Saturday, November 25, 2006

Emails to the FeedJournal Domain

I just had a large backlog of e-mails delivered to me. They were all addressed to any of the e-mail addresses in my feedjournal.com domain. There were e-mails all the way back from the end of August until today. Of course, this is an extremely costly thing to have happen to an ยต-ISV and especially at a time around a product launch.

I have been speaking to both my domain name registrar and my hosting provider and problem is now solved once and for all. You should all feel free to safely use the feedjournal.com addresses for contacting me in the future.

I am terribly sorry for everyone who tried to contact me during this time (31st Aug - today) and never received a reply. I am now starting to process the e-mail backlog and reply to each and everyone of you.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

FeedJournal v2.0 is Available

After a few sabbatical months in the aftermath of the Made In Express Contest, it is finally time for FeedJournal v2.0 to see the light of day. Functionality-wise there are no major differences between v1.0 and v2.0 - all the changes have occurred behind the scenes. The database is now using on a much leaner engine, considerably speeding up the download size and installation process. On top of this, the new version is going shareware, with a 30-day trial version without any limitations. The price for a single computer license is $39.95, but during 2006 there is an introductory offer of $29.95.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Hack.net v2.0

I have been knocking my head bloody against v2.0 of hack.net for over half a year now. This bugger seems even more diabolic than the first version of the puzzle, which wasn't solved until a few years after its initial publication. Every time I think I have come up with some clever approach how to solve the first stage, but no significant breakthrough so far. I am pretty sure that those curly brackets are a part of getting to the next step... How about a subtle hint, Ryan?

Anyone else out there working on it?

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Moving Incoming Newsletters and Alerts to RSS

Spam and inbox overload is one of the unavoidable pains of an active online life, right? Well, not necessarily so. There are a few proven techniques for how to get rid of unwanted e-mail from your inbox. One of them is to be very restrictive about giving out your personal e-mail address, another involves investing in advanced anti-spam filters. But how do you go about signing up for newsletters and other information from sites that you are not trusting?

I am happy with my current setup for solving these problems and thought that I would share it with you.

The service I am using is free and called MailBucket. It is simply an email address with the suffix "@mailbucket.org" that is free for you to claim. Let's say you want to use the e-mail address joe@mailbucket.org - you simply type this address in the e-mail field when subscribing to for example a newsletter. Then add a subscription in your favorite RSS reader to http://www.mailbucket.org/joe.xml and read the incoming messages from there. Of course, this setup does not allow you to easily reply to messages but typically this is not anything you will do when subscribed to a newsletter. If you eventually decide that you don't want to receive their messages any longer you simply delete the feed from your RSS reader. To find a unique e-mail address I am building my username (the part before the @ in the e-mail address) by using a unique prefix, a dash ("-"), and the name of the service (for example joe-bookcrossing@mailbucket.org). You can find out more about MailBucket's excellent free service at http://www.mailbucket.org.

Of course it is not advisable to use a MailBucket address when signing up for a service where a secret password or other confidential information will be sent to you, because all feeds are public and unprotected. For a few months I have been a happy user, subscribing to news alerts from for example BookCrossing and TopCoder as well as various Yahoo Groups. It also automatically provides me with a convenient way of categorizing my incoming messages compared with using my regular e-mail address for everything.

Back in Blog Business

I am back from a long blog break which became much longer than scheduled. We went for two weeks' vacation in Sweden, which was excellent. Coming back to Israel I realized that I had forgotten my USB disk in Sweden. The disk contained my blog database, so I asked them to send it to me. A week ago it arrived, but the Thingamablog database had been corrupted for some reason; I guess it didn't like all the traveling... A lesson as good as any to take backups more seriously.

Now I have finally managed to restore the database to a state more or less as it was before, and the blog should get going again.