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Monthly Archives

July 2011

Personal Stories
July 29, 2011

Will the Real Matt Refghi Please Stand Up?

Back in mid 2009, I discovered an unexpected shipping confirmation in my e-mail inbox. It was sent from my cellphone service provider, and was letting me know that the iPhone I ordered had been sent out to me. Thing is, I never ordered an iPhone, and though the confirmation showed my name, it was being shipped to another address, and was associated with another phone number. It didn't take long for me to realize that this was identity theft. I immediately called my provider, and realized that I would likely have problems authenticating with them. You see, the provider usually asked for two key items whenever I called: birth date, and postal code. Anticipating this, I first told the agent the situation, and he confirmed…
July 28, 2011

Detained While Reporting Spam in Livemocha

Ah, yes, Livemocha. If you haven't heard, Livemocha is a site that allows you to learn languages with the help of a community. While it does offer exercises and quizzes that are similar to Rosetta Stone, the most powerful feature is the fact that other users review your submissions. That alone is worthy of a recommendation, so check it out if you haven't already. The community support goes a long way towards motivating a person, and also ensures only native speakers of a language are the ones reviewing. This idea is a very powerful one, but unfortunately, the interface that they offer - the website - is flawed in many ways. Today, I'd like to share my experiences with one of these flaws, which, in my…
July 27, 2011

Distraction-Free Writing in WordPress 3.2

As a fan of WordPress, as soon as 3.2 was released, I found myself reading the changelog. While doing so, I noticed a very intriguing feature addition: Start writing your first post in our redesigned post editor and venture to the full-screen button in the editing toolbar to enter the new distraction-free writing or zen mode, my personal favorite feature of the release Zen mode? Distraction-free writing? Sounded good, so I proceeded to update all my WordPress installations. To fully impress upon you how significant of a feature it is, here's what the typical WordPress WYSIWYG editor looks like: It's a full-featured page, that's for sure - but it also has quite a lot of controls surrounding it. The text editor itself loses some screen space to these…
Personal Stories
July 27, 2011

No More Canned Responses, Please.

Back in 2007, my domain served primarily to power my solo development experiments. Behind the scenes, it was hosted by 1&1 Internet - the price was low, which was necessary at the time. All was well in the world of 1&1 web hosting for a while, until I eventually encountered a problem when uploading PHP files to my server. When I ran the files on, they would fail - but on my local development machine, everything was working as expected. Eventually I called their tech support team to see if something was wrong with their configuration. The agent helped me resolve the problem, but in the process of doing so, he started modifying my PHP files - without even asking me. During the…
July 13, 2011

Two Quick Shortcuts to Show File Properties In Windows Subscribe // Leave a Comment // View Channel Transcript: Hi guys. In this video I have two tips I'd like to share with you, and they're dealing specifically with how to make the properties dialog appear faster in Windows. You're probably all familiar with right-clicking files in Windows and selecting Properties. What I'd like to show you is a quicker way of doing that - two quicker ways of doing that, actually. The first way involves hovering your mouse over any file on the desktop or anywhere else in Windows, and simply holding ALT and double-clicking the file of your choosing. That will make the properties appear. The other way involves clicking on the file, actually selecting it - not just hovering over it…
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