Tim Yang’s Weblog

Jump to content

About Tim Yang’s Weblog

Nothing to see here.





Author Archive

Excel Spreadsheet that lets you check out jobs postings at work

Aug 2005

This is a really nifty lifehack I found via Tipmonkies. Work Magazine has created an Excel spreadsheet that lets you sneakily check out jobs databases at work from an interface that looks like, no actually it IS, an Excel spreadsheet.

It’s a real Excel 2000 spreadsheet that plugs into Indeed.com’s search engine to make your job search look like actual work. So you type in your search keywords, the city you’re looking in, and the number of results you want, and it gives you what, to the untrained eye, is just more spreadsheet drudgery.

You can download the latest version of the spreadsheet here. Works well if you’re an accountant or a lawyer, but what if you’re a … web designer. “Oh this? Uh, it’s my daughter’s homework… yeah that’s it! Just helping her calculate the level of employment of web designers… in, uh, Congo?”

Myprogs.net - share your software list with others

Aug 2005

I like myprogs.net because it introduces me to new softwares for OSX. But unlike other software directories, this one comes with recommendations. I get to see what other people are using and have enjoyed so much that they tell me about them. Sometimes, in the descriptions, I even find out why they liked the software. I’m subscribed to the RSS feed for OSX.

Why should a software company GPL its code

Aug 2005

Here’s a very good discussion on Slashdot that revolves around business reasons for a company to GPL their code. Some of those include:

  1. Other people can fix your bugs and security holes for you
  2. No need to pay for beta testers
  3. Free development of new features, some of which you might not otherwise have thought of yourselves if you can get a development community started.
  4. Free positive P.R. for your company, especially if things really take off.
  5. Free advertising for your company as well if you brand the package with your company logo and colours by default.

The issues that came from this thread http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=159218&cid=13334726 are especially insightful.

Google News has RSS feeds, ScrappyGoo will continue

Aug 2005

As news has spread very rapidly over the past day, Google News has added RSS feeds to their offering. And as has been observed, their RSS package has a good way of handling duplicate stories as related links. So here’s what I’ve been waiting for since I released the ScrappyGoo Google News RSS scraper. ScrappyGoo will still be maintained indefinitely because thousands of feeds have been generated from it so far and while I’m sure many of the users will start using the official feeds, a large percentage of the ScrappyGoo feeds will still continue to be used. The resources being used by ScrappyGoo is quite manageable.

UPDATE: Searchenginejournal makes the interesting point that Google will probably insert RSS ads into their Google News feeds. I’d forgotten about that. ScrappyGoo will always remain ad-free. So I’m definitely keeping it around and waiting for the surge in traffic when Google starts adding ads to theirs.

GooRSS - turns your Google search results into an RSS feed

Aug 2005

Nothing else to say about GooRSS. It does the job it advertises. And it will probably take over from Ben Hammersley’s Google to RSS script because it has an input interface instead of making you construct the link.

Gallery 2 release out of beta

Aug 2005

Bharat Mediratta and his team of developers have released a stable version 2 of their popular Gallery software. It looks like their new features include some moblogging support, theme support, watermark support, but otherwise it seems to be mostly backend improvements and bug fixes. Get your copy today.

Why NYT and Yahoo News’ need to track their stories is losing them readers

Aug 2005

Have you ever wondered why so few people bookmark New York Times stories on del.icio.us? I mean they hardly ever appear on the del.icio.us popular list. Not even the recent Karl Rove stories. There is a simple reason. If you have a look at the end of the url of each NYT story, there is a unique session id stuck on it (after .html). It serves no purpose except for NYT to track which pages you visit on the nyt.com site. But not everyone has the patience or the know-how to remove the unique session id data before they post the article to del.icio.us so that only the real url remains.

That means the same article may get posted to del.icio.us hundreds or thousands of times, but because the url is different every time, del.icio.us assumes they are all unique web pages because del.icio.us tracks them by url. As a result, it will appear as if the article has been unpopular.

This is not to say that NY Times articles don’t get passed around. They do. But only when some really popular site like Kottke or Techdirt has linked to them. Then the url they used (with the unique id) will get posted and re-posted. The unique id is great for tracking the popularity of stories and the flow of traffic on nyt.com, but the stories would be even more popular if people knew they were popular. That’s the whole point behind social bookmarking sites like Del.icio.us. To share articles you liked and to read articles recommended by others.

But NYT is not the only purveyor of this mistake. Yahoo News also adds an unnecessary user session id to the end of its urls. So no matter how many times their stories get posted to Fark.com or Metafilter.com, they never make the popular list either. It’s unnecessary because it would be just as simple to embed any user id into their webpages when they are dynamically being generated. And although it isn’t their problem, the admins of del.icio.us could take the initiative to strip session ids from urls. Why, because superfluous data is being added by their users into their database and this is causing errors in the popularity of articles on their site. So there are a few possible solutions, but it doesn’t look like any one is going to make the first move. So it’s up to you. The next time you post a NYT or Yahoo News article to Del.icio.us, please do remember to strip off the unique session id first.

Howto: A better Del.icio.us bookmark maker for Wordpress

Aug 2005

I promise this is the last Wordpress related post I’m going to make for a long time. I finished with my template and this is the last thing I made for it. I wanted a way to allow people to add my posts to their Del.icio.us collection. I tried Arne Brachhold’s del.icio.us plugin but it wasn’t what I wanted. For one thing, it only worked on single.php. I wanted the bookmark link to be available on the index.php too. Not everyone will visit the individual post page. I also wanted it to have a pop-up. I quite liked the way the old del.icio.us pop-up bookmarklet worked. So here’s how you make a better del.icio.us bookmark. Place this code anywhere within the loop. It works for pages, templates, index.php and single.php.

<a href=”http://del.icio.us/post?url=<?php the_permalink(); ?>&title=<?php the_title(”, ”, true); ?>”>add to del.icio.us</a>

And that’s it. But that’s without the pop-up. If you want the pop-up method, first paste this simple javascript pop-up maker in your head tag.

<script type="text/javascript">
function openpopup(popurl){

Then use this link in your loop instead of the earlier one I showed you.

<a href=”javascript:openpopup(’http://del.icio.us/post?url=<?php the_permalink(); ?>&title=<?php the_title(”, ”, true); ?>’)”>add to del.icio.us</a>

Meetro.com: Instant messenger geo-location social networking software

Aug 2005

Meetro.com is a tiny geo-location social networking software, kind of like Placesite.com, except Placesite was restricted to users of a local wifi network. Meetro is more expansive and rides on AIM and ICQ networks. Basically it tells you who is nearby and gives you their profiles and the opportunity to contact them for real-life socialising. But I think the power might not be from socialising. It might be from recommendations that Meetro users make of local facilities like restaurants and hairdressers and schools. Meetro is currently only for Windows users.

Video game development industry seeking minorities

Aug 2005

According to the International Game Developers Association, 80% of game developers are white and this is leading to racially-typecast characters in games. So they’re looking to interest more minorities into game development. Hang on. Something’s wrong here. So the game industry is rife with racist white folk. Then why would they hire minority game developers? And why are the minorities being treated as the problem and not the racist game developers?



Copywriter Malaysia