Got Chance

s Hari

HOW TO : Put Your Own “Feedback-Style” Twitter Badge

Few days back, i wrote a post about a Twitter badge, that looks like Uservoice’s Feedback button. However, there were certain limitations in using it :

  • The image is hosted on their server, not yours.
  • It includes a small “?” link that leads back to their website.
  • It relies on Javascript. Won’t work if javascript is disabled.
  • Limited to the texts “Follow us”, “Follow”, “Follow Me” and “My Twitter”

When Mike left a comment asking if it was possible to get the image hosted on our site, i decided to write a quick tutorial on how to put such a badge on your site without relying on external site.

Personally, I hate to follow tutorials without knowing the outcome. So, check out the DEMO to see what you’ll be creating.

Step 1 : The Markup

The markup is really simple. Just link your image to your twitter account and wrap it inside a div with an id, as follows :

<div id="twitter-badge">
	<a href="http://twitter.com/shrihari"><img src="twitter.jpg" alt="Twitter" /></a>
</div>

That code should go just before the closing body tag : </body>.

Step 2 : The CSS

The CSS is also amazingly simple. Firstly, you need to make sure the an image with a link has no ugly border around it. If you’re using WordPress, chances are high that your theme author has already done this, unless you’re using some spammy theme. Next, you need to fix the position of the image.

img, a img { border: 0; }
#twitter-badge
{
	position: fixed;
	left: 0;
	top: 200px;
}

If you want the image on the right side, you’ve to replace left: 0; with right: 0;

Check out the demo here. If you’ve any questions feel free to drop them in the comments.

New Redesign Live At Kontactr.com

After about a week’s work, the redesign is finally live at Kontactr, the personal contact form service. If you’re a Kontactr user, you should’ve received an email about the redesign and other changes. the redesign makes the site much more user friendly and also offers little more eye candy than the previous design. However, the thing for end users is the redesign of their hosted contact forms. Check out mine here. The main change is that the validation is done through Javascript. For users who have disabled javascript, there is still the normal validation.Capture 

Also, unlike the site itself, the contact forms have a width of about 600px so that they’ll look good on all screen resolutions. But then, why is the site wider ? It was actually a wise decision. The target audience of the site itself are blogger and webmasters, majority of whom will be having 1024×768 or greater resolution. But, the target audience of the contact forms are just the general internet users. So, it includes people who have 800×600 resolutions.

The next is that i’ve created a Twitter account for Kontactr. If you’re on twitter, don’t forget to follow @kontactr. And lastly, there is a new feedback forum for Kontactr now. If you’ve any new ideas/suggestions for Kontactr, head over to the feedback forum and post them right away.

What plans i have in mind ?

  • To introduce PRO account with ability to remove “powered by Kontactr”, change the “Sent, thank you” message text and some other features.
  • In general, add more features for all users.

If you’ve some ideas in mind, drop them at the feedback forum.

Opera Unite – Does It Really Change Anything ?

The latest hype around is the internet is all about Opera Unite. For those who don’t know Opera Unite is a service that turns every browser into a webserver. It eliminates the server-client relationship that we are all used to and allows two computers to connect without the need of a web server. Sounds pretty cool ? Don’t decide just yet. First of all, i don’t know what percent of the general, non-tech-savvy users will understand what Opera Unite is (conidering that many do not know what a browser is).

No, lets look into the services that OU has to offer. To start with, Opera has provided 8 services.

File Sharing & Photo Sharing

A simple and safe way to share your files between computers. Safe ? As pointed out on a blog, the URL of the OU is not ever https://. And did i tell you that your computer and Opera should be running always, if you want to access your OU service from any other computer. I’d rather choose better alternatives like SkyDrive, Dropbox etc.

Media Player

Access your complete home music library from wherever you are” Are you kidding ? I’d rather take my music with me, than keeping my home computer running all the time for me to access its music. Of course it allows you and your friends to listen to music collaboratively. But thats sorta silly.

Web Server

This service is the one that really transforms your browser into a web server. It will come in handy when you want to show off a fancy HTML page to your friend without having to upload it to any server. I don’t see any other practical use of it. Home networks and computers are not suited for hosting websites and that is the reason people pay the hosting providers for. Even if your computer is superman and can run 24/7 without any problems, you should choose better solutions like Ubuntu Server and the like, for hosting websites.

The Lounge

This is the only service that i see some sense in. You can chat with your friends online (which everyone does most of the time) without having to rely on Google, Yahoo, MSN and the like. But i don’t see me (or anyone) replacing the favorite messengers with OU yet. Not to mention, i’m damn sure i can’t convince any of my friends to try OU. The obvious question is “Whats the big difference ?”. For an average use, why does it matter at all whether he communicates directly or via a webserver.

These are just the services that Opera offers, to start with. It provides an API for developers to creates services on. But i doubt any of them will be useful enough to convince people to use Opera Unite. So, the answer to the million dollar question “Does Opera Unite really change anything ?” is probably a negative. To the end user, it doesn’t matter whether his computer communites with a webserver or not. Anyway, we’ll have to wait and see what the developers come up with.

Now, whats your opinion ? Do you think Opera Unite will be of any use to you ?

My New Twitter Background

I’ve been owning a twitter account for a long time, though i use it only less. All these days i never cared about my twitter background and was happy with the default one. As i started to get more and more followers, i said to myself “this is the time to put a customized background. do it before its too late”. And, today i did it. I didn’t spend a lot of time on it. Just some 2 minutes of Photoshop work. Looking forward to hear your comments on how it turned out. Check out the screnshot below, or live on my Twitter page.

twitter-capture

Is It That Important To Get Rid Of WordPress Search ?

Today, this post from ProBlogDesign popped up on my Google Reader and made me wonder “if it is that important to get rid of WordPress search ?”. I know i’ve already written about WordPress Search. But, it is a topic worth taking a second look at. Quickly read through that post and do the search on ProBlogger today. The post that i mentioned has been promoted to 17th position from its earlier 12th position. How cool.

WordPress, sure, is an awesome piece of blogging software. But, why is the search functionality of WordPress so poor ? What are the basic flaws ?

  • Search results are sorted according to date, while all search results should be sorted according to relevance.
  • WordPress searches only “title” and “content”. While that may be logical for a “blog”, the search SHOULD include comments, author, category etc.. For eg, when i search for “Hari”, it is supposed to bring up all the posts written by me, with the priority being as follows : 1) having “Hari” in title. 2) having “Hari” in post content. 3) having “Hari in comments. and 4) lastly, doesn’t have “Hari but was written by me. But what happens actually ? The top results are the posts which contain the word “sHARIng”. How funny…
  • Another example is when i search for “Advertising”, it is supposed to bring up the posts from my Advertising category. But, only one post from that category actually appears in the results. Whether or not the post contains the term “Advertising”, i (a human) have classified it under Advertising. WordPress should give priority to my classification rather than some dumb SQL query.

I noticed that some of the top blogs on my Google Reader have replaced WordPress Search with alternatives.

Is Google CSE the only Answer ?

Google CSE is a really good service. But, should you use it on your blog ? With the “google”ish layout and the Ads, you completely lose the blog feel of it. Also, for an average blog with many hundred or few thousand posts, the Google search algorithm is not absolutely necessary. You can live with certain changes to your WordPress Search algorithm. For details on tweaking your WordPress search, do take a look at this post.

Do you have any other suggestions to improve WordPress search ? Share with us in the comments.