People seem to not quite understand what Etelos (the company I work for) does. Yesterday I found an awesome article written by Rick Turoczy describing what we do and how we can help developers and enterprises distribute, license, and support applications. I was reading it when my wife came in the office. She briefly glanced at it and is getting even more up to speed with what I do!
For a while I’ve been wanting to find a tool that would monitor a web page and send me an RSS feed when it gets updated. I found a few solutions.
But before I talk about the solutions, I first want to ask why there are so many sites that still don’t offer RSS feeds, except for their blog (assuming they have a blog). I remember wanting this all of the time when I was looking for a job. Most companies’ pages with job openings listed do not contain an RSS feed. This is an easy way to allow a potential employee to find you a lot easier.
I’m trying a few of the services but one of them had exactly what I was looking for:
Page2RSS monitors web pages for changes and notifies you of those changes by RSS. Simply type in the URL of the page you wish to monitor and then add the feed URL to your favourite feed reader. Excellent tool for pages that do not offer their own RSS feeds.
It was as easy as expected to use. I hope it gives me the results I want. I can see lots of uses for a service like this.
I have successfully enabled picklewagon.com as a delegate for my OpenID. This has been something I have been wanting to do for a while. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be.
What is OpenID?
OpenID.net says it best:
OpenID eliminates the need for multiple usernames across different websites, simplifying your online experience.
You get to choose the OpenID Provider that best meets your needs and most importantly that you trust. At the same time, your OpenID can stay with you, no matter which Provider you move to. And best of all, the OpenID technology is not proprietary and is completely free.
For businesses, this means a lower cost of password and account management, while drawing new web traffic. OpenID lowers user frustration by letting users have control of their login.
For geeks, OpenID is an open, decentralized, free framework for user-centric digital identity. OpenID takes advantage of already existing internet technology (URI, HTTP, SSL, Diffie-Hellman) and realizes that people are already creating identities for themselves whether it be at their blog, photostream, profile page, etc. With OpenID you can easily transform one of these existing URIs into an account which can be used at sites which support OpenID logins.
How I Did It
I first had to do some research on exactly what I needed to do to make this happen. I found a few sites that ultimately helped me.
- OpenID for Non-SuperUsers – Sam Ruby gets a little geeky in this simple how-to.
- claimID OpenID help – already having a profile on claimID made this a good reference.
After learning what I needed to do, I had to enable my blog by finding and adding the necessary plugins.
- WP-OpenID – lets users log in to a blog or leave comments using their OpenID.
- OpenID Delegate WordPress Plugin – add OpenID delegation abilities to your blog, thus allowing you to sign in to various OpenID supported sites using your blogâ€™s URL.
Why I Did It
Now I can use my site to login to OpenID enabled sites. I have already started my identity/brand here on my blog and continue to add to it.
It’s part of my goal of owning my data.
And while I was OpenID enabling my site, I made it possible for others to use their OpenIDs.
Many people already have an Open ID and don’t know it. I know lots of people with Blogger accounts. Blogger is Open ID enabled. Many sites provide this service. I just wanted to do it from my own site.
I recently blogged about how much I like using Jungle Disk as a backup service. Today I got an email from them with a discount code for friends and family. I have 10 to give away. It reduces the price of the software from $20 to $10. Bargain! The offer is valid for 30 days.
If you’ve been putting off backing up your data, here’s a good chance. I’ll be glad to help out if you need it. Just leave a comment if you are interested and I’ll send you over a discount code.
I have officially found a backup service I am happy with. I have tried other services in the past but wasn’t completely happy with them for one reason or another. After hearing about JungleDisk from various sources, I decided to give it a try. I’m pretty happy with it so far.
I have been using it for about two weeks. I’ve installed it on 3 computers-1 Vista, 1 XP, and a Mac. It was really easy to do on each one. I can access my backed up files from each computer using the Jungle Disk client, through each OSs file browser, or any of the many other methods because it is using Amazon’s S3 (Simple Storage Solution) web service.
My Backup Requirements
After hearing many stories of people losing data such as images because of a hard drive going bad, I have thought what I would like a backup service to do. It’s inevitable. Your hard drive will go bad. It could be tomorrow. Or in three years. It sucks when it happens.
Everything, at least for me, is going digital. All of my family’s pictures are digital. All of our music is digital. Although in some cases I have physical copies (CDs) I don’t want to spend time to do it again. Soon I will have all of our movies converted as well. It would be horrible to lose this data. Lots of time, money, and memories gone.
A lot of data is being moved to the cloud. I don’t use a word processor any more. If I want to create a document or a spreadsheet, I do it in Google Docs. This is great for some things and bad for other reasons. But I feel very confident that I am not going to lose my data.
In the past, I have had multiple computers or hard drives and have stored backups that way. This saved me a few times. But what if your house were flooded or burnt down without you having the chance to rescue your backup. Personally, I’d be worrying about other things besides my backup in situations like this.
It is absolutely necessary that you have a backup in a different physical location.
What I Like About Jungle Disk
One of the reasons why I chose Jungle Disk is the pricing model. I pay a one-time fee ($20) for the software and then pay for what I use for bandwidth and disk space from Amazon. Free upgrades and pretty cheap
I can install the software on as many computers as I want. It runs on all OSs (at least the ones I use). The software is really easy to use. I specify which files and/or folders to backup. I can create scheduled times to perform the backups. I love the configuration options. You can add encryption. It can be used by my mom (hopefully) but is geeky enough for me.
