How to make and keep your New Year's resolutions

Blogger Alexander Kharlamov has some good advice for New Year's resolvers who want to stay resolute beyond January 1st. For example, break down your resolutions into small actions:

Separate your NYR list from your ToDo list. If your New Year's Resolution to lose weight includes an action to "buy gym membership", take it off your NYR list and put it on your ToDo list - and then, of course, execute it.

Much like the way GTD distinguishes between projects and next actions, goals can be achieved on any day of the year by just writing them up and breaking them down. Have a safe and happy New Year! See you on January 2nd.

Apple faces suit over iPod-iTunes link (Betsy Schiffman/Associated Press)

Apple faces suit over iPod-iTunes link  —  NEW YORK - As if its options woes weren't trouble enough, Apple Computer Inc. said Friday it is facing several federal lawsuits, including one alleging the company created an illegal monopoly by tying iTunes music and video sales to its market-leading iPod portable players.

Source:   Associated Press
Author:   Betsy Schiffman
Link:   http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061230/ap_on_hi_te…

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Where to get recent MySQL version ? (Peter/MySQL Performance Blog)

Where to get recent MySQL version ?  —  As you might noticed there are no recent MySQL Community versions available for download from MySQL Download Area This applies both to binaries (which is expected with new polices) but also to the source files which were promised to be available.

Source:   MySQL Performance Blog
Author:   Peter
Link:   http://www.mysqlperformanceblog.com/2006/12/29/where…

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Can Google Come Out to Play? (Deborah Schoeneman/New York Times)

Can Google Come Out to Play?  —  ON a Thursday afternoon before the holidays, the game room at Google's new offices in Chelsea was being put to good use.  Two engineers were taking a break from coding at the pool table.  A programmer in a purple Phish T-shirt was practicing juggling.

Source:   New York Times
Author:   Deborah Schoeneman
Link:   http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/31/fashion/31google…

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Never mind Vista, here's Fiji and Vienna (Paul Miller/Engadget)

Never mind Vista, here's Fiji and Vienna  —  Face it, Windows Vista is just so played these days.  With that preliminary biz release under its belt, we're ready for bigger and better things, and luckily a certain "jameskyton" drive-by-blogger has the low-down for us on Vista's successors, Fiji and Vienna.

Source:   Engadget
Author:   Paul Miller
Link:   http://www.engadget.com/2006/12/30/never-mind-vista…

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Saddam's Execution Video Makes it to Google Video, YouTube, Revver (Pete Cashmore/Mashable!)

Saddam's Execution Video Makes it to Google Video, YouTube, Revver  —  It's a sign of the times that cameraphone footage of Saddam Hussein's execution - including the aftermath as he hangs from the noose - has made its way to video sharing sites.  While mainstream media avoided showing the whole clip …

Source:   Mashable!
Author:   Pete Cashmore
Link:   http://mashable.com/2006/12/30/saddams-execution…

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Looking at Fiji and Vienna (Jameskyton/unnecessary)

Looking at Fiji and Vienna  —  Windows Vista has been released for a month now to business, and is going to be released to the general public in a month (January 30).  For those who haven't been following Vista's development, it is worh noting that even though Vista comes 5 years after XP, it is a rushed product.

Source:   unnecessary
Author:   Jameskyton
Link:   http://jameskyton.wordpress.com/2006/12/29/beyond…

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A year in Google blogging (Karen Wickre/Official Google Blog)

A year in Google blogging  —  The definition of "googol" is a number, and Google lives by numbers.  So how else should we look back over the year but with numerical bits?  Here goes: This post marks the 294th time this year you're reading a post from us — nearly 100 times more often than in 2005.

Source:   Official Google Blog
Author:   Karen Wickre
Link:   http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/12/year-in-google…

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DonationCoder's Best of the Web 2006

DonationCoder

The folks over at DonationCoder have rounded up their top picks for 2006 in a very extensive list of 9 different categories: software, web sites, essays and debates, flash games, humor, gadgets, DonationCoder roundups, programmer stuff, and entrepreneur writing. There are definitely some good picks in there (DownloadSquad and SlashFood made their best web sites list, woot!), and some quirky ones ("Tonight show phony photo booth"), but for the most part they've done a good job covering 2006 from a geek's perspective. I still stand by my claim that "Invisible Bike" takes the cake for the best photo caption of 200 6 though, and I'm glad to see that they agree.

What, fair readers, are some of your memorable web moments of '06?

Net neutrality lives, for now

Save The InternetAT&T's acquisition of BellSouth was approved by the FCC, after stating that they would preserve net neutrality for 30 months on its broadband service. AT&T at least appears to be playing nice here, though some say there is dangerous fine print to the deal. This is such a large and controversial issue, one that I will admit I don't know everything about, but this is a good thing, if the net is to remain free and accessible for everyone (as I understand it). Many news reports I have read say th at this will pave the way for congress to approve legislation to preserve net neutrality in the coming months. All we need is someone controlling access to the best thing to ever happen to this planet, a universally accessible network that everyone has access to, no matter their status.

SaveTheInternet.com has a way for anyone to sign a petition stating that net neutrality should be preserved, so check it out if you care about this issue. There is even a great video explaining the issue on the site. This chronic downloader doesn't want to pay anyone else to support my habit, I like my Internet just fine the way it is.

OS X-compatible Yahoo! Music video player released as beta

Yahoo! Music video player screencapYahoo!'s corporate blog, Yodel Anecdotal, announced the availability of a new Yahoo! Music video player. This is a beta release and they have put up a slick user feedback mechanism for you to use in telling them how to make it better and what features rock (pardon the pun).

