Sphere.com Is Live – I Like!

There’s a new blog search engine on the block called Sphere. I love how easy it is to add my favorite searches to Bloglines, sort results by time, checking out the profiles of the bloggers (post frequency, links, etc.) and how clean it is.

My Favorite:

Customizable time frames (play with our custom range filter, the grokiest feature in our site).

Here’s the notice I received from Sphere:

We’d appreciate you helping us get the word out if you like what we’ve built. Please feel free to blog about the site any time after 7:00 am Tuesday (May 2nd).

Here is the url: www.sphere.com. New in this V1.5 release:

  • custom range histogram;
  • sphere it bookmarklet that makes it easy to find blog posts that relate to what you’re reading on the Web;
  • top queries this hour/ this week;
  • RSS for search results;
  • community feedback buttons throughout the site;
  • expanded related media verticals including podcasts (Yahoo! API), books (Amazon API), and photos (CNET Webshots API);
  • expanded related news articles coverage (over 50 mainstream news sites such as CNN, NYT, ESPN, Fox, USA Today to name a few);
  • expanded profiles;
  • featured blogs for 12,000+ keyword search terms covering over 500 broad topics including baseball, anime, food, web 2.0, tech news, knitting, culture, etc.; and
    a brand new back end that scales.

The best two featues are the custom range feature (a search on ‘mohammed cartoons’ really illustrates its utility) and the sphere it bookmarklet (take a chance, download and it’ll change your life). Also, check out the featured blogs for a number of topics like baseball, food, knitting, motherhood, web 2.0, google, etc – you’ll find featured blogs for about 12,000 keyword search terms. And check out the related media for almost any search – you’ll now find podcasts, books and photo’s in addition to our news articles.

As always, we would appreciate your thoughts, and we hope you like it.

Check it out, you may just find some new blogs to follow.

Sidenote: I’ve set this to be posted at 7 a.m. as per request. Problem is, I’m not sure what part of the world they’re shooting for ;). So it’s being posted 7 a.m. my time.

TiddlyWiki – Create Your Own Information Storage & Retrieval Center

I’ve tried plenty of things to keep my notes and resources organized, searchable and right at my finger tips:

Blog software
Forum software
Note Pad
Personal Wiki Software
Email Storage

Those are just off the top of my head, I’m sure I’ve tried a few more. They all lacked in some way. Too complicated. Search function not the best. Too messy. Too clunky. Was online (privacy concerns). Server based. Lots of time installing software and scripts, tweaking settings, transferring notes, yada yada.

But wow! I finally found a solution that’s exactly what I’ve been looking for:


Everything’s saved in one file (.html).
No software, database or server installations.
Clickable urls.
Search function actually works great.
So easy to add, organize and *find* your notes.
Free (wahooo).
Learning curve not that steep.
Portable – stick it on a USB stick and off you go.
Can be online or offline (I prefer offline). Or have one for both!

It’s fantastic!

One thing about working online and keeping on top of what’s going on is the incredible amount of information available. How to store it in a clean, super-functional and easy to find and retrieve manner was a super trick for me to work out.

I’m still playing with it and learning more tricks, but I absolutely love this thing and am thrilled to bits with how easy it is for me to save and retrieve notes and information now. And I’m happy I don’t have to login anywhere or host this online. Privacy and peepin eyes was a big factor for me–let’s face it, anything you have online is not guaranteed to be 100% private. Even your webhost can dig through and see your stuff–password protected or not.

Give it a shot and see if this will help you too: TiddlyWiki

I’ve uploaded an example Webmaster Control Center so you can see what I’m talking about: *removed

More reading:

TiddlyWiki Explained
Tiddly Wiki Tutorial
*allows users to save their content (their tiddlers) on the server in a database (if you prefer)
*a hosted non-linear personal/public/collaborative micro-content wiki/blog based on TiddlyWiki.
TiddlyWiki Tips
GTD TiddlyWiki
*GTD Tiddly Wiki is to give users a single repository for their GTD lists and support materials so they can create/edit lists, and then print directly to 3×5 cards for use with the HipsterPDA.
TiddlyForge plugin repository
TiddlyWikiRequests – Google Group
TiddlyWikiDev – Google Group
TiddlyWiki – Google Group
GTD TiddlyWiki – Google Group
StyleSheet Repository

I don’t want to tell you how much time I’ve spent playing with this thing :P. But all my notes are transferred over into one place (finally) and I’ll finish up the rest this week. I did a lot of tweaking, but I think I finally have it where I want it now.

