Are URL Shorteners Useful Today?

Short URLs are everywhere, and I do not see them going away anytime soon. Services like T.LY, TinyURL, and Bitly have billions of short links spread out all across the web. If these services shut down, billions of URLs would fail to redirect, and this could break the internet. Explaining what a URL Shortener service is not complicated. Most people know how they work and the purpose but here are a few reasons to create short URLs that you may not know of.

Make URLs Shorter

There are many uses for short URLs besides the obvious long link to short link. How much easier is it to share: t.ly/short vs https://timleland.com/are-url-shorteners-useful-today/. This is common use case when links are shared verbally. For example, when sharing a URL on YouTube videos, podcasts, radio, and tv, a long complicated URL is not going to result in many visits.

Some other use cases are when there is a character limit such as text messages which are limited to 160 characters. This also use to be an issue on Twitter but they solved the issue by using their own URL Shortener.

Short URLs are also easier to remember when typing or saying. I may not remember the full URL of this blog post but I will remember t.ly/short. Read More

New Google Meet Extension

In today’s remote workplace, often Google Meet is the primary way companies communicate. I often chat with a coworker then realize a video call would make it quicker to come to a solution. This usually involves opening a new Chrome tab, browsing to https://meet.google.com/, clicking on the new meeting button, copying the URL, and sharing the URL in chat. These few extra clicks gave me the idea to create a one-click solution using a Chrome Extension called New Room for Google Meet.

The extension is simple and does the work of creating a new Google Meet Room and copying it to your clipboard. Chrome extensions are great for small utility programs that enhance your web browser. If you are a Google Meet user, check out the extension and let me know if you have any additional ideas for features or similar tools. Pro tip: Google offers a few shortcut URLs for creating new Docs(docs.new), Sheet(sheet.new), Slides(slide.new), and Meet(meet.new).

Click here to Install the Extension

Dynamic Social Media Share Images

To improve the experience when sharing an AtomicQuote URL on Twitter or Facebook, I needed to dynamically generate share images that include the quote and author with multiple background images. To do this, I could have generated millions of photos. Based on the number of quotes that AtomicQuote currently has, this would result in 17,673,360 images. Each image is around 60kb. So to store all the images, it would take over 10 TB of storage. To avoid paying for this storage, I planned to generate them on the fly and cache the result for a few days. So far, this has worked well and has improved the sharing of quotes on social media. See the example below: Read More

Introducing AtomicQuote

I’ve always been a fan of quotes. Quotes can motivate, inspire, teach, and more. When things get tough, many people turn to a motivational quote for a bit of inspiration. We are most open to change when we feel change is needed. So, we search the web when we have had a tough day at work to find that perfect pick-me-up quote to feel just a bit better. Once we locate the excellent quote, we are filled with inspiration and motivation and may have the courage to take on the world.

Read More