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Udi’s Spot



Musings on design and technology



Updated: 2016-12-06T02:00:16Z

 



Chrome Extension: Hide Google+ Notifications

2011-07-01T14:56:15Z

I just whipped up a simple Google Chrome extension that hides the little red Google+ notification icon from the persistent google toolbar. If you’re interested, you can install it here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ogcfegjiehdakiogchpnllekccphhebd

I just whipped up a simple Google Chrome extension that hides the little red Google+ notification icon from the persistent google toolbar. If you’re interested, you can install it here: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ogcfegjiehdakiogchpnllekccphhebd

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Two million milestones

2010-12-07T19:25:46Z

It’s been way too long since I’ve written here on Udi’s Spot and perhaps we’re due for an update. I’d like to share 2 recent milestones that I’m quite proud of with all y’all (I just spent Thanksgiving in Alabama). First, my pet project of about 6 years, isitnormal.com, recently cracked 1 million unique visitors […]

It’s been way too long since I’ve written here on Udi’s Spot and perhaps we’re due for an update.

I’d like to share 2 recent milestones that I’m quite proud of with all y’all (I just spent Thanksgiving in Alabama).

(image)

First, my pet project of about 6 years, isitnormal.com, recently cracked 1 million unique visitors in a month. IIN’s growth has been slow, but steady over the years and it’s really starting to pick up some steam. It’s become quite an active community and has certainly been a very interesting project to work on. I’ve learned more than I ever imagined there was to know about my fellow human beings.

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Second up is the Firefox Extension that I designed and built while at VideoSurf and that the great team there has continued to maintain, improve and port to other platforms since my departure. The Videos At A Glance extension now has well over 1 million downloads, has been featured regularly by Mozilla (surely a big help with all those downloads, thanks Mozilla) and is just about the top rated FF Extension from about 1,000 in the “Photos, Music & Videos” category of the Mozilla Addon’s website. Its success is also a testament to the strength of the awesome video search platform that VideoSurf has built. Anyone could have built this extension on top of their public API, and I think that’s pretty cool.

Also, while I’m sharing, my newest startup is getting very close to launch and we’re extremely excited. If you’re curious, drop us your email at http://SaleLocator.com and I’ll try get you invited as soon as I can. We need more user feedback! Thanks!




Django templates: Simple numeric for loop with only built in components

2010-04-05T15:09:07Z

Scenario: In your web page, you want to print out a few identical items in a loop.  Perhaps you want 5 rows worth of initial inputs available in a form. Problem: Django’s template language has no way to do a simple numeric loop. Solution: {% for i in 12345|make_list %}     {{ i }} {% endfor […]

Scenario:

In your web page, you want to print out a few identical items in a loop.  Perhaps you want 5 rows worth of initial inputs available in a form.

(image)

Problem:

Django’s template language has no way to do a simple numeric loop.

Solution:

{% for i in 12345|make_list %}

    {{ i }}

{% endfor %}

Notes:

Clearly this is not beautiful.  But, it works nicely for small cases, and it doesn’t require you to set up any additional template tags or add a range to your context in your view.  I’m sure others have used this approach before, but I couldn’t find anything about it by searching so I thought I’d share.




New Greasemonkey goodness (Insert VideoSurf summaries on Google, Yahoo! and Youtube search)

2009-01-09T21:40:15Z

I just published my first post on the VideoSurf blog. It’s about a Greasemonkey script that I wrote to insert our VideoSurf visual summaries into Google, Yahoo! and Youtube search results pages. I think the script is pretty sweet and quite useful. If you’re interested, there are screenshots and installation instructions on the VideoSurf blog: […]

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I just published my first post on the VideoSurf blog. It’s about a Greasemonkey script that I wrote to insert our VideoSurf visual summaries into Google, Yahoo! and Youtube search results pages. I think the script is pretty sweet and quite useful.

