Johnny's Finally Moved!

If you’ve previously gone to Johnny’s Thoughts (johnnysthoughts.com) and are wondering what on earth has happened, I’ve moved over to Tech-Recipes… a few months ago… but haven’t been able to migrate the old content because of theme issues. We’ve finally resolved the issues, so I have redirected the domain name over.

I’ve tried to migrate the important pages, such as the quick reference guides. I’ll try and move some of the most popular articles at some point in the near future.

If there’s anything else I missed that you are looking for, drop me a line and I’ll find it for you.

Wonderful Rum Cake!

My parents split up when I was 8 years old.

I didn’t see my dad much after that, and one of the last vivid memories I have of him was when he brought me a cake for my 10th birthday. It was a rum cake… perhaps slightly inappropriate for a kid’s cake, but it began my obsesssion with rum and cake soaked in rum. I’ve had a lot of rum cakes, but never one before that matched that first delicious bite.

All that changed a few days ago - Quinn sent me a tracking number out of the blue, and said to be on the lookout for a package shipped next day air. I spent the remainder of the day trying to figure out what on earth would require overnight shipping…  knowing Q, I figured he was sending me a math puzzle involving molecular density of superheroes.

Imagine my surprise when I open the box and smelled the glorious scent of rum. The cake was absolutely phenomenal… unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before in my life… words fail me.

Thanks Jennifer and Quinn…  ( but especially Jennifer, for baking the heavenly cake! )

Make sure you visit Jennifer’s food blog: Bake or Break

Firebug 1.0 Beta

For those of you that are unfamiliar, Firebug is an extension for Firefox that lets you do real debugging of javascript. It’s an excellent tool that doesn’t have a match anywhere in terms of ease of use and power.

Joe Hewitt, the creator of Firebug, has announced that he’s going to keep the product as Open Source software. He’s worked full-time on creating this product for a few months now, so his decision to keep it open source is really great for the software community. He is accepting donations, however.

So head on over there, grab the beta, and think about giving him a donation for his hard work.

Rocky 6 = (WTF * 2006)

Tonight, I had the unfortunate event of being notified that Rocky 6 is coming out in theaters shortly. I don’t watch tv, so I hadn’t seen the trailers for this movie, and wasn’t properly notified that it was coming…

The story line is that Rocky is coming out of the retirement… home… to finally redeem himself for years of bad acting and unnecessary sequels.

Naturally I went to IMDB to check out the page, when I noticed this comment (I screenshotted it so you can see)

An Error Has Occured… Hilarious!

I was browsing around recently, and I found another social digg-clone website called DotNetKicks.com. This is the product of Gavin Joyce, the creator of the now-dead nTierGen data access layer generator. He’s created a bunch of  **kicks.com sites, including javakicks.com and mozillakicks.com.

I was trying to figure out what my password was for the site when I got this error message:

I found it hilarious, thought I’d share.

Google Refresh? Whiny SEO Geeks Say Yes.

According to Web Analytics World, Search Engine Roundtable, and WebmasterWorld, Google is going through another data refresh.

Yes, this means that all of the SEO geeks will start whining as Google finally catches up to them and starts dropping the rankings for their mostly worthless sites.

I’m of the firm belief that all of these SEO tactics are a waste of time. Everybody thinks that they can make a quick dollar by using the latest tactics and methods to gain search engine position. What ever happened to quality? What happens when Google catches up to you and deranks your site?

We’ll use Tech-Recipes for an example - The site has been around for over 3 years now, and has over 1800 recipes. Because of the dedication to useful, quality content, now the site has grown to the point where it’s one of the premier tech help websites on the net.

Quality content over time is the only answer. Fame and fortune follow success, not the other way around.

Expand Those Tiny Comment Boxes!

If you are a lifehacker reader, you’ve probably already seen this, but it’s one of those most useful things I’ve found online in a very long time.

Essentially, you make a special bookmarklet that lets you resize any textbox with a single click. 

Here’s a typical textbox on a comments form. They are never big enough… what’s up with that?

Just click the icon, and resize the textbox:

You can get the bookmarklet here.

Use Google Reader to Keep Track of Comments

I just came up with a new idea for using the wonderful tagging feature in Google Reader: Use it to keep track of blog posts I’ve left comments on.

I try to leave comments on any blog post that I think is worthwhile, mostly to give feedback to the author, and also because I sometimes have an honest question. The problem is with 250 feeds and leaving tons of comments every day, I can never remember which blog post I left a comment that I wanted to follow up on.

This is where the tagging support in Google Reader makes me giddy with happiness. Let’s say I’m reading a post by David on the New Zero-Day Mac OS X Flaw.  Now I know that my buddy Quinn worships at the altar of Apple, so I leave a comment just to see what response he’s going to give, and then I tag the post with “Commented” by hitting the “t” key and typing in the tag:

Now when I want to check a few days later on who has responded to my comment, I just hit the gt key combination to bring up the tags dialog:

I hit enter, and then I’m viewing the list of items that I’ve commented on, like so:

So now I can quickly follow up…   I guess Q is still sick, he hasn’t responded yet!

