// Internet Duct Tape

The World’s Stupidest Productivity Tip: Open All in Tabs

Lifehacks and Productivity

Here’s a stupidly easy tip for web browsing that can be a real time saver. It works in Firefox or Internet Explorer (and maybe even Safari). The trick is to bookmark all of the websites you commonly visit as one group so that you can open them all at once when it comes time for your daily maintenance.

For me, the list is:

Step 1: Open your favorite sites in tabs

Keep using Ctrl-T or middle-click to open sites in a new tab until you have a list of all the sites you normally visit at the start of a day.

Step 2: Bookmark the open tabs as a group.

This is where the magic happens. Instead of individually saving the bookmarks, you save them as a group/folder so that you can open them all at once.

In Firefox, use Bookmarks >> Bookmark All Tabs (Ctrl-Shift-D)

Hot Tip: Save to group under Bookmarks Toolbar so that they’ll be accessible from your Firefox toolbar.

In Internet Explorer, use Favorites >> Add Tab Group to Favorites

Step 3: Organize your bookmarks

If you want to remove a link from your group (because Facebook is a timesink) then you can use the organize feature of your web browser to add or delete bookmarks, or to reorder them.

In Firefox, use Bookmarks >> Organize Boomarks (Ctrl-Shift-B)

In Internet Explorer, use Favorites >> Organize Favorites

Step 4: Opening the group all at once

In Firefox, you can navigate to your bookmarks using the toolbar or the Bookmarks drop-down menu (depending on where you saved them in step 2) and choose Open All in Tabs.

In Internet Explorer, it’s a bit more complicated.

  • Click on the Star (for favorites)
  • Click on the arrow beside the tab group you just created

After that’s all done, you’ve probably saved yourself a few minutes a day of having to switch between sites you check out very often. Because they all start loading at the same time, it’s pretty quick to jump between them and grab the information you need.

Delicious Links – 20 links – blogging, windows, codinghorror, amazon, shopping

Posted in Best of Feeds by engtech on April 26, 2008

Weekly Links

This is my weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet. You can follow this list of links as I post them on Friend Feed or on Twitter. Or you can get the weekly update by subscribing to Internet Duct Tape using RSS or using email.

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Delicious Links – 20 links – friendfeed, blogging, javascript, psychology, startup

Posted in Best of Feeds by engtech on March 29, 2008

Weekly Links

This is my weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet. You can see me add them in real time on Friend Feed.

(more…)

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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How to Play Downloaded Videos on Your iPod, Xbox 360, or DVD Player

Posted in Group Writing Projects, How I Use, Software, Technology by engtech on January 27, 2008

Software

I’ve been slumming through the support forums at answers.yahoo.com lately and this is a question I see come up often: how do I download a video and put it on my electronic device? More and more consumer electronics devices that can play videos, but that means we have to learn more about the big, bad scary world of video codecs.

The steps are simple:

  1. Find a video source (source)
    • video from your camera/phone, off the Internet, or from a DVD you own
  2. Get the video on to your computer (source/download)
  3. Convert the format of the video to something your portable media player can play (convert)
  4. Copy the video to your portable media player (destination)

…but the devil is in the details.

What is a Codec?

Codec stands for coder-decoder. It’s a mathematical algorithm that stores the video into a file. It’s like VHS vs beta or HD-DVD vs Blu-ray — different codecs have different formats and they aren’t interchangeable. There are many different video codecs, and that’s where the headache with downloaded content comes from. Your computer can play many more codec formats that your iPod, Xbox 360 or DVD player.

What Codecs Can My iPod, Xbox 360 or DVD Player Play?

This is the hardest part, especially when you aren’t familiar with video codecs. You’re going to have to do some research and find out what your portable media player supports. This is how I find information for any electronic device I’m having problems with:

Once you’ve found the information make sure to save it somewhere you can find it again. I keep a folder on my computer with PDFs of the manuals for all my electronic devices so that I can quickly find the information again later.

Here’s a list of codecs for popular devices to get you started.

Sample of documentation on supported video codecs
From my DVD player manual

How to Copy a DVD to Your Computer

These guides will show you how to copy a DVD to your computer’s hard drive so that you can work on it with other software to change the format to something you can play on your portable media device.

How to Download Videos

I’m not going to go into detail because of the questionable legality. There are videos out there that you can legitimately download but there are even more where you would be breaking the law if you downloaded them. I’ll let my friends at Lifehacker give you the skinny on downloading videos instead:

How to Watch Any Video Format on your Computer

If you’re downloading videos from unknown sources, quite often you’re going to end up with a file that your computer doesn’t know how to play back. The solution is to use the free VLC Media Player that is available for Windows, Mac, Linux and a million other operating systems you’ve never heard of.

