sometimes size matters

Size matters

So you find something cool on the Web, and you want to send your friend a link. But you know how it goes; when you copy the URL and paste it into an email, it looks something like this monster:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=
727+west+main+street+louisville+ky&ie=UTF8&z=
17&ll=38.25777,-85.761949&spn=0.003446,
0.010815&t=k&om=1

WordPress has helped me prove my point: I had to manually break these lines to get them to fit in the editing window. (Before I broke it, the URL vanished off the right edge.)

When you paste a URL like this into an email, it will probably wrap, either on your end or the recipient’s. And if it wraps, it probably breaks, too — your friend clicks the link, but now only part of it is live, so the result is an error rather than a web page.

I’m delighted to say that I’ve found a solution to the overly lengthy URL: TinyURL.com. When I pasted in my example 145-character URL, TinyURL instantly generated the following 24-character alternative: http://tinyurl.com/zdmpt. (If you follow it, it takes you to a satellite photo of the location of the Louisville Science Center — a fantastic, fun place to visit.)

These tiny URLs never expire. Plus, if you dig through the site and locate the information about the guy who came up with the idea, it turns out that he’s a unicycling photographer from Minnesota. How cool is that?

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