Category Archives: Internet

Stay Back Grues, the Lantern Has Been Refueled

I am happy to announce that I have taken over hosting The Zork Library from it’s former owner DAT. The Zork Library has been one of the foremost websites about the Zork series of video games for over 10 years. I intend to maintain and expand the website. For the immediate future, my Zork installation guides will remain a part of kevinbecker.net. At some point in the future, they will be moved to The Zork Library. I also plan to expand coverage of Legends of Zork, plus promote The Zork Library and Zork as a whole on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. See this post on TZL for more details.

Google Chrome Extension Recommendations

Recently, Google opened up its Chrome Extension Gallery for use with the Google Chrome Browser. The beta channel and dev channel versions of Chrome have had extension support for a while, but with the opening of Google’s official gallery, many new extensions have been made public. In my opinion, extensions are the main thing Chrome has been missing in comparison to Firefox so far. Here is a list of several extensions I recommend. These extensions get Chrome very close to feature parity with Firefox for my uses, with the one glaring exception of a replacement for Firefox’s NoScript.

AdThwart – AdThwart is an ad blocker that ports parts of Adblock Plus from Firefox to Chrome. It’s still early in its development so it still doesn’t compare to Adblock Plus, but so far this seems to be the ad-blocking system with the most potential on Chrome.

Bit.ly Shorten Url – If you use Twitter much, you’re probably familiar with URL shorteners like bit.ly. This extension puts a button in your address bar that shortens the current page’s URL with bit.ly. Simple and effective.

Chromed Bird – A simple Twitter client that sits in the toolbar. It updates you with new tweets and allows you to tweet without going to the Twitter website.

ChromeMilk – A great client for Remember the Milk, the online to-do list software, that sits in the toolbar.

One Number – Addicted to Google? This extension keeps you up to date on GMail, Google Wave, Google Reader and Google Voice.

XMarks for Chrome – Chrome does incorporate Google Bookmarks, but I find XMarks gives much more control on what is synced and where, plus it works on more browsers. Just like XMarks’ extension on other browsers, this one syncs your bookmarks online for free and lets you choose which bookmarks are which computers.

youTagger and YouTube HTML5-ifier – Don’t like Flash, but like YouTube? No problem! These extensions replace the YouTube Flash Player with YouTube’s new HTML5-based player. The HTML5 player improves performance of YouTube videos and makes them less likely to crash the browser. I’m currently listing both extensions because each has an issue that could bug you. youTagger works everywhere but loads the low quality version of the video. YouTube HTML5-ifier loads the highest quality version of the video, but only works when directly on a YouTube video page, not on embedded YouTube videos or on YouTube User Channels.

Hopefully, proper high-granularity content blocking will be implemented soon so that real equivalents to Adblock Plus and NoScript on Firefox become possible.

Back to the Blog

Wow, it’s been almost 11 months! Far too long to leave this website dormant! To be fair, it’s been an eventful year for me, though that won’t be discussed here at this time. I plan to get this thing back up an running over the next month and I’ve already started with a new theme and new sidebar widgets (Twitter, Last.fm, new links). I plan to better integrate what’s going on here with Twitter and Facebook so everyone is kept informed no matter where they are. That’s the current plan anyway. YMMV

A few of the things coming in the next week or so:

  • Google Chrome Extensions Recommendations
  • Real updates to my eBay page and new auctions
  • Zork Guides website update and discussion on that topic
  • Discussion on some of the recent computing-related topics I’ve been tweeting about

More topics to be featured here long-term:

  • Android discussion (and maybe even an app I develop!)
  • Google discussion (Chrome browser, Chome OS, Google Wave, etc)
  • Operating Systems (recent releases, current trends)
  • My 2010 Projects: Cleaning/Fixing my Xbox 360, Building a kitchen pc, a new desktop pc, other cool household projects, MAME cabinet (maybe)

It’s exciting to be working on the website again. I’ve had the web design itch for a while now and though this isn’t real web design (it’s manipulating WordPress and it’s themes/plugins to do my bidding), I may do some real web design again at some point in 2010. It’s a new decade after all!

Edit (12/11/09): Also, FYI: I’m cleaning up some of the old posts including the ones that are merely links to outdated eBay auctions, or posts that are no longer or any relevance.

Summer Cleaning

As you can see, I made some changes to the website. I was starting to get tired of my theme, so I found a new one. It’s not made by me, but I like it enough to use it anyway. It’s called PhoenixBlue. I just made some small modifications to add support for the Quoter plugin.

I also upgraded to the latest version of WordPress, upgraded some old plugins, and installed some new ones. The main new thing you will notice are social links below each post. If you like what you’ve read, you can submit the article to one of the social media websites listed. I currently have buttons for Digg, Del.icio.us, Facebook, Google, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Pownce and Reddit. If you would like another website added, let me know. The plugin I use has a ton more options, but I only added the most common social media sites.

Gmail Milestone

I just noticed a milestone in my Gmail account. For the first time ever, my spam count (the number that shows how much spam Gmail has blocked in the last 30 days) passed 10,000! It’s currently at 10134. I’m glad Gmail’s spam blockers are as good as they are. I rarely get spam anymore.

Firefox Search Keywords

I was talking with Jonathan about search keywords in Firefox today and said I’d send him my search keyword bookmarks file because he hadn’t used them before. This is one of those things that is too valuable to not share, so I’m posting the info here. The Firefox search keyword is an excellent feature that unfortunately few people know about. It’s basically an extension of the bookmark. Here’s how it works: You can assign bookmarks a keyword. You can then type this keyword into the address bar and the browser brings you directly to the bookmarked URL. In addition to that, there is a special identifier, %s, that you can insert into the address of the bookmark. Then if you put text after the keyword in the address bar, the text will be inserted into the URL where the %s was.

Here’s an example: If you have a bookmark of “http://www.google.com/search?q=%s” and give it a keyword “g”, then typing “g linux” into the address bar will bring you to “http://www.google.com/search?q=linux”, which is a Google search for linux. That’s it.

Here’s a bookmark file that includes the search keywords I use: Kevin’s Search Keywords

Just import that into Firefox to use them. After the cut is a description of each included search keyword.

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Farewell MySpace

I probably should have done it sooner, but I finally did it today. I deleted my MySpace account. I’ve never been a big fan of it. It’s ugly, unintuitive, slow, buggy and stale. The new update to facebook released today puts MySpace so far behind that it’s pathetic. There’s just nothing going on at MySpace anymore. I log in occasionally to see if there’s anything new, but there’s nothing new that’s worth looking at. The only thing i ever find are friend requests from fake accounts or tons of annoying chain letter bulletins that I don’t want to read. It feels like the slums of the internet. Besides, most of my friends are on facebook too, so it’s not a big loss. For those of you that I abandoned on MySpace that aren’t on any other service, I welcome you to join facebook. You’ll enjoy it. Promise.