense by not opening any attachments from people I don't know, and then saving and scanning ones from people I do know. This new plugin is a welcomed feature. If you haven't read it... you might want to see the FAQ.
How do you check your email attachments for viruses?
December 14, 2004
Desktop Search Tools and Viruses
eWeek reports that Ask Jeeves will release a beta of its desktop-search application late tomorrow but some industry experts are warning against installing desktop search software.
According to a Cnet article written by Munir Kotadia...
"Foad Fadaghi, senior industry analyst at Frost & Sullivan Australia, said that most viruses are designed to harvest e-mail addresses and other personal information from an infected system. He warned that because desktop search tools such as those recently announced by Google, Microsoft and Yahoo can index and categorize that information, virus writers are likely to start exploiting the technology."
This means for those people who recently switched from the Internet Explorer browser to Firefox, because it isn't supposed to be as vulnerable, will be taking two steps back by installing desktop search software.
December 10, 2004
How To Make FireFox even Faster
I ran across an interesting thread this morning from webmasterworld.com a gentleman named Matthew shows how to adjust your settings for Firefox to make your browser as fast or faster then even Opera.
Disclaimer: This is not, and is not intended to be, a firefox vs. Opera thread. The following are simply some basic guidelines for increasing firefox performance, and is not meant to be a comparison of any kind! ;)
I've heard it said, here and other places, that Opera is the fastest browser available. It is fast - there's no denying that - but there are ways to make firefox render pages every bit as quickly, with just a few easy "tweaks." I had thought these adjustments were pretty well-known, but it's beginning to seem as though they may not be. So I thought it was worthwhile to bring these "hidden settings" more into the light.
To get started, type "about:config" in your firefox address bar. The settings you're looking for are:
Set #1, #2, and #4 to "true". Set #3 to a high number, like 32. Set #5 to 0.
Enabling the pipelining features allows the browser to make multiple requests to the server at the same time. The "maxrequests" is the maximum number of requests it will send at once. I've heard that 8 is the most it will send at once, but setting it higher won't hurt, just in case. The initialpaint.delay is the length of time (in milliseconds) after the server response before the browser begins to paint the page.
Adjusting those settings will help pages render much faster in firefox. In fact, my own observations have been that, tweaked in this manner, firefox will render faster than Opera (and yes, I realize that others may experience different results).
The firefox Tuning thread over at Mozillazine has more information for different connection speeds, etc.
I wasn't able to find a couple of the settings he mentioned, but for those who need a little more tweaking, you can visit this thread from forums.mozillazine.org.
November 29, 2004
Organizing your Mastermind Group
Have you read Jim Straw's The Most Powerful Wealth Secret Ever Told? Jim talks about using a notebook to create what he calls a Mastermind group which is a list of like-minded individuals who have been willing to share information with you over the years.
The link above is to a PDF file; you may wish to right click on it and save it to your hard drive.
Jim claimed he kept detailed information in a Notebook with a page dedicated to each individual, and notes in the sidebar which outlined anything cross referenced.
This was a bit of a turn-off for me. Oh no! It isn't because I don't like the idea. I think it is a great idea. But if Jim could see how I keep notes... I was envisioning a note book filled with arrows, (see page...) and entire entries crossed out, for some reason or another. Yes, I could imagine the whole thing becoming quite a mess...
This made me think about ways the information could be organized. That's when I thought about TreePad. Although they offer paid variations on the original program there is still a freeware Lite version for Windows users which would be perfect for this task. You can read more about the features to see if it might work for you too. From the features page it says:
With the look and feel of the familiar Windows explorer, editing, storing, browsing, searching and retrieving your data can not be easier!
There is also a page of documentation including a PDF manual you can download. But I think once you play with the program for a few minutes, you'll catch on. It isn't hard at all to use.
ReBlog other people's blog posts
Debbie Weil wrote about a plugin for MovableType and WordPress called reBlog which she says "enables you to re-publish snippets of content from other blogs you find interesting and useful." Here are the instructions for installing it as a plugin. Don't forget to see the README file.
