Time goes by

August 24th, 2015

Upon the news that Rutgers University is spending millions on cyber security.

I’ll just sit here on my (virtual) rocking chair and muse about the fact that about 20 years ago, abuse of the the Unix ‘wall’ command caused minor havoc on eden.rutgers.edu, especially during heavy use in the evening.

And yes, the ability to use ‘wall’ was quickly removed by the admins.

Carry on.

Chrome Error Message

June 18th, 2015

Below is a screenshot of the error message Chrome provides when a Web site refuses to load because there is no needed redirect from the non-www to the needed www version.

A) Why doesn’t Chrome automatically try to redirect like modern Firefox does?

B) Not like anyone but a Web developer would even recognize what DNS_PROBE_FINISHED_NXDOMAIN even means.

C) Yeah, I know the fault is technically on the Webmaster’s side on this one, but still, a browser should try to correct.

Chrome Error Message

iOS Sharing without an App

February 15th, 2015

Not too long ago, a few of us on Twitter mused about getting rid of certain social media apps on our phones. They’re a distraction or they promote unhealthy habits.

One Twitter user mused about the effects of losing such apps. What about pictures on your phone.

As it turns out, iOS 8 has an unintended feature with the new Share Sheets sharing extensions. Here’s an article about how Share Sheets work. An unintended side effect is that once an app is installed and customizes the Share Sheet, you can delete the app and the sharing function still works. (At least for Facebook.)

Here’s how a Facebook-less iOS install “shares” to an app.

1) First, select a picture from your photo roll.
A picture on my photo roll, yet it is black.

2) Then, choose the picture by selecting the checkmark at the lower right hand corner.
Selecting a photo to share in iOS 8

3) Finally, in the Share Sheet, select the app you want to send the picture to.
Select the app where you want to share your image

4) Done.

tl;dr If there is an app icon in the iOS Share Sheet, you can share an image to that app even if the app is not currently installed on your phone.

Google + LinkedIn = Sales Intelligence

February 3rd, 2015

One of my favorite sales operations hacks is using Google as a search engine for LinkedIn. There’s a few good use cases for this type of profile search, including prospect or competitive business research or even social media verification — especially if the searcher typically allows their name and headline to be seen in the “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile” section.

For this exercise, it is best to use a browser where you are *not* logged into LinkedIn.

The basic LinkedIn query I use on Google is: “First Name” Linkedin.com City

For a deeper search, you can also use full or partial secondary keywords such as “Last Name”, “Title”, “Company”, “School”, “Company Description or Industry”. (The more information you know about a person, the easier it is to find their public LinkedIn profile.) Example queries:

“David” LinkedIn.com “Chicago”

“Joy” LinkedIn.com “Philadelphia” Internet

“Obama” LinkedIn.com “Washington” Government

As you know, quotation marks are important in Google searches as you’re searching on a particular word or phrase.

Bonus Tip: If you’re going to share a profile URL with others, the best bet is to share the public URL in the Google result. (See highlighted example below.)

Google Search Snippet for LinkedIn Public Profile

Why share the public profile URL? Because LinkedIn personalizes the experience for each user - not only via purchased service tiers but also by the relationship (or degrees of relationship) you have with someone. Therefore, if you share a URL from within the service, your end user may (or may not) be able to see the profile.

Do you have any good LinkedIn search hacks to share?

Quick Image Creation Hack On A Mac

January 31st, 2015

It’s a cold Saturday morning, and my friend, noted author, volunteer firefighter and techno aesthete John Sundman posted the following Twitter query.

Ah ha! A question with an answer I stumbled on a few days ago.

To make a quick image, like a banner, out of similarly sized images on a recent Mac, here’s a quick hack.

1) Determine the size of your image. For the purposes of this exercise, let’s use 600 x 200px.

2) Open up a blank page in whatever easy text editing program you prefer. Myself, I prefer Taco HTML Edit.
Empty Taco HTML Edtor Window

3) In the text editing program, take a screenshot (CMD + SHIFT + 4) of an image in a size roughly approximate to your desired image size.

