Polishing Minneapolis’ Wireless Civic Garden

I’ve done some playing around with the citywide Wi-Fi here in Minneapolis, and I must say that the range of information accessible through the Civic Garden feature (which allows even non-subscribers access to City-related sites) is impressive. However, while I understand that the whitelist of “free” domains is limited to noncommercial properties, there are a few exceptions that should be made. Or at least, some resources should be hosted by the City or proxied for Civic Garden users. Metro Transit’s site Visiting MetroTransit.org when online via the Civic Garden is a little weird. The home page is a lot longer…

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Reflection Squared: On Clifford Stoll’s “High Tech Heretic”

The other day, I was browsing the computer shelves at a local Border’s book store. I came across Cliff Stoll’s acclaimed book, The Cuckoo’s Egg. My dad’s recommended the story to me in the past, and the premise was intriguing. After all, who wouldn’t want to read a non-fiction account of cyber espionage that reads like a top fiction mystery? I picked up the book and proceeded to spend the next two hours engrossed, reading right through the soft muttering and louder tapping of the woman in the chair beside me. Of course, the time to depart arrived and I…

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tr.im: An Exercise in How Not to Run a Service

It recently came to my attention that tr.im has decided to stop accepting new URLs shortened through the website and asked developers to remove tr.im functionality from their applications, and plans to shut down the redirection service in a year or two. I went there to shorten an address on Tuesday but came upon this page instead: Ever since discovering the service about two years ago, I have shortened almost every URL I post to Twitter, Facebook, and several other such sites through tr.im. That will have to stop, apparently, because those addresses will no longer work in the not-too-distant…

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reMAP: IMAP reConceptualized

Gabor Cselle, the founder of reMail, recently posted an idea for replacing the IMAP email protocol with something with which working would be easier. The proposed name? reMAP, short for reimagined Mail Access Protocol. He calls for a RESTful design that among other things would globalize message identifiers (rather than changing them the instant a message is moved to a new folder), replace folders with labels (a la Gmail), require the server to handle email search indexes, and make conversations the basic unit of email (instead of individual messages). reMAP would also make handling MIME messages unnecessary; the client could…

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“Houdini” plugin for WordPress is no magician

I’ve seen some pretty absurd WordPress plugins show up in the Plugins dashboard widget on this site, but the recently-released “Houdini” takes the cake so far. It claims to prevent spammers from copying the contents of any post or page upon which the [houdini] shortcode is placed. The fact is the internet is open can lead to theft especially to content stealing and plagiarism. Until now, there was very little to discourage and deter this serious crime. Yes content theft and plagarism is a crime in some jurisdictions. You cannot rely on others or the authorities to continue to police…

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Why I’m Always Promoting Dropbox

Image via CrunchBase If you’ve had much interaction with me regarding computers, no matter what the medium—Twitter, Facebook, email, dinner conversation, small talk during a gathering—I’ve probably mentioned a service called Dropbox. A few of you have already succumbed to my uncharacteristic marketing tone and signed up, but I thought I’d blog about it and perhaps get more people on board. I’ll start with the reasons I like the service, and then explain why, exactly, I’m doing this a little later. The site bills itself as an online synchronization and backup solution. I use it mostly for the backup, but…

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Bringing Back Skribit

A while back, I tried out a service called Skribit on my Blogger site. Skribit’s purpose is to help bloggers overcome writer’s block. It places a suggestion form on the site where visitors can leave ideas for the blogger to use when he or she is out of his or her own ideas. It never got much use by readers of the old site, so I initially didn’t bother transferring it here; but now that Skribit has launched and (I see) done a lot of work on the experience users leaving suggestions have, I figured I might as well install…

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Updated Topify Gmail Filters

Well, Twitter got prettier follow and direct message notifications today. Bully for them. Now I have to publish this update. Update (05/07, 22:45): My update was broken, so the update had to be updated. The filter should now catch DMs, too. Believe it or not, I was wrong that Twitter changed the address that direct message notifications come from; it stayed the same. So that part of the filter didn’t need to change. All’s well that ends well, right? Update 2 (05/07, 23:05): Well, scratch the new filters. Twitter went back to the old From addresses tonight. Y’all can use…

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How To: Safely Use Twitter Notification Enhancement Services

Latest update: 2010-11-20: Twitter tweaked the addresses again. Remove the twitter- part of the addresses in your filters if you’ve set them up. Update (2010-11-11): Twitter changed their addressing scheme again. See below for instructions. As you all have probably heard, Twitter is gaining popularity in leaps and bounds. All the new users mean more follower notifications arriving in my inbox, and Twitter’s default messages aren’t very useful. (The direct message notifications are pretty bare-bones, too, but I don’t get many of those so it wasn’t a priority.) Update (05/06): Twitter prettified their emails, but I still think Topify’s are…

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GrandCentral Becomes Google Voice!

It’s taken 21 months—almost two years—but GrandCentral (“One number for all your phones, for life”) has finally gotten an upgrade (and a new name). I’m totally excited, and happy that the long-awaited upgrade (previously known as GrandCentral 2.0) is finally here. Meet Google Voice: “One number for all your calls and SMS”. New Features Yes, Google Voice added several new features. One of the things that always, always bugged me about GrandCentral was the fact that my number couldn’t receive or send text messages. Well, now it can. According to TechCrunch’s expansive overview, the same technology that powers the SMS…

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