I have been working on moving all of my web projects from Rackspace to Amazon for the last couple of months and yesterday I came across a newish Amazon service Lightsail.
Recently I launched a new photo site called cape.photography. For years I have been using the GD library in PHP for image manipulation basically just re-sizing images. This has never seemed to be an issue I think because I was always uploading the actual size I needed then making the thumbnails on the server so in a small thumbnail it looked fine. With this new application everything is being re-sized multiple times for different views. This is where we noticed the problem nice sharp saturated photos were coming out the other end as washed out versions. Obviously this is totally unacceptable on an photo specific site. So began the hunt.
Responsively designed websites are become more of the norm than the exception these days and one of the biggest challenges for a beginner trying to develop these sites is dealing with the images. Luckily with a little css we can make sure they re-size proportionally as the screen re-sizes.
Last Friday I spent the morning looking into the Instagram API thinking it would be cool to have our members be able to share their photos on the site via instagram. So this is a quick and dirty implementation but it works. There are a couple of things to keep in mind though. Instagram has a limit on the number of calls you can make to the API per hour which is set at 5000 so if you have a really busy site you may need to look into another method but for most sites this should be sufficient. The other thing is at this point I am not using the pagination feature of the API so I will only be showing the last 60 images uploaded with out tag. I will be writing the pagination code soon and will add it in another post.
This is something I have been waiting for, well since I started using Gmail. I have tried the chrome plugins for notification but non of them really accomplished what I was really looking for. As soon as I saw the GMail blog post about these notifications I turned them on and I don’t think I would want to live without them again.
The Chrome web store is now live and, at least in my opinion it is very cool. I keep reading about how this is no more than glorified bookmarks, and why is this necessary. These questions are coming from a lot of the tech journalists I read and look up to, I would really expect them to be a little more forward thinking than they are.
Tonight there is a wide spread Comcast internet outage all over the east Coast. This problem is being caused by a problem with Comcast’s DNS servers. A quick and easy way to fix this is to change the DNS servers your local computer is using from the default to Google Open DNS which is 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11 . I am using a Windows Vista Machine right now so it is the only one I know how to do this on but I am thinking most windows versions will be about the same.
To do this in vista go to
Network and sharing center->manage network connections
Now you should see all of your network connections. Right click on the active connection (the one getting you on the internet) and click properties then internet Protocol version 4, once highlighted click on properties. Under the general tab click the radio button for Use the following DNS server addresses and put in the following numbers
Now click OK, restart your browser and you should be online.
Above is a slideshow prepared by Paul Adams a senior user experience researcher at Google detailing the differences between the current social web and the actual real life social graph.
Facebook has finally released Places, which is basically a rip off of all the other location based services out there right now. While reading about this new feature for the past couple of weeks I was excited to see how they would implement it and if they would have some type of partnership with one of the existing location services. At this point they seem to be going at it alone which is fine except now it makes people choose which service they want to use or forces them to switch to a number of different apps everywhere they go which does not seem fun at all.
Yesterday Google did away with their ultra clean home page to showcase their new “feature”, background images. Not surprisingly there was a major uproar from some of their users, myself being one of them. At the time I could not believe that they would betray me like that after all of the times I have stuck up for them. I realize this is totally irrational since they have no idea who I am but it still stung.