Friday, July 27, 2007

Must Read: Stories I'm Reading

It's been a while since I've done the link thing since I've been busy with work, vacation and well blogging. So anyway, here's some links to good blog posts from around the net I've been reading recently:
  1. 4 Step DIY Wine Glass Photo Frames - Yes these are a bit corny, but at the same time fun! Photojojo

  2. Online Swaps: 8 Sites to Swap Your Stuff - Trade Stuff online Mashable!

  3. Find Garage Sales in Your Zip Code - Brad Linder shows you how to go garage sale hunting the geeks way! Download Squad

  4. A Fully Upgradeable Notebook PC by Asus - If only Laptops were more upgradeable like desktops are... by Uneasysilence

  5. Subtitle Editor for Google Video - A neat app called Subtitle Horse is discussed by Google Blogoscoped

  6. DRM-Free MP3s Coming to Yahoo, Urge - More DRM-Free goodness by Digital Media Thoughts

  7. Add Tags to Your Outlook Email Messages - Amit over at Digital Inspiration shows us how to make Outlook a little more like gmail.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Measure Your Run or Bike Ride with Gmaps Pedometer

Take Google Maps and add to that a tool that tells you "How far is it from point A to B." This is what the Gmaps Pedometer Mashup does. If you walk, run, bike or swim this is an excellent web tool for you. It's a Google Maps Mashup that lets you set up waypoints and it calculates the distance in miles as well as the number of calories you burn after you input your weight. The calories thing is obviously dependant to your pace also, but its a good approximation. Once you've created a route, you can save your route, use the elevation tool for hills and indicate where you want mile markers on your route.

Some Uses for this tool:

1. Rather then driving your car along the jogging route to estimate the distance, input your jog route into the Gmap Pedometer to see how far it is.

2. Estimate how many calories you might be burning with your run, jog, walk or swim. Not exact, but a good estimation.

3. Set up your cross-country team's runs on the map and publish it on the cross-country team's website as a resource.

4. Prepare for a marathon with the map links on your website showing the routes and distances.


When you log into the site, you'll see the google map of the world starting with the U.S. Just like in Google Maps, drag or double-click to move the map, use the slider to zoom in our out and select Map, Satellite or Hybrid buttons to switch the type of imagery. You can enter an address, city or zip (just like in Google Maps) to pick a starting point.

Once you're ready to to record the distance you traveled (or will travel) click the start recording button. After that, each double-click will draw a point on the map and the distance from each point will accumulate and appear in the boxes above. Each double-click will create a new point.

When you have your route set, you can save the map and link to it from your site. You can also view a graph showing the elevation of each point plotted against distance (in Canada, UK and US). Another feature is the ability to print the completed map.


Here's some sample pre-set courses in Ontario set up for a Half Iron man Simulation:

An basic bike course in Ontario

This has to be one of the most useful and well put-together Google Maps Mashups I've used. Check it out at

Sony's Sphere-Shaped HTPC-VAIO TP1

Sony calls it a Living Room PC, but it's really just a basic pre-built HTPC in the shape of a hat box or Roomba.
It comes with a Intel 2 Duo Processor 1.83GHz and Windows Vista. This thing has no HD optical drive and no CableCard slot, but it does have an HDMI output and a compact wireless keyboard all decked out in ipod white. Definitely a unique design for a PC. If you're into the styling and have cash to blow, it's running $1,600.00 and available now.

The folks over at Cnet have one ready for testing and a full review coming. To read more check out Cnet's Crave

Flexible Flickr Search Engine PiciShare

PiciShare is an alternative search engine for Flickr to your average Flickr Search. The search engine provides a simple click and search interface that enables you to modify the search preferences more efficiently. You can select the search results per page, sort by: relevance, Date Posted (ascending), Date Posted (by description), Date Taken (ascending), Interestingness (ascending) and Interestingness (by description).

PiciShare runs off of the Flickr engine and is advertising-supported as you can see by the screenshot. It looks like a good alternative to Flickrs simple and advanced search engine. Check it out at PiciShare
If you're in to flickr searches and have a blog or website, check out my post about how to add a custom flickr search to your site.

A Non-working Technorati is a Useless Technorati

Here we go again! Technorati hasn't been updating posts, links or authority for several days now and there's been no response by admin on their "help" page or from their ticket support system. The problems for me began before Technorati dropped off the web due to the power outage in San Francisco and have continued every since. No updates for new posts and for even a longer time, links to this blog haven't been updating properly - some work and some don't. I don't expect lightning-fast responses her (although that would be nice) but I would like an acknowledgement by Technorati of the problem at least.
So I ask for the second time this year: Is Technorati dying? It needs some major work and tlc to continue as a force in the blogging world. I wonder how long it will be before it gets fixed. If it's too long, it will just whither away as a blogging after thought.... Let's hope this isn't the case.
Here's a screenshot of the Technorati help forums with a pile of unanswered cries for help. No admin response for several days and counting:


Blog Hack: Custom Flickr Search for your Blog

Would you like to add a custom flickr search box for your blog that only searches your photos? I found some html code you can add to your site to make a custom search box for your blog that searches only photos with your flickr username. I'll share with you how to do this for your site.

After reading my article on tagging photos & uploading to flickr with iTag, A reader asked me if I knew of a way to add a custom search box to your site that allows visitors to search only the pictures you uploaded to Flickr. The short answer was no, but I did some looking around and found the html code to make your own search box to search only your photos on flickr.

