Monthly Archives: May 2008

Ajax API Video WordPress Plugin

Since mid 2006 I have participated in the Google AJAX API. At first the API was only for search, but it quickly grew and began encompassing all the tools that Google had available. From RSS Feeds to Video, the Google AJAX APIs have a lot to offer developers. One of the key elements to the AJAX group at Google is how willing they are to listen to the end users and adapt their offerings. In September 2006 I made a suggestion that surprisingly (at least to me) was not only heard but acted upon, thanks to Mark Lucovsky, and that was the addition of a Video Bar.

Add a “Video Bar” to your blog
September 29, 2006
Google AJAX Search API Blog

…An early adopter of the API known as “CyberCoder” had a cool idea… He envisioned a “Video Bar” that could sit in a narrow side bar vertically, or across the top or bottom of a page horizontally.

Last night we launched a Video Bar solution. This makes a great addition to your blogs and pages and composes nicely with an existing Video Search solution. To show you an example, we added the video bar to our AJAX Search API Playground blog.

I have developed a lot of page variations around this Video Bar over the last 18 months. One thing that always comes up when dealing with AJAX technologies is the fact that AJAX inherently does not help with SEO since the JavaScript elements are not read by the search spiders. Putting this fact aside, adding AJAX to a page can have significant advantages. More bloggers need to realize that not everything on a page needs to be part of their SEO functions. Adding relevant information to a page, especially videos, can greatly affect the amount of quality traffic and links a site gets.

Last year I was also involved in the Blog Bar that was added to the Google AJAX API lineup.

Add a Blog Bar to your site
March 15, 2007
Google AJAX Search API Blog

On February 7, we announced the availability of the Google News Bar. This cut-and-paste search control is simple to use and has seen phenomenal adoption.

Anytime we launch a new AJAX Search API feature, we ask you to share your thoughts with us in the AJAX Search API developer forum. Late Sunday evening, “CyberCoder” (a.k.a., inventor of the Google Video Bar) asked us to produce a modified News Bar that worked over Blog Search instead of News Search.

You can also see other Community Samples built by developers using the Google AJAX Search API, and maybe get yours listed too!

So here is my latest addition to using the Google AJAX API VideoBar. The AjaxAPIVideos WordPress Plugin.

The AjaxAPIVideos Plugin is designed for WordPress and adds a videobar to pages wherever you include the code snippet.

The plugin uses the post title to search for videos and return 4 small thumbnails in a horizontal Video Bar. When clicked on, the video will play on the page without requiring another page load and this means that not only does the visitor stay on your site, he can start and stop the video from your page. And since the search query is simply the Post title, the videos should be relevant to the post content (if your title is relevant). If no videos are found, the space where the video thumbnails usually appear is simply closed up and the page keeps it’s flow without an empty thumbnail etc.

I have always thought the advantage to this type of dynamic page load is that you do not have to anything other than write your post, and you get relevant videos loaded on your page.

Getting relevant videos loaded just doesn’t get any easier than this!

Download the AjaxAPIVideos WordPress Plugin here.

PS: If you are wondering why there are no videos on this page, Youtube is returning zero results for “AJAX API Video WordPress Plugin” which is not a bad thing, that means the plugin is working, no relevant videos, no problem. To see a page with the videos click on a previous post in the right sidebar. Or click a tag from below, the Video Bar Plugin is also loaded on the Tag pages.

Mobile Friendly Web Sites

If you use a mobile device to surf the web one thing you realize is that having a mobile version of any site can be very helpful, especially with the volume of mobile internet viewing increasing daily.

It is a little ironic that we have gone almost full circle on web design. We started with very text intensive low graphics back in the early 90′ to where the average viewer is now using a minimum of 1024×768 resolution with JavaScript capabilities and a wide range of Web 2.0 functions. And now we need a knocked down version for mobile users.

A lot of the new mobile devices can handle the high resolution sites, but with such a small screen it is still hard to navigate and read. This is where a mobile friendly web site can really open up your site for everyone regardless of their internet interface.

Here is a very simple solution.

While using Google Reader’s mobile version I realized any blog or web site can easily have a mobile version utilizing Google Reader. All that is required is to append your feed URL to the end of this URL from Google Reader.[your feed]

Example :

To take this one step further you can use a sub domain from your site to create an independent mobile version.

Every hosting package is a little different and the setup for this depends on your hosting. I am using an htaccess file that handles the redirect. Check with your hosting system to find the best way to redirect your subdomain and you can instantly have separate mobile friendly web site.

Wifi at Home

Since moving into our new house, and just to be clear about this, it is not really new, just new to us. The reason that clarification is important is the fact that we are working hard first to cleanup and fix anything that we find that is not up to our expectations, and then we will move into customizing things we want. Now you may ask what does this have to do with Wifi at Home? Well let’s just walk through it.

Previously my schedule went something like this, get up at 5am and go to work (day job), get home around 5:30pm, eat dinner and then retire to my home office where I would spend most of the evening working at my desktop. A typical day probably would have me working at my desk in the evening 3-4 hours.

Now I am spending the bulk of that time working on my yard and house. It’s actually a nice change since I have been sitting in front of a computer for up to 15 hours a day everyday for the last 20 years.

The other major change this move impacts is “how” I am using the Internet. Before I was spending my time programming and developing software, blogs and general websites. Now I am using it more as an end user instead of a developer, BIG difference. (This will be a subject for another post soon)

A good example is last night. I was working on one of my old cars in my garage, something I have been missing for a couple years! I needed some information from the web, but the last thing I wanted to do was track through the house in dirty clothes and go all the way upstairs to surf for information, only to have to run back down to the garage with any answers I had found. See where this is going now…..

Nokia N770Enter my Nokia N770. The N770 is not the most current Wifi Internet Tablet, but it has served me well. From my workspace in the garage I can now access the Internet, find what I am looking for, and keep working. This has been the situation for the last several weeks. Instead of being tethered to a desk I am using my WIfi at Home to gain access to the web from anywhere in or around the house! I do not think I have missed an important email or instant message yet. And the advantage to the Internet Tablet over a laptop is the size and portability.

I feel like I am starting all over with the Internet and maybe I need a little Wifi for Dummies training, but it has freed me up to do the things I need to do, while keeping me online and in touch at all times.

One last note. I have found that a small Internet Tablet serves me a lot better than a Phone. The phone is too small and I personally do not like the all-in-one type equipment. I have played with an iPhone a little and yes it is a very clear screen with a nice GUI, but, my preference is still to have a separate device for my mobile computing.

Link : Nokia N770 Purchasing Information

Voice Over IP Free

Last October I started using OOMA VOIP and I have to say that it has been great.

In 6 months of using Voice over IP I have been very pleased with the service and functionality. And now they are offering a second number free. I can not find a reason to get a land line, or even try another VOIP plan since OOMA is free with their equipment and it allows me to use standard telephones instead of proprietary IP phones or headsets. I may even step up to their new Premier service for only $12.95, but for now what I have works great.

With my recent move there was nothing more for me to do than setup my VOIP hub when the broadband was installed. I really do not miss dealing with the phone company at all. I use inexpensive cordless phones with the system and the range is excellent throughout the house and deck.

OOMA is Available from Amazon (yes, that is an affiliate link!)

You can read more about OOMA at their Blog.