Quick tip: always test playing a file with VLC before you do anything else with it. If it doesn’t play in VLC, chances are you won’t be able to convert it to work with your portable media player.

When VLC doesn’t work, there’s the Combined Community Codec Pack to the rescue.

How to Tell Which Codec Format the Video Uses

The best advice I can give anyone who is downloading content from unknown sources is do not trust the file extension. Just because the file says .divx or .mp4 doesn’t mean it’s is. Use the free GSpot software to find out the real details of what codec format the file you downloaded is.

I’m not going to lie to you — GSpot isn’t the most userfriendly application I’ve ever seen. But it gives you the two pieces of essential information you need: the video codec and audio codec the file is using.

Using GSpot to analyze video codec information

How to Convert Codec Formats

The world of video codecs is very confusing, with lots of formats that sound similar but have minor differences that will prevent them with playing on different devices. I use Any Video Converter when I need to change codec formats of a file. It has a very simple interface that requires only three clicks to convert a file:

  1. Add a file
  2. Choose the profile for the output format I want
  3. Encode

Any Video ConverterAny Video Converter also has pay versions with added features like easy converting to iPod, Zune, PSP. But the free version works well for converting if you set up the profile for the output file format correctly. The free version also supports YouTube.

It is often easier to find specialty software that supports the electronic device you want to play videos on. When looking for how to specific software for converting video the first thing I do is go to lifehacker.com and do a search. They often discuss free software for video converting, and the comments are full of excellent information.

Specialty Software for Converting Video

Here are some examples of software that converts specifically to the file formats you need. I haven’t tried all of them, and some of them are pay software with trial versions while others are freeware and available for multiple operating systems.

This was written as part of the Daily Blog Tips tutorials group writing project.

Best of Feeds – 19 links – blogging, inspiration, writing, design, apple

Posted in Best of Feeds by engtech on January 21, 2008

RSS feeds are like cookies (that are good enough for me). Best of Feeds is a weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet this week. They’re saved on delicious and stumbleupon and cross-posted to Twitter and Tumblr as they happen and then collected together on Saturdays. I don’t blog on the weekend so read these links instead.

Subscribe to //engtech to see this every week (or get it by email).

Legend

  • saves – number of people who bookmarked on http://del.icio.us
  • inbound links – number of blogs who linked to it (max 100)
  • diggs – number of people who dugg on http://digg.com

This Week at Internet Duct Tape

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Best of Feeds – 19 links – blogging, tips, google, opensocial, community

Posted in Best of Feeds by engtech on November 11, 2007

RSS feeds are like cookies (that are good enough for me). Best of Feeds is a weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet this week. They’re saved on delicious and stumbleupon and cross-posted to Twitter and Tumblr as they happen and then collected together on Saturdays. I don’t blog on the weekend so read these links instead.Subscribe to //engtech to see this every week (or get it by email).

Legend

  • saves – number of people who bookmarked on http://del.icio.us
  • inbound links – number of blogs who linked to it (max 100)
  • diggs – number of people who dugg on http://digg.com

This Week at Internet Duct Tape

  • Internet Duct Tape featured in Blogging Heroes
    • When bloggers like Gina Trapani, Mark Frauenfelder, Chris Anderson, and Phillip Lennsen are honored to be collected in New York Times’ bestselling author Michael A. Banks’ new book, Blogging Heroes: Interviews with 30 of the World’s Top Bloggers I can’t even begin to describe how…
  • How to Subscribe to RSS Feeds with Google Reader and Internet Explorer
    • In August I was being the dutiful son and trying to get my father hooked on RSS feeds. (It’s like the Ring — if you get someone hooked on RSS you no longer have 700 unread items in Google Reader) I hit a snag: his browser of choice is Internet Explorer and there wasn’t a simple way to…
  • Avoid Prime Real Estate for Live.com Email Address Landrush
    • Microsoft’s live.com is offering email addresses, and the usual land grab rush is on to “secure” your identity on the service. What most people don’t realize is that securing a “prime real estate” email address is probably the LAST thing you want to do. An obvious email…
  • Digest for October 2007

This Week at IDT Labs

  • [YAHOO PIPES] Yahoo Pipe Cleaner v1.1
    • Yahoo Pipes changed their website on me and I’ve fixed Yahoo Pipe Cleaner so that it works with the new site. Now it also removes image thumbnails that were popping up. It might not run on all Yahoo Pipes because some pipes now have custom URLs — let me know if you are having any problems using…

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Best of Feeds – 30 links – programming, google, tips, agile, facebook

Posted in Best of Feeds by engtech on October 20, 2007

RSS feeds are like cookies (that are good enough for me). Best of Feeds is a weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet this week. They’re saved on delicious and stumbleupon and cross-posted to Twitter and Tumblr as they happen and then collected together on Saturdays. I don’t blog on the weekend so read these links instead.Subscribe to //engtech to see this every week (or get it by email).

Legend

  • saves – number of people who bookmarked on http://del.icio.us
  • inbound links – number of blogs who linked to it (max 100)
  • diggs – number of people who dugg on http://digg.com

This Week at Internet Duct Tape

  • How I Use Google Reader
    • “How I Use” is a new series I’m starting about the software I use on a day-to-day basis. I want share tips and tricks and to learn tips and tricks from readers sharing with me in the comments. Google Reader is a web-based RSS reader. Because it’s web-based I can access my Google…
  • The Attention Age: Accelerando, Software Agents, Filters and Gatekeepers
    • Last night I finished reading Accelerando by Charles Stross. Like many of the books I read these days, I heard about it from another blogger. It feels like a spiritual sequel to Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock, John Brunner’s the Shockwave Rider and Warren Ellis’ Transmetropolitan. It is…
  • Blog Action Day: Save Paper when Readers Print Your Blog
    • Today is Blog Action Day with a focus on the environment and I’m going to teach a quick CSS trick for how to save paper by reducing what gets printed when someone prints an article from your blog.
  • Coworkers Considered Harmful
    • I hit a realization this weekend that I’ve hit many times before. There’s an inordinate number of times when I’m in the office late not because of my own time management failures but because of the people I work with.
  • Best of Feeds – 26 links – programming, webdesign, javascript, design, tips
    • Tags: blogging, design, fun, javascript, lifehacks, programming, rails, tips, usability, web2.0, webdesign, writing

This Week at IDT Labs

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Best of Feeds – 26 links – programming, webdesign, javascript, design, tips

Posted in Best of Feeds by engtech on October 14, 2007

RSS feeds are like cookies (that are good enough for me). Best of Feeds is a weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet this week. They’re saved on delicious and stumbleupon and cross-posted to Twitter and Tumblr as they happen and then collected together on Saturdays. I don’t blog on the weekend so read these links instead.Subscribe to //engtech to see this every week (or get it by email).

Legend

  • saves – number of people who bookmarked on http://del.icio.us
  • inbound links – number of blogs who linked to it (max 100)
  • diggs – number of people who dugg on http://digg.com

This Week at Internet Duct Tape

  • What I’m Playing: PC, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360
    • I’m on day 10 of “one of those weeks” so I haven’t had time to fully develop the usual cornucopia of rainbow-coloured blog post ideas. All of my time has been spent on work and family with a smidgen of video game playing to decompress my brain. This isn’t one of those…
  • The Holiday Spread – Group Weight Loss Game
    • This past weekend was Thanksgiving (aka Turkey Day) in Canada, which means seeing your family and eating a lot of food together. One of the favourite pastimes at any holiday is pointing out who’s gained weight and who hasn’t. This got me thinking: one of the principals of successful dieting…
  • Best of Feeds – 34 links – programming, google, lifehacks, ruby, funny
    • Tags: blogging, estimation, free, funny, google, gtd, javascript, lifehacks, productivity, programming, rails, ruby, rubyonrails, search, seo, tips

This Week at IDT Labs

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Best of Feeds – 34 links – programming, google, lifehacks, ruby, funny

Posted in Best of Feeds by engtech on October 07, 2007

RSS feeds are like cookies (that are good enough for me). Best of Feeds is a weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet this week. They’re saved on delicious and stumbleupon and cross-posted to Twitter and Tumblr as they happen and then collected together on Saturdays. I don’t blog on the weekend so read these links instead.Subscribe to Internet Duct Tape to see this every week (or get it by email).

