Introducing YippieMove '09. Easy email transfers. Now open for all destinations.
Oct
26.
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Small update today. We just want to let you know that we’ve added a ‘add to Google-reader’ and a RSS-button on the very top of the page. This is pretty common, but yet very nifty. Just click on the RSS-button to subscribe to our page with your favorite RSS-reader, or click at the Google-icon to add this page to your Google-reader page. Just a small feature to let you monitor our posts more easily.

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Introducing YippieMove '09. Easy email transfers. Now open for all destinations.
Oct
24.
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PlayingWithWire.com brings you a tiny useful utility that almost every web-master/blogger needs: a digg, del.icio.us and Blink generator. The reason why Alexander took the time to write this was because of the simple reason that all the other ones suck. Cuzimatter (which is the name of the product) is very simple, just enter the URL and title of the article or page, and it will give you the code necessary to paste into your document – it’s that simple.

We’re not really in the market of writing small nifty tools, but if we do write more of them, we will post them so you can enjoy them as well. I mean, what are friends for?

The name of the product is Cuzimatter, and if you have any comments or feedback, don’t hesitate to post a comment here.

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Introducing YippieMove '09. Easy email transfers. Now open for all destinations.
Oct
24.
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This might not be directly related to our startup, but how could I resist writing about Firefox 2.0 on the big day of its release? I’ve only been running it for about 15 minutes, but so far I really like it.

The first difference that strike the user is the new polished design. The design looks very similar to the previous one, but there are some changes, such as the new icons next to the address-bar, as well as the tabs looks a bit smoother with a metallic-look.

One of the new features that I really like is that links now opens in a new tab by default, before you had to right-click on the link, and choose ‘open in new tab’.

The new version also comes with another feature that I really like (and just discovered); the built-in spell checker. Now you don’t need to copy and past your text into a text-editor just to check your spelling before posting a comment or blog-entry.

In addition to this, the browser also comes with a built-in resuming of tabs. What that means is that you can shut down your browser, and next time you open it, you can resume the tabs you were using. Great feature, I use it a lot.

If you want to read about all the new features, visit the Firefox 2.0 Release Notes.

If you haven’t already downloaded Firefox 2.0, go to Getfirefox.com, and download your copy right away. Don’t think about upgrading to Internet Explorer 7, Firefox is the real deal.

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Introducing YippieMove '09. Easy email transfers. Now open for all destinations.
Oct
23.
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A strange thing happened today.

We’ve been keeping an eye on our Google Sitemap, as I mentioned earlier. Since inception we have seen our little company blog slowly grow into a position on Google and other search engines. A query like “site:www.playingwithwire.com” on Google would give you a bunch of results, one for every single blog entry we’ve had.

But today when I logged into sitemap, the web page told me that “No pages from your site are currently included in Google’s index.” And it wasn’t kidding! As of this writing, the query “site:www.playingwithwire.com” on Google returns no pages at all.

Did Google get angry because we published their secret? :)

Hopefully it’s just a temporary thing as Google reindexes and we’ll be back on your favorite internet map shortly. Meanwhile make sure to use our cool links below to add us to del.icio.us so you won’t lose us!

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Introducing YippieMove '09. Easy email transfers. Now open for all destinations.

Ok, maybe that’s not really true. But at least I caught your attention, didn’t I?

Honestly, it’s not really that far from the truth though. Today forums have become a big part of my everyday life. As you have seen previously on Playing With Wire, we love Open Source-software. In the Open Source-world, forums are equivalent to what phone-support is in the commercial-software world.

When you work as a system administrator, it frequently happens that you run into problems. The software doesn’t start after an update, you receive an error that you cannot really interpret in an error-log, or any other problem that you cannot solve. The thing that comes to your rescue is the forums.

My favorite Linux-distribution is Gentoo Linux, and one of the many reasons why I love it is because of their support forum. This forum has an impressive quick reply-time. Some of my posts got replied to within minutes, and this all for the total expense of $0.

So why am I writing this post? How does this relate to a startup? Well, it’s quite simple – we like forums. Web-based forums can help several users with the same problem. Rather than having to answer every question multiple times, one thread can give the answer to tons of users. In addition this, users can also contribute by helping other users. Somehow it’s the human nature to help other people because of the simple reason that we feel good about it (this is not a political statement in any way, trust me).

I must however acknowledge that forums will never completely replace phone or e-mail support, since in some certain situations, it’s simply more efficient/convenient to use phones or e-mail. My point is that if your company provides a forum where they deal with support issues, you can save costs as well as help your customers both save money and time (who hasn’t spent hours on hold to get through to a support line?).

Below I’ve listed 4 important things to keep in mind before you add a forum to your site:

  1. Select the right software. They say the best things in life are free, so why pay for something you can get for free? The most widespread forum-softwares out there are Open Source. Look at SourceForge or Freshmeat before you start spending money for software. However, keep in mind that there’re tons of people working on their spare time to bring you that software, so if you’re using their software in your business, please consider donating some money back to their project.
  2. Select a good design. Selecting a good design doesn’t simply mean that it should look good. Of course, this is essential, but it doesn’t matter if it looks good, if it looks completely different than the rest of your site.
  3. Integrate. Over and over again I see companies that have their forums on some external site where you can barely tell if it’s the official forum, or some unofficial forum. Make sure you integrate your forum into your site, make it look like it belongs there, both with graphics and layout.
  4. Answer the questions. This should go without saying. There’s nothing more annoying and frustrating than to visit a forum with little or no activity. A forum with many unanswered questions is worse than no forum at all. If you’re thinking about implementing a forum, make sure you devote the necessary time it takes to run the forum as well.

Since we’re talking about forums in today’s post, today’s link is to (as far as I know), the most well-known forum software out there phpBB. There’s also tons of other good forum-softwares out there, that come embedded in various CMSes, but phpBB is probably the most famous stand-alone forum-software.

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