Buena Vista Social Club | A Free Cuban Music Documentary

Almost just paid $10 for this, but if you can live with a few commercials, you get to enjoy some pretty great Cuban music…

The Buena Vista Social club documentary tells the story of how Ry Cooder, a great musician in his own right, rediscovers the living musical legends of the island nation of Cuba.

Get Swype on Android (NOW)

Don’t expect to find Swype in the Android Marketplace, but I’d like to echo Michael Arrington’s call to run, not walk, to your closest internet pipe. The beta of this keyboard replacement app is only available to download for a few days and you don’t want to miss this.

In less than 12 hours (since activating Swype), typing emails and text messages on my cell phone has gone from a chore to more enjoyable than typing on a full size keyboard. This might be the only true productivity app on your phone, and the best part is that you won’t have to keep up with any lists or be bothered by any reminders.

How to Get and Install a Swype Keyboard

  1. Register at Swype Beta. You’ll need this user name & password to install the app.
  2. Click the link in your confirmation email to download the Swype installer (took about an hour to get my email).
  3. Once your download completes, click the .apk file.
    • You may be prompted to allow installation of third party apps in your settings (do this! really, it’s ok)
  4. Now enter your info from step 1 and click download.
  5. Click “enable Swype” and leave the default settings (you can change them later in your settings and they make this claim to ease any fears: We don’t collect
    information you type.
  6. Now press and hold in any text input area. Choose “Input Method” > “Swype”
  7. Enjoy your new keyboard (give it a day) and note that these steps look more difficult than they are, it’s really quite straight forward.

Your fingers are welcome.


Questions or problems? Check the bottom of this webpage. You can also get some handy video tutorials on their site.

P.S. iPhone owners will need to wait on this.

Twitter on BookTV

Who knew Pat Buchanan was a founding member of The Mclaughlin Group? CSPAN’s BookTV went In-Depth with Patty B. this past weekend, the former advisor to three presidents, candidate for the highest office in the country and current political analyst, uncovering some quirky and interesting habits during a three hour interview.

Taking audience questions, I couldn’t resist. This was the best I could come up with, but apparently (horn toot) it was good enough for CSPAN:

@booktv Has being on MSNBC resulted in toned down rhetoric or is it something else? Today’s PB seems far more diplomatic than in the past.less than a minute ago via web

Cookie Inflation


Has your website been doing gangbusters recently? Think again. As Comscore explains, you may be just be welcoming back a single visitor with OCD.

Techcrunch is covering a mini-soap opera today starring Comscore’s web analytics business. Linda Abraham, Comscore’s CMO jumped in with some thoughts:

1) First of all, we measure Unique People rather than Unique Cookies which web analytics systems erroneously can unique visitors. I would challenge you to find any kind of server side measurement system that measures people, not machines or cookies. To show you how absurd server side numbers are, AOL Inc. had about 259 MM Unique cookies which gives it over 125% reach compared to a true reach of 54%. The inflation is driven by cookie deletion, multiple browsers, multiple machines for the same users, multiple devices etc… Large companies do not complain about their numbers because they know their server side numbers are flawed as obviously evident by the AOL metrics, not because “comScore fixes your number”. This dynamic is less obvious with smaller sites—they don’t realize how inflated their numbers are until their reach starts exceeding 100%.

(emphasis mine)

You’re probably asking yourself how bloated are those “unique visitor” numbers in your analytics software? Unfortunately, there is no universal flat rate that will reduce your numbers to provide an accurate reading. In general, if returning visitors make up a large portion of your traffic, your inflation rate will be running higher than would otherwise be the case.
In the longer term, these concerns will diminish. As the personalized/mobile computing trend accelerates, people will be online with the devices in their own pockets and time on shared systems will diminish in proportion to their overall online life. When not on the go, people’s mobile devices will sync with their more stationary brethren.

In the meantime, how would you quantify the concerns laid out by Comscore’s Linda Abraham? What formula or method are you already using to get an accurate reading?

WordPress Theme Fundamentals

Template Tags, Themes and PHP Basics

Turn your WordPress Theme into a finely tuned machine. This concise breakdown of the most important pieces of your WordPress Theme will keep your coding efforts focused and productive. Even the experienced WP site developer will appreciate how these slides serve as a great reminder of the theming basics.

These slides are courtesy of Jeremy Clarke’s presentation at WordCamp: Intro to WordPress Theming.

You can find other great WordPress tutorials and presentations at WordPress.tv.

