Switching To Feedly From Google Reader

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The signs are always there with Google, whenever the links to a product slowly start dropping from the main page you know that they aren’t a fan of it or giving it that much importance. Google Wave went because it didn’t work as a product, Google Buzz ruffled too many feathers even though I liked it, and then Google Reader was suddenly coming to an end. July 1st is the cut off date for Google Reader, I know these days a lot of people aren’t reading blogs as much but we still visit a lot of websites and my online dependency was on Google Reader to keep things organized. The announcement honestly shocked me so looking for an alternative was a scary idea, I got so comfortable with Google Reader I didn’t know if I would find an alternative. After doing a little research I went with Feedly and I’m very happy I did.

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I tried Feedly a few years back and Google Reader at the time was more comprehensive and useful as an RSS Reader, but within those years they stopped the development of Google Reader, and Feedly is miles ahead. The integration is seamless, a very smooth and clean interface and I honestly like looking at it. It works on both Android & iOS, and its web based which is very simple, and moving onto there is extremely simple, just sign in.

What I Love About:

  • Its Fast, really loads fast
  • Multiple Layout Options, so you can see it anyway you want
  • You can mark things read in different ways which works great
  • Integrated with Twitter, Tumbler, Pinterest, and most major social networking sites
  • Works on desktop, iOS, & Android

Link: Feedly

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Might Go Down For Maintenance

Wrenches

I have been very lazy over the past year and not really maintaining the back end of the website, it’s one of those tasks that just sat on the To Do list looking at me every day, and I just got used to it being there. On Thursday morning my blog crashed the shared server it was on because of some of the processes running in the background going crazy, so it was acting wonky and needed some tooling. I switched to Virtual Private Hosting over the weekend through Dreamhost and got it back up, but its still hoping along and not 100% healthy. I need to get rid of some of the heavy parts that is bogging the blog down and speed it up a bit, so bear with me while I try a few things and hope to god that I don’t screw anything up, thanks people for your patience.

ZDistrict On Instagram

Now Instagram has activated it’s live pages for Instagram accounts, for all this time I think they stuck to mobile phones for a while but since their acquisition by Facebook I thought it was a matter of time before they make a live page. I checked yesterday night and it wasn’t active, but here it is active now. So now you don’t need to have the Instagram App to see the pics, so if you are still stuck on a Blackberry you can see the pics from the Instagram website via their username so it would be “instagram.com/USERNAME” mine is at the link below.

Link: Instagram

Yahoo Killed Flickr

The best and first photo sharing site that came out was Flickr, everyone got on it and it really was a community of it’s own. Innovative and ahead of it’s game, everyone wanted a piece of it and they were courted by the Giants, surprisingly Yahoo got it at the end, I was hoping for Google at the time as they let services develop on their own to a degree, but when Yahoo got them I thought at least thats probably better then Microsoft, but it seems time has proven me very wrong.

I have linked below the excellent Gizmodo article on this matter and this describes it perfectly:

This is the story of Flickr. And how Yahoo bought it and murdered it and screwed itself out of relevance along the way.

Link: Gizmodo

Flickr had so much going for it and it was community driven the first thing that yahoo did that annoyed the hell out of me was that you had to log in with your Yahoo ID to get into Flickr, why couldn’t they just keep it on their own. When Flickr was new it kept on giving us more and more features, and I was hoping when its backed by a big guy like Yahoo they would have the ability to develop cool tools faster ways to use the cool site. They were at the forefront of the mobile photography revolution, now everyone snaps pictures with their phones thanks to Apple’s high quality camera’s in the iPhones, you could see the trend from back then, but Flickr couldn’t take a major advantage of this because of Yahoo. Yahoo paid the founders a good chunk of change but for the company (Flickr) to get any funding from Yahoo they had to achieve milestones and those milestones had nothing to do with developing Flickr and more to do with it integrating into Flickr (Yahoo Login Crap). I couldn’t believe that they still don’t have a decent iOS or Android App for Flickr, they could have easily dominated Instagram, they had the community base going with excellent photographers, Flickr had and still has the social networking tools built into it that can bring it back around but now it feels like Flickr is trying to do what it does best but Yahoo is going down and taking all it’s companies with it. It hasn’t really changed much in the last few years, personally I still love it but I want more out of it. Damn you Yahoo!

Same story with Delicious, Yahoo bought them out and years later they were killed off, a simple cool site that Yahoo smothered.

