Sweet website: TinyURL.com

September 20, 2007 at 12:05 pm (Sweet Websites, Web 2.0 Must-haves)

TinyURL.com shortens URLs into a short, easier-to-type-and-or-remember mini-URLs.

For example, you could try to type or remember http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0918024765/sr=8-1/ qid=1146407893/ref=pd_bbs_1?_encoding=UTF8” Or you could just use “www.tinyurl.com/exm4pl3” Much better, eh?

Now, in our world of rampant copy-pasting, and handy remember-stuff-for-you sites like del.icio.us, You may think to yourself, “Well, I could just paste it, or save it, I don’t need a shortener.”

How woefully wrong you would be.

Example #1: Availability messages or small posts on facebook, myspace, etc. It’s so ugly and space-wasting to look at a long icky URL. A TinyURL can tidy things up for you, and also save precious characters, when you have limited space to type. See picture.


Eww, you don’t want that! Using http://www.tinyurl.com/hy2c3y is so much better. And far less unsightly. Another good use of this would be giving any sort of weblink to your grandmother over the phone, or to slap on a business card or invitation, etc.

Example #2: Anonymity in Linking. People can’t tell what they’re visiting. So if you’d prefer that someone not know where they’re going until they get there, it’s a good thing. Use this power for good, and not for evil. *waggles finger* -IF you want to provide the person, however, with an assurance that you’re not playing some horrible trick on them, the website does have a feature that will allow the person to preview your link first, to see that it’s legit and as expected, etc. I’ve never used that feature, but TinyURL provides it.

A good scenario, I think, to use the anonymity aspect of this for good would be: You’re teasing someone about being a monkey. They’re taking it well, and getting all exasperated. You and your friends are having a great time. You allow the hullaballoo to die down just a bit, and then send them to TinyURL.com/a7e8y4, claiming it’s a videogame-related website you want them to see. They click on it, and guess what? IT’S A MONKEY WEBSITE! *the crowd goes wild* etc.

So there you have it! More information about the particulars of this service are on the main TinyURL website.


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The demystification of the RSS feed

September 7, 2007 at 10:01 pm (Tech Geekery, Web 2.0 Must-haves)

Come closer, my children, and I will tell you of another place and time.

[cue music: wierd398x5.trifile]

A time so long distant, that datalink users manipulated manual input devices to interface with their archaic machines, in a loud clatter of buttons and clicking.

[ancient clicking sound effects]

But into their unsophisticated world, there came a change. Before this change, users were forced to navigate themselves through the “web” to check on their valuable sources of data, looking for updates and new content. [more clicking] They would hunt like this for hours, wasting time being side-tracked and endless click, click, clicking.

[more irregular tapping noises, becoming slower and slower. they seem to nearly stop, then…]

But then the change occurred. A new technology was born that was the dawn of a new era.

[cue music: intrepiddawn32.trifile]

They called it “syndication” and “newsfeeds”. Finally, they forced their rudimentary version of the datalink to work for them, bringing to them the information they required. New content traveled the “intertubes” to the user, filed itself in an organized manner, and waited for their hungry eyes to consume it at their leisure.

It was a dark time, but the “RSS feed” was a glimmer of order and reason in their barbaric world of confusion and anarchy.

A short video that explains in very simple terms what an RSS feed is, what it can do for you, and how to set one up easily:

If you use Firefox to browse the web, I would probably recommend using the built-in reader. This page contains reviews of the better-known Firefox plug-ins that can better manage your RSS feeds. I found it informative!

rssfirefox.png(If you don’t use Firefox to browse the web, good heavens, go download it.)

I’ve found RSS feeds to be easy to use, and simple to set up. If you have any trouble at all, ask a tech-y friend, and they should get it cleared up right away. RSS feeds are awesome. And you can do some unusual things with them too, like I have some set up with craigslist, and they keep an eye on a certain search term for me, and if any item is ever listed for sale that matches the search, it will come to me in an RSS feed. It’s super-handy. I think you can set up search alerts this way with e-bay too, and probably other sites as well. So it’s definitely for more than blogs!

Oh, and like… sign up for my blog’s RSS feed! >_>




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Instructables.com -Instructions for everything-

September 5, 2007 at 2:54 pm (Sweet Websites, Tech Geekery, Web 2.0 Must-haves)

instructables.pngContinuing my series of DIY sites, Instructables.com is a great one.

They have a guided tour introduction page with some of their best instructables: Guided Tour

Some examples of Instructables’ …..instructables:

These are beautiful:


LED Lighted Ice Globes for almost-free

Some of the things are pretty involved projects, with lots of steps, like:


Bind your own Hardbound Books

And some have a high ‘cool’ factor:


Cheap, Good-quality Shuriken/Throwing Stars


One of the most awesome sections of Instructables is the “Not Liable” section, where instructables for things that the website doesn’t want you trying at home, but acknowledges that you might, anyway. Bunch of wacky stuff in there. It’s so much fun to read! Like the above, and also this one:
The Giant Match


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