Konami code to hack Facebook's background

23 May 2009

A lot of you may have heard of Konami, a video game development company back in the time of the Nintendo console, well you may not have know the Konami code...

The Konami code was a cheat code that was used in various video games that Konami developed.

We all thought that the Facebook design couldn't be changed - but using the Konami code allows Facebook to be a little different!

Go to the Facebook website and then do the following:

  • Click on the background white area
  • Press the keyboard keys: Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, then hit enter
  • Now try typing something in a status area or comment box, or try clicking somewhere on the page
  • You should notice something a bit different with the background if this has worked correctly.

The original Konami code back on the Nintendo was:
Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A

To access the website's that have a Konami code on them you will need the code to get into the page.

www.konamicodesites.com

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Why use Twitter hash tags?

9 May 2009

To add a hash tag to your Twitter update you just need to add a hash "#" and then the tag - like if it's a PHP tweet you can write at the end #php

But why use hash tags, they only seem to use up more of my characters and only being limited to 140 characters to start with is hard enough already!

Hash tags are the easiest ways to follow a conversation on Twitter.

Most popular hash tags are now shown down the right hand column on Twitter's home page (when logged in) and these show you the most talked about topics on Twitter.

If you want to join in the conversation you just need to use the same hash tag.

From a hash tag search you can also save a search, which will let you go back to the search quickly to see any progress in the conversations, or at the bottom of the right hand column there's a link saying "RSS feed for this query".

Clicking this link will allow you to subscribe to the RSS feed, and then you can get the updates on your chosen subject direct to you RSS feed reader. Now you can always be up-to-date with your latest interests.

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TinyURL blocked by Zone Alarm

8 May 2009

I've heard from a few people recently that when following TinyURL's they can't get onto the website.

TinyURL's are website URLs that are made shorter and re-directed form tinyurl.com

Creating a TinyURL will mean going to tinyurl.com and telling the website where the destination website is and it will create a shortened URL for you to use.

Twitter uses TinyURL for every hyperlink that people post, and then just displays the TinyURL. This helps with the 140 character limit that Twitter restricts us to.

If you cannot follow TinyURLs, or you're having a "Page not found" or "Operation timed out" error, then you want to check that something on your computer isn't blocking this.

Some people are finding that Zone Alarm is blocking these URLs, probably because you don't know what website you're going to until you click the link - and so Zone Alarm doesn't trust these.

To allow yourself to visit these TinyURLs all you need to do is add an exception into Zone Alarm's allowed list. The URL to allow will (in this case) be www.tinyurl.com but if it's blocking other URL shortening website as well, you just need to allow these in the same way.

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How do loading times affect website traffic?

7 May 2009

Long loading times for a website are able to affect your website's traffic a lot!

These days most users have broadband and so loading is a lot quicker anyway - but still, even on broadband, there are website that take a long time to load.

If people travel to go to a supermarket and join a queue they'd usually be quite happy to wait it out - But, if people are going to buy something on a website and the page is taking ages to load then they can quite easily type a new website and buy the product elsewhere, and the chances are that they won't come back to your website.

Long loading times on a website can be very frustrating and visitors are likely to get bored.

Losing a website visitor once is likely to impact their decision of ever coming back.

In order to minimise loading times on the page I'd suggest the following steps:

  • Optimise images - Make the dimensions smaller and reduce the quality slightly.
  • Minimal database activity - Only open a database connection once (unless using multiple databases), rather than opening a database connection each time you want to carry out a database query. Also only select to view table data that you need rather than selecting all the fields every time.
  • Host videos externally - Instead of using your own web hosting space's bandwidth you can host your videos on an external website such as YouTube, and then just embed the video on your website.

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Microsoft Office 2007 file extensions

6 May 2009

Since Microsoft Office 2007 there have been a lot of problems with Microsoft Office compatibility.

Up until Microsoft Office 2007, Word would always use the file extension .doc, Excel would always use the file extension .xls and PowerPoint would always use the file extension .ppt

With Microsoft Office 2007 also came new file extensions. Word now uses .docx, Excel now uses .xlsx and PowerPoint now uses .pptx

Because of the new file extensions they're no longer backwards compatible with Microsoft Office 2003 and other versions of Office.

As a result, if you want your Microsoft Office documents to still be backwards compatible you just need to change the file type when you're saving your document.

When you have your document click "Save As..."

Just above where you enter your file name is a drop down box. Clicking this will show the different file types you can save the file as.

One option should be "Office 97 - 2000" (or sometyhing similar) and should have the original file extensions .doc, .xls and .ppt

I haven't used Office 2007 to a great extent, but I'm guessing the other file types will work in the same way.

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PHP switch syntax

5 May 2009

In PHP there is a function called switch.

The switch syntax works like a lot of if and elseif statements, but is a lot less confusing and a lot more adaptable.

The function is started with switch (criteria)

Then you can define different cases that may be true.

If a case is true then it will carry out that portion of code and then carry on until the end of the switch syntax, or until it reaches the syntax saying "break;".

