Low Cost iPods?

CNN reports that it looks like Apple will soon be unveiling lower-cost iPods. This shouldn’t be a total surprise as the usual path for a company who finds itself in possession of very hot product will usually be to start to differentiate it into a whole product line within a couple of years. Apple has shown incredible prescience not only in the development of the iPod itself but also in its marketing and the idea of offering a simpler and cheaper version of the ubiquitous device (and who knows maybe a more expensive version as well?) seems to me to be a smart one. Stay tuned!

Google Preferences

Google Preferences allows you to set default search preferences like Language, Number of Results, Safe Search Filtering and whether or not your results are opened in a new window.

The greatest preference is the Language setting. It allows you to choose search results only for pages written in the languages you choose.  All this is profoundly useful. In the West we take for granted sometimes that documents we may have run across years ago will be freely accessible on the Internet, and naturally enough through a search engine like Google.

But imagine if you speak a relatively obscure language, possibly native to a part of the world far from where you’re living: you might have no access whatsoever to the documents in this language. Now Google serves as a convenient conduit allowing you to filter results with as much granularity as you require.

What is the Best Font for your Website?

The research paper “A Comparison of Popular Online Fonts: Which Size and Type is Best?” from Usability News involved a research group of sixty participants (16 males and 44 females).

The study explores the following characteristics of fonts used on the Internet:

  • Reading Efficiency
  • Reading Time
  • Perceived Legibility
  • Perceived Attractiveness
  • Font Preference

The paper concludes that “Generally, Times and Arial were read faster than Courier, Schoolbook, and Georgia. Fonts at the 12-point size were read faster than fonts at the 10-point size. In addition, a font type x size interaction was found for the perception of font legibility. In general, however, Arial, Courier, and Georgia were perceived as the most legible. “

Lookup PHP Function

Look Up PHP Function from Ranchero Software is an extension to BBEdit that provides a PHP reference.

To use the extension, simply right click on a PHP function and choose Look Up PHP from the Scripts menu. Your browser will be opened and the query will be sent to the PHP Documentation site.

This is the sort of useful tip that I aim to provide Digital Media Minute, and I would like to take this opportunity to ask you to share programming tips that could save your peers some time in their jobs. I would be happy to credit you and provide a link back to your website,  just click on the “write for us” tab on the navigation bar above.

Resolve IP to Country

IP-to-Country.com is a FREE database that gives you information on the geographical location of an IP address based on Internet infrastructure information.

The IP-to-Country Database and Tools can be used for:

  • Real Time Geo-Locating (Country)
  • Provide Location Aware Content (language, currency, etc.)
  • Corporate Websites/E-commerce (think global, act local)
  • Fraud Detection (Credit Card Fraud, etc.)
  • On-line Campaign (targeted Banner Ads)
  • Digital Rights Management
  • Web Server Log Analysis
  • Auto-selection of fields on forms (country, currency,language, etc.)
  • Filter access on basis of originating country
  • Spam Filtering

The database is available as a CSV (Comma Separated Value) list which can be imported into a mysql database (there is even an example PHP script that will do it all for you), and the database is also accessible as a Web Service.

The site has lots of examples on how to use the database via PHP and other popular scripting langauges.

Free Flash Components

flashcomponents.net is a repository of over 180 free component that can be used in your Flash MX projects. I find it extremely handy to have a go-to repository of tools like this all in one place, and I don’t know about you but I aggressively bookmark them accordingly, knowing that it will save me loads of time sooner rather than later.

My favorite is the Rich Text Editor. This component is comparable to the RTE component included on Macromedia’s Developer Resource Kit #2 (for which I paid $99USD). Go take a look at this wide assortment of Flash functionality and see what you can find that will be useful to you on your next project–or the one on which you’re currently working!

Finally – Kazaa for Mac!

Poisoned is a Mac client for the popular Kazaa peer-to-peer file sharing network. Poisoned is a free download for Mac OSX 10.2

Poisoned uses the giFT daemon which is capable of facilitating the communication between the end user and specific filesharing protocols (namely gnutella and FastTrack). This means that when you use Poisoned, you are not only searching the Kazaa network, you are searching the Gnutella network as well (Limewire uses the gnutella network).

Best of all – Poisoned is a native Mac OSX application, so it performs very well (unlike Limewire which is a slow Java app). Poisoned does not use adware or spyware – unlike Kazaa.


CyberCollege

CyberCollege offers over 100 free tutorials and articles for those interested in Film and Television production. They are well written and broken down into small modules that can be consumed in a very short period of time.

There has been an explosion in online learning and it seems clear that a paradigm shift is rapidly occurring in terms of how individuals are now empowered to proactively educate themselves via the internet. The fact that this education is usually of extremely high quality and often offered for free has not been lost on armchair anthropologists or myriad would-be students in the so-called developing world, who suddenly can seize an educational experience on par with those that their counterparts in colleges and universities worldwide pay lots of money to attend. CyberCollege might turn out to be just one of many portals for online learning experiences in the coming years, in just about any field one can think of.

Legacy Browsers

Ever had a client who requested that their site be compatible with an older browser, but you can’t test it because you don’t have that particular version of the browser in question? Here are a couple of sites that archive old browser downloads, and I can tell you that they have already saved me loads of time. It’s hard to know how the browser wars will play out, and it seems inevitable that support for legacy browsers will not continue indefinitely, but for now we still have some help:

Evolt is the king of browser archives. Their list is very complete and with hundreds of mirror sites – you are sure to get what you need.

Netscape also maintains an archive of its older versions.