Here's How To Make Your Own Flickr Search:
1. First you will need your "raw" flickr ID#. This is the ID that is a string of characters, not your human-readible flickr name like evansfam. For example, my "raw" ID# is 94336434@N00. To find your "raw" Flickr ID # go to Flickr People Info Finder and you will see your ID# listed along with several other things flickr tracks.

2. Now you are ready for the code. Take the following code and change the "raw" ID #96395704@N00 to your own ID that you just found in step #1:

<!-- Search flickr -->
<p>Search all of Geek Tonic's photos for:
<form method=GET action="" target="_blank">
<input type=hidden name=w value="94336434@N00">
<input type=hidden name=m value="text">
<input type=text name=q size=25 maxlength=255 value="">
<input type=submit value="Flickr Search">
<!-- Search flickr -->

3. The default is to search for text (description and/or name), but you can change the value of m to "tags" instead of "text" if you want the search to only search your tags instead of doing a full-text search

4. Now insert the code into your site. That's it!
Now when you type in a search term into the box, it will search for that text in the description, titles and tags of your photos on flickr. All results will open up in a new window on the flickr page.

The end result is a nice, custom flickr search box just for your site. Here's how it should look:

via FlickrHacks Forum thanks to Dave Ward

For a complete listing of flickr hacks and tools CLICK HERE

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Blogger Hack: Monitor Submissions From Your Site to Digg, Reddit, Delicious, Furl and StumbleUpon

If you have a website or blog you know how much digg, reddit, stumbleupon and the other social networking sites can have a great impact on the number of visitors to your site. Because of this, you want to know when someone submits a story from your blog to one of these social networking sites. Here's how to monitor the major social networking sites for submitted posts from your site:
  1. Digg & Reddit: Was This Site submitted to Digg and/or Reddit? This Yahoo Pipe will let you know in one RSS feed called Social Site Submission Watchdog

  2. Monitor to see if your site was submitted to delicious using the following link: and changing the "" to your site's url and subscribe to the RSS feed.

  3. Furl: Use the search for your site's url and subscribe to the RSS feed.

  4. StumbleUpon: For StumbleUpon I haven't found a good way of subscribing to an RSS feed so I use the non-official Stumbleupon Search created using Google Coop. Alternatively you could just do a google search using: "" in the google search box. Just change "" to your site's url.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Harry Potter by Audiobook

Don't have time to read the 750 or so pages of the the latest Harry Potter Book - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows? I recommend you purchase the audiobook.

It is narrated by Jim Dale who is one of the best narrators ever. My family has listened to the previous six Harry Potter books narrated by Mr. Dale during long roadtrips after ripping the CD Audiobooks to use on my iPod- here's how to do that by the way. Even if you've read the books, listening to the audiobooks is really enjoyable mostly because of Mr. Dale's excellent narration.

If you don't want to fork over the almost $50 for the audiobook, go reserve a copy at your library - there's probably quite a wait, but most libraries carry several copies.

Qam Tuning On Mac with HDHomeRun & EyeTV

SiliconDust announced today that their Dual Network QAM/OTA HD Tuner now works with the Mac's EyeTV. I wrote a review of the excellent HDHomeRun tuner back in March. These HDHomeRun tuners have been flying off the shelf since that time as it now works with most (if not all) of the Windows Based HTPC software as well as MythTV and now the Mac! This is one of the best products out there for the HTPC user so if you're a Mac user and have EyeTV, go get one now at SiliconDust - you won't be sorry!

Read More over at

Another forum member is working on a Mac OS X app called HDHomeRunner that will be free and released under the GNU Public License. More on this app in development here

Found via SiliconDust Forums

EasyTVData Now SchedulesDirect - Replacement For Zap2It


If you are one of the MythTV, GBPVR or MediaPortal Users who have been using Zap2It for your TV Guide service then you probably know that Zap2It will stop providing free tv listings September 1, 2007. Since that time, a team of MythTV developers and others are working on a possible replacement for Zap2It. The were going to use the domain, but now because of possible trademark issues, they have registered a domain for Schedules Direct and have the old redirecting to the new domain. No more news available on the project, but hopefully we'll be hearing more within the next month.

From the Site:

Easy TV Data renamed to Schedules Direct,
You may have noticed that you are now being redirected away from to this new website.

Due to some concern over trademark infringement, we have decided to change our name
to Schedules Direct, which does not appear to conflict with any existing
trademarks in the TV/Media space. Please update your bookmarks to point to our
new website:

We also thank you for your suggestions and all of the lawyers and accounting people who
have offered their help, since we now have a fairly sizable pool of good
candidates to look over.

Digg Hack: Find The Popular Digg Stories Before They Hit Front Page

Want to find the stories that are just beginning to gain popularity, but before they hit Digg? Russ Virante has developed a digg tool using the API to filter through the most recent 500 stories based on the minimum number of diggs received. This way you can catch the likely-to-be-hot stories before they hit the front page. This is a great way to find the stories that are already getting a high number of diggs, but before they are considered popular.

You can select the filter level to select the level of filter you want to use - the higher the filter (further to the right) you select, the more "recent" diggs it requires to be on the noisefilter page. You can also turn on or off the automatic page refresh. If this is on, it will refresh the list every minute or so.


Digg Noise Filter

via digg