Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Yahoo Pipes

Yahoo Pipes is a new online tool from Yahoo that allows you to merge news sources and RSS feeds from the Internet and then query and perform a number of operations on the data to give you a desired output. To give you a clearer idea of its function you can create a pipe that draws data from all of your favorite blogs RSS feeds then perform a search query across them to find is there are any postings that match you query. To get a better idea of what I am talking about I suggest that you check out some of the examples that users have created that perform a number of useful functions. The pipe editor is drag and drop, so you can layout the different elements of the pipe is a relatively easy way for you to understand. The reason I say relatively is because you have to have a fair bit of understanding of URLs and how site searches function before you can really use the interface and its modules. It is a revolutionary tool and the first of its kind that I have seen as it allows you to process data from all over the Internet through you web browser. Check it out at

Saturday, February 24, 2007

FireFox Extension - Dummy Lipsum Generator

If you are in the business of creating web pages then you will know that when you are creating a draft page to present to a client then you need present the page with content so that they can get an idea of how the graphics and content will look on a page together. A handy FireFox extension that I have come across is the "Dummy Lipsum Generator". This extension allows you to create dummy content easily in a couple of clicks by adding a new button to your "Tools" button which performs this operation. It is configurable so that you can specify the number of paragraphs of content to create also provides you with a "Copy to clipboard" option so that you do not have to highlight the content it creates. It works by looking out to the website and then copying the generated text back into the extension interface. To find out more and download the extension visit

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Google - Peronalized search results

If you have a Google account and are logged into your Google account while conducting a search, you will find that the results served, are now are personalized to you. The results you get are influenced by a number of things, your search history, websites and news headlines that you have clicked on, Google bookmarks as well as the information that you have stored on you personalized home page. As this service has only recently been enabled, the results you get will not change all that much to start with but the longer you enable this service the more your results will be tailored to you.

At first I though, i'm not sure that I like the idea. Does this mean that I may be missing out on new sites as they become live because I have only been viewing a group of other websites. After investigating further though I found that Google actually looks at other users search histories that are similar to mine, and serves results that other users have clicked that have search patterns that are close to mine. This means then that it will probably help me find these new websites as these users will have visited sites I want to see.

I wonder if many other search engines will follow this move or if it will be a feature that is received warmly by Google users? As long as it improves my web browsing I am not one to complain and as it is a feature that can be disabled it will at least prevent spammy results from getting listed in my search results.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

YouSendIt file storage

If you do not have your own or access to an FTP server and want to distribute files to clients, family or friends then YouSendIt is a good way to get your files to them. Once you create an account with the site, you can upload files, up to the amount of 2GB, where they are stored for retrieval. The way that you get the files to people is by sending them a notification email that contains a link back to the specific file stored on the site. The email link uses a encrypted URL, which once clicked, requires a login, which makes accessing the file quiet secure. I have been using the free version of the service but if you use the paid version some of the features you get are tracking, which keeps count of how many times the file has been downloaded and branding which allows you to upload your company logo so that the area that the client accesses is branded for your business.

I have found it simple and quiet easy to use and have used to store large graphics of websites that I have been working on for clients. When downloading the files the download speed is fast and I am yet to experience a drop out during download.