Monthly Archives: November 2009

Beta Launch: bt.gd URL Shortener

I have briefly mentioned in the past about a new URL shortening service that I’m launching known as bt.gd.  Well, I’m pleased to announce that the bt.gd beta has officially launched.  The new service is joining an already growing market but I believe we can offer more than the competition.

Currently, bt.gd has the following features completed and fully functional: Recent Links (saves your recently shortened links without having to register with an account), easily share your links once shortened via Twitter, Facebook, and Friendfeed, a simple and easy to use API so other applications and services can integrate it, Popular Links page, URL Preview method, a web browser Bookmarklet so you can shorten the URL to any web page with ease, an OSX Dashboard Widget, a Windows Application, and a Safe URLs system.  That’s just the start too!

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How To: Enable The New Google Design

Below are steps to take to enable the new Google design which is being tested. Google is notorious for their super simple design approach and the less is more approach. However, the company is in the process of testing out a new design for the site complete with a new (more fun) logo.

1. Go to Google.com – you must be using the .com (international) page.
2. Once it loads, enter this code into your web browser’s URL address bar (note: clear anything in the address bar before copying and pasting this in the field):

javascript:void(document.cookie="PREF=ID=20b6e4c2f44943bb:U=4bf292d46faad806:
TM=1249677602:LM=1257919388:S=odm0Ys-53ZueXfZG;path=/; domain=.google.com");

3. Hit enter.
4. Reload or open a new Google.com page and you will have access to the new user interface.

Some screenshots below:

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Google-TiVo Deal Hopes to Help Advertisers

Google and TiVo are teaming up for a new deal that will put your remote clicking habits into the hands of advertisers. However, before you freak out about privacy, the information is completely anonymous and may be far less of an invasion of privacy then you may be thinking.  For those who are unaware, Google’s AdWords program also allows you to advertise on TV and radio.

“None of this is being used to actually target an individual,” explains Google spokesperson Eric Obenzinger. “It’s more about delivering more accurate reporting back to advertisers so they can inform their future budgeting decisions.”

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Where to Find Black Friday Deals

Black Friday is coming up, in fact, it’s only two days away.  Do you know where to find all the best Black Friday deals?  Two of my favorite sites which list Black Friday deals from essentially every store you can possibly think of are BlackFriday.info and BFAds.net.  Each site breaks down the deals by store and category which makes it easy for you to find the deals you are looking for.

Additionally, the sites will break down how the deal will work.  For example, BlackFriday.info will label deals as door busters, buy it now items, or the ability to see how much those products are selling on eBay for compared to the Black Friday price.  BlackFriday.info will also allow you to create shopping lists with all of your favorite deals.

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ScreenGrab: Share Your Screenshots

ScreenGrab is small application that allows you to easily take screenshots and then quickly upload them to a web server via FTP.  The application is free and can function without using FTP, However, if you want a place to upload the screenshots you will need a web server with FTP access.  Otherwise,  your screenshots will stay on your local computers hard drive (unless of course you delete them).

ScreenGrab is very simple and easy to use.  All you need to know is the hot key which enables the screen capture mode.  The hot key for OSX is command + shift + 4 and if you would like select a specific window, hit the space bar and click the window you wish to screenshot.  The hot keys for Windows are Alt+F10 for fullscreen, Alt+F11 for select area, and Alt+F12 for active window.

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Angels & Airwaves: Changing The Music Industry Through Social Media

Angels & Airwaves, the band, led by front man Tom DeLonge (of blink-182 fame) is on the forefront of revolutionizing the music industry.  According to DeLonge, he wants to change the way music is made, marketed and delivered.  And he is definitely on the right track.  On the release of their second album (I-Empire) back in November 2007, DeLonge launched his band’s new website which is called Modlife.  Modlife is a subscription based social network, but includes perks which you will not find in other social networks such as MySpace or Facebook such as the ability to interact with the band via chat rooms (modblast) and live video casts (modcams).  Additional content such as band podcasts, blogs, and exclusive video and photo content is also available.

Since the launch of Modlife, DeLonge has brought in a number of bands to the site and providing each new band with the same feature capabilities (chat rooms, live video casts, exclusive content).  Which leads us to the question – will Modlife turn into the one stop shop for bands who want to interact and communicate with their fans?  It very well could be and I would bet that is what Tom DeLonge has in mind.  Perhaps even going as far as Modlife sponsored tours is a possibility.

