Archive for May, 2007

Google Analytics Updates - Wow

Google’s been making some changes to Google Analytics, their already exceptional statistics software for websites. I’m impressed with their changes.

My favorite new feature is the ability to add little info widgets to your main dashboard page, so you don’t have to digg through menus to find the stuff you want. I added boxes that show the top content on my blog, the top sources, and some other things as well.

I have only two major complaints. Complain number one: The GeoMap Overlay isn’t is cool as it used to be. I liked being able to see the cities individual users are coming from. Complain number two: The navigation menu reloads the page whenever you click on a heading. In the old version, it used DHTML instead.

All in all, the changes are great. If they just make the navigation menu work a little better, this will be the best stat-tracking site on the web.

29 CSS and AJAX Resources

Everyone likes Web 2.0. Wait, everyone except Jakob Nielsen. As I was saying, most people like Web 2.0. Here are some resources that you may find useful. CSS is the designer’s tool of choice for, well…designing, so obviously it can’t hurt to pick up a few new CSS tricks. AJAX has quickly taken the web by storm. Sites all over the place are using it to improve usability…and for pointless reasons as well. There are plenty of practical applications for AJAX, so obviosuly it’s worth seeing what others are doing with it. CSS and AJAX are two of the most important technologies making Web 2.0 (who came up with that term anyway?) possible. Ready for the list? Here it comes!

AJAX

CSS

16 Great Photoshop Tutorial Sites

Whether you’re an experienced Photoshop user or a newbie, you’ll always find use in tutorial sites. So, below (in no particular order) are some sites where you can find Photoshop tutorials.

  1. Good-Tutorials
  2. Tutorialized
  3. Planet Photoshop
  4. Pixel2Life
  5. PhotoshopTutorials.ws
  6. Dr. Photoshop
  7. Tutorial Outpost
  8. TalkMania
  9. iPhotoshop @ blogspot.com
  10. SigTutorials
  11. Photoshop @ Depiction.net
  12. SweDesignz
  13. YourPhotoshopGuide.com
  14. PDF Photoshop Tutorials @ About.com
  15. EmpireDesign
  16. TotalTutorial

I imagine that’s enough to keep you busy for awhile. ;)

Google Updates

Google has made some subtle, but noticeable, changes. Their “more” page is gone, replaced by a bar along the top of every Google page. You’ve got the sugest feature on the search box, and the results pages look a little different. All of the changes are with the intent of making it easier to get around. It’s going to take a little bit to get used to the changes, but you probably won’t notice them after awhile.

Weekly WTH: May 15, 2007

It’s time for….the Weekly What The Heck! In case you didn’t already know, the Weekly WTH is where we comment on/make fun of recent happenings in tech.

Microsoft Claims Linux Violates 235 of Their Patents: Patents infringed upon include double-clicking, the lighting of pixels, keyboard input, and the error dialog. Wait…Linux didn’t “copy” the last one, never mind.

MySpace News Not A Success: Really? Who would’ve thought…?

KDE 4 Alpha Gets Cool New GUI: Microsoft will then sue them for infringment of patents.

3 New “Get a Mac” Ads: That makes 3064, right?

New TLDs?

According to a post on Yahoo News, ICANN is planning to create new general-use Top Level Domains (like .com or .net) sometime in mid-2008.

About time! The .com TLD is getting a little full, and .net is generally a second choice. I’d like .web or something similar. We need one that’s a good .com alternative. However, it doesn’t matter what new TLDs are added unless some education is done, as the pathetic .info has proven.

People always expect addresses to be www.somethingobvious.com. Annoying it may be, that’s how it is. The average web user will try .com before anything else, which will either lead them to a dead-end or a competitor….neither of which are desirable.

Somehow, web users need to be taught how to browse better. Even better, browsers should be redesigned so remembering the exact TLD is unnecessary. Firefox does this already, to an extent. If I type pizzahut, Firefox consults google and finds that pizzahut.com is the one I most likely want, and it goes there. Eventually all the TLDs ending in .com will be take, and they will be valued at exorbitant rates due to scarcity.

Marketting Guys Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Name Stuff

Really, they shouldn’t. It should be developers. Did you hear about HBO? An exec is in favor of dropping the term DRM for ‘DCE’. DRM, as you know, stands for the stupid-sounding ‘Digital Rights Management’. How about DUR (Digital Usage Restriction), AMRS (Annoying Media Restriction System), or WDTYSWPTSSOYM (We Don’t Trust, So We Put This Stupid System On Your Music)? They’re more accurate. Can you guess what the HBO Exec’s ‘DCE’ stands for? “Digital Consumer Enablement”. What? How does DRM “enable” consumers?

The world is littered with stupid cryptic names that seem to be designed to hide the real meaning.

Cheap (and good) MP3 Players (again)

Circuit City is selling the Sandisk Sansa m240 for $49.99 again.

I have one of these 1GB MP3/WMA players and it works great. There are a couple of occasional non-annoying quirks, as you get with most non-iPod players, but they’re not too common. Like the backlight doesn’t come on sometimes. Not a big deal.

The Sansa m240 is easy to navigate and hold, and the battery life is a decent 9 hours (hint: buy some NiMH rechargable batteries and a half-hour charger).

Best Buy had the Sansa recently as well (for $35), though they went pretty fast. The Sansa m240 is a pretty good deal. Even though Sandisk’s price is $79, it’s very frequently discounted to the $35-$50 area.

No drivers need to be installed. Just plug it in and drag your music onto the player. You can use both MP3 and WMA formatted music, even subscription music from services like Napster (or others that do Playsforsure-compatible music). Also note that WMA-formatted music is often half the size as music in the MP3 format.

I’ve been using the Sansa m240 since Thanksgiving without any major problems. It’s a great player for the price (though I’d still like a 2-8GB iPod nano). If you have a low budget for an MP3 player, I’d recommend the Sansa m240. If you have no problem spending $150-$600, buy an iPod.

ZetaBoards Enters Beta

ZetaBoards, the eventual successor to Invisionfree, is now being beta tested. Invisionfree, in case you didn’t already know, is a service that provides you with a free ad-supported Invision-based board. As the old version of Invision they use is becoming sort of an antique, they are developing a new forum system that is up to today’s standards…or so they hope.

ZetaBoards will be much better than it’s predeccessor Invisionfree. ZetaBaords adds many features asked for over the years, improves anti-spam, and improves in many ways upon Invisionfree. ZetaBoards (ZB) looks and acts similarly to the old Invisionfree boards, though with many improvements.

A theme changer has been added, along with a more powerful skinning system. More BBCode functions are added, including a Flash tag (useful for posting YouTube videos). There’s a more dynamic feel, and the system seems like it may be more stable. Macros are added, so you can finally mass delete spam posts. There is an unbelievable amount of improvements. One major complaint: The post form doesn’t show buttons for a lot of useful BBCode tags (like the [URL] tag). Hopefully that will be changed by the time ZB lauches.

ZetaBoards is looking to be a pretty good board system, though personally I prefer to host my own boards using SMF.

3 New Get A Mac Ads

Apple has three new Get A Mac ads available on their website. They have “Choose A Vista”, “Genius”, and “Party is Over”. The first two are particularly funny. “Choose a Vista” is hilarious, being (in my opinion) and accurate representation of all the stupid Vista editions that seem to be designed to trick you. Trick you how? Either you’ll buy their $700 “ultimate” and you’ll have payed for garbage you don’t need, or you could pay for the $200 “basic” and you’ll have wasted your money on something that’s worse than XP. Win-win (pun unintended) scenario. Either way you’re wasting your money.

 

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