From the well-prepared tutorial the new features are:

  • Video Lineup: control the videos you want to watch! Create a customized video lineup, arrange and reorganize videos, monitor upcoming selections, and create your own session playlist.
  • Easy video search: from within the video player, instantly find videos by searching for your favorite artists or video titles.
  • Browse by category: get customized recommendations based on your video ratings, or choose from recommendations by category-Top 100, exclusive Nissan Live Sets, videos you've recently watched, and more!
  • All new design: everything at your fingertips! Enhanced video player controls, simplified video search, and easier ways to browse content-all in one place, within one interface.
  • Mac Compatible: now available for Macintosh OS X.

Continue reading OS X-compatible Yahoo! Music video player released as beta

First Google phone actually Samsung phone (Tim Green/mobile-ent.biz)

First Google phone actually Samsung phone  —  It was touted as Google's first handset, but the Ultra Edition 13.8 is really just a Samsung slider with a bunch of Google apps pre-loaded.  —  Samsung's HSDPA device incorporates Google's mobile search and Gmail applications.

Source:   mobile-ent.biz
Author:   Tim Green
Link:   http://www.mobile-ent.biz/First-Google-phone-actually…

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RibbonCustomizer personalizes Office 2007's...um, Ribbon

Ribbon CustomizerOne of the complaints I hear a lot about Office 2007 is how inextensible the Ribbon is. The truth is that you can customize it, granted it takes a bit of knowledge and the right software tools to make changes to it. This involves a bit of programming in a language much like (and based on) XML called RibbonX. RibbonCustomizer aims to help you change it up without a lot of programming. There is a free starter version and a professional version for purchase ($29.99) that you can download. You'll get a 14 day free trial of the pro edition to see if it ruffles your feathers. The link provided has a feature comparison for both the free and paid ver sions if you want to know what the difference is between the two.

Rate your favorite soda (or pop) the web 2.0 way

Soda RatingsSodaRatings is a place to rate your favorite soda (or pop) in a social web 2.0 way. Their logo is even a bit web 2.0. There are all kinds of sodas, flavors, and the results of all the ratings are displayed for everyone to view. Sure, the idea is a fun one, not aimed at being productive, but it is a nice break from the work-a-day web and an interesting use of social voting to see what the most and best rated sodas actually are. If you have ever wondered about that, now you don't have to. This site, like your favorite soda, can be quite addicting.

Are you into Cola, Grape, Orange, Vanilla, Diet (yuck) or something else? Let the whole world know. SodaRatings has soda badges you can put on your blog, MySpace, or wherever else you want. Be loud, be p roud, and by all means, tell everyone about your fave soda (or pop).

Microsoft's blogger bribe blunder will be good for EFF

Acer LaptopMicrosoft wasn't the smartest in the way they handled the blogger laptop give-away, but the debacle will turn out good in one way. One blogger, Scott Beale, is choosing to auction off the laptop he received on eBay and give the proceeds to the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation). The auction will run through January 4th, when Scott will post the results on his blog, the Laughing Squid. If you can get over the ugliness of the Acer Ferrari-inspired laptop, then give it shot and bid on the thing. This just prove s bloggers are smart, resourceful, and thinkers, which I think is just plain touching...sniff.

RawSugar In DeadPool

RawSugar (the site is currently down), a company with offices in Israel and Silicon Valley, is closing shop (also reported by Steve Rubel and Rafael Sidi) and will enter the TechCrunch DeadPool. RawSugar can mosts easily be described as a del.icio.us competitor. This is a company we’ve been tracking since August 2005. This is also [...]

TxtMan brings SMS threading to Smartphones

TxtMan brings SMS threading to SmartphonesSmartphone users jealous of the slick SMS threading that Treos have can turn that frown upside down. TxtMan is a new donationware app that brings SMS threading to Windows Mobile 5.0 Smartphones. It's a pretty customizable app, offering a plethora of message layout options and your choice in ringtones and vibration alerts. It can also be set to run at your phone's startup to make sure it catches all of your SMS messages, but therein lies one catch: I may be new to the Smartphone platform, but I've seen some 3rd party apps such as Agenda One that seem to work in tandem with the phone's default PIM databases, whereas TxtMan needs to take ove r your SMS duties. You either send, receive and store SMSes in TxtMan, or you do it in WinMo5's default Messaging app - it's one or the other. The last catch I've found so far is that it requires Microsoft's bulky .Net Compact Framework 2.0, though that can be installed on an external storage card (it needs a surprising ~5MB of space) if you're limited on phone storage space.

Still, after tinkering for a bit, I think I'm sold, and I donated to Ben Hirashima, TxtMan's developer. I prefer the threaded SMS view, and TxtMan is pretty zippy on my Samsung BlackJack.

[via Smartphone Thoughts]

How the anti-copyright lobby makes big business richer (Sion Touhig/The Register)

How the anti-copyright lobby makes big business richer  —  Comment We're continually being told the Internet empowers the individual.  But speaking as an individual creative worker myself, I'd argue that all this Utopian revolution has achieved so far in my sector is to disempower individuals …

Source:   The Register
Author:   Sion Touhig
Link:   http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/12/29…

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Add search capabilities to Google Reader

google%20reader%20logo.jpg

Google news/tips blog Google Operating System shows you how to add search capabilities to Google Reader.

The process requires you to export your subscription list, create your own search engine with Google Co-Op, then import the sub list. Pretty clever workaround, though you'll have to repeat the export/import process if you add or remove a feed.

Year in Review: October 2006 at Lifehacker

oct2006.jpg

Adam in a Powerpuff Girls Halloween costume? Now that's scary. Fortunately, we rescued the rest of October with free fonts, free Pocket PC software and freedom from speeding tickets. Oh, and we hired some new guy, too.

