Posting to Facebook with a Thumbnail with an iOS Device

When you share a link using Facebook.com, it scans the page and lets you set a thumbnail image for the post. If you are on a webpage that you want to share, you can save a step if you have the Facebook Share Bookmarklet installed on your browser.

Basically, a bookmarklet is just a bookmark that executes JavaScript code instead of going to an URL. On a desktop PC browser, you can install it by just dragging the bookmarklet to your toolbar. However, it’s a little trickier to install on a mobile browser.

Fortunately this page has easy instructions on how to install the Facebook bookmarklet (and other services) on a mobile browser. Basically, you click the link for the bookmarklet you want, save as a bookmark, and then edit the URL to remove some unneeded code. It’s pretty simple.

Sharing from RSS Reader

I consume most of my Internet news from RSS feeds via Google Reader using the Reeder iPad app. Reeder’s Facebook share feature doesn’t add a thumbnail, so I use the ReadItLater service to save posts that I want to share later on Facebook. ReadItLater has a Facebook share feature, but sadly it also doesn’t add a thumbnail. As such, I would use the browser bookmarklet method. Cumbersome, but it worked.

Anyways, I just discovered the iPad app Mr. Reader and its Facebook sharing feature supports the thumbnail! Hooray! Since both are based on Google Reader, it was a painless switch from Reeder to Mr. Reader.

YouTube Video Thumbnails

For whatever reason, the thumbnail often doesn’t appear for sites that embed a YouTube video if you use the bookmarklet method. What you need to do is click on the video to open it up in YouTube. Usually, the iOS YouTube app will open since iOS doesn’t support Flash. If you tap the Share button, the app will compose an email. Change the www. to m. and just copy up to the video ID. Here’s an example: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8d-MTIJ7ZZQ The video will open in the mobile YouTube website and the Facebook Share button there will allow you to specify a thumbnail. It’s a little cumbersome, but not bad. Another way is to just copy the video URL as it appears, open Facebook.com in Safari, and share the link normally.

I hope this makes it easier to share things on Facebook. Have fun!

Slacker needs New Release station

I’ve been playing with Slacker a lot recently due to their free one-month Premium service. I blogged about it here. I am really liking the iPhone and iPad apps a lot, and I also like their playlists. However, with the introduction of their On Demand feature, where you can play specific songs, they *REALLY* need a New Release station. Something that will play the new albums released each week. Since this would be an album-based playlist as opposed to song-based, I suppose it doesn’t fit their “radio station” metaphor, but c’mon! don’t they want to promote that fact that you can listen to the latest album by so and so on their service? Pretty big omission IMHO. Rhapsody has this btw.

Force Google Chrome Bookmark Sync

I suppose that Google doesn’t have a “Force bookmark sync” button because they are worried about the potential strain on their servers. However, I’ve found that sometimes my desktop PC and laptop get out of sync and I really need this feature. I’ve seen some suggest stopping the sync and then re-enabling it, but this is a bit of a pain because you have to re-enter your login info. Fortunately, I’ve found a much more reasonable workaround and here it is:

1. First, open the Chrome Options page, by clicking the little wrench icon in the top-right of the browser window and choosing Options from the drop-down menu.

2. Next, choose Personal Stuff on the left side.

3. In the Sync group of options, click Customize and a new window will appear.

4. On the Data Types tab, change the setting to Choose what to sync and uncheck Bookmarks. Click OK.

5. A Success! message should appear. Click OK to clear.

6. Click Customize again and change the setting back to Keep everything synced. Click OK.

7. Eventually you should see the Success! message again. Congrats! You’ve just forced Chrome to sync your bookmarks!