Category: Business blogging

Windows Live Writer – Insert Event

I read on Conor O Neill’s blog this morning that Windows Live Writer has a plugin which allows insertion of Events. The Events can be added from Eventful using Live Clipboard or via a search Eventful button in the plugin.

To give it a try, I entered the information about the it@cork 2006 Annual Conference into Eventful. I then tried to use Live Clipboard to copy the data across into Live Writer but I couldn’t get this to work – I kept getting malformed XML errors.

Undaunted, I then tried the Search Eventful option and this worked eventually (the search facility is poor so it takes a long time to find the event you want). However, I found the Event in Eventful and it added it in to this post (below).

 The formatting isn’t great (of the Description field in particular) but other than that it seems to work quite well.

 

According to the download page:

The published post included correct hCalendar microformatting

 This is interesting – a tool supporting Microformats coming out of Microsoft – the shame of it is that when I last checked it has only been downloaded 149 times.

 
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
All Day
2006 it@cork National Technology & Business Conference – Business without Boundaries
09:10 OPENING ADDRESS ‘Bricks to Clicks’ Speaker: Eddie Hobbs, SESSION 1 – THE FLAT EARTH PHENOMENON 10:00 Early Pioneers of bookselling and art on the Web Speaker: Conor Kenny, Kennys.ie (…
Rochestown Park Hotel

Rochestown Road

Cork, Cork   Ireland

Download iCalendar file

Oh no! Scoble Show launched

Robert Scoble’s video show was launched this morning. The delay in the launch was due to the PodTech.net site’s re-design apparantly.

The Scoble Show

There are some fascinating interviews there. One of the videos is of a photo walk with Thomas Hawk. Thomas is a photographer in San Francisco and works with photo sharing site Zooomr.

I did a podcast on PodLeaders with Thomas a couple of months back and it was an engrossing interview but Robert vastly improves on my podcast by interweaving photos Thomas was taking as they were walking along by the Golden Gate bridge (and by being a far better interviewer!).

The interview with Sun CEO Jonathon Schwartz was a compelling insight into why Sun still matters!

And I love the wide screen format of the video.

I can’t wait to see the JotSpot video and the Shai Agassi interview – jeez, now I’m never going to get any work done!

[Update] I see Robert has blogged about it too

Speed up posting to WordPress

via Pat Phelan comes a nifty WordPress plugin which speeds up posting from WordPress blogs.

Called WP-No Ping Wait, the plugin works by waiting until after the post has been posted before alerting the pinging services!

Nice one, thanks Pat.

UPDATE – this plugin has caused issues on a number of sites I manage so I have disabled it until a more stable version comes out.

Awstats vs. Webalizer – lies, damn lies and statistics!

My hosting company is running two different web stats programs on the log files for this site – Webalizer and Awstats.

Same log files – you’d think they’d come up with something like similar results – not a chance!

In the Webalizer stats I am wildly popular:
Webalizer stats for tomrafteryit.net

Ok, maybe not wildly popular but when you compare the figures with the Awstats results, you can see I am far less popular according to Awstats:
Awstats for tomrafteryit.net

For instance, look at the number of Visits for the month of July (the most recent month for which we have all the data). According to Webalizer this site had 135,352 visits in July whereas Awstats only has 30,035! Look at the number of pages served in July. Webalizer has this site serving 333,461 whereas Awstats has it only serving 178,395.

How can such enormous differences be accounted for? Which one do I believe? I honestly have no idea!

By the way, the peak in May/June has to do with the Web 2.0 controversy!

Adding images to your blog post

A picture is worth a thousand words or so the old saw goes and it is certainly true that an image can greatly help the look of a blog post.

Several people have asked me recently how to add images to blog posts so I thought I’d put up a blog post explaining how I do it in case it would be useful for others.

I store my images online on Flickr. When I want to use an image in a blog post I use the copy of the image which is stored on Flickr. This has the advantages that:

  1. it saves me diskspace from my hosting account,
  2. it saves me bandwidth from my hosting account and
  3. it is easy because Flickr provides the code to use the image from their site!