Newcomer Rick gave Pocket PC owners something to crow about with 11 killer freebies.

The free stuff didn't stop there. We also served up the top 25 free fonts, the top 10 open-source apps, and the top Firefox 2.0 config tweaks (Firefox being one of our favorite freebies, of course).

And rounding out October, we offered tips on beating a speeding ticket and ripping a DVD with one click. Spook-tacular!

Download of the Day: Dexpot (Windows)

dexpot.png

Windows only: Freeware virtual desktop manager Dexpot provides you with several ways to manage and organize your Windows.

Aside from providing an Exposé-like feature for individual desktops, Dexpot also lets you preview all desktops in a similar fashion to Leopard's Spaces. Another cool feature is the Desktop Manager tool (you can see it in the corner of the screenshot), which dynamically changes icons to display the active program on each desktop. But Dexpot's cool features don't stop there.

Add to all of that mad configurability, like desktop rules for what programs get to live on which desktop, pre-defined transparency levels for certain apps/windows, and fully configurable hotkeys and screen edges, and Dexpot can give your favorite virtual desktop manager a run for it's money. Thanks Ralph and Tomasz!

GTD Moleskine, hacked

gtd%20moleskine%20hack.png

Student and blogger Eston Bond describes in detail his methods for Getting Things Done with a Moleskine.

Intrigued by the cult of GTD, Eston tried many forms of GTD with little success. That's when he decided to tweak GTD to his needs, the results of which he's documented in detail. We've got a new year ahead of us, and if you've tried GTD before with no success - but you really want to get organized for '07 - you might want to check out Eston's method to see if it sticks.

Year in Review: November 2006 at Lifehacker

jul2006.jpg

This November, we gave thanks for DIY ingenuity - from ringtones and optical illusions to a little text-on-desktop action and one-click DVD rips. Here's a quick glance at what you clicked on this November 2006.

Gina put an end to pricey ringtones, teaching us how to make a ringtone for free from any MP3. Since she was in the giving mood, she also helped us incorporate text files onto our desktops.

Sick and tired of scratched DVDs hampering his movie-viewing pleasure, Adam detailed his one-click DVD rip solution. While we're on the subject of viewing pleasure, you might want to create your own optical illusion.

Also good in November: 10 non-Google map innovations and 8 killer Windows Media Center plug-ins.

Love and Money: Thanks to this week's sponsors

A raise of the champagne flute to this week's sponsors for keeping our power on for a whole year: American Express, AOL Music, Casio, Don Julio, Fox Soccer Channel, Genji, HD-DVD, Intel, LG VX8600, Logitech, Mastercard, Nokia, Playstation, and Sprint. Wanna join the ranks of these fine sponsors? Advertise on Lifehacker.

Pimp your Safari

pimp%20safari.png

Web site Pimp My Safari collects must-have plug-ins for the Mac OS X-only browser, Safari.

We skew heavily Firefox here at Lifehacker (because, frankly, we think it's the best), which means that those of you who prefer Safari are sometimes left in the cold. Yes, we'll always post Safari tips we think are really good, but Safari still doesn't get the coverage of Firefox. So, if you're still looking for ways to improve Safari, you may want to give Pimp My Safari a look.

Year in Review: December 2006 at Lifehacker

dec2006.jpg

This holiday season, enjoy the gift of... more life hacks! We took a look back at the best apps of 2006, subverted nature by running Windows and Mac apps side-by-side, and chilled our soda quick-like. Take a minute to check out the cheese that attracted your mouses this December 2006.

Gina rounded out the year by highlighting the best apps of 2006. Included on the list was Parallels, which Adam dove into earlier that week, detailing how to run Windows and Mac apps side-by-side with Parallels.

Beverages got a lot of click-love this month, as we taught you how to take a beverage from warm to chilled in 2 minutes.

Gina headed north to the land of Redmond for a Q&A with Microsoft about the upcoming Windows Vista. For those of you looking to do a little hard drive housekeeping (making room for Vista, perhaps?), she also detailed a simple way to visualize your hard drive usage.

Rounding out December, there's still a lot of love for DIY router upgrades and one-click DVD rips.

Daily news roundup

MacGyver Tip: Use a 9-volt battery as emergency AAAs

9-volt%20AAAs.jpg

Need some triple-A batteries but have only a 9-volt on hand? Axe Collector shows you how to turn the latter into the former.

Armed with a pair of needlenose pliers, you peel open the 9-volt's metal casing. Inside you'll find half a dozen 1.5-volt batteries. Separate the cells and you should be able to use them in place of AAAs (or AAAAs, which is what these things actually are).

Although this goes against everything I've ever heard about batteries (they'll spray you with deadly acid if you so much as look at them wrong!), the photos don't lie. This could come in really handy if you're in a pinch for AAAs.

Unlimited online file storage

divshare.jpg

Joining the ranks of services like DropBoks and Localhostr, divShare offers unlimited online file storage and sharing. Sister-site Gizmodo says it best:

You might have heard of the divShare file sharing site, but would someone please explain to us how on earth a company like this can stay in business? You can upload unlimited files of any type, the files will stay there forever, and the company will serve unlimited downloads, too. There are no ads, no pop-ups, no spam, and it lets you create your own galleries if you're uploading pictures.

Yeah, how do these guys stay in business? Who knows, but divShare definitely comes in handy when you need to move or share large files. Just be careful about uploading sensitive and/or irreplaceable data, as you never know when the latest web bubble will burst.

