This reminds me of when Facebook acquired Instagram. You had this smaller, high quality service that lots of people loved. Some (like myself) loved it so much they made it their preferred method of photo sharing. Then the big behemoth waved $1 billion at them and the small guy couldn’t resist.

Now, I don’t know the financial specifics of this deal. But let’s be honest. Media Temple didn’t make this deal to become a better web host. This had to have been a financially motivated decision, plain and simple. I will be very interested to see how their current customers respond to this news long term.

I should state for the record that I have never been a Media Temple customer. I was briefly a GoDaddy customer back in 2007 but left within a month or so.

Follow my iPhone and iPad app Pinterest board

I’m not sure why it took me so long to get around to making a Pinterest board to collect my favorite iPhone and iPad apps. Follow it to see the apps that are piquing my interest at any given time.

It’s with a heavy heart that I relay to you the following bit of news. 8BIT, the company behind Standard Theme, is calling it quits.

I’ve been using Standard Theme on various WordPress websites for years. At present nine websites that I actively develop use Standard with several others that I’ve made for various clients relying on it as well. I’m truly saddened by this decision but I wish each member of their team all the best. Thanks for blessing me and countless other developers with your talent and excellent work.

Tweets of the Day

Do More with your Smartphone Email Signature

Ever since the debut of the iPhone (and possibly even before) the trend for smartphone email clients is to append an email signature that advertises the hardware or app you’re using to send that message. Here’s just a few examples of smartphone email signatures I found in my inbox.

  • Sent from my iPhone
  • Sent from my iPad
  • Sent with Sparrow
  • Sent from Yahoo! Mail on Android
  • Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID
  • Sent from my Windows Phone

When it comes to app settings I’m pretty picky. In this case I asked myself, “Is this the best use of my smartphone email signature?” I concluded that I could communicate so much more with just a few quick changes.

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Other than Dropbox, IFTTT is the most important web-based utility I use each day. It streamlines my workflow incredibly well by automating actions that would otherwise be quite tedious. If you’ve never tried it out I encourage you to do so.

If you have an iPhone now is an especially good time to jump on the IFTTT train. Today they released a stellar iPhone app. It’s amazing how even just the little touches make it that much more special, like how when you access the preferences pane the IFTTT logo remains at the top, only it’s reversed and made blurry as if you’re looking through a window at your local coffee shop. Of course you can access all your preexisting IFTTT recipes and create new ones as well. Plus there are three new channels for iPhone users: integration with iOS photos, reminders, and contacts.

IFTTT for iPhone is free, as is an IFTTT account.

Changelog: July 10, 2013
  • Added a follow button for the @howdoitknow App.net account to the sidebar.
  • The aforementioned follow button is 196px wide. Unfortunately my sidebar was only 190px wide. So I increased the width of the sidebar and content wrapper by 10px to compensate.
  • Added a Google+ follow button to the sidebar too.

Here’s the surprise of the day. The popular WordPress news website WP Daily has decided to call it quits. John Saddington writes:

We achieved every single goal and metric that we had set out to accomplish (and then some) in this glorious experiment and so we consider it a “success.” But, it did not achieve the much larger global goals and strategy of our organization at this present time.

Far be it from me to tell anyone how to run their business. I’ve never run one and can’t begin to know the stress of making big decisions like this one. But if I’m playing armchair quarterback I’m wondering why 8Bit didn’t try to sell this property to someone instead of shutting it down. Furthermore, I can’t figure out why they would make all old WP Daily posts inaccessible. Just close off comments and add a notice at the top of the page that the content is for reference only.

Something doesn’t add up. Obviously there’s no reason for 8Bit to tell the public everything about their decision. I’m merely saying it’s my perception that there’s more to the story than what we’re being told. They reserve that right, but I reserve the right to be curious.

I’m surprised web embeds didn’t become available at the launch of its video platform, but better late than never I suppose.

Update: As of yet there’s no way to scale the embeds before copying the code. By default the embed size is a whopping 612px x 710px! That’s nearly unusable.

