Inject jQuery on any website

Feb 20
2013

I spent some time Googling around for javascript injection techniques, and stumbled on a neat little bookmarklet that allows you to inject jQuery into any website, and then use the FireBug console to play around with the page. In addition to how much fun this is, having the smooth jQuery syntax at your fingertips mixed in with FireBug is a great debugging technique for developers.

Many kudos goes to Karl Swedberg for posting his bookmarklet and technique at http://www.learningjquery.com/2009/04/better-stronger-safer-jquerify-bookmarklet/.

Go check it out!

Firefox Inspect Element

May 08
2012

I’d like to write up a bit more on this at a later time, but moving quickly.. a quick way to inspect an element on the DOM is to use Firefox’s Inspect Element tool. It’s very handy for quickly figuring out the CSS selectors and attributes belonging to an element on the page, as well as checking for value changes when working with a dynamic page.

Try it out!

Right click an element and choose Inspect Element

Useful information at a click!

Features, Quality, Speed – Choosing Technology

Apr 24
2012

A few years ago, I put out a series of articles on tech forums describing some of my thoughts on building social networks, and choosing the best technology. I made some comparisons between Rails, Django, and PHP Frameworks, off the shelf CMS like Drupal or WordPress. Not all statements, I would say were accurate at the time ( I may be jaded from bad experiences ), or even today – but the general idea was in the right place.

A few years have gone by ( too fast ), and many of my philosophies have, hopefully matured, changed a little. I tend to slander technologies less, for starters, unless your Drupal, and do more looking at the problem domain and explore what technology can elegantly solve for to get me there, instead of brute forcing my favorite technology and hoping it will keep me there.

Tonight, I received an email from a fellow startup enthusiast, Michael, seeking some further thought on the matter, as he is embarking on a project. After editing my response to him, over and over, I decided, it was worth sharing.

Michael, in his quest to choose the best technology for the job, was stuck between choosing an off the shelf solution, BuddyPress or going completely custom from scratch with CodeIgniter (CI) to build a social network. BuddyPress didn’t quite have all the features he wanted, but did have some, and CI, of course, would be a mostly from scratch endeavor.

Michael stumbled upon one of my notes on the CI forums, and sent me an email asking “How does he choose which will be best?”

My response:

Hi Michael,

Thanks for reaching out to me. I have to say, I’ve received a lot of feedback on my thoughts about this, and I will first admit, I wrote that note on the CI forums several years ago, if I were to write it again, I think I could do you one better. However, I think a lot of the motivation behind it still holds true in my experience, so let me give you some of my thoughts from today, and you will have to task yourself in choosing which specific technology meets your requirement.

Lets spark some thoughts:

  • Are you hiring a team or programming yourself?
  • What types of resources do you have available to achieve a finished product ( either that be your own graphics and programming skill, friends helping, a hired team, skill level, experience ).
  • What type of timeline are you looking at?
  • If you have a hired team, do you have the budget and buffer for when things don’t come out the way you expected? Going custom can have it’s unexpected draw backs and expenditure, while an off the shelf solution might get you to market faster at the cost of not being “quite” what you want in the big picture.

All Code is Throw Away

“All code is throw away” – Peter Meulbroek. A dear friend of mine, mentor, and also former boss, taught me this concept over the course of about 3 years. It’s one of my biggest take aways from working closely with him.

Be ready to try again. To not get it quite right. To give a little, so you can take a little more.

Often, the best thing you can do, is build a beta or prototype. See if it catches. Don’t spend all your resources in one basket and hope it’s the next best thing. If you can get a prototype, you can gauge what to do to sustain, maybe pursue further investment, or decide to throw it out! Going with an off the shelf solution is often a “fast” way to go and provides this sort of testing ground with low expense. Then when the concept is proven, rewrite it on a more customizable platform with all those features you dream of, ramp up infrastructure, resources, budget, etc.

