When Did Google Reader Get Rounded Buttons?

I just noticed this today… I’m fairly sure that the buttons weren’t like this a day or two ago.

 

Are there other new features that I haven’t noticed yet?

Google Reader Notifier for Windows

Continuing the series on Google Reader tips, there’s now a Google Reader Notifier for Windows.

Previously there had only been Mac and Firefox versions, but now there’s a version for those of us that use Windows.

This version also has the ability to filter by multiple tags or folders, which is useful if you have as many feeds as I do.

Homepage: Google Reader Notifier

Google Reader Notifier for Firefox

Continuing on the series about Google Reader, I’ve just come across an extension for Firefox for that shows you the unread items in your google reader account.

The nice thing about this extension is that if you mouse hover over the status bar, it will show you exactly how many unread items are in each tag or folder. That’s a quick way to see if the unread items are actually in your important folders.

I took this screenshot from the project page… if you were a web 2.0 blogger, you’d be able to quickly see that there are 24 unread items in that category.

Download:
Google Reader Notifier Firefox Extension

Related posts:
Use Google Reader to Keep Track of Comments
7 Google Reader Tips and Tricks

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.

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.

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…

How to Block spam using Gmail for Dreamhost users (Or anybody else) Part 1: Desktop Mail Clients

I use DreamHost to host this website as well as a few others. One of the biggest problems I’ve had while at Dreamhost is the terrible spam filtering they offer. Their version of SpamAssassain is both out of date and “hands-off”. Unless you go through hoops to install your own version on their servers, you are out of luck. I’ve spent so much time filtering my junk mail to make sure the real mail didn’t get caught, that I probably shouldn’t have bothered filtering at all.

In searching, I came across a really good idea on Justin Blanton’s site… use Gmail as a spam filter. I was really hoping that this would work, because I’ve never seen a spam message hit my Gmail inbox.

I use PocoMail as my desktop mail client, so the first version of this HowTo is going to be about configuring a Desktop Mail client ( Outlook, PocoMail, etc) How to go about it?

(Continued)

Google Desktop and Outlook aren’t getting along.

So, I’ve been troubleshooting a problem with my Google Desktop Search installation for a week now… GDS indexes my email perfectly, I can search and find whatever email I’m looking for… but when I click the “View in Outlook” link, it brings my Outlook window to the foreground and then just sits there and blinks at me.

Naturally, the first thing I did was attempt to find some answers on Google Groups, but all I found were more people with the same problem and not a decent answer as to why. The only thing they have is “Why are the toplinks not working”, which didn’t solve my problem at all.

After prying around for a long time, I finally figured out the problem… at some point I had run an antivirus software on my computer, and it must have blocked the outlook scripts from running. Sure enough, that was the case.

The problem was neatly solved by following the instructions on this microsoft link: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/244264/EN-US/ You’ll want to check the “Checking the Automation Server” section of the KB article, and follow the instructions there.

I’m finally able to use GDS again!

Update (08/21/2006):

More information over on Google Groups