11-20 - Things You Didn't Know About the Mandolin Cafe
by, Aug-06-2010 at 12:00pm (6030 Views)
Didn't lose you last time? Let's try harder. We had fun in a previous post presenting some tips and tricks to navigate this site more effectively, but let's get a little more involved.
11. Search the Mandolin Cafe from your browser's default search bar, from anywhere on the web.
Proof we wilfully engage in stupid web tricks.
Example: observe the screen shots of Microsoft's Internet Explorer and FireFox below, the two most widely used browsers on the web.
See the little black down arrows? In Internet Explorer it's on the far right, just to the right of the magnifying glass. Click the down arrow, in the list select 'Mandolin Cafe' and you're finished. In FireFox, the arrow is on the left just to the right of the Google icon. Click the down arrow, select 'Mandolin Cafe' again. Now, in either browser while you're sitting anywhere on the web, enter a search term and you'll be searching the Cafe main site using our search tools. Note, this is just searching the main site, not the forum or classifieds. Handy? Maybe not so much, but when we get that dedicated Google search appliance some day this would be cool.
NOTE: this does not work in all browsers and you'll tell us so.
12. But wait, before you go further say forum members. How did you get that image in tip #11 to float to the right?
By using the BB Code IMG2 tag, that's how (it's a custom tag). So, by example, inserting inline images that are already on the web you use the IMG tag. We created this tag because once in awhile we like to live on the edge and align right.
Example, how that image was inserted above:
13. Watch the Classifieds at work while not actually being on the site.
We know for most of you there's a need for diversion at work and the Classifieds can provide that (what's this, they expect me to work at work?). But, that system admin that's watching you at Big X corporation, how do you get around that? And truthfully, this is making a call to the Cafe, but we're guessing they don't care about that as much as you surfing and staying there all day.
This will provide a list of the 10 most recent ads posted to the Classifieds. See it in action.
14. Read the opening comments of a new forum thread without actually clicking and entering the discussion.
Warning: person rant: tired of--how can we put this delicately--morons who on a regular basis casually toss up utterly useless thread titles like "I can't believe it," "A rant," "What were they thinking," "Unbelievable," "What is this guy smoking?," etc. A lot of members find this incredibly annoying and tell us so. We agree. Waste your time, but don't make us waste ours. But like a car wreck, for some of you: must... look... can't... avert... eyes.
Get a text preview of Mister or Missus member's "I can't create a useful title" by doing a mouse-over. Hold your mouse cursor (you know, that little arrow thing) over the title for a few seconds and behold, the thread reveals its inner secrets, and you usually will have enough information to decide whether you want to read more or not. We were going to provide a live example, and there are so many, but we suppose that would result in us calling someone a moron (well, actually, we already have, and they're reading it. It's OK, get past it...). Want to know how to get onto other user's global ignore list? This is one way.
By the way, the same trick applies to the Classifieds in the "Happening Now..." tabs on the home page. Mouse-over to see snippet of description.
15. Remove someone's smiley images when you quote their text on the forum.
Is there such a thing as using too many smileys? Should there be a smiley police? Probably. Personally, there a few people that treat these too casually and use way, way too many even though we limit them per post (I think). Don't like those showing up in the text you've quoted as part of your reply?
Click 'reply to quote' and make sure you're in "Advanced" status for your reply. Scroll down a ways and there's a box to check that will remove the icons from the quoted text. Note, this only removes those from your reply, not the original. Hmm, feature enhancement idea???
16. Security on the Classifieds.
Behold, the greatest tool on the web called Google. What do we do when we have questions about a new ad that might look suspicious? What should you do?
We head out to the great one (no, we're not talking about Bing, the Google killer that, well, didn't). Google the ad holder's name, address, location, phone number. Does the phone number area code match the physical address? Select a long section of the text and plug it into Google surrounded by quote marks (" " <-- these things) to see if the ad appears elsewhere on the web. Look for line breaks that might tell if the text was copied from another location on the web. Again, not a crime, but you want to know if someone is stealing or borrowing text off of another site.
If you're an ad owner, you'd best be looking at the information contained within that ad reply available to you. Yes, in sophisticated examples, this location info can be spoofed, but this ain't eBay folks. The few criminals we've dealt with here would have trouble passing 7th grade English and Math.
Upload the image in the ad (you'll have to know how to grab an image from the Classifieds first) to an image searching service like TinEye to see if the image resides somewhere else on the web, like eBay or Craig's List. This is not evidence of a crime, but provides you with legitimate useful information. This is detective work that has real value.
Selling something? Get a reply? Google the sender's name and address, and especially, search for their name or email address on the Classifieds. Search their name on the forum. If you find them there, you're dealing with someone that is probably a regular on this site. This is all legal, has real value, no one gets hurts, no one is harmed.
So many ways to carve up this kind of activity. Remember, you have many tools at your finger-tips and can perform most of the tricks we use to protect yourself. Use them.
17. Forum members, surf the forum without appearing in the active list of users. ie., participate anonymously. This means just reading. You post, you're visible.
Make friends with the General Settings section of your membership. There are some very useful options there and most users have never even seen their own area.
Go > Settings (top right of page) > General Settings (left side of page, about half way down) ... or use the link we've provided above.
Select "Invisible Mode on"
Remember, if the boss knows you're on the forum and you don't hide yourself, they can be out there just as easily watching you.
18. Rate a thread.
This is a feature we simply refuse to turn off just because people haven't paid attention to it. Inside of any thread (discussion) at the top of the page is an option to "rate" a thread on a scale of 1 to 5. 1 being "Terrible," 5 being "Excellent." Instead of weighing in verbally into discussions you dislike, giving it an appropriate rating sends a greater message and doesn't identify you. And, those ratings are visible from lists of threads you'll be viewing. Gives you a good idea of which threads have value, and which ones don't based on user input.
19. Bookmark our text-only version of the forum for your PDA, iPhone, Blackberry, etc.
Sure, you can view the forum and all of the related images on small devices, but if you want faster response time and don't need the eye candy (just information), view in text-only mode. Here's the link.
NOTE: we're considering an add-on to the forum software that will make it more friendly to phones and other small devices.
20. Related to the above, you can bookmark our personal working mobile page which is not linked from anywhere on the site.
We use this text-only page to scan user added content to the site while we're on the run with a mobile phone. Note that clicking those links will, however, take you to pages with images or full normal web views. Now that, for sure, is something you didn't know.