In the Web 2.0 era of the Internet, there's a lot more social interaction and exchanging of information. Sites like Facebook and Twitter allow users to interact with each other and share links to the rest of the Web.
However, there's a common problem that's been solved by several services. Take the following Url as an example:
It's ideal for SEO purposes - search engines will index it well, as it's keyword rich. It's also very readable to us Humans, but can prove to be hard to remember or exchange with others, particularly with Twitter's 140 character limit.
Then there's Urls such as the following:
Not only is it awkward for search engines to crawl, as it contains no useful information - it's merely Amazon specific codes. But, it's also completely useless for us to read and share to others. Sure, you can highlight the string, then copy/paste it - or click it if it's a clickable anchor link. But what if you're on the phone to a friend and suggesting they look at this great product you've found? Do you start reading out forward-slash g-p forward-slash product forward-slash 0, 4, 7...?
Obviously, the first Url is the preferred SEO/Human friendly option, but it's not ideal. So sites like bit.ly and tinyurl.com have cropped up over the past few years to overcome this and provide users with short, easy to remember, easy to use Urls.
Take the first example, in it's bit.ly format: http://bit.ly/9EJLFT
Now take the second: http://bit.ly/a411nG
Regardless of where the Url actually takes you, the bit.ly version is perfect for exchanging over the 'net. That phone call is not only shorter (saving you money) but also isn't prone to misspellings, resulting in a 404. Twitter will thank you for providing it with a short Url and will let you type a further 120 characters. Your memory might actually be able to remember that short 6 character key if needed and you'd easily be able to write it down quickly if required.
Behold: slck.it, a url shortener. Simply paste your long, ugly, unfriendly Url into the box and click the button slck.it - my previous examples then become: http://slck.it/m6ITl8 - What are your favorite open source tools? and http://slck.it/l52Skw - Professional IIS 7 (Programmer to Programmer): Amazon.co.uk: Kenneth Schaefer, Jeff Cochran, Scott Forsyth, Rob Baugh, Mike Everest, Dennis Glendenning: Books
In much the same way bit.ly et al work, slck.it takes your long Url and shortens it into a memorable and succint version. Each time someone clicks on your shorter version, they are 301 redirected to the original. Simple.
I'll be using slck.it myself from now on, to shorten my Urls as I contribute on the Internet - feel free to do the same!
Oh, and if you were wondering, the domain slck.it is a hack of slick in slickhouse using an Italian extension. Slck.it itself is also going to be released in the near future for others to roll their own - and it's my first ASP.NET 4.0 application, built in Visual Studio 2010.
If you regularly connect to multiple servers, using RDP or a similar protocol (VNC etc.), then you probably have a good memory of all the various IPs/Hostnames of the servers. Either that, or you keep them in a document and regularly copy/paste to connect.
Personally, I have to connect to 9 of my own servers along with 40+ servers at work on a daily basis. For home, I kept 9 separate RDP connections saved to my Desktop, cluttering it up with their icons. This worked for a while, but was cumbersome and inefficient. At work, we keep a spreadsheet of IPs for each server and over a period of time you begin memorising each.
So I started looking for a better solution, one that would store each of my required server connections in an orderly fashion, allowing me to connect to multiple servers at once from within a single interface. I soon came across Terminals, a secure, multi tab terminal services/remote desktop client. It stores the configuration in ASP.NET's .config file, an XML style format which allows you to easily take your saved list of connections with you to another install.
It's also very configurable with more options than the standard RDP client and also supports VNC, VMRC and many other protocols, allowing you to combine your server connection tools into one. And you can tag connections, allowing you to group them into logical categories - for me, per Active Directory domain/location.
If you meet the criteria, then give Terminals a go.
With 3 races completed and a further 16 left - we're now into the 2010 Season in Formula 1. There was a lot of hype surrounding this year, with promises of an exciting and intense collection of races that will improve upon the last.
However, after the opening Grands Prix in Bahrain, many were criticising F1's superiors for the rule changes and lack of fun for 2010. Without refuelling, Pit Stops have been slashed to sub 4 second times to replace all 4 wheel/tyres on the car and the increased car weights have decreased the chances of overtaking within the early laps of a race.
But, the Australian and Malaysian Grands Prix's proved to be worth watching and put the 2010 season back on the map and suggests we're in for a great year. There have been 3 finishes, each with a different winner - and with the points increases this year, have meant a Driver's Championship with only 9 points separating the top 7 drivers! The qualifying too is exciting, especially as Sepang saw both Ferrari and McLaren knocked out in the first stages. Both Lewis and Jenson drove superbly to creep up from the back of the grid to points scoring positions.
So what should we expect for 2010 and who will eventually triumph?
Red Bull have proved that they may finally have their reliability woes under control. Alonso has shown great talent with a well deserved win for his Ferrari debut and an impressive drive last Sunday, achieving the fastest lap multiple times, even with his damaged gearbox. Button has shown that his move to McLaren was a good choice and that he can rack up further wins after last year's championship, defending his title well. Renault too seem to be more of a contender this year, with a podium finish in Australia and 12 points in Malaysia. The new teams too are proving they can keep up with the big guns, with several overtaking manoeuvres and out-qualifications.
All that's within just 3 races, so already we're seeing a lot of action, contrary to the critic's beliefs.
Personally, I've been a lot more involved with 2010's racing. I've kept up-to-date with the action leading up to the Sunday races, via my Twitter addiction - reading Tweets from BBC's F1 team; F1 fanatics and drivers themselves. I've also caught most of the Saturday qualifying and the pre-race coverage during the preceding hour. I've even ensured I catch the race live, or at least V+ and watched it only a few minutes off.
I'm expecting big things this year and I don't have a clue who will win by the end of the 19 races on this season's race calendar. Though, I've decided to support McLaren this year, with their 2 Championship winning British Drivers (the aforementioned Button and Hamilton). And I've not yet written off Schumacher in his return to F1 - I reckon he's only just warming up after his retirement.
Are you keen on F1 for 2010? Who are you supporting and who do you see winning by the end?