Saturday, December 27, 2014

Why any service with the word "Cloud" is EPIC

A stereotype is a thought that can be adopted about specific types of individuals or certain ways of doing things. And one new stereotype which I started to believe is that any service with the word Cloud in it would be definitely an epic and awesome service. I'll start by giving somes example.

1. CloudFlare
I would be no surprise to say that CloudFlare is one of the greatest CDNs ever existed in the history. For you can use it by paying literally nothing, it can filter out hundreds of attacks against, as well as displaying Google Analytics on every page and giving you analytics. CloudFlare caches all of your content (small static files) for free, and it also speeds up your website by 60%. Their interface is the of the simplest interfaces I have ever seen. CloudFlare is amazing.

2. Cloudinary
Cloudinary would be one of the most famous Image Management platforms ever. What would Cloudinary do is that host all of your images on Akamaii, the top image provider (used by Facebook). Cloudinary has easy-to-absorb API, with SDKs for most programming language. Cloudinary automatically optimizes your photos and you can crop, and manipulate your photo just by changing the link. Without also forgetting, the cute dashboard offered by cloudinary. In short, they make your life easier and their support is amazing also. They have a monthly free plan which would suit any startup.

3. Cloudfront
Cloudfront would be one of the most famous services of Amazon Web Services (AWS), a company
created by Amazon. Amazon Web Services is indeed the leading cloud (and infrastrucuture) provider and their professional Content Delivery Network (CDN) Cloudfront would take the top. You can get started in 60 seconds, and guess what? The limit is only the sky. You can use as many bandwidth as you like. On their prices page, they even put prices for 5PB (1,000,000 TB) of bandwidth.

4. DailyMotion Cloud
While I criticized them in a previous post and I wasn't happy as a customer. DailyMotion Cloud is very appealing Video Cloud Host. They host and encode millions of videos since 2005 and they stream more than 2 billion videos per month. Their cloud based video infrastructure is designed to suite any size of video library. The only problem is that their prices are extremely expensive.

5. iCloud
While every three days one news agency claim that it has been hacked, iCloud is one appealing service offered by Apple.  You can save your iPhone backups, contacts, mail, calendar, settings, pages, there. Apple has been aggressive protecting the security of iCloud after the claims that iCloud has been hacked and it leaked nude pictures of celebrities. Look at the source code in Chrome (view-source:https://www.icloud.com/). Indeed, I wouldn't blame Apple for protecting the security of iCloud. I personally do not like hackers.

Indeed, in our new age of internet spread, with the billions of page views giving to adult websites, and the trillions of search queries sent to google search engine yearly, cloud services are becoming more and more inevitable - all to entertain, serve, or inform the masses.

Know any other service with the world "Cloud" it below, state it in a comment.
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Friday, December 5, 2014

Display your visitor's country's name and flag picture

Hello, you are from !

Your country's flag image is !

Wait, how did I know that? It's pretty simple. I used a small script.

Do you wish to add this to your websites? Many online services make it a hassle to actually let you display the visitor's flag and country number. It has never been so easy and free, thanks to SeoCentro.com. You can do it now easily through those steps. All you have to do is copy paste the script.

For the flag , copy this code to your blog: 
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.seocentro.com/geo/geocn.pl"> </script>

For the country name , copy this code to your blog: 
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.seocentro.com/geo/geocf.pl"></script>

It is as easy as 1 2 3, just copy paste it in between your sentences and it will work.
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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

How to turn off analytics in free JWPlayer 6

If there is one absolute truth out in this world, it would be: "Nothing Is Free". Yes, nothing is ever free. ".  If something is out there offered for you without having to pay anything it doesn't mean it is for free. It does mean one thing: 

You're not a customer, you're the product. The customers are the advertisers. 

The saying goes with Google, Facebook and Skype product, Free iOS apps, anything for you can ever get for free. And of course JWPlayer tops the list. JWPlayer is the world's second  most powerful player ever released online, and it is available for download without having to pay money (not for free).  The best player in the world is of course YouTube's Flash and HTML5 player but you can't use independently. 


I'm not against those companies making billion of dollars of profit from advertisements, their product are worth it, like Google products, I can't live without them. But, the real problem comes when they offer products for free and make them dependent to their services. What does it mean?

