xagronaut Scratch Pad

Podcasting expands my mind

Ready or not, Microsoft is podcasting. ";->"

[Scripting News]

This is exciting. I've said for a long time, that if I could get someone to read a computer book onto audio, that I would listen to it. Sure code samples don't translate to audio well, but a lot of the content could work.

Podcasting (not just Microsoft's stuff) is a nice substitute, plus you get personality and flavor. You get to hear experts talk about technical topics and provide insights that you might not otherwise get to absorb quickly by reading blogs.

I'm not trying to pigeon-hole podcasting to technical topics, but this is a great use of it for me.

Scott Watermasysk's AppBug experiment

My AggBug Experiment.

This blog is powered by Scott Watermasysk's .Text blogging engine, but it's an older version of the software, one that doesn't support statistics.  More recent versions of .Text provide a rough estimate as to how many folks have read your blog through the use of AggBugs.  Prior to the popularization of syndicated content, determining how many folks read your content was a rather simple task of parsing the Web server's log files.  But with syndicated content, examining the number of people who requested the RSS feed does not give a strong estimate.  For example, my aggregator might slurp down a particular RSS feed 24 times over the course of the day, yet I may read a particular entry only once or twice, or maybe not at all.

To surmount these problems, AggBugs are commonly used.  An AggBug is a tiny bit of HTML in the RSS feed that typically is an <img> tag that requests a 1x1 transparent GIF file.  Each time someone loads up a particular entry in their aggregator (or visits the particular blog entry page), a request is made to that GIF file.  To determine how many times your blog has been read, you can simply lookup in your Web server's log files to see how many times that GIF has been requested.

Since the version of .Text I use lacks the AggBug feature, I have never really had a good idea as to how many folks read my blog entries.  The suspense has been killing me, so I decided to implement by own AggBug feature for a particular blog entry, Sample Chapter of my .NET Web Services DVD.  (Rather than using just a simple 1x1 GIF, I created an ASP.NET page that returned a 1x1 GIF, but logged more information than just a simple hit (namely the user's IP, their User-Agent string, and so on.)  It's now been 24 hours since that blog entry was posted, and here are the results:

  • 553 unique IP addresses requests
  • 860 total requests
  • Twice as many people (2) hit my site with Netscape 3 than did with IE 4 (1).  Only 2 folks visited with Opera, which is as many people as visited with Safari. 
  • The vast majority (95+%) use IE 6.0 (I believe the popular blog readers - RssBandit, FeedReader, FeedDemon, etc. - use IE as their browser by default, so this makes sense).

It'll be interesting to see how the readership for a particular blog entry shrinks or grows as the days progress.  I'd wager something like 80% of the views occur in the first week (maybe two), and the remaining 20% occur over the rest of the year.

[Scott on Writing]

Hack the Feedster

Hack the Feedster.

When I teach my RSS class, the first moment that blows everyone away is about 45 minutes in when we do a Feedster search and they save the feed of the search into Bloglines. Jaws drop open and you can hear the "wows."

Which is why I'm happy to hear that Steven has started a new blog dedicated to Feedster Hacks. Into the presentation it goes.

Keep up the great work, Steven!

[The Shifted Librarian]

My Blog - yet another blogging application

My Blog 1.23 [freshmeat.net]

My Blog aims to be simple to use while taking care of many advanced features for the user. This includes automatically resizing pictures when uploaded, pagination of blog entries as specified, and truncating and formatting of text as specified. The admin chooses from posting via the secure online script or via email, making blogging via camera phone possible. The admin is emailed when visitors post comments. Plugins for the My Photo Gallery and My Calendar scripts are available, and the admin can write his own plugins. The templating scheme is simple and compatible with all of the other scripts.

Contest for faith-based orgs

Contest for faith-based orgs. The Faith and Service Technical Education Network (FASTEN) is hosting a new contest for congregations and faith-based organizations. The “Partners in Transformation” awards program will give $5,000 to ten FBOs who bring about tangible, positive results for kids, families, or neighborhoods while working with groups outside the faith community (schools, police, HUD, Chamber of Commerce, etc.). FASTEN will publish a report highlighting the ten winning programs and distribute it to hundreds of private charitable foundations. Get your contest application here.... [World Magazine Blog]

Creative Types

Hope for creative types?  Hope for me?  Don't know, but here is a creativity portal.  I searched Google for "Thomas Edison" and "day job."  Found this page.  Here is a biography of Thomas Edison.  And another.

Movable Type Plug-ins

Cool.  I'm beginning to think that I will begin to use fewer packages and systems that do not allow integration, customization, and extensibility.  A few applications for Microsoft Windows (especially MS Office) ship with Visual Basic for Applications that allows customization and extensibility by using Automation and COM objects to script custom tools.

Radio UserLand offers a very open architecture complete with an object database and a rendering engine.  It's amazing what kind of underlying horsepower you get for the $39.95 initial price tag.

And, not for the faint of heart, there's always the open source world of applications based in Perl, PHP, Java, etc. that allow customization at a minimum.

But Movable Type is a great example of an application where customization and extensibility is built into the architecture.  That rocks!

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