I’ve rewritten entire projects with tens of thousands of lines of code, in different technologies, languages, platforms, you name it, in some cases, 3-4 times in a year. Some of the reasons generally being:

  • the requirements evolved
  • the budget increased or decreased
  • we pulled and added features that we found more or less important
  • users hated it and nobody used it
  • users loved it so much we hit a technical wall or limitation
  • overhead was not worth investment for particular features

Famous Last Words

Think about these items, and then ask yourself what is important to you in this first iteration ( attention to the word “first” ):

  1. Features
  2. Quality
  3. Speed

Take a combination of 2, and choose which framework/platform gets you that. Then, be prepared to change your mind, evolve, and throw away a little code ( or all of it sometimes ) in favor of what gets you to the big picture in the end.

Your fellow startup enthusiast,

Chris Page

n3rds.com – Jobs for Programmers

Mar 08
2012
Jobs for Programmers

Jobs for Programmers

Two colleagues out of St Louis, Josh Anyan, and Chris DeGroat, recently created n3rds.com – a website for matching up tech industry jobs with candidates. They gave me a heads up, and I was pretty impressed – as I generally am by these two. I thought I’d give them a call out on my site in hopes to send them what little traffic I can muster. Here is a review:

n3rds.com aims to be low friction, my entire experience on the site was just a few minutes, here are some highlights:

  1. The login system is all via the linkedIn API ( how suitable ). This makes it super easy to sign up, and connect with the most relevant professional social network out there – NOT your facebook.
  2. You’re immediately asked a few questions about locale, skillsets, salary ranges that interest you.
  3. Next, your taken to a listing of matching jobs – where you can pick and choose what interests you and go from there.
  4. As new jobs that match your skills come into the system, you are notified. This is a nice way to keep a pulse on opportunities, without throwing your resume on the market.

n3rds.com launched a few days ago and is currently in beta. If you’re a recruiter or employer, head on over and toss up a few job postings. It’s free! If you’re a techie, might as well sign up – it’s pretty frictionless, and you never know where you’ll find the next big thing.

For the record: Chris DeGroat and Josh Anyan are rockstar developers, they knocked this product out in just a couple short weeks. Keep tabs on these guys.

Nice work gentlemen.

AdKeeper to Launch Keep.com

Nov 22
2011
Keep.com

AdKeeper's latest product, Keep.com

As you many of you already know, I’m a proud member of the AdKeeper team. We’ve been laying a little low for a few months, and here’s part of the reason: We’re launching a new product, Keep.com!

For an explanation, I’ve decided to simply quote our CEO ( with permission, of course ), as he wrote it best in an email earlier today:

Not a change of course/emphasis – but something new/incremental. We’re very happy with the core biz.

Since we began beta in Feb. we’ve rolled out 10+ Billion buttons across the web. Making this tech easy and seamless was the first order of business – and you may have noticed our deal with Safecount last week that now lets us take a single line of code and drop it into ad tags with partners. This is the beginning of spreading buttons wider and is very exciting. We very much believe Keep buttons will be on “all” ads.

We now not only have the biggest, best group of advertisers for a new media property, ever… we’re certified on every web site in the world and now we make ad tagging/ops way easier. Eric Schmidt’s recent comment about how hard it is to do ad tech resonates with all of us.

And, to top it off – fresh research shows that 23% of users feel better about a brand just seeing the button that let’s them “Keep ad for later”… and we’re getting 50x clicks and 20x view time on Kept ads. That’s the button side of things.

On the destination front (which is where Keep.com plays), some of our guys fell in love with a tweaked metaphor for deeper engagement with Brands. I told them to have at… our version of Google’s 20% “do what you want program.”

I liked what they’re doing so much that I gave them one of our fun parked URL’s… Keep.com. We’ll be working it for a bit before going wide – but needed to start getting some folks in to kick the tires… thus the proverbial velvet rope. Sign up… maybe we’ll let you in :)

– Scott Kurnit, AdKeeper CEO
 

All of that stated, if you’re interested in checking out the new product the day it launches ( very soon ), sign up at our launch page and… maybe we’ll let you in :)

Happy Keeping!

