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May 12 / Dan DeFelippi

Google Announces Page Speed Online API, W3 Total Cache Integration

Yesterday at the Google I/O conference the Page Speed team announced that it has added an API to Page Speed Online. For those who haven’t already tried it out, Page Speed Online is just like the browser plugin of the same name. It “analyzes the content of a web page, then generates suggestions to make that page faster” based on web performance best practices.

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Apr 25 / Dan DeFelippi

Dropbox Attempts To Kill Open Source Project

Very poor sketch of a desired icon for DMCA ta...

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday morning I woke up much earlier than I wanted. Instead of lying in bed, wishing I was asleep, I decided to get up and check out Hacker News. Better to waste my time reading industry news than lying around. One headline in particular caught my attention: “Dropship — successor to torrents?“. The name was an obvious reference to Dropbox and the suggestion it could replace torrents was enticing. Data storage and distribution has been a long time interest of mine and I can’t resist reading about the industry. I had no idea that by the end of the day I’d have received a fake DMCA takedown notice, correspondence with Dropbox’s CTO, and witness the near killing of an open source project.

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Feb 10 / Dan DeFelippi

CSSess bug fixes and new features

I finally found the time to sit down and bang out some code for CSSess. You can view the complete list of commits on github but here are some highlights:

  • Check for duplicate links
  • Ignore additional inaccessible URLs (eg file://)
  • Ignore cross site CSS

…and the most requested feature, a toggle checkboxes button to check or uncheck all links.

Your bookmarklet will update automatically since it uses the latest files on github. As always, suggestions and contributions are welcome.

Jan 7 / Dan DeFelippi

Don’t Have Time To Read Hacker News? Get Hacker Newsletter

Should Hacker News increase it's default font ...
Image by @bdthomas via Flickr

Like many in the tech and startup scene I enjoy reading Hacker News. It’s constantly filled with interesting and inspiring stories. It also happens to be a huge time sink. I can easily spend an hour reading stories about the latest unusual funding success, how to hack DRM, or a popular book review. So often I either avoid it all together to avoid wasting time or I don’t have the time to even read a single story.

Kale Davis had the same problem and came up with a solution to help everyone in the form of a weekly email newsletter. Already in it’s 25th issueHacker Newsletter covers some of the most popular articles of the week, Ask HN highlights, along with classic posts and interesting topics. If you’re strapped with time or need to avoid disappearing down the black hole of crazy comments, Hacker Newsletter can help.

Jan 1 / Dan DeFelippi

How I Backup My Systems

Horror stories about losing photos, homework, or source code to a hard drive crash abound. I’m no stranger to the problem. About 7 years ago I had a drive crash with crucial information that cost me $2000 to have recovered. Ever since then I’ve been anal about having backups of my data. A few months ago I reviewed my backup methodology and decided I needed to improve my redundancy. A proper backup solution has at least one local (external HD, burned DVDs, etc) and one remote (eg online backup service) copy. This gives you 3 copies of the file. That way if your house burns down or your data center explodes you don’t lose anything.

I was using my media PC / home server for local backup and an online service for remote. After replacing my ThinkPad with a MacBook Pro automatic incremental network backup was no longer as simple as it was in Windows. Thanks Apple. I also wasn’t happy with my online provider. Their customer service was lacking and they didn’t do delta backups meaning every time a file changed the whole thing needed to be uploaded. I started investigating other services and software to find a good, redundant solution. Here’s what I ended up using.
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Dec 2 / Dan DeFelippi

Why I Didn’t Try To Win Webperf Contest 2010

When Webperf Contest 2010 was first announced I was excited. As someone who develops and enters contests regularly, not to mention my devotion to WPO, I was instantly set on winning. The prize of an iPad would be icing on the delicious cake of first place. But that feeling faded after digging into the project. Here’s why. read more…

Nov 21 / Dan DeFelippi

Announcing cssess – The Bookmarklet That Finds Unused CSS Selectors

I’m happy to announce the release of cssess (pronounced secess, like secession), a bookmarklet that helps you find unused CSS selectors on any site.

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Nov 20 / Dan DeFelippi

TechZing – The Best Podcast You’ve Never Heard Of

I’ve been an avid listener to podcasts for about two and a half years. I started out with Skeptic and science podcasts (my first was The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe) and rapidly discovered popular tech podcasts such as those put out by TWiT, 5by5, and later ThisWeekIn. While Leo, Dan, Jason, and everyone else involved with these large scale products create great shows I sought out something that was different.

I stumbled onto TechZing not long after they started. I instantly liked the format. The two hosts, Justin and Jason, talk about interesting topics ranging from the latest on Hacker News to Helium-3 on the moon. The focus is on tech and startups but the off-topic (and humorous) rants often become the dominent theme of a show. A minor issue that gets mentioned, such as version control, might end up in Justin and Jason debating across multiple episodes.

One of the most interesting things that has happened on the show is Justin’s launch of a web-based social media client, pluggio. He started the project around episode 17 (when it was named TweetMiner) and over many episodes he discussed progress from launch to profitability.

Early on they did occasional interview and guest shows. For the past month or two they’ve increased output to two episodes per week, one discussion and one interview. They’ve had some great guests on to discuss a range of topics including launching a startup, cashing out, creating podcasts, geology, UFOs, and more.

If you’re interested in startups, tech, entrepreneurship, programming or you’re just a general geek I recommend the show. Subscribe on iTunes or check out their website.

Nov 4 / Dan DeFelippi

Optimize Your Website Automatically With Google’s Apache Module mod_pagespeed

Google’s commitment to performance just grew larger with their release of mod_pagespeed. This Apache module uses 15+ techniques to automatically optimize your site’s performance. These include:

  • Making changes to the pages built by the Content Management Systems (CMS) with no need to make changes to the CMS itself,
  • Recompressing an image when its HTML context changes to serve only the bytes required (typically tedious to optimize manually), and
  • Extending the cache lifetime of the logo and images of your website to a year, while still allowing you to update these at any time.

The documentation can be found on mod_pagespeed’s Google Code page.

There have been WPO blackboxes for a while that sit at the edge of your network and perform these types of tasks but this is the first Apache module I’m aware of to do so. I’m very interested in seeing real world stats on how well this works. There should be a minor performance hit the first time a page is loaded but the module caches the optimized results. After that first load everything should be significantly faster.

Are there any other free modules / edge tools available like mod_pagespeed?

Oct 20 / Dan DeFelippi

Webperf Contest 2010

Yesterday I stumbled upon Webperf Contest 2010. It’s a web performance optimization contest for those interested in speeding up the web. Entrants will be provided with with static assets from real websites with the goal of optimizing them to the max.

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