New WordPress Plugin: Link This Bookmarklet

I’ve just uploaded a new WordPress plugin that was inspired by my wife setting up her new site.  She was adding people to her blogroll and having to keep copying their urls and going into the WordPress admin section.  This was getting tedious, so I’ve made a plugin that creates a bookmarklet you can add to your browser that pops up a form to add the page you’re on directly to your site’s links.  It’s similar to the built-in ‘Press This’ bookmarklet, except for links instead of posts.

Link This Bookmarklet

There is a more detailed description of the plugin & how it works on the plugin page, and you can install it directly through your WordPress admin section or download it from the WordPress Plugin Directory.

Apparently essentialbaby.com.au considers fathers either ‘Onlookers’ or ‘Other’

Essential Baby's signup form

This image is part of the signup form for the now Fairfax-owned site Essential Baby, an Australian parenting and pregnancy website. To register for their site you have to fill in a surprisingly convoluted signup form, which includes this ‘Your stage of life’ option.  The available choices seem lacking somewhat, especially considering that two questions earlier it asks you for your gender.

So I can say I’m a male, but I have so say I’m either a ‘Curious Onlooker’ of my family (man, doesn’t that sound creepy) or ‘Other’.  Seriously?  I mean you couldn’t add ‘Dad’ or just say ‘Parent’?

What’s even funnier is this is that these are two of the lead articles:

Being Dad 

Stay-at-home Dad

So we’re ok as something to read about, but they don’t really want us around there.  Come on Fairfax, get it together.

Upgrading my iPod Touch to 3.1.1 means I only get some album images

Since I upgraded both my iPod Touch & iTunes to their latest versions, when I view albums in the iPod a lot of them don’t have their images.

Albums missing cover art

I’d say it’s about half of the albums missing their images.  Viewing them in iTunes shows all the album covers fine, and also if I play a track the album cover shows in there too, which is weird.

Cover art in single track view

I’ve re-synced the iPod a couple of times with no effect, I even tried clearing the album artwork in iTunes and re-downloading it, but that didn’t help either.  This is crazy, and really annoying.  Apparently I’m not the only one with this problem too:

One person mentioned that de-authorising and re-authorising my work, but I don’t really want to do that because you only get to do that five times before everything stops working.  I’ve just removed all the music off the iPod and now I’m re-syncing it back on, I’ll update once it’s done with the result.

UPDATE: Well, it seems that worked, so the solution is this:

  1. Go to the iPod/iPhone in iTunes and go to the Music tab
  2. Untick the ‘Sync Music’ checkbox
  3. Sync the device, this will remove all music off the device
  4. Go back after it’s finished syncing and tick the ‘Sync Music’ checkbox
  5. Sync it again.  If you’ve got a lot of music, this will take a while.

Albums with cover art

Apple, this isn’t really good enough, I shouldn’t have to jump through these hoops!

Sending to Evernote from FeedDemon

After writing my last post I remembered that I’d done up a send-to option for FeedDemon itself too.  It’s pretty simple just download this XML file and save it to the c:\Program Files\FeedDemon\Data\SendTo\ folder. Restart FeedDemon and you can then use the Send To option to clip an item to Evernote. Same as the Google Reader version, this will clip the whole page that the news item is from, not just the news feed item, and it will open up a page that will let you tag or move the clipped item.

Send To Evernote from FeedDemon

Unfortunately at this point there’s no way to set the icon next to custom Send To items (that I’m aware of anyway)

Sending to Evernote from Google Reader

While I’m not a big Google Reader user, preferring FeedDemon, the fact that FeedDemon now syncs with Reader is really handy when I’m not using my own computer because it keeps up to date with all my stuff.  This week, the Google Reader team announced a couple of new features (one of which was inspired by FeedDemon’s Panic Button) including the ability to send a news item to other services.

Send To Link

It comes with a list of pre-defined options such as Delicious, Digg & Facebook, but it also has the ability to add custom ones using the substitution tags provided

Send To Settings

Because of this, we can set it up to clip stuff straight from Google Reader into an Evernote notebook.  Stealing from the Evernote Web Clipper bookmarklet, you can create a custom ‘send-to’ destination like this:

  1. Go to Google Reader and click on ‘Settings’ then ‘Send To’
  2. Click on the ‘Create A Custom Link’ button
  3. In the form that appears put ‘Evernote’ in the Name field, http://www.evernote.com/clip.action?title=${title}&url=${url} in the Url field and http://www.evernote.com/favicon.ico in the Icon Url field
  4. Click ‘Save’

