SansJ Newsletter

I finally managed to send a newsletter to all SansJ users. It looks great, you can have a look at it here.

I had been looking at Online Newsletter generating services, and, I was surprised to find that they are pretty expensive (around 10$ per month). I spent a day to create the newsletters and sent it through Entourage. Most E-Mail clients cannot send complex HTML E-Mails and usually require some kind of an add-on script. For Entourage I used this, an excellent Script that worked very well.

My newsletter looks great in Entourage,Gmail, YahooMail and Hotmail. Hopefully I will be able to send more of these in the future.

news.ycombinator search

I am a regular reader of news.yc and like most people using that site, I wanted to be able to search the site. Since the site does not have an inbuilt search functionality, I created yc.news search here.

Just like in SansJ, one can use the search plugin (FF and IE7 only) and search from their browsers search bar. Also, existing users of SansJ will be able to login with their current SansJ usernames and passsword.

Online Spell Checker…

This can be viewed online on my Social Search site Sansj.com. try searching for Yahoi Search.
It is a good thing have a spell checker facility in a Search Engine, people are not always correct with their spelling and yeah sometimes typos do occur. I read somewhere about using a statistical model to develop a spell checker, and, I was amazed. But I had neither the time or the brain to implement/optimize it,so I went for the easier option, I used yahho spell checker api available here.The code I came up with (with some help from my previous work and also a few other work available on the internet) is presented here:

//COPY PASTING WILL NOT WORK, UNLESS, YOU ARE WILLING TO CHANGE THE QUOTES
$req_spcheck=’http://search.yahooapis.com/WebSearchService/V1/spellingSuggestion?appid=YOURIDGOESHERE&query=YOURQUERY&results=3&output=php’; ///create the query here, output is serialized PHP
$checked=”;
$res = file_get_contents($req_spcheck);
$phpobj_spcheck = unserialize($res);
$key2=0;
foreach($phpobj_spcheck as $arr2) { ///for each loop to get each of the suggestions
$key2++;
$checked.='<a href=”http://trk7.com/ask/mysearch2.php?sstring=’.trim(urlencode($arr2[‘Result’])).’&submit=&co=all”>’.($arr2[‘Result’]).'</a>’; ///create a link that can be used also as a search query on my site
$str4=$arr2[‘Result’];
}
if ($str4!=””){ //making sure we r getting a corrected result
echo “<div style=’font-size:1.2em;background-color:#FFFFCC;border-top:1px solid gold;border-bottom:2px solid gold;text-align:left’><img src=’images/spellcheck.png’ style=’padding-right:2px’ alt=’Spellitrite ‘ />Did you mean:”.$checked.”?</div>”; ///display the spell suggestions
}

This can be viewed online on my Social Search site Sansj.com. try searching for Yahoi Search.

Totally Cool.
P.S. Should have known that, to display code in wordress, should have used htmlentities.Thanks.

SansJ.com updates.

My Social Search Engine:SansJ has had some updates to it’s interface recently. Most notable is the use of CSS based Buttons instead of standard HTML buttons. Thanks to some excellent free web 2.0-ish icons available here, I have been able to create some good-looking CSS buttons.The new menubar at the top has been created with help from here; which is a wonderful site to learn about HTML <li> and also look at some implementations (mainly CSS based menus).

I wa surprised to find that IE does not support :hover for anything other than <a> and was happy to use the workaround available here.

Another weird problem that I encountered with IE (versions 6 & 7).IE doesn’t seem to display text that had the color defined as ‘grey’, but, when I used the HEX value for color grey the text actually was visible. It is a bit difficult for me to put up with these issues as at home (where I mostly code), I use a mac and do not have IE (running windows a Guest OS, is something I wouldn’t want to do again), so I discover these quirks with IE when I get to work and then try to FTP to my site and try to edit files, and is getting quite painful as I am usually busy at work.

More updates, soon.I am hoping to complete some ideas that I would want to implement before I leave to NZ for a 4 day vacation.In preparation to the trip (apart from the shopping), I have decided to get rid of the tummy that could get out of control and found some help here.