An example of a switch function is:

switch ($colour)
{
case "red":
echo "colour is red";
break;
case "blue":
echo "colour is blue";
break;
case "yellow":
echo "colour is yellow";
break;
}

If the $colour variable is actually set to "green" then none of the above will be true and so nothing will happen.

An alternative to nothing happening we can set a default for the switch function by using the syntax:

default:
echo "colour is not red, blue or yellow";
break;

If you want some of the cases to carry out the same piece of code you don't need to use the "break;" syntax.

Here's an example where you will not use the "break;" syntax in a switch function:

$weekday_num = 0;
switch ($day_now)
{
case "saturday":
$weekday_num = $weekday_num + 1;
case "friday":
$weekday_num = $weekday_num + 1;
case "thursday":
$weekday_num = $weekday_num + 1;
case "wednesday":
$weekday_num = $weekday_num + 1;
case "tuesday":
$weekday_num = $weekday_num + 1;
case "monday":
$weekday_num = $weekday_num + 1;
case "sunday":
$weekday_num = $weekday_num + 1;
break;
default:
echo "You have an error!";
break;
}
echo "It is day number " . $weekday_num . " so far this week.";

If in the above code the $day_now variable is set to tuesday then it will enter at tuesday and then will carry out all the code until it reaches the "break;" syntax. Then when we echo the result at the end it should read:

It is day number 3 so far this week.

Another example is finding how many days there are in a month using the switch syntax it will look like:

switch ($this_month)
{
case "january":
case "march":
case "may":
case "july":
case "august":
case "october":
case "december":
$num_days = "31";
break;
case "april":
case "june":
case "september":
case "november":
$num_days = "30";
break;
case "february":
$num_days = "28 or 29";
break;
}
echo "In this month there is " . $num_days . " days.";

If the $this_month variable is set to january then it will carry out all code until it reaches the "break;" switch syntax, and so it won't so anything until we set the $num_days variable to "31".

Also note, the only reason why we're using $num_days as a string variable is because on march we wanted to say "28 or 29".

The switch syntax is very similar to the Visual Basic select syntax.

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PayPal receipt for Play and Connect Ltd - Scam

5 May 2009

This is the first time I've written 2 blog entries in the same day, but I just got a scam email from PayPal which I thought I should warn people about.

The email I received was a PayPal receipt saying that I had spent 100 GBP to a company called Play and Connect Ltd.

I have not spent any money from my PayPal account since I opened it, but it still shook me a bit.

I use Mozilla's Thunderbird email client, and that flagged it as maybe being a scam email, so that made me hesitate straight away.

There is a link in the email to cancel the transaction, which when looking - the website link shown to us looks ok, but hover the mouse over the link and you will see that the link is quite different and actually doesn't even go to the PayPal website.

Another trigger that give it away as being a PayPal scam was the email address that the email came from - service@paypals.co.uk - The domain name isn't paypals at all, it's paypal.

Play and Connect Ltd's PayPal email address is apparently fairyland@playandconnect.com and so be weary of accepting anything from this email address, as if one thing is a scam then you may well get another scam from the same email address (fairyland@playandconnect.com).

The product that I had supposedly bought from Play and Connect Ltd costing 100 GBP was called:

750 Gold
Item number 103 , uid: 1400473058 , uid2:

Other than me knowing that I hadn't bought anything with my PayPal account the email actually looks pretty legit and I'm guessing has probably caught a lot of people out already.

At a guess, clicking the "cancel transaction" link will take the user to a page, looking much the same as PayPal, and will then ask you to login.

Logging in will then provide the scam people with your PayPal username and password and then they will steal your money.

I hope this warning reaches you all in time!

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Offline networking opportunities

4 May 2009

Networking on the Internet doesn't need much time and can be done in a spare 5 minutes or on a lunch break from work.

Although the Internet is ever growing and online networking is easy to do - it is also important to carry out offline networking.

By offline networking I mean getting out of the office and going to local networking events. Meeting people in person, giving them an element of trust and building a business relationship.

Offline networking would require business cards, promoting yourself through talks and meetings, and even maybe calling up a few people or carrying out some cold calling.

Offline networking is just as important as online networking as you will actually be meeting your potential clients and forming a business relationship. This may also later lead to referrals and good testimonials.

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Facebook status games

3 May 2009

This is an un-official list of Facebook status games. There may well be more, or even a list of official games - but I don't know of one!

Guess the song Facebook status game

Guess the song is a Facebook status game that simply requires you to write your Facebook status as a line from the song (preferably without mentioning the song title). Your Facebook friends then need to comment your status with the artist and song title, and then add a line from a different song for others to guess.

It is likely that you will receive lots of emails (unless you've turned them off) and notifications to say that lots of people have commented on your status. And then every new comment will result in people who have previously commented your Facebook status to also get a notification saying "<name> has also commented on <name>'s status".

For example I could put my Facebook status as:
"I got my first real 6 string"

And then a friend would comment my Facebook status saying:
"Bryan Adams - Summer of 69
I could stay awake just to hear you breathing"

Guess the movie or TV show Facebook status game

This is a very similar game to the guess the song Facebook status game, however, the difference is this time it's guessing movies or TV shows.

