Flickr

Flickr is in my opinion the ultimate photo sharing web site available online. I’ve been using it for years and highly recommend it for photographers to safely store their photos (check out my Flickr photostream).

As awesome as Flickr is, there are areas where it can be improved. One obvious area is the process of sharing photos on blog and forum posts.

Previously I’ve been doing this manually by clicking on the picture, selecting the appropriate size and copying the HTML code to be pasted. Straightforward? I guess so. Fast? OK if I’m not copying HTML for the large image; it can get time consuming to wait for larger photos to load though.

That’s why I’m very pleased to come across AllSizes+; a Greasemonkey script that makes Flickr photo sharing a few notches easier!

Getting the script to work is very easy. There’s only two pre-requisites; you have to be using Firefox and have the Greasemonkey addon installed.

Once that’s sorted out; simply install the AllSizes+ userscript.

Now that the whole process is complete; you’ll be presented with the following overlayed interface everytime you click on the All Sizes icon on any Flickr photo page:

GM Script: AllSizes+ (by premasagar)

Another huge plus point for AllSizes+ is that it will render the All Sizes button on all Flickr photo pages; even for users who disabled the All Sizes button on their account.

Some might find this offensive; but honestly, once you put your photos online people who want to “steal” them can do so anyway. AllSizes+ to me is a perfectly legitimate tool to make photo sharing a painless process.

If you’re a blogger who often blogs about photos you’ve uploaded onto Flickr; or even if you want a faster and more efficient way to post your photos on Flickr message boards, AllSizes+ is a wonderful tool to have at your disposal.

I highly recommend it and I’m sure you will too; once you’ve given it a whirl 🙂

Wow, that was quick… You can download WordPress 2.6 “Tyner” from the usual location.

You can read more about this release from WordPress.org’s announcement post.

Update: And HTNet’s running it 🙂 Upgrade is smooth as you’d expect from any WordPress build.

The Internet is undeniably the biggest resource of information in our times. Traditionally, web pages and emails are the main mediums of information transfer on the Internet. However, as we develop technologies that make information transfer more robust we begin to see more information transfer mediums being used.

Two of the most popular methods of information transfer on the Internet are electronic books (often referred to as ebooks) and audiobooks (an online spin of traditional cassette and CD audiobooks). In this article, I will describe the advantages of both ebooks and audiobooks.

Advantages of ebooks

Ebooks are popular not by accident. Some of its most significant advantages are as follows:

  1. Lots of reader applications

    The huge majority of ebooks are in PDF format; therefore regardless of computing platform, there will definitely be an application on it that can read this format. For those on Windows, I highly recommend Foxit Reader.

  2. Can be read at your own pace

    This is the beautiful thing about information presented in text, you can read as slow or as fast as you want. Navigating forward and back between sections can be done very easily.

  3. Simple to bookmark

    Most reader applications can bookmark pages of an ebook very easily. In fact you can read a few ebooks within the same period and have the reader application remember where exactly you stopped at. The next time you read the ebook, you can resume precisely at that point.

  4. Small download size

    Eventhough most of us connect to the Internet via broadband, it’s helpful that you can access your desired information quickly and easily. Due to the compact file size of common ebook formats, downloads are usually very quick. I’m sure that you’ll agree that spending time reading an ebook is more beneficial than waiting for it to download.

  5. Can be printed and read without a computer

    There are times when an ebook is more useful when it’s no longer an ebook. Printing your ebook would be useful for reading it in those long commutes in the train or bus.

Advantages of audiobooks

Now we understand why ebooks are so popular. What about audiobooks then? Glad you asked!

  1. Can be listened to while doing something else

    Listening is mostly a passive activity where you can absorb what you’re listening to even when you’re cooking or working on a creative project. Those who can multi-task effectively can benefit from audiobooks more than others.

  2. Can be listened to on portable audio players

    Whether you have an iPod, mobile phone or even your car’s CD player; chances are you can download your audiobook to these devices or burn the contents as an audio CD. These methods of listening to an audiobook can make your otherwise boring commutes more beneficial.

  3. Easy to produce

    If you’re an audiobook publisher, you’ll nevertheless find that audiobooks are easier to produce as compared to ebooks. All the required software for recording, editing and converting your recordings are already pre-installed on your computer or can be downloaded for free. You’ll also need not worry about fonts, graphics and other supporting media for your audiobooks.

I’m very sure there are more advantages to these two educational media. Maybe you know of a few that I missed. Why don’t you share your thoughts in the comments?

Did you also know that you can make a lot of money selling ebooks and audiobooks online? Even if you don’t have your own material to sell, you can always become an affiliate and sell third party ebooks and audiobooks for a handsome commission. Interested? I suggest you check out PayDotCom, one of the biggest resource for information product vendors and sellers.

A lot of IT graduates from the 80s and early 90s will find that the skills developed from their university or college days are becoming obsolete with each passing day. Heck, some of the programming languages they’ve implemented projects with are probably no longer in existence today (or more likely to have evolved to the point of being unrecognizable).

One area that is almost unheard of back then is web applications development. Today, your web browser is not just used to explore web sites, it is an applications platform in its own right.