Lifehacker the book table of contents

Lifehacker book cover

Over the past weeks we've been previewing our new book, Lifehacker: 88 Tech Tricks to Turbocharge Your Day chapter by chapter.

Since Lifehacker truly is an "open source book," all of its contents appear here on the web site in one form or another. While nothing beats holding the book in your hand, check out what you'll be getting before you buy.

After the jump, get the full table of contents with all 88 hacks linked for your convenience. Bonus: the book's full index is also available for download.

My publisher also made the book's 30-page (!) index available as a PDF download. Grab it here for a look at the nitty-gritty inside its pages.

Plan a get together with Renkoo

renkoo.png

Web site Renkoo helps you plan meet ups with your friends.

You can think of it as sort of an Evite alternative with a lot of impressive, potentially useful features. For example, if you know who you want to hang out with but don't really have an idea what you want to do, that's okay - you can send out invites and collaborate over the when and where with your friends later. If you've never been a fan of Evite's somewhat kludgy interface, Renkoo is definitely worth a look.

Ask the Readers: Say yes to mess?

mess.png

The NYT ran a piece last week on the virtues of messiness, claiming that "messy desks are the vivid signatures of people with creative, limber minds." The article even states that "the most valuable dividend of living with mess may be time." Here at Lifehacker, we'd argue that anyone really organized knows that your system is broken if it takes that much time at all.

Since a lot of Lifehacker readers are big into the cult of Getting Things Done, and even those who aren't pride themselves on their organization skills, I'm curious to hear what you all have to say about this. Give us your thoughts - for and against mess - in the comments.

Download of the Day: reSizer (Windows)

resizer.png

Windows only: Freeware system tray utility reSizer provides keyboard shortcuts to help you resize and organize your open windows from the comfort of your keyboard.

Using your Windows key in conjunction with other keys, you can change your window's location, size, and transparency (seems like every system tray app throws in transparency these days), among a few other features. I've been using GridMove ever since we posted it in September for quick and easy window sizing, but if you're looking for a different flavor with a few more features, reSizer may be worth checking out.

Schwag Watch: December '06

It's full disclosure time! In the interest of fairness, honesty and transparency (even here in the wild blogospheric West), once a month we list any freebies companies give us in hopes we'll review their stuff. Sometimes we review it, sometimes we don't, but either way you know who's slippin' us giveaways in our monthly Schwag Watch. December's schwag disclosure is available for your perusal after the jump.

  • Gina: Microsoft hosted me at their 2 day Vista Labs event in Seattle and covered my travel, hotel, food and other transportation. They also gave me a Zune, a USB thumb drive, a $50 gift certificate to the company store, a secret tour of their "Home of the Future" exhibit on campus (which I signed an NDA about, and therefore couldn't write up), a bottle of wine and a few other snacks. Even though they stuffed me with truffles and showered me with gifts, I tried my best to be objective in my writeup, here: Q&A with Microsoft about Windows Vista.
    Also, Sprint's Ambassador program (which involves a free phone with service and unlimited data) is still providing my internet access on the road since I use the phone as a modem.
  • Adam: Photojojo gave us a free set of their photo blocks so we could test drive 'em as a prize in our DIY Holiday contest.
  • The folks over at previously-mentioned TimeSnapper gave all of us 2 free licenses for TimeSnapper Professional.

Lifehacker Zeitgeist, Part II: Most commented posts and frequently-used tags

Lifehacker Zeitgeist

Last week's "Lifehacker Zeitgeist" listed the most trafficked posts on Lifehacker in 2006. Thanks to some helpful data-crunching elves, we got our number-obsessed little paws on a few other interesting site metrics from 2006: namely, the top 10 posts with the most comments and the top 10 tags with the most posts.

Without further adieu:

Top 10 posts with the most reader comments

Warning: some of these pages are mighty lengthy because of the amount of comments, so they may load a bit more slowly than usual.

Most frequently-used tags in 2006

Phew! It's been a busy year! Thoughts on what you'd like to see less or more of in 2007? Let us know in the comments.

Calling all phones: Test out the new Lifehacker Mobile!

The Lifehacker tech team tells me we're rolling out a mobile version of Lifehacker.com - but we need your help. We've tested it on the Blackberry, Sidekick and Windows Mobile, but surely we've missed a few dozen other handhelds. So if you regularly browse on your phone or PDA, hit up lifehacker.com and let us know how it goes in the comments (along with your phone model, operating system and browser details.) Thanks in advance for helping us iron out the details!

TGIF: This week's best posts

Subscribe to the Highlights feed for a once-weekly listing of Lifehacker's best posts. This (slow holiday) week's highlights include:

  • Ask the Readers: E-mail for kids?
    "What do you think about children having their own e-mail accounts? How can I monitor them?"
  • Download of the Day: Dexpot (Windows)
    "Aside from providing an Exposé-like feature for individual desktops, Dexpot also lets you preview all desktops in a similar fashion to Leopard's Spaces."
  • How to run 50 marathons in 50 days
    "Super-runner Dean Karnazes - who recently ran 50 marathons in 50 days - gives Wired magazine a list of strategies he's used to train and push himself on his long distance running feats."
  • Download of the Day: Hazel (Mac)
    "...automatically delete any files more than a week old in your Downloads folder, clear documents you haven't touched in a month off your Desktop or automatically add MP3's to an iTunes playlist."

Reader Poll: What's your top resolution for 2007?

Ah January 1st: a day of champagne hangovers and new commitments to ourselves to improve our lives in the New Year. There's just something about those two 1's that give us that feeling of a fresh start and a chance to make life better than it was last year. Tell us how you resolution-makers plan to do it.

