// Internet Duct Tape

Who Moved My Cheese? The New WordPress Admin Interface

Posted in Programming and Software Development, Technology, WordPress by engtech on April 18, 2008

WordPress Tips and Tricks

Two of my blogging heroes and inspiration Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky have joined together on a new venture called StackOverflow: overflowing with awesomeness. They are also doing a weekly podcast, and you can download the first 45 minute podcast here (8 MB). In the discussion, Joel makes a great comment: Windows Vista gives you change without giving you any value. As a Windows XP user there is no compelling reason to upgrade because you’re going to have to relearn where everything is, but you don’t get any new and compelling features or applications to offset that.

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Put a Copyright Notice in Your RSS Feed

Posted in Technology by engtech on April 17, 2008

Bloggin Tips and Tricks

As a blogger, your content is going to end up being stolen and republished on the Internet. It’s a fact of life, there’s nothing you can do about it.

One thing you can do however is put a copyright notice in your RSS feed with FeedBurner. (FeedBurner is the Google’s RSS publishing service).

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Delete It – Tips for Managing Information Overload

Lifehacks and Productivity

We’re deep into the beginning of the Information Age, as you can see from the propagation of information aggregators like Google Reader and the meta-aggregators like Friend Feed. There’s only one tip for handling information saturation that has any success: delete it.

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Friend Feed Scripts: Unsubscribe, Who Are You and Better By Service

Posted in Firefox and Greasemonkey, friendfeed, Technology by engtech on April 10, 2008

Web Browser Tips & Tricks

It’s another week which means I have more Friend Feed scripts to share with you all.

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Speed Up Outlook Express

Posted in Microsoft Windows XP and Vista, Technology by engtech on April 09, 2008

Working With Windows

I was investigation my dad’s computer trying to find out why it was so slow. There was the usual culprit of Norton Antivirus and Outlook Express. There’s nothing I can do about Norton, but he’s been using Outlook Express since 1998 and his mail folder is a whopping 5.8 GB. It’s time to perform my sonly duty and try to fix his slow computer, even though I haven’t used Outlook Express in the past ten years.

I’ll walk you through how I do it…

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Battery Charged or Not

Posted in Lifehacks, Technology by engtech on April 03, 2008

Lifehacks and Productivity

The problem: It’s 3am and the wireless mouse has run out of juice. Scrounging through the battery drawer shows 13 double-A’s, but none of them have a charge. Maybe they were charged at some point, but rechargeable batteries don’t hold their charge if they aren’t being used.

All rechargeable battery manufacturers love to boast about their product’s current capacity (mAh). But there is a dirty little secret that they don’t want you to hear: self-discharge rate. Simply put: a fully charged NiCd of NiMH cell will gradually lose its stored energy over time. Technical papers I have researched typically put the self-discharge rate at 10-20% per month for NiCd cells, and 20-30% per month for NiMH cells. This kind of self-discharge rate is usually acceptable in applications such as digital cameras. via: Jeff

The solution: A social website for keeping track of:

  • how many batteries you have charged
  • which brands you use
  • which devices used charged batteries
  • when you last changed the batteries
  • Collect stats will recommend the best batteries available in your area
  • Monetized by referrer micropayments from all the battery sales

It can even have a local component for finding people who have the same interest in rechargeable batteries as you!

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Controlling Your Privacy

Posted in Online Privacy and Reputation Management, Technology by engtech on April 03, 2008

Privacy and Rights

Today I tried out a new service by one of the smartest guys I know, Michael Geist. It’s called iOptOut and it’s a gateway for Canadians to voluntarily put themselves on do-not-call lists *before* the company contacts you, as well as giving you a legal recourse for when they call you anyways (those bastards). Within hours of signing up for the service I got 8 calls from 1-480-543-1171. Spooky coincidence.

Customer service representative indicated they worked for Fido. Trying to acquire different identification information, such as passport, drivers license, citizenship number, SIN number. Agent was rude the whole time and started asking if any of the information was fake.

They had the nerve to call us back again. Fido has confirmed they are not legitimate for selling Fido phone service. Ottawa Police (Canada) are now launching a fraud investigation. – Jeremy

(1-800 Notes is a great site for looking up the telemarketers before you give them any information — I’m glad I did)

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Presenting: Livejournal Theme for WordPress

Posted in CSS and Web Design, Technology, WordPress by engtech on April 01, 2008

WordPress Tips and Tricks

You know the story. You’ve been using LiveJournal since 1999. It’s your home. You’re familiar with it. You’re on the list of notable LiveJournal users. But times they be a changin’. You’re friends are all leaving LiveJournal for WordPress because it’s a better C-M-S (whatever that is). You’ve switched to WordPress, but everything looks strange and confusing.

Don’t worry, as usual engtech has your back.

