Archive for the 'blogosphere' Category

05
Jan
10

My URL-shortening service of choice

As far as I’m concerned, URL-shortening services have one objective: to make URLs short.  I am a lot less concerned with various features those service might offer than I am with how short they can make URLs.  As far as I can tell, j.mp creates the shortest URLs around, so it has become my URL-shortening service of choice.  Not only does it have the shortest possible domain name but it also uses both upper- and lower-case letters as well as numbers as the database key.  This means that it can index more URLs using a given number of characters than shortening services that use, say numbers and only lower-case letters.

However, j.mp is owned by bit.ly, which has a lot more visibility as a URL-shortening service.  While bit.ly owns j.mp, they are not separate services that happen to have the same owner; rather, they are highly integrated.  A single user account gets you access to both bit.ly and j.mp.  Furthermore, j.mp and bit.ly actually share their database, since http://j.mp/84SxlS and http://bit.ly/84SxlS, for example, both redirect to the same site.  This raises the question of why I would want to use a shortening service like bit.ly when j.mp is actually the same but produces URLs that are 2 characters shorter.  In many ways, j.mp is the best of both worlds.  Because it’s connected to bit.ly, it offers a slew of nice features but it produces the shortest URLs around.

Unfortunately, it’s clear from the bit.ly/j.mp website that bit.ly is interested in promoting bit.ly and not j.mp.  At some point in the past I went to j.mp and grabbed their “Shorten with j.mp” bookmarklet, which I put in my bookmark toolbar so I could easily shorten URLs for use on Twitter.  However, this bookmarklet appears to be gone.  If you go to http://j.mp/pages/tools, it offers a “Shorten with bit.ly” bookmarklet rather than a “Shorten with j.mp” bookmarklet”.  Doesn’t that seem strange?

Fortunately, there is a simple solution: manually edit the bookmarklet.  It turns out that simply changing bit.ly in the “URL” field code to j.mp is sufficient to change this “Shorten with bit.ly” bookmarklet into a “Shorten with j.mp” bookmarklet.  In addition to making the change in the “URL” field, you probably want to change the name of the bookmarklet just so it’s clear that you’re using j.mp rather than bit.ly.

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29
Sep
09

Done.

As far as I can tell, the migration of this blog from its former location to WordPress.com (its current location) is complete. The migration required a number of steps and was tedious – lots of searching for outdated links, finding the appropriate new link, and making the change. In any case, it is now done and I can devote the time that I had been spending on migrating it to now creating actual new content.

15
Sep
09

Google Reader

I’m fairly new to anything requiring a Google account.  I am a luddite and part-time tin-foil hat wearer, so I was reluctant to give Google access to any of my stuff.  However, they lured me with convenience.  Since signing up for a Gmail account, I’ve started keeping track of my time using Google Calendar.  I also now have a Google Voice number, a Google profile, and a feed of articles I’ve shared through Google Reader.

I only really started using Google Reader a few days ago, but I really like it.  I had tried various RSS readers in the past, but never got into them.  However, I really like the fact that I can share articles with other people and add my own commentary.  People can follow the resulting RSS feed from their own RSS reader or they can check out the feed in the sidebar right here on this blog.

So, while I probably won’t be writing full-blown posts every day, you can check my blog to see my tweets and articles I’ve shared through Google Reader.  I hope you enjoy them.

11
Sep
09

New header image

The observant among you (who also follow my photoblog) may have noticed that my new header image is the bottom portion of this image.  If you did, congratulations.  If not, consider this post a plug for my photoblog.

09
Sep
09

Almost there

If you’re a regular reader, you may have noticed that my heretofore most recent post has disappeared (titled “Bear with me”). That’s because I contacted WordPress.com support today and they reran the entire import process for me from my old blog installation (which didn’t include that post). In doing so, all my photos were imported and the image source tags in the posts now use the correct locations of the files on wordpress.com. I’m glad that I got the picture issue resolved without having to manually import each image from my old blog and update the link to it on the corresponding post, as was suggested in the forums. This takes care of one the gripes I had with the wordpress.com importer.

However, the other gripe – that self-referential links are not rewritten to point to their correct location on wordpress.com – still stands. What this means is that all the links I have on my blog to my own previous posts are still wrong. That is, they still point to the old URL of my blog. In order to remedy this, I basically have to go through all my posts one by one and update the links, which will be tedious because wordpress.com uses a different scheme than my old wordpress.org installation did for constructing URLs. Fortunately, I don’t link to old posts in all my blog entries, but I do have quite a few such links. However, now that the picture issue is solved, I’m willing to say that 80% of my problems are over. Over time I’ll go through old posts and update the links, but for now – now that the picture issue has been resolved – I feel that the blog is in a more or less usable state.

26
Feb
09

Photoblog Take 2

In September 2007, I set up my first photoblog.  After about a year and half of existence and very little activity, I decided to pull the plug.  In its place now stands a better one.  Instead of using a photoblogging plug-in on top of WordPress like the last one, the new one uses PixelPost, which is a dedicated photoblogging platform.  I’m excited about this new photoblog for a number of reasons: Continue reading ‘Photoblog Take 2’

04
Sep
08

Migrating photo galleries

If you have kids and live away from your extended family, online photo galleries are pretty much a necessity these days. I’ve been running one on this server since 2004, when our daughter was born. I’ve been using Gallery v.1 and it’s worked out pretty well for me. However, as I get closer to graduating, I’m aware that my ability to host this site will change. Figuring out what changes to make and actually making those changes could be both time-consuming and headache-inducing.

Continue reading ‘Migrating photo galleries’




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