How to Fix Netflix Error N8156-4001 and Silverlight on Mac OS X

Jan 21
2011

This will be a short post in effort to help others. I was streaming Netflix tonight, or attempting to, and kept getting an error code N8156-4001 with a message to call support if it doesn’t go away. This was not a happy good feeling, nor was I going to call customer support – I’m far too lazy to wait in line.

So, I did a little research and found tons of others experiencing the same problem, and that it’s related to the Microsoft Silverlight Plugin. I found that many people said re-installing or downgrading Silverlight was doing the trick. Though I couldn’t find just how to do that as they rarely posted instructions for Mac OS X, hence this post.

The steps I finally came up with are dirt simple and hopefully work for others too. I’m not sure what remnants I left on my computer by installing over top like this, but frankly, I could care less – it works! :-)

The steps:

  1. Go to the Apple Silverlight download page, and download Silverlight 3.
    http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/development_tools/silverlight.html
  2. Unpackage the download
  3. Click through the friendly wizard
  4. Restart firefox

Wallah! I logged back into Netflix, and the error was gone. I’m now about to fall asleep to a sci-fi.

If others have tips, please post in the comments.

AdKeeper Raises $35 million in second round funding!

Jan 03
2011

I joined AdKeeper several months ago – it’s so far been a blast, and has really nailed the startup-junkie sweet spot in me! With a press announcement today, it just got a lot more interesting…

As we pound out our goals and deadlines on the code-front, where I dwell, the rest of the company has been hard at work refining the vision and pushing the marketing. Today we announced our second round funding, a whopping $35 million, led by Oak Investment Partners – bringing the total raised to $43 million.

So, I get this question alot, in fact, my sister just asked me last night: “What are you guys building, Chris?”. Lets save your eyes, and give you a fun video this time:





By the way, my sister’s response via phone was “I save ads all the time, I just usually book mark them and look for them later, but this makes it easier – I really think people will use this”. I feel the same way!

You can also find out more at www.adkeeper.com.

You can also watch more videos (Q&As, fun commercials, and more) at our YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheAdKeeper

PHP Namespace Tutorial

Oct 16
2010

Introduction

Namespaces have been around for years in other languages, but only as of PHP 5.3 have PHP developers been so fortunate. So, what is a namespace in PHP? In short, it’s an abstract container that allows us to re-use same function, class, and constant names but apply different meanings based on what context they are in. That’s a mouthful, huh?

Lets take a look at a small code snippet, and then we’ll break down and expand upon what’s going on in small, chewable increments:

namespace_intro.php

namespace Foo;

function Bar()
{
    echo __NAMESPACE__;
}

namespace FooFoo;

function Bar()
{
    echo "Bar";
}

echo \Foo\Bar();

Output:

Foo

There are a few points of interest here:

  • The namespace keyword
  • The __NAMESPACE__ constant
  • Redefinition of the Bar() function
  • The strange new syntax in the echo statement at the end: name resolution

The namespace Keyword

Namespaces are named arbitrarily and have two syntax forms. Note, in either syntax, namespaces cannot be nested; although, sub-namespaces can be defined ( explained later ).

Syntax 1:
namespace Foo

//...code here...
Syntax 2 – Block form:
namespace Foo
{
    //...code here...
}
Secondary Usage

The namespace keyword also has a secondary usage, which is to act as an explicit reference to the current namespace, similar to the self:: keyword used in classes. Example:

namespace_self_reference.php

namespace Foo;

class Foo
{
    public function __construct()
    {
        echo __NAMESPACE__;
    }
}

namespace Bar;

class Foo
{
    public function __construct()
    {
        echo __NAMESPACE__;
    }
}

$object = new namespace\Foo();

Output:

Bar

The __NAMESPACE__ Constant

The __NAMESPACE__ magic constant contains a string that outputs the current namespace. When called from the global context, an empty string is output. You may find it useful for dynamically constructing variable and class names, to error reporting.

