Hardcore advanced renaming of files in Mac OS X and Windows

Renamer4Mac is an advanced file renaming tool for Mac OS.

Where was this app just a few weeks ago? I needed this desperately and ended up bugging my programmer for 30 minutes as we wrote a shell script (never done that before) to make some pretty sophisticated file-renames. However, I was pretty nervous to hit “go” in case I missed something… Now, here this is with live previewing, so you can see exactly how your files will be renamed before you hit Go.

Renamer4Mac supports Regular Expressions (yay! regex), search and replace, insert/overwrite of text, numbering files, and capitalization. Whew. It’s also donationware, so make sure you support these guys if you like their work.

Renamer4Mac

Renamer4Mac, found via lifeclever.com.

Porn Spam and the search for Links

I noticed this morning that a comment had made its way into my queue for moderation on one of my rarely updated sites this morning. When I went to moderate it, I saw as I expected that it was spam and filled with links to porn sites. It had the usual “lesbian licking party” with some link to some url that specializes in lesbian licking parties. As I deleted the comment, I have to admit, for a split second I thought “I like lesbian licking parties… I wonder if this site is any good…”

Now, for those reading, I didn’t go and check out the site. I stay away from that shit. However, it did occur to me that I delete all the spam I get pretty quickly because there is nothing in it for me to keep that comment. It’s filled with junk and I don’t want it on my site. However, taking the idea a little further, what if this site gave me free access to it’s paid content? Now, I’m going beyond porn here, what if sites that wanted links just went to the site owners and said “Hey, we’ll give you a month’s free account if you let us do some nasty, link-filled commenting in your system? What if SEO experts just offered up free goodies to people when they needed more links? It’s better than buying them because in the case of free memberships, those memberships have no value outside of the people who are willing to pay for them, so giving them out to a handful of people, in order to get a truckload to sign up, is a positive exchange.

Now, a non-porn specific way to do this would be an SEO going to a handful of sites that pass decent PR, and working out a deal, some free service in exchange for the ability to get any number of links posted on the original site. That way, the SEO gets his links all over the web, and can probably give out the same piece of advice to almost everyone, a simple “advanced” eBook or something. Maybe 30 minutes of personal 1-on-1 advice, in exchange for 20+ links? I think that’s a pretty good deal, if it’s saving you time getting decent links in the long run.

Quickly and easily add images to your site or blog without hotlinking

Man, I love adding cool images to my blog posts, but sometimes it can be a pain to find an image, download it, upload it, get the path, and blah blah blah. So, imgred.com makes it easy to embed images in your site, but instead of hotlinking to the original source, imgred downloads it, places it on their own server, and allows you to hotlink from there.

But how does it work? Well, I tried it with this image from Lifehacker, who wrote up this very same topic.

Hotlinking from an article about hotlinking

So, if you see an image above, then it must be working.

As you can see from the image, all you have to do is add “http://imgred.com/” to the beginning of the absolute path to the image online. Pretty easy. Now, I’m about to hit submit and see if it works…

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Running Coherence on Parallels

I finally got around to setting up Parallels and installling XP so I can more easily test sites in IE6 and IE7. However, the one feature I was most excited about was coherence. Now, setting up Parallels and getting a virtual machine set up couldn’t have been more easy, but out of the box, coherence wouldn’t work. The button was there, but nothing happened when I clicked it.

So, I googled it, and came across this page. It had just what I needed. It turns out, you have to manually install Parallels Tools (you actually begin this process on your mac, then make it happen within your virtual machine.)

Once I did this, I was running in coherence mode immediately, and it was all better. (by the way, coherence mode allows you to not have to run your virtual machine confined to a window. It places the Windows Start bar at the bottom of your browser, and you just launch apps just as if they were made to run in Mac OS X, it’s amazing, and I love it.)

Firefox Inline Autocomplete

I spend most of my day with my hands on the keyboard and a web browser open. So, one feature I’ve come to absolutely love is Firefox’s inline autocomplete. Basically what this means is that when you’re typing into the address bar a URL, and you’ve visited a similarly named site before (for instance, I type in “goo” and google.com is in my history), it autocompletes inside the address bar. So instead of having to move to the arrow keys and scroll down to it, the best match is automatically filled out. I love this feature so much, but whenever I use a new machine, re-install my settings, or something, I have to look it up on Google again. So, I’m posting it here, for you and for me.

To enable autocomplete in the Firefox:

1. Go to about:config in the URL field and press enter.
2. Right-click somewhere on the page and choose New > Boolean value
3. Enter browser.urlbar.autoFill as the preference name (note, this is case-sensitive: ‘F’, not ‘f’). I just copy and paste it, makes it easier.
4. The value should default to true, but double check.

