Friday, May 29, 2009

Google Wave

Google Wave looks like it could be an interesting way to communicate and collaborate.  Here is the video that runs through many of the features.

[via Webware]

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hulu Desktop

Hulu has released Hulu Desktop in beta.  This application, for Mac OS X and Windows, allows you to watch Hulu content with only using a remote for control.

I think that this is an interesting move on their part, and you can see why they wanted to stop Boxee from showing Hulu content.  If they will also create a Windows Media Center plugin, that would allow this content to be viewed within the Media Center UI, I will be that much closer to canceling Comcast cable service.

[via Mashable]

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wolfram Alpha and Firefox

I had been hearing about Wolfram Alpha for a while.  I manually went to the web site a few times, and had mixed results.  Since I use Google regularily, I figured if I could compare the results from Google and Wolfram Alpha side by side, I could see which one is better.

This Firefox add-on modifies the Google search results page to contain the results from Wolfram Alpha.  I ran this for a while to compare the results between the two search engines.

For many of the search terms that I looked for, Wolfram Alpha did not return any results.  Maybe , I wasn't formatting the query in a way that Wolfram Alpha wanted.  I have since uninstalled that add-on, and will probably not be using Wolfram Alpha.

[via ChattahBox]

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Comments after switching to WordPress

I have notices something interesting after making the switch to WordPress.  Many of my older posts are now being commented on with a higher frequency than they were with LifeType.  I think that there are some potential reasons for this

  1. LifeType had a Bayesian spam filter.  It is possible that it was trained poorly over time, so these comments were marked as spam and deleted immediately

  2. There could have been a bug in the other spam filters, which would have deleted those comments.

  3. Since I am submitting a new sitemap for the WordPress blog, the posts could see "fresher" and could appear higher in search results.

Netflix on Windows Media Center

Microsoft just released the ability to stream Netflix movies to Vista Media Center.  This is something that Microsoft had implemented in the New Xbox Experience last year.

These implementations allow you to play videos that are on your Netflix instant queue.  It looks like Microsoft did a more functional implementation for Media Center, than what exists on the Xbox .  In addition to letting you play content that is already on your queue, you can browse the whole library of videos available for streaming.  Also, you can manage both your disc and streaming queues.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cancelling Plaxo

I have finally decided to cancel my Plaxo account. I was not pushed over the edge when Plaxo was spamming people with invites.  Also, I didn't cancel my account when Plaxo was sending birthday notifications for friends of friends or for business contacts.

The problem that I have been having with Plaxo is how it deals with imported data.  For example, when you associate a flickr account to your Plaxo account, Plaxo creates an album in your Plaxo account.  This album shows your public flickr photo.  I have two problems with Plaxo's integration.

  1. Photos do not include links to flickr page for that photo.  I believe that this part of the terms of service of flickr to include that link.

  2. Plaxo implements its own comment system for photos.  Personally, I want all comments for photos entered on the flickr page itself.

I like how Facebook integrates with flickr, with the Flickr app.  On Facebook, an is added to your News Feed, but clicking on it will take you to the Facebook pages.

Plaxo does have a good solution for synchronizing contacts.  I have used it to synchronizing contacts between Thunderbird, Outlook and my iPhone.  Since I have switched to Google Mobile Sync, I don't have a need for Plaxo.


In this post, I mentioned  One problem with is that it only does a rudimentary amount of filtering.  (It only filters duplicates.)  For games that change the Xbox Live status often, this will still cause a lot of Tweets to be created.

raptr is a site that does a better job at broadcasting Xbox Live status on Twitter.  Instead of posting a status every n minutes, raptr will post a message, like "paul just started playing %s", when starting to play a game.  In addition to sending statuses when playing games, it will also send messages when you get achievements.  Raptr also supports gaming systems other than Xbox Live.

Here is my profile on Raptr:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Airport and WDS

I have been having problems with one of our Airport Express access points.  Every once in a while, we would loose access to the wireless network on our top floor.  Restarting the Airport Express would fix it.  Until, I eventually I replace it, I have turned on the wireless radio on our other Airport Express that we had been using as a print server.