If you get JWPlayer for free, the player won't load without having to get some signature from JW Player. The signature includes loading javascript files from jwpcdn.com like (jwpsrv_frq.js and jwpsrv_frq.js) and pinging .gif  which seems to get analytics that you don't care about.


When the player opens on an end-user’s browser, and if for any reason it cannot reach the JW CDN, it will fail to produce a working player. Instead the end-user will be confronted with:

"Could not load plugins: File not found".

People would normally have player not loading if they're testing the player offline. If someone cannot have access to JW CDN for example, it will not load.

People would ask on forums:
Customer – How to turn off analytics with JW6.7
JW Player – It can be disabled with the enterprise player.


How do I disable analytics? is equivalent to how do I make my player independent from your annoying JW CDN? 

And you can't do it easily.


These points have been made in the context of the “free-edition”.  In a perverse logic, they want you to pay 300$ a year to remove the functionality that you didn’t want in the first place.

Having not stating that clearly, it seems that JW Team are not respecting and re-engaging with their customers, they are not fixing their code and are not being honest about their motivations.

For this reason I created this tutorial telling you how to actually turn off analytics in the free version of JWPlayer 6. The process is a bit pain in the ass, but it's not difficult at all. There are four parts (A, B, C and D) , I'll try to simplify them as much as I can. 


PART A: Get information about the dependency, and host the js files of jwpcdn.com yourself!

Step 0:  Make sure you backup everything so that you won't cause a lot of damage.

Step 1: Make sure you have a working JW Player 6 player (capable using both Flash and HTML5).

Step 2: Get the link a page working normally with JW Player (eg, www.yoursite.com/watch?id=534).

Step 3: Make sure you're using Google Chrome browser. 

Step 4: Go to tools.pingdom.com

Step 5: Paste the URL in the box and click on Test Now. 



Step 6: Paste the URL in the box and click on Test Now. 

Step 7: Wait for the testing to finish.

Step 8: Using Ctrl+F (Or Cmd+F), search for jwpcdn.com.

Step 9: Make sure you see something like this. 





Step 10: Now, what you have to understand is the player will never (ever) load without those two files, so the solution would be not to get rid of them, but to host them yourself.

Step 11: Now go to your server, and create the "exact" same directories of the two files above (on the main directory of your website. For example, since my site is georgechalhoub.com and I'm using JW Player 6.8.  I would create a folder, name it 6 and another folder inside 6, called folder 8. In the end I would have:
http://www.georgechalhoub.com/6/8 as a main directory of my website.

(If I was using  JWPlayer 7, the directory might have been http://www.georgechalhoub.com/6/7, so make sure you have the same directories or else it won't work).

Step 12: Save each file, like using Right Click --> Save Link As














Step 13: Place them respectively in the directory. In my case, I would place:
jwpsrv.js in http://www.georgechalhoub.com/6/8/
and
jwpsrv_frq.js in http://www.georgechalhoub.com/6/

Step 14: Download http://www.georgechalhoub.com/a.gif from my website. Don't worry, the gif is a safe dummy (1x1 in size) which will used later to prevent any analytics from being sent to JW Player. 

Step 15: Place the file in your main site directory. If you site is www.yoursite.com, the file would have to load from:
www.yoursite.com/a.gif




PART B: You're not done yet. Now you have to edit the files saved on your server which are jwpsrv.js jwpsrv_frq.js and jwplayer.js.

Step 1: Make sure you're self-hosting the jwplayer.js 

Step 2: Open the file jwplayer.js which should be on your server, so that you'd be able to edit it.

Step 3: Using Ctrl+F (Or Cmd+F), to search for jwpcdn.com.

Step 4: You should see something like this
{var a="http://p.jwpcdn.com/"+e.version.split(/\W/).splice(0,2).join("/")...

Step 5: Replace http://p.jwpcdn.com/ with your site, in my case: http://www.georgechalhoub.com/. The final output would be:
{var a="http://www.georgechalhoub.com/"+e.version.split(/\W/).splice(0,2).join("/")...

Step 6: Open the file jwpsrv.js which should be on your server, so that you'd be able to edit it.

Step 7: Using Ctrl+F (Or Cmd+F), to search for jwpcdn.com.

