Dec 6 2019

Export Your Data From Google, Twitter, and Instagram

It feels like every year we rely more on online services, from Google, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and others. Each of these online services stores a lot of your personal data, not just meta data, but actual data like contacts, posts, photos, chats. Data is more than just personal and private, it is often our work and livelihood.

Unfortunately, to drive user engagement on their own platforms, these services don’t make it easy to interoperate with others, in essence locking you in. Much the personal and private data that we pour into these services is locked into the one service you posted, uploaded, or commented on.

It is a good idea to export all your personal and private data you consider valuable, at least once a year, from any online platform or services. Be sure to backup this data accordingly, using both physical and cloud backup solutions.

For example, with Google Takeout you can export your Blogger posts and pages, GMail email and contacts, Drive documents, YouTube videos and comments, and much more.

Google Takeout

I don’t backup my data off of Google because they would lose it, but because it has been documented a number of times that Google can suspend any account, even for what would be considered normal behavior and usage by the account holder. In the case of services like Twitter and Instagram, there are cases that accounts have been hijacked by hackers or even former friends. Additionally, these services can be bought up by other companies and can change their terms of service in a way that impacts your data and work, like when Flickr got acquired by SmugMug in 2018.


Nov 23 2019

Apple’s Pricing Genius

Laptops are designed to travel with. We taken home, to the coffee shop, to the library, when we travel, everywhere. It is not uncommon to misplace your power adapter when travel, or equally as bad forget it at home after you left for a trip. And of course, the cable used by the power adapter does wear and tear and would need to be replaced.
I must have been about 3 years when I last needed to replace the power adapter to a MacBook Pro. I remember the sticker shock when I picked up a replacement power adapter and found it cost $69, but I needed it so I paid the Apple tax and bought it.
Recently I had left behind at the office the power adapter for current MacBook Pro, 2016 model. I haven’t been in the office since and I needed charge my laptop. Luckily, so I thought, I have an Apple Store two blocks away from home. This time around, the full cost of a power adapter was $79, but Thunderbolt cable or batteries not included, I needed to shell out an additional $39 for a 0.8M USB-C cable.

Apple Store Receipt for MBP Power Adapter
Apple Store Receipt for MBP Power Adapter

This is truly Apple’s genius. To take a technology, like electricity, that was invented over a hundred years ago. A commodity technology that is found in products priced at $10 and below, like power cords. Change the connectors in such a way that others can’t legally copy your design. Break a product down to their essential components, the actual power adapter from the cable. Charge as much as possible for each component that is sold as a product.


Jul 25 2012

htaccess to Redirect WordPress Blog To Another Domain

If you have an existing WordPress blog that you’ve used for years and have built up some Google juice but now are required to relocate to a different domain, you way want to redirect all the inbound links for the old domain to your new domain. If you still have access to the old existing domain, you can easily redirect all the inbound links to the new domain using the following .htaccess script.

RewriteEngine On

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^.*old-domain\.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://new-domain.com/$1 [R=301,L]

Replace old-domain and new-domain with the correct domain names. If you WordPress blog was located in old-domain.com/wordpress then drop this in the wordpress directory that contains your WordPress installation. Of course, this only works for as long as you have access to the old-domain. Also, be sure to use the same permalink settings in the new WordPress insulation as in the previous so that the redirection maps the blogs posts correctly.


Jul 23 2012

Essential WordPress Plugins

A lot has changed since I last listed my top WordPress plugins. Over the years I’ve been blogging and helping others set up their blogs, I’ve settled on the few must have WordPress plugins that are essential for any new blog.

Jetpack by WordPress
The company behind WordPress, Automattic, have compiled a collection of useful tools that is realized as the Jatpack by WordPress plugin. It’s really a plugin suite. Jetpack includes WordPress statistics right in your dashboard, social sharing widgets, WP.me short/tiny links, and other useful tools. In addition to all these features, Automattic is constantly added more add-ons and tools for this plugin.

