Google Tip: Tracking Yourself in Google Blogsearch

Earlier this month, I wrote about tracking mentions of yourself on twitter more completly then just checking the @replies tab on twitter (or in tweetdeck).  Keeping tabs on what people say about you in twitter is only one step in effectively tracking references to yourself online.

So here’s step 2, if you want to really know what people are saying about you online, take the search a step further and check out what is being said about you on blogs.

Here is a slightly modified version of the same search string I used on Twitter to track mentions of me.

“Nicholas Moline” OR “Nick Moline” OR NickMoline OR link:nick.pro -site:nick.pro

Now when I plug this search in at Google Blogsearch, I see mentions of me on blogs around the web.

Think of -site:nick.pro the same way we thought of -from:NickMoline on the twitter search, it is pointless to see mentions of my own name on my own site, so I quickly filter out my domain name from the results.

The link:nick.pro is similar to to:NickMoline on twitter search, by adding in “OR link:nick.pro” I will get posts that link to me even if they don’t mention me by name.

Once I had the results, I sorted by date, and then clicked the link on the bottom of the page to view the feed in Google Reader, now whenever someone mentions me on their blogs, I’ll be notified as soon as Google ads the post to their index.

iPhone 3.0 Supports Both Local AND Exchange Calendars and Contacts

What would you like to do with the existing calendars information on your iPhone?
What would you like to do with the existing calendars information on your iPhone?

When Exchange support was added in the iPhone 2.0 software last summer, turning on Exhange Syncing for Contacts or Calendars was an exclusive action.  Once you turned on Exchange Calendars you could no longer sync your calendars on your iPhone with your computer directly.  It appears that in the iPhone 3.0 that this is no longer the case.  I upgraded to the beta of 3.0 last night and when I attempted to setup Google Syncing again with my calendars, I got the screen on the right.

Previously, doing this action would prompt me that all existing calendars on the iPhone would be deleted, now it asks what to do with the calendars already on the iPhone with an option to keep them intact.  This indicates that Apple is planning on removing the limitation of supporting either Exchange OR synced content but not both.

Unfortunately iTunes seems to not know what to do with this yet, and if I don’t delete the synced calendars, iTunes is not able to do anything with them.

Also unfortunate is that the iPhone will still only support 1 exchange account, an attempt to add a second Exchange Account brings up the familiar “Only one Exchange ActiveSync account can be configured.” message.  While most business users will only have one Exchange account to sign into, Google’s recent move into adding ActiveSync support to Google Calendar and Google Contacts means that at least some of those business users with business accounts on their company Exchange servers may want to setup their personal Google Calendar and Contacts as well, and they’ll be out of luck.

This is still good news, however, for anyone who needs their corporate calendars and contacts but has their own calendars and contacts on their computer as well that they would like to sync.  Kudos to Apple for this non-touted but useful feature.

Twitter Tip: A Better @replies List in TweetDeck

@Replies tab on Twitter
@Replies tab on Twitter

Both Twitter and TweetDeck (as well as most other Twitter Clients) give you an easy way to get a list of responses people sent you.  On Twitter itself, this is the @Replies tab off of your home page. TweetDeck gives you a Replies column by default, and if you delete it, you can get it back by clicking on the replies button Replies button in TweetDeck on the top of the screen.  TweetDeck’s replies button uses the replies twitter feed feature from the Twitter API to work, so it returns the exact same list that you get on the home page.

I’ve found however, that I often want to track everything that is said to or about me, even if they are not technically @replies.  Because of this I’ve ditched the replies column in my TweetDeck and instead have created my own @replies list of sorts using the Search feature in TweetDeck which uses the Twitter Search API. To do this yourself follow the simple instructions after the break.
Continue reading “Twitter Tip: A Better @replies List in TweetDeck”

Keeping in Step 2 – iPhone, Mac, and Google Calendar Syncing, now Better, and cheaper.

Back in August, I posted a how-to on keeping your iPhone (or iPhone 3G) and Mac in sync with Google Calendar all the time over the air, it basically required using both Mobile Me and Spanning Sync with an Always On Mac to make sure your iPhone was kept in constant sync with both your Mac and Google Calendar.

