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Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger: GetSocial 1.03 is here!

Oh boy, have I got some neat stuff for you today – GetSocial 1.03 is ready, and it’s jam-packed with new stuff, go get it now!

What is GetSocial?
GetSocial is a program I’ve made, that will generate social bookmarking toolbars for your blog or website within seconds! Because it makes pure HTML code without scripts, GetSocial is the ideal social bookmarking solution for WordPress.com bloggers. Oh, and it’s also absolutely free!

What’s better in GetSocial 1.03?

Add to Twitter
I’ve considered replacing the Ma.gnolia button with either Twitter or Yahoo! Buzz, but apparently there was nothing to consider: Twitter it is! I’ve decided to go with the following twitting format: “Title @ Permalink”.

Character limit handling
Twitter has a 140 characters limitation, so I’ve designed GetSocial to handle long inputs when necessary. Realizing that your link is the most important bit of information, the title will be automatically trimmed if the total length of the message is too long. If there’s only enough room for 5 characters of title or less, only the permalink will be sent to Twitter. Note that your permalinks will never be trimmed, even when the link itself is longer than 140 characters.

Inspired by the Twitter thingy, I’ve also added auto handling for Digg (which has a 60 characters limit for its title field).

Permalink verification & Automatic error correction
Okay, I’m officially sick and tired of this bug in WordPress.com where you get the permalink all messed up if you copy it from the edit window (the PLEW bug). The first thing I did with the new version of GetSocial was to add a permalink check feature. This (optional) feature pings your website while making the toolbar, and makes sure that the permalink you’ve entered actually exists.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t enough to solve the permalink bug because WordPress.com generates error pages, so if you’ve got the domain name right, there is no (simple) way for the program to know that the post address is correct.

This is why I’ve also added a special algorithm that detects and autocorrects permalinks that are affected by the PLEW bug. This is a heuristic algorithm, but tests have shown very high (>95%) rates of success in detecting and repairing affected permalinks.

Support for CSS effects
If you’ve got the CSS upgrade from WordPress, you’re going to love this! With GetSocial 1.03 you can easily add special graphic effects to your GetSocial buttons, simply by pasting some CSS code to your blog.

For example (Internet Explorer only):

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine
(Hover your mouse over this toolbar and see what happens)

CSS Code:

#primary .getsocial img {
filter:gray
}
#primary .getsocial a:hover img {
opacity:1;filter:alpha(opacity=100)
}

Add the above code to your blog’s CSS, and your GetSocial buttons will appear in B&W. When visitors to your blog will hover over them with the mouse – they will change to full color. There are tons of other effects you can make, but if you want to support browsers like Firefox you can only use alpha effects (you can find an example at the bottom of this post).

Text links
In additional to the regular buttons, GetSocial is now capable of producing a text-only version of the social bookmarking toolbar:

Facebook | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumbleupon | Reddit | Blinklist | Twitter | Technorati | Furl | Newsvine

Better support for Mozilla Firefox and Google chrome
Your toolbars will now have tooltips for Firefox/Chrome in addition to the previously available tooltips of Internet Explorer.

Code and image optimization
I’ve managed to remove a few extra bytes from the images GetSocial puts in your blog, and there are also 5 new mirrors for the images. Some tweaking I’ve done also slightly reduced the size of the GetSocial executable (so this time you’re actually getting more for less!)

As usual, I’ll be absolutely delighted if you’ll click either one of these buttons (preferably both!):

Download GetSocial

<3Thanks!

PERMALINK / SHORTLINK

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Which social bookmarking network would you like to see in the next version of GetSocial?

Google <3 GetSocial!

First of all, get this: my very own GetSocial is now featured in Google’s auto-suggestions – yeah!

On a different note, I’m currently working on a new version of GetSocial, and I’ve decided to remove the Ma.gnolia button and make some room for one lucky social bookmarking network (as you may or may not know, Ma.gnolia isn’t doing very well lately).

Now I need your help: which social bookmarking network would you like to see in the next version?

I’m thinking either Twitter or Yahoo! Buzz but I’m open for suggestions…

UPDATE (February 26, 2009): GetSocial 1.03 is ready, Twitter is in da house!

PERMALINK / SHORTLINK

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Hillel’s Blogging Tips & Hacks

I've always wanted to make one of these!

If you’re here, then you’re probably searching for ways to make your blog better (and get some more traffic while you’re at it!). As you already know, the internet is packed with literally millions of blog posts about this subject – so in order to avoid wasting your time I’ll skip all the obvious and generalized advice that’s been copy-pasted around the blogosphere so many times already and focus only on the things I know from my own personal experience.