You’re done. So nice, so easy. Here’s a screen shot of it in action.

Firefox inline autocomplete

Special thanks to Geek Ramblings for this tip. I always went to his site to remember, but I just want to have it on my own site for ease of finding…

Wufoo – Hosted Form Service

wufoo

I’ll be the first to admit that this free script solution isn’t the most full-featured form builder I’ve ever seen, but it is very simple and handy for it’s intended purpose. Sometimes however, you need a little more muscle. Wufoo is just such a muscle. It’s a great, hosted service that lets you manage and control forms without any programming knowledge or time commitment. After you create an account, you can then create and manage as many unique forms as you want; contact forms, questionnaires, event sign-ups, etc). All of it is done via wysiwyg editors and simple wizards. It then gives you the code to put into your site and viola, instant database driven forms. You can then log back into Wufoo and view, sort, export the results of your form at any time. It has a very simple free plan, but for bigger needs, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan, but the price you pay is much cheaper than paying a programmer to build it by hand, especially if you need to administrate the results of the form. In the end though, the prices are very reasonable.

Features

Available on All Plans

* Built in Validation and Error Checking
* Ability to Style the Look of your Forms
* Subscribe to Entries via email or RSS
* Custom Confirmation Messages
* Easy integration into Your Web Site or Blog

Available on Paid Plans

* Access to Customer Support
* Upload Files with your Form
* No Advertisements on Confirmation Page
* Redirect to a Custom Confirmation URL
* Password Protection on Forms and Reports

Creating Web Contact Forms Script

Aaron Wall recommended this site in a recent TechCrunch comments thread, and I absolutely fell in love. I’m not much of a programmer, so I’m always bugging my partner to make me little scripts or do simple things for me when I need something, but this is the kind of thing that will help me be much more efficient and self-sustained.

Contact Form Generator

This site has a quick little wizard that will write and preview everything you need for a customized contact form. You enter where you want the form to send it’s contents (an email address), the subject of the email, and then you design the form with whatever fields you want. It writes up some php and gives you some code to embed in your site, as well as a php file to place on your server. It’s all very simple, and very fast. I love it.

I whipped up a little one and embedded it below to test it out.

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Download POP Gmail from more than one computer

One of the major downers when using Gmail as your primary email account is that you can only download emails to one computer using POP. You can set it to not mark items as read or move them to archive, but if you go from one computer to another, each trying to download emails to the hard drive, you’ll only get each email once.

However, there is now a found workaround.

When entering your email address into your mail client, add “recent:” to the beginning of the account name, (recent:name@gmail.com). Now, Gmail will allow this client to get all email in the past 30 days that it hasn’t already downloaded, regardless of if it has already been downloaded by another client or not.

It’s been tested, and found that it does not download multiple instances of a single email on one machine, and does in fact seem to be the Golden Ticket for getting all your email on more than one machine.

Final note: Using “recent:” will only grab the past 30 days worth of email, so this won’t help you with a two-year-old account getting archived emails downloaded, but it’ll help you going forward.

Here’s a link to the Google Group discussion forum where this was discussed.

Check a site at a repointed domain before DNS catches up

So, my friend Matt taught me a nifty trick this afternoon. I had recently uploaded a new site to a server, then switched the DNS settings over to it. It was going to take a while before the DNS propogated itself, and I didn’t want to wait (actually, I wanted to double check it was working before my client saw it). So, if you have a Mac, here’s how you force your computer to check an IP before it looks to its DNS settings.

1. Open terminal and type sudo mate /etc/hosts. (this will open the file in textmate)
2. When the file opens, go to the bottom of the file and start a new line. Enter the IP address of your new server, hit TAB, then add in the exact URL you want to point to that new address. I added mine WITH a www., so I can still look up the non-www URL and see how the DNS settings are propogating.

I’m sure people out there no a ton more about this than I do, but this is enough info that it worked for me, and I thought I’d share (as well as document it so I don’t forget.)

Get better at keeping track of affilliate programs

I’m definitely a amateur when it comes to PPC campaigns, but I still have a lot of fun with them. However, my wife likes to make sure I’m staying in the black and not venturing into the deep red of negative margins. When I heard about the new InstaCalc website, where you can build your own calculators, I headed over and made a little quick one to track profits on campaigns.

I’m sure there are easier ways to do this, and when you’re covering hundreds of campaigns, this would be ridiculous, but it’s still fun and somewhat useful, so here it is: