Friday, January 28, 2011

Initial thoughts on my iPad

I know that many reviews have been written about the iPad, so I will keep this short. I just wanted to record my thoughts after owning the iPad for about a week.

I never even thought about buying an iPad because I didn't think it would fit into my work flow. My MacBook pro docks as a desktop, which I enjoy because I can take my work wherever I go. My Android phone does all things mobile. I just didn't see where an iPad would fit in. Now that I won a free iPad and used it for a week, I still don't think I would buy one. However, I decided that it is useful enough to not be tempted to sell it.

Here is what I like:
1) Netflix (and other videos). It is really nice to watch movies on it.
2) It is a lot easier to write emails on my iPad than it is pull out my laptop or type them on my phone. Now I can be more responsive to my students' emails while I am not at my office.
3) I will actually follow links on twitter now. The Twitter app makes it easy to do. When I am at work I feel too busy to even check twitter, and it's too slow on my phone to follow a link, unless it really sparks my interest.

Here is what I don't like (I'm easy to please so there is only one complaint.) I still want it to be a computer, and Apple doesn't. I would like a documents folder. I find it frustrating that I have to open an app and then my document. Can't I just click on my document, like I always do on my computer? A USB port would also be nice. I just feel like the iPad goes out of it way to limit what I can do. I think that main reason is so that people will not trade their laptops for iPads. I know the iPad can do more, but Apple won't let it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Facebook News Feed

Take control over your Facebook news feed. Facebook uses a secret formula to decide who makes it into your news feed. Unfortunately, this formula prefers very active Facebook users over less active ones. (Look at the link for some other tips and trick to get you on more of your friends' news feeds.) Anyway, this always bugged me a little bit, so I decided to fix it for the next Kynetx developer contest.

Faces and names blacked out for privacy.

There are a few friends that I would really like to know about and these friends are not the most avid Facebook users. Therefore, they don't show up on my news feed very often. When I look at their profile, I realized I missed some big news. To make sure I don't miss their posts, I wrote a Kynetx app to display the most recent post from everyone in a Friend List. It will display it above your regular news feed. You can change the list it displays by selecting a different list at the top.

If you don't know, you can organize you friends into lists. Just click on friends on the left, then click the edit friends button. You might want to keep this list private, or your friends might find it and realize that you are not as interested in them as they think you should be.

I suggest that you keep your list to about 5 to 10 people, or else it will take a long time to load. Hopefully I can find a way to speed it up. If you really want a longer list, just read your "filtered" news feed for a little bit, and it should show up after about a minute or two. If you have too big of a list than it might time out and never return the results. If this happens, delete your cookies from It is still a little rough around the edges especially since I have only spent one evening on it. I hope to improve it as I find time. Here the browser extensions you can download and install to use the app.  You need to accept cookies (even 3rd party cookies) from or you cannot authorize the app with facebook.

Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer

If you don't want to install an extension, you can use this bookmarklet. Drag the link below to your bookmark toolbar and click on it when you want your personalized news feed to appear. When it says to refresh the page, you will have to click the bookmarklet again after you refresh the page.


Here is a list of currently known bugs. I will try to fix them as I have time.

  • Some posts don't display correctly, especially your friends who don't give you permission to see their news feed. (I can't ever show you them, but I need to display a message that you can't see them.)

  • It won't show up on every news feed. There are a lot of different URL's that display your news feed, and I haven't found them all. If it doesn't show up, type in into your url, and it should show up there.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

AmaCraigBay now with Google Products

I have updated AmaCraigBay to include Google Products.  If you already installed the browser plugin or bookmarklet, you don't need to do anything to get the update.  It should just start showing up.  Google products will include a lot more options to compare from, including stores like Walmart, Target, and KMart.

If you don't have it installed yet you can get them from my previous post.

There is a problem when you refine your search.  It will currently show the result from your first search after you refine your search.  If you want to get the refined results, go back to Amazon's home page, and then search again.  You can also click on a product and search from that page.  I am working on fixing it, and hopefully that will happen soon.

Thanks to Kynetx and YDN for making this so easy!