At the time, it was the only solution available to make this possible, now however, Google has made it all so much easier, and cut out all of the cost, in fact, I’m sure Apple is not too pleased about how Google has made it possible to have two way over-the-air syncing with iPhones for free, thus making their $99/year Mobile Me Service all but unnecessary to most people.

Without further ado, here is how to keep your Mac (which no longer needs to stay online 24/7), your iPhone, and Google Calendar all in sync for Free.

Continue reading “Keeping in Step 2 – iPhone, Mac, and Google Calendar Syncing, now Better, and cheaper.”

Google Chrome Extensions Coming Out by May!

That’s right, I said it, and so far I’m the only one who has. Google has announced that extensions are coming to Google Chrome but have been mum on when. However I saw something today, that indicates the timetable may be short. Google officially opened up registration for Google I/O 2009, their third annual (first one was just called Google Developer Day) Developer’s Conference.

Google Chrome Extensions Session at Google I/O 2009
Google Chrome Extensions Session at Google I/O 2009

Like last year, it will take place at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Along with the open pre-registration, they’ve also posted a list of Sessions (subject to change). High up on the list is a session entitled “Developing extensions for Google Chrome” which contains the following description:

Learn how Google Chrome makes it easy to write extensions using the web technologies you already know. This talk will cover the basics of the extension system (distribution/packaging, installation, updates), as well as the different APIs to enhance with the browser.

I’d say this is a safe bet that if Extensions are not released BEFORE Google I/O, then they will be released as a new feature AT Google I/O. Extensions are coming, but what about Mac Support?

UPDATE FROM GOOGLE I/O: While the session went through as planned, it turns out my theory was wrong, they simply aren’t available to announce support for extensions yet, although it is coming soon, and they are really well implemented in beta.

UPDATE 2 (June 3rd): The Session video is now up on youtube, I’ve embedded it below:

Is the book better than the movie?

Is the book better than the movie?
Is the book better than the movie?

It is no secret that I’m a fan of the Chronicles of Narnia series of books and movies, and as a loyal fan, I follow news related to Narnia, and one of my favorite news sources for Narnia related news is NarniaFans.com.  I don’t normally bother to post Narnia related news here, because I feel that I would never be able to do the justice that a dedicated site such as NarniaFans can do, however today my Google Reader showed me an article relating to Narnia that caught my attention for more reasons then The Lion.

In New Zealand, the New Zealand Book Council’s agency (Colenso BBDO) in Auckland, New Zealand, has come up with a rather ingenious way to try and get more young people to read.  When people in New Zealand rent Prince Caspian on DVD from video rental stores in Auckland and the surrounding areas, they see the DVD on the left, and on the right a number of pages, in fact, they see the first 2 chapters of Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis, with a title page that contains the question “Is the book better than the movie?”

I felt like posting about this story here because I love anything that encourages young people to read.  When I was growing up, the Chronicles of Narnia were some of my personal favorite books to read, and I read them over and over again, today sadly a lot of young people who go to see these movies (which are fantastic), don’t even realize that these wonderful books exist.  By putting the first couple of chapters of a book in with the DVD Rental, perhaps children who enjoy the movie will decide to read the accompanying beginning of the book, and when they get hooked, will head to their local library to grab the rest of it.

This could obviously work for series other then Narnia, imagine if the Harry Potter DVDs included the first two chapters of their accompanying books. I know by chapter 2 of Philosopher’s Stone, I was hooked on J.K. Rowling’s style.

And why limit it to the DVD release, have movie theaters hand out pamphlets of the first chapter of Inkheart after children go to see that imaginative tale this month.

I applaud the New Zealand Book Council for trying out this imaginative campaign to bring more young people to literature.  It is my belief that with more children reading books, we will have a much brighter tomorrow.