Step 8:
 
You should see something like this
+"p.jwpcdn.com/6/jwpsrv_frq.js";this.K=d;this.debug=a;

Step 9: Replace p.jwpcdn.com/ with your site, in my case: http://www.georgechalhoub.com/. The final output would be:
+"www.georgechalhoub.com/6/jwpsrv_frq.js";this.K=d;this.debug=a;


Step 10: This is very important! Clear your cache and make sure the new version of the files is loading from your server (if you're using a CDN like CloudFlare turn it off temporarily since it would be loading the old version of the .js files). 

Step 11: Save everything, and double-check, reload the player it should work now! Now still one last step to prevent analytics. (If it doesn't work, it means you did something wrong, re-check everything).

PART C: You're not done yet. Now you have to edit the files saved on your server which are jwpsrv.js jwpsrv_frq.js and jwplayer.js.

Step 1: Now, you have checked it, open the file jwpsrv.js another time, which should be on your server, so that you'd be able to edit it.

Step 2: Using Ctrl+F (Or Cmd+F), search for ping.gif. Here is the real deal now. 

Step 3: You should find two occurences. The first and second respectively looking like this:

this.D= "dev.jwpltx.com";this.I="n.jwpltx.com";this.H="v1/playerconfig/ping.gif?";

this.j={};this.P="n.jwpltx.com";this.O="v1/jwplayer6/ping.gif?";

Step 4: Now you have to use the a.gif you uploaded to your server, remember? If your site is www.georgechalhoub.com, edit them in a manner looking like this:

this.D= "www.georgechalhoub.com";this.I="www.georgechalhoub.com";this.H="/a.gif?";

this.j={};this.P="www.georgechalhoub.com";this.O="/a.gif?";


PART D: You're done, just double check everything in tools.pingdom.com.

Step 1: Make sure you're using Google Chrome browser. 

Step 2: Get the link a page working normally with JW Player (eg, www.yoursite.com/watch?id=534).

Step 3: Make sure you're using Google Chrome browser. 

Step 4: Go to tools.pingdom.com

Step 5: Paste the URL in the box and click on Test Now. 
Step 6: Using Ctrl+F (Or Cmd+F), search for jwpcdn. You should find 0 occurrences! You site is not dependent on the greedy annoying JWCDN anymore! 

Step 7: Using Ctrl+F (Or Cmd+F), search for jwpltxYou should find 0 occurrences! You site is not dependent on the greedy annoying JWCDN anymore! 

Step 8: Using Ctrl+F (Or Cmd+F), search for ping.gifYou should find 0 occurrences! You site is not dependent on the greedy annoying JWCDN anymore! 

Step 9: Using Ctrl+F (Or Cmd+F), search for a.gif. You should see:

In gray you should see, i.www.yoursite.com

Step 10: You know what this is? It's the signature of jwplayer and the information "analytics" it sends from your website to their server! They player won't start without this file being sent, except now, its all going to your domain and nothing is being set to jwplayer.

I deeply hope you got that working like I did, if you're having errors you can post a comment and I'll catch up with you in short time. This tutorial is made for educational purposes only, I'm not responsible for any legal or technical damage you get using it, read my Terms of Use here








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Monday, December 1, 2014

10 REASONS Blogger is better than WordPRess

Blogger is a blog-publishing service which allows user blogs with time-stamped entries only. It was developed by Pyra Labs, which was bought by Google in 2003. 

Here are 10 simple reasons why Blogger is better than Wordpress:

1. Blogger is 100% free, wordpress isn't.

Blogger offers unlimited space and unlimited bandwidth and you can set up a domain for free, whereas in Wordpress you have to pay 100$ for a domain and you get only 13GB of storage. Literally. 

There isn't any single hidden payment feature in Blogger. Everything is 100% free with 100% uptime, whereas the hidden fees of Wordpress are unbelievable.

All the customizations in Blogger are offered for free, whereas most of customizations in Wordpress are paid. 


2. Blogger is easy to setup, wordpress isn't. 

It takes literally less than 5 minutes to set up your new blog with any default template provided by Google. This is astonishing and productive,  you can start posting and telling the world what you want in few minutes.  The options which Blogger asks you to set are limited to what is necessary. So, you don't have much of a headache figuring out which options to activate, and which to avoid.

WordPress is a much more complicated ~ it has a thousands of options and you will be spending thirty-five minutes trying to get them correct. The ironic part is that, most of these options aren't necessary, and they do not enhance your blogging experience in any way.  A wrong selection may result in your blog being invisible to Search Engines. 