There are all sorts of ways to download YouTube videos but I’ve not seen any of them incorporate the ability to download a video off Instagram. While you can set a preference within Instagram to save to your phone all videos you create it would sometimes be nice to be able to download a video someone else created.

Enter InstaDown. Just find the permalink of the Instagram video you want (which is easily done by visiting the person’s Instagram profile in a web browser, then navigating to the video from there) and paste the address into the InstaDown interface.

Day One is my favorite app for journaling. I have both the iOS and Mac versions of the program. Every time I read their changelog I’m impressed by all the new features they’re incorporating. If you’ve wanted to find a journal app (or a better one) now would be a great time to give Day One a try.

Please note that the click-through link above is an affiliate link.

Farewell, Google Reader

Google ReaderToday, July 1, is the final day of Google Reader’s existence. To the best of my knowledge this is the first time an online service I personally rely on has been shut down. Thankfully there are plenty of suitable replacements out there to pick up the slack, but I still can’t help but feel a bit sad.

To add insult to injury, now one of my most popular how-to guides is obsolete. Well, half obsolete anyway. I wrote a guide on how to use Google Reader and Instapaper to read online content like a pro. I remember years ago reading a blog post by Gina Trapani on the demise of Google Wave. She had coauthored a book on Wave that was well received. But as soon as Google pulled the plug the book became worthless. While her investment of time and energy was certainly far greater than what I gave to my little tutorial I can empathize with how she must have felt.

I’ve begun using Feedly as my Google Reader replacement. Initially I switched to Fever, an RSS client you run on your own server. I still love the concept, but the third-party ecosystem Feedly is developing is going to far outweigh the benefits of self-hosting my reading.

If you’re a Google Reader user make sure you take the time to back up your information using Google Takeout. Even if you don’t know what feed reader service you want to use next you’ll be able to pick up right where you left off once you make your decision. Takeout will even save a list of all the posts you’ve starred and liked.

Joost de Valk, a.k.a. Yoast, is a WordPress genius. Today one of his older posts helped me solve a coding riddle I’ve been stuck on for quite a while.

On this website I share lots of links to outside articles (this post is an example). The title of the post is actually an outbound link rather than the permalink to the single post view. It’s a format that was popularized by Daring Fireball. The permalink is added to the foot of the post for reference purposes. This link switcheroo takes place on the RSS feed as well, which is usually something I really like. But when I try to use a service like IFTTT to automatically publish an update to new How Do It Know posts onto one of my social media accounts the accompanying link on that update will be the outbound link rather than the post’s permalink.

I hope all that made sense.

Yoast provides a slick way to create a custom RSS feed without using the standard add_feed method. Instead he uses a custom page template that generates the XML code on the page itself. This allows me to work around any global changes I’ve made to every other feed on the site. His use case example is for getting around forwarding all feeds to a single Feedburner feed, but it works for my problem too.

Tom McFarlin:

The bottom line is that though we may use different terms to explain what it is that we’re building (plugins, add-ons, extensions, etc.), it’s can all be generalized as software.

And software, no matter what language you use or platform on which you’re building is extremely time-consuming. Putting together the site, purchase gateway, documentation, demonstration site, and then offering support are all in addition to the core product.

I would really like to build and sell a premium WordPress plugin at some point (though I will probably start off with something free to get my feet wet). But I can’t imagine doing so anytime soon simply due to the major time investment required. If it were simply a matter of skill and initial investment I’d be all-in, but it’s offering ongoing support that gives me pause.

A maintenance and security release for the WordPress core was just released this afternoon. Developers, time to update your websites.

I admit, I’m a little late to the party on this one, but I thought it was worth passing along anyway. App.net now has a way for users to verify their website’s domain name with their account. It’s a really simple process, as easy as adding the official follow button to your website. I chose to use the DNS record method of verification because I don’t like being told what to put on my website. I’m ornery like that.

I chose to verify andrewledwith.com with my personal App.net account even though that website is merely a landing page. I have a dedicated account for How Do It Know updates: @howdoitknow. I verified this website’s domain with that account.