I can’t think of any traditional software that doesn’t have a web based equivalent. From office suites to something as specialised as healthcare management software, web based applications are being deployed much faster than anything we have seen in computing history. My take on it is that it will only become more prevalent.

I can think of a couple of reasons why web based software grew phenomenally in such a short period of time:

  1. It is easy to deploy: Code once and serve as much clients as your servers could handle. Updates are also less time and resource consuming to deploy
  2. Centralized expansion cost center: You’ll virtually only need to be concerned of the specs of the hosting server rather than your clients’ equipment
  3. Platform agnostic: Once you’ve decided on your hosting platform, web applications can pretty much run on any operating system and Internet-enabled devices (not only computers!)
  4. Growing toolsets: New web programming languages, libraries, scripts and toolkits are born almost daily, adding to the arsenal at the disposal of developers
  5. More reliable transmission infrastructure: Billions are invested each year to make the Internet faster and more efficient. Web application developers are virtually riding on this growth for free

Although I don’t foresee there will ever be a day where everything runs off the Internet (at least in my lifetime), it is nevertheless too gigantic to turn a blind eye to. Every traditional software company is moving on to Internet applications… so should every developer.

KUALA LUMPUR, 21 September 2007 – Tradenex.com Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) and leading service provider of electronic supply chain management and collaboration services, today announces the launch of Tariff Finder Online (TFO), Malaysia’s first online search portal for trade tariffs codes.

Based on Microsoft’s .NET framework, the TFO is a powerful web-based application that allows users to search for the most up-to-date tariff information in accordance with the latest changes and rulings by the Royal Malaysian Customs (i.e. Kastam DiRaja Malaysia – KDRM).

Soon Koi Voon, Chief Executive Officer of Tradenex.com, says that the TFO system was specifically developed to address the pains and issues long faced by the trade and logistics communities.

“For a long time, importers, exporters, freight forwarders and shippers have had to deal with the tedious and often inaccurate method of manually researching for the exact trade tariffs of the goods and commodities they were dealing with – through cross referencing 2 to 3 books and from CD applications and databases.”

“And even if they manage to pinpoint the right tariff rate, it doesn’t guarantee that the calculated tariff is accepted by Customs; nor it is easy to source a Customs Ruling to proof otherwise,” explains Soon.

Using Tradenex.com’s TFO, these problems are immediately resolved as the entire tariff rates of the Malaysian Customs – of more than 8,800 and 12,600 tariff items under the Harmonized Systems (HS) and ASEAN Harmonized Tariff nomenclature (AHTN) codes respectively, can now be accurately and instantaneously determined, and retrieved at the user’s fingertips.

Booster to Local Trade

The TFO is virtually the entire database of the Malaysian Custom tariff rates consolidated into a single Web-based platform, a powerful and thoughtfully designed search application that any registered user can access via the Internet.

Datuk Paul Low, Vice President of FMM and Chairman of Tradenex.com says that the availability of the TFO system is a direct boost to the productivity of the local trade industry’s processes. “TFO will hugely benefit the large community of freight forwarders, importers and exporters both locally and overseas as it provides accurate and instantaneous tariff rate verification.”

“While tariff information has been available in hardcopy and CD format for several years now, no one has had the technology to translate that into a web-based application with such powerful and relevant functionalities. We are glad that Tradenex.com has breached this challenge successfully,” says Low.

A Powerful Malaysian Tariffs Knowledge Base

Besides the latest and accurate tariff rates, the item description of relevant goods and commodities are available in three languages – English, Malay and Chinese; and information regarding the approved permit (AP) and restrictions of each item can be found immediately.

“Tradenex.com guarantees that all tariff information on TFO is the latest and in-line with the Malaysia Customs, with the TFO system being updated within 4 hours of every new Custom legislation or new ruling announcements,” exerts Soon.

TFO also provides users with 10 years worth of Customs rulings on previous transactions furnished by KDRM itself – in order to solve any disparities or tariff rate calculation disputes at Custom check points, if any.

Another unique feature of the TFO is the search option that provides a kind of Thesaurus dictionary which assists users to accurately define the commercial item they are dealing with. “For example, the Thesaurus will clarify that the trade name for ‘hard disks’ is actually ‘system storage’; hence eliminating a lot of inaccuracies in the user’s effort to refer to the right tariff rate code,” explains Soon.

Collaborations in the development of the TFO

Information on TFO is highly credible as this service is provided by Tradenex.com in formal collaboration with In-Glow Technologies Sdn Bhd, the content provider involved in the development of the existing Customs tariff rates CDs.

“Besides In-Glow, the successful development of the TFO system is also attributed to Microsoft. Tradenex.com is a Microsoft Independent Software Vendor (ISV), and our technology is developed on Microsoft’s technology platform,” shares Soon.

Moving forward, Tradenex.com, together with its partners, plans to add tariff rates from other nations into TFO in order to better facilitate trade in the region. “TFO is just is one of a series of Gateway-Connect solutions and services that Tradenex.com will be launching for the trade, manufacturing and logistics sectors. Our aim is to provide the necessary tools to ensure a smooth facilitation of the local trade industry, which in turn drives value to our customers and the nation as a whole,” surmises Soon.