A tip for smugmug users – timeline

When I made the choice between smugmug and Phanfare one thing I found I missed was the ability to filter my pictures by year taken.  To my delight, smugmug added this feature shortly after I joined.  The feature is currently hidden and considered beta, but it works quite well – the only bug I’ve found is it got confused about a picture I stamped as being taken in 1959 (seems they weren’t expecting dates that old… shocker).


If you want a nifty timeline on your smugmug page, here’s how to do it:



  1. Go to http://yoursmugmugname.smugmug.com/?showGoodies=1 (be sure to adjust the URL for your member name)
    This will take you to your homepage with the phototimeline module visible

  2. Click the “show” link

  3. Very important: click the “date taken” link
    If you don’t do this all your pictures in the timeline will be shown by date uploaded (which won’t be very interesting unless you’ve been a smugmug member for multiple years)

That’s it, now you have a nifty timeline on your homepage.


MSN Search as a dictionary

While at the 2nd annual MSN Butterfly Tour the topic came up of using search to look up the definition of words.  I mentioned to the testers that it can be done by using the “define” keyword. 


For example, say I want to look up the definition of the word “sibilance” to make sure I’m using it correctly.  Typing “define sibilance” into the MSN tool bar or the MSN search page will return your typical search results, but at the top of the page you’ll find a definition of the word from Encarta.


MSN search supports a variety of phrases to tell it you want specific information.  You can get the same results as “define” by using the phrases “what is [word]” or “what is the definition of [word]?” (but typing “define” is, of course, fastest).


Here are some other cool searches:



Why waste time going to the bookshelf for a dictionary or encyclopedia?

S’bout time

I’ve been jealous of my coworkers in Redmond for a while because the Seattle-area has a very cool system for monitoring traffic status.  It now seems that the bay area may finally be catching up. 


Traffic.com now appears to have real-time traffic reporting for the south bay (read: Silicon Valley).  I honestly don’t know when they started reporting in real time as last time I looked for real-time traffic in the south bay was a year or so ago.  Traffic.com offers traffic for a number of metro areas like New York, LA and San Francisco.  If your city is not explicitly listed, don’t despair, look for the closest metro area.  For example, San Jose is grouped in with San Francisco. 


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Where’s the beef?  Traffic.com gets some of its funding from ads but it is also a marketing tool for Mobility Technologies to help drive adoption of its telematics technologies (you can sign up for news from them on their products when you register for your free access).  Mobility’s travel data program gets federal funding (at $2M for specific metro areas) but they do end up sharing their profits with the government.  Mobility focuses on 3 markets: reselling data to broadcasters, selling real-time equipment to large agencies and finally telematics equipment to consumers.


Mobility‘s Traffic Pulse Networks® are automated systems for radio and tv broadcasters.  The material on their site reads like the brochures you might find on the desk of a tv or radio sales manager.  In short, buy our service and you’ll make money hand-over-fist.


The solutions Mobility sells to businesses and government (and potentially consumers with deep pockets) are focused on delivering the same type of information you get from the web page but in a customizable form.  I could see UPS buying into this type of service to get a leg up on FedEx.


The really cool bit for me is Mobility‘s telematics.  This is where we should have been ages ago, having real time traffic in our cars that link into the GPS navigation to intelligently route us around bad spots.  It’s not explicitly stated on their site but the 2005 Acura RL has technology from Mobility which links GPS with XM-transmitted traffic data.  Dare I say it?  That’s so boss.  Now, if I could only get the service in something a little more sporty.


Sources: Mobility’s web site, Traffic.com and the clever people who keep posting confidential Mobility business presentations in locations where Google can index them.

Want less Spam in your Hotmail account?

There’s a quick and easy step you can take: turn your junk e-mail filter from “Low” to “Enhanced”.  At the lowest level Hotmail will delete the known junk e-mail before it even lands in your account.  There are, however, clever filters that deal with junk e-mail we haven’t heard of yet… when you switch from “Low” to “Enhanced” you get the added benefit of Hotmail moving the mail we’re not quite sure about into the junk e-mail folder for you to examine later.


To help protect yourself from junk e-mail:


Turn your junk e-mail filter to “Enhanced”
Cranking it up from low is the difference between “we know this is junk” and “we think this is junk.” Hotmail gets rid of the things we know are junk… the things we think are junk we move to the junk e-mail folder… but only if your filter is set to “Enhanced.”
Add your friends’ e-mail addresses to your address book
You can import, use the contacts builder feature on the contacts page or simply check the box on the sent mail confirmation page.
Add other addresses to your safe list

Adding amazon.com addresses to your safe list but not your address book keeps your address book tidy but makes sure you receive your e-mails from Amazon.
When you receive junk e-mail in your inbox, select the junk e-mail and click the “junk” button

When you report the junk we missed the junk e-mail automatically goes into a system which trains our filters to be better in the future (be patient, though, it does take some time for the filters to learn, you won’t see an immediate effect, but like exercise, it works over time).
Check your e-mail every day
This sound funny but it is really more of a psychological trick than anything else. If you check your Hotmail account every day you’ll find that the amount of junk in your inbox is quite small and easy to deal with. When you take the task in small bites it’s easier to stomach (and frankly, quite painless).

To turn your junk e-mail filter from 1 to 11:



  1. Sign into Hotmail
  2. Click the “Mail” tab
  3. Click the “Options” link (it’s at the top right, near “Help”)
  4. Click the “Junk E-Mail Protection” link
  5. Click the “Junk E-Mail Filter” link
  6. Select the “Enhanced” level
  7. Click the “OK” button
  8. Get less spam in your inbox

Too many steps? Try my direct link to your Junk E-Mail Filter Options.


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Some more travel tips


Ah, the joy of business class!  On the way back from Korea (more on that later) Paula and I were able to upgrade to business class.  When you’re dealing with a flight from Japan to San Francisco this is a life saver.  My flight left Tokyo around 10am on Wednesday and arrived in California at around 10am on Wednesday.  I watched Shrek 2 while eating dinner then took a Tylenol PM & a melatonin and slept for about 5 hours.  After a 2hr nap Wednesday afternoon my jetlag is gone (but don’t tell my boss, I may still get some slacker mileage out of this ).  Tylenol PM + 3mg of melatonin, my cure for jetlag, look into it.


Here are some other links to help you with your travel: