WordPress platform

wordpress-logo-notext-bgI’ve been really impressed with WordPress. I first installed it about a year ago, in preparation for heading off to Africa. I wanted an easier way to update this site, and chose WordPress (for no particular reason… I also considered MovableType but for whatever reason ended up installing WordPress).

In the past year I’ve gotten to know the platform much better – and it continues to impress. It is incredibly easy to upgrade, install plugins, apply new templates, and modify those templates to your own desire.

Compared to other software that I’ve installed to manage websites, this is a breeze.

I’m equally impressed with the development community that’s out there supplying these add-ons.  There’s a plugin for just about anything you can think of, which is great.  Mostly I use plugins to control various aspects of the page design, and what shows up on that right-column over there.  Recently though I’ve been playing around with a few others – among them is Zemanta.   It’s a little utility that, as you type, suggests inline images or links that you can insert into your post to make your content a little more rich.

Another plugin I just installed is Disqus – a utility that allows people to comment – and to do so without having to create a unique login just for this site.  It’s a great idea – I hate having all of these 1-off logins myself so I’m glad I no longer have to ask others to create them either.

When I think back to how I used to manage these sites 10 or more years ago, it’s just amazing where we’ve come.

Amplify your car remote with your head

Image by InfoCog via Flickr

This one’s for Meghan..

I found this snippet today in my random browsing.. it deals with whether you can boost your car’s remote key fob’s signal by holding it against your body (like up to your jaw, head, etc.,).

I first saw this demonstrated by Jim O.  I’ve since tried it on several occasions over the years with mixed-but-slightly-positive success.

Overall, I’d say I’m a believer.

Meghan doesn’t believe it – she thinks it only makes one look a little foolish.  And I can’t say she’s wrong on that point.

But I think even the car guys have discussed this on their program, and I believe they’re fans of the method..

I’ll probably keep doing it.  Who knows?  At the very least it’s like pressing the elevator button over and over – at least you feel like you’re playing a role in making the elevator decide to come to your floor quicker..

Hulu muffs it

Just days after writing about how much I like Boxee – driven a large part by their integration of Hulu comes this report.  It’s disappointing.

I don’t understand how media companies continue to not get it.  Hulu allows you to watch television shows through an internet connection.  Boxee allows you to connect this up to your TV.  The end result is that I’m watching television shows on my TV.  Oh – and Hulu shows ads that you can’t fast-forward through.  Sounds a lot like watching TV doesn’t it?  Why would the media companies all of a sudden decide that this is a bad thing?

I really just don’t get it.

Could logging in to Delicious be a thing of the past?

The old logo of Delicious.
Image via Wikipedia


One of my pet peeves is websites that make me log in again and again.  Look, you’re smart enough to know whether I’m logging in from the same computer – don’t keep asking me to log in, OK?  Netflix does a great job of this.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve logged in – either from work or from home .

Delicious has been the exact opposite.

I am a big fan of Delicious.  I have my recent bookmarks right over there on the sidebar ->

I keep all of my bookmarks on there (and don’t bother with FireFox or IE bookmarks).  I have an iPhone app that automatically synchs with my account so I can always look up a site I’ve bookmarked. I’ve got a FireFox plugin installed at work and at home – it easily allows me to tag sites and retireve them later – from either of my computers, or my iPhone – or through any computer, actually (by accessing my links at delicious.com).

About the only thing I don’t use on Delicious is the bookmark sharing feature – you have to have friends on Delicious to do that and I can’t be bothered to set up any – I’ve got too many other sites asking for my friends.

So the one thing that kills me is when I try to tag a website using the convenient FireFox plugin and the stupid thing tells me that I have to log in because it’s been 2 weeks.  2 weeks!?  Come on.  What could I possibly have on Delicious that is that confidential.  What – is something going to masquerade as me and set rogue bookmarks?

Well, today at work, as I went to bookmark a site, I was asked, once again, to login.  Except this time, when I checked ‘keep me logged in’ I noticed it didn’t say ‘for 2 weeks’ – and when I checked it, I was given the warning that I shouldn’t do this on public computers blah blah..  So I can only hope – does that mean I’m now logged in for good from this machine?  Can it be true?  I can’t wait to see what happens.. Will accessing from a different (home) computer mess with this login?  Will it really keep me logged in forever?  Only time will tell.

Have I told you how much I like Boxee?

Image via Wikipedia

So a while ago I wrote a post about my move to the Mac platform.  As part of that move, I set up a Mac network and an Apple TV.  The Apple TV has been the best music streaming solution that I’ve tried by far.  But that’s a post for another day.

A couple of months ago, I signed up for an aplha test of Boxee – which included an application that hacks the AppleTV so that it’s no longer a closed system.  With that, I’ve got the Boxee software running on my AppleTV, giving me access to additional media browsers, which is nice and all.  But the real win is having access to additional content – Hulu being the best of the offerings by far.

Whereas before I could only watch shows that I purchased from the iTunes store (something I will only consider for things I’d rent through netflix anyway, like HBO shows), now I have access to a whole library of shows.  It’s awesome.  I can watch Jon Stewart, Arrested Development, The Rockford Files

There’s been a lot of chatter lately about how to cut your cable bills and just rely on streaming content.  This may certainly be a reality for a lot of people, but not for me.  I don’t get any premium channels anyway – and I don’t see any way of cutting my cable bill, since my cable-provided high speed internet is what allows for the streaming content in the first place.

For me, it’s a way to get additional content, that I can watch when I want to (I know DVR users have had this pleasure for a long time now..).

I’ve read a lot of opinions about how the AppleTV is not a successul Apple product, and there’s truth to that – in as much as they’re not selling many of them and the closed system was a little limiting.  But with Boxee it’s really is awesome.

More Twitter use – Going to a concert?

Here’s another great use of Twitter.

Jimmy Eat World has a special web page that collects all Twitter data (ok.. tweets) that are relevant to each of their tour dates.

What this means, is that a fan can post a tweet (following a pre-defined format) and their post will show up on the web site.  They can additionally subscribe to the tweets, keeping up-to-date with what all of the other concert-goers are saying.  It’s a pretty cool idea of taking a public event, which actually tends to be not particularly interactive when you think about it, and adds a level of community that hasn’t existed in the past.  I mean, when was the last time that you really interacted with someone else going to a concert – either before or during (remember, you can tweet from your cell, posting updates during the performance).  If they weren’t one of your friends that you were going with, you probably had very limited interaction (besides synchronized arm waving that is).

Now think of the marketing opportunity – there’s a page with all of the people who are into this concert with a really easy way to communicate to them – and some of them aren’t even going because the shows are selling out *(need tickets?  .. boy, too bad I’m not still working at StubHub – there’s another opportunity they’ll never take advantage of)*

The more I’m checking out Twitter the more I’m impressed.

photo courtesy “Scamp” from the Jimmy Eat World website