SUDS – Short URL Discovery Service

URL Shortening Services have been springing up all over the place since Twitter’s continued rise in popularity. The ability to use less characters to link to any webpage isn’t limited to short messaging platforms like SMS and Twitter. I’ve seen plenty of technical presentations include them to aid those taking notes not having to write too much.

Recently brands have been creating their own short URLs rather letting others obfuscate their identities. http://bbc.in and http://youtu.be have started to appear. Also 3rd party Twitter clients like @TweetDeck have started to shorten URLs in these custom formats.

It got me thinking there should be a Short URL Discovery Service (SUDS) defined. Domains could then be queried for a shorter version of a URL.
A simple query for a resource on that domain could reveal a shorter form or if there’s no response the 3rd party could use the user’s preferred generic URL shortening service.

I quite like these custom brand driven short URLs as it’s clearer where the link will take me.

Not checked to see if theres something like this already as I’m currently on the move. But if you think it’s an idea worth perusing, get in touch and we’ll brainstorm.

Importing AVCHD movies to iMovie

At first, it appears that the AVCHD movie files that certain cameras use are difficult to import into iMovie without some sort of conversion software.

Ignore all that, you can do it all with Disk Utility and your Mac without spending a dime/penny/whatever your local unit of currency is.

  1. Start Applications->Utilities->Disk Utility up.
  2. Click ‘New Image’
  3. Give it a file name in the ‘Save As’ box and select where you want it saving.
  4. Select the ‘Size’ . I used a 4.6Gb (DVD-R / DVD-RAM) size as I knew what size of files I’d copied from the SD card were.
  5. Click ‘Create’
  6. Go into Finder and if its not already opened the Image File (called Disk Image) in your Devices section, find the image and open it.
  7. Drag the files from your camcorder’s memory card to the image file, folders included. I copied the AVCHD folder from within the PRIVATE folder on the SD card that came out of the Canon Camcorder. It contained two subdirectories called BDMV and CANON with all the bits and bobs in it.
  8. When it’s finished copying, eject the disk image.
  9. Start iMovie
  10. Open the image file again and iMovie should detect it as a camera and offer to import it all for you!

Simple, hey? ūüôā

Invoking remote executables with Powershell

The Powershell Invoke-Command  script is very powerful for automating the deployment of software built in a Continuous Integration process. However, I just ran into a bit of new syntax when trying to invoke an executable on the remote box when specifying arguments.

Continue reading Invoking remote executables with Powershell

How to be one step ahead of UK Roadworks

There is an assumption that UK government websites aren’t up to much.¬†Elgin is a hidden gem of a website which lists roadworks from authorities which have joined their service. It’s either written or managed by¬†Jacobs.

What’s fantastic about this website it gives you the ability to hand-draw an area on a map and be notified via Email or RSS feed of any roadworks currently underway and, more importantly, any planned for the near-future!

The Traffic Management Act 2004 meant that local councils have to publish their street-works register. The fantastic result of this is that you can map out an area which represents your community or commute and get notified before stuff happens.

When you’re on the¬†Elgin Search page, you can expand the ‘Area’ section and select ‘Filter by drawing an area’. Then you can draw a polygon to represent the area you’re interested in.

When you click ‘Search’ you’ll see the results for that area. At the top of the results there’s the option to ‘Set up an e-mail alert or RSS feed for this search’. [Doesn’t appear to work in Google Chrome]

Brilliantly simple and allows you to stay one step ahead of your commute!