Bloglines Toolkit 1.7.0

It’s been a monstrous fifteen months since I last updated the Bloglines Toolkit. Frankly, there just isn’t that much of a reason to do so. Unfortunately, the Bloglines Notifier API just hasn’t changed that much. Ever. And since it hasn’t, there just isn’t that much to be done with the toolkit. I did have a branch of the tookit at one time that offered an unread count in the status bar, but since there was so much trouble getting the icon to look right in the first place, I eventually decided against releasing it, and figured I’d just stick with things the way they are.

So why is there an update now? For several reasons. First and foremost, to get some updated languages out there. Some of you may be interested to know that the extension is now available in 13 languages, thanks to the fine folks at BabelZilla. This release includes Danish (da-DK), Italian (it-IT), Korean (ko-KR) and Polish (pl-PL). Second, I wanted to see if things would work in Firefox version 3 (it does), so I updated the MaxVersion string, and made a couple of other tweaks as well. Finally, I updated the copyright dates and web site links.

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Change Your Social Security Number at PayPal

As I’m recording information for taxes this year, I realize that once again, I’ve managed to forget to update the account information at PayPal, and the 1099 form has my personal Social Security Number on it, rather than the company’s Employer ID Number, which means that I personally will be paying taxes on any interst in the account, rather than the company. To make matters worse, the company taxes are already filed, which means that they have accounted for interest income, so it’s like a double whammy. About the only good news is that it’s not a huge amount. But still.

I figure I need to take care of the problem. The only issue is that there is no easy way to do it. The interface at PayPal, while not difficult, doesn’t seem to have a way to figure out how to change this information. In fact, there’s no obvious place to change your Social Security Number/Employer ID Number anywhere that I can find. I do manage to find a couple of places where you can contact them directly – both a local area code and an 800 number – so I try both. No such luck. After spending at least half an hour on the phone with various reps, being transferred more than once and being disconnected twice, I was still stuck with the same problem: My 1099 for next year was going to have my personal information on it, not the company’s.

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Microsoft Action Pack Assessment and You

If you’ve been a subscriber to the Microsoft Action Pack, then you might know of a couple of changes to the plan this year. First up is the requirement that you pass an assessment course. I figured I could do this when I had a chance, and so I pretty well blew off all those notices that they kept sending me and didn’t bother to read much on the subject, so I finally got around to checking out the details today. I found out that the subject matter is a little bizarre. Mostly to do with sales, which I absolutely hate, but still, I figured I could stumble may way through.

I eventually settled on Designing, Deploying, and Managing a Network Solution for the Small-and-Midsize Business, which is described as “This course teaches you to design a network solution, install and upgrade to Windows Small Business Server 2003.” I figured that wouldn’t be too hard, right? So I registered. Of course I was in the middle of about three things, and still wasn’t paying attention, and so the first thing I noticed was an assessment of my current skills, to see if I was able to take the test. I found that odd, but oh well. So I answered the 15 questions, and passed with 80%. That’s cool. Then I spent a while trying to figure out how to actually get to take the real test, and I couldn’t find it.

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The Dilemma of Paid Reviews

An interesting comment was raised on my review of Web Hosting Bluebook. Someone by the name of “Internet Marketing Blog” (if you follow their link, you get a blog by the name of “Money Maker Jobs”, and someone posting under the name of “admin”, so finding out the real name isn’t easy) mentioned that “this is the internet” and we’re here to sell people BS. I think that this is an interesting comment for many reasons. Most notably because, as I mentioned in my follow-up comment, that the commenter himself mentions on his own page that “money is not everything” – so if money is not everything, what else is there?

I certainly have a number of thoughts on the subject, but if we’re all here to sell people BS, that implies that money is, indeed, everything. Looking at the monstrous page offered by our commenter, we see 12 posts spread over three months and eight categories, along with four Google boxes. So obviously, our friend is all about the money. But without much content. And I’m wandering now, so let me get to the point, which is that much of what I do is offer reviews. I offer reviews of products, such as keyboards, I’ve reviewed many pieces of software, including downloadable software and services (most recently TypePad). I also review our government. This site is full of reviews, in fact, and I’d venture that all of them are pretty honest.

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The Lost Art of Thinking Critically

In my job, I am often called upon to solve problems – in fact, most of my job is less about writing code or making things pretty (no comments from the gallery, please) than it is figuring out how to make things work the way that they are supposed to. Often, the issue is actually to get everything back the way it was before a wayward upgrade skewed the normal operating procedure to a point where everything went slightly haywire.

Over the weekend, for instance, against my better judgment, I took on a job to implement an upgrade. With steps in hand from the company who supplied the software, I felt mostly confident that we could get the job done relatively quickly. Unfortunately, as we were nearing the end of the process, everything went absolutely nuts. Suddenly files were inaccessible and nothing would work. I still have to admit that I just don’t know what went wrong – it’s like there was a forgotten uninstall process that someone just left waiting to explode. At that point, the most useful skill was not knowledge, but being able to figure out how to restore some semblance of order.

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Using Feed Digest to Republish Feed Content on Your Site

With version 3.31 of Movable Type, the product began shipping with feeds.app lite, which allowed some simple abilities for republishing the content of other feeds on your site, through the use of Movable Type template tags. This plugin was a great step forward, and expanded on earlier plugins that did similar things, but in fact, it is the less-capable sibling of the (much) more powerful feeds.app from Appnel Solutions.

The primary difference between the two is that feeds.app lite allows you to pull some basic information out of the feed, while feeds.app allows you to get anything at all – it’s much, much more powerful (and it also has a price tag associated). Unfortunately, feeds.app, while insanely powerful, also has caused some signficant hair-pulling to get things working from time to time. It’s a shame, because it’s a good plugin. Some of the problem is a conflict between the default feeds.app lite plugin and the full-featured feeds.app plugin. Some is that there are a lot of requirements (that ship with the plugin), and it appears that many systems just don’t support everything that you need to get it working. Because of that, I have recently been looking for an easier solution, and I think I’ve found one in Feed Digest.

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