4) Rename the blank screenshot to something easy to remember. Perhaps, mybanner.png.
Renaming To My Banner

5) Open the blank screenshot (mybanner.png) in Preview.app.

6) Resize the blank screenshot to your desired image size (Tools > Adjust Size), in this case 600 x 200px. Save your resized image.
Resizing the Banner in Preview.app

7) Open the other images you wish to work with in Preview.app, edit them as desired, and Copy + Paste the images into your blank screenshot (mybanner.png).

8) Continue editing and don’t forget to save your work!

Healthcare.gov 3rd Party URL Referrer Real Talk

January 21st, 2015

So yesterday, just before the State of the Union speech, a poorly detailed story was released about how Healthcare.gov is sharing visitor data with various 3rd party services.

What is happening is that Healthcare.gov uses a quick and dirty parameter search (age, zip code, certain status) for the initial search for health insurance plans. That URL with the personalized parameters can be passed as a referrer URL to the external services (analytics, testing, image serving, etc.) the Web site uses.

I looked at Healthcare.gov last night and saw the same behavior. As a long time online marketer, I can confirm this behavior is NOT unique to healthcare.gov and THIS URL REFERRING BEHAVIOR CAN AND DOES happen elsewhere on nearly every modern Web site. In fact, I’ve written about it extensively on this very site.

Aside from the status parameters used in the particular site search, any webmaster can see what you searched for on a Web site site, and what your IP address is and other client information.

Healthcare.gov 3rd Party Services as of January 20 2015
Full Size View

Where the pearl clutching should happen (Note to journalists: There are places to look *hint* *hint*) as there are some legitimate questions as to why certain 3rd party services are being used on the site or why the search is executed the way it is and/or URL parameters aren’t obscured (I’d have to think the site creators were afraid of a site performance hit on the latter).

Update: A few days after the brouhaha, Healthcare.gov started obscuring the URL parameters. As of this writing, Zip Code is still intact in the URL, but your IP address gives webmasters that information anyway. Here’s a screenshot of the new URL.

healthcaregov obscured url

Quick Facebook Non-Public Profile Setting

January 4th, 2015

If you’re a Facebook user, at some point, you’ll want to evaluate how public your individual Facebook profile is. There are three types of settings you can choose - Public (default), Hide Your Profile From Search Engines and Hide Certain Parts of Your Public Profile*.

Here’s the official Facebook instructions to hide your profile from search engines: What should I do if I don’t want search engines to link to my profile?

And this is how your profile will appear if you’ve chosen NO (Hide Your Profile From Search Engines).

No Public Facebook Profile

*These section settings are configurable by editing individual sections of your Facebook profile.

Unlink a LinkedIn Connection or two

December 22nd, 2014

So, you’ve been going through your virtual rolodex only to find that some people have moved on, changed jobs or why the heck did I ever connect to this guy?

Here’s a quick and easy shortcut to clean up your LinkedIn connections…
1) Make sure you’re logged into the LinkedIn service - this shortcut apparently works on Web and Mobile.
2) Click this link: https://www.linkedin.com/people/conn-break-selection
3) Choose the connections you wish to break and click the Close Connection button.
4) Profit!

gopher.floodgap.com

August 27th, 2014

I like this…no, I kind of love it. This is a working gopher server over http.

Floodgap.gopher.com

Back in the early days, gopher was a text-based competing protocol to the World Wide Web and http. As the Web grew in adoption, gopher servers died out. This server at floodgap is holding onto some history.

Go check it out.

Google Chrome OH NO

August 26th, 2014

This is more of an IT note because I spent more than an hour on this last night, killing what I had to do…

Awwww SNAP!

If you have automatic updating turned on in Google Chrome, and you find that your install is not quite right - wherein you still have your bookmarks and such, but the install just seems to have limited memory, refuses to show Chrome settings and/or goes directly to the AW SNAP! view.

Feel free to skip the usual troubleshooting steps and uninstall then download the new Chrome package. This worked for me on OS X. I have to think that the recent Chrome update either was b0rked or I had an incompatible file somewhere on my system.

Google

August 10th, 2014

Google

iOS7 Mail Question

July 31st, 2014