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Make you Snap! RSS feed available on iPhone

Alexis Wilke's picture

Snap! Websites RSS feed iPhone look and feel.Today I found a neat little Internet application which I think you can benefit from, especially if you have a blog or write news on a regular basis and your website supports an RSS feed.

The application retrieves your RSS feed titles and presents them as if you were in one of your iPhone menus. When the user clicks on one of the menu titles, it sends the user to a page with the RSS feed title and teaser. You can also provide an icon (57x57) to give your users the best visual way to find your feed on their front screen.

Crazy Long Domain Names without meaning!?

Alexis Wilke's picture
Gothic Letters by Giovannino de Grassi
Gothic Letters HJKLPQR by Giovannino

Today I received a spam comment on Snap! Websites. Nothing too surprising up to here. Quickly browsing (the text was just gibberish so fast reading takes on its full meaning!) I noticed that the link in the email was using the domain name abcde. The first 5 letters of the alphabet.

This gave me the idea to check whether someone had registered the Latin alphabet domain name. After all, it could be viewed as a valuable domain name, right?

Sure enough! abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz dot com is registered! The registration was made privately (the whois does

Snap! SEO: New Google Algorithm... Stopping Scrappers

Alexis Wilke's picture
Pre-history tools from Maluti
Thousands of years old scrappers

I mentioned several times that you shouldn't just copy others materials freely on your website.

Now Google decided that too much is too much and they made their new algorithm live late February. This new algorithm penalizes that kind of websites...

If you have been doing such a thing, know that your website rank has already decreased.

Snap! SEO: Why don't I want a Flash website?

Alexis Wilke's picture

Clock from the SSWF Project

I've seen many users creating really nice Flash websites. This is not a bad idea, especially if you work with Flash or you somehow have many animations/videos to present to your users in a seamless manner. However, for a regular website, such as a Snap! website, it has one major drawback: it is not SEO friendly.

Flash animations are binary files (.swf) and as such they often do not contain any readable text. Actually, if you want to make sure that the font works right, you will be using an internal font and that may prevent any readable text from appearing in the file (properly optimized text does not use standard encoding for strings of character such as ASCII or Unicode.) In any event, if the search engines do not have the necessary tools to read Flash animations and find your text, it simply won't be indexed.

Adobe offers some tools to work on those files, but it is not widely used.

Stagnant Snap! Blog... Why you need to post about once a week!

Alexis Wilke's picture
Phoenix Vernal Pool, Feb 2011, Algae in vernal pool
Vernal Pool at the Phoenix Park, Orangevale, CA
This pool may look stagnant when in fact the water is
moving, albeit slowly, it remains clear. Just like your blog!

I think I mentioned that before in my Snap! Journal but wanted to strengthen the argument...

There are several reasons why you want to keep posting on your blog. First of all, your readers will continue to read your posting only if you actually post. Otherwise, well... there is nothing to read, right?

Because most people cannot handle reading pages and pages every day. Posting once a week or so should be enough for most audiences. Although at the start, to make the blog useful, posting once a day for a month or so is not a bad idea.

The other reason is that new posts tend to attract new readers. That means more of a chance for you to get that click you really want to get. Of course, this assumes you created the necessary Snap! Blocks on your website asking users to take action. There are many ways to do that, the two most important ones are:

Websites and security, big guys always being attacked!

Alexis Wilke's picture
Hackers are most often refered as Black Hats programmers.
A Black Hat—coming from black magic—is often used as a
reference to programmers hacking systems for no good.1.

Last Thursday, SourceForge.net was attacked again2.

You would think that they would be safe from such attacks since SourceForge.net offers a free service for users to offer their free (open source) software online. Yes! That's where you download many of the free tools you are using everyday. For instance, if you have an archaic type of a website, you probably need to FTP3 your data to your account. On Microsoft Windows,Mac OS/X, and Linux, this can be done with FileZilla. Although they have their own website, the download comes from SourceForge.net4.

Security is one of the area where our base CMS system is very strong at and we also ensure that our own Snap! code is secure. This starts with your password, but it includes very much more than just that. This being said, we are not looking for hackers to visit us. Well... it's not like that doesn't happen, but so far so good.

  • 1. This hat comes from a picture of Coolidge who helped the Smoki in 1924.
  • 2. Yeah... Unfortunately, that's not the first time, and it will go on and on and on, and not just for SourceForge.net. See how you can start by protecting your account using a strong password.
  • 3. The FTP protocol is notoriously insecure, but a very large number of people are still using it (if you can, at least try to use the SFTP so the data is encrypted, including your log in and password.)
  • 4. Note that if you were plaining to create a free software, that's a good place for the download because they have access to very large pipes (many T3) and thus thousands of your users could be downloading your data simultaneously.

Presentation of Snap! at the Sacramento Drupal Users Group

Alexis Wilke's picture

Sacramento Drupal Users Group LogoTonight I had the chance to present Snap! features1, concept, business model to a Drupal Users Group (DUG).

The presentation went well. We talked quite a bit about how to make use of Drupal to create such a system. Three other groups of people are doing a similar work, so it was an interesting event as we talked about the different solutions we each have.

Snap! Websites are powered by Drup CMS. A system used by more and more people as it has matured to a quite advanced system with a large number of third party modules that complement it very well.

  • 1. I'm attaching the presentation below, click on the link to view it in your PDF reader.

Tiny URLs dangers and your solution!

Alexis Wilke's picture

If you've been around the Internet for some time, I'm sure you've seen a tiny URL. The name comes from the very first website that offered tiny URLs to the world. The service has always been free and has evolved quite a bit with time. Today, we have a name for such website service:

URL Shorteners

Although many people still refer the first company name for this service.

Why tiny URLs?

The idea is rather simple, it's easier to send a URL that's less than 32 characters rather than those at length URLs, especially those with random numbers (although the numbers are randomly generated, obviously, they have a meaning in regard to your usage of the site that gave you that URL and are generally called Session Identifiers.)

For example, there is a tiny URL for this very page:

http://tinyurl.com/4994dst

Why are pictures from my movies looking so bad?

Alexis Wilke's picture

Video versus Photo

Have you ever tried to film a movie to later find out that you just couldn't use a single one of the many images as a nice photo on your Snap! Website?

Newton's Cradle showing the law of conservation of momentum.
Newton's Cradle

If you still wonder why the quality of a video image is so poor in comparison to just taking a still picture, then this article will most certainly help you understand the several reason behind the problem.

First of all, know that there are now many different types of video cameras available and each runs with a different software. Each brand created the best version ever, yet it really results in each brand having a set of features better adapted to a specific situation. This being said, it actually would not be possible to just merge all the software and get the best of all worlds! The same properties as found in physics apply here: when you gain on one side, another has to give way.

Getting out of of some pages you liked and are not using anymore...

Alexis Wilke's picture

Farmer's Market Mess in Somerville, USAFacebook is a wild beast. I'm not too sure why they feel like they have to change their interface so very often, but the fact is that they do.

The current version is not so bad once you understand where the navigation is. Do you know where it is?

I'm sure most people don't find the Facebook menu practical. It's not a usual, easy to use, and intuitive website menu, to say the least. And yes, I'm not talking about the one at the top right corner which is a regular drop-down menu and works well. That one is also useful to manage your account (what email you receive, change your email address, password, or even close your Facebook account!)