Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

Expedia Travel Search Dashboard Widget

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

Screenshot of Expedia Search Dashboard widget

Download the Expedia Search Dashboard widget

A few weeks ago I noticed that Apple finally released a beta of Dashcode. I grabbed it of course and started to play with it; happy that widget creation wasn’t mind bogglingly annoying any more. This Expedia Search Dashboard widget is the first product of many from my tinkering in Dashcode.

The widget gives you a quick way to look up travel destination information, availability, and pricing. The whole thing is based on the Expedia Travel Search feature which is in Beta right now.

Here are some examples of searches you can do with this Dashboard widget:

  1. General Destination Search – “Atlanta” will take you to a page with deals for traveling to Atlanta and information on attractions for when you get there.
  2. Flight Search – “Seattle New York” will show you results for round-trip flights from Seattle to New York City in departing in two weeks. You can also specify a date range (6/21-6/26), a month (June), or a season (summer).
  3. Hotel Search – “Hotels in London” will show you results for hotels in London in two weeks. You can get specific with dates and months just like the flight search.
  4. Rental Car Search – “Cars in Miami” will get you the results for rental cars in Miami; same date stuff applies from flights and hotels.
  5. Cruise Search – “One Week Caribbean Cruise in July” will get you results for 6-9 night Caribbean cruises leaving in July. You can be less specific with the length of the cruise or the date range if you want.
  6. Popular Destination Search – “Disneyland” will get you to a page with deals and packages to visit Disneyland.
  7. Itinerary Search – “[your itinerary # goes here]” will take you to an updated view of your saved or booked Expedia itinerary. If you don’t know your itinerary number, you can search for “My Itineraries”.
  8. Flight Status Check “Flight Status AA 495” will get you the status of American Airlines Flight 495. You have to use the airline’s two-digit code for this one.
  9. Check the Weather “Weather in Seattle”, or any other city instead of gloomy Seattle, will take you to… a weather forecast for that city. Surprise!
  10. Currency Converter “Currency” or “Currency Converter” will take you to a currency converter.

Oh and remember:

  • Anything you search for is NOT case sensitive.
  • If you don’t enter a date, it will assume you’re leaving in two weeks.
  • It will remember your last ten searches. Just click on the little magnifying glass to get a drop-down selection.

That should be enough to get you started. Wow, this little guy sure does a lot. But remember, the text search feature at Expedia is in Beta and it’s not perfect. I know the guys at who built it and you’re more than welcome to leave your feedback on this widget, and the Expedia Travel Search feature in general, right here in the comments for this post. I will relay any non-widget-specific feedback to the search guys. And just to be clear, this is not an Expedia-endorsed product. I built this on my own, in my own time.

Next time I will try my hand at an Expedia Fare Calendar Dashboard widget. In the meantime, you can check out the official Expedia Fare Calendar Google Gadget that was just released.

Enjoy your trip!

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Google Reader – Meet Google Homepage

Tuesday, February 27th, 2007

For a very long time, probably ever since I actually cared about news, I have been getting my news from the Internet. Whether it be world news, automotive news, tech news, or whatever other drivel was interesting at the time. Recently, I finally succumbed to the cries of “Use syndication, use RSS” and started making use of Google’s Personalized Homepage feature. It lets you throw multiple feeds onto a page with a Google search box at the top of it, and makes for a fairly good one stop shop for taking a glance at my news feeds.

Now the cries from the tech-y friends are changing, “use Google Reader” they say. I’ve looked at it before and to be quite honest, I didn’t find the UI very appealing. In fact, I haven’t found the UI for any feed readers I’ve tried compelling enough to make me want to use them. That goes double for feed readers which live outside of my browser and don’t let me take advantage of one of my most beloved user behaviors: opening all the articles I want to read in tabs behind the current one, then quickly scanning them and closing the tab — the next one, already loaded, appears and is ready for my consumption.

Well anyway, I thought I would give Google Reader another shot. And I naively assumed that since Google Homepage and Google Reader are run by the same people, that Google Reader would at the very least give me the option of picking which of the feeds on my home page I wanted to also read from Google Reader. At best, it would have a folder containing all of the feeds from Homepage and I could just remove or reorganize them as I saw fit. Well, neither one of those is the case. As far as I can tell, Google Reader doesn’t know, or care to know, anything about the 20+ feeds I have painstakingly plastered across the four tabs of my Google Homepage.

Here’s news for you Google: I don’t care to know about Google Reader.

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Try Yahoo Mail Beta Now

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

If you are like me, you have been on the waiting list to try the Yahoo Mail Beta since the day it was announced, months ago.

Well if you are tired of waiting, I have a way for you to cut in line…

How to change your content preference:

  • Log in to Yahoo Mail
  • Click on the Options link
  • Select Account information from the left panel
  • Go to Member Information, General Preferences, Preferred Content
  • Select, for example, Yahoo UK
  • Click Finished
  • Go to Yahoo Mail
  • You will see a page that says “It’s the New Yahoo! Mail Beta… and you’re invited.”
  • Click on “Try Beta Now”

I took these steps and I am using the Yahoo Mail Beta now. It has a couple of minor bugs I’ve noticed in the last few days but nothing major. And the AJAX interface sure beats the existing one.

