Post in the 'Tech' Category

Got a Leak?

Myjive Leak As many of you are aware, my company Myjive has gotten very busy lately. In the fast paced technology industry, thing happen quickly. We have multiple active projects and collaborations involving people accross the globe. We also dabble in side projects purely out of creativity, curiousity or you could even say geekiness.

Not all of these ventures come to fruition yet or have been made public. So, if you are curious about what we’ve been up to you can check out the Leak. The Leak is where we post about new and exciting work going on behind closed doors. Go ahead… get your feet wet!

Why Is My ISP COX Blocking?

First, some background… My company and many of our clients host websites with a company called Mediatemple (MT) in Los Angeles. My ISP is Cox Communications.

Tuesday Night: Bad things started happening. I coudn’t connect to our company mail server. I couldn’t load our company website. So, I tried to login the admin side of our server. Can’t do that either. Figured I’d give it some time.

Wednesday Morning: Still no dice. Client who hosts with MT and lives in the Florida panhandle says he can’t check email or load his website (his ISP is Cox also). Okay… so I tried going to Mediatemple’s site to put in a support request. Guess what? Can’t load their page either. I know what you’re thinking, my internet connection is down. Nope! I can reach other websites, check email from other servers, etc.

Wednesday Night: Having worked in tech support I went through the normal checks and fixes. Restart computer, clear cache, check other browsers, try without firewall, restart router, restart cable modem… All to no avail.

Luckily I had Mediatemple’s number and called tech suppport. I explained the situation in detail. After holding for a minute the support guys asks, “Is your ISP Cox?” Well of course it is… “Ya, they seem to be blocking all our IPs.” Supper! So I call Cox Support. I spend 50 minutes on the phone with this absolute moron lady who has me do all the checks I did before. I explain what Mediatemple told me and she says Cox would never block anything! Yeah, right! Four times she tells me she can not help any more and I should call my PC maker or Microsoft or Norton or Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny ’cause maybe they can help more than her. She doesn’t understand we had the same problem on a Mac and at different locations. The problem is not my computer and not the server, damnit!

Finally, I get to second level support and he has me ping the domains and IPs that I can not reach. Obviously, I can’t ping them. He eventually gives me a ticket number and I go to a higher level support. Once I reach them and explain the situation in detail, the tech says, “Did they not tell you we are having DNS problems?” No, they didn’t. But that would really make sense. He kindly adds the domains to the list of problems.

Thursday Morning: All is well. So, what have we learned. First and second level support are not only untrained monkeys, they are not informed of these outages. And I never got an answer as to how all IPs hosted by Mediatemple got blocked/lost/messed up. Sounds fishy. I later learned other sites including MySpace had the same problem. What a bunch of COX!

WordPress Netflix Plugin 2.0

Less than a week after the release of version 1.0, I have an upgraded version of the Netflix plugin for WordPress.

New features:
Added tab to Plugins menu to set variables throught the wp-admin console.
Added before/after option to add html before and after display.

WordPress Netflix Plugin

I have created a plugin for WordPress that lets you display information from your Netflix account. This includes text and images from your queue, recommendations and recent activity.

Check out the official plugin page. You can see an example of the plugin in my sidebar where I display the covers for the 3 movies I currently have at home.

I Click How I Wanna Click!

Ahhhhh!

As someone who spends a majority of his day in front of a computer and a ton of time online, I have grown very familiar with the web and it’s problems. A lot of issues stem from Microsoft (particularly IE), but that is an topic for another time. My current frustration is universal. It occurs no matter what brand of computer, operating system, service provider or browser you use.

You have no control over your click. Yeah, that’s right! What happens when you are browsing a website and you click on a link? Who the fuck knows? It might open in that window. It might open in a new window. It might be a download. It might link to another website. It might launch your damn email program. It might launch Adobe and lock up your browser for half an hour until a pdf loads. It might even launch some flash popup!

I wanna click how I wanna click! The problem is all links appear to be created equal, but they’re not! They eliminate user control and lack information.

First off, links should NEVER open in a new window. It should be up to me if I want to clutter my desktop with a million windows. And for godsake, tell us if the link is to a pdf. Put an icon next to it or put ‘(pdf)’ next to the link. Whoever invented pop-up ads should walk in front of a bus. How much money has been invested on STOPPING pop-ups? Plus, tell me if the link is external. I wanna know I’m leaving your site.

What I propose is a stylistic indicator of what kind of link it is in the form of a graphic or rollover text. There are already sites out there that do this. I have taken it a step further and created a demo of how these links should look:

http://www.albertbanks.com/demos/links/

A little style goes a long way to showing you what a link does!

Everyone Skype!

All of us have cell phones. All of us pay for those cell phone minutes. All of us have broadband internet connections. All of use us instant messaging programs. But haven’t you ever gotten frustrated chatting online. It is so slow, typing and waiting for responses. Plus it is so easy to misunderstand moods and sarcasm.

Skype Logo

The solution is Skype. Skype offers free global telephony, to make unlimited, superior quality voice calls with peer-to-peer software. I know many of us tried phone calls over our computer in the past, with varying degrees of success and reliability. But Skype is the one that got it right.

Ron and I have been using it to talk about work when we are at our computers. We have utilized the chat and file send feature when discussing projects. It really helps with productivity. We even hope to get some of our clients on Skype and utilize the conference call functionality.

The calls are crisp and clear, with no counting cellphone ‘bars’. Best of all, it is free no matter what time of day. Skype is cross platform compatible and all you need is speakers and a microphone or a headset. For a small fee you can even call regular phone numbers including overseas. My request to anyone reading this is download Skype and give it a try. Look me up and give me a shout!

Update: Skype video is on the way.

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