Your original status just needs to be a line from a movie or TV show, and then your Facebook friends need to say what movie or TV show it is, who says it, and any other signicance to that part in the movie or TV show.

For example I could put my Facebook status as:
"Could I be wearing any more clothes"

And then a friend would comment my Facebook status saying:
"Friends, Joey says to Chandler just after Chandler has hidden Joey's underwear
I see dead people"

Word association Facebook status game

Most of you will know what the word association game is, well this time it's using your Facebook status!

Simply put a random word as your status and then watch as your friends then write another word that has some relevance to the original word.

When a friend has written a new word the next comment must be relevant to the most recent word written.

For example I could put my Facebook status as:
"Tree"

And then a friend would comment my Facebook status saying:
"Bark"

Number association Facebook status game

With the number association Facebook status game all you need to do to get things going in write your Facebook status as a number. Your Facebook friends then need to think of something that is related to that number.

Once they have written something associated with the number they then also write a new number for your other Facebook friends to associate something with.

For example I could put my Facebook status as:
"2"

And then a friend would comment my Facebook status saying:
"2 Turtle doves
13"

Hangman Facebook status game

Everyone knows how to play hangman - the only difference with this is that there is no man being hung...

Simply place underscores as your Facebook status with a space between each underscore, and make sure you place the correct number of underscores to spell out the word or words you're thinking of. Note that if using mutliple words you should use a forward slash between each word.

Your Facebook friends then need to comment your status with just a single letter - if the letter is in the hangman you will need to update everyone by filling in the gaps.

Whoever finally guesses the word can then leave underscores in order for people to spell out the next word.

For example I could put my Facebook status as:
"_ _ / _ _ / _ _ _ _ / _ _ / _ _ _ _ _"

And then a friend would comment my Facebook status saying:
"E"

At which point I would re-write my Facebook status as:
"_ _ / _ _ / _ _ _ E / _ _ / _ _ E"

Then when the last letter is put in place and they work out that it says:
"H I / M Y / N A M E / I S / J O E" then they can comment with more underscores giving everyone a new word to guess.

Guess the word Facebook status game

This is like a crossword, but without having multiple words, words going vertical, and having clues - so actually it's nothing like a crossword!

As the original Facebook status you just need to write a clue to a word, some may be cryptic and some may be anagrams, and then in brackets a number (to tell people how long the word is).

Your Facebook friends then need to guess what the word could be, and once correct they can leave the next clue and number for everyone to guess the  next word. Note if there's multiple words in the answer then the number of letters in each word should be seperated by a comma)

For example I could put my Facebook status as:
"Another word for noisy (4)"

And then a friend would comment my Facebook status saying:
"Loud
James Bond star singing to Abba (6, 7)"

Best status Facebook status game

The best status Facebook status game is carried out on every player's own Facebook status.

The basic aim is to get as many people to comment and "Like" your Facebook status as possible.

For every Facebook status "Like" you get 1 point and for every Facebook status comment you get 2 points. If you comment or "Like" your own status at all then it doesn't count, and if one of your Facebook friends comments more than once then you can only count it as one comment and so even if there's 3 comments from the same person you will still get only 2 points.

If a Facebook friend both "Likes" your status and comments on it then you will get 3 points, as they will both count.

All players must agree on a time (usually using Facebook instant chat) and then all update there status at the same time. They should have previously agreed a time limit (like 10 minutes) and thenonce the time is up all players will need to do a quick countup of points they received.

The winner is the person with the most points.

All of the games above can be adapted to create lots more games, and also I'm sure you can think of your own Facebok status games as well.

One last Facebook status game which I found on The Guardian website is: The great literary Facebook status game

I don't like this game as much because there are so many books out there and how is anybody going to remember what it actually says on a particular page on a particular line, etc... It's almost impossible in my eyes - but it will get some random Facebook statuses being used!

To play "The great literary Facebook status game" have a look at - www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2008/dec/08/facebook-status-books

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Best ways to promote a blog

1 May 2009

For starters, the easiest way to promote a blog is posting the link somewhere on a different website.

This is a way to hopefully generate some traffic and maybe get the blog's Page Rank up a bit in Google.

A simple link won't do though, there needs to be something to backup the reason as to why people should click on this link.

An extract from the blog could work, just a bit of text, enough to entice the user to click through.

Other ways to promote your blog would be through social networking, social bookmarking, word of mouth, good search engine optimisation and emailing the link to your friends.

Social networking like Facebook and MySpace will be a good place to post the link for others to click on.

Social bookmarking like Delicious and Digg are great places to add your link and then write a small review telling people why they should visit your website.

Word of mouth is always a good method to tell someone about your website, but will they remember to actually look when they're next in front of a computer - chances are, no! Maybe give them a business card and write the link on the back.

Good search engine optimisation will mean that actually you may not need to promote your blog all that much, but instead the search engines will promote your blog for you!

Emailnig the link to your friends is a very easy method, it can be done in bulk, and if they're checking their emails then they already have Internet access and so it's easy enough to just click through.

As well as the methods I've mentioned above (which are all free), you could also promote your blog by spending a bit of money and paying for Pay Per Click adverts.

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