Alternatively, I could have subscribed to the comments feed on the article… but that becomes a royal pain to manage…. over a few weeks you end up with hundreds of subscriptions to particular blog posts that you don’t really need.

Thanksgiving for the Digg, it made my Lifehacking day

Thanksgiving was great this year… along with the obligation and gluttony, my post on Google Reader Tips and Tricks got featured both on Digg and Lifehacker. I was completed stuffed with turkey and traffic.

For only my second post since moving to Tech-Recipes, I’m extremely flattered, and would like to say thanks to everybody who voted for the article =)

I’m going to contine to post roundup articles on useful tips and tricks, so stay tuned for more good stuff.

 

full disclosure: I’m a vegetarian, I didn’t really eat turkey. =P

7 Google Reader Tips and Tricks

I love Google Reader. The end.

I switched from Bloglines to Google Reader a few weeks ago, and my life has forever changed for the better. Here’s the list of tips and tricks from what I’ve discovered so far.

  1. Use the bookmarklet With the Google Reader iconWhen you save the bookmarklet to your bookmark bar, it doesn’t by default have an icon, because the source url is javascript. There’s a simple workaround:
    1. Save a bookmark to Google Reader homepage.
    2. Click the bookmark once to make Firefox load the icon
    3. Edit the bookmark, and copy/paste the javascript from the Location field in the bookmarklet into the new bookmark.
    4. You can also change the Name of the bookmarklet to something else to indicate that it is a bookmarklet. For instance, I use the + symbol as the Name so that I can tell the difference between the regular bookmark and the bookmarklet:
  2. Install the GreaseMonkey Extension for firefox.This is critical… GreaseMonkey is an awesome extension for Firefox, and is required for the next item:
  3. Install the GreaseMonkey Smart Subscribe scriptThe Smart Google Reader Subscribe script will tell you if the page you are on has already been added to your subscriptions. This is invaluable if you already have 250 subscriptions and can barely remember if you’ve subscribed to the page you are reading.The script will also let you subscribe to any feeds that are listed in the meta tags on the page, which is the mechanism that allows the browser to detect the feeds.When you go to a web page that has an RSS feed, you will see this icon in the upper right hand corner of the Firefox window:

    If you hover your mouse over the icon, you’ll see the list of feeds that page offers. My blog only offers the main feed by default, so you’ll see this:

    But if you’ve already subscribed to a feed, you will see this icon instead, with a check mark over it:

    This is really useful as you start adding more and more feeds to your collection.

  4. Learn to use the Shortcut Keys.Navigating using the shortcut keys makes things so much simpler. Here’s a list of the easiest keys to remember, and the ones I use most:
    1. ga – Go to all items view.
    2. gs – Go to Starred Items.
    3. gu – Open up Ajax’y dialog to quickly select a particular feed.
    4. gt – Open up Ajax’y dialog to quickly select a tag
    5. s – Star an item
    6. n – Navigate to next item without opening it
    7. p – Navigate to previous item without opening it
    8. j – Open next item
    9. k – Open previous item
    10. o – Open / Close item
    11. r – Refresh. (I think I’ve worn out this key)
    12. t – Pop up dialog box letting you assign a tag to an item. Very cool.
    13. Shift+A – Mark all as read.
  5. Start Tagging Items For Later

    Let’s say you are reading a post, and realize that it would make a great blog topic, but you don’t have the time right then to mess with it. Hit the t key, and pop in “toblog” into the textbox to save the item for later.Later on that day, it’s time to start blogging. Simply hit the “gt” key combination, and up pops a great little Ajax’y goodness dialog that lets you easily select the tag you are looking for:This is most useful if you want to be able to tag a lot of items that you don’t necessarily need to read for a while. You could also use the Starred Items feature, but I tend to use that for things I actually am planning on reading thoroughly later.
  6. Share Items With FriendsGoogle reader lets you mark items to share with your friends. You get your own custom URL and your own RSS feed of shared items.To start sharing items, just click the Share link at the bottom of the item, or hit the Shift+s key combination:

    If you go to your Shared items folder, Google will give you your own custom web URL and RSS feed for these items. You can then share that with your friends.

  7. Share Items With Your Blog Readers

    The sharing feature goes one step further… Google lets you copy and paste some javascript code into your page, and presto! Your shared items show up on your blog or web page. You can find this feature on the “Shared Items” page in Reader.Since I just moved over to this new blog, I’ll just show you a screenshot of how this looks, instead of a live demo. (still have to get things in order here)

    There’s a bunch of color schemes you can choose from, so don’t worry about the drab colors…