Google Analytics
Even though it’s not been updated in a while, I still use Google Analytics so that I can track my sites’ visitors on Google Analytics. Even though the Jetpack by WordPress offers analytics, I’ve find Google Analytics to be more detailed in how it tracks visitors.

Google Sitemap Generator
Any plugin that helps search engines crawl your blog belongs in your toolbox. The Google Sitemap Generator does just that. This plugin creates a search engine friendly site map pointing out the most recent content on your site.

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
I’ve been using Yet Another Related Posts Plugin for years. I can’t even begin to describe how this plugin works, simple put it magically detects similar blog posts on your site and creates additional links to them in the footer section of your post. This is a great plugin that helps your readers discover other similar posts on your site.

WPtouch
Now that more and more of your visitors are coming to your site using their mobile devices, such as the iPhone or Android phones, you may want to use a plugin like WPtouch. WPtouch creates a mobile device friendly version of your site.


Jul 6 2012

StackOverflow Traffic

There is nothing more that I like than to received a comment to some post I wrote years ago on how it helped someone out. Like this, I’ve come to know that small chunks of code I’ve freely made available are used in production at a variety of sites. It is my hope that the tutorials, examples, and code I write here is of help to others. Even though I like writing tutorials and code to help out my fellow developers, I’ve never answered or posted a question on StackOverflow. My technical blog is really a labor of love and I post around my busy schedule, I’ve never tried to do more than just write about the technology that I use. But even though I don’t use StackOverflow I recently found out from looking at my analytics that I receive a nice amount of visitors from the question and answer site.

StackOverflow Stats

StackOverflow Stats

It always surprises me which posts are the most visited. It’s always the one that you least expect. Either way, I’m always grateful that others have found them useful enough to share on sites like StackOverflow.


Jun 14 2012

Breakdown of Proposed Generic Top Level Domains

ICANN, the organization that regulates domain names, has allowed organizations and individuals to apply for new generic Top Level Domains (gTLD). A Top Level Domain (TLD) is the a domain extension such as .com or .org used by millions of websites. In addition to .com and .org there are country specific TLDs such as .co.uk, .fr, and .mx. ICANN has nearly 2,000 applications for new gTLDs. ICANN has released to the public gTLD application information such as the newly proposed domain extension and the applying company. For example, Google has applied for nearly 100 domain extensions including for .app, .youtube, .goog, .plus, and many more. Google clearly can afford the $185,000/application fee.

I downloaded the data, played around with it and generated some graphs to help me visualize the new land rush for domains. Please note that I discounted and removed a few gTLD applications for non-latin domains.

The first chart shows that nearly 50% of the new domain extension originated from North America. North American and Europe combine make up over 80% while African organization only applied for roughly 1% of proposed new domain extensions.

The following chart shows that a large number of the new proposed generic domain extension are under five characters long but there are a few that are up to eighteen characters in length.

The following graph shows the most popular proposed domain extensions. For example, thirteen different individuals or organizations applied for the .app TLD, eleven for .inc and .home, ten for .art, etc. This chart shows only domains with five or more applications.

As previously noted, Google applied for nearly 100 domain extensions… 98 to be exact under Charleston Road Registry Inc. Top Level Domain Holding Limited registered 68 gTLDs followed by Amazon with 65. Apple doesn’t appear in this chart because this graph shows application organizations with more than ten domain extension applications.

I also wanted to graph the number of applications per primary contact and found out that a single individual, Daniel Schindler, has filed for three hundred domain extensions. Looking at the data, each of the applications submitted by Mr. Schindler are for distinct legal entities.

So who is the real domain squatter? ICANN will be squatting on nearly $400 million because of the $185k/application fee. Another question is, how will a flood of new gTLDs affect the value of current domains? And perhaps most importantly, how will the private organizations use and restrict access to these domain extensions?