Friday, July 31, 2009

Build your own RSS Feed based on your favourite sites

RSS feeds are a trend in the Internet world. Although thy are based on old well known technologies, only the last few years people started using them exhaustively. Web based aggregators, like Google Reader, made our lives easier. I know people who don't even go to the news sites or the blogs they follow. They subscribe to their RSS feeds and then use an aggregator to gain a full pictures of the updates.

A nice idea is to create your own RSS feed. Well, I know that your blog's hosting platform creates it for you. I don't mean that one. What about creating a feed with the pages you like, or you want to suggest to other, or even keep track of them like a online bookmark.

There is a free hosting page for such RSS feeds. If you use Firefox the procedure is absolutely simple. Visit FeedMarklet. Fill in a name for your "custom" RSS feed. You will see immediately the link to your feed and also two Javascripts which you can drag and drop to your Firefox tool bar.

Whenever you see a nice page just click on the "add this page to: xxx" button on your Firefox tool bar. A Pop-Up window will be opened. You can add a Title, the link and a small summary.

If you think your feed will be so hot that everyone likes to be subscribed to it, then you can earn some money by using Google AdSense for Feeds.

Go on. Create your personal RSS feed and if you like subscribe to mine Subscribe

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Jinzora, Media Streaming nice and easy

I am a big fun of Itunes. I have plenty of MP3s and Itunes helps me keep them organized. The best thing that you can do with Itunes is the consolidation (organizing your media on the filesystem based on their tags/metadata e.g. artist, album etc.). So that’s OK when you listen to your music in the house, but what about listen to it through the Internet e.g. when you are at work?

There are solutions for this also. I have play with plenty of them (both in Linux and Windows, gnump3d is a simple and easy solution for Linux) but yesterday I managed to install the Jinzora2 media server on my home theater windows PC, where all my media files reside. The system is based on Windows XP SP3 and the installation is completely simple. If you are a Linux fun, try to install the WampServer and Jinzora2 packages for your distribution, for the rest of you, who are still stuck in the Windows world, please read further.

Basically what you need is the WampServer (compact installation of Apache, PHP and mySql) and the Jinzora2 media server.

Download the WampServer from here and install it wherever you like on your System. Just run the executable and click next, next, next … After that download the Jinzora2 from here (chose the Windows version) and extract the folder under “www” folder, in WampServer installation directory.

We are almost there.

For security reasons we have to change the mySql “root” user password.

  • Left-click on the WAMPSERVER small icon on the bottom-right corner of your screen (next to the clock). Then click the “phpMyAdmin” link. Your browser will be open at the administrator page of mySql. Click the Priveleges tab. Click on the sign of the “root” user (chose the “localhost” root user). Go to the “Change Password” area, type your password and click “Go”.

Hit the http://localhost/jinzora2/index.php and then follow the instruction. You may see some warning messages, although it is not a problem it can disturb you from doing the configuration right. In order to avoid them just do the following:

  • Left-click on the WAMPSERVER small icon on the bottom-right corne, go to PHP then PHP Settings and click on “Display Errors”.

And then go again to the configuration page of Jinzora. Follow the instruction for each Step.

  • At the “Installation Type” step choose “Standalone” and “Streaming Only”. You can chose also “Streaming and Jukebox” if you want to use Jinzora as a remote control Intrface for playing music at the server.
  • At the “Main Settings” step put a username and password that you can remember, you are going to use it for accessing Jinzora2 later on. Chose also the “Tag Data” as your preferred “Data Structure”.
  • At the “Backend Setup” put the password you have added at the mySql Administration page. Chose also “True” in the “Create Database” selection drop-down.
  • Now chose your media folder and Import your data. It may take sometime for Jinzora to collect all the data from your media (for me, 60 GB took 15 minutes). When you finish you have to delete the “install” folder under the “www/Jinzora2” folder (where you have extracted the Jinzora2 earlier).

Hit http://localhost/jinzora2 and put the username and the password you gave during the configuration step.

That’s it. Hit on a song or an album and play it.

In order to check if you can stream music to other machines you need a second PC which is connected in the same network. Hit the above URL again but instead of localhost put the servers IP address or its name. If this works fine the next step is to expose this service to the Intenet (If not then probably you have to configure your windows firewall).

You should at least have an ADSL connection, or any other type of Internet access which can stay up all day, if you want to access Jinzora2 from the outer world. You have then to apply a port-forwarding at your router pointing to your “media server” 80 port. I won’t get to further details on that since it mainly has to do with your Internet access type, the configuration of your network and the hardware (modem-router, switches, hubs, cable-modem etc.). This is something you have to find out yourself.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Yapta, Travel price tracking.

A very good site that came to my attention is Yapta. Yapta is a tracking site for hotel and air tickets prices. Except from that you can use it as an integrated travel search machine.

I have used it for tracking air-tickets prices. You can search for a specific flight, apply filters such as amount of stops, air-companies, price range etc. and when you find the one suites you, ask Yapta to track it and inform you by e-mail for drops of the price.

I haven't yet found a bargain but it seams promising. Anyone out there who uses it?

Zulutrade, or what to do when you are bored

OK. I told you already that I am stuck in the land of Boredom so I have plenty of free time to play around with everything that has nothing to do with my real life.

When I was young I wanted to work in the finance business. That's why I took my bachelor from a Business University in Athens. On the other hand my love was always Computers, and that’s why I choose the Informatics department of that University. Computers became my job but the madness for economics is still in my head. So I still spend sometime on new ways of investing my money.

This madness led me to It is an online platform to "play" in the FOREX market. You can open a demo account and start with 50.000 dollars.

It is absolutely amazing how easily you can lose or gain money. I managed to lose 6.500 dollars in 15 minutes and then earn 8.000 in 1 hour. If you are interested on such things give it a try (off course I recommend you to try the demo account. In order to open a regular account you have to spend months on learning how these things really work). The main characteristic of this platform is that you can bind your account with other investors (or gamblers if you prefer) and automatically follow their commands (when they open or close a position an equivalent command is given for your account).

So find the best ones and let them win money for you… or just continue working to earn enough money to pay your rent at the end of the month.

What about starting blogging.

These days are absolutely boring. After almost a month of hard, very hard work (without doing anything serious) working almost 13 hours/day, during the nights and in general out of my limits, I am stuck in the land of Boredom. Everyone is on vacations and I have to spend 8 hours each day browsing around the Internet, sending stupid e-mails and pretending that I am working.

I have nothing to do so… what about starting blogging.

So here I am. Let’s get this party started.