Google Chrome will probably support Firefox Extensions! – UPDATED

Well I feel like an idiot, as the commenter below pointed out, the link I mentioned was a bookmark itself, not a “get bookmark plugins” link, but it was showing up in my list of bookmarks, which means that, as the commenter said, this bookmark had been imported from Firefox, and was not actually an indication that Google Chrome was intending to support Firefox Extensions.

The truth of the matter is I was so surprised to find the link, that I didn’t think about logical reasons why that link might have been there. I spun up a fresh copy of Windows on VMWare after the commenter posted, and did an installation of Google Chrome where Firefox had never existed. The link I mentioned below did not exist, which means the commenter was right, it did indeed come from an import of Firefox bookmarks. I’m big enough to admit that I’m wrong.

For archival purposes, my original, incorrect, blog post is after the break. My review of the things I like about Chrome still stands, although my foolish thought that Chrome will support Firefox extensions does not.

Continue reading “Google Chrome will probably support Firefox Extensions! – UPDATED”

Keeping in Step, how to Sync your iPhone’s Calendar with Google Calendar

I love Google Apps for Domains, I use it for all of my domains, I’ve even setup holodeck3.com with the Partner edition so that my users can get @holodeck3.com email accounts and services through them. Google does a lot, for free, and they do it well. I’m also a Mac an an iPhone user. I am never without my iPhone, and only rarely without my laptop.

Google has, over time gotten a lot better at providing me with services I need in order to keep my world more in sync. I was glad to be in the early adoption crowd of users for IMAP on GMail, and the first person among my group of friends to get IMAP support on my Google Apps for Domains accounts. This has helped a lot as my iPhone is now what I use for email when I’m away from my laptop, and in fact I find myself not going to the computer quite as often when I’m “off duty” because of it.

I love Google Calendar and prefer to have my calendar events in Google as opposed to simply a local Calendar on my computer or phone, however when I am at my computer, using iCal is so much easier then using Google Calendar (and having to keep yet another browser window open), and then of course there’s the little matter of keeping my calendar on the iPhone so I have my events easily at hand. Google has long allowed you to subscribe to a Google Calendar using iCal’s ics format, but this was one way, only allowing you to read your Google calendar in iCal, not make changes to it. Until very recently the best way to keep iCal in sync with Google Calendar is to use Spanning Sync, a $25 program (use this link and you can get $5 off!), that keeps your calendar in iCal in sync both ways with your calendar on Google.
Continue reading “Keeping in Step, how to Sync your iPhone’s Calendar with Google Calendar”

GMail Down

GMail Down
In the latest in my ongoing series of Major websites experiencing outages, GMail has been down for at least the last hour. Google’s Mail service is excellent and over all I’ve always been pleased with it. Their servers are redundant, I don’t have problems with lost email messages, and the spam filtering is second to none. I also am a big fan of the search, filtering, and conversation features that make it the best email experience I’ve ever had, but today, it’s down, and I can’t access my email, which again slows down my productivity. But I take it as a bit of comfort, because the next time one of my sites goes down I’ll remember, even Google has server outages sometimes.

It’s important to note that while the web interface (which I primarily use) is down, the IMAP appears to be fully operational, so I’m still getting new emails buzzing on my iPhone constantly, I just much prefer to work on the web based interface with all of the search functionality that makes it easy to find just the right message when I need it. I hope the server comes back up again soon.

Also before some jerk calls me a fool and tells me that I’m screwing up with my urls, it’s not just me, None of my coworkers are able to get on GMail, neither can my wife (who is not here), nor several friends online. A Simple Date Based Google Blog Search shows that many other people are experiencing problems with 502 errors on the GMail interface today

Update: After getting everything operational again, Google Blogged about the outage, apologizing for the inconvenience.

Amazon Still down, money down too

Updated Amazon Error Message

I previously reported that Amazon.com was down with a non-descriptive error message. After almost 2 of downtime it seems they’ve decided to have a friendlier error message, so it seems at least they are acknowledging that something is wrong now, but it is still down. According to CNet, this outage could be costing Amazon as much as $31,000 every minute! This accounts to about $3,348,000 so far, and there’s no sign of the outage ending…

This is already hitting Amazon where it really hurts, AMZN is down over 4% today