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Greasemonkey Scripts: Friend Feed Auto-Pagerization, Resharing Links and Even More

Web Browser Tips & Tricks

It’s the last day of my week of Friend Feed and I have 5 more Greasemonkey scripts for you (for a total of 8). I think I’m done writing scripts for Friend Feed for the next little while. I might put together something for importing your Twitter contacts as friends (update: here it is) but if I wait long enough I’m sure they’ll do it as an official service.

As usual you’ll need Firefox and Greasemonkey to use these scripts.

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Greasemonkey Scripts: Friend Feed Twitter Client and Remove Visited Links

Web Browser Tips & Tricks

“Friend Feed” week seems to be continuing at IDT. But don’t worry, there’s a team of trained attack Bonobo monkeys prepared to take me into a dark alley and beat me up and make me suffer if I don’t stop talking about Friend Feed. What can I say? This is what it looks like when a web app gets people excited. I’ve put together two more Greasemonkey scripts to add features I want in Friend Feed.

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Crunching the Friend Feed Stats to Find the Most Popular Web Apps

Posted in friendfeed, Technology, Web 2.0 and Social Media by engtech on March 26, 2008

Social Bookmarking and Social Voting

One of the nicest things about the Internet is that if you sit on your ass for long enough, someone will code up whatever little side project you’re thinking about starting. In my case, I was interested in finding out general statistics about Friend Feed as a tape measure of how popular certain social bookmarking sites are. Enter Friend Feed Stats. Thank you, lazyweb.

What Is the Most Popular Web Service?

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How to Generate 100s of Backlinks in Minutes

Posted in Marketing and Promotion, Microsoft Windows XP and Vista, Technology by engtech on March 25, 2008

Bloggin Tips and Tricks

In 25 ways to get an insanely popular blog Skellie describes 25 models for blogging that leads to an ever increasing audience. There’s one she missed out on: the abrasive model.

  1. Say something bone-headed so people clamour to their keyboards in order to prove you wrong.
  2. Make commenting on your post as hard as possible so that people will respond with blog posts of their own instead of a comment.

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Greasemonkey Script: Filter FriendFeed by Service

Web Browser Tips & Tricks

I’ve sipped the Kool Aid and I’m really liking Friend Feed as a lifestreaming aggregator. One feature that is a bit hard to find is filtering by individual services. I’ve created a Greasemonkey script that sticks a huge bar of icons at the top of the page to make this accessible.

  • It remembers the context you’re in.
    • If you’re browsing within friends, then clicking on the icons will filter by that service on your friends.
    • If you’re browsing within a specific user, then clicking on the icons will filter by that service on that person.
    • If you’re browsing the public timeline, then clicking on the icons will filter by that service for the public timeline.
  • It returns 100 results per page instead of 30.
  • It will automatically update itself if I update the script.

Let me know if you have any problems in the comments.

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Free WP Plugin Idea: Use Referrers Instead of Trackbacks

Posted in Free Ideas, Technology, The War on Spam, WordPress by engtech on March 19, 2008

Free Ideas

Blogs have a way of keeping track of who is linking to them using trackbacks or pingbacks. It’s a good idea in theory because it helps you follow the discussion as it spreads to new areas, but in practice it is mostly filled with spam because getting a well-placed trackback on a popular website can be a good source of traffic.

Trackbacks were designed without any kind of authentication mechanism whatsoever, not even the most trivial test that the person who is says they are linking to you really is linking to you. So screw spammy trackbacks. Screw them in their naughty place. Take them out of your blog themes and blog engines and let’s build something better.

Here’s the idea: instead of showing a list of trackbacks for spammers to abuse, show a list of referrers.

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The Fragmentation of Identity and Discussion

Connect with your readers

I’m a social web app junkie. Where most people use a few on a regular basis as a consumer and only a couple as a producer I am an active user on far too many sites. I’m not a beta junkie to the point where I try out every web service (especially not the ones spamming my blog contact email), but I do try out more than my fair share and manage to get involved before they reach the tipping point (like Friend Feed is reaching now).

The sheer amount of web apps out there leads to fragmentization of our online identities, but that isn’t a bad thing. The people who read my blog aren’t necessarily people I’m interested in talking to on Twitter, and none of us might share the same taste in music on Last.FM. For a while there I was talking about the Ruby programming language like crazy on this blog, but now I’m using a niche tumbleblog so that I can post more often on that specific technical subject without alienating my existing audience.

But it isn’t only our online identities that are fragmenting: it’s also the discussion around content. Once upon a time the way someone would comment on something you wrote would be to write a blog post of their own in response. Then blogs got a comment section and people could write what they had to say directly on the post. Now the discussion around a post has completely fragmented: people are saying stuff about your content on Twitter, Delicious, StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit, Facebook… pretty much anywhere except for the post where you originally wrote it.

