December, 2007 Results

Random Bits Podcast with Garrett Camp from StumbleUpon

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Random Bits
Episode 13 – 12/17/2007
Guest: Garrett Camp, StumbleUpon Founder and Architect
Background: StumbleUpon Founder
Total Time: 35 minutes

I was really excited for this talk as I am a big SU user (see my profile) and think the service is really cool in general. Our chat reveals some interesting information for both web developers (think API) and webmasters (increased traffic opportunities). After plenty of begging on my part and because I let Garrett win a match of arm wrestling, he was gracious enough to join me for a conversation. The sound quality on Garrett’s end is not the best at times, but I cleaned it up the best I could. If there are any whiz audio editors who want to give a shot at making it better, let me know!

Have a listen and let me know what you think! What did you like and what didn’t you like?

Podcast Highlights

  • 00:22 – What makes SU so addictive?
  • 1:39 – SU has been around for a while but it really took off in 2006. Why is that?
  • 3:50 – SU can bring great traffic
  • 5:19 – How much of SU’s success is due to the social networking?
  • 7:09 – How does the thumbs down affect your site?
  • 9:56 – Are you allowed to submit your own sites!!??
  • 11:00 – You can Advertise on SU!
  • 16:04 – Some SU Algorithm discussion
  • 20:28 – What are some features that aren’t as well known that people SHOULD know about?
  • 23:41 – Any SU API for site-specific stumbling?
  • 26:01 – have there been any sites that you found and wished you had that idea?
  • 27:45 – What are the future plans?
  • 32:44 – A chance to get to know Garrett better.

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Links for the Weekend, 12-15-2007

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

Code is Money: Code Debt

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Treat your code like it's your bank account. What do I

mean by that? Money isn't everything. I'll be the first person to admit that. But everyone needs at least some money in this modern world of ours just to survive. We all have to pay the re

nt and eat somehow. On the flipside, having a shaky financial situation or biting off more than you can chew can be a disaster. The same can be said about your application or website's code base. We all have what is called “code debt” somewhere at work. Maybe you have a part of your site that didn't get updated in the last redesign and looks out of place now compared to everything else. Maybe you have a piece of code that could be written using some other library that would make it 50% faster. Maybe your site launched with one

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or two CSS validation errors that you couldn't figure out, but didn't mess up the layout in any browsers. Anything like this should be looked upon in the same way you look at debt in your financial life. In the short term, code debt, like real debt, is manageable and in some cases even an acceptable or preferable tradeoff. Odds are you didn't want to launch your website with those errors or release that app using the old version of that library, but a hard deadline probably forced your hand. Like a small impulse purchase on your credit card, this is all well and good as long as you can pay it off quickly. If you fix the problem on your site a day or two after launch, just like if you paid your credit card bill right when the statement came in, you'll be okay and you didn't

incur too much cost. On the other hand, if you let this debt rack up, it will compound on you. Let's say you're working on version 2 of your application, and it builds on previous features that require the slow-performing library that has a new faster version out. If you keep using the old library, your problems could very well bubble up again, or they could be even worse. Now some people might read this article and take it as encouragement to over-engineer their websites or programs. That's not the case at all, and a design that's too complex for its purpose will most certainly fail faster than one with a little problem here or there. Over-engineering is like buying a million dollar house

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when you're working part-time at a gas station; you'll fail before you even try to make the first payment. Taking on a little debt here and there is an acceptable short-term tradeoff in order to get something you need just a little faster; it is not meant to be used as a long-term strategy.

I hope this struck a chord with some of you out there, and hopefully it reminds you of some little code debts that you haven't paid off yet. As for me, I'm off to fix a few problems since I'm looking to get into a mortgage in the future 🙂


5 Flash Tips

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Rounded Corners

To set the corner radius visually, draw your rectangle and without releasing the mouse button — press the up and down arrows on your keyboard to alter the roundness or the corners. This also works in Fireworks!

Bitmap Fills

You can use a bitmap as a Fill, and paint with it just as you can paint with a gradient or solid color. Import a bitmap into the current scene and select it. Go to Modify > Break Apart, then choose the Eyedropper tool and click on the bitmap. The current fill is changed to the selected bitmap.

All Inclusive

ActionScript can be stored as external text files with an .as extension. To use them in a movie, you’ll need to place an ‘include’ in the file that points to the file. This enables you to reuse the complex routines in movies, or build up a library of common scripts.

Also to keep things organized, I would encourage you to place your .as files in folders that relate to what the file is all about. For example, I may have a folder called Actions and inside that folder several different .as files that relate to actions. Then just import them by calling import actions.flyout; (flyout is the name of the .as file and actions is the name of the folder.)

Report It

Always generate a report detailing the impact that various objects in your movie have on the size and performance of the finished movie. To do this, you should check the box labeled Generate Size Report in the Flash Publish Settings dialog (File > Publish Settings > Flash tab).

Stage Manage

You can control the size of the current movie with the stage.height and stage.width commands.

Hope that helps someone and remember to only use Flash when it’s the right tool for the job.

It’s Been Covered…

Monday, December 10th, 2007

I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE – In 1968 Marvin Gaye released Motown’s longest-running No. 1 hit topping the U.S. chart for seven weeks. In 1970 Creedence Clearwater Revival would cover the song for what would be their most popular album, Cosmo’s Factor. In 2003, the album was ranked number 265 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

AFTER MIDNIGHT – J. J. Cale released this song in 1966. Several years later, Eric Clapton would record the song on his first solo album, Tulsa. The song would become one of Clapton’s standards.

LITTLE WING – Jimi Hendrix released this in 1967. Since then it’s been covered by over thirty different artist, but no one does it better than Stevie Ray Vaughan. Hendrix may have knocked up the song, but Stevie Ray Vaughan married it.

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS – The Beatles released this classic in 1967 on the album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. But The Beatles aren’t the only ones that found success with the song; Joe Cocker also made the song number one on the British singles charts in 1968.

While The Beatles may be the most covered band in history, The Beatles also found much success by covering other artists such as: Chuck Berry, The Isley Brothers, The Miracles, Little Richard and more.

What’s The Point?

“I can’t blog about that because so-and-so did last week…”

“I can’t find anything to blog about that hasn’t already been covered…”

“That technique is just the same one that so-and-so already talked about…”

I repeatedly hear these reasons from people on why they feel they can’t blog about a topic. So in this article I’ll explain why each of these reasons shouldn’t stop anyone from “covering” it themselves.


Links for the Weekend, 12-8-2007

Saturday, December 8th, 2007

Google AdSense Experiment

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

We at Search-This have always tried to be upfront with our readers. So I feel that it’s appropriate to tell you that over the next month or two we will be ‘experimenting‘ with monetizing Search-This.

Nothing is for sure at this point. We will try a few different techniques: Google AdSense, TLA or even may try to come up with our own way. Or we may decide not to monetize at all. It’s all just kind of an experiment at this point. So please do weigh in and tell us your thoughts. If you have suggestions, please share, if you hate it, tell us that too. One thing is for sure, we will not let any ads get in the way or detract from the content.

Once again, this is more of an experiment and nothing is known at this point. Please share your thoughts.

Mark (Golgotha)

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