P.S. What I really like is the example showing all of the creative uses of custom sidebars (slide 30 & at 42 min. in the video):

And the code showing how to add new custom sidebars to your theme (slide 31):

Domain Name Forum Review – Top Five Forums for Domainers

After Google didn’t give me the results I wanted, here is my completely arbitrary list of the best domain name forums on the web. Without further adieu from the fifth best, to number one:

  1. The Webmaster World | Domain Names (5,200 Posts)
  2. Domain Name Forum | Acorn UK Domain Names (196,043 Posts)
  3. DNForum – The Place To Talk Domains (1,503,829 Posts)
  4. DomainState.com – Domain discussion forum (469,771 Posts)
  5. NamePros.Com | Buy. Sell. Discover Domain Names (3,380,038 Posts)

The number of posts is as reported by each forum as of 7/12/09. This is based on personal experience and the thinking that the number of posts should be a rough estimate of how robust the discussion is at each domaining community.

Buying, developing and selling domain names is a hobby of mine and I have found these communities to be a great place to gain insights into the industry and the business. I hope this list is helpful to those who are just starting out with their domain name portfolios and possibly to those who have been in the business a long time.

Did I miss any good domain forums? It would be great to know, just drop a note in the comments…

How To Fix Internet Explorer CSS with Thesis in WordPress

Internet Explorer can be a real pain when writing CSS :(. It seems that others have struggled with cross-browser compatibility issues, but using Thesis, I was able to conquer most of these issues on my own :D…

First, take note of the body classes called when your site is viewed in IE (you can see this by viewing the source code in the right-click context menu when you’re on the page with the problems). In IE8, my about page looks something like this:
body class=”custom about ie ie8″

While in Firefox 3.5, my about page looks like this:
body class=”custom about”

This will enable you to create CSS rule(s) which will apply to your site only when users view it in an IE browser.

Second, in IE8 you can tweak your pages (much like Firebug for Firefox) with the built in Developer Tools (Navigate to the ‘Tools’ menu and you should see it beneath there).

The developer tools will open up in another window. Select the CSS tab at the top and then you should be able to select your custom.css style sheet from the drop down menu. As you un-check/check the boxes next to the different CSS rules, you will be able to see the changes made live to your webpage in the other window. You will also be able to change the current styles and add new ones (right-clicking in the developer tools window has some useful functions for adding rules to your style sheet).

IE8 Developer Tools - HTML/CSS Split View

Finally, changing your custom.css in developer tools won’t make your changes permanent, so once I get things right, I usually just make the changes manually to my custom.css (there may be a better way, but this is what works for me).

Good luck!

Just to be clear, the information above refers to my setup which includes:

  • Firefox 3.5
  • IE8 (Thesis will apparently read which version of IE the site is viewed in and will display the appropriate body classes – IE6/IE7/etc. – allowing even more specific CSS rules)
  • WordPress 2.8
  • Thesis 1.5.1

When identifying the IE specific rules in your custom.css file, it is not necessary to include the .custom class specification. Instead, use the appropriate IE body class. For instance:

.ie #header { border-top: 1px; }

Some Related Resources

Google Reader + Twitter Feed Fixed!

How to Get Your Twitter Friend Feed working with Google Reader in 3 Minutes…

Google Reader does not play well with feeds requiring authentication (Following Your Friends on Twitter with Google Reader doesn’t work; luckily this tweak fixes that!). Here is the straight forward and secure way to resolve the problem of adding your authenticated Twitter feed to Google Reader or any other feed reader you use.

NOTE: A Google Feedburner Account is Required (if you have a Google Account, you probably already have access to Feedburner)

  1. Open Your Feedburner Account

    Simply open your existing Feedburner account and when you see the space to add a new feed, enter this (replace “myusername” and “mypassword” with your Twitter account information):


  2. Create Your Feed

    The on screen step-by-step process will guide you through, it’s really easy. You can add stats if you want, but that’s really unnecessary unless you are planning to publish your feed publicly.

  3. Add Your New Feed URL to Google Reader

    Your original Twitter RSS feed (http://twitter.com/user-name/with_friends) now looks something like this:

    http://feeds2.feedburner.com/Twitter/Enter Whatever You Want

Congrats on removing that annoying Twitter DRM!

Hope that helps; I had to search through some comments until I found this great workaround and didn’t see any solutions that were safe/private enough in the Google search results for “twitter feed google reader“.

Not much to say on Twitter, but if you’re interested: @joelhaus

Subprime Legal Domain Names

In early 2007, the irrational exuberance in the real estate market was clearly apparent. Many individuals made incredible profits; everyone from the single-family home flipper to the big-time bond insurers at AIG.

Attorney’s are now preparing for the legal battles that will ensue from this dramatic fall out. As the economic picture becomes clearer and the new regulatory regime is put in place, lawsuits are sure to follow:

SubprimeLawyers [org]
SubprimeLaw [org]
SubprimeAttorneys [net]

After deciding not to put these domain names to use, I am putting them up for sale on GoDaddy.com. The reserve price is $50, but feel free to bid as much as you want 😉