Scriptaculous Slider in action.

Slider in action at SansJ

Ever since I had it in my mind-even though I could not think of any immediate benefit for my Social Search Site SansJ-I couldn’t make myself to code something that had a more practical value for my site.After about a week of experimenting (I am very average, but, lazy coder) finally managed to create a slider that is kind of Mac OSX’s Summarize feature (definitely not that good).

The reason for creating it goes this way:Due to the very nature of a Social Search, the relevancy of a result for a particular search query is usually proportional to the number of people who have searched for something similar and voted for a result.In other words if more people start using it, the better the results. Unfortunately, SansJ, has not reached a stage where the people power/wisdom is enough to return top quality search results. So, I had to come up with a solution that would not embarrass me. So if I searched for deleting rows in mysql based on date, I know that I can move the Slider to the left to see the most relevant result and ignore the rest. In other words, I see what I want to see (which also happens to be the most relevant).So until SansJ receives the attention it deserves, I will be happy to devise these tools.

Now to how I implemented it. It was a complete hack! I wouldn’t say this is the most elegant solution, but it works (in Firefox, Safari and Opera(mostly) on my MacOSX, I have a feeling it will break in IE ;)) and that is pretty true with all my coding work, I take a problem-to-solution approach with great emphasis on practicality than elegance (why Classes? I ponder!). I used the script.aculo.us library with help from these articles :

For fear of being exposed as a very sloppy programmer (than for any other reason), I am not displaying the source code (‘view source’ is one of the greatest features in any browser).So check out the feature here: http://sansj.com/mysearch3.php and search for say ajax tutorials , php based ip logging and so forth. Happy Sliding.

SansJ.com-Social Search done well!

My search site can be accessed at SansJ.com.I have also created a what-is-SansJ-kinda page here: SansJ Wiki. I intend to write about SansJ and the latest development happening at SansJ in that part of the site.

Also, was successfully able to implement a SansJ search plugin for Firefox 2.0 and IE7(haven’t tested in IE7 as yet).If you would like to create a opensearch plugin, please do visit this site:
Creating_OpenSearch_plugins_for_Firefox and if you are looking for a online opensearch plugin creator check this out: http://keijisaito.info/ready2search/e/.

Further info on SansJ, you can spread the word about SansJ to your friends by going here: http://sansj.com/refer.php , much appreciated if you manage to do that! Also check this interview that appeared on Wired with Eric Schmidt here: http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/news/2007/04/mag_schmidt_trans .He talks about how Search is the main focus for Google and how every other product of Google revolves around search. A very insightful article and a very insightful person!

and had been reading Jonathan Franzen’s – How to be alone (after 2 years of reading it for the first time), I am blown over by the guys linguistic capabilities and also the way he so well puts into words the logic/rationality behind it.

That’s it for now!

Check the wiki at http://sansj.com/wiki.

Logo Designs

I wanted to have a cool logo for my search app: SansJ (a democratic approach to search), A good friend of mine came up with 2 cool logos, which I am sharing with you here:
Logo1
SansJ-Shadow
Logo2
Sansj-Black
and my design-Logo3
SansJ-mine

A Democratic approach to Internet Search.

Over the past few months, I have been working on a concept that was in my mind for quite a while. I wanted to combine a Forum, Search Engine and a Bookmarker, and ,I did.
A little intro on how the site works:
Search engines as they should be: powered by computers and rated by humans.This site allows you to:
1.Search the internet. (An example search would be “How to make cookies?”)
2.Rate the result.
3.Add comments about the site that u got in the results.
You do need to login to the site, so you can signup for a free account at
http://trk7.com/ask/signup.php

or for the next couple of days you can use the test account:

username: blogger
password: blog

and login here: http://trk7.com/ask/index.php
I am limiting the number of signups, for the moment, so be quick!This is my first major project, so expect some quirks!Looking forward to ur feedbacks.