Rule the Web by Mark Frauenfelder

February 5, 2008 at 2:16 pm 2 comments

Rule the Web: how to do anything and everything on the Internet – better, faster, easier, by Mark Frauenfelder

This book is similar to the Steal this File Sharing Book and Steal this Computer Book books by Wang…by the by, look for Steal this book by Hoffman

This book struck me as not as well organized as Wang’s books.  Actually, come to think about it, I’m reminded of Everything is Miscellaneous by Weinberger…” Is knowledge being fragmented?  Are we being fragmented along with it?  I think it’s odd that he used this quote again.  Fragmented?  It could be that this book was written as fragmented blog posts that were pasted together.  So yes.”  I think Frauenfelder wrote a bunch of blog posts and sort of organized them and published a book.  This seems to be happening more often, leaving blog-post-artifacts imprinted within the final book.

More irritating to me than the loose organization was that this was basically an O’Reilly Hacks book without the useful “refer to hack #XY” cross-references (cross-posting?).  The table of contents in a hacks book is infinitely useful.  Here, the table of contents is only roughly helpful.  Granted there is an index.

Nevertheless, there are some great tips and links here….which leads to my number one complaint of this book (and the Wang books).  Shout this from the mountain tops: “If you write a book that contains hyperlinks, make the list of links available online!”  Preferably for free.  It will drive visitors to your site and it will make readers happy.  It’s surprising how frustrating it can be to type http:/.…html into an address bar.

For that matter, anytime hyperlinks are mentioned, in a talk, on the radio, on TV, viewers should be encouraged to visit a website where they can find the entire list.  Again, this drives people to your site.  Also, it is such a relief in a seminar when the presenter tells you that the entire presentation is available online – it allows the audience to sit back and actually listen to the talk!

Oh, and while we’re at it. I never want to have to give my email address over the phone again – “no, no it’s Foxtrot Uniform Tango…”  Isn’t there a better way to sync contact information.  Maybe we have to wait until everyone has mobile phones instead of landlines.  Ok, ok, here’s the contents followed by links that I was interested in.


Chapter 1 Creating and Sharing

Web sites




Social Networking

Photography and Video


Chapter 2 Searching and Browsing



Chapter 3 Shopping and Selling



Chapter 4 Health, Exercise, and Sports

Health and Medicine

Chapter 5 Media and Entertainment

News and Information


Video and Movies




Chapter 6 Travel and Sightseeing

Chapter 7 Work, Organization, and Productivity

Personal productivity

Money and Finance

Chapter 8 Communication

Wireless computing

Connecting on the Road

Mobile phones

Internet Phones

Landline phones


Chapter 9 Toolbox

System Tune-up

Music (again?)

Video and Movies (again?)

Personal Productivity (again?)

Chapter 10 Protecting and Maintaining

Security and Privacy


Chapter 11 Tips from my Favorite Bloggers



P5 Web site hosts reviewed at CNet;

P10 sharing tips on increasing blog traffic: Use numbered lists.  People have a strong attraction to numbered lists.  The quickest way to get a right answer online is by posting the wrong one.

P17 Talking about links in a blog entry…  You shouldn’t force people to click a link to learn what it is. 

[and you should never force them to have to type a link into an address bar]

P23 Frauenfelder’s  blog article – an article about blogging, that is.

[Links in a print book suck.  Every book that talks about the web and includes links should have an online link list.]

P30 creating feeds for sites that don’t offer them,

P33 blog by phone – blogger and vox let you use your mobile.

P51 Quicktime let’s you speed up a podcast.

P56 Wikipedia tips, help on editing:; your first article tutorial http://; rejected articles

P58 Web 2.0 is a catch all term for web sites and technologies that combine user-created content, social networking, and new publishing technologies such as blogging, podcasting, and wikis.

P65 batch download flickr photos FlickrDown (; recover deleted photos on your camera Art Plus Digital Photo Recovery (; digital photo recovery (

P70 how to reduce a batch o digital photos doesn’t mention just simply using windows explorer: Select ‘email this file’ from the File and Folders tasks, in the pop-up select the make all my pictures smaller’ option.  It will open an email with all the compressed pictures attached.  Just select them all and paste them where ever you want.

P71 with you can upload digital videos to your blog.  Up to 50 MB per video.  For larger videos try the Internet Archive (  Editing/annotating video online:

P72 soundclips Freesound project,

Sharing large files

P74 Books:,

P79 Find unlisted phone numbers

P82 search within websites using google and Firefox.  On a site right click the search box, add a keyword for this search, then use that keyword in the browsers address bar followed by your search terms and you’ll be sent to the results page for your search.

P85 community-based questions answering service.  Like Yahoo’s Answers ?, ,

P88 find out what other people think of things.

P91 visit blocked websites using Java Anonymous Proxy .  What if that site is blocked?

P94 block annoying ads using Firefox, right-click the ad select ‘block images from nameserver’; get rid of flash using flashblock

P97 when an image search shows a thumbnail but the original site is gone, grab the web address and look for the cached site.

P106 Discussing bookmarks “I keep about twenty of my favorite blogs is a folder labeled “best blogs” on my toolbar.  I load all the pages at once every morning…..  But wait what about RSS and readers…earlier he said (P27) I’m a devoted RSS reader, I have RSS subscriptions to a couple of hundred different blogs, and I can go through them very quickly using my RSS reader program.  Instead of having to visit all those sites individually, I can browse a list of headlines from all my subscribed feeds in one window….I prefer the clean spare look of RSS to the many over-designed slow-loading blogs out there.