If you’re interested, there are screenshots and installation instructions on the VideoSurf blog:

http://www.videosurf.com/blog/never-get-rick-rolled-again-42/

If there are any Greasemonkey scripters out there, I’ll also share a cool discovery that I made along the way. There’s now a very easy way to include jQuery’s great functionality into your Greasemonkey scripts. You just need to add this line to the file’s header:

// @require http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.2.6/jquery

Having jQuery at your disposal can really speed up development and make it much, much less tedious. Check out the source of my VideoSurf script to see some of the ways that I used it.

Update: I made it on to Techmeme:
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Update 1/8/2009: We turned it into a Firefox extension and added some awesome new features for the Youtube video page. Check it out, https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/10218/.




Changes afoot. Back in USA. Joined VideoSurf.

2008-09-17T18:16:53Z

After a year and a half of hard work and a wonderfully flexible lifestyle that included a 4 month stint in Buenos Aires, I’ve returned to the USA and decided to once again take on full time work. I’ve joined an amazing startup in San Mateo called VideoSurf. They’re doing some really innovative stuff with […]

After a year and a half of hard work and a wonderfully flexible lifestyle that included a 4 month stint in Buenos Aires, I’ve returned to the USA and decided to once again take on full time work.

I’ve joined an amazing startup in San Mateo called VideoSurf. They’re doing some really innovative stuff with online video and I’m extremely excited about all the possibilities. Everything is still in stealth mode, but you should start to hear more about it in the coming months. If you’d like an invite to try the site out, email me and I’ll see if I can make it happen. No promises yet though.

As for FeedEachOther… While the site is extremely useful and loved by many, its current incarnation isn’t getting the traction necessary to turn it into a real business. Perhaps I’ll take it in a new direction in the future. I’m very proud of what I’ve built, but trying something new now is the the right move for me. I will still keep the site up and running, but active development has pretty much stopped.

If this worries anyone who’s currently relying on the site, I’ll be happy to help you export any of your information from the system. Send your requests via the FEO feedback page and I’ll work to add new export features to the site or run one-off scripts to get the data for you if necessary. However, take heart that the site will still be running for quite some time because I use it daily myself and I know that quite a few others do as well.

So, that’s that… Woah.

Viva VideoSurf!




Is Facebook stirring up trouble?

2008-07-07T19:23:57Z

A friend of mine recently decided to tidy up her Facebook profile information. She got to the relationships section and thought to herself, “you know what? this is nobody’s business. I don’t want to broadcast this to everyone.” She saw a message there that said “Leave status option blank to hide from profile.” Perfect, that’s […]

A friend of mine recently decided to tidy up her Facebook profile information. She got to the relationships section and thought to herself, “you know what? this is nobody’s business. I don’t want to broadcast this to everyone.” She saw a message there that said “Leave status option blank to hide from profile.” Perfect, that’s exactly what she was looking to do. Blank it is. Done.

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However, the next day, she started getting a flood of phone calls from family members and close friends. “Woah, I just saw it on Facebook. You never told me you were seeing someone! Who is he???”. The source of this confusion? An item in her Facebook news feed that was broadcast to all her friends. It looked like this:

(image)  Jane Doe is no longer listed as “Single”

This is extremely misleading and it can cause quite a bit of trouble. My first thought was that this is clearly a bug. A classic oversight in a complex set of interactions.

But is it?

Another friend that I discussed this with said, “dude, you’re being naive. Facebook does that stuff on purpose. They’re trying to stir up trouble. To get people talking. ”

That blew my mind a little bit. Am I naive? Are the product people are Facebook really so diabolical? My hunch is that they’re just young, busy and fallible. But, I could be wrong. It definitely got me thinking.

Maybe I need to be a bit more diabolical myself…




What I write about

2008-06-18T18:05:04Z

A post on Knowing and Doing inspired me to check out Wordle. Wordle generates a good looking jumble of words for any text you paste in. The more often a word is used, the larger it appears. I did a ‘select all’ on my blog’s front page and threw it in there and this is […]

A post on Knowing and Doing inspired me to check out Wordle. Wordle generates a good looking jumble of words for any text you paste in. The more often a word is used, the larger it appears. I did a ‘select all’ on my blog’s front page and threw it in there and this is what resulted. Pretty neat.