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Building an RSS Templating System

Hacking RSS with Yahoo Pipes

The blog posts might have been slow lately, but that’s only because there’s been an accumulation of interesting projects piling up on my hard drive. Here’s a few things that are in the pipe (which I’m talking about to stop my procrastination and force me to release them):

  • Sandbox Theme for Tumblr so that you can use Sandbox CSS themes on tumblr.com
  • Tumblr Theme Templates to make it easier to develop themes for tumblr.com without having to upload your theme to tumblr.com
  • Tumblr automatic backup + restore
  • WordPress.com automatic backup
  • Twitter There Will Be Followers – program to automatically follow back anyone who is following you on Twitter
  • PostMaster html2blog – automatically post formatted HTML to Tumblr, Blogger or WordPress
  • rss2html – powerful templating system for converting an RSS feed into HTML

It’s the last one I want to talk about. I’ve gotten tired of using Yahoo Pipes + Pipe Cleaner to build digest posts. It’s kind of a pain in the butt. So I want something that can take an rss feed, convert it to html so that I can use another program for automatically posting it to the blog. I’m not going the plugin route because of WordPress.com’s inability to support javascript or PHP plugins.

This is what I’ve come up with.

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Delicious Links – 20 links – tools, gamers, workhacks, code, links

Posted in Best of Feeds, Technology by engtech on March 16, 2008

Weekly Links

This is my weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet. They’re saved on delicious and stumbleupon and cross-posted to Twitter and Tumblr as they happen and then collected together for my blog on Internet Duct Tape.

Subscribe to Internet Duct Tape using RSS or using email.

This Week at Internet Duct Tape

Internet Duct Tape is my blog where I talk about software, technology, blogging and other geeky subjects.

This Week at Internet Duct Tape

Internet Duct Tape is my blog where I talk about software, technology, blogging and other geeky subjects.

This Week at Internet Duct Tape

Internet Duct Tape is my blog where I talk about software, technology, blogging and other geeky subjects.

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Searching for the Perfect Inline Code Documentation Tool

Posted in Programming Tools, Ruby, Technology, Writing Better Documentation by engtech on March 07, 2008

Programming Tips

Even amongst programmers I’m weird because I have an intense love for documentation. No, that doesn’t mean I overly comment my code, or that you’ll catch me browsing happily through the product requirements document during my coffee break. I should be more specific.

engtech-documentation-unravelling.png

I have an intense love automatic documentation generation. Nothing makes me more tickled pink than seeing code and documentation living side by side in perfect harmony. I hate seeing documentation put on the company intranet only to diverge from the code it’s supposed to explain as the days go past. I hate hitting my head against a brick wall as I’m pouring through the source code trying to understand an API because at no point does it mention that it’s documented in a Word doc in another directory.

This is my rule of programming: documentation should live beside the code it documents, in the comments, especially if it’s API documentation. If your language of choice doesn’t already have some kind of automatic code generation tool then you’re probably using the wrong language.

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Mashing Your MP3 Music Collection with Last.FM

Posted in Geeking Out, last.fm, Music, MP3s and Internet Radio, Technology by engtech on March 05, 2008

Music, MP3, iTunes

I’ve often said that one of the qualities of the hardcore geeky is that we have needs that sane normal people don’t have. That’s why there are so many web startups focused on RSS when most people don’t have a clue what RSS is — the geeks don’t realize that their need to have a continuous stream of information and never miss an update from a site they are interested in isn’t the way a lot of people use the internet.

One geek itch I’ve been wanting to scratch is to be able to listen to my MP3 collection using the recommendations from Last.FM. I’ve you’ve never heard of Last.FM, it is a music service that lets you listen music as a radio station over the internet. I’ve been using it for a year and a half and I love it; it’s helped me discover so much good music.

I’ve found two ways to automatically build MP3 playlists using online recommendations. The first way uses iTunes replacement Media Monkey and some extensions to connect to Last.FM (thanks TJOHO!) and the second way uses software by a new startup called The Filter (backed by Peter Gabriel).

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Delicious Links – 19 links – tips, google, music, code, blogging

Posted in Best of Feeds, Technology by engtech on March 01, 2008

Weekly Links

This is my weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet. They’re saved on delicious and stumbleupon and cross-posted to Twitter and Tumblr as they happen and then collected together for my blog on Internet Duct Tape.

Subscribe to Internet Duct Tape using RSS or using email.

This Week at Internet Duct Tape

Internet Duct Tape is my blog where I talk about software, technology, blogging and other geeky subjects.

This Week at IDT Labs

IDT Labs is where I announce new software tools I’m working on.

  • [TUMBLR] Regular Post Digest of the Last X Days
    • Build a list of the last X regular posts from your Tumblr account in the past Y days. Useful for doing weekly digest posts with Yahoo Pipe Cleaner
  • [TUMBLR] Delete your Tumblr with TumblrCleanr 0.0.1
    • There’s one Tumblr feature that’s missing: how do you delete your Tumblr? At some point you might want to destroy all traces of your tumblr (privacy concerns, or you want to use it for something else) and there isn’t an option to do that — other than click the delete button on every…

This Week at Ruby, eh?

Ruby, eh? is where I blog/tumble about the Ruby programming language.

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