My first thought is "who would want to use it?". But if you look at the homepage it says:
reBlogs are useful to individuals who want to maintain a weblog but prefer curating content to writing original posts. They can also enable organizations to tap the contributions of their employees, members, and communities-at-large in order to easily redistribute relevant content.
Thanks to Debbie for the tip! Some of you might find it very useful.
November 23, 2004
Very few XHTML editors
Dan Wellman is a contributing author for www.devarticles.com and his latest article reviews a few html editors capable of producing valid Xhtml. He claims there are few choices so far, which may have something to do with Xhtml being "relatively" new.
But the good news is... it might not cost you anything.
I have attempted to weed out the good and the bad and to explain why, and after looking at and using all of these applications myself, I can safely say that I see no reason why money need be spent at all when deciding to switch to an XHTML editor.
Dan recommends HTML Gate 2005 from MPS (www.mpsoftware.dk) so I decided I had better have a look at it. No doubt about it. It does come with an impressive list of features and what's more you can set it to a DTD of Xhtml 1.0 strict and set the program in WYSIWYG mode. Of course... you may have to do some editing to the code produced it you hoped to validate it.
Here are some of the features:
The FastEdit (WYSIWYG) takes you one further step into better design and the W3's HTML Tidy helps you to easily check and reformat your web-documents after the W3 standard.
The TaskPanel includes 7 different code libraries, tag inspector, project manager, 2 file browser, HTML parser and other useful task tools.
Other features includes FTP, ToDo Manager, HTML compressor, image effects, image converters, GIF animator, GIF SizeOptimizer and many other exciting features and tools.
There is a lot more to it then what I've listed here. To be honest, I think it would take me a few days playing with it to see how much I liked it. There aer too many features and tools to learn them all by simply editing one quick webpage with it.
Maybe this is the THE development tool for 2005. Download a copy since it is free. Post your comments here if you want, telling me what you liked or disliked about it.
November 17, 2004
Blinkx's smarter desktop search
Blinkx Inc is releasing what may be a smarter desktop search tool using smart folders which are intelligent folders that automatically update their content as new information becomes available based on the ideas contained within the content of those files.
Matt Hicks, of eWeek says:
"...users can automatically populate a folder with Web and local content based on the context of the documents in the folder or a description of the folder's purpose."
How does it work?
Smart folders are created when a user right-clicks on a normal folder. This creates a desktop smart folder that then implicitly, persistently and automatically populates similar documents from your PC, news articles from the Web, TV, radio or video clips. In fact, anything from anywhere you specify can be added to a smart folder. Alternatively, users can explicitly create a smart folder by typing in a keyword, phrase or clicking on the document you are currently reading or writing. Similar information will then be added to the smart folder automatically as soon as it appears.
Apparently Microsoft and Apple have both entertained the idea of creating something like this but it looks like Blinkx is one step ahead of them.
Blinkx is a free download that integrates with Windows applications and Web browsers
November 16, 2004
Grisoft Updates Free AVG Anti-Virus Tool
For anyone using the AVG virus protection software, there has been a new update that you should download. Older versions won't be supported after Dec. 31 which means no more virus definition updates.
November 04, 2004
Notespad: one of my favorite tools
Sometimes it is easy to take for granted the tools we use on a daily basis. I wanted to share with you one tool that I have been using for years. The company website no longer exists, it isn't supported anymore and it is hard to find. But for me... it is one of my favorite tools.
Notespad is a fantastic little text editor that is fast to load. I use it for numerous things including my newsletter. You can see from the screenshot below how you can have different tabs. These tabs with the documents will load automatically every time you start it up.
Just taking a look at this screen shot you will see I have a template created for my weekly newsletter. Through the week if I find something interesting or have an idea to write about something, I just dump it into this template, and save. I also have a template for a follow-up series I did with my autoresponder, and a template that I use when publishing articles to article directories.