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I like how “People” is so big.

Check out this one of a McCain speech, and this one of Obama’s race speech.




I outsourced myself to Argentina (late announcement)

2008-04-03T21:18:31Z

It’s been 4 months since I last decided to write here at Udi’s Spot. Hard to believe. The main reason I’ve dropped off the blogging planet is that a few months ago I moved down to Buenos Aires. You could say that I outsourced myself. A curious thing happens when you remove yourself from The […]

It’s been 4 months since I last decided to write here at Udi’s Spot. Hard to believe.

The main reason I’ve dropped off the blogging planet is that a few months ago I moved down to Buenos Aires. You could say that I outsourced myself.

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A curious thing happens when you remove yourself from The Scene. You slowly stop getting urges to turn every glimmer of original thought into a full fledged online essay. You just ponder it, mention it to a friend, and move on.

That said, I do feel a bit delinquent in my duties because there have been so many interesting things going on in my life and so many fascinating things that I’ve noticed from this new perch of mine.

So, I write today to let you know that I’m still alive and that you can expect some more from me soon.

You can check out some of my Argentina pictures here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/udi/sets/72157603942126492/
(You need to be my friend on Flickr to see all the good stuff, sorry)

Lastly, please check out the hot new look that FeedEachOther is sporting today. The announcement is over at the FEO Blog. Personally, I think it’s a massive improvement when it comes to usability. Try it out, spread the word.




Of course you shouldn’t be evil

2008-06-24T18:04:04Z

Call me crazy, but perhaps Google’s not-so-unofficial corporate motto, “don’t be evil“, isn’t such a great thing to aspire to. I sincerely believe in their good intentions, but maybe this was the wrong way to state them. I’m reminded of this classic Chris Rock bit: You know the worst thing about n***as? N***as always want […]

Call me crazy, but perhaps Google’s not-so-unofficial corporate motto, “don’t be evil“, isn’t such a great thing to aspire to. I sincerely believe in their good intentions, but maybe this was the wrong way to state them.

I’m reminded of this classic Chris Rock bit:

You know the worst thing about n***as? N***as always want some credit for some shit they supposed to do. A n***a will brag about some shit a normal man just does. A n***a will say some shit like, “I take care of my kids.”

You’re supposed to, you dumb mothaf***a. What are you talkin’ about? What are you braggin’ about? What kind of ignorant shit is that?

“I ain’t never been to jail.”

What do you want, a cookie? You’re not supposed to go to jail, you low-expectation-having motherf***er!

“Don’t be evil”. Well, of course you shouldn’t be evil. It’s obvious!

If this motto is seen as revolutionary or wonderful, then what does that say about our collective opinion of Corporate America?

Are things really so bad that not being evil is some sort of an accomplishment? Really? Why did we all fall for this? Shouldn’t we aim higher?

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Deliberate Inefficiencies

2007-12-15T09:12:16Z

Danah Boyd has written an awesome post about how inefficiency and unreliability can actually be beneficial in certain social situations. Think about all of the interesting interactions that happen while people are waiting for drinks at a crowded bar. She also asked if anyone could think of any examples of deliberate inefficiencies built into social […]

Danah Boyd has written an awesome post about how inefficiency and unreliability can actually be beneficial in certain social situations. Think about all of the interesting interactions that happen while people are waiting for drinks at a crowded bar.

She also asked if anyone could think of any examples of deliberate inefficiencies built into social websites. After racking my brain for a few minutes I realized that we had actually done this on Yahoo! Answers.

When you ask a question, you have to wait a few hours before selecting a best answer. This forced waiting period pisses a lot of people off, but it’s a key piece of what makes the site work well. By forcing the asker to wait, enough time is allowed for more, and potentially better, answers to roll in. In the long run, this forced inefficiency benefits the community.

I’m really curious to see what other examples her readers come up with.