Jan 26, 2009

URL redirectors / cloakers

There are a number of sites that will mask or shorten a URL (TinyURL, TubeURL, URLZoom, W3T to name a few). For example, you can take a long URL (http://www.bukisa.com/people/skimblecat) and make it shorter and more user friendly (http://tinyurl.com/cs8kos)

The biggest benefit of this sort of service is convenience - it's way easier to type the shorter URL. This is especially useful when using something like Twitter that restricts the number of characters you can use in each message. You can also use this service to cloak affiliate links.

Of course, there are potential downsides. You don't know the real URL you are being sent to (note: tinyurl has http://tinyurl.com/preview.php that lets you preview the site for 10 seconds before you go, so you can stop your browser if needed). The Bad Guys are capitalizing on this type of service, to redirect people to malware infected sites.

As always, never click on a link from someone you don't know. And be cautious even if you know the person. Really, just be paranoid like me :-)

Jan 22, 2009


Hey, does anyone have any experience with Bukisa? It's a site similar to eHow in that it pays you for articles based on readership, click-through advertising, etc. Unfortunately eHow only pays you if you are in the States, so not so useful for Canadians!

Signed up, wrote a few articles (well, copied them from my blog) and we will see what happens....

Jan 16, 2009

Weird podcast issue on my iPhone

I have encountered a weird issue on my iPhone. I listen to a bunch of regular podcasts, and have iTunes set to send the 5 most recent unplayed episodes to my phone when synching. Sometimes this means that older ‘casts are on my phone, and if they are news ‘casts, then not so relevant anymore and I want to fast forward through them so the phone marks them as completed.

So as the unwanted podcast is playing, I tap the screen to bring up the slider, move the little dot all the way to the right, podcast is marked as completed, all is well in my world. Unless I am listening to the Xbox 360 Fanboy podcast. Seriously, this is the only ‘cast this won’t work for. I move the slider, there is a slight pause, and then the podcast resumes playing from where it was. Or it jumps to some random location. Sometimes I can get away with moving the slider a tiny bit each time and it will eventually work, but not always. What the hell? Why does this happen with only this podcast?! Yeah, I could hold down the fast forward button, but that takes way too long for a ‘cast that is over an hour long.

Suggestions? Comments? Conspiracy? User error?

Jan 13, 2009

Ushering in a New Era of Fiscal Responsibility

I have started following a number of personal finance blogs, as I am Ushering in a New Era of Fiscal Responsibility.

Here are a three I read every day:
I Will Teach You To Be Rich: Personal finance and entrepreneurship tips from a Stanford graduate - Personal finance blog for college students, recent graduates and everyone else -- including entrepreneurship -- for getting rich.
Get Rich Slowly - Personal finance that makes cents.
The Simple Dollar - A personal finance blog focusing on ordinary people dealing with unprecedented levels of debt.

This group I scan quickly, often the posts aren't that relevant to me:
Wise Bread | Personal Finance and Frugal Living Forums
Canadian Dream: Free at 45 | One Canadian’s Dream to Retire at 45
Million Dollar Journey - Building Wealth through Saving and Investing
Canada's Personal Finance Blog by Award-Winning Financial Author A. Dawn
Michael James on Money
Canadian Personal Finance Blog
ABCs of Investing


Facebook has a number of settings for securing your profile, but it seems many people either don't know or don't care. When in doubt, set to "only friends".

Here are some of my setting recommendations:

Settings \ Privacy \ Profile \ Basic
Set everything to "Only Friends".
By default everyone in your network can see your profile - and your network can contain many thousands of people.

Settings \ Privacy \ Profile \ Contact Information
Think carefully about this section. I would recommend setting most of these to "No one". In my profile, my website is the only thing set to "Only Friends". No one needs to see my home address, email address, or phone number - if you don't already know this info, then you can send me an email via Facebook and I can choose to share. Remember, Facebook is a great resource for identity thieves - why make it easy for them!?

Settings \ Privacy \ Search
Uncheck everything but link to add as friend and send message. I am fortunate in that I have a very unique name, so if you are looking for me on Facebook, you don't need a photo to make sure you have the correct person. Strangers also don't need to see your friend list - be nice to your friends and do a bit to protect them too!
Make sure you also uncheck "create a public search listing" - I don't want my Facebook profile coming up when people google me!!

Settings \ Privacy \ Applications
I don't have a lot of applications on my profile, but I do have a few. So I can't choose to "do not share any information" So instead I have unchecked every box - applications I don't use have no reason to know anything about me! Also don't allow Facebook connect and Beacon.

Things to keep in mind:

Know your employer's position and policies on Facebook - if you list your employer on your profile, you could be representing them. And chances are, you are not paid to surf Facebook all day.

Remember, more and more employers are searching Facebook - drunken party photos don't look good when you are applying for a job. Do a quick google search, and you will find a bunch of people who have been fired, suspended, etc due to Facebook activity. Don't call in sick, and then post party pictures from the night before!!!

Jan 9, 2009

Unlock all songs on Rock Band 2 (PS3)

I bought Rock Band 2 before Christmas, to be played casually when friends come over. So I wanted to unlock all the songs so we would have the greatest variety to play, but I found a variety of different codes to use for the PS3 version. I couldn't get the first code to work, tried it multiple times. Then after more googling, I found the second code, and it worked fine.

*Note: this code must be entered using the drums*

The code that worked:
Main Menu > Extras > Modify Game > Red, Yellow, Blue, Red, Red, Blue, Blue, Red, Yellow, Blue > scroll down and select unlock all songs

Apparently I will need to select this option each time I start the game, but I shouldn't need to enter the code again.

Jan 7, 2009

iPhone shortcut - deleting email from Inbox

Here's a quick iPhone tip for you - to delete email without opening it, swipe horizontally across the message in your Inbox, and a red Delete button will appear.

Jan 6, 2009

iPhone shortcut - taking a screen shot

Here's a quick iPhone tip for you - to take a screen shot of your current display, simultaneously press and release the wake/sleep button and the home button. The screen will briefly turn white and the image will be stored on your Camera Roll.

Jan 5, 2009

Blog Readability Test

I stumbled across this link recently, off a personal finance blog (but can't remember which one). You input your blog's URL, and it returns the level of education required to read the blog. Apparently, you must be at least this smart to understand my blog:

blog readability test

But what's the criteria? Too many multisyllabic words? Acronyms? The mind boggles....

Note: lovely little HTML snippet included an ad link that I removed.

Jan 1, 2009

iPhone shortcut - scroll to top of screen

Here's a quick iPhone tip for you - if you are trying to get to the top of a long list, just double-tap on the title bar and you will jump back to the top.