Gawker Media polls require Javascript; if you're viewing this in an RSS reader, click through to view in your Javascript-enabled web browser.

If yours wasn't on this list, do share your top priority resolution. You anti-New Year's resolutions? Tell us why. And if you've got yourself a resolution-keeping strategy, help out the rest of us schlubs with some tips. The comment box awaits.

Typo takes tourist 13,000 km out (Reuters)

Typo takes tourist 13,000 km out … BERLIN, Germany (Reuters) — A 21-year-old German tourist who wanted to visit his girlfriend in the Australian metropolis Sydney landed 13,000 kilometers (8,077 miles) away near Sidney, Montana, after mistyping his destination on a flight booking Web site.

Source:   Reuters
Link:   http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/europe/12/29/germany…

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Wild Predictions for a Wired 2007 (Wired News)

Wild Predictions for a Wired 2007  —  Here are some predictions for 2007:  — Google Stock Hits $1,000 per Share  — Internet Traffic Doubles ... to 5,000 petabits per day by the end of 2007.  And 80 percent of it is peer-to-peer file sharing, mostly Skype video and BitTorrent.

Source:   Wired News
Link:   http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,72370-0.html

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AT&T Yields to Neutrality, Paves Path to Congress (Tkarr/Save the Internet Blog)

AT&T Yields to Neutrality, Paves Path to Congress  —  In a striking victory for Internet freedom advocates, AT&T officials agreed on Thursday night to adhere to strict Network Neutrality conditions if allowed to complete their $85 billion merger with BellSouth which was approved today.

Source:   Save the Internet Blog
Author:   Tkarr
Link:   http://www.savetheinternet.com/blog/2006/12/28/att…

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Details on Asset Server Issue (Pathfinder Linden/Official Linden Blog)

Details on Asset Server Issue  —  Thursday morning, Linden Lab operations did short-notice maintenance on the cluster of machines that we refer to as the "asset server."  During this downtime, we replaced a bad battery in one of the nodes in the cluster.  To do this, we removed the node …

Source:   Official Linden Blog
Author:   Pathfinder Linden
Link:   http://blog.secondlife.com/2006/12/29/details-on…

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My thoughts on recent Google tips (Matt Cutts/Gadgets, Google, and SEO)

My thoughts on recent Google tips  —  I wanted to talk about Blake Ross' post entitled "Trust is hard to gain, easy to lose".  I agree with much of what he says.  There's a continuum to showing tips.  Toward the "hawk" side of the spectrum is the notion that a company can show whatever reasonable content …

Source:   Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO
Author:   Matt Cutts
Link:   http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/my-thoughts-on-recent…

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Apple Panel on Options Backs Chief (New York Times)

Apple Panel on Options Backs Chief  —  Apple Computer said Friday that a special committee of its board had found that its chief executive, Steven P. Jobs, was not responsible for improper dating of stock options at the company.  To account for the backdating, Apple restated its financial reporting …

Source:   New York Times
Link:   http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/30/business/30apple…

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Google's Tipping Point (Michael Arrington/TechCrunch)

Google's Tipping Point  —  Taken in a vacuum, a fairly trivial thing happened a few days ago.  The co-founder of Firefox, Blake Ross, wrote a post criticizing Google called "Tip: Trust is hard to gain, easy to lose".  He takes issue with a new Google search feature that promotes certain …

Source:   TechCrunch
Author:   Michael Arrington
Link:   http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/12/30/googles-tipping…

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AT& T Completes BellSouth Takeover (Washington Post)

AT& T Completes BellSouth Takeover  —  The Federal Communications Commission yesterday overcame a seven-month deadlock and approved AT&T's $85 billion purchase of BellSouth, creating a new corporate giant that will stand astride the telecommunications industry like none other in the generation since …

Source:   Washington Post
Link:   http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article…

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ROM update for Dell Axim X50 running Windows Mobile 5.0

Axim X50vWow, just the other day I got fed up with problems I've been having with the headphone jack on my Dell Axim X50v and since it's still under warranty, I'll be swapping it out for an X51v.

When I bought my PDA over a year ago, it ran Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition. I payed for a CD that was to be released soon that would let me upgrade to Windows Mobile 5.0. But when those CDs started shipping hundreds of complaints rolled in from X50v users, stating that sometimes their memory cards wouldn't be recognized and that their PDAs were running much slower.

I decided to hold off on upgrading until a fix was issued. And I waited for about a year, until I decided that the headphone jack was broken and so I could get the newer X51v which runs Win dows Mobile 5.0 and doesn't have most of the problems associated with the upgraded X50v.

And lo and behold, today Dell goes and issues an update for X50 users running Windows Mobile 5.0. The update allegedly features the following improvements:

  1. OS 5.1.195(Build 14957.2.3.1)
  2. Wireless roaming enhancement
  3. Improve CF memory card sometimes disappear
  4. CF modem driver improvement
  5. Microphone recording enhancement
  6. ActiveSync connection improvement.
Maybe I'll install it for fun in the few days I have left with my Axim X50v. Keep in mind, in order to apply this update, you need to have a Dell Axim X50 or X50v PDA that has already been upgraded to Windows Mobile 5.0.

PayPerformancing, the acquisition

PayPerFormancingThe first thing I thought when I read that PayPerPost would acquire Performancing was "oh great." I am not a huge fan of PayPerPost and their less than ethical way of doing business. I wasn't happy about hearing that PayPerPost will acquire Performancing. You know, the site that is all about helping bloggers succeed? You'll be happy to know that despite this acquisition going down, the Performancing blog editor Firefox plugin many of us wear out daily, will be spun off into a new brand so that it isn't sullied by the likes of PayPerPost. Y ay for democracy, or some kind of illogical sense on someone's part. I am sad now, I liked Performancing, the company and the plugin just the way it was. That's life though, right? To PayPerPost, I still am not a fan, but congrats on the nice acquisition of a great blogging company, please don't screw with it too much, m-kay?

