Recently in Tools & Productivity

Linux tricks and tips

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Found a really useful tip on http://www.linuxbrigade.com for a command to optimize and repair MySQL databases:

mysqlcheck -u root -ppassword --auto-repair --check --optimize --all-databases

Use "p" for password and then your password with no space! I had a corrupt table in a phpBB database and this did the trick. The site seems full of useful tips like this.

AdSense Newsletter "tip of the month"

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One of the things I am always going on about is using the tools that are out there. You can do a lot of pretty sophisticated things for free or very low cost. If you are an AdSense publisher, you should be getting their monthly email newsletter, which today contains this info about the new Google +1 button:

+1 Reporting is now available

In our last issue we told you all about the +1 button and how it can help you drive more and better qualified traffic to your site. This time, we're excited to share the new reporting tools Google has designed to help you keep track of your +1 activity.

The best place to find out how the +1 button is performing is in Google Webmaster Tools . You can get more information on how much additional organic search traffic the +1 button is bringing to your pages, how many times your pages have been +1'd by your users and demographic information for those users. If you haven't done so already, you'll need to verify your site on Google Webmaster Tools to get access to these features. In addition to this, Google Analytics is offering the new Social Plug-in Analytics tool. This will give you insight into the different types of actions taking place in your site once users reach it. You'll be able to compare behavior between users who +1 your pages and those who don't, as well as track other social actions and see which pages are driving the highest number of them.

It is good info, and stuff you should be on top of if you are running a web business, blog, or develop sites for clients.

Meta Tag Generator

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Here is a quick and easy way to generate meta tags for your website, from coffeecup.com, the: Meta Tag Generator We recently did some SEO and social network marketing for TuscanTrails.com. The existing site had no meta tags at all, so we used this tool to make an initial set for the home page (description, keyword, copyright, author, etc.), and then tweaked by hand the remaining few pages. Simple but effective.

Yahoo! Web hosting FTP log in

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Was having difficulty signing into a customers FTP account on Yahoo! Make sure you use the following constructs (i.e. the user name is not enough, it needs to be in the form of an email address):

host or address: ftp.widgetdesigns.com (replace widgetdesigns.com with your own domain name)

user or login: name@widgetdesigns.com (replace name with your Yahoo! ID, and widgetdesigns.com with your own domain name)

password: the password you use to sign in to your Yahoo! account

Web hosting sale from Yahoo!

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Adding Lightbox to a Blogger Blog

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Lightbox utilizes jQuery to make simple, effective photo presentations and slide shows on your blog or website. This set of instructions can have it up and running on Blogger in minutes.

Why You Can't Work at Work

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We use Basecamp, and I think that Fried is a pretty sharp guy. This video has some good insights that I am sure many people can relate to:

WMV to FLV for Macintosh - EVOM

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Just wasted almost a couple of hours fooling around trying to get a free WMV to FLV converter to work (Quicktime, VLC, WMV, Handbrake, etc, etc,) before stumbling across EVOM. Free, simple, fast, elegant - and it worked! Check it out - converts to many formats.

Yahoo! having a web hosting sale

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If you are looking for an entry level web hosting packing, this is a pretty good price. Save 50% with Yahoo! Web Hosting - Only $4.99/month

Clicktale, In Page Analytics

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Clicktale is an interesting start up that provides insights into your website traffic, using what they call "In-Page Web Analytics". Some of what they claim to provide:

  • Watch Movies of your visitors' browsing sessions to analyze their behavior
  • Scrolling Heatmaps show where visitors look and how far down they scroll
  • Link Analytics shows every interaction, hover, hesitation time, and much more
  • Form Analytics reveals problem fields in online forms that cause visitors to leave
  • Has anyone tried this technology out? Would be interesting to hear from some real users -

    Facebook Connect demo Part 1

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    I recently set up a quick demo of Facebook Connect...Basically it gives you the ability to leverage Facebook data for use on your site.


    Facebook Connect is the next evolution of Facebook Platform - enabling you to integrate the power of Facebook Platform into your own site. Enable your users to...

    Seamlessly "connect" their Facebook account and information with your site
    Connect and find their friends who also use your site
    Share information and actions on your site with their friends on Facebook


    Here is a demo that will log users into Facebook on ibizdaily.com...additionally it lets you invite people in your network to use ibizdaily.

    ibizdaily Facebook Connect demo

    Alexa.com

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    Has re-designed their website.

    FireShot plug for Firefox

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    I just added the FireShot plugin for Firefox. What I needed was a way to quickly make notes on a page and share those with the team... The plugin converts the page into an image and allows you to make notes on the image

    Here is an example:

    fireshot.JPG

    FireShot is a Firefox extension that creates screenshots of web pages (entirely or just visible part).

    Unlike other extensions, this plugin provides a set of editing and annotation tools, which let users quickly modify web captures and insert text annotations and graphical annotations. Such functionality will be especially useful for web designers, testers and content reviewers.

    My First Facebook app

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    Intrigued by the idea of developing a Facebook app to generate large amounts of income from the millions of Facebook users hitting my app, I decided to give it a try. It was surprisingly easy to get the basics up and running. The documentation provided by Facebook could use some work, but it is still better than most.

    I started out by building the "Hello World" equivalent of a Facebook application. Basically, it is a page on facebook that shows five facebook friends who are currently logged in to the site. My application is a take on example code given to you by Facebook when you register your application with them.

    You can try it out here

    This is a screenshot:

    facebook.JPG

    Here are a few links that helped me out:

    Facebook Cookbook -These guys have a few very detailed, yet simple examples to follow.

    Nettuts - This guy show the basics of getting your first app up and running.

    Facebook Developers Wiki - Great resource for developing apps and learning the API.

    The next step is to come up with an idea that would have a plausible business impact... for me that is.

    Here is the code.

    Video hosting

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    I just got an email newsletter from Viddler.com and it reminded that I have been wanting to post about sites that host video that you can then use on your website or blog.

    I started using Viddler after I noticed that Wine Library TV was using it. Before that was using Brightcove - but my new favorite in this space is Vimeo.

    Of course the 800 lb. gorilla in web vidoe is YouTube - but I find YouTube both ugly (the interface) and too advertising dominated - and as great as Google is, it is nice to see them have some real competition in some areas. Vimeo especially has a very clean interface and all the controls disappear once the video starts playing (until you mouse over it again) which I like very much.

    So what can you do with pretty much all of the above sites? Basically you upload your videos from your computer (in several formats) and then these sites do their own encoding of that video and host it. People can watch it on the video hosting sites, or you grab some code and embed the video into your own site. It is pretty simple and straightforward, and probably easier than hosting your own video and embedding a flash player or messing with Quicktime, AVI files, etc. You also don't have the bandwith concerns of hosting and streaming large files.

    Additionally, many of these sites feature social tools where other people can rate and share your videos, etc. which gives the added benefit of getting your video more exposure (if that is what you want).

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