Techbert on Website development and marketing.

Planning to write various interesting notes on website development, website marketing and anything under the sun which is related to web.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Yahoo needs improvements

Jon Oltsik has posted an article "What the heck is Yahoo thinking?". In the article, he talks about some of the blunders yahoo do in their day to day things. I have a list of features in which yahoo lacks, as a web-mail account holder and a domain name registrar. Here is what they lack IMO:
  • No https mail access: Due to this, I the yahoo webmail account is too insecure to use for serious stuff. That is why I use gmail almost exclusively.
  • You can login to you yahoo account insecurely: Somehow, (By default) yahoo still uses plaintext OR simple encoding to send the password during login. By contrast, gmail & even MSN never does this. The danger is compounded by the fact that you can use the same password to access your domains registered under yahoo. This means, in the worst case, somebody can access your domain management OR even register some new domains in your own name.
  • Mail search is not good: It is very bad compared to gmail. I like the gmail style of refining my search step by step. In yahoo, it is too painful.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

10 differences between Joel Spolsky & Paul Graham.

I am an avid reader of Joel Spolsky and Paul Graham. Both of them are an inspiration to people considering a startup. They have several articles which motivates people to do stuff they love and make money in the process. But there are differences in their approaches. Below, I try list 10 of them.

  1. Starting up
    PG: Get seed funding worth 3 months living expenses and start up! JS: Don't have enough to support you for 2 years? Come join my company. It is cool working environment here.
  2. Angels/VCs
    PG: Take further investment from Angels/VCs as and when required. JS: Don't ever think of VCs. They are morons.
  3. Magic formula
    PG: Start a startup. Work (really) hard for 4 years. Sell it to someone. Solve the money problem. JS: Build a BIG company little by little.
  4. Microsoft
    PG: Microsoft is evil. JS: Microsoft is good.
  5. Basic principle
    PG: Based on his principle that working with co-founders on a rented apartment is the most productive phase. ie., eliminate MBAs. JS: Based on his principle "built a company that is a great place to work".
  6. Specs
    PG: Prototype early. ie., Start with something. Then hack and hack. No need for a spec. (LISP foundation) JS: Spec it before you start implementing.
  7. Process
    PG: No mention of process. His approach is get the darn thing released. JS: Implement the processes early: "12 Steps to Better Code".
  8. Planning
    PG: Great hackers plan themselves when stuff happens. There is no need to plan stuff. JS: Plans for everything. Painless schedules, painless bug tracking to be followed at a very early stage in the company.
  9. Microsoft at Core
    PG: Start-up company founders building their company with MS tools for core things is doomed. (Since great hackers hate it/don't use MS tools voluntarily) JS: Use MS or any tools if you are comfortable and can pay the $$ to M$.
  10. Add your comments and I will put the best one I have missed here.

Personally, my favorite is (you guessed it!) Paul. But I like Joel's essays also because of the Software Engineering related stuff.

[UPDATE: Thanks everybody for adding the comments. I am afraid I can't pick the best one I from the comments as there are a few good ones. I think it is best kept in the comments column itself.]

Saturday, January 07, 2006

AllPeers: cool Firefox extension coming up!!

AllPeers is an exciting new Firefox extension under development. It is IM+filesharing built into Firefox!! Checkout some of the screenshots here. These extensions are making the browser a platform to watch out for. I guess Firefox as a browser will be taking off with these nifty extensions and support from Google. I have been using Firefox since its launch. I used to like using Opera overall but their I didn't like Opera's intrusive ads. Since my switchover, I have been using Firefox exclusively. Here are the extensions I am using currently.
  1. Inspect Element: Quite a nifty tool to explore the design of a web-page you are browsing. I also use it extensively for debugging and testing out my designs.
  2. Adblock: Its a must have :)
  3. del.icio.us post: Easy way to bookmark in del.icio.us. You need not type your password for every browser session.
  4. Highlighter: You can highlight text in web pages. Nice to use when you are reading a big article online.
  5. Feedview: Click on RSS feed links and you get a nice readable display on your browser.
  6. Google Pagerank Status: View Pagerank of the web-page on the statusbar. I don't use the Official Google Toolbar since it uses too much screen real-estate.
  7. SearchStatus: Displays Alexa and Google rankings. Also able to provide easy way for finding out other interesting info like whois, meta-tags, keyword density, robots.txt etc.
  8. Gmail Delete Button: Adds a Delete button to your Gmail.
  9. QuickJava: Enable/disable Java or Javascipt in one click.
  10. Read Easily: Disable/enable stylesheets in one click.
  11. Aardvark: Nice webpage exploration tool.
  12. Tamper Data: Enables viewing/tampering HTTP request headers sent by Firefox. I used it to pick my Proxy-authorization header to add it to my wgetrc.
Even I didn't realise I was using these many extensions. Anyway, I hope it is an archive for me and a reference for anybody.

Ruby & Rails Resources

Ruby on Rails is the hot topic in web development. I had a test run for RoR and liked it. I code C at work. So, I am not entirely familiar with web applications although I have used & hacked some opensource php stuff. If you fit the bill, do explore the fantastic world of Ruby. Here are some starter tutorials/documents on Rails:
  1. Rolling with Ruby on Rails: A starter guide by Curt Hibbs
  2. Instant Rails: Quick install of Rails on Windows
Now, Ruby is quite a different language. Where else can you find the code like:
10.times do |x|
   print "Ho!"
end
and
start = (0..hash.length()).find {|x| (hash[x].first == 500)}
No wonder, they compare Ruby to LISP. Dont worry. I found it quite intutive after the initial hiccups. Here are some of the resources I used in the process:
  1. Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmer's Guide: Online edition of the Ruby Book.
  2. Ruby: OneLiners
  3. Ruby: CodingInRuby: Code Snippets and Examples