The beta of Google’s new ‘Chrome’ browser was released a few days ago. I heard rumors of it a while back, but now that it’s out I have become very interested in it. I am using it right now.
The biggest draw for me is that each tab (tabbed browsing) is it’s own process and shows up individually in the computers process manager (ctrl-alt-delete). So if one window freezes up for any reason, the whole browser doesn’t need to be killed.
Also, it is extremely light weight. By which I mean it uses minimal system resources. Each tab I have open now is running about 18,000Kb of ram, less than half of what is used by a tab in Firefox, Opera, IE, or Safari. (BTW – does anyone else not like FireFox 3? I find it to be extremely slow, a resource hog, and I’ve had it crash regularly – no good.)
So far I am really liking Google Chrome, though I am a bit concerned with how it may be used to drive targeted advertising (like all other Google Products and Services). I haven’t seen anything advertising related yet, but I’m sure they have a comprehensive plan to monetize this product through ads.
add more google to your google with google chrome
One other feature I like is the hot-links on the dashboard. This feature has been standard on Opera browsers for a long time and is one of the best features. Google is somewhat kidnapping it but bases the thumbnails on your most frequent page visits rather than your bookmarks.
google chrome dashboard bookmark-icon-tab-thingies
After I do some more extensive testing through my daily routine I’ll report about Google Chrome’sreliable, rendering, and overall performance.
I work daily with a variety of Content Management Systems. Wordpress, Expression Engine, Joomla, ZenCart, etc, etc, etc. ALL of the CMS’s I use are based on PHP. Well I finally have an interesting new project that requires something a bit different. I need to setup a J2EE (Java) based CMS that will integrate with the existing code at a major organization. After quite a lot of research I’ve discovered the merits of dotCMS.
DotCMS is a Java based CMS with an interesting line of features. I hear great things about it’s templating engine and flexability. While I’m a little concerned that public community support will be a bit weak, I’m excited to work inside a new platform. One of the best features of dotCMS is that it supports MySQL, Postgre, and Oracle right out of the box.
Did I mention it’s Open Source? Feels like a winner to me. Full report at noon . . . (or in several months).
Earth Class Mail is a recent start-up company aimed at bridging the gap between traditional ’snail-mail’ and the technological age. I signed up recently and was extremely excited to use an innovative new service. In a nutshell Earth Class Mail gives you a private mail box mailing address in one of a couple dozen cities around the country. When the receive your mail they scan it and put it online in PDF format for you to read. Sounds great right? Wrong. Here are the three reasons why I hate Earth Class Mail.
- 1. Sign-Up Process – The website encourages new members to sign up by saying how easy it is. I had some mail I wanted to get while on the road, so I figured it was a perfect opportunity to sign up. As soon as they suck $100 from my bank account (six months prepaid) I expect to be ready to go. Not the case. Once they take your money they inform you of an interesting little caveat. You have to go to the post office, get a special form which will authorize them to handle your mail, fill it out, have it notarized, and mail it to their home office in Oregon along with photo copies of your drivers license and passport. I was instantly upset because I had mail I wanted to get through the service that week. I went to two different post offices and both looked at me like I had three heads when I asked for the form. I had to go to a THIRD post office to get the form, then scramble around out of state to find a notary and get everything sent in. During the sign up process there was no mention of any of this. Also, once I finally got everything sent in I never received any notification from Earth Class Mail stating they had received my paperwork and my account was active.
- 2. Postal Re-Routing – So a little bit later I decided I was probably all set to start having mail sent. Earth Class Mail is based in Oregon but offers private mailbox addresses for most major cities. I selected the Boston location because that is where I live. My thought was; my local clients will mail paperwork to this address, Earth Class Mail will receive it a couple days later, they’ll take a day to scan it, and then I can log in and see it. Not the case AT ALL! It turns out that Earth Class Mail doesn’t have any sort of presence in any city outside of Portland, OR and NYC. According to customer service (which I have called several times) what happens is, the local post office in that city (in my case the Boston post office) simply sets aside all the mail and periodically mails it ’snail-mail’ in a big box across the country to Oregon. There is no schedule for when these mailings take place. I am told sometimes they get sent a couple times a week, sometimes it may take longer than a week for the mail to get sent out. What it boils down to is this: my mail sits in the Boston post office for an unknown amount of time without any sort of tracking (for about a week), then it travels across the country via truck (for about another week), then it slowly gets sorted at the Oregon facility. So my mail that I was expecting to have in only a few days takes anywhere from 2 to 4 WEEKS to get online. I had 2 paychecks sent to my new address 3 full weeks ago and they have NOT YET ARRIVED and there is no way to figure out where they are.
