Friedbeef’s Tech is Back :)


Hey all,

This is probably the longest hiatus I’ve ever taken from blogging since I started, but I’m really glad to be back – and the regular posts will resume shortly.

Long story short, I collapsed doing a half-marathon on June 24th 2012, and have been recovering ever since. For reasons which are still sketchy, my heart stopped and at one point, I was literally dead for more than 10 minutes. I really have to thank God (and everyone that was praying – including my whole church) that no permanent damage occurred especially to the brain, and I’m on the road to a full recovery (even back at work now).

I just want to say BIG THANK YOU to every one of you for your prayers, visits, gifts, wishes, notes, Facebook, email and Twitter messages (I read them all), and encouragement throughout this whole ordeal. It really meant a lot to me and my family during this tough time, and it helped me recover much faster.

Finally, also big thanks especially to YOU, as reader of my blog. It’s because of people like you who visit my site, that I’ve been able to meet so many new wonderful friends, both online and in real life. Because you read my work, it gives me the drive and passion to keep going on, no matter how busy I have always been, and you’ve changed and shaped my life for the better.

Anyhow, sticking to what I set out to do with this blog in 2005 – I’m truly honored that so many of you have read, and continue to read – and I hope to continue to be helping people “solve everyday problems with simple technology” for a very, very long time :)

How to Make Your Own Instant MashUps Online

iftt header

With today’s web services becoming more and more niche, web mashups (combining data from two or more services) provide a great way to get amazing things done online.  For example – Portwiture, a cool service which matches photography from Flickr and the content of you most recent Twitter updates – resulting in a visual representation of your Twitter profile.

portwiture

Now, while mashups like this are very cool, you needed to have some level of web programming knowledge in order to pull something like this together.  Until now that is.

Enter, IFTT (If – this – then – that) – The roll-your-own mashup creator which is incredibly easy to set up – and will make the services you already love – even better!

IFTT combines the power of more than 40 different services to help you automate the web.  For example, if you want to have to backup all your facebook photos to dropbox, just create a task within a few clicks which simply states that IF there’s a new facebook photo, THEN upload it to Dropbox.  That’s it. 

Creating mashups is now as simple as eating cake if you follow the very basic instructions

If you want to see how other people have put this service to good use (433,065 good uses to be precise), just head on over to the recipes section where people share their own ways of how they’re using IFTT.

iftt

 

BONUS TIP 1: If you especially like Dropbox, you can try Dropbox Automator for an even more powerful experience.

BONUS TIP 2: Check out Pushing Social’s post on “Why IFTTT Could Be the Best Blogging Tool Ever’”.  Useful reading if you’re a blogger.

Twitter 101: 7 Ways to Make Better Sense of Twitter

twitter_hand

Twitter is an incredible communication tool which can also be somewhat daunting if you’re not used to a constant stream of information flow.  Here are several ways to make better sense of the Twitter so you’ll enjoy your experience more.

1. How to properly understand #hashtags on Twitter

tagalus

Ever find yourself looking at Twitter and wondering what all this talk about #motrinmoms means?  or searching Flickr and not understanding why someone would tag their photo #ip4?  Hashtags can be notoriously difficult to keep track of, so Tagalus is a free service which lets users define tags so that others can understand what they’re talking about. 

Other users can even vote on definitions and decide which best describes the given tag.  Tagalus also has a bookmarklet feature so you can lookup hashtags with a single click.

2. How to filter topics in real time on Twitter

monitter

Twitter is essentially a sea of conversations, so tracking certain keywords can be very useful especially if you’re trying to find out what people are saying about your company or product.  One of my favorite tools to do this is Monniter

This is a free service which lets you track multiple keywords in multiple columns, and it streams in any mention of them in real time.  Which means you can essentially set up a tracker for you and your competition in a jiffy.  If you’re looking at tracking tools, you can also try twendz, and twitterfall.

3. How to find the most popular links on Twitter

twiturls

If you’re a fan of PopURLs which lists the most popular content on the web, then you’ll certainly enjoy TwitURLs which is essentially all the most popular links, pictures and videos being shared on Twitter and updated every minute – which stays true to Twitter’s real-time nature.

4. How to group your contacts in Twitter

tweetdeck

Once you start following a large number of people, conversations come in thick and fast, and it can be overwhelming if you try to keep up. 