Enjoy.

Save those viral videos

Wednesday, March 15th, 2006

I’ve been having a lot of birthday fun the last few days and I’ve got a lot to share with you but right now I am swamped with work and very tired. I’ll try to update you on all the cool new stuff tomorrow.

Until then, you can check out yet another cool new web site. If you’ve been enjoying some of the videos floating around on the Internet on Google Video, YouTube, and others and wondering how you could save the videos to watch while not connected to their web site, you’re in luck.

Enter KeepVid, a site that allows you to enter the URL for a video from almost every popular Internet video hosting site and it will let you download a local copy onto your computer. Enjoy!

Oh and here is a light saber duel made by some guys who are obviously very talented.

Terry Tate and More Google Video Fun

Monday, February 20th, 2006

I’ve gotta say, Reebok’s series of Terry Tate ads, if they can be called that, has got to be one of the funniest, most original ad ideas I’ve ever seen. Let’s relive some of that office linebacker goodness:

Terry Tate – Office Linebacker
Terry Tate – Draft Day
Terry Tate – Going on Vacation
Terry Tate – Sensitivity Training
Terry Tate – OSPN Office Athlete of the Century

I just do not get tired of seeing a giant guy send skinny little office people flying into cubicles like that. I wish we had a Terry Tate at our office.

Favorite lines include: “You kill the joe, you make some mo’!”, “stick-to-itiveness”, and “Don’t bring that weak stuff up in this humpty-bumpty.”

Here’s a banned Xbox 360 ad that’s fun.

Still bored? Some other funny videos I found on Google Video:
The Chronicles of Narnia Rap from SNL
People falling into a trick mattress

No Privacy on AIM

Saturday, March 12th, 2005

This ranks really high on the news I didn’t want to hear list. As revealed here, AOL has changed the Terms of Service on their AOL Instant Messenger or AIM service. Here is the worst of it…

…by posting Content on an AIM Product, you grant AOL, its parent, affiliates, subsidiaries, assigns, agents and licensees the irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt and promote this Content in any medium. You waive any right to privacy. You waive any right to inspect or approve uses of the Content or to be compensated for any such uses.

Well, I am left speechless by this development. Which is probably a good thing since AOL can’t take my words, twist, then republish them if I spoke to you about this on AIM. The really big problem with this is that 98% of the people that I know and communicate with are AIM users only. Not to mention the majority of them will not know about this or will not care enough to bother to switch to a different network. Its not a small change to make either but if there ever was a good reason to leave AIM, this is definitely it.

Please, all of you who would like to maintain private conversations with me, you can IM me on the Yahoo Messenger service at the same name as my AIM screen name.

Antispam Encoder

Tuesday, July 6th, 2004

I found this nifty web site that will help prevent spam to your e-mail if you need to publish it somewhere on a web site. Try the Antispam Encoder. I’m using it on this site right now and you shouldn’t notice the difference but hopefully the spamwh0re bots can.

RealPlayer Really Sucks

Tuesday, May 13th, 2003

So I just realized that I’ve got two finals this Friday not one. My mind has just been blown, I was only expecting one. Ah well this means even more intense studying in the coming days.

A quick story and then I won’t be posting much until after finals probably. I was at work recently and I needed to view a video or audio something or other that happened to be in Real format. The computer I was on, a PowerMac with OS X, didn’t have RealPlayer installed so I had to download it. I go to the site and lo and behold they ask you to create a username and register with them before they will give you their lame free software. I absolutely hate it when sites ask for your info for no valid reason. Anyway I’m in a hurry and I’m going along making up information for this stupid registration when I had to stop. I had to stop because something absolutely hilarious occurred. I could not believe it. Please click here and see for yourself what it was that had my coworkers and I laughing out loud.

That was just too funny I had to share it with you all.

Theft Prevention

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2003

Hey I’m busy writing my paper but since a couple people I know have experienced identity theft I figured I’d post this link to a page with some tips on how to avoid it.

If you are in the Bay Area, please check out the website for the Berkeley Armenian Students Association to find out about all the things we’ve planned for Genocide commemoration. We have a world-renowned scholar on genocides speaking on Wednesday you don’t want to miss. I also have a few choice words to say about the so-called Museum of Tolerance down in LA but that will wait for a few days until I have more time.

Oh yeah, also try out buddyzoo.com. You submit your buddy list to them and then they show you the web of buddy lists that connects you and all your friends and their friends and their friends…and so on. They also tell you how popular on AIM. Neat stuff go try it out.

AIM+

Friday, April 19th, 2002

For those of you who do not wish the complexity of Trillian then I have found a solution for you in the form of AIM+. I know, you can all thank me later. 🙂