Name Resolution

Name resolution refers to how namespaces find your classes, functions, and constants based on a few definitions and rules. Depending on the syntax you use, import rules, and existence in the current namespace, name resolution can change the behavior of your code – so be familiar with the rules.

Some definitions:

Unqualified Names

Unqualified names have no reference to a namespace. Example:

    Foo()

At run time, if within a namespace and a call to an unqualified function occurs, the namespace is first checked, if the function is not found, the global scope is then checked for that function.

For class names, the class is looked for in the current namespace, autoload is then called on that class.

Qualified Names

Qualified names have a namespace separator included, and are translated during compile time based on the current import rules, Example:

    Foo\Bar()

Fully Qualified Names

Fully qualified names (FQN) start with a namespace separator, and are explicit references to a namespace that cannot be effected by import rules. FQNs are resolved at compile time. Example:

    \Foo()
    \Foo\Bar()

Sub Namespaces

[coming soon...]

Namespace Aliases

[coming soon...]

Importing Namespaces

[coming soon...]

Autoloading Namespaced Classes

[coming soon...]

Conclusion

Without Namespaces

Previous to namespaces in PHP, the common alternative to control context was through careful conventions in file system structure + long class names, ie:

Framework/DB.php

class Framework_DB
{
    //etc...
}

Framework/DB/MySQL.php

class Framework_DB_MySQL extends Framework_DB
{
    //etc...
}

Application/DB.php

class Application_DB
{
    //etc...
}

Rewritten Using Namespaces

While the filesystem structure convention is still a recommended practice for organization, the contents of the files can be defined more concisely using namespaces:

Framework/DB.php

namespace Framework\DB;

class DB
{
    //etc
}

Framework/DB/Mysql.php

namespace Framework\DB;

class MySQL extends DB
{
    //etc
}

Application/DB.php

namespace Application;

class DB
{
    //etc
}

I’m anxious to see how the introduction of namespaces in PHP 5.3 changes software everywhere! Happy Coding!

Lockerz CEO, Kathy Savitt, on CNBC Power Lunch!

Jul 09
2010

Keeping an eye out for a better recording, but considering this happened just 30 mins ago — it’s the best I could do ( Drew Kerrigan actually recorded it on his iPhone here at work, good job Drew ). Without further ado, Lockerz CEO, Kathy Savitt, on CNBC Power Lunch! Congrats Kathy!

Fun Android/iPhone Game – Storm8′s World War

Jun 20
2010

World War - By Storm8

A CTO recently made a comment that some oddly high % of people above a particular salary range play N amount of video games a week.  I thought it was interesting, as I couldn’t disprove it, ha!  So, in effort to keep this page a little active, and not having the time to write out a well-thought-out technical tutorial, I decided to write about something fun, a video game I got into this week:  Storm8′s World War ( picture on the left ).  It’s a dice-based massively multi-player phone game for both Android and iPhone.

How it works?:

You pick your faction ( one of 5 global super powers ), each with their own benefits.  You then complete missions, earn money, buy bigger and badder units, and compete with other players.

What’s fun about it?:

One thing I particularly enjoy about World War is that it’s simply addictive – there are few controls and few options, so I don’t really need to deeply involve myself in the game to have fun with it. I play here and there.  I like this, because I’m so very busy these days – I haven’t really had time to join my buddies in the Starcraft 2 train, and I can only play my Wii in small dosages.  So phone games that I can carry around and play here and there is quite fulfilling.

Tips?:

I’ve only been playing for about a week, but like many other multi-player phone games, World War continues while you are offline.  So, it’s probably a good tip to build a lot of defense, so that other players don’t loot your cash flow while you’re gone!  When it comes to attacking, the best thing you can do is have a couple friends join your alliance.  The bigger your alliance, the more effective your attacks and defenses are.  Ie, if you are in an alliance of 4 people, you typically almost always win against an enemey from an alliance of 2 ( though not always, just usually ).

Join my alliance!:

If anybody wants to join the game, post your alliance code in the comments or shoot me an email — I’ll invite you to my alliance!

Enjoy,

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