P108 Learn keyboard shortcuts to browse at lightning speed.  This is a blog post in itself.  Let’s face it; we’re down to shaving a couple of milliseconds off our day now.  Any little bit counts and it all adds up in the end.

P113 eBay tips, sniping,  Search eBay for misspelled items.  Use

P114 other auction sites

P115 Best time to list your items for sale is Sunday evening between 6 – 9 PM.

P121 price comparison tools;

P123 get free promotion codes for online stuff. from the same guys as


P131 Inkjet refills

Online user manuals

P142 recipes at, or use Google Base ( and search by the ingredients in your refrigerator.

P144 Alerts when web sites change, http://

P148 usernames and passwords for sites that require registration like the New York Post.

P154 record music off streaming music Real7ime Converter   Another program that will record anything playing through your sound card is OpD2d (which wasn’t loading 2/1/08) and here’s more

P167 Torrent episode downloader

P168 online media conversion

You know it would really be nice if there was a list of links for books like this one.  In academic journals they often make supporting information available for download for free, often without having to purchase the article.  I would think a list of links would be pretty easy to put out there and it would drive traffic to the book’s site.  In fact, I would say that an online list of links should be the type of best practice that putting a table of contents or an index in a book has become.

P178 Colossal Cave Adventures, text-based adventure game,

Yeah anytime I have to manually type a URL into a browser address bar, someone has shirked their duties.

P182 old games,,

P194 “you can buy a used handheld with the palm operating system on eBay for under $50; look for color screen, at least 320×320 pixels, and 16 MB. for books and reader.,

P196 Free audiobooks:;;;;….  There’s a short story scifi podcast I remember….ah, Escape Pod, and here’s another,; this looks cool—volume-one as does this—season-two-hell, and,

P199 search full text of books;

P201 book trading;;;….

P207 Travel planner;;

P210 Google Earth hacks:

P212 flight delay

P218 merging pdf files

P219 web-based office programs like ant; and; also has AjaxSketch an online drawing program.  Free offline

P220 productivity website

Online bookmarks with;; social bookmarking =;

P211 mentioned in project management.;; Zoho projects at

P224 online lists;

P225 online meeting scheduling

P228 grocery list generator – generates shopping list based on your saved recipes.  Shopping list sorted by aisle

P231 how much is your house worth

P232 Missing money http://missingmoney/Main/StateSites.cfm

P236 best way to pay off debt:

P237 Investing

P242 look for electronics on

P243 someone using your wireless

P246 wireless web hacking

P256 get email on the road

P257 get out of phone contracts,

Best cell phone plans;

P260 make your own ringtones.  Use to extract the song clip; LAME to export into mp3; email it, or put it on the web.

P271 use AIM instant messenger without the client = AIM express. [or use ]

P281 disposable phone number

P283 a whole discussion on how to deal with email…”I’ll bet you’ve got a lot of what I call “Sticky” emails sitting around….one that you can’t answer for one reason or another….you don’t have the information you need to answer it…it would be rude to send a one- or two- sentence reply  (e.g. to Mom).  Instead of answering it, you just keep the message in your inbox in the vain hope that one day you’ll have time to compose an equally long response.  Keeping sticky email in your inbox is a mistake.  Adopt the “only handle it once” rule.  Never open an email, glance at it for a moment and then move on to the next one.  That’s wasted time, because odds are you’ll do that again and again to the same email message, making you feel worse every time.  As soon as you open an email and read it, you need to decide what to do with it.  ( Fiver things:

  1. Delete it.  Spam, forwarded jokes, urban legends, cc’d emails, mailing lists, stranger’s emails, inquiries that don’t interest me.
  2. Answer it.  Within a minute or two?  Go ahead.
  3. Let someone else deal with it.  Redirect to someone better able to answer a question. 
  4. Save it for reference, e.g. receipts, useful URLs, passwords, put these into an appropriately labeled folder (or tag them appropriately)
  5. Tag it for later action.  Last resort.  Move into a folder labeled “Action: and add it to my to do list.

Prioritize email on the way in.  Use filters to color code email, e.g. emails from someone in my address book is blue, mailing lists are purple, black is from a stranger.  Have a killfile to delete stuff automatically.

Research has shown that interruptions by a coworker, phone call, or a new email can take up to 25 minutes to get back up to speed on what you were working on.  Check email once every couple hours if you can help it.

P297 disposable email address;;

P300 anonymous prank email

P311 cleaning Windows; disk inventory; I use treemap?; treesize?  Yes

P315 …and why did Mark include a website for ‘fix your toilet without a plumber’ here;;  Oh it’s in the toolbox chapter.

P319 adding RAM FreeRAM XP Pro;

P325 convert windows media files to mp3 Switch

P348 keep your desktop clean.  “When my physical desktop gets too cluttered for me to set down my espresso cup, I clear it.  When my computer desktop gets too cluttered…it’s time to clean it too.  ….When I’m too busy to sort through all the stray files, I just throw them all into a folder on the desktop called ‘desktop junk.’  With Google desktop I can find them again…..And you’ll be surprised at how much better you feel after cleaning your desktop this way.  It reminds me of design consultant Donald Normal’s observation that a freshly washed car seems to run better than a dirty car.  [Mindtrail to virtual cleaning post]

P358 scrub a hard drive: for Nuke.

P377 back up DVDs;

P384  Bay area ship positions.

P387 bookstore

P391 tiddlywiki;   GTDtiddlywiki


Entry filed under: information literacy.

More reading on social networks Shortwave Radio. The long and the short of it.

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kerry Smith  |  June 9, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    I use to snipe anything I want on eBay. Works GREAT for me!!

  • 2. Kerry Smith  |  June 9, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    I use to snipe anything I want on eBay. Works GREAT for me!!


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