Archive for May, 2005

Which Firefox Extensions Do You Use?

One of the primary reasons I love Firefox so much is the all the extensions that are available. Here’s a list of all the extensions I have installed, and that I use on a regular basis:

  • Feed Your Reader: Lets external
    applications and web based aggregators use RSS autodscovery (extremely useful).
  • HTML Validator: Adds HTML validation to the View Page Source of the browser.
  • MeasureIt: Draw out a ruler to get the pixel width and height of any elements
    on a webpage.
  • Scribe: Ads Word Processor like functionality to web forms, including opening
    and saving for entries as files. (Good for weblog posting.)
  • Aardvark: Allows cleaning up a page prior to printing it. Also has page analysis
    tools for web developers (which is mainly what I use it for — I hate printers).
  • Web Developer: Adds a menu and a toolbar with various web developer tools.
  • Live HTTP Headers: View HTTP headers of a page and while browsing.
  • SpellBound: Adds spell checker support to web forms and extensions.

What extensions am I missing that you can’t live without?

Thousands of Shared iCal Calendars

I made a post yesterday about how you can use iCal to subscribe to new movie releases. Sean Corfield mentioned that he is subscribed to US and Indian holiday calendars, which got me wondering what other calendars were available out there. Apparently there are thousands. It looks like the two big repositories are the Apple iCal Library, and iCalShare. Very cool stuff. I’m now subscribed to US holidays (I never know when it’s a holiday, and I sometimes go to work when Macromedia is closed), and a video game related calendar.

Is there something similar out there for Outlook users? Yesterday, Dan mentioned WinDates which looks like a good solution, although personally, I would recommend just switching to a Mac. :)

Subscribe to New Movie Releases

Not through RSS, but through Apple iCal. I picked up this tip today when getting caught up on my Jason Kottke reading. Open iCal, go to Calendar > Subscribe, and paste in this URL. You will never miss another movie release again.

Speaking of movie releases, I snuck away last week to see Revenge of the Sith. I am a huge episode IV through VI fan, and a huge critic of episodes I and II, but episode III was actually pretty good. The love scenes are laughable, and there were a couple of other scenes that actually made the audience groan (literally), but for the most part, I really enjoyed it. Have you seen it yet? If so, what did you think? If not, what are you waiting for?

Switching From the Sidekick II to the Treo 650

After Ben Forta blogged his experiences with his new Treo 650 last week, I thought I’d share my thoughts, as well, and in general, how the Treo 650 measures up to the T-Mobile Sidekick II.

I spent about 4 hours yesterday migrating my data from my Sidekick and configuring my Treo. I have pretty complex PIM requirements, and I’m happy to report that I think I’ve achieved them all:

  1. I’m using GoodLink to sync email, appointments, and tasks with the Macromedia Exchange server.
  2. I’m syncing the Palm calendar, todo list, and address book with iCal and Mac Address Book using iSync.
  3. I’m syncing notes and some other applications with Palm Desktop.
  4. I’m doing it all over bluetooth on a Mac.

Additionally, I’m retrieving email from two POP accounts (in addition to my Macromedia email) using VersaMail, I have AIM, Yahoo!, and ICQ accounts set up with VeriChat, I have a ton of SMS alerts, and I’ve installed various other applications to give me the functionality I’m accostomed to on my Sidekick. And in general, I’m very happy with how the whole process went.

Continue reading…

Cool Tool Friday: Google Homepage

By now, I’m sure you’ve seen Google’s new ability to create your own custom homepage. Just wanted to gather some thoughts. What do you think? I think it’s pretty slick. I like the drag and drop functionality. Unfortunately everything they offer is information I pretty much already get elsewhere through aggregators or widgets of one type or another, but I’ll see how having them all in one place on my browser’s homepage works out for me.

Anyway, how many of you have switched the Google homepage? If you haven’t, why? What do you have set as your homepage instead?

Google to Place Ads in Feeds

Google AdSense is now offering authors of syndicated content a way to monetize their feeds through the new AdSense for Feeds program (in beta, of course). So if you use an aggregator to help you get away from the clutter of internet advertising, sorry, but you’ll have to think of something else.

I’m not criticizing the program, though. Nobody has to put ads in their feeds, and nobody has to aggregate feeds with ads. And I’m all for website owners generating a little revenue (or a lot) from the sites they put so much time and energy into. I just think it’s a little humorous how whenever something starts to take off, it’s only a matter of time before it is infused with advertisements. I predict in six to nine months, the majority of feeds you aggregate will be showing ads, just like Slashdot is already doing, and I further predict that the majority of those ads will be served by Google.

So how many of you will put ads in your feeds? Will you continue to aggregate feeds with ads in them? And what impact will this have on web-based aggregators like MXNA? I’m going to have to give this some serious thought.

Why Distinguish Between GETs and POSTs?

It’s nice that ColdFusion gives you the option of distinguishing between GET and POST requests by putting variables in two different scopes (the “url” and “form” scopes, or structs), but with the framework I’ve put together for ColdFusion applications, I don’t really need to know. In fact, I don’t want my code distinguishing between the two because it makes it less generic (meaning I’m forced to make requests in way or the other). The answer has been to include this little piece of code from my Application.cfc file:

[code]

[/code]

Now I reference everything in the “request” scope or struct, regardless of whether it was submitted through a form or a URL parameter which makes my code more generic and reusable.

NewsGator Acquires FeedDemon

Nick Bradbury is reporting that his FeedDemon and TopStyle applications have been acquired by NewsGator. Congratulations, Nick! Sounds like a good opportunity for him, and for FeedDemon users.

Blogging (and blog aggregating) is becoming big business. First, Ask Jeeves acquired Bloglines, and now this. Let the mergers and acquisitions begin!

My New Weblog

I haven’t posted for a couple of days because I’ve been in the process of migrating my weblog. In fact, all the markme.com weblogs are eventually migrating over to weblogs.macromedia.com, and to a new version of Movable Type. I wanted to migrate mine first to get some experience with the process, and to get any issues/bugs worked out. If you see any problems, let me know.

The biggest challenge has been redirecting from old post URLs to the new ones (since the new version of MT generates different types of URLs). Anil Dash set me up with some MT code to generate an .htaccess file to make Apache do most of the work, but there are tons of other things to consider when migrating a two-year-old weblog (images, feeds, go URLs, and other files).

Over the next couple of months, I intend to update my templates, but for now, I’m using only a slightly modified version of the MT default. My stylesheet is pretty standard, as well, with only a couple customizations. In fact, I’ve heard it referred to as “nice, but unoriginal.” True. I’m not much of a designer, though, so if you have any suggestions, let me know.

Technical details first, aesthetics later.

I’m Looking for AJAX Applications

As you are probably aware, I’ve been working with AJAX techniques recently, and
I’ve been very impressed, especially with the Flash
integration
we’ve been able
to accomplish. And now I need your help. What are the coolest AJAX sites you’ve
seen out there? I’m looking for sites that inspire and amaze!