Mac users using Gmail or Google Apps should take a look at the Sparrow mail app. It puts a Tweetie for Mac-like interface on top of Gmail, and is doing so with increasing effectiveness. The latest beta tightened up the design, improved performance, and added support for e-mail aliases on an account. It’s the first mail client I’ve used for consecutive days for several years. While I’m not sure it’s the best choice for people who need to manage a lot of e-mail (there are some issues with deleting and archiving many messages at once and no support for labels yet), it’s now good enough for my purposes and I’m looking forward to seeing it evolve further.
As Simon Ashton noticed earlier today, I have indeed started using a custom URL shortener, jsmth.me. Why? Why not? I was accepted into bit.ly Pro yesterday (a free upgrade, at least while it is in beta) and got started very quickly. It took a few days to get approved, but the whole process after approval takes about 10 minutes (DNS propagation not included). Yes, I know t.co is coming to rule us all on Twitter, but there’s something to be said about owning your short domain (particularly given recent uncertainty concerning the .ly TLD). I also think having a custom domain is good in the long run — the only way it would be better is if I was running on YOURLS (which I am considering down the road for other projects but don’t have time to set up right now). However, should it come to where I need to export my data, it shouldn’t be a problem via the API.
Web designers, rejoice: you aren’t the only ones who have to deal with old IE quirks. Kalpesh Patel found and fixed an admittedly strange Apache default configuration which was slowing down SSL requests substantially. (Via Scott Lundgren [@capitalfellow] on Twitter.)
One feature of New Twitter is that it puts your new followers right in plain view on your home timeline. As someone who doesn’t get new follower e-mail anymore, this is a handy feature. However, it’s just been damned disappointing how many accounts follow me that are either pure spam or just a feed of links to a blog. Come on people. You can do better than that.
In the insane asylum that is my life, I forgot to mark September 18, 2005: the day I launched jaredwsmith.com on WordPress 1.5 after a few failed attempts at writing a custom CMS from scratch and then running a mostly unfocused community here. I would never have known it then, but WordPress was a big reason why I finally learned standards-based design (I had still relied on tables until early 2005) and was a vehicle for giving my career a journalistic bent (even if my paying jobs haven’t always reflected it). Incidentally, I chose WordPress mainly because of the book I helped write, Building Online Communities with Drupal, phpBB, and WordPress. Little did I know that I would never launch my planned phpBB-based forums (sorry, old-school The Realm/jaredwsmith.com forumgoers) and simply stick to the blogging route, but that’s exactly what happened. Since relaunching the blog, I’ve gotten an opportunity to meet many wonderful people and find community well before “social media” was a household buzzword. Lately the blog has been more neglected; the convenience of Twitter and other outlets takes time from traditional writing. I have a few changes in mind (including a fresh coat of paint; I haven’t redesigned in almost two years) that I hope will motivate me to post more things here. What I’d like to know is: How are you maintaining your blog?
The fun of having five years of archives: seeing how I joked about “Facebook GPS” in 2006 as a potential upcoming feature. Turns out my joke was only four years too early.