I hope this helps you too!

Bookmarks, Tutorials and More

.htaccess tips and tricks

Blocking bad bots and site rippers (aka offline browsers) with .htaccess

Perl help, examples, and tutorials

Couchblog Links

CSS Basics

Layout-palooza : Top CSS Layout Download Sites, Hacks, Galleries and Tricks

CSS Rounded Corners ‘Roundup’

Web Developer’s Handbook

Blue Vertigo Web Design Resources

30 AJAX Tutorials

Making Usage Statistics in PHP – Tutorial

PHP For Beginners

Quick and Easy Site Content with RSS and PHP

How Does Google Toolbar Work?

12 Ways To Markup A Book

PlumChoice Online
Get your computer fixed online

Our Columnist Creates Web ‘Original Content’ But Is in for a Surprise (WSJ)

Fun and Easy How to Guide to Binding Your Own Paperback Books At Home…FAST

DNS Recursion – Open DNS Servers

Entrepreneurial Proverbs

Squidoo Lens: Articles That Sell

Speaking Tips – MezzoBlue

How to: roll your own reBlogger

How to set up reBlog – killer server side feed reader

50 Tools Which Can Help You In Writing


Beginner’s guide to podcasts and podcasting (plus: how to create a basic podcast of your own)

*Archive of files from the BBS world /1980’s

How To Become An Early Riser

Multimonitor Setup: Three Screens For One Computer

*free website is run by volunteers and is powered by over one million consumers who demand high quality phone support from the companies that they use

Charles Fishman/The Wal-Mart Effect Interview

List of Forums for Bloggers

Basic Concepts of SEO by Bob Massa

Switching to a New Domain Without Losing Your Google Rankings

Building a blog cluster

Simply Google – A Glorious Example Of Link Bait

Check out Simply Google.

How beautiful is that page? Clean as a whistle, useful, functional, complete and neat-o.

Makes me want to do something nicer for the bookmark pages here.

I’m still mapping out my own personal and private portal/web control center and that page just gave me some great ideas. Love it!

And it’s riding high in del.icio.us.

Does it inspire any killer content for your sites and blogs?

Killer content attracts killer links which draws killer traffic. Easy schmeasy right?


Have a great day!

PS: Thanks to Tailrank for the heads up.

PHP Image Resize Script

After spending *hours* trying to find that perfect php image resize script, and not having any luck at all btw, I stumbled across a blog post by Mike Lopez: PHP Image Resize Script.

Here’s what it does:

  • Resize by specified height or width OR by percentage
  • Works with both external and onsite images
  • Works with JPG, PNG and GIF* (if GD is configured properly)

I think I uploaded, installed, tricked out about 2 dozen scripts last night. Mike’s script beats them all — hands down. Output image quality is very good too, best of the bunch.

The script initially didn’t support GIFs, but Mike was kind enough to work that out for me when I asked for help. Some days it would be so much easier if I was a php guru! lol

Grab the script for yourself, believe me — this one’s a keeper:

PHP Image Resize Script

Sidenote: You will need to have gif support enabled in your GD config to view GIF files. Here’s how to find that out:

Create a php file (checkphpinfo.php) with this:


Save & Upload

View the file, (ie. http://superaff.com/checkphpinfo.php)

Find the section for gd

You should see GIF Read Support and GIF Create Support enabled. If you don’t have that enabled, check with your host. They may enable it for you.

If you want a way to resize a bunch of offsite images (affiliate products, whatever), this image resize script is just the ticket.

Thanks Mike!

Edit Quick Fix: ooops I meant JPG, PNG and GIF.

Edit Again: updated link at new location (thanks for the update Derrick)