1. Place a PERMALINK in the bottom of every post

Okay, I’ll admit that this is a weird tip to start up my list, but I bet that it’s something you haven’t already read ten thousand times before. So why is it a good idea to place a permalink in the bottom of your post?

First let’s define ‘permalink’: a permalink is a static link that points to a specific post. The reason I use permalinks (which seems redundant at first, because the title of each post also serves as a permalink) is to protect my blog from content theft. There are many blogs out there that take your posts and republish them as their own (it’s called sploging). Why? So they could post a lot of new content in a very short time span and use it to promote their blogs in search engines (oh, and also monetize from advertisements and link exchange while they’re at it!).

If you have a permalink in your post, every time someone steals it you will be notified by a trackback/pingback. It may not prevent people from stealing your stuff but it will at least notify you when it happens. An additional benefit is the incoming links you’ll receive from your own permalink when your post is republished somewhere else. Such links will improve your page rank and in some cases will increase your Technorati authority as well. Sploging isn’t so bad afterall, isn’t it? :)

2. Make sure your blog is optimized for Google.co.uk

First of all let’s make sure that we’re on the same wavelength here: different Google’s (Google.com, Google.co.il, etc.) will bring up different search results for the same search queries – I hope you already knew that, but even if you didn’t – you do now. No matter which country you live in, and what language you speak, it’s absolutely essential that you promote your blog/website on Google.co.uk!

This includes monitoring your position in search results for your keywords, and also publishing your AdSense ads there (in addition to Google.com and your local Google).

The reason I’m saying this is not because I’m the co-founder of Google.co.uk, it’s because of a rather unpredicted reason: Microsoft! When you select a search provider for the built in search box in Microsoft Internet Explorer 7, the default Google search is not google.com – it’s google.co.uk! This means that whoever uses IE7 as their web browser and selected Google as their search provider (but didn’t manually set it to google.com) is searching through google.co.uk!

This advice alone would probably cost you hundreds of dollars if you’ve gotten it from so called SEO “experts”, and here you are, getting it for free at
hillelstoler.com, why not link here from your own blog and help spread the word?

3. Make sure you understand incoming links

I’ll do this one real quick: one of the most important things for any website or blog in terms of traffic and SEO is incoming links (links from other websites that points to your site). There are three things you must know about incoming links:

3.1 ‘nofollow’ links are links that might get traffic to your page (via people who click on them) but will not increase your page rank. This generally includes links in comments, forums and wiki pages. So there really is no really need to spam Wikipedia after all! :)

3.2 When you link to your website it’s best to use anchor words. For example, if you want your site to appear on search engines when someone searches “La Costa Lotta” – it will be best if you could get other websites to link this anchor term to you. For example, this link: read about La Costa Lotta is much better than this one: read about La Costa Lotta here.

3.3 Incoming links from other blogs can have different values for you. A blogroll link is the best because it appears on every page and regenerates itself every time a new post is published (important for your Technorati authority). Links from inside posts are good because they’re tracked by Technorati and others, and there is also a good chance people will see (and use) them when they read the post. Side bar links are good because they are always visible, however they don’t count on Technorati, and the chances of getting any click through traffic from them are slim. Last on my list are links from pages – which are nice to have but not very great.

4. Use GetSocial

GetSocial, that’s the only unoriginal advice here, but it works, and it’s my software – so what can I say? The way I see it, social bookmarking is a lot like playing the lottery – it wastes your time in most cases, but sometimes, rarely, you can hit the jackpot in terms of traffic, and I like those odds! According to my personal experience, StumbleUpon produces the most traffic, followed by del.icio.us but I guess it’s different from blog to blog. I’ve also noticed that when people write a description for the bookmark, it returns MUCH more traffic – so please: take the time to write a short description of this post when you bookmark it!

PERMALINK / SHORTLINK

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Doctor Tray – Open & Close your CD/DVD/Blu-Ray with a keyboard hotkey

UPDATE (April 20, 2009): If you’re looking for an easy way to open and close your disc drive (CD, DVD or Blu-Ray) with a keyboard shortcut of your choice, Doctor Tray is perfect for you! It’s fast reliable easy to use and absolutely free. Go get Doctor Tray!

Doctor Tray (DVDA) is a new windows application that will enable you to open and close your disc drive(s) using keyboard shortcuts. It is generally intended for media centers, where the user is usually far from the computer, but will probably prove to be just as useful for normal desktops. Doctor Tray supports systems with up to three optical drives, and works with CD-ROM, DVD and Blu-Ray disc drives. As usual, it’s 100% free – download it now!