[Via TechCrunch]

Flatland - Today's Time Waster

FlatlandRemember that mind-blowing book you were so excited about in middle school, Edwin Abbot Abbot's Flatland? Yeah, Flatland (the game) has nothing to do with it, apart from its 2D format and preponderance of geometric figures. But don't hold that against it--is's really pretty fun. At the surface it's a pretty standard top-down space shooter, but of course there's a twist: Ever time you kill one of your vectory opponents, it explodes into a burst of colorful squares, and if you collect them they are added to your ship. The more you collect, the bigger and more powerful your ship gets. When an enemy runs into you or hits you with a projec tile, however, you lose blocks, and if you lose all of your blogs, it's game over. The game is fun and gets pretty frantic in later levels, and is surprisingly addictive.

[Via Jay is Games]

Next Year in Review: 2007 Predictions

Crystal BallI'm not much for my prognostication myself--which is to say that I'm terribly bad at it--but it seems like everyone else in the tech industry can't get enough of it. The LA Times has predictions from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, paidContent's Rafat Ali, Wired editor Chris Anderson, and other industry notables. Ali predicts that talents bred on the internet will start breaking out, getting their break on YouTube and making it in the mainstream. Anderson says, "2007 is the year that somebody figures out how to make video advertising work in a YouTube world. And if I'm right, the TV industry is going to get very rocky, very fast." And Ballmer? He says "2007 will be the year that unified communications techn ology helped us regain control of our information and our lives." Uh, Steve.. we might've stayed in control all along if it weren't for Microsoft's marriage to the movie and music industries.
Web 2.0 blog Mashable has its own list of 2007 predictions, which includes the explosion of online contests, widgets hitting it big (but RSS staying on the back burner), and the triumph of YouTube over MySpace, among others. And the Washington Post's Brian Krebs makes predictions regarding cybersecurity in 2007 which paints an unpretty picture of scammers and malware. Finally, Searchblog writer and FM Publishing chair John Battelle hasn't made his predictions for 2007 yet, but he has done a retrospective of his 2006 list. The verdict? Not too shabby.

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MP3tunes gives away unlimited music storage

MP3tunesMP3tunes is now offering free unlimited storage and music streaming for all your tunes. The site previously gave away 1GB of storage to sync your music, and even "sideload" any tunes you find on the web with Firefox and IE plugins to save the tunes you find to your locker. Now you get unlimited space to upload, store, sync, and enjoy all your music from any computer anywhere. Their uploader seems to upload fairly well, and doesn't take much babysitting to get it to work either. The audio quality is worthy of listening, it is seriously not bad. I am somewhat of an audiophile, and this service is really rocking for me right now. If you have a lot of music, it can take a while to upload your tracks (so leave it uploading overnight at least), but man, it is worth it, to be able to listen to your music anywhere you want. The service boasts the ability to stream to mobile devices, but sadly I haven't tried that feature yet. If you have the opportunity, try it out and let me know what you think of it. You can even sync album art. Wicked. My ear drums are going to need a vacation after this.

UPDATE: If you sign up and don't see your account go to unlimited right away, you will still have 1GB, and will be put on the list for an unlimited account. The service is great, either way, but apparently, it isn't fully rolled out to all users yet. I had a free OBOE account previously, so I guess they allowed me to upgrade sooner than new sign-ups. My bad. Thanks Taylor for pointing this out.

Googleholic for December 29th 2006

googleholic
In this issue of Googleholic we cover:

  • Google's risks for 2007
  • Wikipedia's search dreams
  • Google is the second most visited site online
  • Google's quality scores
  • Dismissal in Google AdSense and AutoLink Toolbar lawsuits
  • Mobile search in China
  • More Google Newspaper ads
  • Google invests in Shanghai based video site
  • No more German Google killer
Continue reading Friday's Googleholic...

Continue reading Googleholic for December 29th 2006

Microsoft's HD video clip library

Microsoft HD clips
Microsoft has a collection of HD video clips, many in both 720p and 1080p to showcase their WMV 9 format and why it is better. I know what you're thinking, "Microsoft does HD?" I can hear the jokes now. Anyway, there are several clips for you to download to play on your PC, if you feel so inclined. Most are hefty downloads, which of course makes me smile. These clips also serve an audio purpose, and because they are HD video, the audio is also very good, so they make a great way to test out that new surround sound system you just got for your PC as well. Either way, if you are looking for a conversation starter for New Year's or just something to wow the kids, this might be a fun idea to try. There's a good chance these videos are something they haven't seen. You'll also need to crack out that new computer you just got too, cause these videos require a bit of muscle to run the videos, but wait, what am I saying, your machine is probably armed to the hilt with HD-everything and like 18GB of RAM right? Oh well.

Script.aculo.us: How to easily AJAX your site

script.aculo.usScript.aculo.us is an amazing framework for enriching your website's user experience very easily. Built on top of the very popular prototype javascript framework, scriptaculous makes AJAX cake, and gives everyone the power to have a sexy AJAX-powered website, yes everyone. Scriptaculous is a tiny (140kb) javascript framework that gives you the power of effects, several dynamic data components, and all you need to know is a little bit about HTML and how to read. If you already have your own website, it is not hard to do. Follow these steps to AJAX up your site in no time:

  1. Download script.aculo.us. Click on any of these links to begin downloading the zip, tar.gz, or tar.bz2 version.

  2. Unzip the archive somewhere, preferably somewhere you will find it again. This is key.

  3. Upload the whole thing to your web server, and put it where ever you like, again, it should be somewhere you can find it. Once again, finding it is key. You will need to link to these files from your web page, so putting the files in a sub folder of your home directory (root for you unix junkies) is a good idea.