You’ll then have Evernote in your send to menu

Send to menu with evernote

This will automatically clip the whole page that the news item links to into Evernote, so even if the RSS feed that you’re reading only does partial feeds, this will grab the whole original article from the site, great if you want to read it later when you’re offline with your iPhone or PC/Mac Evernote client.  Once it’s clipped the page it takes you to a page where you can move the clipped item into a different Notebook & add some tags to it, but this is optional, the item is already stored in your default Evernote notebook

Clip confirmation page

So there you go, a really easy way to grab anything from Google Reader & stick it into Evernote

Localising FeedDemon 3 for Australia

FeedDemon 3 Nick Bradbury has just released the latest beta version of his great RSS reader FeedDemon. With the new update comes a bunch of new items & so that means that my old localisation file is now out of date.

Since I got to play with a pre-release version (thanks Nick!) I had a chance to update the language file that comes with version 3 to replace Synchronize with Synchronise, Color with Colour and so on. So if you like your colourful language, you can grab the file here after downloading FeedDemon. To install the file either click on the link to the language file while browsing in FeedDemon, or download the file & copy it to C:Program FilesFeedDemonDatalang (Assuming you’ve installed FeedDemon there) and then double-click on the file.

One thing to note: in the Tools menu, the ‘Synchronization Options’ menu item uses the ‘z’ as the keyboard shortcut.  Because ‘Open FeedStation’ already uses the s, I’ve make the ‘Synchronisation Options’ use the ‘y’ as the shortcut letter.

Any mistakes or missed words please let me know! There is a topic on the NewsGator localisation forums for this language file too.

Twitter newspaper style for FeedDemon

As Amit Agarwal pointed out in his (very detailed) post, the new FeedDemon is a great Twitter client, with a whole bunch of features to make using Twitter easier.

One thing that a lot of people don’t know is that FeedDemon’s newspaper layout is very customisable, I while I use the Surfer theme usually, I found that for Twitter feeds it was very annoying.  Showing the title is useless because the body of the post is the title, also, the large spacing around each post just used up a lot of space and meant I had to keep scrolling a lot to read the feed.  Also, the thumbnails view is pretty useless for a Twitter feed, seeing as it’s just full of people’s profile pictures

Big Twitter!

So I took the surfer style & I’ve customised it for a Twitter feed (download here).  FeedDemon is great in that it lets you set a custom newspaper style for particular feeds (Feed Properties -> Advanced).  The new Twitter style removes the thumbnails, removes the post title unless you’re in headlines only view and trims a lot of the extra whitespace.  Also I removed most of the action buttons as I don’t tend to send tweets or clip them (and if I want to, there are keyboard shortcuts) and unfortunately, which buttons show can’t be customised per feed.

Also, you can make your own custom buttons, so I added a Retweet button next to the new Reply button that sends you to Twitter with the retweet filled in ready to send.  This was surprisingly simple. The fact that Nick has used standard xslt to style FeedDemon rather than a proprietary format means that you can do pretty much whatever you want to, which is awesome!

So this is what it looks like now

Small Twitter

If you want to give this a go, download this file and put it in the c:\Program Files\FeedDemon\Data\Styles folder & restart FeedDemon. Alternatively if you a reading this in FeedDemon you can just click on the download link & it will install it for you.  Then change the style for your Twitter feed(s) by right clicking on the feed then going to Feed Properties -> Advanced and pick Twitter from the list of Styles.

This is just a first idea, it probably needs work.  I’m debating moving the buttons under each tweet, but I’m not sure.  Also I’ve written this for the new FeedDemon 3 Beta.  It may well work for earlier versions, but I don’t know.  There’s a topic for this style in the Newsgator styles forum where you can leave comments / suggestions, or you can leave a comment here.

Oh, and you can follow me on Twitter here.

Getting FriendFeed real-time in your Firefox sidebar

FriendFeed has released a real-time page that auto-scrolls all updates from your subscriptions.  There’s a mini window option that allows you to see it in a separate window, but I’ve found the best way to view it is as a sidebar in Firefox.

image

To get this you need to bookmark the mini-window page, so open the mini window, right click on the page and select ‘Bookmark this page’.  Then right-click on the bookmark, select ‘Properties’ and check the ‘Load this bookmark in the sidebar’ check box & click ‘Save Changes’.

image

Now when you select this bookmark, the real time view will open in your sidebar – awesome!.

PropertyPortalWatch.com is down, the day it appears in the SMH MySmallBusiness section

UPDATE: And it’s back up again, on http://www1.propertyportalwatch.com/ www1.propertyportalwatch.com is on IP 74.124.211.14 where as www.propertyportalwatch.com is on 74.124.210.232.  Looks like there was an issue with the server they were sitting on.  Apache on www.propertyportalwatch.com is giving a 302 Moved Temporarily over to www1, so looks like it’s  a technical failure after all.

Today, in the small business section of the SMH, there’s an article about the ex-CEO of http://realestate.com.au Simon Baker’s new venture called PropertyPortalWatch.  Since being kicked from REA, Simon Baker has been working on this site which is meant to “congregate news, opinion and gossip about other property portals and companies around the world, in a one-stop shop for people within the [online real-estate] industry.”

image However as of this morning the http://propertyportalwatch.com site has been down, with the site redirecting to an account suspended page on their hosting company’s servers.  I can’t imagine that the SMH article got them *that* much traffic, especially seeing as in that article it said that Simon has been pouring a fair bit of cash into it, plus he said they have some “anonymous investors on board” too.  As Scott on Twitter said “Never host your new startup on some cheap ‘n’ nasty cpanel hosting companies!”. 

They’re hosting with a US based hosting company called InMotion. I can only assume that there’s been some accounting stuff up (as noted in the comments below, InMotion’s business plans all come with unlimited disk space & transfers), and it’s kind of embarrassing that it would happen on the day they get some free press from the SMH.  If you still want to check it out, the Google Cache is still available.  Simon Baker is still blogging at MyCEOLife.  There, he posted about the new site last month, and linked to it from there as recently as last Saturday.

Automattic Acquires IntenseDebate

IntenseDebate, a centralised commenting service similar to the Disqus service used on this site, has been acquired by WordPress parent company Automattic.

From the announcement on the IntenseDebate site:

So what does this mean for you, our valued users? A couple of things:
1.) We will be temporarily going back into private beta. This won’t affect our current users, but new installs will require an invite code. This is just to give us a little time to ramp up the hardware and get our ducks in a row as we join the Automattic team.

2.) You’ll be seeing IntenseDebate a lot more often. We’re really excited about the distribution possibilities this opens up, so expect to see our comment system and use your IntenseDebate profile on a lot more blogs.

3.) You can look forward to tighter integration with some of the other Automattic joints including Akismet and Gravatar.

But don’t worry!
You will still be able to use IntenseDebate on Typepad, Tumblr, Blogger, Movable Type, and other platforms with more to come! We will continue to improve our comment system and your commenters’ experience. IntenseDebate will continue to enhance and encourage conversation on your blog and build your reader community.

This isn’t a surprising acquisition.  There have been rumours about Automattic buying a commenting service for a while now, with some suggesting that Disqus was also a possible target.  Matt Mullenweg said on his post about the purchase that they’re going to keep the service platform agnostic (for now at least) but they’ll also roll a lot of the features into the hosted and self-hosted versions of WordPress.

Seeing as they already own Akismet, which processes a large chunk of the blogosphere’s comments, ID will give them access to even more of the comments posted on the web. On the upside this will mean that they will be able to improve Akismet even more by processing the additional data, but it also means the one company has an extraordinary amount of information on what is posted on the internet.  The potential for this to be a privacy risk or for them to sell this to marketers is a little bit disturbing, but so far Automattic haven’t given us a reason to be concerned.

However, similar to Google, they are getting by on a lot of community good will. And also similar to Google, they’re now in a position to really abuse that good will if they saw fit.  Lets hope that doesn’t happen

Update: Here’s the response to the announcement from Disqus

Today, Automattic (the team behind the WordPress platform) announced their acquisition of IntenseDebate, a competing and similarly-focused comment service. From all of us at Disqus: congrats to the ID team on joining the Automattic family. We’re fans of WordPress here (this blog uses it), so I think it’s good that they’re beginning to pay more attention to the comments.

So what does this mean for us? The Disqus comment system is still the largest third-party comment system on WordPress, yet those blogs represent under 5% of all websites using Disqus. We pride ourselves on being an independent cross-platform service. Disqus will continue to innovate and provide the best discussion experience on blogs. Our company’s entire focus is on increasing the number and quality of your comments and that will never change.

As a true third-party system, Disqus can be open and extensible to other services and platforms, as well as offer unique functionality not limited by a single platform. I’m looking forward to the future of discussion and I hope you’ll experience it with Disqus.