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Tips & Tricks

DevelopmentRecommendationsTips & Tricks
November 21, 2010

Testing Web Performance by Throttling Bandwidth

In the past, I often found myself wondering how some of my websites would perform when accessed from a low bandwidth connection. Unfortunately, I had no convenient way to test such a scenario, so I usually just forgot about the idea. I recently found myself in a similar scenario at work, and my searches returned a useful tool, Speed Simulator, by Vikas Patial: Speed simulator is a simple throttling proxy which allows you to see how your site behaves under different connection speeds. It was written by me to test AJAX/Flash loaders and see how much my time took to load. You can simulate various speeds like that of a modem or a ADSL. A pre delay function is also there to help simulate delays due…
RecommendationsTips & Tricks
October 12, 2010

Locating Old Versions of Software Packages

Ever wished you could go back to an old version of a particular application? Often times, as software companies release new versions, they remove the ability to download older versions. They may also choose to drop support for such versions, in the long run. Usually, upgrading software is a good idea: more bugs are fixed, new features are introduced, all of that fun stuff. In some cases, however, features are unexpectedly removed, or there are performance problems that result from the update. In these scenarios, I consider it valid to seek out older versions. Whenever I found myself in these situations in the past, I would search for websites that offered the old version. I didn't always succeed, particularly because my freestyle approach depended on…
RecommendationsTips & Tricks
October 4, 2010

Identifying a Font from an Image

Ever looked at a logo, and wondered what font the designer used? From an image alone, identifying the specific font can be difficult, particularly if it isn't among those commonly seen on the web. Thankfully, a web service titled "WhatTheFont"  facilitates this very scenario, while also allowing users to buy the font, once identified. Below are screenshots revealing how to use the service, with the Google logo uploaded as an example. As the above image illustrates, the service is pretty good at identifying characters, but it isn't perfect. It asks the user to identify specific letters, eliminating the risk of false assumptions. Once the user validation step is done, the search results are shown. Clicking on any of the search results will bring up  a page dedicated to…
RecommendationsTips & Tricks
October 1, 2010

Searching With Images

All over the web, countless images can be seen. For the longest time, I took the presence of images for granted. That is, until I found an image I really liked, to the point where I wanted to know where it originated. My intention was to seek out additional images from the same photographer. Alas, I soon discovered that finding an image based solely on the visual content isn't very straightforward. Back then, I was unable to find the source. To simulate the problem I had, consider this image: If I didn't link to the photographer's page, or even mention his name, how would you know where the image came from? Sure, the filename can be a hint, but it may have been modified. After…
HumorTips & Tricks
August 24, 2010

Preparing to Send You a Message

So, I installed the Trillian 5 Public Beta today, and was particularly amused when I encountered one of their new features: It lets you know when someone is preparing to send you a message, even if you weren't having a conversation with them. My initial reaction was that it was pretty creepy, but at the same time, I could see some interesting possibilities. First, if you see an incoming message that you're not interested in answering, you can choose to make yourself scarce, thereby granting yourself the possibility of pleading ignorance. Certainly not something I condone, but I still found it intriguing. Second, you can send a message to the person before they finish theirs. That way, you're exploiting the creepy nature of the feature…