Sucuri – Saved Me From My Russian Malware Hack

What Happened To Me:
The last few days my site was acting weird and then the second day it tried to redirect me to some Russian site which then got flagged by my Google Chrome browser as malicious code. I tried to figure out what was going on but didn’t know where to look, and my WordPress was just update so I wasn’t sure what was wrong with it. After a good hour of Googling and checking forums I would a few things to look for in the index page and several other pages but still I was getting redirected. After looking at a few forums I found Sucuri which is a company that does exactly what I was looking for it identifies and monitors websites using any time of platform, and in my case WordPress, and they help you remove the malicious code.

What is Sucuri and What Do They Do:
The Sucuri Web Integrity Monitor detects unauthorized changes to your websites, DNS, Whois and SSL Certificates. They Scan your web site for malware, virus, spam and many other security issues. Even if your using WordPress, Joomla or Mediawiki. With the support

What I Did:
I found some scripts here and there, and deleted them but they were still all over the place. After a good amount of Googling I found that Sucuri is one the good Malware monitors and removal services for a very reasonable price, for $90 a year they monitor and update your site after 3 hours and if something is wrong you just submit a ticket and they get right to it. After giving them my login information and my ftp information I sent my trouble ticket for Malware removal since I couldn’t find it all myself and Chrome was still flagging my website and trying to install malicious software from a Russian website. AFter submitting the ticket and a set of questions I got an email back about 4 to 5 hours later with an update on all the areas that were cleared and that we are good to go and I have not been blacklisted by any website yet which is fantastic. Honestly I recommend anyone who faces a malware issue to get Sucuri right away and let them handle, they did a fantastic and smooth job with me.

Next Steps After Clean Up:

  • Update All Your Website Software – Which They Were Thanks To Jacqui
  • Change Your Website Login Passwords – Making Them Even More Complex To The Point I Might Forget Them

Link: Sucuri

Pingdom – Testing Your Website

Sometimes I’m paranoid as hell about my website and that something is slowing it down, but in reality I’m not really sure and its always a matter of trial and error. Recently I stumbled upon this testing tool from Pingdom, you enter your website and they give you the time to load, whats slowing it down, whats taking more resources to load, and lots of other details. You can see what is loading first and a variety of items which is very cool and keep on testing it every once in a while, I didn’t even realize my website is 1.8 MB worth of data to load back in the day that which is even more then a floppy disk. I liked how they organized the data and they let you organize the data, very useful free tool, and I keep getting 88/100 for my average score, not bad. Check out the tool linked below.

Link: Pingdom

Geekaphone – Power Search for Smartphones

Web site Geekaphone lets you check off the platform, price range, and features you want from a smartphone and tells you which phones match your criteria.

Geekaphone acts like most other “power search” functions you’d find on shopping sites, only it focuses on smartphone features and is incredibly easy to use. Just tell it what platform you want to use (Android, iOS, etc.), let it know your price range, and it will spit out a list of phones. I was impressed with the depth of the search features, you really go into every detail of the phone and specify everything to get what you want. You can then click on different features in the top row (like “hardware keyboard”, “4G”, or “front camera”) and it will narrow down that list for you, featuring the best phone at the top. Instead roaming about all the different sites to find the right phone Geekaphone can help you to choose your next phone, I’m still amazed how they managed to drill down on all the data & Specifications of a phone in a very simple way.

Link: Geekaphone

Fav4.Org

This is an interesting yet simple concept, a website that has your four most important destinations as its main page. Cookies have to be enabled for this work, you can customize the list of websites from available and you can suggest a popular website to them but I’m not sure how long that would take to get done. Overall I really like how clean it is, surprisingly Bing & Google Search aren’t on the list but they plan on integrating it into the main page as searchable area, I think that would complete it.

Its a great start to the idea and cleanly implemented, the next step would be to let people customize their own links with their own logos, then at that point it wouldn’t just be cookie based, there would be users with their own load up page. The trick would to have full customization and still keep it that smooth.

Link: Fav4.Org

Polaris for Google Analytics

I have been a user of statcounter for a while for all my stat drilling needs for the blog and other websites. Didn’t really think much of switching to Google Analytics even though I keep reading a lot about it. I switched it on a couple of days ago for the blog and the information is pretty interesting and the way the reports are presented to you, the best part about all these tools is that its for free. Lifehacker had a post about Polaris, which takes all the Google Analytics data and presents it for you on your desktop. Polaris is an Adobe Air application which presents all the information with an attractive look and feel, free for personal use and $15/year to handle multiple profiles.

Link: DesktopReporting