Google URL Shortener

When people just call Google a search engine, it’s clear that they’re missing the point. Yes, Google is a hugely popular search engine, but they do so many other things that it’s almost an insult to only reference their search engine. In addition to search, Google has also made huge strides with e-mail, document collaboration, directions and mapping, and that’s only the beginning. Therefore, it’s appropriate to view Google as the “everything company” because they’re doing just about everything these days. Further proof of this point can be seen by the release of the Google URL Shortener.

There may already be dozens of URL shorteners, but that hasn’t stopped Google from throwing their hat into the ring. Google already dominates links through their search engine, so they might as well create them, too. Just like with other URL shorteners, you enter the URL that you want to shorten and you’re given a short URL that can be easily shared. Not only will you be able to track how many clicks your link receives, but you’ll also be able to see detailed stats about referrers and visitor profiles. Google even provides a QR code for the link, which may seem silly now, but Google is obviously looking to the future.

There should be an image here!Whether you use Twitter or not, you’re probably familiar with the way in which content is shared on the service and what the stream of information looks like. In fact, it’s hard to not be familiar with Twitter given the prominent exposure it has received in the media. A lot of the communication on Twitter involves sharing links, but the way in which Twitter manages and displays these links isn’t necessarily the most effective. turns a Twitter stream into an online newspaper by organizing the links that are shared.

The format and thinking behind this is actually pretty interesting because more of us are turning to Twitter for news, so it makes sense for it to feel like a news experience. The service makes shared links more meaningful, and one of these newspapers can be created for any Twitter user, list, or hashtag. This kind of thing makes the information on Twitter even more valuable, and it just goes to show how being in the print publishing business can be scary because your content is obsolete before it even gets out to the public.


As Internet users, we all bookmark and save pages and content that we like so that we can get back to them quickly. When you begin to have a lot of saved bookmarks, it becomes necessary to organize them by topic so that you can find them easily and not waste time looking through everything you’ve ever bookmarked. Organizing by topic makes sense, but how about organizing by emotion? Emotify is a service that enables you to organize content based on how it makes you feel.

That may sound kind of weird, but it’s definitely an interesting idea. You collect the content and tag it by emotion using their bookmarklet. Was it funny, amazing, sad, etc? From there you can create EmotiPacks, which are collections of content based on specific emotions. These EmotiPacks can then be shared with your friends and followers so that they can navigate through them. Take a look at some of the collections on the site to get a better idea of how this works. I second that emotion.


It’s one thing to create a lot of content that you push out to the Internet, but keeping track of how that content is performing is an entirely different challenge. When it comes down to it, businesses want to see the results and metrics, and if you can’t deliver those, then things begin to get shaky. You’re likely linking to content all the time, but do you know who’s clicking those links and how many times they’ve been clicked? If you don’t, then you should. ClickMeter can help you get your tracking back on track.

Turning your regular links into tracking links is very simple, and once they’ve been created, you can just use them and monitor your results. You might think that tracking link clicks wouldn’t give you very much data to work with, but ClickMeter offers you detailed charts, click fraud detection, click distribution on a world map, browser and system information from visitors, and much more. Even though stats and metrics can sometimes be a drag to examine, ClickMeter might make them a little easier to deal with.


I used to be organized, but that was before I became really busy. Isn’t it funny how that works? Now I’m trying to get back to the point of organization that I used to be at, but it’s proving to be a challenge. The problem is that a lot of online organizational tools force you into being organized in a certain way, but that way may not be what works best for you. In my case, I’m used to arranging things on my desk in a way that helps me to figure out what needs to be done and what needs to go where, but that method of organized chaos isn’t always encouraged. Spaaze offers users a giant cork board that they can place items on however they want.

When you arrive at the site, you’ll see that you can drag everything around, and that’s the point. Feel free to insert things like notes, links, and YouTube videos and position them where you want. I really like the way you can go anywhere on the board and save the location as a hotspot that can be navigated to at any time. This type of organization works with my thought process, and if other organization tools don’t seem to work for you, give Spaaze a try.

Here Is A Unique Take On Pirates: Sell Them Post-Release Downloadable Content

Today must be the day for better ideas. First it was the CEO of Time Warner who wants to actually add value to their services and now EA has come up with a novel way to stop piracy. OK, maybe not stop piracy but to make a buck off of those who pirate. Here is what EA proposes:

John Riccitiello, the gaming-savvy head of Electronic Arts, doesn’t want anyone to pirate games. But those who do, he told Kotaku, present a new market that EA needs to make money from.