Another great thing is that you can access your backups through your file browser. In Windows that would be Windows Explorer. If you want to backup a file, just copy it over. Again, this makes it really easy.
Oh ya. You can also restore your data if you need to.
Now I’ll get to the part I really like. It is built using Amazon S3. I can do whatever I want with the data once it is backed up. The possibilities are endless. I’m working on a few side projects to take advantage of this.
What Does JungleDisk Lack?
In a word, nothing. It is a wonderful piece of software. It was made to backup your data and that is what it does a good job at.
I highly recommend this software. I’m fairly confident that you have data that you need backed up. It’s about time you do it.
Have you ever wanted to be part of a world record? Now is your chance. Today, June 17, 2008, is the day to download and upgrade your browser. Firefox has designated today as the day to break the world record for most downloads for software in a single day.
Those of you who are already using Firefox will know exactly what to do. Just download it and install. I have heard there are significant improvements in both speed and security.
For those of you using other browsers such as Internet Explorer, I invite you to give Firefox a try. It is a way better browsing experience. Especially after you add your favorite add-ons.
Firefox changed the internet forever when it became popular at the beginning of the decade. It had become stagnant after the dot com boom. Microsoft had already won the browser war and did not bother to upgrade it’s browser until it upgraded to IE7 within the past few years.
Browsing has become safer and web development is a lot more fun thanks to Firefox.
I’m waiting for the next generation of photo sharing sites. I ended my quest a few months ago because each of the sites I reviewed had features I liked but they lacked at least a few I am interested in. I ended up “settling” for Flickr.
Flickr is great photo sharing site. It seems to excel in its “social” features. But it lacks some features that I want for my private pictures. Most of the pictures I have uploaded to Flickr are private and I put them on the site to display on my private blog.
The reason I bring this up now is because of a post written by Hillel Cooperman. He points out some features that photo sharing sites are lacking. I happen to agree with him and have longed for the features that he outlines in much better terms than I ever could. These features are:
- background sync
- password protection
- custom look and feel
- use your own domain
I have been thinking of other features that I would like in a photo sharing site. I have started a list.
For example, a lot of sites have RSS feeds for all pictures uploaded. I would like to see multiple feeds. At least one feed for private photos and another for public photos. This would be great for a digital photo frame that has a wifi connection and the ability to subscribe to RSS feeds (they are getting more affordable). I could buy one for my mom, update the site with new photos, and she would see the photos.
What other features should I add to my list?
I heart WordPress. It is great software and is a great open source software success story.
For those who aren’t familiar with WordPress, it is the blogging software that is running my site. I am happy with the decision I made to use it.
One of the great things about WordPress is it allows other developers to customize their own installation via plugins and themes. In reality, the possibilities are endless with what you can accomplish.
Automattic, the company who created WordPress and runs wordpress.com, has recently started BuddyPress. BuddyPress allows you to transform WordPress MU into a social networking platform. They have already created some useful plugins.
Even though I think this is an awesome project, I have one thing that I would love to see. I want to add these social networking features to an individual WordPress blog or have one WordPress MU installation communicate with another. I think everybody that wants to should be able to participate in social networks but do so from the comfort of their own web site.
There is lots to be said on that topic. But it’s late. More later.
Over the last few months, I have learned that one of the best people to get career advice from is Seth Godin. I have a few posts in the hopper that I will finish up and get posted within the next few days.
Except I saw a post he did today on how resumes will not help you impress employers. What an amazing idea! One that I totally agree with. The last paragraph reads:
“Great jobs, world class jobs, jobs people kill for… those jobs don’t get filled by people emailing in resumes. Ever.”
Show don’t tell. I know that I can improve on a lot of that stuff. I have a few projects that I have been working on that I need to expose. I’ll do that over the next few weeks.
Those of you who frequent my site may have noticed that I even removed a link to my resume. I had it on my page for my job hunt last year.
Thinking back to my job hunt, it wasn’t my resume that got me my current job. I’m sure it played a role in getting it but my blog got me noticed.
So even though I have not posted as much as I would like, what I am doing here has made a difference. It makes me wonder what could happen if I devote more time to it. What have you done in the past to get noticed?
For quite a while now, I’ve been looking and thinking about how a password protected feed could be accomplished. This seems to be quite a problem. One that does not have a solution yet.
Why would somebody want an authenticated RSS feed? I personally would like one for a private blog that I have. Other reasons would include bank balance inquiries, enterprise applications, email, etc. Can you think of other reasons? There are lots of them.
Others have made a strong case for them. Be sure to read the comments in each of these posts. They add a lot to the conversation.
Many blogs and feeds have already implemented private feeds. The problem is that it is difficult to find an online aggregator that supports them. I know there are a few out there. But why isn’t it standard. Why doesn’t Google Reader, my aggregator of choice support password protected feeds.
I understand it is a complex problem. There are solutions that I could implement in a few nights of coding that would give my private blog support for private feeds, but I want it to be in a secure way that all of my subscribers could add to their reader of choice.
Reading other’s ideas may give me something to aim towards. Joe Gregorio uses encryption to secure feeds. How about the suggestion to generate a private token per user in the form of http://example.com/feed/rss.php?auth=463124cb359783.543Â31382. Could OpenID be used in some way? As RSS becomes more ubiquitous, there will be various solutions so users and developers will be able to choose which solution is best for their needs. But I would like a solution sooner than that. Ideas?