Legend

  • saves – number of people who bookmarked on http://del.icio.us
  • inbound links – number of blogs who linked to it (max 100)
  • diggs – number of people who dugg on http://digg.com

This Week at Internet Duct Tape

  • Distraction Free GTD: 32 Todo List Web Applications
    • Web Runner is a tiny site-specific web application that runs using less resources than Firefox or Internet Explorer. The whole idea behind a site specific web browser is that you want to access a web application without being tempted to access other sites. You want to access a site without being…
  • Magazine Review: October 2007 Issue of Inc. Magazine
    • I came to a rather startling discovery in the past month: magazines are just blogs with the added luxury of being able to read them while on the toilet or in the bathtub (but hopefully not both). I picked up the October issue of Inc. magazine because Joel Spolsky of Joel On Software has joined the…
  • Blog Tip: Create a Link Post in 3 Seconds
    • One question I’m frequently asked is “how do you build those Best of Feeds weekly links?” The way I do it is pretty complicated, but I’ve found a much simpler way that I want to share with you all.
  • Digest for September 2007
    • Every month I publish a digest post collecting the best of Internet Duct Tape.
  • Best of Feeds – 30 links – programming, productivity, code, socialsoftware, socialnetworking
    • Tags: adsense, advice, blogging, career, code, design, development, firefox, gtd, lifehacks, productivity, programming, ruby, rubyonrails, socialnetworking, socialsoftware, tips, web2.0, webdesign

This Week at IDT Labs

  • [AKISMET] Akismet Auntie Spam v2.04
    • Our favorite Auntie has a new version. 2007/10/04 version 2.04 – Fixed (some) memory problems with v2.03 – Still slow, I need to get it working with a profiler, none of the hacks for Greasemonkey + Firebug seem to work.
  • [DELICIOUS] Delicious Link Builder
    • Build a list of links using your delicious account to bookmark them. Works great with my Yahoo Pipe Cleaner script . Example : [BOOKMARKING] toread – an email-based bookmark service Simple service to use to track stuff ‘to read later’. They store the top 10 for each day. It’s like…
  • [RSS PIPE] Stupid Credit Builder
    • This is a clone of Stupid Feed Rewriter that backdates the entry to January 1st, 1970. Useful for adding a credit link at the end of a list.

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Best of Feeds – 30 links – programming, productivity, code, socialsoftware, socialnetworking

Posted in Best of Feeds by engtech on September 29, 2007

RSS feeds are like cookies (that are good enough for me). Best of Feeds is a weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet this week. They’re saved on delicious and stumbleupon and cross-posted to Twitter and Tumblr as they happen and then collected together on Saturdays. I don’t blog on the weekend so read these links instead.

Subscribe to //engtech to see this every week (or get it by email).

Legend

  • saves – number of people who bookmarked on http://del.icio.us
  • inbound links – number of blogs who linked to it (max 100)
  • diggs – number of people who dugg on http://digg.com

This Week at Internet Duct Tape

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Best of Feeds – 22 links – programming, blogging, tips, javascript, rails

Posted in Best of Feeds by engtech on September 23, 2007

RSS feeds are like cookies (that are good enough for me). Best of Feeds is a weekly collection of the best stuff I saw on the Internet this week. They’re saved on delicious and stumbleupon and cross-posted to Twitter and Tumblr as they happen and then collected together on Saturdays. I don’t blog on the weekend so read these links instead.

Subscribe to //engtech to see this every week (or get it by email).

Legend

  • saves – number of people who bookmarked on http://del.icio.us
  • inbound links – number of blogs who linked to it (max 100)
  • diggs – number of people who dugg on http://digg.com

This Week at Internet Duct Tape

  • 9 Techniques to Promoting Your Social Web Application

    How do you build a web app that has traction, gain users and hopefully explodes virally? I’ve been paying attention to this space for far too long and this is a round-up of the tricks and techniques successful and not-so-successful social web applications use to promote themselves.

  • The Problem With Social Web Applications

    This is an exciting time because unlike traditional software that runs on your computer [1], web applications are created as social software where you have a friends list, collaborate on a document with multiple people and it is easily to share information and communicate. The downside is these…

  • Best of Feeds – 55 links – programming, firefox, blogging, tips, lifehacks

    Tags: blogging, books, business, debugging, del.icio.us, delicious, development, digg, facebook, firefox, funny, games, geek, humor, life, lifehacks, management, organization, productivity, programming, security, smo, socialbookmarking, socialnetworking, socialsoftware, stumbleupon, tips, video

This Week at IDT Labs

  • [DELICIOUS/STUMBLEUPON] Delicious Stumbles crossposting tool

    Last Greasemonkey script this week :) With Delicious Stumbles I get all of the super-useful features I like about delicious (speed, recommended tags) but I also teach StumbleUpon more about what I like without having to spend all that time cutting-and-pasting between two accounts. Submit a page…

  • [WORDPRESS] Comment Ninja

    My WordPress Comment Ninja extension is available for beta test. Try it out and let me know what you think! Respond directly from the comment administration panel on your dashboard Respond by comment, email or both (without having to cut-and-paste your response!) Respond using your email…

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