Pics from the WordPress Meetup Amersfoort 2011

Last night’s WordPress meetup in Amersfoort was, at least as far as I’m concerned, a resounding success. Around 70 people attended, and we had a lot of interesting speakers. Most of the presentations were captured on video, and will be placed online later. For now, I’ve put the snapshots I managed to take on Flickr for you. Enjoy!

I’ve also created a Flickr pool for Dutch meetup images. Please feel free to add you pics there. I’m still pretty new to Flickr, but I think I allowed everyone to contribute…

Join us at the WordPress meetup Amersfoort 2011!

It’s spring again. Temperatures are on the rise, trees are blossoming and birds are tweeting. Time for another WordPress meetup. Just like last year, Kaj Rietberg and I will be putting together a meetup in Amersfoort. If you’re a WordPress fan and you’re not too far from the geographical center of The Netherlands, please join us on the 10th of May.
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A dystopian future of the mobile internet

A couple of days ago, I had an interesting dicussion on Twitter with Dutch media guru @erwblo. He noticed a trend at SxSW, where all exciting new developments seemed to be centered around apps. I tried to argue that apps are “evil”, but found that I needed a lot more than 140 characters to explain myself. Hence this post.

Right now, there’s a war raging. Apple, Google, RIM, Microsoft and others are caught up in a bitter fight over supremacy on the mobile internet. And the stakes are high. The web is about to go mobile. Smartphone sales are up, and dumbphones are getting smarter. Tablets are replacing part of the laptop market, and will soon represent a big slice of overall internet consumption.
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Help us add more messages to Gunfollow.com

Last year, @BruceJillis and I created Gunfollow. Recently, there seems to be a renewed interest in this Twitter hitman of sorts. So we’ve been thinking of ways to make Gunfollow even more fun. The easiest way to do that seems to be to add more messages. Gunfollow uses a predefined set of “semi-rude” tweets that it sends to its victims. But not all of them are as witty as we’de like them to be. And that’s where you could come in :).
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Getting my Flickr/Picasa widget working again with Picasa’s new feeds

Recently, Picasa started serving its RSS feeds over https. From what I can tell, this has caused quite a view “clients” to fail. Digital photo frames seem to be affected, and so is my Flickr widget. Fortunately, there’s a quick fix.

I’ve run a few tests, and it seems that simply removing the “s” from “https” fixes the issue. Every feed I tried could be called up over regular old http as well, and all of them worked with my widget.
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Erratic behavior with Flash’s textWidth property

Just a quick post in case anyone else ever runs into this and manages to find their way to my blog.

I just came across this in a client project I’m working on. I was using a TextField in Flash CS5, and needed to know the width of the actual text inside it for positioning purposes. What I found was that in about 50% of cases, the textWidth property would return zero instead of the strings length in pixels. I tried using autoSize on the TextField and found that it would shorten half of its instances to a single character or less, causing the rest of the line to be invisible.

At first I thought there was something wrong with the font file, but the same happened with Verdana. So I started randomly changing settings, and it turns out that the “anti-alias for readability” setting was causing this. As soon as I changed that setting to “anti-alias for readability” the textfields were being autosized properly, and reported their actual lengths through the textWidth property.
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Roy | November 25, 2010 | English,Flash,Programming | Comments (10)
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Am I the only one who sees things like this?

Just look at the image below. The left version is the bottom right corner of my Chrome browser window (version 8.0). This logo appears on every new empty tab, and I can’t help but wonder why Google didn’t spend 15 seconds making it look nicer. The version to the right literally took that long to make. I added a little padding, made it more subtle and changed the way the text aligns with the logo.

Looks much better, doesn’t it? I think it went from “Hey, there’s room for a logo there” to “all this awesomeness os powered by Chrome”. If I were a company trying to promote a new browser, I’d try to get these things right. And it’s not like they can’t afford it, right?

Roy | November 17, 2010 | English,Internet,Software | Comments (10)
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WP Time Machine – free off-site backups for WordPress

A few days ago, @bakkel tweeted about WP Time Machine. This WordPress backup solution turned out to be exactly what I’d been looking for. It gathers all the relevant bits (like your blog’s database, uploaded images, etc) and uploads them to Dropbox, Amazon’s S3 or FTP. It even adds a file with comprehensive restore instructions. I’ve argued before that backups need to be absolutely painless, and with this plugin they are.
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Idea: A WordPress theme for e-mail newsletters?

There are plenty of way to have “automated” newsletters sent out based on your WordPress blog’s RSS feed. Feedburner and MailChimp, among other do this, and there’s nothing wrong with those services.

However, if you’d want to write content specifically for your weekly e-mail, RSS is not ideal. High quality e-mailings usually don’t simply copy blog posts, they’re carefullt crafted by copywriters to get as much response as possible. That’s why the idea of a newsletter-theme has been floating around in my head. Here’s what I’m thinking might work…
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HostMonk now lets you review web hosts

It’s been a while since I wrote about HostMonk. In a world of paid-for and affiliate marketing driven hosting review websites, HostMonk was a breath of fresh air. I wrote that “If HostMonk would add a good rating system (…) it might just be the website we’ve been waiting for”. Well they have. So now it is?

What’s really clever is that HostMonk uses other factors, like uptime, to rate hosts as well. Even the number of Twitter followers is factored in to give you the best possible indication of a host’s popularity. Clever stuff. And they’ve added cloud and shared hosting packages too. Now all we need to do is fill HostMonk’s review database. The web needed a good independent service like this, so let’s use it.

Roy | October 27, 2010 | English,Web hosting | Comments (2)
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