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Tips & Tricks

Tips & Tricks
December 16, 2011

Using Google Alerts to Fight E-mail Spam

I was recently reminded of the existence of a particular Google service, one which I had completely forgotten. To my surprise, it turned out to be a significant discovery, as the product can be used to improve one's privacy on the web, while reducing spam. The service, Google Alerts, allows users to choose specific search queries that they'd like to monitor. When new results appear in one of these queries, the user can be automatically notified by e-mail. Here are some suggested uses, according to Google: monitoring a developing news story keeping current on a competitor or industry getting the latest on a celebrity or event keeping tabs on your favorite sports teams All very interesting, sure - but what does it have to do with privacy,…
Tips & Tricks
May 8, 2011

Pasting Text Without Formatting In Google Chrome

As part of my regular use of Gmail, I often find myself pasting text from web into my e-mails. Since the Gmail editor supports rich-text, pasting generally includes the formating, which, most of the time, simply does not make sense within the e-mail. For years, I have been using a trick to get around this - one which involved using the almighty Windows Notepad. By simply pasting the text into Notepad, and then copying it from there, I make sure the formating is not brought over. This works because Notepad itself does not support formating. As useful as this trick is, I often found myself wondering whether there were better options available. A few days ago, as I was writing an e-mail to a prospective client, I…
Tips & Tricks
April 6, 2011

Top 10 Blogging Tips

When a friend of my mine started blogging, I found myself offering him tips by e-mail. I realized that with 2+ years of blogging experience came some new knowledge, so I decided I should probably share what I'd accumulated. I normally avoid blogging about blogging at all costs - but I felt this would be a good moment to make an exception. The tips I'm sharing below are not meant to be seen as the true, all-powerful top 10 laws that a blogger must abide by. They are merely guidelines that I have deemed important for my own blog, and felt might be useful to others as well. 10 Avoid Bandwidth Theft Some web authors find creative ways to punish bandwidth thieves. (Photo by Tom…
Tips & Tricks
March 29, 2011

Archiving Tweets Using WordPress

Since I began using Twitter actively, I've been looking for a reliable way to ensure my tweets will be forever accessible. In my experience, Twitter never offered an easy way to locate old tweets. From a profile page, a user can keep loading tweets by simply scrolling down the page. That scroll-to-load approach works, but it takes a lot of time, and there's no guarantee that Twitter will allow this mechanism to load thousands of additional tweets. As far as I can tell, there's no simple way to find a tweet from June 2010, for example - even if you try to search by text, it won't necessarily be found. It seems to me that Twitter prioritizes recent tweets, and eventually removes the older ones…
Personal StoriesTips & Tricks
January 19, 2011

The Road to Active Tweeting

It took me a while to warm up to the idea of microblogging, as popularized by Twitter. At first glance, I felt it encouraged the accumulation of mundane status updates, shared publicly, and communicated between accounts in an indirect, awkward way. Given that I spend a lot of time writing, I was practically insulted when I saw that they limited status updates to 140 characters. I didn't understand how something of quality could be produced, given such limitations. I also feared that SMS abbreviations and slang would become prevalent, further taking away from the quality of such short messages. So, when I eventually decided to create a Twitter account, it was merely to announce my new blog posts to a large community, to hopefully attract more visitors. I…