By selling people who grab games digitally — without paying for them — post-release downloadable content.

What a novel idea. But do people actually want post-release downloadable content? EA thinks so:

Riccitiello spoke energetically about the popularity of the company’s downloadable content add-ons. Some of EA’s DLC has been free, such as the launch-day offerings of a new town in The Sims 3 or a nudity option in The Saboteur. Others, such as the paid DLC for November’s Dragon Age Origins, generated a million downloads in its first week, according to an EA spokesperson.

“The consumer seems to really like this idea that there is extra stuff,” Riccitiello said, while expressing surprise that some of this DLC is downloaded so soon after people start playing the games. “The consumer wants more, and when you give them more or sell them more it seems to be extremely well received.”

Some of the people buying this DLC are not people who bought the game in a new shrink-wrapped box. That could be seen as a dark cloud, a mass of gamers who play a game without contributing a penny to EA. But around that cloud Riccitiello identified a silver lining: “There’s a sizable pirate market and a sizable second sale market and we want to try to generate revenue in that marketplace,” he said, pointing to DLC as a way to do it.

I sincerely hope that EA can pull this off. It would be great for the software companies who can generate added revenues from those that steal. Plus, we consumers may no longer have to go through hoops when we buy a piece of software only to have a terrible time getting the software registered.

Comments welcome.


What’s the first thing that you see when you launch your Web browser? We all use different start pages, but I must admit that mine is pretty boring because I use Yahoo! as my start page of choice. It’s been that way for years, although I’m not opposed to changing it. It would probably be better for me to use a site that links to all of the things that I enjoy viewing each day. Bookmarks are useful, but having all of the essential content on one page would be even better. A service called lets you load up a custom start page with all of your favorite links.

As you’ll see, these pages are simple and can be broken up into categories. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even dig in and edit the layout to make it what you want it to be. I especially like how can indicate when the links have been updated so you know what’s worth visiting. If you’re hesitant to change your start page, just give it a try and see what you think. Changing back is easy, plus you’ll probably end up wondering why you haven’t used something like before.



When you find content that you really like, do you usually try to share it with your friends? These days it’s very easy for us to share everything we find with anyone we like. I don’t share everything, but if I discover something that I know certain friends would really be interested in, I make sure to send them a link directly. E-mail is fine for this, but if you share a lot of content, it can become cumbersome. Dropvine moves beyond standard e-mail and provides a way to make sharing content even easier.

The service makes use of a bookmarklet to enable you to quickly select what you’re currently viewing and send it to others. Pick the people that you want to receive the link and then send it on its way. Your friends are notified by e-mail, but the links that you send them are stored in Dropvine’s own Inbox of sorts, which helps to keep things separate and organized. You’ll notice that recipients can even comment on the content. This is nice and helpful, but with the amount of content that I share, I think I’m just going to stick with e-mail for now.


We sure seem to like having full control over URLs, don’t we? We customize them, shorten them, analyze them, and so on. If we don’t like the way a URL is presented, it doesn’t really matter because we can easily create a new one that points to the right place. A lot of these efforts involve giving attention to a single URL, but sometimes one URL doesn’t cut it. More and more, multiple pages are involved in telling a story or getting a point across, and that’s why is useful.

With, you can put multiple links in one simple and short URL. When the URL is visited, the visitor is told which sites are included, and when they click the open button, all of the included links open up. There are various ways that this type of functionality can be used, and if you’d like, you can even include a password to make sure that the links don’t fall into the wrong hands. I can’t believe how much can be done with links these days.



How do you get started on the Internet when you first launch your Web browser? Surely there are certain sites that you routinely visit, and you probably have them bookmarked for quick access. Of course, your browser home page (or start page) is the first thing that you see, and you can sometimes learn a lot about a person by the page that they’ve instructed their browser to display initially. There are multiple services online that make it easy for you to organize some of your most important information in one place and get a good start. BonzoBox is another one of these solutions.

By using BonzoBox, you can save visual thumbnails that link to the pages that you’ve bookmarked. These links can even automatically log you in to some of your Web accounts. Searching through Google is supported, but so is searching through your own saved pages and the pages saved by the community. Multiple account e-mail integration will also help you to stay on top of your Inboxes. The visual nature of the service makes it simple for you to find what you want and discover new things. Isn’t that how you want to get started when you begin a Web browsing session?

Every Webmaster wants their URL to be memorable, and in many cases they are short enough so that they can be remembered. That’s fine, but when you try linking to something specific on a site, then the length of a URL has the potential of going out of control. URL shortening services are used to keep URLs simple enough in order that they may be shared in a variety of ways through multiple avenues. Taking a long URL and making it short is one thing, but enables visitors to talk about the links, too.