It turns out that selecting the Boston address, the address in the same city as all my clients is actually the SLOWEST options I could have selected. Earth Class Mail does not mention any of this BS on their site and I was completely caught off gaurd and am now financially in a bind because of 2 missing paychecks.
- 3. Check Cashing – The big draw that encouraged me to sign up for Earth Class Mail was their promotion of check cashing. They proudly state on their website that they now have check cashing, so members of their service can have paychecks directly deposited into their bank accounts. For me this was PERFECT. This mail service really did sound like the best thing since sliced bread. So I signed up and had some clients send paychecks to my new address.
I couldn’t find anywhere in my account options for setting up check cashing, so I called customer support. I was informed that not only do you have to have a premium account with Earth Class Mail to have access to the service (a substantially more expensive monthly fee), but that they ONLY offer check cashing to members of Wells Fargo banks. I about lost my grip on the phone. NO WHERE on their site do they mention ANYTHING about either of those stipulations.
So I currently have 2 paychecks that have been floating through the system for 3 weeks without showing up. And once they do finally show up I can’t even have them deposited, I have to have them shipped BACK across the country (another week) to me so I can put them in. BULLSHIT.
All in all Earth Class Mail has not only stressed me out and taken my money, they have not delivered on the service as expected and promoted. They have taken my mail delivery time from 3 days to 3-4 WEEKS, and maybe even longer. This mail service is AWFUL, deceptive, sneaky, and fishing for money.
My official Earth Class Mail Review is 0 out of 5 mail-bags. I hate it. I wish I never signed up. If they were only honest and upfront about how their service operated things might be different. I have called and cancelled my account. If those paychecks don’t show up somewhere they will have a very angry Evan Fell knocking on their front door in Oregon.
I’ve been working with Wordpress a lot lately. There are thousands of plug-ins and themes available, but if your goal is SEO listen up. Below is a zipped up copy of my Ultimate Wordpress SEO Theme and Plugin Pack.
For people who manage many blogs it can be a pain to find all the right SEO tools for Wordpress. This ZIP file includes the latest version of Wordpress (2.6.1) ready to go with best Theme for SEO purposes (Elements-of-SEO). It also includes my favorite SEO plugins:
- Feedlist – for creating text based social bookmarking links
- Google-Sitemap-Generator – for creating an XML sitemap optimized for search engines
- SEO-Title-Tag – for allowing independent setup of page title elements
- Sociable – for creating chicklets and bookmarking icons
There are a couple more plugins that may be useful to some – allowing stat tracking and pingback management, but those should really be used on a case by case basis.
Download my Ultimate Wordpress SEO Theme and Plugin Pack, upload it and install as normal. Activate the plugins and you’re good to go. . . . . . . tossing Google Analytics into the footer script never hurts either .
So here it is. Download the Ultimate Wordpress SEO Theme and Plugin Pack.
Six months ago I made a brief mention of Yahoo Pipes in my blog. Well I have now actually used it. It’s a great little tool and does a lot more than FeedBurner was originally capable of. I have a feeling now that FeedBurner has been aquired by Google it will be rolling out some new functionality very quickly. But anyway. . . .
Yahoo Pipes can be used to mash up RSS feeds from all different sources. I just used it today to create a multifeed of my three blogs; this blog, my motorcycle blog, and my travel blog. The feed can be found on my hompage. Yahoo Pipes can ‘pipe’ in content from just about any source, and it can then be filtered by different criteria and pushed out into a single feed. I’m glad I’m finally using it!
I haven’t shaved since NH, so it’s been a while.
Geocaching is one of the coolest things modern technology has given us. A global scale all out treasure hunt adventure. Just one more reason I’m lusting after a nice GPS receiver.
I’d love to go to the Future of Web Design conference this November in NYC. Tickets are a bit on the high-end though.
I really loved my tumblr blog, but it just wasn’t as flexible as I would have liked. Tumblr is by far the easiest and most convenient blogging platform to use. Tracking other bloggers through the dashboard is also an excellent feature. In the end though (after 1 year of using tumblr) I had to revert to Wordpress. I was able to port all my Tumblr posts into this blog, some of them may be a little goofed up, but for the most part they’re all good.