3. Blogger is easy to customize, wordpress isn't. 

Blogger offers an extraordinary level of customization. You can actually edit the HTML code, if you have the required knowledge! That is very surprising,  it is very simple to customize every feature in your blog; every part of this template can be changed to suit your needs. You can edit the fonts, change the background color/image, add as many widgets as you like (even third-party widgets), and position them as you like. You can change the column widths and text color as per your wishes.

WordPress is the opposite. It gives you a huge selection of free templates (plus a number of premium ones), but you cannot customize any part of the template without paying for an upgrade. Widgets can be placed only where your chosen template allows you to.

4. On Blogger you make money from your ads, on Wordpress they make money from your ads 

When you feel your blog has enough traffic, you can sign up for an advertising account with Google, and will place a widget provided by Google, wherever you like and sit back. Google will place relevant ads in the space you have appointed and pay you for every click that it gets.

On, wordpress it is just the opposite. If you have a free account there, they will post their own advertisements in spaces they desire and make money from their ads.

5. On Blogger you are born SEO optimized, on wordpress you are not
Since, Blogger is owned by Google, it indexes Blogger blogs way much faster than the wordpress blogs. Not only this, Google automatically publishes your pages on Google+ if you desire. Blogger is also hosted by Google Cloud Computing;  thus the blogger platform is SEO optimized by default.  All you need to do is just modify few basic settings and your blog is ready for SEO. 

On WordPress, you need to install plenty of SEO Plugins to optimize it.

6. On Blogger you are highly secured, on Wordpress you are not
On, WordPress blogs are highly vulnerable. Even a small loophole can do a big damage to your years of hard work. 

Whereas, Blogger is hosted on Google Cloud Infrastructures, you won't be having any access to the database or the server ~ everything is extremely highly secured!

A blogger blog can only be compromised if your gmail account linked with your blogger blog is hijacked (or hacked)  which can easily be protected with a step-2 authentication.


7. Blogger offers official gadgets simply and for free whereas Wordpress doesn't

You can easily add gadgets like news, weather reports, currency converter, videos, slideshow, search box etc by a single click. You can place these gadgets where ever you want in your blog by changing their position by customizing layouts.

8. Blogger offers a production environment, WordPress doesn't
Wordpress really sucks as your forward facing production environment. If you're being self-hosted, even after weeks of production with you redesigned wordpress site, you might get racked up to 8 hours of downtime due to database failures. You might also have to pay Apache/PHP/Mysql fees monstrosity on Amazon EC2.

On Blogger, you don't have to worry about anything, literally. Nothing! 

9. WordPress can shut down your blog anytime, Blogger won't do it unless you violate their terms 

If you host your blog at WordPress.com, their Terms Of Service (TOS) very clearly states that WordPress.com “may terminate your access to all or any part of the Website at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately.

Whereas Google says: "We may also take any of the above actions if we find that a user has created multiple blogs with the purpose of evading our policies or engaging in repeated abusive behavior. If you have had a blog disabled, do not create a replacement blog that engages in similar activity."

What kind of sorcery is this? 

You might think you run a squeaky-clean blog and that you'd never come close to a TOS violation, but do you really want to give  this WordPress that much control over your livelihood? Go with blogger instead. 

10. Free Spam Control

WordPress users have to pay for plugins which help in controlling Spam but this does not applies for blogger. Blogger has an inbuilt SPAM Controller which is very powerful. The inbuilt Spam controller automatically detects spam comments and removes them. So you don't have to bang you head reading SPAM comments, Blogger will take care of that.

BONUS (Extracted from wikipedia):
  • The Google Toolbar has a feature called "BlogThis!" which allows toolbar users with Blogger accounts to post links directly to their blogs.
  • "Blogger for Word" is an add-in for Microsoft Word which allows users to save a Microsoft Word document directly to a Blogger blog, as well as edit their posts both on- and offline. 
  • Blogger also started integration with Amazon Associates in December 2009, as a service to generate revenue.
  • Windows Live Writer, a standalone app of the Windows Live suite, publishes directly to Blogger.
  • Blogger can be optionally integrated with Google+.
  • Google+ comments can be integrated with blogger comments.
  • The Campaigns tab in Blogger dashboard links to Adwords making it easier to create ads.

There is no doubt that Blogger.com is the greatest weblog publishing tool online, this project will never fail. 


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