You can either shorten links manually through the form on the site or use the bookmarklet, but whichever option you choose, you’re going to have one of the shortest URLs possible. When you create a URL, a frame is included in the page that tells you how many times the page has been viewed and includes comments from people that have seen it. By enabling comments to be attached to the pages, the service is almost turning these URLs into social networks of sorts.


Whenever I’m using my Web browser, you can count on the fact that I will probably have multiple tabs open at any given time. I like to be able to see several things at once, and browser tabs give me quick access to whatever I want. Keeping track of this content on your own computer is one thing, but it’s not always very easy to share it all with someone else. They’ll end up with a barrage of links that may not mean anything to them out of context. ShareTabs gives us the ability to share multiple links as tabs in a single URL.

The implementation of this is really great. When the ShareTabs URL is viewed, you can see screenshots of all of the links that are included. The page has its own tabbed interface that may be used to check out the links, plus you can open all of them as tabs in your browser. Finally, in addition to being able to customize the ShareTabs URL, you’ll also be able to find out how many times it’s been viewed. More of us should start sharing groups of links in this way.

Will It Be Illegal To Link To Other Sites?

The NY Times is being sued by a company called Gatehouse Media who states that the Times illegally linked to their site. The law suit alleges that the Times violated copyright infringements using the links.

In an article from Real Tech News it further states that:

“You’ll recall that earlier this year AP took a hardline stance on linking to their stories and including short excerpts, a practice generally accepted as “fair use.” On Monday, in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, GateHouse Media, which publishes 100+ local newspapers, sued the New York Times for copyright infringement, because its online unit was linking to GateHouse Media stories, using a headline and one line of text.”

I feel that this law suit is without merit. Linking to other web sites is a standard practice followed by all those who blog as well as news agencies. Saying that linking violates copyright laws is just plain dumb.

Hopefully the courts will see through this frivolous lawsuit and throw it out.

Comments welcome.


Secunia Personal Software Inspector Reviewed

Today I downloaded Secunia Personal Software Inspector and took it for a spin. I’ll let Secunia explain what their software does and the below was taken from their web site:

Vulnerability Scanning
Scan, detect, and update vulnerable programs. The Secunia Software Inspectors are the first internal vulnerability scanners that focus solely on detection and assessment of missing security patches and end-of-life programs – the result is an unprecedented level of scan accuracy. Scanning for missing security patches and vulnerabilities have never been easier or more precise. The Software Inspectors are perfect supplements to Windows Update as they inform about missing patches for thousands of third party programs.

Secunia offers three Software Inspectors, each with a specific user focus.

The software is small and the download and installation went well. I ran the scanning software and it located 4 software’s, two from Abobe, two from Java. I updated the two Abobe via a handy download link provided by Secunia PSI. I then tried to update Java, both for Firefox and Internet Explorer. At least this is what the Java site said I needed to do. No matter what updates I used, Secuina PSI still said one Java issue remained.

I am not sure if the error is from Secunia PSI or from the Java site that kept telling me updates were in place. :-)

I would recommend that you give Secunia PSI a try. Even though I had a minor issue, the program did in fact worked well. Oh yeah. It’s Free for personal use.

Comments welcome.

Secunia PSI Free download for personal use.

7 Mistakes Online Users May Make

Many of us already know that using the Internet can be hazardous to the health of your computer. But over at Consumer Reports, they still are finding people making the same mistakes who should know better. There is something in our DNA that makes is curious about things, so when we are alerted to the bench with the ‘wet paint’ sign, some of us just have to touch it to confirm it is in fact wet. :-)

Same with our computers. When we are alerted to a potential hazard, we sometimes just have to click to see if it is for real. The 7 hazards Consumer Reports list are:

  • Assuming your security software is protecting you
  • Accessing an account through an e-mail link
  • Using a single password for all online accounts
  • Downloading free software
  • Thinking your Mac shields you from all risks
  • Clicking on a pop-up ad that says your PC is insecure
  • Shopping online the same way you do in stores

Some of the hazards require an explanation. Assuming your security software is protecting you means that you think you are protected against every thing. Which may not be the case. Also it is important to keep your protections updated or they are worthless.

Downloading free software is for those freebie screen savers and other junk that gets advertised on the Internet. Downloads should only be made at trustworthy sites.

You can read each of the descriptions at the link below. Stay safe.

Comments welcome.

Consumer Reports article.