I also use this program to print out my thoughts before posting to forums. It has a spell checker you can download and install to work with it. That's great. My fingers have a hard time keeping up, and when I am typing at full speed. I can create a number of typos. Much better to catch these now rather then after you have pushed the submit button on a forum.
I also use this program to format posts for my blog. One handy tip, if you are formatting articles that have been hard wrapped to 65 characters, is that you can highlight them in this editor and push Ctrl+J to un-format them.
Guarding against Movable Type Spam
One of the RSS feeds I subscribe to, saw the owner disabling comments on his blog because of blog spam. At the time of this writing, this is something I haven't experienced because plugins that would allow this to happen weren't activated on my old blog. Now I'm using Movable Type 3.12 and features that would allow others to spam my blog are incorporated by default (more or less).
A gentleman by the name of Jay Allen has written a plugin for Movable Type called MT-Blacklist which is a plugin to eradicate comment and trackback spam. It features:
- Content-based comment/trackback spam blocking.
- Old entry moderation which effectively blocks the majority of all comment spam.
- Max URL moderation which effectively blocks all spam attempts with a large number of URLs included in the comment.
- Automatic master blacklist updates.
- Web interface for all plugin administration functions
- ...and much, much more
- Requires Movable Type 3.1 or better (although there is a compatible version for older MT versions). Also requires the Perl Storable module.
My first thoughts after learning about this was to disable Trackback altogether, but a lady who publishes a blog on Learning Movable Type offers some valid reasons why you wouldn't want to and explains the Trackback feature indepth:
Elise also offers some great tips on the different typed of MovableType blog spam and makes some suggestions on how to deal with:
There is also a good support forum for MovableType users.
Lastly, and thanks to Paul Short of GetBlogs.com for bringing this link to my attention, a great place to promote your blog can be found at www.masternewmedia.org/rss/top55/ which calls itself "RSSTop55 - Best Blog Directory And RSS Submission Sites."
November 03, 2004
Firefox 1.0 will be released on November 9th.
Eric Hellweg, writer for technologyreview.com, says:
The browser was built from the ground up to protect against the top two scourges of the Internet: viruses and spyware.
...that by helping to promote it to your friends and family you are helping them create a better Internet environment to protect them against viruses. This is good for you too. Many of the viruses sent to me have been from friends not realizing they were infected. This has likely happened to you too.
Let's face it! Since Microsoft won the browser war, development has stagnated, and it is falling behind in its support of web standards. So send your family and friends to www.GetFirefox.com today. They will appreciate you for it.
November 01, 2004
FireFox Questions and Answers
If you're having any problems with Firefox, its extensions or plugins, you might want to try using Google to search the Usenet newsgroups related to Fire fox. There is a ton of information in these Google groups, and likely any problem you are having, someone else has had too, and asked about it.
The best place to look is in snews://secnews.netscape.com:563/netscape.mozilla.firefox
October 30, 2004
Firefox extension: BBCode.
Adds a context menu for easy access to BBCODE formating in PHBB Forums (Firefox/Mozilla Suite/Netscape 7.x)
A student, Jed Brown has written an extension called BBCode. BBCode adds a list of menu choices to the right-click context menu, allowing you to quickly add BBCode (explained in the phpBB BBCode guide) to your posts.
You can download it from Jed's site or read more about it from this blog post which shows you some screen shots and how to use it.
You know, it doesn't matter how old you are... if you have too many things to do, some things can get forgotten. How may of you are using a calendar to keep track of all of your tasks and appointments?
Here is something...
This is the Mozilla Calendar which can be installed as an extension for Netscape, Mozilla and Firefox and is available for computers using any of these platforms: Windows, Linux, Mac, and OS/2.
I have been working with it for a couple of days and I like it, but I'm not sure they have all of the bugs worked out of it yet. I would like to be able to find a better way to print my calendar so I could take a copy in my car, and right now the only viable option seems to be exporting tasks to an html file and printing them off that way. It seems a little lame.
Anyway... for any of you who are pushing past 25 like I am ;-) this might be an application you might consider.