Being a simple soul, I like it when things are made easy for me.

How do I do it?

Well, click on the image you want to use in your Flickr account. If you don’t have a Flickr account, get one! A free account will allow you to upload 200 images and if you need more than that it costs around $25 p.a.

Once you have selected your image, click on the All Sizes button above the picture.
All Sizes button in Flickr

This brings you to the Available Sizes screen. Here you decide which image size you want in your blog post and select it. I generally go for images around 500 pixels wide (although the one selected below is 240 pixels wide).

Flickr's Available sizes screen

When you select the size you want, the code required to place the image in your blog post is in the field under:

1. Copy and paste this HTML into your webpage:

Copy and paste that code into your blog post et voilà, you now have an image in your blog post.

Shemas Eivers – Blogs and search engine optimisation (SEO)

Shemas Eivers is the MD of Client Solutions and he was at a meeting I also attended recently. Shemas was asking about tools for SEO and when I replied that blogs are the most powerful tool I know of for increasing SEO, Shemas didn’t seem to believe me. Fair enough.

Shemas this post is for you!

Why are blogs so good at increasing a website’s SEO?

  • Every blog post has its own url (so each post can be linked to individually – this leads to increased inward linkage)
  • Search engines love content and a blog encourage the constant addition of content to a site
  • Search engines love fresh content and blogs promote that too
  • A blog, if named (blog title, sub-head, and posts) configured properly (short permalinks) can own a particular key word/phrase for all search engines
  • Search engines love links (inward or outward) and blogs with their blogrolls, links within posts and discussions promote that lots of linkage

There are plenty more good reasons why blogs punch way above their weight when it comes to search engines – please feel free to add more in the comments.

Shemas, if you do a Google search for Shemas Eivers right now, why do you think the top ranking sites are blogs?

No comment

I just spent the last 10 minutes trying to leave a comment on Todd Cochrane’s site (Todd is the guy behind GeekNewsCentral).

Todd had a post up today about his Mac and how one of the apps in it hangs from time to time. I wanted to leave a comment about how my Mac crashed once.

The site requires you to have a Typekey account to be able to comment – annoying but I have commented there in the past so not a big deal this time. The site tells me I am logged in so I can go ahead and comment. I type in the comment and click post only to be told I have to supply an url and email address – THERE WAS NOWHERE TO ENTER THAT DATA!

I go back and try again. I look around. Sure enough I am logged into the site. There is nowhere to add in an email address but the site has recognised me (“Thanks for signing in, Tom Raftery. Now you can comment.”). Again I try, again to be shot down.

Ok, I try signing out and signing back in to Typekey – that leads me through a series of screens which would have totally intimidated anyone non-tech.

Finally I arrive back at the post and try to comment once more. Nothing.

There is a message which says:

(If you haven’t left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won’t appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

But I have left comments on the site previously so now I’m not sure whether my comments have been left or not and to be honest I have already spent far too long trying to comment.

Todd, seriously, if you want to hear other people’s opinions, you need to make commenting on your site easier.

UPDATE – D’oh! My comment has now appeared twice on Todd’s post!

Too little too late – Google tries to win back Bloggers

Blogger is Google’s free hosted blogging platform. Blogger’s steady decline as a blogging platform has been well documented by Blogger users.

Via Marshal Kirkpatrick today comes news that Google have launched (in beta, of course!) a newer version of Blogger. This version has lots of shiny bits such as allowing change of colour of your blog using a WYSIWYG interface:
New Blogger format screen

And it also allows drag and drop manipulation of various aspects of the blog:
Drag n drop of the About me

The new version requires users to have a Google account which is a bit of a mixed blessing. It also allows for tagging of posts using the Labels field – in fact this is probably the most useful update to the entire application.

Given Google’s lacklustre commitment to Blogger over the last two years and the very little progress in this update I would say to anyone thinking of starting a blog now to stay from Blogger and use the likes of WordPress.com instead. If you are on Blogger – move to a real blog platform. You know you want to.

UPDATE: – for a more comprehensive review of the update see the Google Operating System blog. And Blogger’s official post about it is here