Monday, July 10, 2006

Cool things to add to your website: Discussion Forums

If you have a website and you're selling stuff through it, you might want to add a Discussion Forum so your customers and potential customers can interact with you and others.

A discussion forum is something like the tagboard on this blog but much more advanced. You can have sub-forums and topics within those forums. Depending on how much leeway you'd like to give others, you may allow them to post new topics, run polls, etc. For an example of a really sophisticated forum, check out the Playwrights' Forum, owned by

A search for "forum" or "discussion forum" should give you some good options. I use the free phpbb forum from mfbb. It's an open source software and you can either host it on your own site or use the free sitehosting from mfbb if you'd like to make a test forum first.

I suggest you use the free hosted option and test the site with the help of a few friends before you host it on your own site and make it "live". You'll get a feel of administration and learn to set up membership options, posting privileges, etc.

Happy discussing,


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Cool Site:

I'm an ass. I admit it. A prize ass.

I got to know of tinyurl nearly a year ago but I have still been trying to convey a blinking long string of words to people over a rotten mobile phone to let them know the web address of my yahoo group, rhapsodypatrons.

What's tinyurl? It's a site that takes a humungous website address and converts it into a tiny one. Hence, tinyurl.

Here's what it did with my yahoo group:

The following URL:
has a length of 45 characters and resulted in the following TinyURL which has a length of 24 characters:

See that?

Now, instead of yelling into my mobile phone (rotten li'l thing, I'll be yelling things into it and wondering why she's not saying anything, then I look at the display and find the blasted thing lost the signal five minutes ago) "groups! groups DOT yahoo dot com.... no, no, NOT groups AT yahoo dot com... rhapsodypatrons... with an S! ..." you get the idea... all I have to say is "tinyurl dot com, slash, mlhdw."

Use it. You'll wonder how you did without it for so long. Very useful for masking free domains too, so no one knows you've hosted your professional-looking website on a free server.

Here, try it out:

Enter a long URL to make tiny: