Great news for fans of short fiction: The Colossal Short Stories Collection just landed in the App Store packing a whopping 2,222 public-domain works.
There are, of course, other story collections available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, but this is by far the largest one.
You'll find authors ranging from H.G. Wells and Mark Twain to Leo Tolstoy and Ring Lardner. All the greats are here, along with plenty of authors known mostly in scholarly circles.
The app lists them alphabetically by last name. Unfortunately, that's the only way to peruse the collection: you can'… Read more
QuicKeys is a long-lived automation utility designed to save you time by letting you convert tedious, repetitive tasks--everything from opening apps to copying files to typing your e-mail address--into quick, painless one-step shortcuts. Although there are numerous options for macro programs on the Mac (including cheaper and even free ones, like OS X's built-in Automator), QuicKeys strikes a good balance of providing an intuitive, visual interface with a veritable programming language that can handle the most complex tasks and workflows.
You can use a wide variety of triggers, with customizable "scopes" (for shortcuts that work in a … Read more
Nicky's World Productions Windows Media Player Skin offers an alternative to the bland appearance associated with the music player. This fun skin streamlines the popular media program.
The program's interface will be fairly simple to master for anyone who has operated Windows Media Player before. All the normal command buttons are there, though changing albums or seeing which song is playing requires users revert back to the program's Full Mode. Since this is only a skin, there is no Help file to guide you. The skin basically takes the core functions of the Media Player and shrinks … Read more
This post has been corrected from the original. See fifth paragraph.
For users who want to create easy short links to images they upload from their computers, this will be a bit of a time-saver. Also, users will get the real-time click through data from their images on the Bitly site.
Imageshack CEO Jack Levin says that his 11-person company services 3 billion images a day. That's the highest hit-per-employee ratio … Read more
At first glance, this sounds like a joke, doesn't it? Sex writer Violet Blue has launched a new URL shortening service, Vbly (found at Vb.ly), called "the Internet's first and only sex-positive URL shortener."
This means that Vbly has a different policy than other shorteners. Blue, and Vbly creator Ben Metcalfe, encourage the use of this service for creating links to adult sites and other "NSFW" links. They do not run their links through filters, as the market-leading Bitly (found at Bit.ly) does. Although, as Blue says. "I think we'd … Read more
Eric Woodward, creator of the short URL service Tr.im, painted his product into a corner when he announced first, that he was going to take it offline, and then a few days later that he wasn't. Nobody wants to trust their Web links to a capricious business that could go offline again, and take working links and traffic with it.
On August 17, Woodward put a fresh coat on the prior week's drama with a new gambit: He said he was giving the service to the community. In the bitter post announcing this plan, he continued to claim that due to the fact that Twitter made Bit.ly the default URL shortener for the service, a product like Tr.im has no real chance for success. Related, he says, is the recent announcement of the 301works archive for short URLs, which he sees as a craven publicity stunt to boost Bit.ly, since the same people behind it are also running 301works.
Woodward says that the Internet needs an open link-shortening service, because the traffic data short URLs generates is too valuable to entrust to a single company. "You can't get the aggregate data on what's being shared in real time by everyone," he told me. "Twitter wants to become a real-time search engine, so the data Bit.ly is capturing is very valuable."
(Bit.ly data is currently wide open, at least on an individual URL basis. Simply append "+" to a Bit.ly link to get traffic stats on it. Woodward wants to see a "fire hose" of short URL data, however.)
A Twitter keiretsu? Woodward does have reason to be envious and even suspicious of the Bit.ly-Twitter relationship, although it's difficult to draw the connection all the way to malfeasance on the part of the two companies. And it's hard to believe that his strident posturing will win him much support outside of a small group of the most zealous open-source boosters.
Several powerful companies in the Twitter ecosystem are inter-related. Bit.ly's CEO is John Borthwick, and Borthwick is also CEO of Betaworks. Betaworks helps build companies in the social-messaging space. It incubated Summize, the Twitter search engine Twitter acquired last year, and through that deal Betaworks remains connected to Twitter. Betaworks has also worked with Tweetdeck -- which also uses Bit.ly as the default link shortener. The company has several other Twitter (and Facebook) projects running right now. Suffice it to say that if you're in Betaworks' network, you've got great access to Twitter. If you're competing with a Betaworks portfolio company to get Twitter's attention, you've got a tough road ahead.
Betaworks is one of the drivers of the 301works short URL data project, and it's the relationship between Bit.ly and 301works that led Woodward to shun the project, at least for now. "There's nothing wrong with it in theory, but it doesn't solve the link rot problem," Woodward said. He added, "Why would I give them the publicity?" … Read more
In light of the near-shutdown of Tr.im--and the actual closing of URL shortening services like URLTea, Shurl.net, and Qurl.net--users of the URL shorteners still standing may wonder what's going to happen to their favorite services if they, too, go belly-up.
On Friday, Gnip is announcing that it's releasing a public database that will give URL shortening companies a place where they can archive or escrow their short URL directories, in the event their services shut down. The database would provide a way for another company to take over the services of the closed URL … Read more
In yet another piece of anecdotal evidence of the increasing threat from shortened URLs, e-mail security provider MessageLabs said on Tuesday it saw a dramatic spike in the number of spam e-mails that include truncated Web addresses.
Shortened URLs, which allow spammers to hide the real Web address from Web surfers and are commonly used on social media sites like Twitter where message character length is restricted, began a sharp rise last week and now appear in more than 2 percent of all spam caught in the company's spam trap, according to MessageLabs.
"Usually when we see a … Read more
Today: Windows 7 news, a new venture fund from the creator of the Mosaic browser, ABC goes live on Hulu, Toyota says yes to plug-in cars, and a short conversation about URL shortening services with CNET writer Stephen Shankland.Listen now: Download today's podcast