Simple Rivals/Yahoo Image URL Decoder

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I’m a subscriber to Orangebloods, a Rivals network website that covers Texas Longhorn Sports and Recruiting. People post and share images all the time and a user posted the question below earlier this week when frustrated by Rivals automatic rewriting of images to pass through Yahoo’s CDN.

Photos that users paste on this Rivals Message Board have a URL that begins with https://ec.yimg.com and if you try to copy that photo into a message on another message board you just get a red X. Why?

After writing the explanation below, I decided to take 15 minutes to write some quick JavaScript to reveal the REAL image URL when given the Rivals/Yahoo CDN URL.

My Explanation:

Rivals is doing that to speed up the site. Looks like they are taking advantage of Yahoo’s CDN (Content Delivery Network) to offload serving images from Rivals main servers.

As to why those links don’t work elsewhere, they are likely blocking external references to limit their bandwidth costs. When people take an image URL from one site and post somewhere else (called hotlinking — see Wikipedia),  the site where the image originates has to deal with sending the image to the end user. If you have hundreds of thousands of people doing this …. it equals big expenses and slow performance. By making those external hotlinked image references break, Yahoo is preventing people from doing this and stealing their bandwidth.

On to the good part. To get the real Image link do the following.

Right-click on the image and choose “Copy Image URL”

You should get something like this : https://ec.yimg.com/ec?url=http%3a%2f%2fvinylmeltdown.com%2fwordpress%2fwp-content%2fuploads%2f2012%2f02%2fheader.jpg&t=1424285195&sig=Ms9hzzO6zoaz1fmmlbeUkA–~B

Notice the part that I bolded and underlined … right after the url= and before the &t …. that’s an encoded version of the real image URL.

Copy that part ….. go to http://urldecode.org/

Paste the encoded URL in the box and click decode. You will then have the real image reference. In this case, it was:

http://vinylmeltdown.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/header.jpg

Just found the WP theme to use for my church’s website

I’ve been a StudioPress member for several months now and I’ve done a few sites for a couple of organizations I’m involved in using their templates.   I use WP and Premium Themes on these projects because I need something that’s fast, flexible, and extensible with low technical requirements for hosting.

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WebOS 1.3.1 Update Fixes Google “My Contacts” syncing issue

Well folks, my NuevaSync Google Contacts syncing workaround has served me well since the Pre launched on June 6th.  I checked PreCentral.net before I went to bed and found this article

Tonight, Palm released WebOS 1.3.1 to Sprint customers here in the U.S.  Among it’s many fixes read this line:

  • If you set up Contacts to synchronize with a Google account, the account synchronizes only entries in Google’s My Contacts, not all contacts.

My Pre is validating the download as we speak.  I’ll report back if there are any problems.

Hopefully the NuevaSync workaround served many of you well (I was getting a few dozen hits a day on that tutorial).  Of course, you can continue to use it if you want and I’ll leave the article up …. but I’ll be removing it from my phone.

Palm Pre: Troubleshooting NuevaSync / Google Contacts

Judging my my blog stats, my post on setting up your Palm Pre to Sync only the Google “My Contacts” group via Nuevasync is pretty popular.  I hope there are some people out there who have it setup and working for them.

In the comments, I’ve tried to help a couple of people who were having problems.  I decided that a follow up blog entry on troubleshooting would be a worthwile endevor.

As people report new problems, I’ll try to keep this entry updated.
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Palm Pre App Writing Looks Straightforward

Update: Anyone wanting to know the nitty-gritty on WebOS App development needs to head over to WebOSHelp.net

I’m excited to see all of the work being done on precentral.net and predev.wikidot.com on Palm Pre hacking/development.  One of my main reasons for Palm Pre excitement was the notion that I’d be able to build apps without learning Objective-C or some other language.

I’m just not THAT into doing web development all day at work and then coming home to learn a new language.  Actually, I prefer not to look at my home computer much at all.

I guess the first “real” homebrew app was released today … a Tip Calculator.  Check it out here: http://www.jwz.org/tipcalculator/.  I downloaded the source code and looked around a little bit.  Looks pretty approachable.  I will probably put my Pre in to Programmer’s mode (or just download the image) and see what other application source code I can look through.

I guess it’s time for me to pick up a Javascript framework  (prototype, mootools, etc) and start messing around with it.  I’ve never done any MVC Javascript programming, but I suppose my Adobe Flex experience will pay off from an architecture standpoint.

T-SQL: Calculating number of weekdays between two dates

Tonight someone tweeted trying to find a ColdFusion or SQL solution to counting the number of weekdays (excluding Saturdays and Sundays) between two dates.  Most of the solutions online involving looping over the date range and adding to a counter if that iteration of the loop is a weekday.

That’s fine for limited, but probably not if you need to test dates that span many years or need to run the function 1,000s of times.  Anyway, here’s a SQL Server UDF solution.  It’s late, so hopefully the comments in the code suffice.  It should be straightforward to rewrite this in ColdFusion.

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Palm Pre: Only Sync Google “My Contacts”

Notice:  This is no longer necessary

This process described below is no longer necessary. As of Web OS 1.3.1 (released mid-November 2009), WebOS devices automatically limit Google contact syncing to records in  “My Contacts”. I have stopped using the method below, but I will leave this blog entry online for historical purposes.

Original Post:

As most early adopters of the Palm Pre know, Synergy with GMail pulls in records from “All Contacts” instead of “My Contacts.” The result for heavy GMail users is a contact record for virtually everyone you have ever emailed.

After about an hour of messing around, I was finally able to figure out how to get email and clean contacts from my GMail account.

If anyone is interested in setting this up on their phone, please follow the directions closely. There is a reason for every step. There are a few places that you can get tripped up.

Theory: Use Synergy with Nuevasync’s Exchange server emulation to sync Contacts and Synergy with setup GMail in the Pre for email and calendar.

End Results: Exchange Server Profile on Pre syncing via Nuevasync Google for Contacts and Calendar. Pre getting email directly from GMail and a useless Exchange email account that can’t be deleted. (I suppose everything can’t be perfect.)

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