Screenshot of Doctor Tray v1.00

Doctor Tray v1.00 screenshot

Download Doctor Tray - it's free!

The works
With doctor tray you’ll be able to define keyboard shortcuts of your choice for each drive operation, and also control your system drives using the mouse. As with GetSocial, I’ve made some serious efforts in order to make Doctor Tray as simple, intuitive and easy to use as possible with a non click wheel product :)

About Doctor Tray
A friend of mine bought a dedicated multimedia computer for his living room. He’s using an infra red remote keyboard & mouse to control this computer from the comfort of his couch and asked me if I could make a program that will allow him to open and close his Blu-Ray door using a keyboard shortcut. I’ve made DVDA (DVD Assistant) which was later renamed “Doctor Tray”.

How does it work?
After you download Doctor Tray (which is 100% Virus/Adware/Whatever free), extract and run Dvda.exe (No Installation is needed, but you will need to have Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 installed: nothing a quick visit to Windows Update won’t solve).

Free software?
Doctor Tray is a donationware, which means you can use (and share) it for free & for as long as you like (you can’t sell it or tell people you’ve made it yourself though). It is neither limited nor crippled in any way. If you use/like it, please show your love by giving me a kiss or by donating 5.00 USD (why five?) Thanks! :)

Make a donation with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure.

Download DoctorTray.zip (109KB) here.

PERMALINK / SHORTLINK

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Please don’t use my tax money to murder people

Please don't use my tax money to murder people.

STOP! Please don’t use my tax money to murder people. This message is always relevant. Feel free to use this in your blog or website, and please comment on the design.

Embed (200×96):

&lt;img class=&quot;aligncenter&quot;
src=&quot;http://sites.google.com/site/hillelstoler/Home/stop200.png&quot;
alt=&quot;Please don't use my tax money to murder people.&quot;
title=&quot;Please don't use my tax money to murder people.&quot;
width=&quot;200&quot; height=&quot;96&quot; /&gt;

Embed (250×120):

&lt;img class=&quot;aligncenter&quot;
src=&quot;http://sites.google.com/site/hillelstoler/Home/stop250.png&quot;
alt=&quot;Please don't use my tax money to murder people.&quot;
title=&quot;Please don't use my tax money to murder people.&quot;
width=&quot;250&quot; height=&quot;120&quot; /&gt;

Embed (300×144):

&lt;img class=&quot;aligncenter&quot; 
src=&quot;http://sites.google.com/site/hillelstoler/Home/stop300.png&quot; 
alt=&quot;Please don't use my tax money to murder people.&quot; 
title=&quot;Please don't use my tax money to murder people.&quot; 
width=&quot;300&quot; height=&quot;144&quot; /&gt;

PERMALINK / SHORTLINK

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3 years ago @ shox.co.il

I’ve posted this exactly 3 years ago on my journal at shox:

Hillel's journal - fucking interesting stuff!

The title says “Untouched (by me)”, and the caption says “Just for your knowledge, that’s what the view from my house looks like *at this very moment*”.

Tags: Hillel, Sunset, Fuck Photoshop, Chris Isaak, There goes the first day of the rest of my life

Back then they had a good feature in shox, where you could play with the order of the tags in your posts (on most platforms tags are automatically sorted). This was a nice feature to have because it gave bloggers an additional degree of editorial freedom, ordered tags could be used to make mini statements (or write Haikus!).

Come to think about it, this is technically the first in the view from the afternoon series. On a later shox post I have also successfully predicted the coming of the year 2010. Any minute now I guess…

Also, in an unrelated note, art lovers (& also those who dislike art very much) are hereby personally invited to check out a few decades worth of stunningly beautiful paintings made by Hadasa Stoler (that’s my mom!): Body Colour – The Work of Hadasa Stoler.

Happy New Year!
Kiss Kiss 2009

PERMALINK / SHORTLINK

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My Hanukkiya is made out of old business cards!

Where are all the Sofganiyot?

I thought the first candle of Hanukkah was tomorrow (it’s today apparently!), so I’ve put together this improvised Hanukkiya that’s made out of some of my girlfriend’s old business cards!

PERMALINK / SHORTLINK

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Taken with FLIR Systems InfraCAM SD

Chillin' @ Heat Transfer Lab
(May 2007)

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Hillel Stoler - הלל סטולר
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