  4. In the header section of your web pages, you need to put this code:
    <script src="ajax/prototype.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
    <script src="ajax/scriptaculous.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
    As you might notice, the code has to point to your uploaded script.aculo.us files. You would replace the "ajax/" portion with your own path depending on the name of your subfolder.

  5. Next, put the one line of code into your pages or posts where ever you want the effect to take place. Let's say you have a content div element you want to have all the sudden appear in the page, all you do is wire the "SlideDown" effect (one of many in script.aculo.us, download the cheat sheet here) to a button, link, or other clickable element on your page. The code to trigger the SlideDown effect from a link looks like this:

    <a href="#" onclick="Effect.SlideDown('content');">SlideDown Now!</a>

    Why use an <a> tag? First, it is super simple to code (everyone knows it), and second, users think it is an ordinary link. They will be quite surprised when they find out it isn't normal at all. I call this "hacking old-skool users into using web 2.0 unknowingly" (or something like that).

  6. Anyway...be sure your div tag has the id="content" because that is the name of the element the SlideDown effect will be applied to once you click the "link" we just made. Make sense? Good. NOTE: Something to remember is that your DIV will be shown on the page automatically by default, unless you first hide it, so the visual magic of an effect such as SlideDown can really be displayed. To "hide" our div by default so your content won't appear until you click the link we just made, you will need to add an inline CSS style (or add one in your CSS file, if you have one) so the content div ends up looking like this:
    <div id="content" style="display: none;">This is the content.</div>
    You'll notice (I hope) that the underlined code is the part that hides this div by default. When the SlideDown effect is triggered by clicking on the <a> link, it will automatically change the div's display property, so don't worry about having to do that.
  7. Try it out, and have fun! It should slide down your content, which can be anything you put in that div tag, video, audio, pictures, more javascript, an iframe, whatever, use your imagination. There are tons of different effects you can use, so you should check them out at script.aculo.us's website, since they have great demos and even combination demos for different sets of effects.

    Since the script.aculo.us wiki is large and contains a lot of information to consume all at once, I have compiled a basic script.aculo.us effects cheat sheet of sorts for your quick and dirty coding enjoyment. You can download my PDF cheat sheet here.
Have fun AJAXing your site, and once you're done, come back and give us a link to your site so we can see what you've done with the place. I'd love to check out your site with the framework in action. It can do some wicked cool stuff. You can build entire sites out of script.aculo.us including AJAX drop-downs, AJAX page loading, and custom stuff. Let me know how your site turns out with it.

NOTE (to lightbox and TinyMCE users): There are some special instructions on integrating script.aculo.us with both of these other frameworks, since they all use Prototype to some extent. You can find TinyMCE help here (script.aculo.us wiki) and most lightbox frameworks list this info on their support page or forums section of the site. Have fun!

Path Finder 4.6.1 - The swiss-army knife of file browsers for Mac OS X

Path FinderPath Finder is the uber-replacement for the Mac OS X Finder which has many features (and forethought) that the stock Finder could use. Even after its shiny metal facelift in Mac OS X 10.3, the Finder has felt very little in the way of new features or changes as of late, much like a cute puppy whose name you can't remember. My favorite features of Path Finder are its tabs, the drop stack, the integrated Terminal panel and the wicked Select tool. It can feel a bit foreign to switch from the Finder to something new, but if you are determined I bet you can make it through the 21-day free trial without much trouble. As Merlin Mann shows, you can either have as much "frippery" enabled as you want, or you can play it simple and straightforward.

With WWDC just around the corner and Mac OS X Leopard details gently leaking around the Web, what do you Download Squad readers think would be a good addition to the Mac OS X Finder? What features, no matter how crazy you think they are, do you think would be a valuable addition? Or should it stay simple and sweet, leaving the talented third parties to take it to the next step?

[Via 43 Folders]

42 Games - Today's Time Waster

42 GamesLike the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? Enjoy microgames like WarioWare? Then do read on. 42 Games is a fun collection of Flash microgames produced as part of the London Science Museum's Hitchhiker's exhibition. The games are a whimsical mix of trivia questions (which will be a breeze for Hitchhiker's fans) and arcade challenges that range from helping Marvin dodge falling pieces of cheese to bulldozing Arthur's house, all of which last only five seconds. The goal of the game (I think) is to beat 42 consecutive microgames, though I'm not sure since I've only been able to get 39 so far. For its simplicity and whimsy, 42 Games is a great l unchtime time waster that's fun to play again and again.

vLite - nLite for Windows Vista

vLiteNot familiar with nLite? Well, let me enlighten you. nLite is a great free utility for Windows that lets you configure a Windows installation to your liking before you install it. Its main use is to remove features you don't need to save disk space and improve performance, but it can also be used to add features and even entire third-party programs and create an unattended install CD. If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend you check it out the next time you need to install Windows.

Of course, with the imminent release of Windows Vista, intrepid programmers have created vLite, a version of nLite for Windows Vista. It works just like the original nLite, though it's been prettied up a bit for the Vista scene. vLite is in beta, naturally, so you probably won't find it as rock-solid as its progenitor, but it's bound to be just as useful.

What's a troll to do now? Yahoo! News Message Boards taken offline

Yahoo! NewsOne aspect of the Yahoo! experience that always left me shaking my head is the News Message Boards. Easily accessible from a "Discuss" link at the bottom of news stories, it was the stomping grounds of trolls and other hate mongers with little to no social value, unless of course you are a troll.

