30 January 2010

Retweet articles from Google Reader

These past days I began looking into the Tweetmeme API to see if there is a way to change the URL of their button for websites. My idea was to append some Google Analytics tags to the page URL, in order to track clicks originating from Tweetmeme retweets. But as that proved unsuccessful until now, I realized I could do something else with the API, namely build a ‘Retweet’ button right into Google Reader, using the ‘Send To’ feature.

Simply create a new custom link in the Reader settings and use the following for the three fields:

Tweetmeme static Retweet countName: Tweetmeme       
URL: http://api.tweetmeme.com/share?url=${url}
Icon URL: http://tweetmeme.com/images/favicon.ico

26 January 2010

Control when links are updated in Excel

In a corporation, working with large data sets usually means working with Microsoft Excel. But things get a little tricky when you begin splitting the data into multiple files, located on the corporate intranet. My biggest annoyance here is how Excel stubbornly insist on asking me every time if I want to update the fields linked to other files. I have learned from experience it’s best not to do that; it’s often slow, keeping you from doing what you first set up to modify in that file, and secondly most of the time it reports not finding the right files. In short, a big waste of time!

23 January 2010

Web-based alternatives for the Facebook interface

Everybody these days seems to compare Facebook to Twitter in terms of growth or features. But there is one area where the difference between them is huge: the third-party clients. While Twitter users have dozens, if not hundreds of applications to choose from, both for desktop and on the web, Facebook only has a handful. In this article I will focus on the web-based clients that can be used to access your Facebook updates.

Phineas Brizzly in the Facebook outfit As far as I know, Brizzly was the first Twitter client to integrate the Facebook stream. Since it’s my favorite Twitter client, I also tied it to my Facebook account. At first there were some problems displaying the updates, like posts missing or Facebook failing to load altogether, but that seems to be mostly fixed by now.

19 January 2010

Middle-clicking in Google Chrome

Probably every user of Google Chrome already knows you can use the middle-mouse button to open links in a background tab. This way you are not interrupted when reading the current page and later you can continue with the other links. I use this especially when going through Google Reader articles or the Twitter stream. It’s strange the browser doesn’t have a way to make ‘open in background’ the default action for links yet, but I hope an extension will be available soon.

15 January 2010

Set Gmail as your default email client

A couple of days ago, logging into Gmail, I noticed a new tip in the upper right corner: New Gmail Tips, linking to the “Become a Gmail Ninja”-page. In the mean time it was replaced with the news of the default https access for Gmail. While the “ninja” page isn’t new, I want to elaborate a tip in the ‘master’ section:

9. Set Gmail as your default email client.
Instead of automatically opening other email clients when you click mailto links, you can set Gmail to be the default in your browser. If you use Firefox 3, just go to Tools, click Options, select the Applications tab, search for "mailto" and select "Use Gmail" from the list of actions. If you use Internet Explorer, you'll need to download and install Google Toolbar. In Toolbar, just click the wrench icon, go to the Search tab and select the "Use Gmail for 'Mail To' links" checkbox.

13 January 2010

Google Wave: a communication tool to rule them all?

Google Wave logoMore than three months have passed since Google Wave was released to a wider audience. Even though the initial buzz around the launch and the frantic search for invites has now largely cooled off, there is still room for talks and opinions around it, as more and more people discover how to use it. Here are my thoughts on how Google Wave compares to the more traditional forms of communication:

As a decade-old technology, e-mail would need the most improvements and Google Wave brings a whole new vision. I remember a presentation video for Google Docs that talked about eliminating the need to send attachments back-and-forth and instead having a single version on the web. The way I see it, Wave works exactly like that, only for e-mail.

Another way you could describe Google Wave is a whiteboard, where everyone in the room can write their opinions, erase/edit what others wrote and also follow the text evolving in real-time. In this comparison, e-mail would be everyone in the room writing things down on pieces of paper and circulating them for feedback, without talking to each-other in the process. Now ask yourself, which of those scenarios is more efficient?

05 January 2010

Headlines from an alternate universe

I know I said I won't make predictions for the next year, but let's see how our future online world could look like in a twisted alternate universe:

In a surprise move, Google will be selling it's office bundle, Google Apps, to Microsoft. The official press release states the need to focus on the core business, but many analysts questioned this explanation, since other non-strategic applications like Google Chrome and sites (YouTube, orkut) were not included in the deal. According to rumors, Google is actually secretly working on a new operating system for the desktop computer and will soon kick the unsuspecting market leader where it hurts most. Others have dismissed these rumors completely, as they go on to mention this new Google Super-Project is based on retrofitted Windows Me code...