One annoyance that I had to do was that I had to configure this new base station with the same wireless settings as the other base stations.  This had me thinking that WDS could make this easier to configure.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

WordPress for web site

A while ago, I wanted to set up a new web site.  I didn't want to hand edit the html, as I usually do, so I decided to use Godaddy's Website Tonight to create the web site.  Website Tonight is a web based site management system where you can use GUI tools to edit the look of a web site. The tools are done in such a way where you can easily change the theme, and have it apply to all of the pages.

I have been having some problems with Website Tonight, though.  There is a bug in the UserAgent handling in the editor.  It doesn't recoginze Firefox 3.x as a recent version of a browser.  So I am forced to use Internet Explorer in my Windows XP virtual machine to edit the site.  In addition to that, some of the widgets that they have available have some problems.  For example, Godaddy makes a rss widget available to embed an rss feed in a web page.  The widget doesn't have some of the configuration options that I want.  For example, I want to include the text from the rss items themselves, but I don't want to include the text from the channel element.

I think that WordPress will work perfectly for what I want to do.  I can create multiple pages in WordPress, and they will automatically appear in the navigation for the site.  I can also use WordPress's WYSIWYG editor to edit those pages.  In addition, I know that WordPress doesn't have the problem with UserAgent detection.

Since WordPress natively deals with blog items, I am sure that it will be very easy to create a page that has one category of posts.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Facebook Connect

I have decided to use Facebook Connect on this blog, instead of my previous usage of Google Friend Connect.  There are a few reasons that I am making this switch.

  • I was never impressed with Google Friend Connect's social features.  Google Friend Connect doesn't have a concept of a "friend activity feed".  So there is no way to see in an aggregated list of my contact's activities. With Facebook Connect, comment activities appear in the Facebook News Feed

  • Google Friend Connect's comment system requires Javascript, which is not compatible with all browsers.  Facebook Connect, with the WordPress plugin, the comments are still process in the normally, but there just is an addition step for publishing the status item.

This page has good instructions about setting up Facebook Connect for WordPress.

Google Mail Labs Suggestion

Google has been coming out with some prety cool/useful features in their Labs section of Gmail.  I have an idea of something that I, and maybe others, would find useful.

I often leave myself logged in on my home computer when I go to work.  The computer is set to go to sleep, but it does wake up for backups or if someone logs on.  The problem that I have is that, since I leave a browser open with Gmail in one of the tabs, if someone attempts to chat with me with Google Talk, I will not see that attempt on any other computers, when I next log in.

I would like to see a setting, where I can configure Google Talk to replay the last chats that were sent to an inactive browser session, on the next successful Gmail login.  With this setting, I woudln't miss chat atempts.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Switched to Wordpress

I have just switched this blog to WordPress from LifeType.  The mtexport plugin make this very easy.  The main thing that the Movable Type Import Format doesn't include is image resources.  So, instead of attempting to move the images to WordPress, I just used some mod rewrite rules to redirect those requests.

First, I created an Alias in apache to the LifeType install.  (I did this, so I could have access to the old LifeType installation)  Then I used the following rewrite rules to redirect resource requests, and requests for the rss feeds

RewriteRule ^/gallery(.*) /archive/gallery$1 [L,R=301]
RewriteRule ^/rss.php(.*) /feed/ [L,R=301]

Unfortunately, with these rules, requests for atom feeds will now return rss feeds.

Now, I just need to pick a new theme.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

mtexport plugin

I have created a new plugin, called mtexport, which will export a LifeType blog to the Movable Type Import Format file.  This format is can be imported into WordPress.

The reason that I created this plugin, is because I am moving my blogs to Wordpress.  I have been happy with LifeType, but but I am getting tired of added features myself.  Often when I see some software that is available for other blogs, I have to port it myself.  This is what I did with AddThis, Akismet, Twitter, Related articles plugin, http::BL, and reflection.

I don't want to spend the time creating plugins for the cool new features, so I am just going to switch to WordPress where there is a large library of plugins.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Twitter / Netflix integration

Netflix has added twitter integration.  So now, you can direct message netflix and have discs added to your queue.  This page will walk you through the steps.