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Steam: The User Banning, Money Making Game Machine.

I think it would be safe to say that anyone who plays computer games knows of the game distribution platform Steam. Due to Steam’s dominance in the market (mainly because they have all of the games people like to play) and the popularity of video games with a high price tag, it wouldn’t be unheard of for people to try and either a.) pirate games or b.) gain unauthorized access to someone’s Steam account. Before I go any further though, let’s rehash how Steam works with regard to game distribution.

Once you purchase a game through Steam, you do not receive any physical disk or product key, the purchase (which is a one-time purchase) links to your Steam account so you can access it anywhere you login via Steam – nice, right?  In theory, it is.  However, it seems that it doesn’t always work out as nicely as it appears, especially since games are not transferable to other accounts (you will see why that matters below).  For example, if someone gains unauthorized access to your account and you are banned from Steam via the Valve Anti-Cheat system there is absolutely nothing you or Steam can do.  What?  Why?

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Google Chrome OS – It’s Coming!

Google is planning on holding a special Chrome OS event at its headquarters in Mountain View, CA this coming Thursday. At the event, Google is going to give some technical background information as well as show off some demos. However, most notably, they are supposedly giving a complete overview of the new OS, which they say will launch next year.

Chrome OS which was introduced in early July has been a hot topic over the past several months as to what it means for Microsoft and the future of operating systems and the web.  It will definitely be interesting to see what Google has in store for Chrome OS and what their vision of an operating system actually is.  We always think of Google as a search and web based company, however, with the introduction of the Android mobile platform (and their recent partnership with Verizon) and now Chrome OS, Google is defining itself as a industry giant in various markets – web, mobile, and desktop.

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Google Considers Ranking Sites Based on Loading Speed

In a recent video interview with Google’s Matt Cutt’s, he hints that Google is considering using a site’s speed as part of the algorithm that ranks the order of pages in its search results.  To break it down quite simply, fast sites might rank higher, while slower-loading sites might suffer in the results.  Of course, that is only the case with no other part of the algorithm in effect.  Google’s PageRank algorithm is very complex and includes many factors and variables.  By adding loading speed into the algorithm, it will not completely alter the results.  Obviously, the point of this would be to improve search quality even further by allowing users to access information faster outside of Google search results.

“…A lot of people within Google think that the web should be fast, it should be a good experience; and so it’s sort of fair to say if you’re a fast site, maybe you should get a little bit of a bonus. Or maybe if you have a really awfully slow site, users don’t want that as much.”, says Cutt’s in the interview with WebProNews.  While I have talked about page loading times in the past and why they are important, this new proposal only renforces the idea.

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GeekBench: How To Benchmark Your System

GeekBench is a piece of software that allows you to benchmark your system and then compare your benchmark against similar computer systems.  GeekBench was created by PrimateLabs and has both a free and paid version of their software – the paid version goes for about $20.

The paid version allows you to run the 64bit version of the application which will allow you to compare 32bit benchmarks to 64bit benchmarks so you can see how your system will handle 32 vs 64 bit applications.  However, if you are just looking for a straight up benchmark, the free version will work just fine.  GeekBench works on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Solaris.

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Magic Mouse Review

Apple recently released their latest attempt at a computer mouse and it’s no longer mighty, but rather, it’s magic.  The new Apple wireless mouse is known as the Magic Mouse and it is definitely much improved from its predecessor the Mighty Mouse which was just terrible.  I purchased the Mighty Mouse this past summer along with an Apple Wireless Keyboard (which I love) but after only a few weeks I dropped my Mighty Mouse and returned to my ever beloved Logitech MX Revolution.  I’m thinking (hoping) this time will be different with the Magic Mouse.

The Mighty Mouse was notorious for its problematic scroll ball which would constantly fill up with dust and other artifacts causing the mouse to stop scrolling.  I experienced this one too many times and that is when I called it quits with the Mighty Mouse.  The Magic Mouse on the other hand is completely touch based, it doesn’t have any buttons (go figure, it’s an Apple product) nor does it have a scroll wheel.  Instead it recognizes your hand gestures such as the motion of scrolling (vertically or horizontally) and clicking (including right click).

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