One way to get around this is to use a Twitter client like Tweetdeck, where you can group your contacts up in a more organized manner.  For example, you can have all your ex-classmates in one column, and colleagues in another – that way it’s much easier to keep track of certain groups of people.

5. How to understand how much time you’re spending on Twitter

stats

Want to know how much time you’re spending (sorry – investing), on Twitter?  Tweetstats is the perfect tool for analyzing usage patterns to see how you actually go about Tweeting information, how often you do it, when you do it, and what you tend to tweet about.  Another useful stats engine to consider is TwitterAnalyzer. 

6. How to find relevant people to follow on Twitter

mrtweet

Finding and following people outside your usual social circle can be an interesting way to branch out and meet new people.  This however is most useful when you’re connecting to people who have similar or relevant interests to you. 

My favorite is Mr.Tweet where it analyses your profile and helps your discover relevant people to follow.  Other Twitter directories like JustTweetIt, and WeFollow are also excellent ways to find people who match you to follow.

7. How to get Twitter basics right

twitterbird

If you’re completely new to Twitter, this PCMag article on the ˜Top 10 Twitter Tips for Beginners’ is an absolute must read.  This covers all the basics of how to start using Twitter effectively.  This article covers everything from retweeting to mobile tweeting. 

If you’re interested in learning how to build followers, you can always try these tips from Guy Kawasaki of Alltop.com and Kevin Rose of Digg.com.  If you need a twitter dictionary to help you with more twitter terms, try twittionary.

Hope those tips were helpful, and do follow me @friedbeef :)

How often do you tweet, and what do you Tweet about?  Tell us in the comments!

Join a Kiva Group – Change Someone’s Life Forever

kiva_malaysia

Kiva.org, the Internet’s answer to helping poor people make a better life for themselves, made two significant moves yesterday.  If you don’t know about Kiva – check out this previous post on how it helps change lives. 

1. Loan repayment system faster and better

Kiva will now return repayments to lenders as soon as those repayments are received by Kiva. Because of this change, you’ll be able to re-lend funds right away instead of waiting until the end of the loan term.

This is a huge deal because this liquidity allows lenders to help more people at a faster rate than before.

2. Join a group – make a difference as a team

One of the most powerful things about Kiva is the community of lenders. You now have the option to connect with other lenders.

Members of Kiva Lending Teams continue lending as individuals, but they have the option to count each loan they make towards the overall impact of one of their teams.

Band together and raise your team’s profile within Kiva and build a stronger connection between members.  Whether you’re part of a society, club, company, forum or just part of a local community, banding together for this common good brings us all closer together. 

If you’re Malaysian, you can join the ‘Malaysia’ group that I’ve just set up and help raise Malaysia’s profile within Kiva. 

If you’re not Malaysian, search for like-minded people or people in your area who are active in Kiva.  You can even start your own group!

Make a difference today!

ps. This blog is an ongoing supporter of Kiva with contributions going to poor entrepreneurs in need every month. 

How to Change the World. One Gift at a Time

Happy new year!  What better way to start the year than trying to change the world.

ChangingThePresent.org is a brilliant site which allows you to make donations in the forms of specific gifts.  Not a shopping site in disguise, 100% of all donations are channeled directly to charity.

Recognizing the fact that people are more inclined to donate when they know exactly what the money is going to be used for, ChangingThePresent.org has a whole range gifts for various causes so you can pick the one closest to your heart. 

Help a child today!

To kick off the new year, I’m going on a charitable comment drive.  This is how it works – I will donate one gift to ChangingThePresent.org, and to make things interesting:  The size of my donation will depend on the amount of comments I receive for this post.

If this post gets:

My plea to you – Tell us about your favorite non-profit organization’s site in the comments

I’m not going to set any conditions for the comments, but it would be really great if this comment thread became a valuable resource… So when you leave a comment, please tell us about your favorite non-profit organization’s site…  It can be a local organization, or an international one.  It can be really famous, or extremely obscure.  It can be a charity, or environmental, or any worthy cause under the sun – It’s entirely up to you! 

That way, this comment drive will not only increase the size of the donation – but help everyone who reads this post learn about other ways to make a difference!

ps.  If you blog, you can also contribute by linking to this post and raising awareness.

The deadline will close, and the donation will be made by January 11th 2008 so please get your comments in as fast as possible!

Update 11th Jan 2008: We’ve made the donation at the 25 comment mark!

[tags] charity [/tags]