But now I say, "Hallelujah!" Break out the bubbly and do a little jig on the table because the powers that be at Yahoo! News have shut down the News Message Boards. The "Discuss" link has been replaced with a link labeled, "What happened to the "Discuss" option?" The message at the other end of th at link takes you to a short explanation of how the boards were dominated by a few, links were difficult to embed and something bigger and better is soon to replace the old board system: "Over the next few months, we plan to offer new discussion forums based on topics in the news and incorporating the latest features to foster a better discussion for all of our readers."

Will it be an implementation of the new Yahoo! Message Board system or something digg/Netscape-like? Will it combine Yahoo! 360 blogging platform to be more like Newsvine? We'll have to wait and see.

Free Flash charts with amCharts and PHP/SWF Charts

amChartsOh, how I love free things. Especially free pretty things. And I'm the kind of person who things Flash charts and graphs are pretty, so I present amCharts and PHP/SWF Charts. amCharts is a relative newcomer that creates attractive Flash pie and donut charts based on data you put in a text file in either XML or CSV formats (which makes exporting from Excel easy). It's very configurable, allowing you to specify colors, border, tilt (for a 3D effect), labels, fonts, backgrounds, and so on. amCharts' creators promise bar, column, and line charts this spring.

PHP/SWF Charts is sort of amCharts' big brother. It's been around awhile longer and features more than a dozen different chart types and nearly unli mited configurability. As the name implies, PHP/SWF Charts uses PHP to load data from dynamic sources, but it's not required--there's XML/SWF Charts that will load data from a regular XML file. With its advanced features comes more complexity, of course, and the learning curve is probably greater, but if you need, say, a stacked 3D column chart, it's the way to go.

As I mentioned, both charting tools are free, but not totally free. The free version of amCharts will put a small link to amCharts.com in the corner of your charts, and PHP/SWF Charts will direct users to its web site if they click on it. For a single-site license amCharts will cost you 45 Euros (about US$60) and PHP/SWF charts will cost you US$45. "Enterprise" licenses for unlimited sites cost 245 Euros (~US$322) or $550 respectively.

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The Biggest Web Trend of 2007 Will Be...

Last week we published a list of web technology predictions for 2007, along with a poll asking which trend you think will be *the* biggest of 2007. Social networks dominated the Web scene in 2006, so what will be the equivalent in 2007?

We've had 1,235 votes so far (but we'll leave the poll open until 31 December). Here, in order of popularity, are the results at this stage:

1. Online Video / Internet TV 27% (337 votes)

2. Continued rise of browser-based apps (Ajax, Google, etc) 22% (275 votes)

3. Mobile Web 15% (185 votes)

4. RSS and structured data 12% (153 votes)

5. Rich Internet Apps (Apollo, WPF, etc) 9% (116 votes)

6. Web Office / Enterprise web apps 6% (77 votes)

7. Semantic Web 6% (75 votes)

8. Other (please comment) 1% (17 votes)

Given the impact YouTube had on 2006, it is not that surprising that Online Video / Internet TV is considered most likely to be the biggest Web trend of 2007. Google of course has prime position in this space now, after snapping up YouTube near the end of 2006. Perhaps of most interest is what the big media, TV and movie companies do next year - so far it's been a series of tentative deals between YouTube and big media, but 2007 may be the year that big media build (or buy) their own online video solutions. Watch this space...

I was a little surprised that browser-based apps got 22% of the vote, compared to just 9% for RIA. This may reflect the fact that Read/WriteWeb has historically been a proponent of browser-based apps. But during 2006 we started to cover the RIA terrain more - and you can expect that coverage to continue in 2007. Maybe it's not a black and white thing, but both browser-based and RIA apps will continue to evolve at the speed of light next year. Indeed they will probably begin to hybridize, as the world of multiple Internet-connected devices continues apace.

Mobile Web has been predicted for many years - and R/WW readers don't seem overly optimistic about 2007 being the year. 2008 anyone?

Some good support for RSS and structured data doing well in '07, while Web Office and Semantic Web drew some votes. I expected more enthusiasm for Semantic Web, but perhaps it's still too amorphous a concept for most people at this point.

As for my pick for biggest Web trend in 2007, I agree with the majority that next year will be remembered mostly for Online Video. I'm expecting fireworks from big Internet companies (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo), big media (News Corp, the US tv networks, Hollywood, etc), as well as small brave startups like Brightcove and Gotuit.

For a slightly left field trend, in 2007 I'm hoping for improvements in the technology behind browser-based apps. Ajax is still too unreliable and prone to downtime or slow browsing - and I'm not just saying that because I'm stuck on dial-up during the holiday period (although it has rendered Gmail non-functional for me!). I just think that Ajax needs a '2.0' of its own, to make it more competitive with the impressive range of RIA technologies we're seeing now (Adobe's Apollo, Microsoft's WPF, OpenLaszlo). Small companies like Morfik are working on enhanced browser-based functionality, so R/WW will begin to investigate that more in the new year - suggestions on other companies doing things to improve Ajax, are most welcome in the comments.

Happy New Year everyone - R/WW has been lightly posting this week, but we'll be back into it after the new year celebrations.

Gmail Disaster: Reports Of Mass Email Deletions

Just a week after I wrote “Uh Oh, Gmail Just Got Perfect” a number of users started complaining that all of their Gmail emails and contacts were auto deleted. The first message, posted on the Google Groups forum on December 19, stated “Found my account clean..nothing in Inbox, contacts ,sent mail..How can all these information [...]

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